Mr. Lee Hudson is a retired USAF (1956 – 1976) and served in Vietnam at Pleiku 1967 – 1968. He requested a Vietnam military tour to Pleiku with a visit to the minority villages and old Army base. You can customize your own military tours for veterans, by contacting us.
Day 1: Hanoi Arrival (Dinner, Guide pickup)
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 enjoy a water puppet show, an art form in which puppets are suspended over water, directed by puppet masters who must sit semi-submerged for hours at a time. The tradition of water puppetry is at least 1,000 years old, originating with peasants in the Red River Delta of the north. The puppets, which the French used to call “the souls of the Vietnamese rice fields,” are made of the water-resistant wood of the fig tree and depict villagers, farm animals, dragons, and more.
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: Hanoi - Halong Bay (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide)
After breakfast, you will be transferred to Halong Bay. On the way, you will go through the scenic countryside. The wondrous Halong Bay is truly one of Vietnam’s most impressive scenic sights. Heading out of the town then you embark on a boat for an exploration of the legendary Halong Bay. This exciting cruise will provide you a fantastic view of the picturesque scenery blending with the sky and some 3,000 limestone islands rising amazingly from the clear and emerald water. The limestone karsts formations are littered with beaches, grottoes and beautiful caves. Along the way you will anchor for a leisurely swim in a secluded cove and an enjoyable visit to one of the many hidden grottoes beneath towering cliffs. You will stay overnight on the Junk Cruise
Day 3: Halong Bay – Hanoi - Hue (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)
Greet the day with a morning Tai Chi exercise with an opportunity to view the sunrise over the bay. After breakfast, you will visit beautiful limestone grotto then back to the boat for a final glimpse of the Halong Bay while cruising back to the dock. Your driver will be waiting for you at the pier and drive you back to Hanoi airport to catch the flight to Hue. When arrival, your guide will pick you up then take you to your hotel to check in. This quiet city is widely known for the magnificent architecture of its citadels, palaces, royal tombs, pagodas and temples built under the Nguyen Dynasty. In the evening, you will make your own exploration to see Hue city by night. Overnight at hotel in Hue
Day 4: Hue (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Your morning will begin with a cruise along the Perfume River to visit to the Thien Mu Pagoda which also gives you a taste of the tranquil countryside. From there, you’ll drive to the Royal Tombs of Emperor Minh Mang. In the afternoon, your guide will take you to visit the Emperor Khai Dinh. After that, you’ll return to Hue to visit one of city’s ‘garden houses’ and then return to your hotel for refreshment.
In the evening, you’ll sit down for dinner in the pleasant surroundings and a comfortable atmosphere of another of the garden houses. The owner will prepare and serve a traditional meal based on the distinctive characteristics of classic Hue cuisine. You’ll spend the night in Hue.
Each Royal mausoleum reflects the personality of the Emperor it commemorates. The most majestic is that of Emperor Minh Mang, a staunch follower of Confucianism with many wives, concubines and a small army of children. Planned by the Emperor and built shortly after his death in formal Chinese style, it’s opulent and exotic, and a good example of classic Sino-Vietnamese architecture.
The tomb of Emperor Khai Dinh is an unprepossessing concrete construction on the side of a wide valley. Its interest lies in the uneasy combination of Vietnamese and European features, the use of fragments of ceramics and glass for decoration, and the striking views from the courtyard in front of the mausoleum.
The garden houses are a unique feature of Hue. The houses are traditional, privately owned, and set in attractive formal gardens. Some have connections with the old Royal Imperial Court. Hue traditional architecture has long had close associations with the natural environment. The garden houses reflect this association. Each is highly individual - house and garden, people and scenery, plants, clouds and water co-exist and blend with each other in a harmonious context. The narrow streets and abundant flora give the garden house area a country village feeling.
Alternative for Day 4: Hue Thuy Bieu Ecovillage (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide)
After breakfast, you will start the day with a leisurely boat trip on the poetic Perfume River. You will stop at Dong Ba Market to buy ingredients for the evening cooking class. En route, you will visit Thanh Tien village where paper flower are produced, Van Mieu Temple and Thien Mu Pagoda also known as “Heavenly Lady Pagoda”, the symbol of Hue city. You will then continue the cruise toward Thuy Bieu ecovillage, an ancient village situated on the bank of the Perfume River. The afternoon is reserved for cycling through the peaceful village, visiting several communal houses, ancient temples and the highlight: the garden house, a typical and unique feature of Hue. Soaking your feet in medicinal herb water followed by an excellent blind massage will refresh them after a day of sightseeing. In the evening you will take part in a cooking class. You will have a chance to prepare a typical Vietnamese meal for dinner with the instructions from our chef. Embark an elegant junk for a relaxed night on the river before transferred back to your hotel. You will spend the night in Hue.
Day 5: Hue - Danang - Hoi An (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)
After breakfast, you will drive to Hoi An, crossing Hai Van Pass where you will have magnificent view of the stunning long sandy beaches and stop at Lang Co to have a short break. When you arrive in Danang city, you will visit the fascinating Cham Museum and the Marble Mountains en route to charming Hoi An. Known as Faifo to early Western traders, Hoi An was one of South East Asia's major international ports and today it still retains that special old-world feel. Enjoy a walking tour through the Old Quarters to see the town's landmarks of Japanese Covered Bridge, ancient Assembly Hall, Phuc Kien Temple and then you will take a river trip to enjoy the scenery along the Thu Bon River and the general view of Hoi An Ancient Town. Visit ceramic village of Thanh Ha, carpentry village of Kim Bong and Dai Chiem Estuary. Hoi An is also famous for its large number of tailor shops, so if you want to have a new wardrobe made up, this is the time to do it. You will stay overnight in Hoi An.
