RR19450
With great food, lush scenery & lots of warm, friendly locals, the whole family will fall in love with Vietnam. Sail beautiful Halong Bay. Delight at water puppets in Hanoi. Learn about rich emperors in Hue. Get a new outfit tailor-made in Hoi An. Maybe even take a dip in the Vietnam East Sea. With so much to share & do together, you'll experience the culture, flavours, & highlights of a Vietnamese adventure your family will always remember.
DETAILS
Starting fromR19 450
Package ValiditySelected departure dates: APR 2017 - DEC 2017
Duration13 days
DestinationVietnam
Starts inHanoi
Ends inHo Chi Minh

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- 6 nights hotel accommodation
- 1 night overnight boat accommodation
- 1 night overnight sleeper train accommodation
- Selected breakfasts, lunch & dinners
- Temple of Literature, Water puppet show, Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum & Museum, Koto restaurant lunch & museum of Ethnology in Hanoi
- Overnight boat cruise in Halong Bay
- Imperial citadel, Royal tomb & Perfume River cruise in Hue
- Orientation walk & Ancient town walk & entrance ticket in Hoi An
- Children Hope in Action visit
- Touring & transport by boat, minibus, overnight sleeper train, plane & private bus

 

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Hanoi

Xin chao! Welcome to Vietnam. Hanoi is famous for its beautiful lakes, shaded boulevards, verdant public parks & its thriving Old Quarter. The latter is a veritable architectural museum piece, with blocks of ochre buildings retaining the air of a 1930s provincial French town. You will be transferred from the airport to your hotel, & your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Afterwards, perhaps enjoy some dinner with your family & fellow travellers (this is optional).

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Hanoi

Embark on a full-city tour of town. You will visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum & Museum, & the tranquil Temple of Literature – an oasis of calm in the heart of town. Also head to the Museum of Ethnology to learn more about the diverse heritage of Vietnam. Enjoy some lunch at KOTO restaurant, an excellent establishment & longtime friend of Intrepid which lives by the philosophy of 'know one, teach one'. It supports the underprivileged local youth by giving them a chance at making a career in the hospitality industry. In the evening, sit down to a traditional water puppet performance. This northern tradition, dating back nearly a thousand years, is performed alongside traditional Vietnamese music that employs drums, wooden bells, horns & bamboo flutes.

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Halong Bay

Travel by minibus to the spectacular World Heritage-listed site of Halong Bay (approximately 4 hours). The bay is a breathtaking secluded harbour, with some 2,000 limestone islands jutting out of the waters of the Bac Bo Gulf. Board your private boat & cruise among the dramatic limestone peaks. There's an opportunity to swim in the famous Vietnam East Sea & explore caves filled with stunning stalactites & stalagmites. Spend a peaceful night on-board, beneath a sky alive with stars. Your sailing junk has twin-share cabins that have air-conditioning & private facilities. There's also a dining room & bar.

Notes: Due to recent, unforeseen changes by local authorities, many boats are no longer permitted to stay overnight on the bay. This has resulted in a boat shortage. To ensure Intrepid travellers are all accommodated, a larger boat, usually with 12 cabins, may be used, & passengers may be split across multiple boats. An Intrepid group leader will be present on each boat, & the route & on-board inclusions will remain the same.

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Hue

Return to Hanoi by bus (approximately 3.5 hours). From there you will board an overnight train bound for Hue. As the former imperial capital of Vietnam, Hue holds the treasures of Vietnam's royal past. It's a curious mix of bustling streets & tranquil settings. Although conditions are basic on your train journey, overnight trains are a classic South East Asian experience & the best way to travel long distances with the locals. Lie back & enjoy the ride! Most trains have a dining carriage serving simple food, but it's a great idea to stock up on fresh bread, cheese & fruit before you head off.

Notes: Sleeper trains typically have four-berth compartments (occasionally six-berth, depending on seasonal variations) which have bench seats that convert into sleeping bunks. A sheet, pillow & blanket are provided, although some travellers prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. On occasion, passengers of different genders will be required to share a compartment & there will be occasions where you'll be sharing with local travellers or travellers who are not part of your group.

