Vietnam is widely known for its breathtaking natural beauty. With great potential for tourism, Vietnam has many places that were recognized by UNESCO as natural and cultural World Heritage Sites, such as Ha Long, Phong Nha, Hue, Hoi An and My Son. This group tour has been specially designed for travelers who would like to experience an incredible Vietnam heritage central.

PATH 1: A NORTHERN HERITAGE HUB OF HANOI – HALONG – NINH BINH

In the first journey, you will visit 3 of the most famous places in the charming North Vietnam: Hanoi – “Paris of the East”, the capital and the cultural center of the North, Ninh Binh – a Vietnamese ancient capital in the 10th century, and the emerald Halong Bay – a natural world wonder recognized by UNESCO.

Day 1: Hanoi - Classic but unique

Morning

Do you mind waking up early? If the answer is “no”, set your alarm for 5:30 am and prepare for a morning pedal around West Lake before the sun rises. A total new Hanoi with a slower pace of life will be waiting for you.

Hanoi at dawn

Hanoi at dawn (Source: Internet)

At dawn, the lake is surrounded by early flower bicycles dotting the streets. If you are a flower lover, a visit to Quang An night flower market (about 2km from Westlake’s center, which will just take you around 45 minutes of cycling and visiting) is definitely worth your time. Coming back to West Lake at 7:30 is the perfect time to visit Tran Quoc Pagodas - the oldest pagoda in Hanoi from 1615 and listen to a part of Hanoi's history. So to speak, you will spend roughly an hour and a half for joining in a Hanoi cycling tour.

Later, biking to Hoan Kiem Lake, you can try a typical Vietnamese breakfast en route with a hot bowl of “phở” or “bún riêu”. Also, you must try Hanoi’s signature egg coffee while watching the city wake up through the café’s balcony on Dinh Tien Hoang Street. After breakfast, you can visit the complex of the Hoan Kiem Lake, Ngoc Son Temple (Jade Mountain Temple), But Tower (Pen - shaped tower), Dai Nghien (Ink Stand) and The Huc Bridge.

At 9:00 am, you will come back to the hotel and drive to the historic complex of Ba Dinh to visit Ba Dinh Square, where The Late President Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnams Independence on September 2, 1945, and Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum. The next place is Mot Cot Pagoda (One Pillar Pagoda), the must-see monument in Hanoi - It is an ancient Buddhist pagoda, built in the early 11th century in the reign of King Ly Thai Tong, all construction supported by only one pillar, resembling a Buddhist lotus. The last place before lunch is Van Mieu – Quoc Tu Giam (Temple of Literature - The first Imperial school in Vietnam) built in 1070 during the dynasty of King Ly.

Do not rush for the afternoon tour; you are better off taking the time to eat a local lunch with typical Vietnamese food consisting of rice and savory meat, or even street food, such as “bún chả” or “bún đậu” (cold noodles, served with grilled meat or deep fried tofu).

Afternoon

Duong Lam ancient village

Duong Lam ancient village (Source: Internet)

At 2 pm, you can head to Duong Lam ancient village (about 60km to the west of Hanoi) and spend the afternoon visiting this village. This village is home to 2 Heroic Kings: Phung Hung (761-802) and Ngo Quyen (897 - 944) as well as other ancient houses over 400 years old. Duong Lam village in Son Tay Town is the first ancient village recognized as a national relic by the Ministry of Culture and Information. About 5km from Duong Lam Village, you can drive to the Son Tay ancient citadel - an ancient military architecture which was built in the reign of King Minh Mang in 1822. Having a Vauban fortification’s style, it was praised by contemporary French architects as a masterpiece of Vietnamese architecture. According to Vietnam Heritage Magazine, along with Co Loa ancient citadel, Hanoi Citadel and Hue Imperial palace, Son Tay citadel can be named as one of the great symbols of Vietnam’s cultural heritage.

After a long day traveling from early morning, it would be best to come back to the hotel and have a chill evening with a hot bath and nice dinner. There are many incredible restaurants around the city center for you to enjoy. Go to bed early as there is another beautiful destination waiting for you the next day.

