Vietnam National Day: A quick guide for travellers
$ AUD / $ NZD
Explore the history and culture of Vietnam's 54 Ethnic Minority Groups with this insightful, fun and action packed tour from Wide Eyed Pupils
Your personal driver and tour leader will be waiting to pick you up in an air conditioned vehicle, ready to take you to your hotel in the Old Quarter. Look out of the window along the way to see huge rice fields mingle with brand new developments, kids riding buffaloes and motorbikes carrying everything you can imagine.Once you're all settled in to your hotel we'll have a welcome dinner to teach you some of the rules you need to follow, teach you a few Vietnamese words and talk about the rest of the trip.
Today we get stuck into things with lots of activities and things to do. We start learning about Vietnam's Ethnic minorities with a trip to Hanoi's Ethnology Museum. We cruise through the streets of Hanoi at a relaxed pace on an old fashioned cyclo. We understand more about Vietnam's ethnic Minority Women with a great trip to Hanoi's Women's Museum. We'll have lunch at a restaurant that supports street kids into employment. And we'll visit a traditional Vietnamese Water Puppet show. After all that we'll relax in our hotel, ready for another action packed day in the morning.
Today's activities delve deeper into the lifestyles and personalities of the ethnic minority groups. We begin with a fascinating exploration of the 54 Traditions Gallery, which is bursting with treasures and ethnic minority antiques. Artifacts include tribal textiles, tribal tools, Shamanic arts paraphernalia and jewelery. The gallery owner is a passionate collector and his commentary during the tour is insightful and engaging. This will be followed by a tour of a workshop that uses ancient techniques and employs ethnic minority people to produce traditional textiles. You'll get to meet the workers and maybe even try your hand at making and dying some traditional clothes
Tonight we head for beautiful Sapa. A sleepy town in the middle of beautiful countryside. We'll take an overnight train on the Reunification Express railway. The train has bunk beds with soft mattresses so you'll be able to get a good nights sleep. In the morning you'll wake up to see beautiful green rice terraces out of the window.
Sapa is a frontier town where several ethnic minority groups including the Hmong, Dao (Yao), Giay, Pho Lu, and Tay live. It is a picturesque town nestled on the side of a mountain, which lies in the shadow of Phan-Xi-Pǎng (Fansipan, 3143 m), the highest peak in the country. During the French occupation of Vietnam it became a popular hill station retreat. Now it is a popular retreat for Vietnamese and foreign tourists looking to escape the hot Hanoi heat
After breakfast we trek through lush green rice paddies to the H'mong village of Lao Chai. The Hmong people have very colourful clothes and a rich history. We spend some time with them talking to them and getting to know their culture. After we trek through hills to the Red Dzao village of Ta Van. Here we enjoy a delicious dinner and spend the night with a Red Dzao family.
After breakfast with our host families we trek to the beautiful Muong Hoa River and visit the little H'mong village of Giang Ta Chai. We break here and meet the locals before taking a jeep back to Sapa. We spend a few free hours here before transferring back to Lao Cai for the overnight train to Hanoi.
Today we leave Ha Noi early for a trip to the incredibly beautiful Ha Long bay. Legend has it that a dragon was sent to defend the Vietnamese people against foreign invaders. The dragon spat out jewels and crashed into the water leaving behind the 1,969 rocky outcrops that make this amazing national park. We'll board our special boat and visit a floating market before spending the rest of the afternoon kayaking and playing in the emerald green waters. In the evening we enjoy a feast before settling down in our bunks.
After a morning playing in the waters and exploring hidden caves we return to Hanoi by late afternoon. This evening we get some much needed rest before tomorrow's big adventure to the Central region where we explore the ancient kingdom of the Champa.
In the morning we take a one hour flight to Da Nang, a beautiful beach city surrounded by mountains. Here they have one of the most complete Champa museums in the world. Shortly after getting off your flight we'll have a guided tour of the museum to learn more about the Ancient civilisation of the Champa which flourished in the central region for over a millennium. After the tour we'll take a bus to beautiful Hoi An
Hoi An's ancient history dates back to the 1st century when it was the largest harbour in South East Asia and was known as Lâm Ấp Phố (Champa City). It is a beautiful and charming World Heritage village. At night the streets are lit with lanterns and the roads are closed to traffic so you can wander around the shops. When you arrive you'll be given a tour of the cities highlights so you can explore it yourself in comfort.
The temples of My Son were the most important temples of the Kingdom of Champa. Influenced by Hinduism, the Cham people ruled central Vietnam from 200AD to 1700AD and built the My Son temples in the 4th century, occupying them to the 13th century. The temples themselves are incredibly beautiful and intricately carved. After our visit you're free to spend the afternoon playing on the beach and enjoying Hoi An.
A well deserved day of rest with no travelling. Time to enjoy the beach, go cycling, enjoy some shopping or go sightseeing. If you'd like something more structured we have a range of bolt on activities available for an additional fee including:
A half-day Hoi An Countryside Cycling Tour A full day scuba diving or snorkelling at Cham Island A full day Abseiling Marble Mountains A full day exploring The Lives of Fisherman A half day Hoi An Photography Tour. A half day Hoi An Cooking Class, learning how to make delicious Vietnamese specialities.
This evening we stay in a traditional stilt home in Ba Hom Village and experience the Co Tu customs and culture. We enjoy a short trek to explore the village, relax in the mountain hot springs and swim in the river. Ba Hom village is home to the Co Tu ethnic minority which is one of the smallest ethnic groups in Vietnam. Whilst the Co Tu's heritage is as old as 3,000 years, the village is only new. In 1975 the Vietnamese government relocated some ethnic minority groups from the decimated Laos border to more fertile lands. The Co Tu people earned a fearsome reputation during the war with the Americans. Their ancient hunting lifestyle, mountain survival techniques and knowledge of ancient weapons gave them the nickname "ghosts of the forest". For a long period of time they practiced head hunting and were the last tribe in South East Asia to cease this practice in 1953.
After saying farewell to the Co Tu we travel to Ho Chi Minh City (also known as Saigon). Saigon is a bustling metropolitan city and very different from its northern sister Hanoi. After a short flight we spend the rest of the evening relaxing.
The rapidly modernising city of Ho Chi Minh City is only 300 years old compared to the 1,000 year old capital of Hanoi. The differences between the two are dramatic. The cuisine, culture, climate and language are all very different. We'll take in some more modern history with an excellent half day city tour. We visit some architecture left by the French including the famous Notre Dame Cathedral and the Central Post Office as well as visit some fascinating historical sites from the Vietnam War. These include trips to the War Remnants museum to see tanks and planes and a visit to the infamous Cu Chi tunnels, used by the Viet Cong to defeat the Americans.
It's time to pack your bags and say farewell to you Vietnam Adventure. We hope you had a great time with us and learned a lot about Vietnam's different ethnic groups. Have a safe trip home.
Vietnam National Day: A quick guide for travellers
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