24h in Vietnam

Monday, 27 October 2008 03:01
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I. 24h in Hanoi 

8.00: Get up early to feel the fresh morning of Hanoi, and catch a taxi (or bus to save money) to the West Lake to have some delicate breakfast at a lakeside floating restaurant or café. This is the largest lake in the northwest center of Hanoi with a perimeter of 17 km, also an oxbow lake created from a curved part of the huge Red River. Sitting here, a vast pure world over the surface of the evergreen river is open wide to all ends to serve your eyes. If you stay at Sheraton hotel, or any just nearby, it’s a big luck for you to easily get out of your bed early at the best time of 5.30 to best feel and breath in the clean and cool air from the lake.
The unique One-Pillar Pagoda, a wooden structure built in 1049, sits on stilts over a lake. A king of the Ly Dynasty, Ly Thai Tong King had it built after having a dream in which Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, the Goddess of Mercy, presented him with a lotus flower. The existing pagoda is a miniature reproduction of the original, which was said to represent a lotus emerging from the water. It is certainly interesting, and a prayer here is said to bring fertility and good health. It's best to wear something full-length (skirt or trousers), not shorts.

 

9.30: Ask the taxi driver to bring you to Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum by just saying “Lahn Pak Hou” or writing down “Lang Bac Ho” for him, he will know exactly where to go. A time in the morning is the best time to visit Hochiminh Mausoleum as it is only open then. Join the crowd of visitors to queue up in quietness to get inside. In an imposing, somber, granite-and-concrete structure modeled on Lenin's tomb, President Ho Chi Minh lies in state, embalmed and dressed in his favored khaki suit. He asked to be cremated, but his wish was not heeded. A respectful demeanor is required, and the dress code mandates no shorts or sleeveless shirts.

10.30: You still have about more than an hour to visit the famous Temple of Literature at Quoc Tu Giam Street. If Vietnam has a seat of learning, this is it. There are two entities here: Van Mieu, a temple built in 1070 to worship Chinese philosopher Confucius; and Quoc Tu Giam, literally "Temple of the King Who Distinguished Literature," an elite institute established in 1076 to teach the doctrines of Confucius and his disciples. It existed for more than 700 years as a center for Confucian learning. Moreover, it is a powerful symbol for the Vietnamese, having been established after the country emerged from a period of Chinese colonialism that lasted from 179 B.C. to A.D. 938. It is a testament to the strong cultural heritage of the Mandarins. As such, it stands for independence and a solidifying of national culture and values.

14.00: After a sumptuous lunch, if you're interested in learning more about the 53 ethnic minorities populating Vietnam's hinterlands, make the jaunt out to this sprawling compound (go by cab or taxi). Vietnam's different ethnic groups, their history, and customs are explained in photos, videos, and displays of clothing and daily implements. Out back are a number of re-creations of the village homes, from a low Cham house to the towering peak of a thatched Banhar communal home. You come away with a good historical perspective on the many groups you meet in the far north and in parts of neighboring Laos and Thailand.

15.00: Head to Ngoc Son Temple and Restored Sword Lake (or Hoan Kiem Lake) just nearby. The Ngoc Son temple is set on a tiny island on the Hoan Kiem Lake and dates back to the 13th century. The lake itself is a picturesque focal point of Hanoi, frequented by tourists and locals alike. Then, to deeply see Hanoi step by step, take a relaxing one hour cyclo tour through the Old Quarter. Also known as the 36 streets, this bustling area of narrow streets is home to literally thousands of small businesses and shopkeepers. It’s a great place to explore with plenty of photo opportunities.
A late afternoon walk around Hoan Kiem lake and Hanoi's fascinating Old Quarter brings some great fun, shopping, and street side traditional food. This is your chance to be part of typical Hanoian style and its traditional Vietnamese culture.

17.30: Before heading for pre-dinner drinks at nice bars here, walk on a few steps until you reach Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre, to join the lovely world of the famous Water Puppet performance. Water Puppet watching is a favorite experience for all visitors to Vietnam. This might sound like one for the kids, but there is something enchanting about the lighthearted comedy and intricately skilled puppetry of this troupe. They perform numerous vignettes of daily life in the countryside and ancient tales, including the legend of Hoan Kiem Lake and the peaceful founding of the city of Hanoi. Puppeteers use bamboo poles to extend their puppets from behind the proscenium and up through the surface of a small pond that forms the stage. You will be amazed at their ingenuity, and it doesn't take much to suspend disbelief and get caught up in a magical hour of escape. The kids will like it, too.

