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A 16-day experience from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City

  • 02/24/2019 - 03/11/2019
  • 16 Days
  • Starting price $4,295

Discover Vietnam’s highlights and architectural spectacles through its natural wonders and retained old-styled identity on this small group fascinating journey with an architectural expert. Explore Hanoi, known for its Chinese and French-inspired architecture, with visits to the Temple of Literature, Ba Dinh Square, and Presidential Palace. See breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage sites including, Ha Long Bay, Hoi An’s Old Town, and Hue’s Imperial Citadel. Cruise the Perfume River to Thien Mu Pagoda, a vital Buddhist monastery. Experience lively Saigon, Can Tho, and nearby towns all with world-class accommodations.

Call now to book! 1.800.293.5725

Max Guests - 24

Architectural highlights

  • Visit the Temple of Literature, founded in 1070 and dedicated to Confucius, later becoming Vietnam’s first university.
  • Marvel at the Imperial Citadel, which houses the Forbidden Purple City.
  • Enjoy visiting the Museum of Cham Sculpture, home to the world’s largest collection of Cham sculptures and artifacts.
  • Explore the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, a massive granite tomb complex inspired by Lenin’s Mausoleum in Moscow.  
  • Discover the town of Hoi An with architecture inspired by Dutch, Chinese, Portuguese, and Japanese traders.
  • Admire the peaceful Thien Mu Pagoda, a Buddhist monastery.
  • Visit the lively floating vegetable market at Cai Rang.
  • Take in the complex Cu Chi Tunnels of Saigon.

 

More highlights

  • See the Hoan Kiem Lake in the heart of Hanoi.
  • Explore the Ancient Quarter, also referred to as the “36 Streets District”, where goods of all types are bought and sold.
  • Enjoy the 1,000-year-old One Pillar Pagoda, built on a single stone pillar to resemble a lotus blossom.
  • Tour the Ba Dinh Square, a popular complex of cultural and historic sites.
  • Awe at UNESCO World Heritage site Ha Long Bay, also known as the “Bay of the Descending Dragon.”
  • Walk through the Dong Ba central market where locals buy their produce, fish, meat, and sundry items.
  • This trip qualifies for 18 AIA learning units.

 

Accommodation(s):

Ideally situated just minutes from the Old Quarter, the InterContinental Hanoi Westlake is located on the peaceful waters of the largest lake in the city and is adjacent to the famous 800-year-old Golden Lotus Pagoda. Wyndham Legend Halong is located on the coastline of Bai Chay with stunning views of Ha Long Bay and Bai Chay Bridge, and offers an easy access to the downtown and surrounding attractions. Hyatt Regency Danang Resort and Spa, a luxury beach resort in Da Nang, is situated on a tranquil stretch of white sandy beach. Saigon Morin Hotel in Hue is located in the heart of Hue city, offering the best view of Truong Tien Bridge and Perfume River. Hotel Saigon Morin features the French colonial style and luxurious facilities. The Victoria Can Tho Resort is nestled on the banks of the Hau River in the heart of the Mekong Delta. Sofitel Saigon Plaza is located in Ho Chi Minh City's business district within walking distance of Reunification Palace, Ben Thanh Market, and other key destinations.This high-rise hotel features a rooftop pool with city views. All hotels offer competitive amenities and world-class rooms guaranteed to make your stay relaxing.

 

Also included

  • 13 nights’ accommodations in listed properties
  • 2 internal flights within itinerary
  • 26 meals: 13 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 8 dinners
  • An experienced Tour Director, in addition to the Architectural Adventures Educational Expert.
  • Entrance fees for all included visits
  • Private motorcoach transportation throughout the trip
  • Gratuities for local guides, bus drivers, porters, airport, hotel and restaurant staff
  • Luggage handling for one bag per person

 

What to expect

  • Appropriate for people in good health with overall good mobility
  • Traveler should be comfortable participating in a full day of sightseeing
  • Activities range from light to moderate intensity at an easy pace, but with lengthy walks, sometimes on uneven terrain, and climbing on stairs.

