Christmas Holiday Tour – Saigon, The Mekong Delta, and Phu Quoc Island
December 23 – January 5, 2017/18 (14 days, plus international transit time)
This tour will combine cultural and war era sightseeing with amazing hotels and one of the world’s most fabulous beaches.
Day 0: Leave the US. Remember that you will skip over a day when you cross the international date line. Plan your air travel accordingly. We can assist with good advice on the best routing.
Day 1: Saturday, December 23: Arrange your travel to arrive in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) on this day, which means you will need to commence travel on Thursday or Friday. Most flights arrive in the late evening. We will meet and transfer you to the 5-star Renaissance Riverside Hotel in the city center.
Day 2: After breakfast, we will have a brief orientation talk and go on a walk in the city center. We will then take a van an hour outside the city and tour the VC tunnel system at Cu Chi. Despite the irony of turning such carnage into a tourist attraction, this is a fascinating way to experience a taste of the insanity of the “American” war. Return in the early afternoon. Depending on the group’s energy, we can also take a brief city tour, including the war and historical museums. Cap off the day with a welcome dinner at the famous Café Indochine. (All meals provided.)
Day 3: Merry Christmas! This day is open to relax, get over jet-lag by the pool, or do some exploring on your own. You will want to stroll the streets and take in the dazzling displays of lights and parades. Remember that a huge number of Vietnamese are Catholic, so this is a huge holiday in the country! A Christmas dinner buffet is provided at the hotel. (Lunch on your own.)
Day 4: Transfer by van, about 3 hours, into the Mekong Delta. We will make numerous stops to see the countryside as we make our way to the city of My Tho and the Mekong My Tho hotel on the shore of the Tien River. There will be some time to explore My Tho in the late afternoon on your own. (Lunch provided, dinner on your own.)
Day 5: Continue by van, about two hours, to the heart of the Mekong Delta and the City of Can Tho. Stay at the lovely Victoria Can Tho Resort for two nights. The afternoon will be open to walk the city or to take in the wonderful, colonial atmosphere of this resort on the Mekong River. (Lunch provided, dinner on your own.)
Day 6: Arise early and tour the famous floating markets of Can Tho. The afternoon is open to explore the area on foot or on bicycles which are available at the hotel. (Lunch and dinner on your own.)
Day 7: Continue by van through the delta to the port city of Rach Gia. Stay in the Hoa Binh Resort Rach Gia. After lunch (provided), you will have time to walk around this interesting (and much less touristy) port city. (Lunch provided, dinner on your own.)
Day 8: Walk a short distance to the harbor and take a two-hour ferry ride to Phu Quoc Island. Transfer to the Saigon Phu Quoc Resort on Long Beach. This is one of the most idyllic beaches we have seen anywhere in our world travels which is why we will be lingering at this spot for five glorious, relaxing nights. (Lunch is provided at the hotel. For dinner, we recommend wandering down Long Beach and finding one of the many great restaurants on your own.)
Day 9: (New Year’s Eve) Open day to relax on the beach or explore the town on your own. You can rent bikes, snorkel gear, visit the nearby fish sauce factory, or make your own adventure! We can organize an optional squid fishing trip in the evening for those interested. A New Year’s Eve dinner buffet is provided at the hotel. Enjoy evening activities and fireworks shows on the beach. (Lunch on your own.)
Day 10: HAPPY NEW YEAR! We will take a van tour of the island and have lunch on one of its more secluded beaches. New years dinner is provided at a nearby restaurant. (All meals provided.)
Day 11: Optional boat tour (at extra cost) with SCUBA (for certified divers) and snorkeling. (Lunch is provided with the boat trip. Otherwise, lunch and dinner on your own.)
Day 12: Open day. As a group, we will make our own itinerary as we see fit for our last full day on the beach! (Lunch and dinner on your own.)
Day 13: Enjoy your last few hours on the beach before a mid-day flight back to Saigon. Transfer to the Park Royal Hotel, just a few minutes from the airport. You will have the afternoon open to do any last minute shopping or just to relax by the pool before a farewell dinner is provided near the hotel. (Lunch on your own.)
Day 14: Return home. Depending on your flight scheduling, you will likely leave in the morning and arrive in the US just a few hours later on the same day due to the international date line crossing.
Cost: $3950 per person, double occupancy. (Less for children sharing parents’ room.)
Includes: Double occupancy lodging in 4 and 5 star hotels, All breakfasts and some other meals as mentioned in itinerary, internal airfare, all ground transportation, tour guide fees, entrance fees.
Not Included: International airfare, drinks and other hotel extras, independent excursions on open days, some meals as listed in itinerary, tips.