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Start our day with a visit to Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, this is a very special place for all Vietnamese and also famous for foreigners around the world to see the whole complex, Uncle Ho’s house on stilt where he lived and worked from 1958 -1969, his fishing pond and his garden.
Then head to One Pillar Buddhist Pagoda built in 1049 by King Ly Thai Tong who ruled from 1028 to 1054. Ly Thai Tong was childless and dreamt that he met the bodhisattva Avalokiteshava, who handed him a baby son while seated on a lotus flower. Ly Thai Tong then married a peasant girl that he had met and she bore him a son. The emperor constructed the temple for the gratitude for this miracle.
Further on our excursion, we visit to Van Mieu, temple of literature to dedicate to Confucius and his four best disciples. This was also the first national university of Vietnam built in 1076 within the temple to educate Vietnamese bureaucrats, nobles, royalty and other members of the elite. This university remained open from 1076 to 1779.
The interest thing in this place is the collection of steles of doctorates whose names, birth place, year of the examination, and the rank were engraved onto the marble stone stele placing on the top of the turtle. There are 1307 graduated doctor names on 82 stele in this place.
After visiting this wonderful place, we will have lunch at restaurant in old quarter with specialty food of Hanoian - Cha Ca (Grilled Fish) and refresh.
Later in the day we visit to Ethnology Museum which is very rich culture collection of 54 ethnic groups living in Vietnam. The simple agriculture stools, fish traps, hand weaving cloths, crafts, festivals, folk arts, traditional houses, and lively activities of each tribe are all here for us to discover.
Finish our day we continue to Hanoi’s picturesque West Lake area and the sixth century Tran Quoc Buddhist Pagoda. From here transfer (or stroll along the lakeside) 700 meters to the nearby Taoist temple of Quan Thanh dedicated to Tran Vu, one of the principal deities in Taoism.
After the trip we enjoy a traditional perfomance of water puppet then return our hotel for free at leisure.
Overnight in Hanoi
A new exciting day waiting us to discover, we depart for Ha Long, a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site. Halong Bay has an area of around 1,553 km2, including 1,960 - 2,000 islets, most of which are limestone. The core of the bay has an area of 334 km2 with a high density of 775 islands and islets in all sides reflecting on turquoise water. The limestone in this bay has gone through 500 million years of formation in different conditions and environments.
07:30 – 8:00: You will be met by our hospitable guide and chauffeur with modern minibus at your hotel in Hanoi Old Quarter experiencing 175 km road trip to Halong City (3,5 hours) with a short break en-route.
12:00: Arriving Tuan Chau Harbor, welcome aboard & safety briefing
12:15: A gourmet lunch is served in the single-seating restaurant while the cruise is taking you on an odyssey journey wends among remote archipelagoes via crowd avoidance route and opens up views of one stupendous seascapes after another, passing uninhabited islets and outcrops including Stone Dog, Thumb, Duck, Incense Burner, and Cock Fighting.
14:30: Exploring Ba Hang (Three Cave), there are options to choose either kayaking or taking a bamboo boat rowed by local people, gently glide through water tunnels into secluded sea lagoons.
15.30: Walk up Limestone Mountain to visit Thien Cung Grotto with incredible stalactites and stalagmites.
16.30: Returning aboard for Afternoon Tea.
17.00: Disembark for check-in hotel in Halong City.
Hanoi to Halong: 200km (4 hours)
Overnight in Ha Long City
7h45-8h15: Driver and guide pick you up at hotel for departure to Yen Tu Mountain.
111h30: Arrive in the pagoda complex of Yen Tu. Lots of time for you to contemplate the landscape here, offer incense and pray for good luck, happiness and prosperity for your friends and families.
Have Lucnh in Local restaurant, then start take cable car to Hoa Yen Pagoda nestled on a height of 534 meters which has two frangipani flower trees which are 700 years old. After leaving this site to conquer the peak, you can stop at some other sites such as To Tower, Mot Mai and Bao Sai pagodas, Yen Ky Sinh stone statue and Ngoa Van Temple.
13h00: Climb 1068m up Van Tuong Mountain to reach Dong Pagoda (Bronze Pagoda). Admire the statue of An Ky Sinh en route.
16:30 Get on bus for transfer back to Hanoi. Stop for a while in Hai Duong City to enjoy Vietnamese tea and Hai Duong specialty of green bean cake.
20:30: Arrival in Hanoi, check-in your hotel.
Halong City to Yen Tu: 52km (1h15)
Overnight in Hanoi
Bat Trang ceramic village: The most ancient and famous pottery village of Vietnam, continues to work today and is constantly developing. There are various kinds of pottery, for example jade enamel (under the Ly-Tran Dynasties), brown flower or brown enamel (under the late Tran to early Le Dynasties), cracked enamel (under the late Le Dynasty) and royal blue enamelled items (under the late Le to Nguyen Dynasties).
Van Phuc Silk Village: Silk weaving in Vietnam spreads over the country but one of the most illustrious traditional region for silk weaving located in the north-west of Ha Dong town. The talent hands of Van Phuc weavers with traditional skills has been creating many sophisticated types such as cloud type, sand type, crepe, brocade and satin,... which are highly appreciated by local and oversea customers. Products of Van Phuc has a typical traditional value which is considered as symbol of traditional beauty.
8:30am. Pick up at your hotel in Hanoi, driver to Bat Trang, the famous village is situated approx 15 outside of Hanoi, surrounded by fertile farmland. Watch the artisans forming, painting and glazing their products, which are then baked for several days in huge kilns. 12:00pm. Lunch at local restaurant!
1:30pm Drive to discover full afternoon in the silk village of Van Phuc. Taking photos & shopping there until 4:30pm. Leaving Van Phuc Silk Village to hotel in Hanoi downtown. Arrive hotel at 5:00pm.
