Vietnam: Crafts, Culture and Cuisine – ITINERARY

Dates: November 1st – 14th, 2021 An immersive small group journey highlighting cultural exchange, hands-on creative experience and sheer wonder in one of the most fascinating countries in the world. Ho Chi Minh City – Hoi An – Hue – Hanoi – Lan Ha Bay – Hanoi
The Wandering Earl Tour Experience All of our unique tours focus on local interaction, local activities and genuine education. We also keep our itineraries flexible so that you always get the absolute most out of your trip! Of course, we do see the main stuff too, but these are not standard, cookie-cutter group experiences. Always small groups, always laid-back, always diving straight into the true heart of every destination we visit!
Vietnam tour - mountains ITINERARY November 1st: HO CHI MINH CITY / ARRIVAL DAY Upon arrival, you’ll be picked up at the airport and taken to our hotel in the city center. After getting settled and having a good rest, we’ll start off with an evening orientation and group dinner at one of the city’s excellent restaurants.  November 2nd: HO CHI MINH CITY Today we’ll experience the sprawling metropolis of Ho Chi Minh via a cyclo tour where you will be guided around on a traditional three-wheel bicycle taxi. This tour will allow us to see and learn about some of the best hidden gems and local spots of the city including niche markets specifically for flowers, electronics, and motorbikes in addition to exploring the various neighborhoods, temples, and more. Of course, we’ll enjoy a sampling of southern Vietnamese cuisine along the way. In the evening, we’ll attend an incredible cultural show at the city’s famed opera house where you’ll see impressive acrobatics and creative choreography to the accompaniment of 17 unique Vietnamese instruments. November 3rd: HO CHI MINH CITY / HOI AN We’ll bid farewell to the energy of the big city and board a short flight to Da Nang, from where we’ll drive 45 minutes to the beautiful cultural town of Hoi An. With a relaxed pace of life, Hoi An’ architecture, culture and food are sure to delight from the moment we arrive. We’ll check into our accommodations, go for an evening wander through the night markets along the river and enjoy a wonderful regional dinner. November 4th: HOI AN Today we will explore Hoi An on foot, visiting an old merchant’s home, the Hoi An Market, a local Chinese temple, and the famous Japanese Bridge all while getting a feel for local life in this charming, French-influenced town. We’ll tour and participate in a lantern making and silk workshop and learn about the entire production of silk from silkworm to dress before trying our hand at mastering the ancient silk weaving traditions that have been used in this region for more than 300 years.  November 5th: HOI AN Hoi An is known for having some of the best and most unique dishes in all of Vietnam. From the savory bun cha soup to the fresh mi quang noodles and delicate white rose dumplings – the local cuisine is delicious! We’ll spend today learning how to cook some of these famous dishes at a local cooking school. After a demonstration from the chef, you’ll get to try your hand at preparing these well-known dishes yourself and then we’ll enjoy all of our hard work together after the lesson while we sit down and enjoy what we cooked. After our class, you’ll have free time to enjoy even more of this charming town. Vietnam tour - temple November 6th: HOI AN / HUE Leaving Hoi An, we’ll travel over the iconic Hai Van Pass. This narrow coastal highway winds its way through a mountain pass near Da Nang and showcases Vietnam’s stunning coastal scenery. We’ll make a few stops along the way to admire the pristine views and enjoy some local cuisine for lunch before arriving in the fascinating imperial city of Hue. November 7th: HUE After breakfast, we’ll embark on a unique guided tour to experience the history, culture and architecture of this grand city, including stops at the magnificent citadel, the forbidden Purple City and immaculate mausoleums and pagodas scattered throughout. After an action-packed day, we’ll take a spectacular dinner cruise down the Perfume River on a dragon boat admiring the beautiful views from the water. November 8th: HUE / HANOI Today you’ll have a free day to rest, relax and explore Hue at your leisure. Take a stroll along the riverwalk to enjoy the views and