Arrive in Hanoi
Welcome to Vietnam
Xin chào (hello) and welcome to Vietnam from Parallels and Meridians. Hope you had a pleasant flight. The day is kept at leisure for you, to get some sleep and relax. Tomorrow we begin our journey into Vietnam. Overnight in Hanoi.
The first university in Vietnam
Let’s explore the charming capital city of Hanoi. We will start with a guided tour of the Temple of Literature, which is also the first university in Vietnam. Then we will visit the Fine Arts Museum, which has some tremendous stone carvings. Here you will find sculptures of people, deities and animals dating back to the fifth century. We can end our day with a visit to Hanoi’s busy Old Quarter. It is the best place to see and interact with the locals. Small shops, food vendors, coffee shops, almost everything can be found here; you can explore this fascinating place as you like, a great way to immediately get deep into the fabric of Vietnamese culture! Tonight we will have dinner in one of the city’s local restaurants. Overnight in Hanoi.
Handicraft villages of Hanoi
Today we will be taking an excursion into the countryside to explore villages famous for their handicrafts. You have a chance to see local women producing these handicraft products in a traditional way. These ancient techniques of making handicrafts have been passed down from generations to generation, and are a closely guarded secret. Overnight in Hanoi.
Hanoi - Halong Bay
Cruising on a Vietnamese Junk
Today we will be driving to Halong Bay (3kms/15mins, to board a traditional Vietnamese Junk. In the afternoon we will be engrossed in cruising around Halong Bay’s breath-taking array of limestone islands, rock formations and caves, with numerous opportunities for getting up-close. Overnight on the junk.
Halong Bay – Hanoi – Hue
A Tai Chi class on-board
We have a woman instructor to teach us Tai Chi early this morning. As reward for your energy, watch the exquisite sunrise over the bay. After a few hours of cruising we will head back to the dock at Halong Bay and drive to Hanoi Airport for a flight to Hue. En-route to the airport, we will make a pit stop at a rural Vietnamese village known for its water puppetry, and observe this precious art form. Overnight in Hue.
Cruising along the Perfume River
In the morning we will be cruising on the Perfume river and doing some sightseeing as well. Our first stop will be the Thien Mu Pagoda, which is an active monastery, where we can take the opportunity to see monks and students undertaking their daily activities. In the afternoon we can explore the Imperial Citadel, a place infused with history. In the evening we will have dinner at the Royal Park, where you will be able to see Vietnamese women lavishly attired in long royal dresses. Overnight in Hue.
Visit a hat-making village, and a unique home
This morning we shall explore some more of Hue. Starting with the the Tomb of Khai Dinh, which was built for the Nguyen emperor Khai Dinh between 1920 and 1931, this is one of the most iconic sites of historical interest in Hue, thanks to its unusual fusion of architectural styles. Following this, we will go to the countryside to pay a visit to a village which specialises in hat-making. We will also visit Thanh Ha, where we meet local craftsmen who make conical hats and incense sticks. Later, we shall visit Mr. Vinh Tu’s garden house. This remarkable house was destroyed in the war and was later restored with significant effort. Here you will personally meet Mr Vinh Tu and his wife, who will provide a brief history of the house before showing some true Vietnamese hospitality by serving us with some delicious food. Then we will head out to the most popular market in Hue – Dong Ba Market. Overnight in Hue.
Hue – Hoi An
Drive through paddy fields
We will drive to Hoi An today, passing by field after field of verdant rice paddy, along with Hai Van Pass on the way. The afternoon is kept for relaxation, and you can also take a stroll around the charming riverside town of Hoi An. Overnight in Hoi An.
Cham ruins at My Son
Today let’s explore the UNESCO port-town of Hoi An, unmatched in Vietnam for its well-preserved range of architecture, from the medieval to the modern. Later we will take a drive out to the ancient, enchanting Cham ruins at My Son. The buildings date from between the eighth and thirteenth centuries. After this venture into Vietnam’s past, the afternoon has been kept free to relax and explore at your own pace. Overnight in Hoi An.