Overnight in Hanoi
Hanoi to Bat Trang: 19km (40 minutes)
Bat Trang to Van Phuc: 25km (1 hour)
Van Phuc to Hanoi: 10km (30 minutes)
07:30 Alsimexco Team welcome you at your hotel lobby then take an 1 hour journey to Ba Vi District, northwest of Hanoi. Take in your eyes the vast glass farmstead of Ba Vi along the way.
08:30 Upon your arrival to Ba Vi National Park, start the trek through the paddy rice field, the farm of maize, potato, soya bean... which are belong to the Muong ethnic group. Here you meet the hospitality local farmer cultivate on their fat land or look at your shadow reflects in the pure twisty brook murmuring down through low hills.
Visit the organic vegetable farm of Mrs. Oanh, an agricultural doctor specializing in researching and development of organic vegetables. Then take a shot walk to the bamboo clay house, Vietnamese traditional house located in a romantic view under the clump of trees, cover by the limpid stream. Here you see the collection of traditional farming implements as well as ways of using under the guide of the host, such as rice-hulling mill, pluck rice machine, winnowing-machine, rice mortar...
10:00 Depend on the time you visit the farmstead, you can enjoy with farmers here in rice sowing, rice seeds transplanting or harvesting. Then try to make a specialty food of Banh Cuon (ravioli or steamed rolled rice pancake) from mill the rice flour by stone grinder to get a kind of flour liquid before steaming with boil water, then the final product is Vietnamese favourite food of Banh Cuon. This achivement is also your brunch for today after enjoy agricultural produce processes. Banh Cuon is served with a mass of organic herbals from Mrs. Oanh's farm, especial the dandelion.
After brunch, ready for an amazing activity of catching fish with the fish-pots under the stream behind the bamboo house. Your reward is the grilled fish later.
13:00 Transfer to a historical relic of Turtle Communal House (Dinh Rua) and thousand year old banyan tree, these are all extremely sacred symbols of the Muong tribe as well as the Kinh people (Vietnamese). The communal house is worship for great mountain saint of Tan Vien, the legend Lord manages Ba Vi Mountain and considered as a sacred mountain in the mind of Vietnamese and Muong tribe.
In Turtle Communal House, traveller have chance to live in the holy setting by watching Muong ladies folk dances, listen to their own language beautiful songs and Gong performance. You are also enjoy Muong traditional dance of Nhay Sap (Bamboo dancing), learn how to play the Gong, one kind of traditional musical instrument of Muong montagnard.
14:30 Continue to visit tea farm in Ba Trai Village by drop in Mr. Hung family to taste a cup of his famous green tea before starting picking the tea leaves in Mr. Hung's green tea farm infront of his boutique house. Mr. Hung helps you the techniques in picking the tea leaves, choosing the tea buds. Then you are accompany with Mr. Hung to process green tea by using artisanal method of pan-firing. Sip a cup of your achievement you done and bring home for souvenir or buy some packed brown teas made by Mr. Hung's family.
15:30 Farewell to Mr. Hung, transfer to visit an unique ancient Cathedral church of Hoang Xa in Thanh Thuy District of Phu Tho Province, 10km from Ba Vi. Caught in sight the marvelous panoramic of maize farm along the two edges of great Da River shadows the Ba Vi Mountain.
Hoang Xa Cathedral church was built by French missionaries and specialized by the combination between Vietnamese Buddha pagoda architecture with Easterner Cathedral church building techniques. Visitor may realize imagine of ancient temple with familial typical curved roof harmoniously stand beside the bell tower.
17:30 Back to Hanoi at your hotel step door in the mid-afternoon. End the tour.
Hanoi to Ba Vi National Park: 57km (1h30)
8.00 AM leave Hanoi, the journey to Thay and Thay Phuong Pagodas takes you past what could be called typical Vietnamese village life. See the rice fields medieval looking villages and farming techniques. Tay Phuong Pagoda is the first one of the trip.
This busy Buddhist Pagoda is located 38kms west of Hanoi and there is a small entrance fee. It is lies just to the west, offers beautiful architecture and ancient and unique sculptures.
It was one of the first pagodas built in Vietnam. See the dragons and demons carved into the wooden roof. Visitor will climb up 237 well worn steps to reach the temple - all the way up there are stalls selling this and that. This small temple perched on the hillside was originally built in the 8th century and contains a collection of over 70 finely carved statues made of jack fruit wood.
The statues here are represent the re-incarnation of Buddha, Confucious and Buddhist Saints which are all depicted in meditation poses. There are also fine carvings of flowers and of mythical animals.
While the large bell was cast in 1796 and the temple - with it's elegant sweeping eves and double tiered roof - is beautifully decorated. On the far side of the temple steps lead way down to more temple buildings and courtyards.
We continue the journey to Thay Pagoda or the Masters Pagoda or Pagoda of Heavenly Blessing. This Vietnamese buddhist pagoda is located in exotic in Yen Village, around 32kms west of central Hanoi. Fronted by a lake and with a gorgeous backdrop of limestone crags, the temple is therefore situated in a beautiful setting.
The pagoda contains over 100 statues including two of the largest in Vietnam - these 17th century giants are made of clay and paper mache and weigh more than 1000kgs each. Two covered bridges in front of the pagoda were built in 1602 and are dedicated to the Sun and Moon.
Pm: Enjoy lunch and return to your hotel in Hanoi.
Hanoi to Tay Phuong Pagoda: 30km (45 minutes)
Tay Phuong to Thay Pagoda: 10km (20 minutes)
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Any part of this itinerary can be altered to fit your need, e.g.accommodation, tour length...