Please note: For those traveling in 2015, your itinerary may vary slightly from what is presented below.
Day 1 - Depart the U.S.
Depart from the U.S. and travel to Vietnam. The particulars
of your arrival are detailed with your flight itinerary and airline tickets.
Day 2 - Arrive in Hanoi
Upon arrival in Hanoi, claim your luggage and clear customs.
Your VBT representative will be holding a VBT sign and will help you transfer
to your Hanoi hotel.
VBT provides you with City Information in your Final Travel
Booklet that includes information and recommendations on what to see and do in
Hanoi during your stay.
Please note: This transfer has been pre-arranged by VBT and
does not require direct payment. Please confirm with the driver that this transfer
has been pre-paid—if the driver requests funds from you, this is not your
scheduled transfer and you should not take it.
Day 3 - Meet Trip Leaders / Hanoi / Orientation tour
VBT No-Air Package guests:
Please plan to arrive at your Hanoi hotel by 2:00 pm. If you are unable to
arrive before 2:00 pm, please contact VBT during regular business hours (Monday
– Friday, 8:30 am to 5:30 pm, ET) at 800-245-3868 to inform us of your
arrival time, or contact the hotel on the day the tour begins to let them know
when you will arrive. The hotel will pass the message on to your Trip Leaders.
VBT Air Package guests: After breakfast, your morning is
free to do as you please. While choosing your activities for the day, you may
wish to keep in mind that a guided tour of the city is included later in the
program, featuring visits to Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum, Ba Dinh Square, the
exterior of the Presidential Palace, Ho Chi Minh's house and One Pillar Pagoda.
You may wish to visit different sites on this day to avoid duplicate activities
later in the trip.
VBT Pre-extension guests: Greet the day on deck while the
sun rises over Halong Bay. After breakfast on the junk, visit a limestone
grotto and then cruise back to Halong city and Halong wharf. Transfer by
shuttle back to your hotel in Hanoi (approximately 3 hours), where you join the
At 2:00 pm, all guests meet in the lobby for a short walking
tour around this historic city of lakes, tree-lined boulevards and French-Colonial
architecture. Later, return to your hotel to meet your VBT Trip Leaders, who
provide a briefing of the week ahead. Dine with the group at the hotel.
Day 4 - Explore Hanoi / Water puppet performance
Sleep in today or join an early-morning walk to Hoan Kiem
Lake to experience the city as it shakes off its slumber. You may see locals
practicing Tai Chi by the lake, families out for a stroll and street vendors
setting out their wares. Then return to the hotel for breakfast before
embarking on a tour of the city, including visits to Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum,
Ba Dinh Square, the exterior of the Presidential Palace, Ho Chi Minh's house
and One Pillar Pagoda.
After lunch at a local restaurant, return to the hotel for a
rest or a swim. In the late afternoon, pick up the pace with a cyclo (rickshaw)
ride through the Old Quarter. Here, shops sell everything from therapeutic
herbs and prayer flags to shoes and hardware. The next stop is a small theater,
where we watch a mesmerizing water puppet performance. Afterward, we dine at a
Day 5 - Fly to Hue / Take a warm-up ride
After breakfast, explore on your own before transferring to
the airport for our flight to Hue.
From 1802 to 1945, this was Vietnam's Imperial City; it
boasts a vast citadel and the tombs of its emperors. After we check in to our
Hue hotel, attend a safety and bike-fitting session with your Trip Leaders.
Then, take a warm-up ride that includes a visit to a local orphanage and the
Mausoleum of Khai Dinh. (You may wish to bring along a small gift, such as a
book, pens or paper that may be shared among the children.) At dinner, feast on
local specialties in the hotel's dining room.
PLEASE NOTE: In order
to operate this trip, VBT keeps two fleets of bikes in the country, one in
central Vietnam and another in southern Vietnam. You will receive the same
bike-type and bike-size in both locations and your leaders will ensure that
both bikes are tuned to your liking.
Day 6 - Visit Forbidden Purple City and Imperial City
This morning we shuttle from the hotel to our ride's
starting point, then we'll cycle along the banks of the Perfume River, where
you may see dragon boats, sampans and traditional houseboats with their rooftop
shrines. We pedal on quiet country roads through villages to Thien Mu Pagoda.
After touring the pagoda, board a local boat to enjoy a relaxing cruise along
the river. As we conclude our river idyll, drivers will be waiting to transfer
us to the ancient Imperial Citadel. Within the citadel, just past Hien Nhan
Gate, lies the Imperial City and the Forbidden Purple City. We'll leave our
bikes to take a walking tour of this massive enclosure.
After an included lunch and a short transfer, continue cycling southeast
of the city, through rice fields and past duck and fish farms. In the village
of Cau Ngoi Thanh Toan, look for a small covered bridge. Built over two
centuries ago, it has weathered many storms, floods and wars, but it has been
the soul of the Thanh Toan villagers for generations. While in the village,
stop at the market for a truly local experience. Continue riding to the Hue
Sport Center before transferring by shuttle back to the hotel.
Tonight, we get another view of the city's splendid past.
Our dinner venue is a garden restaurant comprised of five authentic 19th- and
early 20th-century Hue houses.