Traditional bucket boats
An exciting day ahead of us, as we will get to experience a cruise on the traditional bucket boats, and see the everyday life of the Vietnamese fishermen. Learn about the local fishing communities, and enjoy the fruit of their labors with a fresh seafood lunch after this. The afternoon is free to relax and explore at your own pace. Overnight in Hoi An.
Hoi An – Da Nang – Ho Chi Minh City
Welcome to Ho Chi Minh City
Today we will be driving to Da Nang airport for a flight to Saigon. This evening we will embark on a fascinating discovery of Ho Chi Minh City on the back of a Vespa. Enjoy some delicious street food, local music and experience the city as a local with unadulterated style. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
Ho Chi Minh City
Exploring a once war-torn city
Ho Chi Minh City has plenty of cultural and historical treasures, including the colonial-era Post Office, Reunification Palace and the War Remnants Museum. Before visiting these places, we shall pay a visit to the Viet Cong underground tunnel system: a superb opportunity to observe the extraordinary, and ultimately successful measures used by the Viet Cong. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
Ho Chi Minh City
The floating markets
Vinh Long, a land full of river islands in Ho Chi Minh City, is where we will be going today. Here we will board local boats for an hour to go to the Cai Be Floating Market, and interact with the women merchants. In the evening there will be a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
Departure from Ho Chi Minh City
See you soon
It is time for us to bid you goodbye as our journey in Vietnam comes to an end. We will leave for the international airport after breakfast. We hope you had a memorable time exploring this wonderful country, in the company of those closest to you. Have a safe journey home and we hope to see you again soon!
(From April 01, 2018 -December 31, 2018)
|01 pers||$ 3,073||$ 3,490||$ 4,687|
|02-03 pers||$ 1,863||$ 2,035||$ 2,650|
|04-05 pers||$ 1,474||$ 1,663||$ 2,277|
|06-07 pers||$ 1,326||$ 1,521||$ 2,139|
|08-10 pers||$ 1,339||$ 1,533||$ 2,151|
* price per person
THE PRICE INCLUDES
- 12 Nights’ accommodation on Double or Twin Sharing basis in Hanoi, Hue, Hoi An and Saigon on Bed and Breakfast Basis
- Day 2: Dinner at Local Restaurant and Vespa Tour inclusive of street foods
- Day 6: Hue Royal Dinner
- Day 10: Sea Food Lunch at Fishing Village
- Day 13: Farewell Dinner
- 01 Night Cruise in Halong Bay (Join In)
- All transport services by using Air Conditioned Vehicle as per the itinerary.
- Assistance upon arrival & departures at airport by our representative.
- Boat Cruise in Hue and Hoi An
- All applicable taxes
THE PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE
- International Flight & Airport taxes (International)
- Insurance and visa costs
- Domestic Flights
- Sightseeing with local experienced English speaking guide
- Entrance fees as per program
- Any Gala dinner supplement for X’Mas & New Year.
- Expenses of personal nature such as: drinks, camera and video charges
- Any other Expenses that are not mentioned above
- Our rates are not valid for period other than mentioned above.
- Check-in time is 1400hrs and checkout time is 1200hrs.
- Early check-in / late checkout subject to availability.
- All meals at hotel will be at the coffee shop and not at the specialty restaurant.
- At present we are not holding accommodation at any Hotel.
- Please note, the names of hotels mentioned above only indicate that our rates have been based on usage of these hotels. It is not to be construed that accommodation is confirmed at these hotels until and unless we convey the confirmations to you on receipt of your acceptance. However in the event of any of the above mentioned hotels not becoming available at the time of initiating the reservations, we shall book alternate accommodation at a similar or next best available hotel and shall pass on the difference of rates (supplement/reduction whatever applicable) to you.
YOUR HOTELS (or similar):
Each destination has a unique character, a story. So we chose the most beautiful destinations, we also hand-picked the most suitable hotels for your comfort.
In addition, we offer you options to choose from depending on your budget and travel style that suits you.
You will stay in comfortable/deluxe/ luxury hotels depending upon your choice of stay.
