Water Puppet Tours

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With its numerous national parks, white sand beaches, colourful villages, pagodas and ancient monuments, forests and islands, Vietnam is a land of often surprising beauty, offering cultural depth and history, increasingly combined with tourism-friendly areas offering all the facilities a modern traveller could wish for.

Vietnam’s people are its greatest asset: gregarious, friendly and eager to meet visitors. In the bustling cities, the often chaotic streets contrast ox carts with limousines, ancient rituals with sophisticated technology, and are ruled by the ubiquitous moped.

Our strength is in translating these opportunities into detailed, practical itineraries. We do luxury travel and event planning, as well as a wide range of beach, family, honeymoon, adventure, golf, veteran and cultural tours.

There is no better way to experience a destination than through the perspective of the local people. At Water Puppet Tours, this key element of local insight drives every step of our process of tour design and delivery. We provide tailor-made tours individually crafted for each client, achieving this by emphasizing the direct working relationship between the client and the tour designer and operator.


Travel Style

Travel Destination

Remote Central Highland 14 Days

Remote Central Highland 14 Days itinerary designed for those who want to explore the Central Highlands of Vietnam on the off-beaten tracks. You will explore the miracles of nature of jungles and amazing waterfalls, a memorable elephant trek crossing Lak Lake and Yok Don National Park, encountering very colorful hill tribes…

Please note that this is a six-hour trek along a rugged trail demanding plenty of physical strength and stamina. However, the exceptional alpine scenery makes the trek well worth the effort. The area was first documented in 1893 by Dr. Alexander Yersin, a student of Louis Pasteur and a revered figure in Vietnam. His wanderings in the area and his love for the area led him to establish the hill-station that is now Dalat

Day 1: Ho Chi Minh City arrival (Dinner, Guide)

Arriving at Tan Son Nhat airport in Ho Chi Minh City, you’ll be met and driven to your hotel. You’ll have time to relax after your journey before a Welcome dinner. In the evening, you’ll have tickets for a performance of traditional Water Puppetry (an art form unique to northern Vietnam, and a good, light-hearted introduction to its rural culture). You’ll spend the night in Ho Chi Minh City.

Option 1:

Day 2: Ho Chi Minh City - Nam Cat Tien National Park (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide)

After breakfast, your guide and driver will take you to Cat Tien National Park, about 150 kilometers or a 3 ½ hour drive. Then you will check into the park and have lunch at Cat Tien National Park Restaurant. In the afternoon, you will take a jungle trek (8 kilometers) to see the abundant fauna and flora in the Park or bird watching option if you’re a professional birder. The best bird watching guide in Southern Vietnam works at Cat Tien.

After dinner, an hour jeep night cruise into the forest for the wild life spotting. You’ll be equipped a good pair of binoculars to see monkeys, deer and other small mammals. You’ll stay overnight in the guesthouse in the centre of the park.

About 150km from Ho Chi Minh City, Nam Cat Tien is one of Vietnam’s largest protected areas – a complicated network of wetlands and tropical forest nearly 74,000 hectares in two sections bisected by a river, the larger about fifty or sixty kilometres across in both directions. Its bio-diversity is considerable with over fifty endangered species listed in the ‘Red Book’ including the Javan Rhinoceros, the Siamese Crocodile and the Indochina Tiger. Of particular interest is its large bird population – well over three hundred species have been identified so far.

There are several trails through the forest. Although they avoid the deeper areas that are the habitat of the rarer species, they are well designed and offer good opportunities to see a wide range of flora and fauna. The best time to visit Nam Cat Tien National Park is the dry season from December to late May.

Day 3: Cat Tien - Dalat (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

You have an early start for morning jungle trek out to Dong Nai river and back (10 kilometers). Check out of the park at noontime and depart by vehicle to Dalat. You can enjoy breathtaking scenery along the way with coffee and tea plantations, jungle blanketed valleys and pine forested hills (200 km or 4 hour drive). You will arrive at Dalat in the late afternoon and enjoy a good night's rest before next day's adventure. You will stay overnight at a hotel in Dalat.

Option 2:

Day 2: Ho Chi Minh City - Mekong Delta - Can Tho (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)

After escaping from Ho Chi Minh City’s urban sprawl, you’ll travel to My Tho. My Tho is located on the northern banks of the Mekong river and is the closest town in the Delta area to Ho Chi Minh City, about 2 hours drive away. In the center of the town close to the river there is a large market that sells just about anything that can be eaten or is used in day to day business. Around the My Tho area you will find a maze of small canals that can be explored on one of the many organized boat tours. Enjoy a boat ride on the Mekong River and visit an orchard on an island, with lunch en route. Continue driving to Can Tho. You will spend the night in Can Tho.

