There are few times in a man’s life when he has the opportunity to walk the places that profoundly shaped the rest of his life – places that have deep meaning for him – places with names like Saigon, Cu Chi, Da Nang, China Beach, Dong Ha, Route 9, Khe Sanh, and many, many more. This tour covers such famous sites in which you served or that you have heard. It starts in Saigon – the old capital of South Vietnam and finishes at the DMZ – once the partition line between the two Vietnams.
Day 1: Arrival – Sai Gon ( D )
Pick up at Tan Son Nhat airport. Transfer to hotel. Free for leisure. Overnight in Sai Gon. Hotel: Sen Viet ( 3-star hotel )
Day 2: Sai Gon city tour ( B, L )
After breakfast, we will have an early departure for a full day of seeing the local sites including the Notre Dame Cathedral, the old Post Office, the Presidential Palace and the Army Museum. We will have lunch at a local restaurant before departing to famous Cu Chi Tunnel system – a 200 km long tunnels used by the VC guerrillas during the Vietnam War. Drive back to Sai Gon. Overnight in Sai Gon.
Hotel: Sen Viet ( 3-star hotel )
Day 3: Sai Gon – Mekong delta ( B, L )
Morning departure for the Mekong Delta to board a boat in the quaint provincial town of My Tho and then wind our way through the labyrinth of small canals bordered by tiny villages. After viewing the endless fields of rice paddies tended by peasants in their traditional conical-shaped hats we transfer to a sampan for a tour of scenic Thoison Island. We will have lunch on the island and view the unique pottery produced on the island. Drive back to Sai Gon.
Overnight in Sai Gon.
Hotel: Sen Viet ( 3-star hotel )
Day 4: Sai Gon – Da Nang – Hoi An ( B, L )
We check out and catch a morning flight to Da Nang. On arrival in Da Nang we have lunch at a local restaurant then take a city tour of Da Nang with visits to Cham Museum containing the finest collection of Cham sculpture , the China Beach – once famous as an R&R for U.S soldiers during the Vietnam war and the five sacred hills known as the Marble Mountains containing dozens of Buddhist shrines where you will get a panoramic view of the whole city. Then transfer to Hoi An. Check in into Pho Hoi Riverside hotel. Overnight in Hoi An.
Hotel: Pho Hoi Riverside hotel ( 3-star hotel )
Day 5: Hoi An – Hue ( B, L )
The ancient architecture of Hoian is a fascinating combination of Vietnamese traditional characters with Chinese and Japanese influence. There are plenty to see in this delightful and tranquil town, some of which are the famous Japanese Covered Bridge, the Chinese Fujian Assembly Hall, the 200-year-old Tan Ky House and the vibrant market of Hoi An to shop for souvenirs.
We visit these on our morning walking tour past many low tiled houses scattered along the small streets and assembly halls which reflect the town’s multi-cultural past. After lunch at a local in Hoi An we drive to Hue. We have a photo stop at the top of Hai Van pass; a view from the top of the pass is one of Vietnam’s most impressive panoramic scenes. On arrival in Hue transfer to Vina or Orchid hotel. Overnight in Hue.
Day 6: Hue city tour ( B, L )
This day we will explore the city of Hue. In the morning we take a boat trip on the Perfume River to riverside pagoda of Thien Mu which now becomes the symbol of Hue, then transfer by car to visit the Imperial City and the Purple Forbidden City – the royal residence the Nguyen Emperors destroyed during the 1968 Tet. ( however it is still fascinating to walk among the ruins).
Lunch at a local restaurant. We spend this afternoon visiting the two royal tombs of the Nguyen Emperors; the first one is the elaborate tomb of Emperor Tu Duc – one of the most beautiful works of royal architecture of the Nguyen dynasty, and the Emperor himself had the longest reign of all in the Nguyen Dynasty ( 1847-1883 ).
The second is the tomb of Emperor Khai Dinh which represents a fusion of traditional Vietnamese style and modern influence. On the way back to the town we pull over at an intense and conical hat making village to see the daily life of the locals. Overnight in Hue.
Hotel: Vina hotel or Orchid Hotel
Day 7: Full-day battlefield-DMZ area ( B, L,D )
Depart in Hue and head north on Highway 1 toward Dong Ha. Stop at sites along the way ( important to the 1972 Easter Offensive ), such as Highway of Horror, Quang Tri Citadel, the Ai Tu Airfield ). From Dong Ha, we proceed west on Route 9 and pass by a series of the old U.S Marines’ firebases such as Camp Carroll, Fuller, Ridge, Razorback, Sarge, Vandergrift….
The first stop is the Rockpile, an important look-out of the Marines south of the DMZ. We will view the old tactical area where the Marines fought in the famous operations, Hasting and Prairie. Our next stop will be one of the main branches of the legendary Ho Chi Minh Trail ( the road no. 14 ) which leads to the infamous Ashau Valley and the Hamburger Hill ), the elaborate supply line of the North Vietnamese Army.
Keep driving up to Khe Sanh plateau, on the way we have a photo stop at a beautiful village of the local Bru Montargnards. The last stop in the morning is Khe Sanh Combat Base – the Bunker at old Con Tien firebase below the DMZ large Marines combat base attacked by a massive force of the North Vietnamese Army in early 1968 ( visit the museum, take a walk around the base and on the old runway ).
Drive back to Dong Ha for lunch break. After lunch, we head north to the old DMZ, the old de – facto border between North and South Vietnam for 18 years. Stop at the Peace bridge across the Ben Hai River , the river that was the only true physical demarcation line between the two Vietnams. The last stop of the day is Vinh Moc tunnels, the refuge of some 400 North Vietnamese refugees during the bombing operation “ Rolling Thunder “. Drive all the way back to Hue.
Hotel: Vina hotel or Orchid hotel.
End of the tour.
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