Day 2: Ha Long Bay – Vietnam’s most scenic sight, recognized as a World Natural Heritage Site.

Morning

You can arrive at Ha Long by a public bus station (daily departure from My Dinh Bus Station in Ha Noi) and then rent a taxi or motorbike to visit the city. Discovery Ha Long Bay and enjoy a delicious seafood meal while cruising through this wonderful bay and visiting its amazing grottoes and caves. Once you arrive on board, you will be introduced to the itinerary and guided through the caves. This boarding tour often takes you 4 hours, including lunch.

Afternoon

Ha Long Travel Map

Ha Long Travel Map (Source: Internet)

For the rest of the afternoon, landing and visiting nearby pagodas and temples is a great choice. Three places that you shouldn’t miss are Long Tien Pagoda – the largest pagoda in Ha Long, Duc Ong Shrine, and Quang Ninh Museum. At the end of the day, it is suggested to take a fresh seafood dinner right on Bai Chay Beach and watch the sunset.

On the other hand, if you choose an overnight cruise tour (pre-booking is preferable), a night on board will treat you nicely with “squid fishing” when the sun goes down. Coming to Ha Long in April to around January of the next year is the ideal time for catching squid. If you are a lucky one, you can catch around 20 squids per night, and there will be a night brunch of freshly boiled squid waiting for you when you finish fishing.

Get a good rest, a relaxing morning will be waiting for you.

Day 3: Ninh Bình – the former Capital in the 10th century of Vietnam

Morning

You don’t have to wake up at dawn and there is one last thing you have to remember before leaving Ha Long. Don’t miss the extraordinary breakfast of Ha Long people, “bánh cuốn” “chả mực” (steamed rice pancake served with grilled chopped squid)! Personally, I have to say that Ha Long has the best grilled chopped squid in the world.

The next location is the former Capital in the 10th century of Vietnam – Ninh Binh province.

About 95km to the south of Hanoi, Ninh Binh is blessed with diverse topography and beautiful nature, and is also an ideal destination for cultural explorers. For that reason, renting a homestay that is located outside the province and closes the complex of Hoa Lư is more preferable. Let the locals welcome you on your very first stay in Ninh Binh with their most well-known dish of goat meat (served with cơm cháy – deep fried rice with seasoning)

Hoa Lu's historic complex

Hoa Lu's historic complex (Source: Internet)

Afternoon

In the afternoon, you can cycle from your hotel through tranquil rural villages and paddy fields to Hoa Lư and visit the Temples of King Dinh and King Le, who had reigned in Vietnam during the 10th century. There are nearly 20 pagodas in the surrounding place. Ninh Binh is known for having many caves, and some of its ancient pagodas were built inside caves, which creates a miraculous view. Am Tien Pagoda, Thien Phuc Pagoda, and Bich Dong Pagoda are miracle places with a long history and poetic landscapes that you don’t want to miss.

Halfway back to the hotel, you can stop by a restaurant and enjoy local delicacies like Cá Kho gạo (fish cooked with fish sauce and special local fruit); Xôi trứng kiến (sticky rice topped with ant eggs) and Gỏi cá nhệch (the local eel sashimi).

After finishing a long day of travel, it is best to get an early sleep. Waking up a dawn will be a treat, with a hot cup of tea (or coffee) and breathe fresh air from paddy fields of the Vietnam countryside. Vietnam is an agriculture country with a long history, so get ready to learn about the rich culture that resides in these hills.

Day 4: Bai Dinh – Buddhist symbol of the North

Morning

On your last day in the North, I recommend visiting Bai Dinh– the largest pagoda in Southeast Asia as well as the biggest gold - plated copper of Asia, and the longest lobby in Asia. Take a two-hour drive from Hoa Lư’s complex, you are going to meet the famous Buddha complex and its variety of Asian records. The population of Bai Dinh Pagoda includes an ancient pagoda area and a new pagoda area. The new pagoda has monumental architecture while having a traditional identity consistent with Vietnam today. Normally, you can spend 1-2 hours to wander around and contemplate all of the incredible architecture. Finish the tour and on the way back to Hoa Lu, you can eat lunch at one of the nearby restaurants in Trang An area.

