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

Vietnam Holiday 11 Days

You will take a journey through the individual experiences. You will relax tense muscles, stimulate your circulation, encourage your body to detoxify and give your skin a renewed glow. At Spa in Hanoi, you will have a chance to take an experience the history culture of Vietnamese traditional Spa. The trip has much offer to you.

Hanoi – Showcasing sweeping boulevards, tree-fringed lakes and ancient pagodas, Hanoi is Asia’s most atmospheric capital. Just don’t expect a sleepy ambience. It’s an energetic city on the move, and Hanoi’s ambitious citizens are determined to make up for lost time.

Halong Bay – Imagine 2000 or more islands rising from the emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin and you have a vision of breathtaking beauty. Halong translates as ‘where the dragon descends into the sea’, and legend claims the islands of Halong Bay were created by a great dragon from the mountains. As it charged towards the coast, its flailing tail gouged out valleys and crevasses. When it finally plunged into the sea, the area filled with water, leaving only the pinnacles visible.

Hoi An town is a UNESCO World Heritage area. An ancient trading port, once the largest in Indochina, Hoi An was a meeting point for many cultures that left their mark in the different architectural features of its wooden buildings. The original traditional street pattern still exists, as does the quay that once welcomed ships from all over East Asia and beyond. Many remained there for months at a time, waiting for favourable trade winds to carry them home.

Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is Vietnam at its most dizzying: a high-octane city of commerce and culture that has driven the whole country forward with its pulsating energy. A chaotic whirl, the city breathes life and vitality into all who settle here – visitors cannot help but be hauled along for the ride.

Vietnam Holiday 11 Days

Day 1: Hanoi Arrival (Dinner, Guide pick up )

Arriving at Noi Bai airport in Hanoi, you’ll be met and driven to your hotel, the capital city of Vietnam, is an elegant city located on the banks of the Red River with tranquil Restored Sword Lake at its heart. North of the lake are the bustling streets of the Old Quarter, each street named after the trade that used to take place there. Much of the city was transformed by the French when it became a French protectorate in the 1880s and there are wide boulevards and large colonial buildings which are now home to government departments and foreign embassies. You will have time to relax before having 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. In the evening, you’ll have a ‘Welcome’ dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant in a restored French colonial building. You’ll spend the night in Hanoi.

Day 2: Cycling around Hanoi and Hanoi Spa Discovery (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide)

After breakfast, depart for an insider’s tour of the capital by a bicycle. You will start with a tour of the Long Bien Bridge (originally name Doumer Bridge) which was built in 1902 by Sir Gustave Eiffel. You will enjoy the fascinating structure to learn more on how this bridge helped shape Hanoi’s future.

From Long Bien, you will cycle to West Lake and one of the oldest Buddhist pagodas in Hanoi, Tran Quoc. The romantic Than Nhien causeway where the pagoda and temple are situated makes an excellent backdrop for photographs. You will then have lunch at Koto Restaurant. KOTO or ‘Know One Teach One’ is supported by Street Voices, an NGO dedicated to offer a brighter future to street and disadvantaged youth in Vietnam. The youth in the KOTO training program study hospitality, English and life skills and gain essential experience working at KOTO restaurant.

After that, you will continue to the Temple of Literature. In 1076 Quoc Tu Giam - Vietnam's first university, also referred to as Van Mieu, was established within a temple to educate Vietnam's royalty, mandarins and members of the elite. The university functioned for an incredible 700 years and its gardens and well-preserved architecture offer a fascinating glimpse into Vietnam’s past.

In the afternoon, you will enjoy Spa treatment at famous SF Spa - Inspired by the setting of the uniquely Vietnam's traditional courtyard house, SF Spa offers the ambiance of a tranquil retreat right in the midst of Vietnam's busy capital of Hanoi.

  • Steam Bath or Sauna or Jacuzzi - 15mins
  • Special Massage by Five Nectar - 60mins
  • Mandi Susu - 20mins
  • Face Care by Banana and Avocado - 50mins
  • Foot Massage - 30mins

In the evening, you will enjoy dinner in one of Hanoi’s best restaurants, Madame Hien which serves authentic Vietnamese cuisine in a traditional villa setting before cycling back to your hotel for stay overnight.

An immensely exotic, delightfully scented and delicious package for the face and body done from a blissful blend of five nectars which are banana, coconut milk, honey…and some kind of flower. It immediately gives skin a real hydration and help to preserve its glow and softness. Deeply relaxed, you will be on cloud nine.

Day 3: Hanoi - Halong Bay (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide)

After breakfast, you’ll leave for Ha Long Bay, one of the most spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Sites and the world’s largest marine limestone ‘karst’ landscape. There you’ll board a wooden junk that takes you first through Bai Tu Long Bay. You’ll continue your cruise to an island beach. Weather permitting, you’ll be able to swim or climb a hill (not a mountain!) for an overview of the bay’s remarkable seascape. You’ll then continue your cruise to visit Cua Van floating fishing village where you’ll have an opportunity explore the village by rowing bamboo boat. The cruise route is designed to avoid busy areas and includes a very quiet location for your overnight stay.