19.30: Now it’s time to be dipped into a classical world with traditional antique but luxurious dinner banquet at some restaurant by the lake side. Enjoy your delicious dinner, contemplating the glisten night of the Restored Sword Lake. Many are of beautiful lake view, and special traditional live music. Food is delicately delicious, and service is excellent!

21.00: Just cheer up yourself a bit by switching into another atmosphere, a world of hot Vietnamese music with colorful, noisy, and interesting space at Ho Guom Xanh Club. It might heat you to some extent!! In case you are of a little tiredness, take a leisure walk along the lake, then take a taxi to Sheraton or Sofitel Plaza Hotel to relax your mind with a fine glass of red wine at the hotel bar, and feeling the charming live piano performances.

Late
: Back to your warm bed at hotel, those final day’s activities have surely soothed out all your worst stuff, bringing you into a peaceful space of nice dreams. Take a warm bath and Good night, my friend!


 

II. 24h in Hochiminh City (Saigon)

8.30: Get up early with some of Ho Chi Minh City’s (HCMC) more colorful locals and head to Ho Thi Ky flower market. The best time is around 5.30am, when the sun is not quite up and there is a palpable sense that the day is just about to begin. This is when the market is at its most frenetic. To get up to speed with the vendors, grab a piping hot caffeine-laden ca phe – Vietnamese coffee – from a hawker stall and explore. Even if you are not an early riser, try and make it before 9am to soak up the atmosphere and wander among the old buildings and colourful, fragrant blooms.

10.00: If you are feeling plucky, flag down a xe om (motorbike taxi) and join the fray with the six million other mopeds swarming the streets in no particular order. Ask for Ben Thanh market, one of the busiest spots in HCMC. Popular with locals and tourists alike, it is a great place for silk and lacquer-ware, and to stop for a snack. Try a bowl of pho – a dish of noodles, broth and thinly sliced meat, which is the staple breakfast for most Vietnamese but can be eaten throughout the day. Those with a sweet tooth should round it off with a slice of banh chuoi nuong, a sticky banana cake.

11.00: A short walk away is the Fine Arts Museum. Step inside its beautiful ochre walls and admire the architecture and art. Then stroll up Le Loi, the boulevard that will take you towards the grand City Hall, where the People’s Committee sits. The interior may be off limits to the general public, but the ornate cream façade provides HCMC’s most photogenic backdrop. The statue of Uncle Ho – the moniker for the Communist leader Ho Chi Minh after whom the city was named – remains ever impassive to the clacking of camera shutters and tourists posing in his shadow. Continue up and turn onto Dong Khoi just before the elegant colonial Opera House. Here you will find up-market boutiques and local labels rubbing shoulders with Gucci and Louis Vuitton, but take a little time to explore the warren of lanes with their myriad silver shops, cafés and silk couture. Then cross Nguyen Hue to Ton That Thiep, a favourite haunt of expats and packed full of eccentric boutiques such as Gaya, Saigon Kitsch and So Co La.

12.30: Crossing Le Loi once more, wander up Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, stopping to explore the Reunification Palace. This was once the command centre of the South Vietnamese government and the building has been left pretty much as it stood when communist tanks rolled through its gates in 1975. Sample some great Vietnamese fare at local prices at the ever-popular Quan an Ngon, or head to the light, airy bistro Au Parc, in sight of the pink spires of the Notre Dame cathedral.

14.00: Walk to the War Remnants Museum where the relics of the Vietnam War are displayed in all their terrible glory. Be prepared: as well as the retired hunks of military junk and replicas of the ‘tiger cage’ prison cells, there are walls of harrowing photographs documenting combat scenes, wartime injuries and the horrific legacy of Agent Orange, still causing cancers and congenital defects three decades later.

