Day 1: Arrival and Welcome Dinner
Welcome to Saigon.
On arrival, you will be welcome by our guide and drive to hotel. Check-in and you are free until Welcome Dinner. (D)
Day 2: Saigon City
You will be picked up at hotel for Saigon city tour. Old MACV HQ. War Museum, Independence Palace, US 3rd Field Hospital, Post Ofice, Ben Thanh Market. Freetime in the afternoon. Stay overnight in Saigon. (B,L)
DAY 3: Saigon-Tay Ninh-Cu Chi Tunnels
This morning we drive west to Tay Ninh to visit Cao Dai Temple. We will see Nui Ba Den (Black Virgin Mountain) from the distance. Lunch on the way. Then we visit Cu Chi Tunnels. On the way back to Saigon, we will pass the Iron Triangle and the Hobo Woods.
The Iron Triangle was The three points at the perimeter of this area were Ben Cat to the northeast, Ben Suc to the west, and the line made by the Saigon River (Song Sai Gon) terminating directly south of the village of Xom Ben Co. This area was laced with tunnels that were interconnected with large underground base complexes housing the local VC and NVA that had infiltrated down the Ho Chi Minh Trail. One of the largest tunnel complexes was inadvetently discovered when a tank from C Co. 1st 69th Armor caused a tunnel roof to collapse, causing the tank to fall into the complex.
Ho Bo Woods was another French owned rubber plantation. It was used by the VC as a base area and was laced with tunnels and underground complexes. The Ho Bo Woods area consisted of rubber plantations, sparse to dense woods, and open rice paddies with some extremely large dikes in the area. Some were approximately four feet high and four feet wide but did not present an obstacle to tracked movement. Observation in this area was good to excellent and fields of fire were excellent. There were no obstacles to tracked movement in the plantation area. The central area of the Ho Bo consisted of rubber trees and dense woods. However, secondary growth throughout the area varied from light to thick with the center being the lightest area. The dense woods and areas of thick undergrowth in the center section did restrict movement of track vehicles to an extent.
Back to Saigon and you have a free dinner. (B,L)
DAY 4: Saigon- Sa Dec- Cai Be
Depart your hotel early this morning for the 3.5-hour drive to Sa Dec, deep in the Mekong Delta.
Sa Dec is a charming, authentic Mekong Delta town that seems to have escaped the modernization that has swept much of Vietnam. On arrival in Sa Dec, visit the charming Kien An Cung Pagoda before having lunch in the former home of Huynh Thuy Le who is the main character in Marguerite Duras’ novel “The Lover”.
After lunch, board your boat for the cruise to Cai Be. Sit back and enjoy the lush landscape and tropical life of the Mekong Delta. En route visit a flower garden as well as floating houses along a branch of the Mekong River where fish are raised in submerged cages. Make a stop at a traditional mat making workshop where river grasses are woven by hand.
Reach the river town of Vinh Long to visit one of the biggest brick factories in the Mekong Delta. In this traditional factory the process of making bricks is done by hand and the imagery seems timeless.
Back on the boat cross the Co Chien River, one of the two branches of the Mekong towards An Binh, Binh Hoa Phuc Islands and finally the Dong Phu canal and your final destination of Cai Be.
Continue down river to The Mekong Riverside resort & spa perfectly situated overlooking a branch of the Mekong River.
Rest of the evening at leisure.
Overnight at the Mekong Riverside resort & Spa.
DAY 5: Cai Be- Saigon
Early this morning take a sunrise boat cruise to the quiet but quaint Cai Be floating market. Produce at the market is hung on a pole in front of boats to attract customers and make it easier for people to see from afar what is on offer. Traders work the river and some have been living on these waters for generations, however like elsewhere in the delta the floating market here has become much smaller in recent years due to development and improvements in infrastructure.
Continue 50 minutes by boat to an area of the Mekong untouched by tourism. Here take a leisurely 7km cycling trip which takes you along shady back roads over tiny canals, past fruit gardens and sleepy villages. If you don’t want to cycle, take a ride on a xe loi which is a trailer towed from the back of a bicycle and only used in the Mekong Delta. En-route stop at some traditional workshops which make turmeric spring roll paper and roof thatching made from the water palm tree.
Mid-morning arrive at a family run orchard where diverse tropical fruits are grown. The owner, a former war veteran, will share with you stories from his life as well as taking you into his garden to sample some fresh tropical fruits.
Continue cycling to a stunning 100-year old house which is architecturally a mixture between Vietnamese and European designs. Here a Vietnamese lunch will be served consisting of dishes only found in the Mekong Delta. After your meal, bid farewell to the family before returning to Saigon where you will arrive in the late afternoon.
The rest of the afternoon is your free time at leisure. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City (B,L)
Day 6: Saigon- Chulai- Hoian
In the morning you are free until flight. In the afternoon we will take flight to Chu Lai Airport.
Upon arrival, We will visit Americal Div Head quarter, The Artillery Hill, the 27th Surgical Hospital and Chu Lai Airbase. Chulai Airbase which was operated by the US Marine Corps between 1965 and 1970. At first, only a “short airfield for tactical support (SATS)” was installed. The SATS consisted of a 1,200 m runway with an aluminum surface of interlocking lightweight metal alloy planking, a catapult and a carrier deck-type arresting gear. It also included a tactical airfield fuel dispensing system. The base of soft sand at Chu Lai caused much difficulty with the installation of the SATS, but the first landing of an A-4 Skyhawk was made on 1 June 1965, by Colonel John D. Noble, Commanding Officer of MAG-12 from Marine All- Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242 (VMA-225) landed. The aircraft took off using jet-assisted takeoff rockets on the partially completed runway as the Seabees continued lengthening the runway. By mid-October 1965, the base was home to more than 80 A-4 Skyhawks from MAG-12.