For your three-day Halong excursion, you'll board Indochina Sails, one of the best wooden boats on the bay. It’s a wooden junk modelled after the old Vietnamese court vessels with two barge sails, a wide transom and rectangular superstructure. The boat has 14-15 cabins in total, 11 Superior cabins in the lower deck and 4 Deluxe cabins in the upper deck, accommodating a maximum of 30 people, so you're likely to be joining other travellers for the cruise.

All cabins are air-conditioned and have windows overlooking the bay. In size, the Deluxe cabins are 14.5 m2 and Superior cabins are 13m2. Each cabin is furnished with two twin beds or a double queen size bed. The interior panelling, floor and furniture are of hardwood. Each cabin has a wardrobe, desk, pillows, white cotton sheets, and an en-suite toilet and shower with a good selection of high-quality toiletries. All meals, usually based on fresh seafood, will be provided on board. Kayaking is available upon request and at a surcharge.

Day 4: Ha Long Bay (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide on boat)

The Indochina Sails’ route is for two days only, starting from noon of the first day to noon of following day. If you book a three-day cruise on the bay, you’ll be transferred after breakfast to your day–trip boat with private crew to cruise to the bay’s most deserted areas with opportunities to swim from quiet beaches or kayak to visit water tunnels, fishing villages, or your choice of other locations. A personal chef will prepare and serve your lunch on board. In the late afternoon, you’ll return to the Indochina Sails boat for dinner and your overnight stay.

The smaller boat’s facilities are limited and at a lower standard compared to the Indochina Sails boat, but you’ll have its exclusive use to cruise around the further reaches of the bay well away from the tourist area. Pack lightly; you’ll want swimwear and a set of dry clothes, and, as there are different activities during the day, bring both shoes (such as trainers) and flip-flops or sandals.

Day 5: Ha Long - Hanoi – Danang – Hoi An (Brunch, Driver Pickup)

You’ll awake to the fresh air of the bay, and can take a swim or enjoy a Tai Chi session on the large sundeck (beginners welcome!) After a light breakfast of pastries and tea or coffee, you’ll dock to visit one of the most famous caves in the bay. You’ll return to the junk for brunch while cruising back to the main dock and around noon you’ll leave for Hanoi airport to take the short flight to Danang. When you arrive, you will be picked up and transferred to Hoi An where you will stay overnight.

Day 6: Walking and Photographing Hoi An (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)

In the morning, you will enjoy a walking tour with first stop is the bustling fish and vegetable market and then you will go through the Old Quarters to see the town's landmarks of Japanese Covered Bridge, ancient Assembly Hall, Phuc Kien Temple. After that, you will get on the boat to cruise along the river to enjoy the scenery along the Thu Bon River and the general view of Hoi An Ancient Town then you will the Kim Bong pottery and carpentry villages to learn the traditional way of making clay products and fishing boat building. Hoi An is well known for souvenir shopping with great prices and also famous for its large number of tailor shops, so if you want to get a cloth tailor made to measure, this is the time to do it. You will spend the night in Hoi An.

Day 7: Hoi An free (Breakfast)

Design your day with your own Spa menu at hotel or strolling in the town, lazing on the beach, or whatever takes your fancy. You’ll spend the night in Hoi An.

Alternative for Day 7: Hoi An – From Farmer to Fisherman Tour (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)

The day starts with cycling the narrow roads through the countryside, passing by rice paddy fields, water buffalos, bamboo bridges and local farmers on their daily work. You’ll then board a boat to the mouth of the Thu Bon estuary where the river meets the Cua Dai Sea and cruise along the coastline observing the lives of the local fishermen.

After joining the fisherman to try your hand at catching fish in a traditional ‘Thung Chai’ basket boat, you will meander through the water palm coconut canal. During the American War, Viet Cong soldiers made use of this area as a highly effective hiding place from enemy attacks through their long struggle. Following an insightful visit to a local fishing village, you’ll be free to relax and enjoy a fresh seafood lunch before cycling back to your hotel.

Thung Chai Basket boats, similar in style to coracles in use throughout the ancient world, are widely used throughout Central Vietnam, and are highly suited to the local terrain and lifestyles of local fishermen due to their relative light weight and portability, often doubling as a carrier for various handy items. Circular and constructed of bamboo and tarred for waterproofing, these small boats can typically carry up to five people, and represent a fun-filled opportunity to touch the authentic rural soul of Vietnam. As a precaution, life jackets are provided for your safety during this excursion.

Day 8: Hoi An – Ho Chi Minh City (Breakfast, Guide)

You will be free after breakfast until the driver arrives to take you to the airport for the flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Arriving at Tan Son Nhat airport in Ho Chi Minh City, you’ll be met and driven to your hotel. In the afternoon, you will check-in L'Apothiquaire Spa & Retreat with welcome herbal tea, it is located in a unique 1950 colonial French mansion, surrounded by lush gardens with climbing vines, ferns and water fountains.  Shaded by climbing bougainvillea and an old jackfruit tree, a bean shaped swimming pool is adorned mosaic tiles.  Decorated with tasteful antiques discreetly throughout the spa, the décor is traditional yet trendy using wooden furniture that resembles a 17th century Apothecary shop and start your indulgence journey. You will enjoy the Couple Delight Package for 4 hours in a private suite for 2. You will enjoy the foot pressure treatment and relaxing your body and facial treatments. 3 course meal and enjoy Sensual Jacuzzi Soak. After that, you will come back to your hotel.