15.00: Take a cyclo tour of Cholon, HCMC’s Chinatown. Here, Vietnamese script gives way to brightly coloured Chinese characters and Chinese architecture and traditional medicine shops abound. Chinese dragons watch over garish, glittering traditional wedding costumes and ornate Chinese pagodas punctuate shop fronts and apartment blocks. Of these, Phuoc An Hoi Quan, Quan Anm and Thien Hau are well worth a look. Daring carnivores can stop at a street stall and sample deep-fried duck heads, a slippery length of pork intestine or even (brace yourself) thit cho – dog meat.

17.00: Head for pre-dinner drinks. Popular spots include La Fenêtre Soleil, a quaint slice of Victoriana atop a winding flight of unkempt stairs, or Pacharan, for a jug of sangria and maybe a tapas appetiser.

19.00: Dress up a little for a table at Mandarin, where you can find authentic Vietnamese dishes in a refined, traditional setting. The food is exquisite and the service world-class.

21.00: After a delectable dinner, tour some of the city’s top watering holes – the elegant lounge bars at Temple Club, Cantina Central and Xu are all perfect places to unwind over your favorite tipple, and Level 23, at the Sheraton Hotel, has arguably the best view over the city. No matter where you start off, those with enough energy inevitably end up at Lush nightclub. Finish off with a nightcap, nestling into the subterranean cubbyholes of Q Bar.

Late: Leaving the night owls behind you, wander the last few metres across Lam Son Square to the sanctuary of the Park Hyatt – your personal slice of colonial-style luxury and the perfect place to enjoy a well-earned rest.
(For more information, refer to CNN.com)


 

III. 24h in Hue

8.30 am: Begin a new day with a strong cup of coffee to refresh your mind! Let’s start exploring Hue with Minh Mang tombs. It is worth seeing with the huge architectural work. Continue with the tomb of Tu Duc- the ‘poet Emperor’-which is set in an elegant garden with a magnificent lake and pavilion complex. What’s more? The tomb of Emperor Khai Dinh will impress you with its uneasy combination of Vietnamese and European features and the use of fragments of ceramics and glass for decoration. Let’s join a trip to Phu Cam hat-making village which lies at the Southern bank of An Cuu River. Romantically, Hue landscapes or even poems can be seen clearly through the hats in the sunshine.

12.00 pm: Not far from the Hue Citadel is a must-see site, Dong Ba market. Roaming around this food market would add new color to your visit to this Vietnamese city. If you want to have understanding of certain things regarding Vietnamese food or culture, you must come to this place. My friend, how big a pity it would be if you pass Hue beef noodle, shrimp cakes, pancakes, bean puddings…, the typical Hue’s food found here. Dong Ba market is not only famous for many goods and local specialties, but also its traditional products such as Phu Cam conical hats, Hien Luong scissors, Phuoc Tich pottery, Ke Mon jewelry, Nam Thuan sweets, Tuan tea…

2.00 pm: Are you so eager to visit Hue citadel? Based on the ancient practice of geomancy, the Citadel was designed and planned around the natural elements. You should spend time visiting the Hue Royal Fine Art Museum where you can see a gallery of antiques displaying collections of bronze, pottery, chinaware, court robes, head-gear and personal belongings of former Vietnam Emperors.  Do not forget to bring with you a camera to take the most beautiful sights on Perfume River. Surprisingly, in autumn, flowers fall into the water, giving the River an aroma.

4.30 pm: After a whole day with a lot of activities, it’s time for you to relax. You can choose a cyclo tour to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. Otherwise, drinking some coffee or tea in one of the interesting garden houses occupied by royal family relatives or the wealthy locals is a good idea.

7.30 till late: At night, you will be excited with a boating on the Perfume River to enjoy Hue folk songs that used to be performed for royalty or during ceremonies. It is time for you to take the most beautiful pictures as well as to enjoy the fascinating views between the two River banks.