- Visa and Travel Formalities
- Accommodation and transportation
- Flights & Land Package
- Our guides
- Insurance and Unforeseen Circumstances
Vietnam is a part of South East Asia, with China to the north, and Laos and Cambodia to the west. It is a country filled with dazzling natural beauty and placid village life. Some of the most appealing islands and beaches exist in this country, which makes it an ideal travel destination. Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam, and is one of the most popular cities; Ho Chi Minh City is the second largest city apart from being vibrant and a crowd pleaser. The population of Vietnam is over 85 million, comprising of some of the friendliest people.
The southern part of Vietnam has a hot tropical climate, as opposed to a rainy weather in the northern part. Food in this country can be easily passed as one of the most delicious, with rice being served in almost every meal. Fresh seafood is found here due to the abundance of water. A quintessential meal here comprises of a bowl of rice and vegetables cooked in fermented sauce. People show that they’re enjoying a meal by making a lot of noise while eating. Enjoy a traditional meal with the locals here, sitting on a mat placed on the floor.
The tradition and culture of a nation lies in its festivals that are celebrated throughout the year. Here are a list of festivals you can choose from while planning your travel to Vietnam –
Tet festival: This is a festival celebrated towards the end of January to mid-February, and the dates vary every year. It is the most important one for the Vietnamese people, and is celebrated for 7 days; from the 1st to the 7th day of the lunar New Year. During this time people get together and light firecrackers, feast on a lot of food, and make enough noise.
Perfume festival: The festival is celebrated during the month of February or March depending on the 15th day of the 1st month of the Chinese lunar calendar. It is celebrated in the Perfume Pagoda, which is the most famous Buddhist pilgrimage site. Thousands of pilgrims travel to this cave to pray for a happy and flourishing year.
Phu Giay Festival: This festival is celebrated from the 1st to the 10th day of the 3rd month of the Chinese lunar calendar (March-April), paying tribute to Lieu Hanh, a goddess. A lot of different games are played during this time and folk music performances.
Buon Don Elephant Races: In mid-April, there is an elephant race held in the forests near the Sevepoi River, of Buon Don district in the Dak Lak province. The ethnic group called M’Nong participate in this race and are highly skilled in this sector; the race requires one person to steer and another to handle the speed of the elephant.
Buddha’s Birthday: His birthday is celebrated with much zeal and enthusiasm, in the month of May. Buddhist temples are decorated and devotees come fleeing from all across the nation to be a part of this festival.
Mid-Autumn Festival: It is a festival dated back to 3000 years, celebrated in mid-September. It is celebrated in the honour of a legend named Cuoi, who was left alone on the moon, but wants to come back to Earth. Lanterns of all shapes and sizes are lit in every household, street, and shop. There are also several games, firecrackers, cakes, lion dances, and parades during this time.
For most trips, your passport will be enough. It must be valid for up to six months after your return trip. Passports can be easily obtained from your municipality, although there may be delays during holiday periods and holidays. Note that the passport is also required for children. For some destinations, it will be mandatory to send us a copy of your passport immediately after booking a trip.
For Australian passport holders, visa is issued on arrival.
To obtain Visa On Arrival, travellers are required to finish the following simple steps:
- Go online: vietnamvisa.govt.vn
- Submit application form online via our secured network to receive the Visa Approval letter.
Get Visa Stamp when arriving Vietnam International Airports ( Ha Noi/ Da Nang/ Ho Chi Minh city/ Nha Trang.
We recommend you to get your visa 4 to 6 weeks before your arrival.
Minors traveling with an adult: Parents
When a minor is traveling with a parent, the officials at the airport might ask for proof of documents to confirm your relationship. Some countries require certificates such as a birth certificate. Check with the embassy or consulate of the country of destination regarding the requirements.
Minors traveling with an adult: Others
When a minor is traveling with someone other than the parents or a family member, some countries require a declaration by the relatives to give permission for this trip. Check with the embassy or consulate of the country of destination regarding the requirements.
Each destination has a unique character, a story. So we chose the most beautiful destinations, we also handpicked the most suitable hotels for your comfort. In addition, we offer options to choose according to your budget and travel style that suits you.
We offer three options in MOST of our programs:
Simple and comfortable – These are clean and comfortable hotels. As per P&M standard, they fall into a 2-3 star categorization.
