14574
Vietnam
Extension: Northern Vietnam Discovery
Enjoy three additional nights in Northern Vietnam, immersing yourself in tranquil villages, traditional art, sacred temples and Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Rating (4.8)
Program No. 14574RJ
Length
5 days
Starts at
995
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5 days
4 nights
10 meals
4 B 3 L 3 D
DAY
1
Arrival in Hanoi, Old Quarter, Water Puppet Show
Hanoi
D
La Belle Vie Hotel

Activity note: This is a post-program extension to the main program (#19033). You are flying from Saigon on this day. You will receive your ticket while in Saigon from our local coordinator.

Afternoon: Transfer to program hotel. Check-in is available from 2:00 p.m. Your introduction to Hanoi is an excursion around the Old Quarter and Hoan Kiem Lake via an electric car (golf cart-like car that sits 4 to 8 people). We will then see a “Mua Roi Nuoc” performance -- a water puppet show. Water puppetry is performed in a pool, depicting scenes from rural life and episodes of national history. This uniquely northern Vietnamese art form is a centuries old variation on ancient Asian puppet traditions. Puppets would be put out to watch over crops, and when fields flooded, villagers would entertain themselves with the puppets.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, enjoy a meal featuring Vietnamese cuisine with appetizer, choice of entrée, and dessert.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
2
Transfer to Halong Bay, Cruise Halong Bay
Halong Bay
B,L,D
Bai Tho Junks

Activity note: The transfer to Halong Bay is approximately 3.5 hours (113 miles) with a stop along the way. Getting on/off a Vietnamese Junk boat. We will anchor and spend the night aboard the boat. Land excursions require getting in/out of rowboats; the rowboats comfortably sit 4 people, plus the rower; we will not be rowing the boats ourselves, the rowers are the locals wearing a traditional costume. Walking about 1 mile total throughout the day.

Breakfast: At the hotel, the extensive breakfast buffet offers a variety of Asian and Western choices such as hot foods, eggs, hot and cold cereals, fruit, breads and pastries, yogurt, milk, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we board our motorcoach and transfer to Halong Bay. En route, enjoy a journey through rich farmlands of the Red River Delta and the scenery of rice fields, water buffalo and everyday Vietnamese village life. Then, board a Vietnamese Junk. Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is part of the Gulf of Tonkin in northeast Vietnam, renowned for its extraordinary natural beauty. The action of waves and tides over millions of years have shaped more than 1,600 limestone islands and islets into dramatic shapes, most uninhabited and unaffected by human presence, that form a spectacular seascape of gigantic pillars. It is also a place of exceptional biodiversity. Research has shown that the area was inhabited tens of thousands of years ago. In 2012, Ha Long Bay was named one of the New 7 Natural Wonders of the World.

Lunch: Aboard the boat, we will have a buffet meal, plus choice of coffee or tea, with water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Ha Long Bay includes some 1,600 islands and islets, forming a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars, most uninhabited and unaffected by human presence. During our study cruise, we will visit a local fishing village. With our Group Leader we will transfer form the Vietnamese Junk boat to the rowboats. The rowers will the locals wearing a traditional costume.

Dinner: Amid the light atmosphere and cool breeze aboard ship, enjoy more Vietnamese flavor with appetizer, choice of entrée, and dessert.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Halong Bay Cruise, To Hanoi, Women's Museum, Free Time
Hanoi
B,L
La Belle Vie Hotel

Activity note: Land excursions require getting in/out of rowboats. Walking about 1 mile total throughout the day, including through the cave; rocky and uneven terrain, steps, some railings. The Cave entrance has descending steep stairs with no hand railings. The transfer back to Hanoi is approximately 3.5 hours (113 miles) with a stop along the way.

Breakfast: Aboard the boat, enjoy sun rising over the bay. We will have coffee, tea and pastries.

Morning: We continue cruising along beautiful Halong Bay. We will have an opportunity to go on an optional excursion via rowboats to explore the well-hidden Thien Canh Son Cave and learn about the topography of Halong Bay, and how this cave is a distinct characteristic feature. Mid-morning, we will have brunch in the boat's dining room. After, we will disembark the Junk and return to Hanoi via motorcoach.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, enjoy a traditional Vietnamese “pho” lunch of noodles, vegetables, and (optional) meat in tasty broth.

Afternoon: We reboard our motorcoach for a field trip to the Vietnamese Women’s Museum where you will learn about traditional culture, marriage customs, and family life. The remainder of the afternoon is free. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Temple of Literature, Tran Quoc Pagoda, Quan Thanh Temple
Hanoi
B,L,D
La Belle Vie Hotel

Breakfast: At the hotel, the extensive breakfast buffet offers a variety of Asian and Western choices such as hot foods, eggs, hot and cold cereals, fruit, breads and pastries, yogurt, milk, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: Our first field trip this morning takes us to Ba Ðình Square, named for the anti-French colonial uprising of 1886-1887. It was here on September 2, 1945, that Ho Chí Minh proclaimed Vietnamese independence from France, from Japanese occupation, and from the last emperor, Bao Ðai. A massive granite mausoleum dominates the scene where Ho’s embalmed body is on display. The Soviet-style structure stands in stark contrast to the simplicity of the modest house on stilts where Ho lived. We will also visit the reconstructed One Pillar Pagoda. The original was built in 1049 C.E. by Emperor Ly Thai Tong to celebrate the birth of a son. Our exploration continues at the Temple of Literature, only a few years younger than Hanoi itself. This, the country’s oldest monument to education, is one of the world’s earliest universities. Dedicated to Confucius in 1070, it initially accepted only children of the nobility, but by 1442 embraced gifted students from throughout the country. The preserved and reconstructed buildings are a rare example of traditional Vietnamese architecture. Its lovely courtyards, trees, gardens, and paths provide a tranquil glimpse into the past.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, enjoy characteristic Vietnamese cuisine with appetizer, choice of entrée, and dessert.

Afternoon: Free afternoon to explore on your own.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, enjoy more of the flavor of Vietnam with appetizer, choice of entrée, and dessert.

Evening: At leisure. Get a good night’s sleep and prepare for departure in the morning.

DAY
5
Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 12:00 p.m.

Breakfast: At the hotel. This concludes our program.

Morning: Transfer to the Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi (HAN) for your return flights. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please be in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network, where you can share memories, pictures, and comments. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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