Tam Coc from the sky

Tam Coc from the sky (Source: Internet)

Afternoon

Back to Hoa Lu after lunch, you will take a special boat trip rowed by the locals going through long karst grottoes in Tam Coc (Three Caves), to enjoy the scenery and relax. Tam Cốc is located along the Ngo Dong River, and it is immensely popular with domestic tourists. The ideal time for visiting these destinations is in the late afternoon (or in the early morning) when things are quieter. Rowers use their feet to propel the oars, as the route (around two hours) navigates Tam Coc's three caves. Halfway through the boat trip, we can stop and take a short walk to Thai Vi temple, dedicated to Tran Dynasty.

Late in the afternoon, it is time to drive back to Hanoi and prepare for the next journey in the Center of Vietnam. You are suggested to take an early fight and arrive in Hue at 8:00 am.

PATH 2: HUE – A CENTER OF HERITAGE IN VIETNAM

Located on the bank of Perfume River in DMZ area, with a long and glorious history through the imperial Citadel (under Nguyen Dynasty in the 1800s) and a complex of grandiose tombs and pagodas surrounding the city, Huế has been one of the must-go destinations topped on the Vietnam heritage magazine. It is suggested you spend the next three days in Hue and Hoi An to find out how charming the historic center of Vietnam is!

Day 5: Hue – a Vietnam heritage central

Morning

Once you land in Phu Bai airport, get a taxi to your hotel before making some free time for yourself to have a local street food brunch. Hue is renowned for its remarkable food which includes not only royal cuisine but also demotic food. Most food in Hue (both street food and in restaurants) is delicious and served at a very reasonable price. A top choice for your Hue-style brunch is a bowl of cơm hến (rice with mussels and fresh vegetables) or bánh canh (a special noodle served with crab or fish, only available in Central Vietnam).

A suggestion for you is to book a hotel in the center of the city, so you can walk through walking street (on the site of Perfume River) to eat brunch and then across the Truong Tien Bridge to approach the Imperial Citadel. During this journey, you will visit 4 heritage places, which are the Imperial Citadel and three royal mausoleums of Nguyen Dynasty. The group ticket to those places is US$20, expiring in 48 hours.

The original citadel system is citadel-within-a-citadel which comprises four main citadels (Hoang Thanh-Imperial City; Tu Cam Thanh – Forbidden Purple City; Dai Noi – Inner City and Tran Binh Dai) and other 150 small and large buildings in total. Unfortunately, during the wars, most of the buildings were badly destroyed and there are now only 20 of them left. The glorious look of the citadel was gone, however, through broken masonry, rubble, and tiling, and we might recall a flashback of a solemn reign. Strolling down the road, discovering some less-visited areas and unlocking a quintessence of ancient architecture is an enjoyable experience.

Hue Citadel

Hue Citadel (Source: Internet)

After discovering the citadel, you can ask the local people to find the restaurant named “Chi Teo Quan”, located on Hai Ba Trung Street. They serve traditional and typical Huế foods daily and are highly recommended by the locals. Dishes like thịt luộc mắm chua (boiled meat served with whole shrimp paste) and steamed (local) fish are tasted incredibly well.

Afternoon

Your next journey after lunch is driving through the royal mausoleum complex, placed outside the citadel. According to the ticket, you can enter three tombs which belong to Emperors Khai Dinh, Tu Duc, and Minh Mang, which and located along the banks of Perfume River. Those are the most impressive tombs, but there are many others.

According to ancient belief, in addition to reflecting owners’ personality, tombs are heaven for owners when they start off entering the afterlife. Stepping onto the mausoleum with a history book of Nguyen Dynasty on hand, you will not only discover the vivid beauty of the architecture, but also the chronicles of a king, a royal family, and a whole country behind.

