14-Days Vietnam Discovery (8-Days Ho Chi Minh, 3 Days Mekong Cruise and 3-days I Can Thao)
Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam is a vibrant, highly energized cultural and exciting city full of tasty street hawkers, fine boutiques, and great markets, waiting for you to discover. You will wander endlessly through the alleys and visit the amazing incense-infused temples. Your stay will be at the Hotel Equatorial Ho Chi Minh City, an international 5-star hotel, located in the city centre. Tan Son Nhat International Airport can be reached within a 35-minute drive, and the city’s commercial and entertainment area is an 8-minute drive.
The guestrooms and suites are elegantly designed with attention to detail for the utmost comfort of leisure. The hotel features a signature restaurants Orientica Seafood Restaurant & Bar and Chit Chat at the Café, open-air swimming pool (a swim-up bar), gym, spa and massage services.Rooms in Hotel Equatorial Ho Chi Minh City are best described as comfortable and luxurious. All rooms are complemented with an array of standard features including high-speed internet, flat screen LCD with satellite TV, mini bar, tea & coffee making facilities, air conditioning, safe, hairdryer and toiletries.
Half Day City Tour
The half day city tour will give you a quick look at the famous destinations including the Reunification Palace, the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Old Central Post Office and the War Remnants Museum. Your friendly local guide through busy main streets and back alleys as you make your way to some of Ho Chi Minh City's top attractions. You'll learn about when the French captured Saigon some 300 years ago and see European influence in both the food and culture.
Culinary Experience by Scooter
Maximise your senses with the local tastes by travelling to great eateries, sitting on the back of a scooter enjoying the fresh air, while your trusted driver helps you get a real insight into local life behind the main streets. The yummy smell of food from the smoke of food along the streets is a mouth-watering experience. From a green papaya salad served from a stall mounted on a scooter in the park to traditional cakes when you have to make the rolls by yourself and mark your products with your friends to seafood, snails, hot pots and more!
Cu Chi Tunnels
Travel through the vast tunnel network created by Viet Cong guerrilla fighters during the Vietnam War and learn about the role of these underground channels, Vietnamese history & discover the daily life of rural southern Vietnamese. Explore the non-touristy vast tunnel network and enjoy a specialty eaten during the war. For the adventurous types, you can crawl through the tunnels and learn about the strategies used by Viet Cong soldiers. Watch an interesting documentary movie about the tunnels system. Visit the B52 Bomb Crater, see a secret entrance and a bamboo trap, and watch how locals used to make sandals for soldiers.
3-Day Sampan Cruise, Mekong
Prepare yourself for a magical private cruising experience onboard a charming Sampan, decorated with beautiful bamboo and rattan furniture through the Mekong Delta. The attentive crew of 4 provide to your every need, creating a wonderful authentic atmosphere. The boats come equipped with a comfortable bedroom, living room, bathroom with shower, toilet and toiletries and a sundeck where meals and drinks are served. The Mekong spans around 5,000km on its way to the sea, terminating at Cuu Long, the famous Mekong Delta. The name means ‘nine dragons’ – the nine months that wend their way across the 62,160 km2 of canals, channels, silt islets and mangrove swamps that comprise the delta, believed to have formed over 6,000 years ago. The Mekong Delta (Vietnamese Nine Dragon river delta) is in the southwest of Vietnam where the Mekong River approaches and empties into the sea through a network of distributaries, encompasses a large portion (39,000sq/km of south eastern region. The natives are generally comprising of farmers and fishermen. An endearing sight in the Mekong Delta is when you see a person making their way across one of the fascinating 'monkey bridges' (cau khi).
Day 1 CAI BE – Saigon to Cai Be – Embarkation (Lunch and Dinner)
At 8am you will be picked up from your hotel and set off for Cai Be, where you embark on your luxury Sanpan around 10am. Your voyage begins from Phu An Jetty. You will enjoy a bicycle tour around the area, exploring the native peoples living. Your tour stops for lunch at nostalgic colonial style Le Longanier, surrounded by a beautiful green garden. After lunch you return to the boat to continue your journey on the Mekong Delta. You will visit local cottage industries which manufacture products from native ingredients such as coconut and rice. As the boat makes its way to Sa Dec it will stop at a handmade brick factory, here you can see how the locals fascinating process in making bricks. After your tour, its back to the boat where you can freshen up before dinner and settle down to enjoy the mighty Mekong at night.