Day 6: Hoi An - My Son - Hoi An (Breakfast, Guide)
After breakfast, you’ll be driven to the World Heritage ‘My Son Sanctuary’. Your guide will show you the remains of the remarkable towers constructed by the Cham builders, many centuries ago - their origins and purpose have yet to be fully explained. In the afternoon, you’ll return to your hotel. When you return, the rest of the day will be free. You’ll spend the night in Hoi An.
The Cham craftsmen built a network of intricately-worked red brick columns heavily incised with figures and motifs as well as many striking statues. Their towers were badly bombed in the American war, but are still impressive, as is its remote valley setting. The complex is set in a quiet, richly forested area bisected by a clear stream. However, the tree cover is not complete and the valley acts as suntrap, so good sun protection is important.
Day 7: Hoi An – Danang – Pleiku (Breakfast, Guide, Guide)
Your morning will be free until your car and driver arrives to take you to the airport for your noon flight to Pleiku (Gia Lai Province). You will have time to visit the former airbase in Pleiku, home of the Fourth Infancy Division. You’ll spend the night in Pleiku.
Day 8: Pleiku (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)
After breakfast, you’ll head for Ham Rong Mountain to visit the site of Camp Enari, the former Headquarters of the 4th US Infantry Division, and stop by Catecka Plantation, the former operational area of the 4th Division. Then, you’ll visit Camp Pleime, a former US Special Forces outpost, and take in the view of Ia Drang Valley from afar. Your overnight accommodation will be in Pleiku.
Day 9: Pleiku – Ho Chi Minh City (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)
In the morning, you’ll visit four Banah ethnic minority villages around. After lunch, you’ll be free until your driver will arrive to take an afternoon flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Your overnight will be in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 10: Ho Chi Minh City Tour – Cu Chi Tunnels. (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)
After breakfast, your guide will take you to discover the city. Firstly, you will visit the War Remnants Museum. You will learn about Vietnam’s recent history at Reunification Palace then visit the nearby neo-Romanesque Notre Dame Cathedral and the City's Centre Post Office before passing by the ornate Opera Theatre and the City Hall. You will end up at the Ben Thanh Market, where vendors display a vast array of goods and handicrafts, appealing to every taste.
After lunch, you leave Ho Chi Minh City on an afternoon excursion for Cu Chi, situated 70km from Saigon. The Cu Chi Tunnel system was created around 1948 to assist the Viet Minh in their combat against French occupiers. Construction and enlargement continued during American bombings and they were turned into an underground city with living areas, kitchens, storage, weapon factories and field hospitals. The Cu Chi Tunnels could house up to 10,000 people who lived underground for years, getting married and raising children. During the Vietnam American War the entire area of Cu Chi was designated as a fire free zone yet was heavily bombarded. Since 1988, two sections of the tunnels are open for visitors to crawl through and better understand the war. You will spend the night in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 11: Ho Chi Minh City – Vinh Long – Cai Be – Can Tho (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)
After breakfast, you will start the trip at 07:30 am and head for Vinh Long province. After boarding the beautiful traditional boat, you will have five hour to cruise along the river. It will take you through Vietnam’s most productive agricultural area. You will enjoy the beautiful landscapes of coconut palms, sugar-cane groves and fruit orchards from the vessel as you head to the Cai Be floating market. Here you can cruise through the colourful barges full of fruits and vegetables and then proceed to local home factories such as rice paste making, rice pop corn, coco candies, and longans drying processing. The trip continues along the Mekong canals to Dong Hoa Hiep Island located between Vinh Long and Cai Be. Along the way you will find the local people engaged in their daily tasks and see brightly colored Khemer pagodas. Stops on the way can be made upon request for particular visits or photos making. These evergreen islands among the Mekong River still remain unknown to many people. After that, you will arrive at La Residence de Phu An resort where you will be welcomed and served Vietnamese culinary delights. You will then walk along a narrow canal to an air-conditioned vehicle that will transport you to Can Tho where you will stay overnight.
Day 12: Can Tho - Ho Chi Minh City (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 in the late afternoon with time to freshen up in your hotel before the evening.
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 13: Ho Chi Minh City Departure (Breakfast, Guide)
Your time will be your own until your private car and driver arrives to take you to Tan Son Nhat airport for your departure flight.
- Free Vietnam Visa invitation letter.
- Private door-to-door pick-up & drop-off services.
- Travel in an appropriate private air-conditioned vehicle with an experienced safe driver.
- Breakfast and accommodation sharing a twin or double room.
- Domestic flight tickets: Hanoi – Hue, Danang – Pleiku, Pleiku - Ho Chi Minh City, including domestic airport taxes.
- The services of experienced English-speaking guides as indicated in the itinerary
- Boat cruises as specified in the programme. All Ha Long Bay boats will be fully licensed and comply with current safety regulations.
- Lunches and dinners (as specified in the itinerary) in the best local restaurants and full board on the boat in Ha Long Bay.
- All sightseeing tickets.
- VAT and other taxes
- 24/7 hotline support guaranteed
- International flight tickets and airport tax.
- Lunches and dinners, except as specified above.
- Drinks, gratuities and personal expenses.
- Travel insurance
- Surcharges for Peak seasons (if any)
- Vietnam visa stamp fee
- Other services not mentioned above.
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