IV. 24h in Hoi An

8.30: After a long journey, nothing can make you more relaxed than a morning in this peaceful ancient town. As an important trading port from the 15th to 19th centuries, Hoi An Ancient Town is a fusion of indigenous and foreign cultures. Explore the sights of its quaint historic district with your private guide. Catch the romantic sights and take a tight hold of your sweet-heart if you are just-married couples!
Start exploring the ancient town by crossing over the old wooden slats of the Japanese covered bridge. More than 400 years have passed and the covered bridge has always been a good shelter for passers by escaping from the rain and heat. On the northern side of the bridge is a Japanese pagoda to protect sailors. You can see the statues of two dogs located at the western end of the bridge and two monkeys at the eastern end. It is said that the construction started in the year of the monkey and finished in the year of the dog, according to Chinese calendar. Other legend said that the statues on the bridge might have been put there by the Japanese to control this monster, since the dog and the monkey are sacred animals according to their Totem religion.

9.00: Imagine life over one hundred years ago at meticulously-maintained Tan Ky House which was constructed nearly two centuries ago as the house of a Vietnamese merchant. It has always been lovingly preserved and now looks almost as it did in the early 19th century. The design of Tan Ky House shows how local architecture incorporated Japanese and Chinese influences. Japanese elements include the crab shell-shaped ceiling supported by three beams in the living room. Chinese poems written in mother-of-pearl are hanging from a number of the columns that hold up the roof.

10.00. Before heading for lunch, there’s another interesting place to go, Phuc Kien Pagoda, which was built in 1692 by Chinese Phuoc Kien merchants. It has since been restored and enhanced many times. Because it was used for worship as well as for meetings by the Chinese from Phuoc Kien Province, this construction is now called the Phuoc Kien Assembly Hall. The Holy Mother and the Goddess of the Sea, Thien Hau, are worshipped in the main sanctuary. The Phuoc Kien ancestors and the God of Prosperity are worshipped in the sanctuary behind the main one. This temple is architecturally unique with its artistic ornaments and beautiful statues. The Chinese architectural style combined with Vietnamese workmanship has enriched it with Hoian’s cultural character.

14.00. After lunch, now it’s time to be dipped into a classical world with traditional handcraft at Hoi An’s busy local market. In the market you will be able to see various kinds of lanterns used for decorations for houses, gardens, and festivals. They are all made by the skilled hands of the famous craftsmen in Hoi An. Take a look at one of our lanterns called bamboo lantern! It is made of a bamboo frame, covered by silk and appears in various shapes and colors. To it put into use, one merely hangs the lantern up with the string and puts a light bulb inside.

16.00. Our next stop is Cham Museum which was built in Cham architectural style, using thin lines that are simple and gentle. Cham architecture originates from the period between the 5th and 15th centuries, when a matriarchal society prevailed. At present, the museum displays approximately 300 sculptures, among which some are made from terracotta. The sculptures were collected from Cham temples and towers throughout Central Vietnam, more specifically the area stretching from Quang Binh to Binh Thuan.

19.00. I’m sure that a day in Hoi An is one of your most unforgettable experiences in Vietnam. Yet, only enjoying a short boat ride on Thu Bon River can let you drift along in the most peaceful landscape. It is one of the nicest waterways in Vietnam and repeatedly portrayed in poetry.

21.00.The night life of Hoi An is difficult to describe. It is definitely a unique experience. There are many options that one can take, but all depend on the kind of traveler you are and what you are looking for. There are plenty of lounges around town to choose from, some owned by locals, others by foreigners. Most of them have the same to offer; happy hour, free pool, friendly service… For the most part, Hoi An is a town that sleeps early, but you can find a few good nightspots. Tam-Tam Café has long been a popular spot for travelers, expats, and locals. Hai Scout Cafe is a popular late-night hangout for travelers, offering standard bar drinks as well as cappuccino and espresso and some great baked treats…


V. 24h in Nha Trang

8.00. Welcome to the first-to-select destination in Vietnam! Nha Trang will greet you with white sand, blue water and tropical climate. A little run down but worth-a-visit all the same, the National Oceanographic Museum of Vietnam is essentially an aquarium facility with various ponds and tanks housing creatures harvested from the waters around Nha Trang and beyond from deeper ocean areas. Small tanks at the back of the museum house specimens such as puffer fish, lionfish, clownfish, reef sharks, turtles, sea anemones and sea horses. Giant turtles and crocodiles are also resident in outdoor areas. The main museum area features around 20,000 specimens of preserved sea-life including the skeletal remains of both a whale and a sea cow.