Day 3: Can Tho – Ho Chi Minh City - Dalat (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)

After breakfast, you will enjoy an early morning board for a 3-hour cruise to Cai Rang floating market - The Cai Rang Floating Market is one of several floating markets in the Mekong Delta. This market is where locals go to buy and sell a variety of fruits and vegetables from boats of all sizes. During the early morning market hours, larger sized boats anchor and create lanes that smaller boats weave in and out of. The waterway becomes a maze of hundreds of boats packed with mango, bananas, papaya, pineapple, and even smuggled goods like cigarettes. Sellers tie their goods to a tall pole so that buyers can see from a distance what they are selling. Other boats sell beer, wine and soft drinks to the merchants and the buyers. Your guide will take you around the market to experience river lifestyles of local people. On your return to Ho Chi Minh City, you’ll stop by the beautiful and ancient Vinh Trang Pagoda, 3 km from My Tho centre. After that, you will come back to Ho Chi Minh City airport to take the flight to Dalat. Upon arrival, you will be picked up and driven to your hotel. You will spend the night in Dalat.

Vinh Trang Pagoda is renowned for its architectural mixture of Chinese, Vietnamese and Angkor styles. Located on a 2 hectare block with 5 buildings, 2 ornamental yards, 178 pillars and many valuable statues (especially the 18 arahants, wooden statues carved in 1907), the pagoda will give you a deeper look into the relationship between Vietnamese art and Buddhist beliefs.

Day 4: Trekking around Dalat (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)

After a sustaining breakfast and a drive from Dalat to Tiger Falls, you’ll begin hiking down a succession of waterfalls. The first section of the trail takes you through steep-sided pine forest heading downhill to Lang Bian River. By the time you arrive, you’ll probably be ready for a rest break beside of the falls and if you wish, a cooling splash in the water. A further 1½ hour mainly following the river reveals human activities in the form of coffee plantations and suspension bridges. The land is farmed by the K’oho and their sub-groups, the Lat and the Chil people. Together, they make up the largest ethnic minority population in the area

From there, we hike uphill to a viewpoint offering a panorama of the valley below with lunch and a rest on the mountaintop. Then it’s downwards for a while before climbing upwards to the neighbouring peaks to a remote village accessible only by foot. It’s a good example of the privations and benefits of the lives of isolated rural minority peoples, their homes, work and culture.

After a hike through the rolling hills, another waterfall and several small market gardens you’ll see Tiger Falls in the distance. Then it’s a well-earned rest in the car as you return to Dalat!

Please note that this is a six-hour trek along a rugged trail demanding plenty of physical strength and stamina. However, the exceptional alpine scenery makes the trek well worth the effort. The area was first documented in 1893 by Dr. Alexander Yersin, a student of Louis Pasteur and a revered figure in Vietnam. His wanderings in the area and his love for the area led him to establish the hill-station that is now Dalat

Day 5: Dalat - Lak Lake (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide)

After breakfast, you will leave Dalat for Lak Lake. On the way, you will visit a silk worm farm, chop stick maker, and a coffee farm then you will have lunch at a local restaurant next to Krongno Bridge. Arrive in Jun village, a M'nong ethnic minority village next to Lak Lake by 2 pm then you cross Lak Lake by dugout canoe (pirogues), trek through area villages on the far side of the lake before returning by pirogues. You will sleep in long house.

Day 6: Lak Lake - Yok Don National Park (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide)

You will leave Lak Lake for Yok Don National Park in the morning after breakfast then stop at Drayling - the confluence of seven rivers - for sightseeing. In Yok Don Park, you will visit the old house of the elephant hunting king. You will have a change to ride on an Elephant in Yok Don. You will then drive to Buon Me Thuot in the afternoon and enjoy dinner. You will stay overnight in Buon Me Thuot.