Hue's royal mausoleum complex

Hue's royal mausoleum complex (Source: Internet)

The tomb of Khai Dinh is located on a steep hill outside of the capital city. It is a blend of Western and Eastern architecture covered in black concrete, creating an unexpected Gothic air, while the interior resembles an explosion of colorful mosaics. Coming to the Khiem (Modest) tomb of Emperor Tu Duc – a poetic ruler who lived a luxury life, you will observe the gorgeous architecture systems, which were divided into fifty different pavilions, temples, and chambers and are bounded by sophisticated-designed pine gardens and lotus ponds. The last tomb belonged to Minh Mang Emperor – a staunch Confucian of the Nguyen Dynasty; his reign represented the apex of Nguyen power over the country and completely rejected overtures from foreign nations. Minh Mang’s tomb comprises approximately 40 monuments combined with majestic landscaping and architecture.

However, there is one more mausoleum that is not listed on the ticket but I strongly recommend you visit, the tombs of Emperor Gia Long. Far from the city and not well-known among tourists, Thien Tho tomb is the simplest but greatest imperial mausoleum in Hue. Without complicated buildings or any extravagant palaces, the tomb was impressive on its own with the natural landscape and fenced by 42 natural mountains and hills. The architecture is simple but elegant and grandiose just like Emperor Gia Long himself – a first and great father of the Nguyen Dynasty.

Last but not least, the heritage tour in Hue cannot be complete before coming to Thien Mu Pagoda. Located on a hill overlooking the Perfume River with 4 kilometers southwest of the Citadel and an octagonal 21-meter-high tower, the pagoda is the perfect combination of artificial architectural work and picturesque nature. The pagoda was originally built in 1601 by Nguyen Hoang, the governor of Thuan Hoa province at this time. Over the centuries, the building has been destroyed and rebuilt several times, but still remains a flashpoint of political demonstrations. Passing down the triple-gated entrance, you will come to the main sanctuary. Close your eyes; keep your head down in front of the three Buddha statues and let the flow of Past, Present, and Future go through you!

Do the historical stories of this ancient royal city make your head spin? If yes, take a drive to Tam Giang Lagoon. Keep your car window open and enjoy the wind from the paddy fields along the lagoon. The sunset is the most spectacular beauty in the lagoon. The long brush strokes of orange and red covers the lagoon, which creates the beautiful pictures of “Tam Giang lagoon”. To end the day you will arrive at a restaurant in Dam Chuon when the sun goes down and enjoy a fresh seafood dinner.

Depending on your particular situation, you can choose between strolling down the street and visiting Dong Ba market (all are near to the city center) or enjoying a hot tub and going to bed early in your hotel.

Day 6: Hội An – a graceful, historic, and delightful old town

Morning

Don’t force yourself to wake up early; you can enjoy a lazy morning until 9 am. This day is for enjoying the culture only. Call a taxi and ask them to drive you to Huyen Anh Quan – a local restaurant renowned for their special grilled meat (served with rice cake and vegetables). The restaurant is placed on Phu Mong – an area on the bank of the Perfume River. After a late breakfast, you still have time to enjoy a coffee in a river viewed café. Then, you can walk through the road of Phú Mộng and explore their extraordinary garden houses.

Afternoon

After checking out of your hotel in Hue, you can catch an open bus to Hoi An. The bus will take you 3 hours, so you can have an early lunch in Hue or simply pack some finger foods for your brunch en route.

Check into the hotel and unpack your luggage. Now you are free to stroll along the street and enjoy your very first experience in Hoi An. However, before being completely caught by a graceful and historic old town, treat yourself with a bowl of cao lầu (special noodles of Hoi An) (or just a plate of white rose dumpling if you want to save your appetite for a later dinner).
The ticket for Hoi An old town is US$6, it is valid for 10 days and covers four heritage attractions which are; museum, ancient house and halls and a music show at Handicraft Workshop. The old town will be opened until 21:30 to 22:00 (depending on the season). Two great things about Hoi An old town are that it is quiet and small enough to explore in just a few hours, and it is charming enough for a night walk.

Hoi An Riverside

Hoi An Riverside (Source: Internet)

Don’t forget to visit some notable heritage sites like the Chinese temples, a Japanese-designed bridge, pagodas, wooden shop-houses, French-colonial houses, and old canals. Despite the fact that most of the large-scale trading has long moved away, Hoi An still preserves its charming roots and has been restored successfully. At night, the old town is stunning with a long line of old-fashioned lanterns across the streets. It creates a tranquil look and a quaint atmosphere like nowhere else.