10.30. Continue to Long Son Pagoda which was founded in late 19th century. It is best known for the giant white Buddha statue that sits majestically on the hillside behind its main compound area. You may try to climb steps behind the pagoda to see an enormous 9-meter high status of Buddha & enjoy a spectacular view of Nha Trang bay… This famed icon is a hefty 24 metres high and can be seen from a good distance away, making it a symbol synonymous with the city. The main building also stands high and a walk to the top affords visitors some fantastic views. Yeah, it’s fascinating!

13.00. After lunch in a local restaurant, travel about 3.5km to Chong Promontory Rocks (Hon Chong), a small marble peninsula with massive rocks, laying on top one another. The first cluster is situated offshore and the other is located in sand dunes near Cu Lao fishing hamlet. The offshore cluster includes layers of rocks serving as natural wave breakers. The second part located in sand dunes, looks like the work of a giant putting together several massive rocks.

14.30. Afterwards, let’s drive back to the centre of Nha Trang to visit Po Nagar Temples, a sacred Hindu site dating back to the 7th century. Built in the period between the 8th and 13th centuries, the Cham towers of Thap Ba Ponagar are among the finest structures of this nature in the country. Of eight original towers, just four now remain; sitting atop a hill from which some great views over the city are possible.

15.30. For a real sense of the local culture and everyday life of the people of Nha Trang, take a trip to the Dam market. Nha Trang has a good selection of eateries with everything from street vendors to up-market restaurants meaning that it’s possible to eat a reasonable meal irrespective of your budget.
Market stalls and vendors across the city serve the highly popular Pho noodle soup dish while steamed spring rolls and dim sum are also commonly available. The same dishes can, of course, be found on the menus of quality restaurants, but you should expect to pay a lot more them and perhaps even sacrifice some degree of their authenticity. For international cuisine, the city has a variety of options including Indian at Omar’s and at the two branches of the Bombay Indian restaurant, French cuisine at La Louisiane, Mexican food at Tex Mex El Coyote and Korean food at the Nha Hang Hyundai restaurant. There are plenty of opportunities to buy souvenirs or gifts to take back to family and friends as well essentials such as branded toiletries and food items. Dam market is a good place to head to find a wide range of products including edible items and handmade craft products with distinct Vietnamese themes.

17.00. It’s impossible to come to Nha Trang without taking part in a variety of water based activities including jet skiing, scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking and sailing. Down at the beach to enjoy the cool water with the naughty waves…

20.00. Night clubs: the large hotels have their own discotheque attended by the tourists, especially Saturdays evening.
- Hotel Yasaka Saigon Nha Trang (Tran Phu Boulevard) : discotheque has top equipment with real good sound...and lightning system. Opened from 8 p.m. until 5 am
- GMC cafe has a discotheque, restaurant and cafe. Opened in 2008 
Why not bar?
- Coffee and bar until 22h, then bar in terrace and high volume on the track of dance
- Louisiane Brewery: located on the beach on Tran Phu (in front of the old airport). It is a cafe and a beach bar. Offers music live performances on week ends


VI. 24h in Da Nang

8.45. It’s very ideal to refresh your mind by breathing the cool wind during the drive to Hoi An through 45 minutes. Here we are! Hoi An ancient town with the blend of Vietnamese, Chinese and Japanese architecture! Start exploring the ancient town by crossing over the old wooden slats of the Japanese covered bridge. More than 400 years have passed and the covered bridge has always been a good shelter for passers by escaping from the rain and heat. On the northern side of the bridge is a Japanese pagoda to protect sailors. You can see the statues of two dogs located at the western end of the bridge and two monkeys at the eastern end. It is said that the construction started in the year of the monkey and finished in the year of the dog, according to Chinese calendar. Other legend said that the statues on the bridge might have been put there by the Japanese to control this monster, since the dog and the monkey are sacred animals according to their Totem religion.