Day 2 Sa Dec - Can Tho (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)
Waken up to a scrumptious breakfast on board the boat, fuelling up your energy for your tour, which begins with a visit to an outdoor market, where you are sure to find authentic Vietnamese bargains. Sa Dec is a quaint small, romantic town in the Dong Thap province, famous for the making of the novel “The Lover” by Marhuerite Duras. The Sino-French designed Huynh Thut Le Ancient House, decorated with French wooden furniture and floor tiles was once home to the lover of the authoress. Then it’s back to the boat to continue your sailing through a canal to Can Tho, seeing a monkey bridge passing by. Your next tour is a visit to the Cao Dai temple in Tay Ninh, built in 1955 by the then newly formed Cao Dai Army, following the Japanese occupation of Indochina. Here you get a sense of total calmness and tranquillity, removed from the outside hustle and bustle. Then you will jump onboard a local rowing boat, discovering the deeper rural area. Just before sunset you come to an ancient authentically styled 19th century house for dinner before returning to the boat to set sail for Can Tho.
Day 3 Can Tho (Breakfast) – Disembark
An early breakfast while sailing, then it’s off to explore the amazing Cai Rang Floating Market in the Mekong Delta. This continuously expanding treasure is located 6km from the centre of Can Thoy and brings much needed economic benefits to the area. The sound of motor engines, people bargaining and the massive array of colours of agricultural produce is an exhilarating experience. You can stock up on some local fruits, such as durian, rambutan, jackfruit and watermelons freshly picked from the orchids to take to your hotel. Then the boat continues sailing to Victoria Can Tho, home to Vietnam’s longest spanning bridge, where you will disembark and off to your hotel.
Can Tho (3-day Hotel stay with Breakfast)
Can Tho, known to locals as "Cầm Thi Giang" - river of poems is the biggest city of the Mekong Delta. The city is famous for its floating markets, delicious food, fresh fruits and the natural beauty of the mighty Mekong delta. You will be staying at the luxury Mường Thanh Luxury Can Tho Hotel, located on the Cai Khe river islet, with its modern architecture blending into the beauty of the river. The hotel has a Spa, Swimming Pool, 3 Bar/Lounges, 2 Restaurants and Karaoke. The hotel is only a short walk to the Ho Chi Minh museum and has a free airport shuttle service. Your very spacious Executive Suite overlooks the Mekong or you can choose a city view if you prefer. The suites have a harmonious, cosy and luxurious interior and come equipped with individual controlled air-condition, complimentary high-speed internet, satellite TV, kettle, mineral water, tea and coffee, safe, desk and chair, hairdryer, refrigerator, bathrobes, slippers, bathing accessories and 24-hour in-room dining.
Museum of Tarot
Founded in 2016, the museum is combined from six main collections related to Art and Cartomancy: Fortune-telling cards, Book and Historical Documents about Fortune-telling cards, Art of Cardmaking and Decoration of Fortune-telling cards. You will see how the Vietnamese view the Art of Magic and Divination tools, Magic Stones, Lithotherapy Crystals, Art of Demonology and Haunted Objects. The displayed objects in the museum date from as early as the 15th to the 21st century. Pitu Khosa Rangsay Pagoda The Pagoda is one of the best Khmer architectural examples in the Mekong Delta. The glimmer from the golden roof with statues of snakes and dragons is quite captivating. The pagoda’s sanctum has three floors, while the upper pagoda is adorned with striking Khmer images and patterns such as Angkor dragons, fairy Keynor sacred bird Krud, and the majestic goddess Teppanom and god Hanuman. In the sanctum you will find finely carved statues of Shakyamuni made of stone or copper, images of elephants, birds, flowers, as well as legends of Buddha on the walls. Annually the major Khmer festivals such as Ok Om Bok, Chol Chnam Thmay and Dolta are often held in the pagoda.
Truc Lam Phuong Nam Zen Meditation Monastery
The monastery spans an area of almost 10 acres and is the largest Buddhist temple in the Mekong Delta. Venerable Thich Binh Tam is its appointed abbot and is one of the many monasteries of the Truc Lam Zen School, founded in the 13th century by King Tran Nhan Tong. The King abdicated after repelling the Mongol invasion and sought retreat in the Yen Tu Mountain where he founded the Vietnamese school of Zen by unifying existing sects. The monastery was recently revived by General Pham Van Tra r, so as to reinvigorate the Truc Lam Zen sect and create a learning and meditation centre for Buddhist monks, nuns and followers. The many trees and stunning wooden architecture, blend somewhat seamlessly, forming an almost majestic setting.