Day 7: Mỹ Sơn - the solemn beauty of a relic preserved in time

Morning

After breakfast, we will depart from Hoi An to My Son. It is approximately 43 kilometers (26 miles) and takes about one hour on road. Normally, it may take you from one to five hours to discover the complex at your own pace; and the weather may become hotter in the afternoon and more difficult to trek in. So, start your journey as early as 6:30 am to avoid bus tours and crowds, spend a morning in My Son, and then come back Hoi An for lunch (or you can choose to have a meal on route).
Designated by UNESCO as one of the five World Heritages in Vietnam, My Son is one of the foremost heritage sites in all of Southeast Asia, especially for the ancient Cham royalty. Unlike the charming Hoi An, the unique allure of My Son comes from its epic historic roots, honored culture, and natural beauty which are not necessarily aesthetic delights at first sight.

Back to history, My Son is renowned as a complex of Hindu temples (which are dedicated to Shiva) under the Champa Kingdom (which ruled the central and Southern part of Vietnam, from the 3rd century until 1832). The first temple was constructed in the 4th century AD by King Fanhuda. It was customary for Champa Kings to build their own temple complexes in the valley of My Son in the many centuries after. Unfortunately, many structures were eradicated by natural and manmade disasters.

The My Son architecture complex is quite easy to tour alone. However, to deeply experience their epic history, rich Hindu symbolism, and mythology inside the temple as well as the unique culture of a country, you are better off asking a guide to come with you. Over a millennium of being a cultural symbol and a world’s wonder, My Son proved itself against the time, as well as natural and manmade devastation.

Afternoon

Back to Hoi An for lunch. In the afternoon we will visit the Hoi An Cultural Museum and hang around the ancient town before taking a small boat on Thu Bon river down to the sea. Take a leisurely trip this afternoon before driving to the next pace on our Vietnam heritage central: The heroic South!

PATH 3: THE HEROIC SOUTH OF TAY NINH-HOCHIMINH-TIEN GIANG

Day 8: Tay Ninh: home of legendary mountains, vast deltas, and long-standing historical sites

Morning

While visiting Tay Ninh Province, do not miss the legendary Ba Den Mountain - the highest mountain in Southern Vietnam (986m) and a symbol of the local people (with both natural and historical value). Trekking this mountain is a great choice for the joyful experience of defeating the mountain. Normally, the trip takes 90-120 minutes and there are several routes (depending on how hard you want to experience the trek) for you to choose the best fit. Enjoying a stunning view from the peak will immediately relieve any fatigue of the climb. On the other hand, a round trip cable car (which is also the first and the oldest cable line in Vietnam) starting from the foot of the mountain to the Ba Temple is also available. While soaring on the cable car (to the peak) and taking a glass slider (to get down the mountain), you can catch a view of a sparking waterfall under the glistening sun, mysterious caves, and dense forest, and still enjoy a soft adventure while saving your energy for the upcoming journey. Also, don’t forget to visit a museum and pagoda in the Kim Quang Grotto. Every year, many people take a pilgrimage to the mountain and take part in the Ba Den Festival and Spring Festival on the mountain.

Cao Dai Holy See

Cao Dai Holy See (Source: Internet)

Late in the morning, you should visit the Cao Đài Holy See and join in their the daily solemn ceremony at 12 pm. Caodaism is a local sect of Buddhism founded by a Vietnamese countryman in the early 20th century, and Tay Ninh is known as the center of the sect. Founded in 1926 and located 4km to the east, you will admire the Cao Dai Holy See which is honored as the masterpiece of the town. The building was constructed in 1933; finished in 1947 and came into use in 1955. The campus includes a Buddhist temple, a park, and a forest. The temple itself is 140m long, 40m wide with 36m Tam Dai Tower, 25m Hiep Thien Dai Tower, and the 30m Cuu Trung Dai and Bat Quai Dai Tower. In the Holy See, there are two lines of pillars shaped like green, red, and white dragons. The ceiling is divided into nine parts and is painted with the sky, clouds, and stars.
Afternoon

In the afternoon, free your mind with a leisure trip to Dau Tieng Lake which is located in the south of the province. This is the biggest irrigation work in Vietnam and supplies a vast number of fields in the province and surrounding provinces with a capacity of 27,000ha of 1.5 million meters of water. The lake is an ideal escape after a long morning discovering heritage centers in Tay Ninh.

