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The Romance and Intrigue of Vietnam: A Luxury Travel Reader Tour

Dong Khoi Street in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

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This 15-day travel itinerary is a reader’s dream. Embark on a journey to the sights that served as the inspiration for famous novels over the years, including The Quiet American. Stay at the very same hotel where Graham Greene stayed when he was writing his iconic story, and discover the intrigue that lies in the streets of Vietnam while in the company of journalist and author, Jimmy Thomson.

Along with a local guide, Jimmy will introduce you to some of Vietnam’s most well-known destinations, including Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, and Halong Bay as well as the lesser-known sites that only the locals know about. Walk in the footsteps of Australian soldiers and discover a hidden, romantic side to Vietnam in this exciting tour that is full of twists and turns, from beginning to end.

Day 1

Monday, 6 May 2019 – Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City

Upon arrival at the airport, your guide will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel, where you will enjoy welcome drinks at the Liquid Sky Bar. Here, Jimmy will greet you and take you through the itinerary for the next 14 days, beginning with exploring Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City). This city may be driving Vietnam forward into the modern world, but is also a treasure trove of fascinating heritage. Today, the old mixes seamlessly with the new and you can wander through timeless alleys to incense-infused temples before catching up with the present in designer malls set beneath sleek skyscrapers.

  • Stay at Renaissance Riverside Hotel Saigon – Deluxe City View Room

 

Day 2

Tuesday, 7 May 2019 – Ho Chi Minh City & Cu Chi

Today’s tour will take you to two historic and very different sites: Cu Chi Tunnels and a unique Cao Dai Temple that represents the world’s youngest and perhaps most mysterious religion. A local tour guide will meet you at the lobby of your hotel for transfer to Tay Ninh. After enjoying a traditional lunch, head to Cu Chi Tunnels, a sample of the immense network of tunnels that operated during the “American war”. You can even fire a real AK47 at the actual Viet Cong shooting range. Finish the day with a transfer back to Saigon by speedboat, giving you a glimpse of life on the riverbanks along the way.

  • Meals included are breakfast and lunch
  • Stay at Renaissance Riverside Hotel Saigon – Deluxe City View Room

 

Day 3

Wednesday, 8 May 2019 – Ho Chi Minh City

Start your day with a visit to Tan Dinh church, one of the most beautiful and distinctive churches in Ho Chi Minh city thanks to its dazzling architecture and sculpture patterns. Next, drive to the the city’s Central Post Office, which was built by a French company during the heyday of colonial rule, before taking a short stroll along Dong Khoi Street to the Opera House, which boasts its own rich history. Head to Cholon- the city’s Chinatown- and Thien Hau Pagoda, dedicated to the Goddess of the Sea, before the sun sets and a culinary adventure in downtown Saigon begins. This street food tour reveals the places where the locals go to eat, away from the tourist areas and in the heart of the city.

  • Meals included are breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Stay at Renaissance Riverside Hotel Saigon – Deluxe City View Room

 

Day 4

Thursday, 9 May 2019 – Mekong Delta

Take a scenic speedboat day trip to discover the tangled maze of rivers and vast paddies found in the Mekong Delta on this culture-centric tour. Providing a close-up look at small-village life along the river, this tour will take you to a local family’s homestead, where you’ll be invited to enjoy fresh coconuts and fiery Mekong Delta whisky.

  • Meals included are breakfast and lunch
  • Stay at Renaissance Riverside Hotel Saigon – Deluxe City View Room

 

Day 5

Friday, 10 May 2019 – Saigon to Hoi An

Your guide will meet you at your hotel and transfer you to the airport for your flight from Saigon to Da Nang. Upon arrival, your guide will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel in Hoi An. Hoi An is a UNESCO-protected former trading port that is now famous for its restored architecture and delicious cuisine.

  • Meals included are breakfast and dinner
  • Stay at La Residencia – Little Boutique Hotels & Spa (Junior Suite)

Day 6

Saturday, 11 May 2019 – Hoi An Walking & Cooking Tour

Visit the local Hoi An produce market before transferring to the Red Bridge Cooking School. Here you will tour the school’s herb gardens and enjoy an informal cooking lesson. The afternoon walking tour includes stops at several famous landmarks such as The Chua Ong Pagoda and Tan Ky House.