Deluxe – In this option, we offer a mix of charming and deluxe hotels. Some of them are heritage palaces, which are now famous contemporary hotels. As per P&M standard, they fall into a 4-5 star categorization.
Luxury – For the ultimate luxury holiday, we have a collection of rustic, chic and stylish hotels combined with laid back indulgence and unmatched amenities. These international favorites are the best in the destinations.
The road conditions in Vietnam are quite poor on an average, but improving with time. However, it still differs from region to region – highways are extensive in the southern part; roads are not very accessible in the northern part in the monsoons.
Transport is a very significant part of your trip to Vietnam. We ensure the quality of the vehicles and the drivers are trained to show you the best landscapes, rural life, by the side of highways, and be attentive to all your requirements. The local traffic is chaotic, but you will certainly enjoy the journeys with our expert and hospitable drivers. All our trips are inclusive of transfers and sightseeing as per the itinerary contracted and we will not surprise you by asking any additional fees for your small wishes.
The airline and the flight schedules are subject to change. P&M will keep you informed about the latest changes in the schedule, if any.
The price in the website are indicative and may change as per the latest amendment given by the hotels or suppliers. However, P&M will honor the rates once they are offered to you and you have made the payment for the package, even partially. In the case of international or domestic flights, the additional airport taxes that are imposed by local authorities shall be passed to you.
It is also possible to book international flights with P&M. Since we have good connections with several airlines, we will be happy to assist you for your requirements.
These people are our most amazing assets, taking you on beautiful trips with P&M. Who can explain a city or town better than the locals? This is why we always work with the locals carrying a passion for their culture. Their knowledge of destinations is immaculate; eagerly indulging you to experience the journey of the moment. All destinations, most of the cities and towns have English-speaking local guides. These guides are employed by our local agents and get regular training’s pertaining to our requirements. We evaluate their performance after each trip based on your feedback’s.
The services of local guides are included in the program (if opted by you in the package). They not only show you around the city but also purchase the tickets at the monuments. They are available to answer any of your travel related queries.
Although P&M pays them with the standard rates of travel-based companies, they expect a tip at the end of the trip. We recommend a tip of 5 €/ day/ person.
Although our travels are organized with detailed planning, the climate and other factors may change due to some unforeseen events. These however, should not spoil your travel or ruin your fun. In case such circumstances arise, be assured that you have 24/7 P&M support staff ready to offer the most suited solutions to your problems. We do our best to provide the quickest resolutions; nevertheless, we are not responsible for any factor beyond our control.
The weather is different in every region of Vietnam. Spring (Feb-Apr) and autumn (Aug-Oct) are the best times to visit Vietnam. The temperature is relatively moderate and rainfall is also lighter.
It is always advisable to do a few routine checks before traveling to any destination outside the home country. Below mentioned are a few vaccines that is recommended before traveling to Vietnam:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Japanese Encephalitis
- Yellow Fever
It’s a good idea to consult your government’s travel-health website before departure.
Credit cards & ATMs
There are ATM’s in most of the big cities and tourist spots. They accept most credit and bank cards, which includes Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, Cirrus and several others. Traveller’s cheques are accepted as well, but with a fee. Most of the hotels, shops, and restaurants; especially in the tourist destinations, credit cards are accepted.
Mobile in Vietnam
You have to get a local sim in Vietnam. The three of the best service providers are Viettel, Mobifone, and Vinafone. And getting a sim card here is very simple and easy.
The cuisine in Vietnam is somewhat different in every region, and most regions have a character of their own. In the northern part of Vietnam, the dishes are bland; in central Vietnam, the food is more towards the spicy side; and in the south of Vietnam, they prefer their meals to be sweet. Pho is a type of noodle soup, which is a Vietnamese staple, and a must try!
Dress code in Vietnam is quite simple and casual. Carry comfortable clothes to suit the weather conditions, and not too revealing. While visiting or entering religious places it is advisable to wear proper covered clothes as a sign of respect.
There is no reason for you not to take your electrical items due to electrical outlets; Vietnam markets have adapters you can purchase.
