Vietnam Culture Tour
Sapa (Sa Pa) is an old French hill station town in the Hoang Lien Mountains of northwestern Vietnam. Sapa countryside, terraced with rice fields and surrounding hills are home to a range of minorities, including Hmong, Dao, Giay, Pho, Lu and Tay. Sapa town serves as an ideal base for trekking among the tribes and to the 3,143m-tall, Phang Xi Pang (Fansipan) peak, also accessed by a cable car.
Begin in Hanoi, the cultural heart of Vietnam. Sapa, in the north is home to a great diversity of minority peoples. Trek through rice terraced fields and meet colourfully clad people from Hmong tribe. In Hanoi, cycle on the banks of the Red River, and cruise on Halong Bay to see the karst mountain landscapes. Hoi An in Central Vietnam is home to an ancient Cham culture with influence from Chinese and Vietnamese. Finish tour in Saigon.
TRAVEL UNTAMED ON THIS 12-DAY VIETNAM CULTURE TOUR…
And, explore the world heritage site of Hoi An and discover Cu Chi tunnels.
The largest of the three countries of the Indochina Peninsula, Vietnam is blessed with a ravishing coastline, emerald-green mountains, national parks, dynamic cities and one of the world’s best cuisines.
From the limestone peaks of Halong Bay, the French boulevards of the capital Hanoi, to the charming cultural town of Hoi An, you'll find cultural diversity and natural wonders around each and every corner. This is an outrageously fun country to explore where the locals love a laugh (and a drink) and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to socialise with them and hear their tales.
Vietnam stretches almost 1,500 miles from the Mekong Delta in the south to the red river delta and the highlands bordering China in the north. It covers a wide range of climates, countryside and ethnic groups. This 12-day tour comprehensive tour visits the cultural highlights of Vietnam.
Your private guided tour begins in Hanoi, the Paris of the Orient, with city tour and a cyclo tour of the fascinating Old Quarter. Venture north by train to Sapa, a charming mountain town, surrounded by picturesque mountains and cascading rice terraces. The scenery is spectacular. The valleys around Sapa are home to a host of hill-tribe people and the best place to meet them is to visit the local markets.
Continue to Central Vietnam and visit the ancient merchant town of Hoi An – a UNESCO world heritage site. Explore the nearby villages, walk through vegetable gardens and meet farmers going about their daily working routines. The tour concludes in the metropolis of Saigon (HCM), the city of bright lights. Here we discover the city highlights and Cu Chi tunnels.
This tour combines nicely with touring elsewhere in Southeast Asia e.g. Cambodia, Vietnam & Thailand. Throughout your tour, AwimAway will arrange for you to experience the best the country has to offer. Please let us know your interests and we will be happy to tailormake your itinerary.
Vietnam Tour & Sapa This private tour begins in Hanoi and then ventures north to Sapa, a charming mountain town. Explore the world heritage site of Hoi An and discover Cu Chi tunnels.
Hanoi, Sapa, Hoi An, Saigon
(12 Days. Travel Any Day)
Day 1 – Arrive
Hanoi Meet and greet on arrival. After a warm reception, our representative will escort you to your hotel.
This evening, attend the theatre where the ancient and unique art form of water puppetry is performed. The puppets, 40 cms high and attached to a long bamboo pole, are dipped in and out of the water by a person behind a rattan curtain. But how to manipulate these puppets is usually a family-held secret passed down through generations. Try to unravel the mystery if you can.
Sofitel Legend Metropole – Premium Room (Nil)
Day 2 – Train
Sapa Explore Hanoi with your private guide and visit Ba Dinh Square, where silent sentries guard the marble and granite mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh. Nearby visit the Ho Chi Minh Museum, an extraordinary tribute in abstract form to the life of the 'father of the country'. See also the One Pillar Pagoda, and hear the legend about how it was constructed as a memorial to the love of an emperor in the 11th century. Continue to the Temple of Literature, built in 1070 and now Vietnam's first university. In the evening take a train to Sapa.
