Tour destination: Halong Bay - Hanoi - Hoi An - Hue - Vietnam highlight
Duration: Over 11 days
In 2015, when Hollywood was searching for filming destination of the new King Kong movie, for the wild and spectacular nature, they found Vietnam. The country is like a mystery box that covers countless untouched corners. Like a behind-the-scene tour of “Kong: Skull Island”, this great expedition takes you to selected attractions in Ninh Binh, Quang Binh and Halong Bay where the film crew spent months doing their work. Welcome to another shade of Vietnam: the no-man Skull Island with wild virgin rainforests, majestic mountain ranges, spectacular seascape and incredible limestone caves. Let’s experience Vietnam in a way you’ve never done before on this Skull Island tour with GOVNTravel.
Relaxing on the first day, walking around Hanoi city
In the morning, our driver and tour guide will pick you up at your hotel to start the journey to Ninh Binh province. Ninh Binh is located south of the Northern Delta, between the Red River and Ma River. The old city of Ninh Binh is one of many famous historic sites in Vietnam. The provincial town of Ninh Binh as diverse landscapes because of its proximity to the mountains of Non Nuoc and Canh Dieu. After 2 hours, we arrive at Hoa Lu Ancient Capital and visit temples of King Dinh and King Le. We have an hour for lunch at local restaurant. There, you will have a chance to enjoy local specialties. After lunch, we take a boat trip to explore the cave complex in Trang An. Enjoy peaceful moments with clear water, fresh air and spectacular views of mountainous areas. Trang An Landscape Complex is a spectacular landscape of limestone karst peaks permeated with valleys, many of them partly submerged and surrounded by steep, almost vertical cliffs. This area was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Evening arrival Hanoi and overnight in hotel.
Halong Bay is listed by UNESCO as a World Natural Heritage and voted as a Wonder of Nature by the New7Wonders Foundation. You will have a night staying in this world famous bay. After breakfast, our tour guide will pick you up to visit Halong bay, Upon arrival at the pier, embark on the boat and set sail on a cruise through the limestone cliffs and emerald waters of Halong Bay, taking in the spectacular scenery of this UNESCO World Heritage site. Lunch is served on the cruise during floating on the bay In the afternoon you will start to discover Halong Bay, listed as a World Heritage of outstanding natural beauty, known in Vietnamese as “Dragon descending to the sea“. Depending on each cruise’s itinerary of the day, you may visit a beautiful cave, have some swimming at Titop Island or Soi Sim beach.
Wake up by the sounds of the sea. After breakfast, cruise will take tourists to explore the most stunning caves in Halong. At around 10:30, boat starts cruising back to the harbor while brunch is served. We continue cruising through the bay, along the way seeing more of the fascinating formations. Mid day, Back on shore we will then transfer by car Hanoi. You will have a hotel room to have some rest before the departure. Around 21:15 transfer to train station for the night train to Dong Hoi.
You will be transfer to the meeting point and have Vietnamese breakfast before beginning the trip. You can leave all your luggage at the office in the storage room. After a safety briefing, checking gear and signing our Release Form, the day adventure begins with a 2 km walk across peanut and buffalo fields to reach the Rao Nan River. After crossing the river you’ll reach the impressive Hang Chuot (Rat Cave) to explore its massive formations for up to 280m. Return back to the river another way, then trek through Hung Ton Valley to reach Hung Ton Cave. Explore this wild cave by descending a 15 m ladder with a safety rope before swimming 50m through the cave and following an underground river to reach To Mo Valley, where a delicious BBQ lunch will be awaiting you. After swimming at the waterfall, trek over Hung Ton Mountain (1 km), across Hung Ton Valley (500 m), and another small hill down to Rao Nan River (500 m). You’ll finish the day crossing back over peanut and buffalo fields (2.5 km) to the Oxalis Headquarters, where a cold drink and shower will be awaiting your return. Late afternoon (around 17:30), return to Phong Nha and you will be dropped at your hotel. Please make sure that your health is suitable for these activities with ease: 9km jungle and mountain trekking, rocky terrain. Elevation change up to 150m (between valley and top of mountain). 50m swimming in caves. 1 km caving.
Requirements: Basic trekking experience, swimming skill. You will need a long (easy to dry) pants and 1 long sleeved shirt to wear during the trek (quick dry), a pair of trekking boots/shoes – difficult terrain, good footwear necessary. Gore-Tex/waterproof boots are NOT recommended as they do not drain well (if you prefer your own comfortable pair), change of clothes after the tour, a pair of calf length densely woven socks (not ankle socks!). Personal items: mosquito repellent, sunglasses, hat, camera… *** If your health is not suitable for the adventure in Tu Lan Cave, you have the option to visit Phong Nha Cave and Paradise Cave with an easier trekking. A group of British scientists came to discover the cave in 2005 and they assessed that this is the longest dry cave in Asia, especially; there are plenty of beautiful stalactites.