Day 7: Nam Ka forest - Buon Triet Lake - Jatu (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide)

Today, there are some interesting things to do this morning. You will visit the Ethnology Museum where you can see many things come from the daily life of ethnic minorities in Vietnam such as: clothes, cultivated tools, musical instruments… After that, you will continue on to Khai Doan Pagoda, the last one of Nguyen Dynasty in the Central Highlands. The architecture of this pagoda is mixed between long house-on-stilts of Ede group and traditional house in Hue. Visit Buon Ma Thuot’s bustling regional market where you can buy some souvenirs before driving to Kon Tum in the afternoon. You will stay overnight at hotel in Kon Tum

Day 8: Kon Tum (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide)

After breakfast, you’ll drive to KonKoNang village. From there, you’ll have a gentle six-kilometre hike through the forest to the source of the DakBla River. Next, you’ll climb into an inflatable dingy to ‘raft’ down the DakBla River, stopping on the way for a riverside picnic lunch. After lunch, you’ll carry on down the river for a couple of hours, eventually returning to Konkotu for dinner and a well-earned night’s sleep in the village Rong house.

The Konkotu village, home to the Banar ethnic, where you’ll stay overnight, lies beside a wide river that’s good for bathing, although care must be taken as the current can be quite strong in places. The whole area is very beautiful and unspoilt, the village is very attractive, and the people are welcoming and friendly. You’ll sleep in a traditional Rong House (not one with a tin roof!).

Day 9: Konkotu Village Trekking (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide)

After breakfast, you will walk into the fresh air and morning light. You’ll enjoy a breakfast prepared by your hosts, before setting off for a drive to Kon Ray. During today’s trek, you’ll notice the abrupt change of scenery as your path moves from brush to dense forest before arriving at the remote village of Konbil, home to the Sodra people where you’ll stop for a picnic lunch. A further 3 hour trek will afford deeper insight into the daily lives of the local ethnic minorities before returning to reacquaint yourself with your new friends at Konkotu village, enjoying a dinner and sampling the local jar-wine. You’ll spend the night in the stilt house.

Day 10: Dakto - Plei Phun - Plei Ku (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide)

After breakfast, your guide and driver will take you to Dak To. You will walk across a suspension bridge to visit some villages of Se Dang minority then be back to Kon Tum and transport to Plei Ku. You will visit the Phun village, a traditional village of Jarai ethnic group with a typical cemetery in the Central Highlands and the tombs are decorated by wooden statues then you go on to T’nung Lake before checking in hotel in Plei Ku.

Day 11: Plei Ku - Quy Nhon (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)

Today you will drive to Quy Nhon via Highway No.19 with stopover at An Khe. You will have lunch on the way before be taken to the Life Resort, located on a secluded beach.

Quy Nhon ‘Life Resort’ is a exclusive four star resort hotel offering sixty-three rooms, all with excellent sea views over the bay. It has a small private beach and two uninhabited islands are within easy reach. Apart from the usual facilities, there is a spa and fitness area with an emphasis on natural body and mind treatments. The restaurant serves international and Vietnamese cuisine, and light lunches and sunset cocktails are available at the pool and lobby bars. 

Quy Nhon is a sleepy place off the regular tourist track. It’s an important historical site with several magnificent Cham towers. It was the home of the Tay Son brothers who led a peasant revolt in the 18th century and drove the Chinese invaders from Vietnam.

Day 12 to Day 13: Quy Nhon (Breakfast)

Your time will be your own!

Day 14: Quy Nhon – Ho Chi Minh City/ Hanoi (Breakfast, Driver Pickup)

In the morning, you’ll be free until your car arrives to take you to the airport for a flight to Ho Chi Minh City/Hanoi in good time to connect with your international departure flight.

Inclusive

  • Vietnam Visa invitation letter
  • Breakfast and accommodation sharing a twin or double room.
  • Pick-ups and transfers by private air-conditioned vehicle as specified in the itinerary above (Please note: pick-ups will be by a guide and driver or, where a guide is not necessary, a driver only. All unaccompanied drivers will be briefed in advance, and will carry a mobile phone to ensure smooth transfer arrangements)
  • Domestic flight tickets: Quy Nhon – Ho Chi Minh City/Hanoi, including domestic airport taxes.
  • Travel in an appropriate private air-conditioned vehicle with an experienced safe driver.
  • The services of experienced English-speaking guides as indicated in the itinerary (please note: guides will be on hand from pick-up until guests’ return to their hotel or reaching their destination). Free days or part days will not include the services of a guide unless requested and included in the final itinerary.
  • Where necessary, entry fees for all visits as mentioned in the programme.
  • VAT and other taxes

Exclusive

  • International flight tickets and airport tax.
  • Visas
  • Lunches and dinners, except as specified above.
  • Drinks, gratuities and personal expenses.
  • Insurance.
  • Surcharges for Peak seasons (if any)
  • Compulsory meal (if any)

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