Day 7 - Cycle coastal roads / Shuttle to Hoi An
After breakfast, we transfer to Thuan An Beach and begin
cycling along the beach road and through fishing villages. After crossing the
Phu Thu Bridge, we arrive at the American-built Phu Bai Airport, where you
re-board a minibus and continue to travel toward Hoi An. We'll eat lunch in
Lang Co. Then, transfer up the Hai Van pass (“Pass of the Ocean Clouds”),
stopping at the top to take photos of the breathtaking views of both sides of
the 1,600-foot mountain ridge. From here, our shuttle passes through the city
of Da Nang to an area known as Marble Mountain. Later, we'll stop at Non Nuoc
village, which is known for its stone works. From here, our route traces Non
Nuoc Beach, locally referred to as “New China Beach.” This huge expanse of fine
white sand is just south of the original “China Beach.” Along the way you might
spot locals making bamboo basket boats. Then, continue to Hoi An, where you
check in to your hotel on the banks of the Thu Bon River. Try one of the local
restaurants for dinner this evening.
Day 8 - Cycle through Thuan Tinh / Walking tour of Hoi An
After breakfast, begin cycling with the Thu Bon River on
your right, passing many fishing boats and small houses. As we bike through
Thuan Tinh Ecological Village, we can stop to observe family temples and Areca-nut
gardens. Continue cycling through a water-coconut palm forest and past a
fishing farm before our ride takes us back to Hoi An for lunch.
After lunch, take part in a walking tour of Hoi An's Old
Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Discover the local market, Tan Ky House,
Japanese Bridge and a Chinese temple. Tonight, you are free to enjoy dinner on
your own at one of the many open-air restaurants on Bach Dang, the waterfront
road in Hoi An.
Day 9 - Fly to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) / Independent exploration
Enjoy breakfast and a leisurely start to the day at our
resort. In the late morning, transfer to Da Nang and enjoy lunch at a local
restaurant before continuing to the airport for your flight to Saigon (Ho Chi
Minh City). Upon arrival, transfer to the centrally located Majestic Hotel, a
comfortable home base for exploring Vietnam's liveliest city.
Day 10 - Cycle the Mekong Delta / Visit to the floating market
This morning, shuttle (approximately 1 hour) to Tan An town
in the Mekong Delta area. Then, cycle through the lush land, rich with orange,
papaya, grapefruit and mango trees. As you ride, note motorists resourcefully
transporting pigs and coconuts on their mopeds. Our ride today ends when we
stop for lunch in My Tho City. In the afternoon, we'll transfer back to Saigon
(approximately 2 hours), where we'll visit the Vinh Trang Pagoda, an ancient
southern architectural gem. Built in 1849, the structure is a mixture of Asian
and European architecture, which blends elements from the Renaissance period
with Romanesque style, French decorative flowers and Japanese enameled tile.
Tonight, try another of Ho Chi Minh City's wonderful
restaurants on your own.
Day 11 - Explore the Cu Chi tunnels / Cycle to Hoc Mon
After breakfast, shuttle approximately 1 hour north of Ho
Chi Minh City to Cu Chi, the site of the infamous military tunnels. We arrive
by bicycle and talk with a local Vietcong before visiting the passageways
themselves. The Cu Chi tunnels are a 75-mile-long underground maze where the Vietcong
quite literally dug themselves out of harm's way. After our visit, we'll
continue to cycle to Ben Nay for an included lunch, and then ride on to Hoc Mon, where the
van waits to shuttle us back to the hotel. This evening, visit the former home
of a U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam and meet the current owners during a special
Day 12 - Discover Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) / Fly to U.S. or begin Post-trip
Extension to Cambodia
This morning, set out on a walking tour to visit the former
Presidential Palace, the site of the former U.S. Embassy, Notre Dame Cathedral,
City Hall (Hotel de Ville), the Historical Museum or the War Remnant Museum,
and the Rex Hotel, famous for the regular press briefings that became known as
the “five o'clock follies” during the U.S./Vietnam War. Enjoy a last Vietnamese lunch together in one
of the city's great restaurants before spending some free time shopping or
exploring on your last day in the country.
VBT No Air Package guests: Your trip ends in the late
afternoon at our Ho Chi Minh City hotel. You are responsible for your own
transfer to the Ho Chi Minh City airport for your flight home. You can book a
taxi (approximately $6-$9 USD, depending on traffic) direct from the hotel.
Please confirm the fare with your driver in advance to ensure the most direct
route to the airport (approximately 30 minutes, 7.5 miles).
VBT Air Package guests: Your afternoon is at your leisure
and dinner is on your own. Then, meet in the hotel lobby 3 hours prior to your
flight departure (subject to change per required check-in time at the airport)
for transfer (approximately 30 minutes) to the Ho Chi Minh City airport for
your flight home. Most flights depart just before midnight. You arrive one day
later in the U.S.
VBT Post-Trip Extension guests: Meet in the hotel lobby 3
hours prior to your flight departure (subject to change per required check-in
time at the airport) for your transfer (approximately 30 minutes) to the Ho Chi
Minh City airport. Upon arrival in Siem Reap, claim your luggage and clear
customs. Then meet your VBT representative, who will be holding a VBT sign. He
or she will help you transfer (approximately 20-minutes) to your Siem Reap
hotel, Sofitel Phokeethra Royal Angkor Resort. VBT provides you with City
Information in your Final Travel Booklet that includes information and
recommendations on what to see and do during your stay.
Please note: VBT transfer times and departure points are
finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you
extend your stay beyond the scheduled program dates, return transportation to
the airport will be at your own expense.
Day 13 - Arrive in the U.S.
You will arrive in the United States today.