9.20. Imagine life over one hundred years ago at meticulously-maintained Tan Ky House which was constructed almost two centuries ago as the house of a Vietnamese merchant. It has always been lovingly preserved and now looks almost exactly as it did in the early 19th century. The design of Tan Ky House shows how local architecture incorporated Japanese and Chinese influences. Japanese elements include the crab shell-shaped ceiling supported by three beams in the living room. Chinese poems written in mother-of-pearl are hanging from a number of the columns that hold up the roof

10.00. Before heading for lunch at nice restaurant, there’s another interesting place to go, Phuc Kien Pagoda, which was built in 1692 by Chinese Phuoc Kien merchants. It has since been restored and enhanced many times. Because it was used for worship as well as for meetings by the Chinese from Phuoc Kien Province, this construction is now called the Phuoc Kien Assembly Hall. The Holy Mother and the Goddess of the Sea, Thien Hau, are worshipped in the main sanctuary. The Phuoc Kien ancestors and the God of Prosperity are worshipped in the sanctuary behind the main one. This temple is architecturally unique with its artistic ornaments and beautiful statues. The Chinese architectural style combined with Vietnamese workmanship has enriched it with Hoian’s cultural character.

10.30. Any trip remains incomplete without shopping. Shopping in Hoi An is such an exotic experience, then you simple cannot afford to miss it. The city of Hoi An is small that it can easily be explored on foot. Filled with several shopping destinations, scattered all over the city, shopping would give you a perfect accompaniment on your trip. World's some of the best quality silk is available in Hoi An. Not only clothes but you would also find several apparels and home decors, like wall hangings and lampshades made of silk. You can also pick up the beautiful silk lanterns, which comes at very reasonable rates.
The other shopping items include artifacts, antiques, small bonsai plants, junk jewelries, marble statues, and small hand-crafted gift items. There are beautiful paintings available in Hoi An. If you don't want to spend a huge amount of money on purchasing these masterpieces, you can go for the printed versions, which come at a much lesser price.
14.00. After lunch and rest, now it’s time to drive back to Danang. On the way back, we will spend time on visiting Marble Mountain which was one of five mountains located south of Da Nang and stretched from the coast inland or westward. Today these five mountains have Vietnamese folk lord names of: Water, Metal, Wood, Fire and Earth.

16.00. Perhaps no one comes to the Five Marble Mountains without paying a visit to Hoa Hai Fine Arts Village, where nationwide and worldwide famous marble handicraft works are produced. Many gardens of statues have their back to the mountains. So, the overall artistic spaces of these gardens are arranged skillfully thanks to the outside landscape. You will be very interested in and surprised by the artistic stone works exhibited here.
Polished statues, lively toy animals, and petite and sophisticated presents with both traditional and modern motives that were produced here have been taken to most parts of the world by visitors. The happiness with the completed works, the admiration of connoisseurs and also the benefits from the job have united the people of this fine arts village in their careers.

17.00. We will end up our trip by having a bath on China Beach. The water was a beautiful mix of turquoise and blue, framed by white sandy beaches with powder soft sand. Enjoy!

20.00. Come to Da Nang, you will never feel bored. With the coming of night, another kind of activity begins. The streets are now full of colorful lights. The air is cooler and life becomes more leisurely. People now seek entertainment. Many visit the cinemas, parks and clubs. There are a lot of bars, clubs, discotheque for relax. Come and make friend!

BELLE
Address: 58 Nguyen Van Linh, Da Nang city.

QUEEN 
Address: 129 2/9 Street, Da Nang city.


 

VII. 24h in Da Lat

8.00. Wake up and you may immediately breathe the atmosphere full of cool air as well as the perfume of flowers and comfortably feel the cool air on your skin.  Our first stop is the Valley of Love which is 5km north of Da Lat. The cool temperatures attract natives and tourists to the area. The temperature high in the summer is 25oC! As a result of the ideal climate, the valley has become even more poetic and seductive and has attracted countless visitors and, of course, lovers.
The lake is surrounded by hilly slopes with pine trees. The shore is wide, offering a large area to stretch out and picnic. After coming back from this trip, you may hang a Da Lat poster in your home or office and enjoy the verdant fields every day!