 

Price

  • Land only price: $4,295 per person, based on double occupancy
  • Air inclusive price:  $5,087 per person, based on double occupancy, from Los Angeles, San Francisco, or New York. ($4,895 air & land inclusive plus $192 airline taxes and fees). Air inclusive pricing form other US departure cities available upon request.
  • $1,495 single supplement
  • A deposit of $500 per person, payable by credit card or check is required to reserve a space
  • Deposits are applied to payment of the total price and the final payment is due by November 21, 2018

 

Not included

Airfare and air departure taxes and fees if purchasing a land-only package; airport transfers if purchasing a land-only package; passport and visa fees (if required); meals not specified in the itinerary; beverages not part of the included meals; personal items and expenses; gratuities to tour director, gratuities other than specified; travel and trip cancellation insurance; airline baggage fees and excess baggage fees; pre or post-tour extension; optional sightseeing; communication charges; other items not specifically mentioned in the itinerary or as included.

 

Prices, itinerary, accommodations and experts subject to change.

 

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Architectural Adventures tours are managed by professional tour operators retained as independent contractors by The American Institute of Architects. To read Architectural Adventures full Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer visit architecturaladventures.org/travel-terms. To read the tour-specific terms and conditions from our tour operator Odysseys Unlimited visit architecturaladventures.org/odysseys

 

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Itinerary

Overview

Begin your journey

Depart from your preferred airport and fly to Hanoi, Vietnam over a two-day period.
Overview

Arrive in Hanoi

Arrive in the Vietnamese capital and feel free to rest and take advantage of the hotel’s amenities.

Accommodations: InterContinental Hanoi Westlake
Overview

French-accented Hanoi

Embark on a tour of this French-accented city with broad tree-lined boulevards and colonial architecture. Pass by the stunning Hoan Kiem Lake in the heart of the city before seeing the Temple of Literature, founded in 1070 and dedicated to Confucius, later becoming Vietnam’s first university and today remaining a place of worship. Visit Hoa Lo Prison, also known as Hanoi Hilton. This is where the North Vietnamese Army held American soldiers captive during the Vietnam War. Walk through the narrow streets of the Ancient Quarter, also referred to as the 36 Streets District, where goods of all types are bought and sold, alongside houses and temples. In the evening, attend a traditional Vietnamese water puppet performance and then enjoy a welcome dinner at a local restaurant.

Accommodations: InterContinental Hanoi Westlake
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Overview

The complex history of Hanoi

Enjoy a walking tour of Ba Dinh Square, a popular complex of cultural and historic sites. This was where Communist Party leader Ho Chi Minh read the Declaration of Independence, officially establishing the nation of Vietnam in 1945. See the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, a massive granite tomb complex inspired by Lenin’s Mausoleum in Moscow. Inside, Ho Chi Minh rests in a glass sarcophagus. Explore the bright-mustard French colonial Presidential Palace, and 1,000-year-old One Pillar Pagoda, built on a single stone pillar to resemble a lotus blossom. Get a taste of local life in Hanoi while visiting the lively Long Bien market, where local restaurateurs stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables. Then, take a sightseeing tour by bicycle or coach of several nearby villages and visit an artist community. Finally, enjoy a home-hosted dinner in Hanoi.

Accommodations: InterContinental Hanoi Westlake
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Overview

A boat ride through Ha Long Bay

Depart for the UNESCO World Heritage site Ha Long Bay, also known as the Bay of the Descending Dragon. Vietnam’s legendary waterway is sprinkled with some 3,000 islets, and surrounded by a fairytale landscape of limestone cliffs, secret grottoes, and hidden caves. Enjoy a boat ride on the placid waters, a lunch of local seafood specialties, and several stops to explore the isles. After touring, check in at the hotel, which overlooks the bay.

Accommodations: Wyndham Legend Halong
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overview

Experience the Museum of Cham Sculpture in Da Nang

Fly to Da Nang, Vietnam’s third largest city and the commercial and educational hub of central Vietnam. Tour the praised Museum of Cham Sculpture, home to the world’s largest collection of Cham sculptures and artifacts, all dating from the 5th to 15th centuries. The Cham people have been influenced by many forces ranging from Chinese to Indian to Arabian. Built in 1915, the museum is constructed, like the art inside, in Cham style, with simple lines, smooth corners, and windows open to the sea air.

Accommodations: Hyatt Regency Danang
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Overview

Explore Hoi An by foot

Travel to the nearby town of Hoi An, an ancient market city riddled with canals and waterways, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Hoi An was originally the commercial capital of the Cham people before the Dutch, Chinese, Portuguese, and Japanese traders contributed to the building of an architecturally diverse and colorful village. Hoi An was known as one of the most important trading ports in all of Asia in the 17th century. These days, the streets belong to pedestrians and bicyclists, as no cars are allowed in the old town. Take in the sights during a walking tour past the low, tile-roofed houses lining narrow streets; the Japanese covered bridge; and the Chinese communal house. The afternoon is at leisure to either remain in Hoi An and explore, or to return to the beachside resort for a relaxing afternoon.