This morning, head south to Hue. On the way you will visit some of the war sites of the Vietnam-American War, including the Vinh Moc Tunnels, Ben Hai River, Hien Luong Bridge, and Dong Ha Town. Have picnic lunch at a simple restaurant. Next stop will be at the ancient citadel of Quang Tri which was built in 1824, during the 4th year of the reign of Emperor Minh Mang. The citadel still bears the scars of one of the fiercest battles during the Vietnam-American War.
Enjoy a scenic boat trip on the Perfume River to Thien Mu Pagoda, one of the oldest ancient architectural structures for religious worship in Hue.Visit the Hue Citadel. The Hue Citadel is situated on the Northern bank of the Perfume River and built by Emperor Gia Long it was designed for the exclusive use of the Emperor and his household. The Citadel is a square 2 km wall encompassing 3 walled enclosures; the Citadel, Kinh Thanh Hue, the Yellow Imperial city, Hoang Thanh and in the centre the Forbidden Purple city Tu Cam Thanh where the Emperor lived. The Hue royal complex has been officially recognized by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.Continue your tour with a visit to royal tomb of Tu Duc, considered to be one of the most beautiful mausoleums around Hue. Construction of the tombs was meticulous carried out starting whilst the king was still alive in order to ensure his comfort in the next life. Visit the colorful Dong Ba market. Overnight in Hue.
In the morning, our guide & driver pick you up at your hotel. Drive to Hoi An. Along the way, stop for photo of the “best coastal way” Hai Van Pass and arrival around noon. Check in hotel in Hoi An. In the afternoon, your guide will take you for a city tour through the ancient town by bike. Its friendly inhabitants, narrow streets, old houses, temples and wooden bridge still remain its ancient character. Overnight in Hoi An.
Morning trip in Cam Thanh Village. Pick up from your hotel, the transportation by boat is around 15 minutes during which we are exploring the Thu Bon river, then we transfer on a typical local boat to reach Bay Mau Coconuts palm forest. You can enjoy the verdant nature all around while learning what it is possible to do with the coconuts palm leaves.Then we continue our trip by bicycle to reach Dap Muoi – a place where is produced the salt. We run our bike in the countrysides and explore Cam Thanh Village. We pass through a little path bordering the river and come across a variety of sceneries such as rice fields, fish farms and lots of others. During this tour you will have the chance to meet and have a talk with locals people, moreover you can take unique pictures of the wonderful landscapes.We will also spend time for fishing by the traditional way with inhabitants, they will be so happy to cook for you the special grilled fish in banana leaves. It is a really pleasant time for relaxing and enjoying the fresh air of the countrysides.Transfer to the airport for your flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Free at leisure for rest of day.
After breakfast, you will discover the largest city in Vietnam – Ho Chi Minh city with its most prominent attractions such as Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral, Saigon Center Post Office and visit the ethnic Chinese district at Binh Tay Market. Free at leisure in the afternoon.
Depart from Ho Chi Minh City at 7:00. Reaching Cai Be at around 9:30, we will firstly visit Cao Dai Temple Cai Be with the Caodaism, an unique homegrown religion founded in Vietnam; and Cai Be Catholic Church. After that, embark on a boat to enjoy a peaceful cruise to the colorful local markets. Transfer into a hand-rowing boat, this smaller boat can glide through the narrow canals to enjoy the lush scenery further. Back to the main tourist boat and head to Tan Phong Island. Take a short rest, have a drink and taste the local fresh fruits. Next, we will cycle around Tan Phong. The sight of fruit orchards, bonsai gardens, and the daily life are sure to astound you. If it is on school days, you can have a chance to meet cute pupils in the village school who are always happy to say “Hello” to you.After lunch, leave Tan Phong Island, back to the mainland and transfer to hotel in Can Tho.
Start from the early morning, leave Can Tho to make our way up the river to the market at Cai Rang, which is about 6km away. It’s one of the most photogenic spots you’ll find in Vietnam. The most famous and largest floating market in the Mekong Delta, it’s a colorful, bustling affair, with hundreds of boats jostling for position, both buying and selling. Sellers tie their goods to a tall pole so it’s easy to find what you are looking for. If anything, a boat trip is a great experience to have a somewhat more personal experience on the market because it really is a memorable and fascinating adventure. You will see bustling activities along the riverbanks as well as how they transport passengers and goods by the waterway. To understand more about local lifestyle, keep on cruising into smaller canal. Disembark to visit Binh Thuy Temple and the 135 year Binh Thuy Ancient House. Transfer back to Ho Chi Minh City and transfer to the airport
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