vistas, shop for handicrafts and treasures at the Dong Ba Market or indulge in a traditional imperial banquet to experience some of Hue’s best cuisine served over multiple courses. At night, we’ll board our sleeper train for the overnight journey to Hanoi. November 9th: HANOI With a morning arrival, we’ll drop our luggage off at the hotel before taking part in a guided tour through the heart of Hanoi’s Old Quarter. We’ll traverse through its maze-like streets to experience the colorful sights and aromatic smells. We’ll explore some of the city’s most important landmarks such as Hoan Kiem Lake and the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. We’ll also visit the city’s largest covered market where we will see dozens of street hawkers selling a variety of produce including fresh vegetables, live seafood, exotic fruits, and speciality items before treating ourselves to a Hanoi speciality – egg coffee. In the evening, after a rest, we’ll head for a typical North Vietnamese dinner experience. November 10th: HANOI Today will be a free day to take advantage of additional Hanoi highlights including additional temples, parks, markets or museums. Or you can enjoy a relaxing day at a Vietnamese spa or at one of the city’s rooftop cafes or restaurants. Our guides and tour leader will be on hand to ensure you have a chance to fill the day with the activities that suit your interests best! November 11th: HANOI / MAI CHAU VALLEY After breakfast, we’ll head off on a day trip to a variety of traditional villages to the west of the city, in the Mai Chau Valley, known for their tribal customs, craftwork and stunning landscapes. We’ll visit with welcoming locals, learn about their lives and have a chance to walk through the terraced countryside to experience the peaceful lifestyle of the valley. On the drive back to Hanoi, we’ll make several stops at impressive ancient pagodas and dramatic viewpoints to gain an even more complete understanding of this region.  November 12th: LAN HA BAY Leaving Hanoi behind, we’ll enter one of the most natural and beautiful destinations in Vietnam – Lan Ha Bay. Neighboring the popular and over-crowded Ha Long Bay, this is one of the area’s best kept secrets where we’ll have the bay almost all to ourselves for a relaxing and peaceful coastal experience. We’ll board our traditional junk boat and enjoy a fresh seafood lunch while cruising through the deep blue waters of the bay and taking in the lush green scenery surrounding us. We’ll visit hidden caves and lagoons, swim in the emerald water and enjoy happy hour while watching the sunset over the karst studded landscape. You can spend the evening relaxing, enjoying a traditional massage or learning how to fish for squid like a local using flashlights and special poles.. November 13th: LAN HA BAY / HANOI We’ll wake up and begin the day floating in the middle of Lan Ha Bay before kayaking (optional) through a nearby lagoon to admire our beautiful and serene surroundings. After a visit to a floating fishing farm to learn about the traditional life of Lan Ha Bay’s local fishermen, we’ll disembark our junk boat and return to Hanoi where we’ll spend the night. November 14th: HANOI / DEPARTURE DAY Today is our last day in Vietnam. You will be picked up at the hotel by a private driver who will take you to the airport for your departing flight.
INCLUDED – Small group (maximum 12 participants) – Wandering Earl Tours group leader – Local guides in each destination – All accommodation (13 nights – 3*/4* hotels and guesthouses)   – Breakfast every day, 8 lunches and 8 dinners – Transportation in Vietnam (vans, train, internal flight) – All activities and entrance fees for sights and national parks – Bottled water throughout the trip – All airport transfers NOT INCLUDED – Flights to/from Vietnam – Passport/visa fees – Meals and activities not mentioned – Travel insurance (mandatory) – Gratuities
TOUR COST $4025 USD per person, single room (there are 5 single rooms available on this trip) $3475 USD per person, twin-share room (solo travelers will be paired together in a room with two beds) *BOOK WITH CONFIDENCE: To reserve your spot on a tour, a $500 deposit will be required. However, you can book with complete peace of mind as this deposit will be 100% refundable until 6 months prior to the trip start date.
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