Free Wi-Fi is provided in most hotels and restaurants, and they even provide mobile internet services if you bring your own phone or laptop. Accessibility to internet is available in almost all remote areas. There are several internet cafes in most of the tourist spots, with fairly cheap rates.
What makes Parallels and Meridians different?
We believe that holidays should be planned thoughtfully. Hence, we spend a good amount of time planning and offering you products considering your requirements. Amazing journeys begin the moment you contact us for a personalized trip. We design programs exactly as you wish; you will always remain a partner in making it a dream holiday.
What can I expect in a holiday with Parallels and Meridians?
Our trips bring you closer to the local community and culture as you will be taken to some of the places where no tourists have gone before. Our travel experts are always in search of something new, inspirational and entertaining. These ideas are intricately designed around your style of travel, creating a perfect trip for you.
How do you create a style of travel?
People are different, and so are their ways of traveling. We speak to several people from different walks of life, locals, travelers, families, and even bloggers, to get a better idea on the ways they prefer to travel. The styles of travel are created through their contributions and the expertise of our travel designers. It is our success formula in making exceptional trips for you.
Why do you make the trips participative?
In our small endeavor to support the local community, we found this as the most encouraging and heartfelt experience for both our guests and ourselves. We don’t indulge into activities with big charitable organizations, but quietly do our bit with the help of our guests. Our projects are humble and mostly recommended by our guests. For example, teaching basic French to the drivers (while traveling with him) actually came from one of our guest.
What are the different hotel combinations you offer?
Each destination has a unique character and history, so do their hotels. We have selected the best hotels as per your style and budget. We offer 3 options in most of our programs:
Simple and comfortable – These are clean and comfortable hotels. As per P&M standard, they fall into a 2-3 star categorization.
- – In this option, we offer a mix of charming and deluxe hotels. Some of them are heritage palaces, which are now famous contemporary hotels. As per P&M standard, they fall into a 4-5 star categorization.
- – For the ultimate luxury holiday, we have a collection of rustic, chic and stylish hotels combined with laid back indulgence and unmatched amenities. These international favorites are the best in the destinations.
How many beds can we have in a room?
A room will usually have a double bed. Most hotels will be able to add one extra bed.
If we’re traveling as a family, can we have interconnected rooms?
Some hotels offer interconnected rooms. If they don’t have, we ask them to provide two rooms next to each other or on the same floor.
Can I choose my own set of hotels?
Yes, you can. Just send us your wish list and we will do our best to fulfill your requirements.
What is the category of hotels included in the itinerary on the website?
You will have the option to choose the categories of the hotels you want to stay in. There are a few exceptions, however, some places like villages in Rajasthan or hiking tents in Bhutan will not offer you luxury. We will clearly advice you on this.
How does Parallels and Meridians choose the hotels?
We choose hotels based on our personal experiences. We will not recommend a hotel unless we have stayed there ourselves or have it recommended by our contributors.
What kind of vehicle do you provide?
Generally, this depends on the number of people. We provide cars for two people and micro van for three and more people. All our vehicles have air-conditioning.
Can we choose our own type of vehicle?
Yes, you can. Just let us know while sending us the information for your trip.
Are we sharing the car with someone else?
No. The car is for private use and you will share it only the people you are travelling with.
Does the car stay at my disposal every day?
Yes, it does. Our drivers are flexible and will remain at your disposal.
Do we have a guide in every city?
Yes, a guide will be provided to you in each city unless there is no visit scheduled.
How do you select your guides?
We select guides who understand your interests and requirements. They carry a flair for their culture and tradition, offering the best experiences to our clients. All our tour guides are locals, have professional licenses and are known for their passion and knowledge of the destination. We only hire highly rated guides with years of experience.
How do I plan my trip with you?
Once a program is picked from the website and the query form is filled, our travel experts will start working on the program. They will carefully prepare a tailor-made itinerary for you and will present it in details. Your itinerary will be refined and polished until you are satisfied and happy to book with us. As it is very important for us to understand your requirements, please do not hesitate to ask questions and voice your concerns or desires.
I like one of your family programs. Can it be tailor-made for a couple?