Overnight on the train – Superior Cabin – Sharing 4 berths/cabin (B)
Day 3 – Tour
Sapa On arrival at Lao Cai, drive to Sapa, home to a great diversity of minority peoples. While there, tour lively markets, cruise along a scenic river, take a short hike through a bamboo forest to unspoilt villages and explore spectacular mountains covered with terraced rice fields.
Victoria Resort & Spa – Superior Room (B, L)
Day 4 – Train
Hanoi Sapa has beautiful countryside and your private guide will take you to explore the Muong Hoa valley, one of the most beautiful valleys in northwest Vietnam. Descending into the valley by foot you will see the largest terraced rice paddy fields in the area. Visit orchid gardens and villages to see the different traditions and costumes of the the minority people who live there.
In the evening take the train to Hanoi.
Overnight on the train – Superior Cabin – Sharing 4 berths/cabin (B, L)
Day 5 – Tour
Hanoi Arrive in the early morning and after refreshments at the hotel spend the day biking and/or hiking through rural villages outside the city. Cycling on the banks of the Red River on a quiet dyke road you’ll pass through flower and vegetable gardens, village lanes and alongside lotus lakes to gain a whole new view of Vietnam’s capital city. After lunch we will take in lotus gardens as we ride along the water’s edge to Tran Quoc, one of the most revered Buddhist pagodas in Vietnam, before returning to our hotel.
Sofitel Legend Metropole – Premium Room (B)
Day 6 – Cruise
Halong Bay Take a private transfer to Halong Bay and check in on board the luxurious M/V “Emeraude” for an overnight cruise. Few places anywhere rival the extreme natural beauty and serenity of Vietnam's Halong Bay. A noted Vietnamese poet and scholar described it as a "rock wonder in the sky". In modern times, it has been a backdrop for countless movies including the Oscar-winning French epic, Indochine. It is now universally acknowledged as an unmissable corner of Vietnam.
The cruise commences with and a lavish buffet lunch. Then weather permitting, visit the Sung Sot Cave (Cave of Surprises). Watch a Vietnamese cuisine demonstration will take place on the sundeck and attend a happy hour with complimentary canapés followed by an evening movie show. A scrumptious International buffet dinner is served at the restaurant.
Onboard M/V Emeraude – Superior Cabin (B, L, D)
Day 7 – Transfer
Hanoi Wake up at sunrise and practice Tai Chi on the sun deck with one of the instructors or spend your morning swimming in the clear waters of the Halong Bay. After an energizing western breakfast, check out from M/V Emeraude and return to Hanoi. Rest of the day at leisure.
Sofitel Legend Metropole – Premium Room (B)
Day 8 – Transfer & Explore
Hoi An Transfer to the airport for your flight to Danang. On arrival meet your private guide and tour the Cham sculpture museum, which houses the largest and most impressive collection of Cham artefacts anywhere in the world, dating from the 4th to the 14th centuries. The Chams are descendants of the great kingdom of Champa and are known for their beautiful textiles and patterns.
Nam Hai Resort – One Bedroom Villa (B)
Day 9 – Tour
Hoi An Hoi An is a UNESCO-listed riverfront town with colourful historic homes, charming cafes and bustling silk and fish markets. Take a leisurely bicycle ride to Tra Que village along picturesque country roads to visit a farm and learn about Vietnamese food and ingredients. Alternatively, explore the beautiful back streets and learn about the history of Hoi An. In the evening enjoy a sunset cruise on the river.
Nam Hai Resort – One Bedroom Villa (B)
Day 10 – Transfer
Saigon After a leisurely breakfast, take a transfer to the airport for your flight to Saigon. On arrival you will meet our representative who will escort you to your hotel. Rest of the day at leisure.