 Lo Go - Xa Mat National Park

Lo Go - Xa Mat National Park (Source: Internet)

The second choice for your afternoon trip is Lo Go - Xa Mat National Park, which covers 18.806ha in the Tan Bien District. The park has abundant biodiversity and is the only freshwater swamp forest in Vietnam, rich in valuable flora and fauna. The park is very suitable for camping combined with visiting revolutionary bases. About 64km from the Tay Ninh town, you can visit the vestiges of the Southern Central Bureau - the command center of the southern revolution during the American War. The first stop of the historical complex is Southern Bureau's Security Department which contains the working offices of the Southern Bureau's leaders, administrative offices, a meeting room, and a kitchen. These departments and offices connect with each other through a 430m road and 1,253m stretch of tunnels.

In addition, there are some nearby temples and pagodas that might be interesting, such as the two ancient towers of Binh Thanh (in Trang Bang District) and Chot Mat (in Tan Bien District). You can also experience traditional craft villages and enjoy the province's specialties. Among those, rice noodles and girdle cake (which is specially covered in dew) is renowned in Trang Bang District.

On the way back to Sai Gon, we can stop for an hour to visit Cu Chi tunnels, one of the few remaining monuments to the fierce Vietnam War. You can even crawl through a part of the tunnel to experience the real life of the Vietnamese guerrillas, who used to live inside this system during wartime.

Return to Sai Gon at night.

Day 9: Ho Chi Minh City - Pearl of the Far East

Morning

Take your time today. After a long day trip, you are finally free to relax, wander, and shop in Sai Gon, the biggest commercial center of Vietnam. Similarly to Hanoi, the heritage value of Saigon is tucked within every corner of the city.

Image 12: Sai Gon - Pearl of the Far East

Back in time 100 year ago, under the control of French colonists, Saigon was transforming itself from a “village in the forest” to the “Pearl of the Far East”. During the 19th-20th centuries, most of the Far East’s nations (including Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, North Korea, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam) became colonies or were under the control of Western countries, especially the French and English. These two countries possessed the largest number of colonies and were strong competitors as well. From 1895 when French colonists occupied Southern Vietnam, they promoted the building of infrastructure in Saigon for the purpose of enhancing the economic development as a strategy to compete with English colonies. Saigon was rebuilt in the Western architectural style with a series of structures that are maintained to date, such as the Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral, The Opera House, Reunification Palace, etc. They nurtured the ambition of surpassing the wealth of Singapore and Hong Kong belonging to English colonists. The name “Pearl of the Far East” (La Perle de l’Extrêm Orient) stands for a hidden meaning of the center of economics and entertainment in Indochina.

Say hello to the morning Sai Gon with a cup of “cà phê sữa đá” (milky coffee) in Ben Thanh's iconic clock tower, then stroll to Ho Chi Minh City's Fine Arts Museum, a building displaying the elegant architecture of French colonial times. From the heritage of the Fine Arts Museum, continue to the soaring modernity of the 68-storey Bitexco Financial Tower and have a scenic overlook of the whole city. From the tower, make your way up the charming, tree-lined Dong Khoi, one of Saigon’s oldest streets, which still retains traces of its colonial French origins through repurposed heritage buildings and elegant hotels.

Afternoon

After lunch, walk about 10 minutes to the elegant the elegant Notre Dame Cathedral and admire their colonial redbrick. Close to the cathedral, there is a glorious Central Post Office which is known as a symbol of the city with a charming interior. Then continue across 30/4 Park to the nearby Reunification Palace, accessed by walking through iron gates that were cast aside by Communist tanks when the city fell to the North Vietnamese Army on April 30th, 1975. More than four decades on, the building's 1960s architecture and memory-packed halls make for one of the city's most intriguing attractions. Don't miss the basement, a labyrinth of tunnels filled with maps, situation rooms, and 1960s telecommunications gear.