9.30. Saying goodbye to the valley of Love, we continue our trip to three magnificent, large palaces which are always referred to as Palace 1, Palace 2 and Palace 3. Located on a high hill with the ground area of 60 ha, Palace 1 once was used as the office of those officials in Bao Dai King's Royal Territory.
With its ancient appearance and beautiful scenery, Palace 1 is one of the architectural focal points of Da Lat in earlier period.
Palace 2 was once used as the mansion and summer office of the French Governor General Decoux, hence also called the Governor General Palace. Palace 2 is of modern style under European Architecture, its huge flat roof combined with cubic figures help Palace 2 have its own characteristics different from other old villas in Da Lat.
Are you fond of beautiful and poetic architecture? Surrounding the Palace 3 is the Royal Garden, Love Forest and a small lake. The Palace architecture is also a modern one, with imposing but harmonious and good-looking outline. In the Palace maintained intact are the things for the working and living of Bao Dai King, Nam Phuong Queen, Bao Long Prince and Phuong Mai Princess.

11.15. Now, it’s time for you to take the most beautiful pictures with your camera in the garden which has the biggest selection of flowers in Dalat with hundreds kinds of flowers. From this corner, you can see the traditional flowers such as ortensiaes, mimosas, roses...etc. In other corner are some kinds of flowers that have been brought to Dalat for 10 years now such as daffodils, lilies... Here, there is the garden of orchids, these orchids are pretty big and they are the most beautiful in Dalat so you can watch or buy. If you come to Dalat in Lunar New’s Day, there is a Flower Festival and artists gather here to show their flowers, their orchids, their decorated trees...

13.30. Bring along the perfume as well as the pictures in your camera of Dalat’s flowers, we are heading to Truc Lam Monastery. Located near the side of Tuyen Lam Lake, built on 2 ha of land, it is deemed to be the largest one nationwide, both in space and the scale of training. With the Central Sanctum right on a top of high hill and 222 steps upwards from Tuyen Lam Lake, the Monastery has an elegant and airy architecture and interior arrangement. In the high and wide Sanctum there is a statue of the Shakya Buddha with a lotus in hand. The Monastery has over 100 monks and nuns and many laymen who come from other places in the country, who follow a daily strict training regime with the philosophical view:

15.00. Coming to Dalat without visiting Prenn waterfalls is a pity! This famous waterfalls are located approximately 100m from the road.
On approaching the falls, there is a subtle change in temperature caused by mist of the water falling. At the foot of the falls is a small valley of flowers and pine trees. The 10m cascading water falls down over the small bridge built across a little lake.

16.00. Just go about 2 km from Prenn waterfalls, you will face an immense lake with an impressive long time name of Tuyen Lam.
It links numerous mountains and hills, offering a monumentally natural landscape.
Sailing on the lake, you will have a chance to admire wonders of the mountains and hills, where they can make new discoveries from different views. How excited to call at Bao Dai Waterfall for an opportunity to get acquainted with a secluded family in the closest attachment to the nature! A visit at the picnic areas of Nam Qua and Da Tien, one will enable tourists to enjoy roast meat beside a big jug of Can in beautiful houses. You may also lie at pleasure on glossy grass alluvial plain with wind flowing strongly and feeling comfortable with long journey.

17.00. Why don’t we stop for trying some fruit? Located at the town center, Da Lat market looks imposing, elegant, and artistic. It was built from 1958 to 1960, of most modem architecture by that time. The market has the special position right at the foot of a hill, but communicative to Hoa Binh area at the hill top through a bridge at its second floor, and to Xuan Huong lake by an entrance into its ground floor.
Apart from common items as in all other markets, Da Lat market sells every kind of local specialties, mainly in the ground floor. Outermost are the grocery stores, then the flower stands, and innermost is the section for Da Lat's processed specialties: artichoke, jam, processed apricot, wine, syrup...

20.00. Now, you are free for personal doings. A stroll around Ho Xuan Huong Lake at night could be finished off with a seat either on the outside decking or inside the restaurant at Thanh Thuy, or Bluewater Restaurant. Sitting on the waters' edge, this version is a third attempt at getting the old building right, and finally they pulled it off.
For a Western-style restaurant, you won't do better than V Cafe. Now open for five years, it is Da Lat's tastiest and most popular restaurant among foreign visitors -- you should find it busy evenings. The menu, as American owner Michael will tell you, is intentionally simple and covers both 'East' and 'West'. If it's mashed potatoes and veggies you're longing for, this is the place to come.