Yes, it can. All our programs can be further tailored for your specific requirements. You will be amazed to see the countless possibilities in our programs as per your style.
Can I make my own itinerary?
Yes, you can. Simply fill the form or send us e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
How do you decide your pricing?
The itineraries in the website have indicative pricing which may change as per your personalized travel request. We choose the most important sightseeing, destinations, guides and hotels, which makes a great holiday experience for our guests. As we do not want to surprise you with hidden costs, we always include essential costs in the program. Although we are not necessarily the cheapest, we do aim to offer exceptional overall value for money and rely on our clients for repeat business and recommendations for your future dream holidays.
Can I adjust my budget?
Of course, our experts can share plenty ideas with you, fitting your budget. However, we make sure that quality is never compromised. We immediately inform you with our inability to offer you something that is below standard or of low quality. It is always better to say no than to regret a bad holiday experience.
What is included in the cost of your packages?
Our services start the moment you arrive at your destination, where a representative will be awaiting your arrival. All accommodations, transfers, local flights as well as arranged activities, unless otherwise specified will be included. Our trips are on breakfast-only basis except some special meals like welcome lunch or a special farewell dinner.
Why don’t you offer trips on full board?
We could; however, you will agree with us that everybody has different tastes. Moreover, the local cuisine is also an important aspect of your trip. Why should we charge you extra for some meals in hotels and expensive restaurants, when you can enjoy the spontaneity of discovering restaurants on your own? This is why we intentionally refuse to include all meals in our itineraries. If you are on a safari or a trekking trip, all meals are included as these are remote areas without restaurant alternatives. In lieu of this, you will receive a list of recommended restaurants, where you can have a taste of authentic cuisines.
How do I get the assurance of my travel safety?
Having our headquarter in France, P&M provides all necessary financial and legal guarantees to our travelers. You not only get the best travel programs from us but also experience a memorable and safe travel arranged by our local correspondents with 24/24 assistance. To ensure that all our local agents offer best services, quality travel and assurance, we have an office in India supervising all the activities in Asia. In addition, for your peace of mind, we support you with a range of insurances to meet your needs.
Who will be taking care of my trip when I am on the go?
You will have a dedicated travel expert from the first moment of contact. The travel expert will work with you before and during the trip.
What are the different modes of payment you accept?
The different modes of payment we accept are bank transfer and online payment by credit or debit card. You can pay either 30 or 50% at the time of the booking and the remaining, one month prior to your travel.
How secure is my credit card for online payment?
As your trusted partner P&M guarantees secure payment via secure payment platform enabling you to make transactions by credit card or debit card. The credit or debit card details are never reserved with us for your complete peace of mind.
Where can I see the reviews on P&M?
All reviews given by our travellers are regularly uploaded to our website. Furthermore, many of our guests have shared their experiences with P&M at the sites of Trip Advisor and Trust Pilot. We are proud to share with you that; – 98% of our travelers rated our services excellent or very good – 97% of our travelers recommend our agency to their friends – 98% of our travelers would be willing to repeat the experience with P&M.
Traveling with us is the best way to come closer to the daily life of the locals. Impart your knowledge, skills and art with them. If you are an artist, a photographer, a cook or whichever skills you have that can be shared with the local community, please feel free to tell us about them, and we will organize a special activity for you at a right place to support them. In our very first communication with you, we will ask your interest and if you are willing to participate in an activity for even just one hour.
In 2016, our participants have already taught over 400 hours, the equivalent of 17 days!
Our conscious tourism does not end there; we constantly propose new participatory activities:
There are many young kids who aspire to take the job of ‘guide’. We are helping them to speak better English, or teaching them skills and techniques of travel guiding.
Post the earthquake, life is still struggling in Nepal. We are helping some small shops and businesses to get into the mainstream; not by giving money, but improvising some ideas to run their business more effectively.
“In your route, though you choose to take part in any one of these options, your trip will be the same number of days and the price will not change under any circumstances.”
How much do you donate?
Nothing Actually. We just need little bit of your time and involvement.
The temples of Tamil Nadu and backwaters of Kerala
- Duration: 13 Nights/ 14 Days
Explore the forts and palaces of Rajasthan