  • Meals included are breakfast and lunch
  • Stay at La Residencia – Little Boutique Hotels & Spa (Junior Suite)

 

Day 7

Sunday, 12 May 2019 – Hoi An to Hue

Today sees you embarking on a tour from Hoi An to the riverside town of Hue. As you pass through the city of Da Nang, you’ll stop at the Cham Museum, before arriving in Hue. The half-day tour starts with a trip to the ancient walled Citadel containing the former Imperial Palace, before floating down the peaceful perfume river surrounded by endless greenery.

  • Meals included are breakfast and lunch
  • Stay at Pilgrimage Village Hotel Hue (Deluxe Room)

 

Day 8

Monday, 13 May 2019 – Hue

Spend the day visiting all of the major sites in Hue, including the tomb of Emperor Khai Dinh, Minh Mang Tomb, Thanh Tien Village and Tha Om Garden House. Admire the unusual combination of architecture that blends a traditional Chinese past with a modern Western future.

  • Meals included are breakfast and lunch
  • Stay at Pilgrimage Village Hotel Hue (Deluxe Room)

 

Day 9

Tuesday, 14 May 2019 – Hue to Hanoi

Fly from Hue to Hanoi. Upon arrival, your guide will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel. As evening descends, you’ll visit the Quintessence of Tonkin show, where you’ll have the chance to explore the history and culture of Vietnam from a contemporary perspective. Enjoy dinner at a beautiful restaurant nearby before the show.

  • Meals included are breakfast and dinner
  • Stay at Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi Hotel (Premium Room – contemporary Opera Wing)

Begin the morning with a visit to the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum and hear about the man who led Vietnam’s campaign for independence from French colonial rule. Wander the grounds to see the one pillar pagoda and the presidential palace. Visit the 11th-century relic, the Temple of Literature, which was built in homage to the Chinese scholar Confucius, then take a breezy cyclo ride through the Old Quarter’s 36 streets and visit the Ngoc Son temple, set on a tiny island on picturesque Hoan Kiem Lake.

  • Meals included are breakfast and lunch
  • Stay at Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi Hotel (Premium Room – contemporary Opera Wing)

Leave the noise of the city behind as you board a seaplane and take in the impressive aerial views over Hanoi, flying 45 minutes to Halong Bay, before a 15-minute scenic flight over Halong. Called “Bay of Descending Dragons” in Vietnamese, the archipelago of Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site composed of almost 2,000 islands and jungle-clad limestone pillars. After the scenic flight, board your traditional junk boat and set sail through Halong Bay. In the afternoon, visit the aptly named “surprise cave” or relax on the boat’s sun deck. Take advantage of the spa services and sip a cocktail of two before a cooking demonstration in the evening.

  • Meals included are breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Stay at The Au Co Cruise (Deluxe)

Begin your day with Tai Chi on the sundeck before enjoying breakfast, then head out onto the water in a kayak to visit the Ba Trai Dao area, taking in the views of the surrounding landscape from the water. In the afternoon, step onto Cat Ba Island for a cycling tour of Halong Bay’s biggest island.

  • Meals are breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Stay at The Au Co Cruise (Deluxe)

After a light breakfast, visit Bright and Dark Cave by traditional bamboo boat or kayak, or get right in the water for a swim. Enjoy a Vietnamese tea ceremony while sailing back to the harbour, where you will continue on to Hanoi. This evening, enjoy a delicious farewell dinner at KOTO restaurant.

  • Meals included are breakfast and dinner
  • Stay at Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi Hotel (Premium Room)

Following your late check-out, your guide will meet you at your hotel and transfer you to the airport.

  • Meal included is breakfast

About the Tour

About Your Host – Jimmy Thomson

Jimmy Thomson, your host throughout the Romance and Intrigue Tour, is an author,
scriptwriter, journalist, university lecturer and travel writer. He is also an experienced
and entertaining public speaker and has regular guest spots on James Valentine’s
Afternoons on ABC Radio.

A veteran of countless trips to Vietnam – at least three as a tour host – and having
written three books set in the country, he is uniquely placed to provide a view of
Vietnam that few other visitors would see.

Tour Details

  • Departure date: 6 May 2019
  • Twin share price: from $8,180 pp
  • Single price: from $10,248 pp
  • Group departure is subject to minimum numbers

Tour Inclusions (15 days)

  • International economy class flights from Sydney and Melbourne flying Vietnam Airlines
  • All domestic transportation in Vietnam with local carriers
  • All accommodations
  • 28 meals (13 breakfasts, 9 lunches & 6 dinners)
  • Touring with expert National Escort & Special Host
  • Sightseeing and entrance fees

For more information and to inquire about this reader offer please visit: wendywutours.com or call 1300 727 998.

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