 

VIII. 24h in Mekong Delta

Begin your tour in My Tho, an inland port and commercial center for this rich agricultural region. Known for its vast orchards and immense rice fields, you’ll also find the elegant Vinh Trang Pagoda here.

Built in 1849, this Buddhist pagoda is nestled amongst native trees and beautiful gardens. Take a turn around the grounds to admire the gracefully blended Asian and European architectural styles. Peek inside to glimpse the many attractive examples of Mekong River Plains’ sculpture.

Move on to Dong Tan Snake Farm. Home to over 20 different species of both venomous and non-venomous snakes, the farm was created as a research facility for the medicinal uses of reptile venom.

Hop aboard your boat and wind through the Mekong to your next stop, Con Phung Island. Enjoy a traditional Vietnamese lunch and see the process of making various handicrafts from coconut trees.

The rest of your afternoon will be spent gliding through the streams and quiet villages of Ben Tre province. Disembark once more to visit an orchard and beekeeping farm. Listen to live traditional music while you sample fresh tropical fruit, natural honey, and homemade honey wine. Watch as locals adeptly create handmade sweet coconut candy. On your way back to Saigon, stop by a bonsai garden to amble by the many plants tended there.

Inclusions:

Available:
Daily

Duration:
Approx. 9 hours

Departure time and location:
8 AM; from the lobby of your Ho Chi Minh City hotel

Return time and location:
Approx. 5 PM; to the lobby of your Ho Chi Minh City hotel

24h in Can Tho

Are you ready to cruise along the small and picturesque tributaries by rowing boat to see the Cai Rang floating market? Together with Cai Be and Phung Hiep, Cai Rang Floating Market in Can Tho City is one of the three biggest in the Mekong Delta. Activities at the market are also an occasion for you to study the cultural aspects of southerners.

Besides Cai Rang Floating Market, you can visit other places such as Can Tho Market, Ninh Kieu Quay, Binh Thuy Temple as well as private tourist gardens. In these gardens, you can walk, breathe fresh air, enjoy different kinds of fruits and countryside specialties and stay at nice guest houses in the shade of trees. Take in the beautiful scenery and the daily activities of the locals who lives along the Mekong canals and you will roam through the village to visit rice husking mill and a rice noodles making shop.

24h in My Tho

Begin a new day by visiting Vinh Trang Pagoda. You can see its structure was built in a mixture of Chinese, Vietnamese, and Angkor (Cambodian) architectural styles with 5 buildings, 2 ornamental yards, and 178 pillars. Now, before your eyes are extensive orchards and immense rice fields. Do not hesitate to enjoy a boat ride on the Mekong River and visit an orchard on an island, with lunch en route at a local restaurant.
Let’s continue our tour with a visit to Khamer temple which is recorded as the place with the most leaf prayer books in Vietnam in the Records Books, with about 150 series of prayer books on leaves.

24h in Chau Doc

After some days cruising on the boat, it’s the time for you to meet and talk with local people in Champa Village. Furthermore, catching some fish is so easy. Is it excited, isn’t it? Do not leave out Sam Mountain. The 230m high mountain not only offers beautiful landscapes, but it is also where many historic remains deeply loved by the inhabitants of Nam Bo plain are located. From Sam Mountain, it is very convenient for you to Lady Xu Temple which is constructed according to the Chinese character "quoc", has 4 square roofs, roofed with blue pile-shaped tiles. For further culture experience, Thoai Ngoc Hau Temple, Tay An Pagoda… are most popular attractions.

24h in Vinh Long

Heading out of town we travel by road to Cai Be in Vinh Long Province. On arrival we embark on a boat for a leisurely trip around the tributaries of the mighty Mekong River. Our first stop is the vibrant floating market of Cai Be where each boat usually sells one particular items such as pumpkins, pineapples, sugar canes... In order to be known by the customers, people hang that item from the highest part of the boat. Along the way, we also visit the many fascinating local cottages industries including rice paper makers, sweet factory, bonsai nurseries…