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Vietnam is a contrast of the ancient and the contemporary where centuries old traditions thrive along with an emerging modern nation. OutWest Global Adventures’ tour brings you from the bustling capital city of Hanoi to the quiet waters of Halong Bay. In central Vietnam, walk the cobblestone streets of Hoi An and stop for a retreat in a Buddhist pagoda. Finally, end your journey in Ho Chi Minh City, a testament to Vietnam’s embracing of capitalism and modern Asia. Vietnam is a great value and OutWest’s tour includes four-star hotels and resorts, domestic flights, most meals, and a two night cruise on Halong Bay.
DAY ONE. WELCOME TO VIETNAM! You’ll be met at the Hanoi airport and taken to our four-star hotel in the center of the city. While Hanoi is over 1000 years old, today the city is a modern capital bustling with commerce and filled with motorbikes. After checking in, take some time to wonder the streets where you’ll find sidewalks cafes, street vendors, lakeside paths, river walks, traditional markets, and city parks. That evening, join the group for a traditional Vietnamese dinner.
DAY TWO. HANOI. As we tour the city, your experiences will range from the historic Old Quarter, to the spiritual retreat at the Temple of Literature, to what many consider the bizarre site of the Ho Chi Minh Complex. The Museum of Ethnology features a fascinating collection of art and everyday objects gathered from Vietnam and its diverse tribal people. In the evening, we’ll take in the famous water puppet show.
DAYS THREE AND FOUR. HALONG BAY CRUISE. In the morning we’ll head to the coast and Halong Bay. Our three-day/two-night cruise is on the four-star Auco Cruise Line. We’ll sail in Halong Bay, a World Heritage Site. Throughout the cruise, we’ll have shore excursions that include hiking in Cat Ba National Park, a visit to the Viet Hai Village, swimming at Ba Trai Dao Beach, and kayaking in secluded bays.
DAYS FIVE AND SIX. HOI AN. In the late morning we’ll disembark and head back to the Hanoi Airport for our flight to central Vietnam. From the Da Nang airport, we’ll head to our resort in Hoi An. Hoi An is a town oozing charm and history, having largely escaped the destructions of successive wars. During our stay, we’ll walk through the riverside town and view a wealth of century’s old traditional architecture. We’ll have an afternoon free to lounge by the pool, take a walk on the beach, wander through town, or relax in the spa.
DAY SEVEN. HUE. We head north along the coast to Hue, the intellectual, cultural, and spiritual heartbeat of Vietnam. Along the route, you’ll see the Perfume River, Thien Mu Pagoda, Hai Van Pass, Cham Museum, and Marble Mountain. Our resort is located near the beach and the village.
DAYS EIGHT AND NINE. SAIGON. After some free time in the morning, we’ll head to the airport for our flight to Ho Chi Ming City (Saigon). Vietnam’s largest city, Saigon is the commercial heart of the country. The streets swarm with motorbikes, new high-rise buildings go up every month, and the markets are full of new consumers. Yet, despite the economic boom, Saigon hasn’t forgotten its past. You’ll find peaceful temples, quiet cafes, and off-the-beaten path side alleys. The day tour includes Former Presidential Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral, Warm Museum, and Ben Thanh Market.
DAY TEN. DEPARTURE. You can schedule a flight at any time of day (or the evening before).
Book with “Cambodia with Angkor Wat” (February 11-16, 2014) and save $100. Book with “Cambodia” and “Thailand” (February 16-23, 2014) and save $200.