After that we will drive 100km south to Hoian. Stay overnight in Hoian. (B,L,D)
Day 7: Hoian-My Son- An Hoa Combat Base- Hoi An.
Today We will visit My Son Holy Land of Champ people. The temples are very old, back about 1.200 years. Then on the way back we will visit Liberty Bridge. You will see the Football Island from the distance and visit An Hoa Combat Base.
An Hòa Combat Base was first used by the Marines in January 1966 during Operation Mallard when the 1st Battalion, 12th Marines established a firebase there while the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines and a Company from the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines swept the surrounding area. 20 April 1966 the Marines returned to An Hoa on Operation Georgia, the 12th Marines reestablished a firebase while the 3rd Battalion 9th Marines provided security, the base would become permanent at this time as the Marines sought to pacify the area.
Stay overnight in Hoi An. (B,L)
Day 8: Cycling And Hoian Walking Tour.
Today is A Non-Battlefield Day.
After breakfast, we will take a bike ride through the country to fishing village where you will have chance to meet and interact with local people. Then they will teach you how to use traditional tools to catch fish and crabs. They also show you how to row a basket boat to go through the palm paradise. Lunch at a local home by the river. After lunch, riding back to old town for a Hoi An walking tour in the old quarter. Hoi An is very famous for tailoring. You may end up at one of the tailor shops to order for yourselves suits or dresses, just give them 24 hours. Stay overnight in Hoi An (B,L)
Day 9: Hoi An- Da Nang- Hue
Today we will drive north to Hue, 140km. This is the most beautiful drive in Vietnam. We will visit Marble Mountains where we will climb up nearly 200 steps to the cave which VC used as emergency hospital during 1968. After that we will visit the Marble Carving village, China Beach the R&R Beach for US soldiers and nurses before battlefields during the war. We also pass the Navy Hospital and the Monkey Mountain from the distance. Keep going, we will drive over Hai Van Pass (Pass Of Ocean Cloud). Stop for coffee break in cloud. We will see the bunkers used by US Marines as the Observation Base over Highway 1. Lunch at Lang Co Beach. After lunch, we drive to Hue. Stay overnight in Hue. (B,L,D)
Day 10: Hue City Tour.
In the morning we will take a cruise up the Perfume River to visit Thien Mu Pagoda and Tu Duc Tomb. Back to city for lunch and then the Citadel. The Citadel was badly destroyed during the Tet Offensive 1968. This is the most blooding fighting place between both sides during the war. Stay overnight in Hue. (B, L)
Day 11: Hue- A Shau Valley- Hamburger Hill- Khe Sanh.
Today we drive 60km west to A Luoi Town. We will visit A Shau Airfield, FSB Rendezvous and climb up more than 700 steps up to Hamburger Hill. You will have some free time for your selves. After that we will have a beautiful drive along Ho Chi Minh Trail to Khe Sanh Town. Stay overnight in Khe Sanh. (B,L,D)
Day 12: Khe Sanh-DMZ-Dong Ha-Hue
In the morning, we will visit Lang Vei Special Force Base then Khe Sanh Combat Base. After that we drive east along High Way 9 to Dong Ha. On the way we will see Rockpile and The Razorback from distance. A visit Camp Carroll and then turn north to Ho Chi Minh Trail to Con Thien the Hill of Angels and make a tour of Leatherneck Square: Con Thien, Cam Lo, Gio Linh and Dong Ha. We also visit Vinh Moc Tunnel and Hien Luong Bridge.
After that We will drive along Highway 1 or known as Highway Of Horror 70km south to Hue. Along the way we will stop at Bo De School, Long Hung Church Relics, both of these relics are abandoned as historical relics which were badly damaged during the Easter Invasion 1972. Stay overnight in Hue. (B,L)
Day 13: Hue-Hanoi
You will be free in the morning until our guide and driver pick you up to transfer to the airport. Upon arrival, we will explore the city. We visit the Hoa Lo Prison (Hanoi Hilton) and the fascinating War Museum and Cyclo Ride through the Old Quaters of Hanoi. Late afternoon, enjoy Water Puppet Show. Stay overnight in Ha Noi. (B,L,D)
Day 14: Hanoi-Halong Bay
This morning we have 4 hour drive from Hanoi to Halong Bay. This is Vietnam’s most famous and most popular UNESCO World Heritage site! The name ‘Ha Long’ means the dragon descending into the sea and owes its origins to a Vietnamese myth. The towering limestone karsts represent the dragon’s back, surrounded by jade green water creating an unforgettable site. There are more than 1600 limestone islands and islets with different shapes jutting out from the sea.. Most of them are still intact from human activities thanks to their uninhabited and uncultivated characters.
Arrive at the Halong Bay jetty around noon and proceed with check-in formalities before boarding a boat for your unforgettable overnight cruise on Halong bay. After your welcome onboard, a lunch will be served while cruising towards the bay itself. In the afternoon, enjoy some visits and/or activities (depending on each boat’s itinerary) or just spend some time relaxing on board. Towards the end of the day the boat sets anchor for the night among the karst formations. Dinner is served on board.
Overnight on board the boat in Halong Bay (private cabin on-board the join-in boat cruise). (B,L,D)
Day 15 : Halong Bay-Hanoi
Enjoy the morning in the middle of Halong Bay as the sun rises on Halong and breakfast is served (brunch on some boats) while the vessel cruises slowly through the magnificent rock formations and back towards the port. Mid-morning the boat will return to shore. Disembark and transfer back to Hanoi. (B,L)
Day 16: Departure
In the morning, you are free untill our driver pick you up to transfer to airport. End Tour. Home Sweet Home. (B)