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Hue

Enjoy a dragon boat cruise along the Perfume River. The trip includes a visit to Thien Mu Pagoda, which is considered by many to be the unofficial symbol of Hue. It's an active Buddhist monastery originating in 1601. One of the most poignant displays here is a car belonging to a former monk who, in 1963, drove to Saigon & set himself alight to protest against the treatment of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese regime. You will visit one of the royal tombs, that of Emperor Tu Duc, & see the central lake set amid a grove of frangipani & pine trees. There is also the chance to visit the tomb of Minh Mang. Its lush forest backdrop & impressive architecture make it perhaps the most majestic of all the royal tombs.

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Hue

Delve further into the fascinating former capital today. You will visit the Imperial Citadel, which is the best-preserved remnant of a large citidel & Royal centre that once existed on this fortified site. The unique fortifications are fascinating, even though much of this place has sadly been destroyed by war. The foliage-covered ruins make for an interesting couple of hours of exploring. You will Forbidden Purple City here, which was almost totally wiped out during the Tet Offensive in 1968. The gaping holes left by bombs give an idea of the shocking destruction wreaked upon the country during the war.

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Hoi An

Travelling by bus, head south through coastal rice paddies, then traverse the spectacular Hai Van Pass along the mountains en route to Hoi An (approximately 4 hours). Recently declared a World Heritage site, Hoi An is beautifully preserved & exudes a tranquil atmosphere. It's perfect for strolling around at a leisurely pace, with many beautiful Japanese houses & Chinese temples lining the narrow lanes. Parts of Hoi An look exactly as they did more than a century ago. It's also a shopping mecca – browse local markets & shops for original paintings, handcrafted woodwork, ceramics, embroidery & lanterns. Hoi An has also become famous for its tailoring, with a great variety of fabrics & tailors to choose from.

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Hoi An

In the morning, visit CHIA (Children's Hope in Action Centre) to learn more about its cause & perhaps interact with the local kids. This is a community-based project supported by the Intrepid Foundation. For lunch you will enjoy a picnic on the beach, which is quite close to town. In the afternoon, enjoy some free time. You're sure to be impressed by the Japanese Covered Bridge which, after many additional layers & changes over the years, retains its beautiful original aesthetic. It's also built very sturdily, to protect it from earthquakes.

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Hoi An

Enjoy further free time in this beautiful old town. Perhaps take up a cooking class & learn the secrets of preparing local specialties like cao lau – dark pork broth with thick yellow noodles, sliced pork, bean sprouts, green vegetables & croutons. Street food tours can also be arranged. Alternatively, hire some bikes & take the family out on a cycling trip into the gorgeous surrounding countryside. Another great activity which kids will enjoy is a bamboo basket ride down the waterways of the jungle. For more optional day- & half-day trips, chat to your leader.

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Ho Chi Minh City/Mekong Delta

Take a short flight to the economic hub of Ho Chi Minh City (approximately 1 hour). Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is characterised by a vast array of sights & sounds – a fascinating blend of old & new, East & West. Check out Ben Thanh Market & experience a delicious local lunch of street food, & enjoy an orientation walk. Afterwards, you're free to explore the city on your own. Your leader will have plenty of interesting & fun ideas for you & the kids. Consider scooting off on cyclos to Cholon, the Chinatown area of Ho Chi Minh City, for a bit of temple-hopping. Or visit the Vietnamese version of a department store for some serious shopping.

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Mekong Delta
Head down to the Mekong Delta & visit unexplored Ben Tre where coconut is everything & anything. The fertile delta is famous for its abundant harvests of tropical fruits & flowers. On arrival, board your private boat & cruise along the maze of waterways to visit some local cottage industries. This is a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at a different part of the local economy. Then head to your overnight homestay by the water. Be invited into a family home for a true local experience – a chance to see daily life from the inside. You'll be sleeping on simple camp beds in dorm-style rooms, with all meals included. Bedding & mosquito nets are provided.

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Ho Chi Minh

Life in the delta starts with the sun, so embrace the day early. You will visit a local market & soya bean workshop before heading back to Ho Chi Minh City for one more night. You should arrive in the afternoon, which will give you time for a final exploration of the city. On Day 13 your trip comes to an end, & you are free to leave at any time. For those who have booked an airport transfer, the leader will confirm your departure time & onward flight details.


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