Park Hyatt Hotel – Park Room (B)
Day 11 – Tour
Saigon Your private tour starts with a drive to Cu Chi (70 km), an amazing complex of underground tunnels built first as a defence against the French and later expanded during the American (Vietnam) war. It’s a thrilling experience to crawl through this amazing system and later to try your shooting skills on original AK47s and other guns from past war times (subject to a surcharge).
Return to Saigon and enjoy an afternoon tour of the city. After lunch (own account), take a tour accompanied by your private guide to visit the former Presidential Palace, which is now preserved as a museum, including the underground communications bunkers, headquarters for the Saigon Government during the Vietnam War. Continue to Notre Dame, an impressive neo-Romanesque cathedral in the centre of city, and Dong Khoi street, formerly the centre of haute couture in Saigon, when it was known as Rue Catinat.
Park Hyatt Hotel – Park Room (B)
Day 12 – Depart
Saigon Transfer to the airport for your onward flight.
The true price is customised based on final choice of hotels, travel dates, and other custom preferences. All prices exclude international flights.
Price Includes: hotels, airport transfers and transportation within the country, unique experiences guided by local experts and 24X7 support during your trip.
Make this your holiday
When to go The high season in Vietnam is from November to March. Prices peak over the Christmas and New Year period, and if you don’t fancy crowds then it is best to avoid this busy time. During this period it is warm and dry in the South but as you travel north of Nha Trang, it begins to get cooler.
From April or May to October, summer monsoon brings hot, humid weather except in the mountains up north. A slight break in monsoon during July and August makes it the second high season in the South but violent and unpredictable typhoons can hit central and northern Vietnam. May, June and September are usually the quietest months.
Getting There There are few direct flights from Europe to Vietnam’s three main international airports – Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Da Nang, but these are steadily increasing over the years. The majority of visitors take indirect flights routed through Bangkok, Singapore or Hong Kong. It can be cheaper if you fly to Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur or Singapore or regular international carriers and from there take one of the low cost carriers to Vietnam. Vietnam Airlines and Jetstar are the two main domestic carriers. Fares are very reasonable and the frequencies of flights to main hubs are good.
Getting Around: In the cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, there is a sophisticated local bus network. Taxis and bikes are the easiest way to get around the larger cities – just be sure to agree on a fare before you ride. Slow but scenic, the two-seater pedal powered cyclo, is a fun and cheap way to travel short distances. It is not uncommon to flag down a passing motorbike for a lift. Many people will be happy to give you a lift for a fee a little higher than the equivalent cyclo fare. You can also hire a car with driver at a reasonable cost.
Shopping Shopaholics will discover that of all the places in the world, Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) in Vietnam offers the best-value shopping. This vibrant metropolis is bursting at the seams with bric-a-brac markets, local brands and international design houses. If you’re adventurous, jump on the back of a motorbike to save your dong for shopping. Explore Diamond Plaza on the Le Duan Street or explore local designer boutiques like Cindy’s Workshop that offers bright and funky printed dresses and unique belts for less than £30.
Hanoi is the artistic heart of Vietnam, so you’ll find the best range of art and handicrafts the country has to offer. It is the best place to shop for your home, with a bevvy of stores selling beautiful furniture, linen and home wares. There are galleries throughout Hanoi but if your time is limited, be sure to visit Art Vietnam on Nguyen Khac Nhu street, where you’ll find a wide range of contemporary Vietnamese art and photography.
Tipping Tipping is a personal expense and depends entirely on the quality of services provided to you and your appreciation of those services. Whilst tipping is not mandatory, it is expected at restaurants and by drivers, guides and tour escorts. The following estimated guideline may help you in determining the tip amount, should you wish to tip any service provider. Tipping in restaurants is about 5-10% of the bill, if not included.
Passport/Visa Visas are required to enter, exit or transit through Vietnam territories. The most common is a single entry 30-day visa. Multiple entry, 60-day and 90-day visas are also available. Passports must have a minimum of six months validity. Enquiries should be directed to the nearest Vietnam embassy or consulate.