Day 9: Ho Chi Minh City by Scooter (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)

There are many ways to explore the bustling city of Ho Chi Minh City, however none is as exhilarating as on the back of a Scooter! Your professional drivers will drive you around Ho Chi Minh City, while you taking in the sites. Enjoy a local lunch before you depart on your motorbike tour.

You will head to the monument of Thich Quang Duc, a Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist monk who burned himself to death on June 11, 1963 to protest against the persecution of Buddhists by South Vietnam’s Ngo Dinh Diem administration. You will then take a quick stop at the colorful Ho Thi Ky flower market before riding to the Funeral Home to get to know about Vietnamese funeral ceremonies & customs.

After that, you will roll through Chinatown to Nhi Phu temple built in the end of 17th century by Chinese immigrants from Fukkien Province. Although the exact construction date is unknown, an inscription on the pagoda's ancient bell dates the pagoda to pre-1765. Nhi Phu Temple is built in a “Khẩu” (gate) architectural style with an open yard in the center. Its roof is covered with tubular tiles lined with bas-relief mosaics made from broken ceramics, depicting the eight immortals of Taoism including apricot trees, orchids, bamboo and  of course dragons and phoenix.

You will then continue with a short walk through the alley full of tailor’s supplies before being back to Nhi Phu temple to return to district one by bike. On the way, you will stop at a Chinese Medicine shops for an explanation about “Thuốc Bắc - medicine from herbs” or ”Thuốc tàu – medicine from China.”

Leaving Chinatown, you will drive through the tunnel to District 2 where you will see downtown Saigon from a different perspective and you will have a chance to see a developing Ho Chi Minh City.

You will have a change to visit a local market before heading back to District 1 for a twin set of neighboring landmarks: the Post Office, noting the architecture and in particular the map of Saigon that shows where this modern city has come from, followed by Cathedral of Notre Dame.

Moving then to the remarkable Reunification Palace and the previous CIA Office before a drive down Dong Khoi Street (it means “people’s revolution”). Pass by the historic Opera House (now the Municipal Theatre). You may recognize the square from the film based on Phil Noyce’s “The Quiet American”.

Pass HCM City People’s Committee (formerly Hôtel de Ville) which is one of the most photographed buildings in Vietnam - notable for its gardens, ornate facade and elegant interior lit with crystal chandeliers. End the tour at your hotel.

In the afternoon, take your step off the beaten track and take a stroll to the oldest quarter of the city (car at your disposal should you need it). Explore Saigon’s well-kept secret - Antiques Street (Le Cong Kieu), where genuine antiques are mixed in with genuine fakes: Aladdin oil lamps, carved wooden chests, Marelli copper fans, opium pipes, abacuses, etc. You can also find military cast-offs from the Vietnam War, and if you look hard enough, relics from the French Indochina era. Follow a typical street to reach the Beaux-Arts Museum, a superb neo-colonial building home to various modern arts. Explore the art galleries surrounding the museum, where local artists gladly display their talent. You will spend the night in Ho Chi Minh City.

Day 10: Ho Chi Minh City - Vinh Long -Can Tho (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)

After escaping from Ho Chi Minh City’s urban sprawl, you’ll travel to Cai Be where a Mekong River cruise will take you to visit the fruit orchards, a traditional family-run brick kiln, and some long established cottage industries. Later, a rowing boat will carry you through the maze of the Mekong Delta’s myriad channels to connect with the real life of the local people, visiting a local house and listening to live music performed by local artists. You’ll then drive deeper into the Mekong Delta to Can Tho. Upon arrival you’ll call in at the Munir Ansay – an ancient Khmer style pagoda renowned for its unique structural decorations. You’ll then continue to your hotel in Can Tho where you’ll spend the night.

Munir Ansay Pagoda has many statues and pillars with sophisticated decoration; the main gate was built in the shape of the towers illustrative of Angkor architecture.

Day 11: Can Tho - Ho Chi Minh City Departure (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)

After breakfast and a boat cruise, you’ll arrive at Cai Rang floating market on the Mekong Delta. Both the journey and the market provide insights into the rural Mekong Delta lifestyle.  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.  You’ll arrive in Ho Chi Minh City airport in the late then take the departure flight to home.

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.

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: Hanoi – Danang, Danang - Ho Chi Minh City, including domestic airport taxes.
  • Boat cruises as specified in the programme. All Ha Long Bay boats will be fully licensed and comply with current safety regulations.
  • 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.
  • Lunches and dinners (as specified in the itinerary) in the best local restaurants and full board on the boat in Ha Long Bay.
  • 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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