If you can manage your time, do not forget to visit Cho Lon- Binh Tay Market, a wholesale market of the North. Streets are fragrant with medicinal herbs, storefronts are festooned with Chinese-language signs, and Taoist and Buddhist temples stand near 19th-century Catholic churches. Slowly burning coils of fragrant incense frame Thien Hau Pagoda, dedicated to the Chinese goddess of seafarers; and nearby at Phuoc An Hoi Quan Pagoda a riot of red, gold, green, and yellow creates one of the city's most beautiful and ornate temples.

Late in the afternoon, it is time for you to discover “Sai Gon’s cuisine” with a night food tour in Ben Thanh Market. Then, you will have free time to visit Nguyen Hue night street and come back to the hotel with a late-night hot bowl of “hủ tiếu" (the special type of noodle).

Day 10: Tien Giang – a homeland of orchards and a floating market

Morning

Located in the north of the Tien River, Tien Giang is a province in the Mekong River Delta, which is referred to as a rice basket in the area and is the country’s largest fruit supplier.

The most attractive thing in Tien Giang is the Cai Be floating market (a market on the river). Floating markets have been popular in the Mekong Delta for a long time, and Cai Be is the biggest one with about 400 boats trading every day. The market has rich aquatic goods (including freshwater, brackish, and saltwater fish, as well as a large fruit and vegetable supply.
Stop at the Cai Be tourist dock to rent a whole ship (or shared ship for a better price) with a price of $30-$35. The market is open from 4 am to 3 pm (busiest during early morning).

Cai Be Floating Market

Cai Be Floating Market (Source: Internet)

Floating along the market, you can visit Tan Phong Island, which is famous for growing large and succulent rambutans in beautiful gardens. You can pick fruit and enjoy them right on the orchards as well as experience the farmer life of the Mekong River Delta in Thoi Son Island. Inhabited through generations with fruit-laden and bonsai gardens (and restaurant-inside-garden), the island became a perfect destination for tourists for a decade. Strolling through the island, you will be surrounded by fragrances from colorful gardens of plum, mango, jackfruit, and longan.

Afternoon

Tien Giang still preserves historical sites, and the most famous places are Vinh Trang, Dieu Hoa Pagoda, and Go Thanh Oc Eo Vestiges.

Built in the 19th century, Vinh Trang is known as the greatest pagoda with the harmonious fusion of Asian and European architectural styles. Splendid but simply designed! The second pagoda is Dieu Hoa Pagoda which used to be an accommodation for officials under Nguyen Dynasty and also preserves many tangible and intangible values of the local area.
About 3m above sea level, Go Thanh Oc Eo Vestiges is a large area with ancient relics on a layer of clay with numerous important artifacts from the ancient Funan Kingdom. Coming to the site, you will have a chance to more thoroughly understand the history of a culture which existed thousands of years ago in the Funan Kingdom, and the identities of Oc Eo Culture. The construction has been restored and embellished for several years.

There are also several festivals in Tien Giang that might interest you, such as “Nghing Ong Festival” (10th day of the 3rd lunar month) to honor the soul of the Whale, “Tu Kiet Festival” (15th and 16th day of the 8th lunar month) to commemorate four heroes who fought against the French colonialists.

Saying goodbye to Tien Giang, you will now go back to Ho Chi Minh and prepare for your flight back home. Our tour to Vietnam Heritage central is now completed.

Vietnam Heritage Tour

Vietnam Heritage Tour (Source: Internet)

To be honest, this is a long day trip with a lot packed in. Most days are started early and all require tourists to walk through places. The participant contributes not only his precious time and money on the tour, but also his patience, health, and willingness to discover. But, the real treasure will appear on every step you take. It is not just the place itself but a whole story of a whole country with a long history behind it. There is a famous quote “if you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together”. This is definitely true in this case. Basically, everyone is capable enough to plan and travel on their own, but only the locals can tell you the stories of their ancestors. Come to Vietnam, and say “Xin chào” to us, and let us lead you through the treasured heritage of Vietnam – a heritage combined with history, people, and nature!

PostDate: 09/03/2018

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