Accommodations: Hyatt Regency Danang
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Overview

Life of a Da Nang local

Visit a neighboring village, nestled amidst seemingly endless rice paddies. Gain a special insight into the everyday life of a local farming community. Walk through the village past modest homes, gardens of vegetables and fruit, the village temple, and a husking mill. Look into the living rooms of street-lined homes, and notice that many have displays of Ho Chi Minh and shrines to their deities. Tonight, return to the town of Hoi An for a cooking lesson and dinner.

Accommodations: Hyatt Regency Danang
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Overview

Hue by cyclo

Journey to the ancient imperial capital of Hue, whose temples and attractions evoke its past grandeur as home to emperors and mandarins. Ride in a traditional cyclo, a three-wheeled bicycle, and tour the Imperial Citadel, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The innermost complex houses the Forbidden Purple City, where only the emperor, his family, and his servants were allowed entrance. A vast complex of palaces, residences, temples, courtyards, and gates, the Imperial Citadel was built in 1804 to resemble the Forbidden City of Beijing. Walk through the Dong Ba central market where locals buy their produce, fish, meat, and sundry items. Enjoy a Hue dinner outdoors, accompanied by a performance of traditional music.

Accommodations: Saigon Morin Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Overview

The tombs of Hue

Cruise along Hue’s Perfume River by sampan, a traditional, flat-bottomed boat used by coastal fishermen, and arrive at peaceful Thien Mu Pagoda, a Buddhist monastery. The pagoda was built in 1601 by the first ruler of the Nguyen dynasty, and its seven-story octagonal tower makes it the tallest religious building in Vietnam. Next, visit the palatial Tomb of Minh Mang, modeled after the Ming Tombs of China. Surrounded by a forest and sitting on the west bank of the Perfume River, this complex contains an elaborate series of gates, pavilions, staircases, and bridges, all leading to the emperor’s tomb. Visit two additional tombs: Tu Duc, considered one of the most beautiful works of royal architecture from the Nguyen dynasty; and Khai Dinh, an elaborate architectural mélange of European and Asian with ancient and modern styles.

Accommodations: Saigon Morin Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Overview

Journey to Can Tho

Board an early flight and arrive in Saigon before transferring to a motor coach for the drive south to the Mekong River town of Cai Be. From there, travel by coach to the busy river port of Can Tho, the provincial capital where the various waterways that comprise the Mekong Delta converge.

Accommodations: Victoria Can Tho Resort
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Overview

River life along the Mekong

Explore the bustling floating vegetable market at Cai Rang, one of many such markets on the Mekong’s lower reaches. Discover the Old Can Tho market on foot, soaking up more of Vietnamese market life. Then travel by coach to the upper reaches of the storied Mekong. Board motorized sampans for an up-close look at river life and explore the maze of tributaries and inlets that lead to tiny settlements and villages populated by fishermen and farmers. Reminiscent of the canals and creeks of the American bayou, these channels wind through the overgrown landscape and provide transport, trade, and connection to the outside world for these settlements.

Accommodations: Victoria Can Tho Resort
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Overview

Discover the history of Saigon

Arrive in Saigon and take a tour that includes the former Presidential Palace, the wartime headquarters that remains preserved just as it was on April 30, 1975, when Communist tanks entered the city. The History Museum houses a fine collection of art and artifacts of Vietnam’s indigenous peoples. See the stunning Central Post Office and the Jade Emperor Pagoda, which was built in honor of this supreme Taoist god. Constructed in 1909 by Saigon’s Chinese community, the pagoda is still a working shrine used by locals and is known for its intricate wood panel carvings and statues depicting scenes from Taoist and Buddhist lore.

Accommodations: Sofitel Saigon Plaza
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Overview

Explore the Cu Chi Tunnels of Saigon

Built over a period of 25 years beginning in the 1940s to sabotage the French occupiers, the tunnels are marvels of engineering, stretching from Saigon to the Cambodian border. Tour the excavations above or brave a descend into one of the underground tunnels. Tonight, gather for a farewell dinner.

Accommodations: Sofitel Saigon Plaza
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Overview

Saigon at Leisure / Depart Vietnam

Enjoy the morning at leisure, and in the afternoon depart Vietnam. Please note: due to earlier flight times, the day at leisure in Saigon is not available to guests on the optional Cambodia: Angkor Wat extension.
Meals: Breakfast
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