AN ESTABLISHED FRENCH HILL STATION WHICH DATES BACK TO 1922, SAPA ORIENTATES THE MOST SPECTACULAR VIEWS OF MOUNTAINS AND PLUNGING VALLEYS.
Local hill tribes fill the town, transforming the vibrant green rice terraces into a colourful landscape. Experience the charm of the northwest Vietnamese tourist centre in Sapa.
Sapa’s hill tribe villages brings culture in Sapa to life. The local village markets are open every day of the week, the biggest held on Saturdays. Stalls sell everything from handicrafts and ethnic clothing, to flowers and produce. Step back in time and visit the Muong Khuong Bird Market where biord cages line the street and locals dress in traditional clothing and reflect on everyday life in the mountains.
Located deep in the last surviving forest Hoang Lien National Park, just 45 minutes outside of Sapa town, are 25 mountain bungalows known as Topas Ecolodge. Guests here enjoy magnificent views of the stunning scenery from the comfort of their own private balcony. With unique trekking and mountain biking trails in their backyard, Topas invites visitors to escape busy city life for a quiet mountain getaway and experience Vietnam differently.
Thac Bac Waterfall
Located less than 15 kilometres from the centre of town is Silver Falls or Thac Bac Waterfall. Known as the white dragon who looks down from the sky to the locals, the waterfalls are easily accessible by car and motor bike along the Tram Ton Pass, Vietnam’s highest mountain pass.
Muong Hoa Valley
Famous for its breathtaking scenery and mountainous terrain, take the opportunity to hike through Muong Hoa Valley. Walk along the Muong Hoa River, passing terraced fields and local minority groups at work.
Cat Cat Village
Nestled in the beautiful valley only three kilometres from Sapa Town, the old village of …
SEE THE BEST THAT VIETNAM HAS TO OFFER ON THIS 10-DAY ITINERARY COVERING NORTH, SOUTH AND A FEW PLACES IN BETWEEN
For a country with as much variety as Vietnam, planning a trip that introduces you to its many highlights takes some doing. Whether you’re sampling street food in Hanoi, cruising around the enigmatic limestone islands of Halong Bay or wandering through the streets of a bygone era in Hoi An, you’ll be amazed how quickly your ten-day trip will fly by. To help you decide where to go, we’ve put together this comprehensive itinerary that takes you to the very best places that this fascinating country has to offer in ten days. Click here to see the full itinerary of our ten-day Highlights of Vietnam small group tour.
Ten days in Vietnam map and itinerary.
Days 1-3: Saigon and the Mekong Delta
Get a feel for Vietnamese life in the lush Mekong Delta.
Kick off your trip to Vietnam by exploring Saigon, now known as Ho Chi Minh City. Orientate yourself with a wander along Dong Khoi Street (previously known as Rue Catinat), the buildings of which tell the story of the city’s colonial past. A good place to gain an understanding of the country’s plight during the Vietnam War is the War Remnants Museum, but few experiences can give you a better idea of living conditions for the soldiers themselves than heading underground into the intriguing Cu Chi tunnel network, two sections of which are open to the public.
After the claustrophobic tunnels, head for the Mekong Delta to get out in the open air and sample fresh, locally grown produce from the floating markets that continue to be held here much as they have always done. Cruising the Delta, you’ll get a feel for the sights, sounds …
COLOURFUL AND HISTORIC HOI AN IS ONE OF VIETNAM’S MOST ATMOSPHERIC TOWNS.
A former trading port, the coastal city retains a charming mix of architectural styles with a French flare, local culinary delights and riverside heritage, free from the congestion of modern day traffic. Here are five things you can do to make the most of your time in the Vietnamese gem that is Hoi An.
1. Visit Old Town
Hoi An is World Heritage listed for its preserved ancient trading port which dates back to the 15th century. According to UNESCO, more than 800 historic buildings have been preserved, making Old Town look as it did several centuries ago. History’s cultural influences can be seen in the colourful homes, narrow alley ways and riverside cafes. Explore the ancient town by foot or bicycle and stroll passed the riverside markets and merchant houses, uncover the city’s history in the Chinese Assembly Hall and stop by the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge and pagoda.
2. Tailor your designer wardrobe
Roam among the city’s shop houses in designer-quality style. Home to the world’s highest concentration of tailors per capita and a major drawcard to the city, the tailors in Hoi An can design whatever you want, from suits and dresses to t-shirts, bags and leather shoes. The personalised tailored experience is also among the most affordable in the world.
We sent The Living Room’s Chris Brown to Yaly Couture to get suited up for the 2017 TV Week Logie Awards. Yaly Couture are prestigious tailors and shoe makers who provide exquisite traditional Vietnamese tailoring and an extensive range of fabrics, silks, cottons and cashmeres.
3. Cycle through town
Hop on the city’s most popular mode of transport and pedal your way through outlying farmlands and villages. Pass by rice paddies …
WE WERE DELIGHTED TO HAVE THE CHANCE TO SPEAK WITH THE LIVING ROOM’S TRAVEL PRESENTER, DR CHRIS BROWN ABOUT HIS RECENT ADVENTURES IN VIETNAM TRAVELLING WITH INSIDER JOURNEYS AND VIETNAM AIRLINES.
Chris travelled through Ho Chi Minh like a local, riding on the back of a Vespa, being tempted by local delicacies and trying his hand at the martial art of vovinam.
He learnt about the country’s recent history with trips to the Cu Chi Tunnels and the haunting War Remnants Museum, before heading north to historic Hoi An and the surrounding regional areas, where he explored waterways and beaches from the back of a bicycle.
What were your favourite foods experiences in Vietnam?
Considering I didn’t have a bad food experience it’s hard to think of just one. From street food to restaurants, every meal just packed that punch of flavour and freshness that I was excited to experience. If I had to pick one it would be a Ban Xeo (Vietnamese pancake made with rice flour) that I had on a farm just outside of Hoi An. I helped the farmer pick the produce and even though I did that poorly, her skills on the stove more than made up for it!
What were some of your most memorable experiences in Vietnam?
I loved the night lanterns of Hoi An but my favourite experience would have been taking on the two wheeled traffic of Ho Chi Minh city on the back of a Vespa. To immerse yourself in a city like that as people go about their ride to work or to school (with the kids) was really special.
Whilst in Vietnam with The Living Room, Chris was escorted by Insider Journeys’ experienced guides, who helped him delve deeper into the ‘real’ Vietnam.
For those who …
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