HANOI – NINH BINH – SO KIEN – TAM COC – HA LONG – HUE – LA VANG – THIEN AN – HOI AN – TRA QUE – BA NA HILLS – DA NANG – SIEM REAP – ANGKOR – PHNOM KULEN MOUNT – BANTEY SREI – APSARA – TONLE SAPE LAKE
Culture and history
CHICAGO - HANOI
Meeting with the guide at the airport. Ticket and baggage check-in. Departure to Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam.
Upon arrival at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, meeting with a Polish-speaking guide and a representative of the local contractor, then transfer to the city center and check-in at the hotel. A short rest after a long journey. In the late afternoon we will visit the Cathedral of St. Joseph and the Archbishop of Hanoi. We will listen to the vicar’s story about the life of the Catholic community in Hanoi. In the evening we will head over to a welcome dinner at a nice restaurant with tasty Vietnamese food. Overnight stay at the hotel in Hanoi.
HANOI – CITY TOUR
Breakfast at the hotel. We will start our tour of the city with the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and his residence, the House on Stilts. This complex also includes the One Pillar Pagoda, which dates back to the founding of the city. We continue to visit Van Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam (Temple of Literature and the first university in Vietnam). We will also visit the Roman Catholic Cauldron of Cua Bac, which in 2006 was chosen as the place of mass for the President of the United States – George Bush. Currently, the Cua Bac Church offers Sunday Mass in English – this is an international congregation in Hanoi. After a private mass, we continue our tour – we will walk through the old streets of Hanoi and see Hoan Kiem Lake. The tour ends with an amazing water puppet show, the only one of its kind in Vietnam. We will have dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant. Free time in the evening. Overnight stay at a hotel in Hanoi.
HANOI - SO KIEN BASILICA - NINH BINH
After an early breakfast, a drive to Ninh Binh. On the way, we will visit the So Kien Basilica, built in the colonial neo-gothic style. We will meet with the vicar and then attend a private Holy Mass. After the mass, we will go to Tam Coc for a rowing boat trip along the canal towards the caves. We will get to know the life of fishermen, beautiful landscapes – the beauty of karst formations, for which Tam Coc is famous for. Free time for lunch. In the afternoon, we continue our sightseeing by going to the Phat Diem Cathedral, which was built by the priest Father Tran Luc in 1891 and is an example of a combination of French and Vietnamese religious architecture. This stone structure is a masterpiece not to be missed. Dinner at a local restaurant in Tam Coc. Overnight stay at the hotel in Tam Coc, Ninh Binh.
TAM COC /NINH BINH – HA LONG BAY
After breakfast, we leave our hotel and head towards Ha Long Bay. It is a beautiful bay belonging to the World Natural Heritage, inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with thousands of spectacular limestone islands rising from the clear emerald sea. We will reach the port around noon and after boarding the boat we will set off on a cruise. Enjoy a welcome drink before checking into your cabins. While the boat sails through waters dotted with rocky islets, caves, fish farms and beaches, we will enjoy lunch – served on board – with fresh seafood. Afterwards, free time to swim or relax on the sun terrace. Vietnamese dinner served on board. Overnight stay on the ship.
HA LONG – HUE BAY
Waking up early that day (no breakfast/brunch) will allow us to enjoy the dawn and start a perfect new day by practicing Tai Chi on the sundeck or enjoying the breathtaking views while cruising around Ha Long Bay. Holy Mass on board. A meal will be served on the return cruise from the bay. After returning to the port, we will go to the airport, from where we will fly to Hue. After landing, transfer by bus to the hotel, check-in and rest after the journey. In the evening, dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant. Overnight stay at a hotel in Hue.
HUE- LA VANG
After breakfast, departure to the famous Pilgrimage Center of Our Lady of La Vang in Dong Ha Town, Quang Tri Province. We are about 2 hours drive from Hue. La Vang Church was crowned by Pope John Paul II as the Basilica of the Magnonos Monastery on August 22, 1961. Common prayer to Our Lady of La Vang, during which we will admire Her and experience wonderful moments with Her. Then we will return to Hue and visit the Imperial Citadel. It was here that the last feudal dynasty of the kings of Vietnam ruled from 1802 to 1945. On site are the Flag Tower, Nine Sacred Cannons, Ngo Mon Gate, Thai Hoa Palace, Nine Dynastic Urns and Forbidden Purple City. Finally, we will visit the picturesque Thien Mu Pagoda, which is also home to many young people who want to try and learn how to live as monks. In the evening, we invite you to an amazing dinner, where we will have the opportunity to listen to Hue folk songs while cruising the Huong River. Return to the hotel for an overnight stay.
HUE - THIEN AN – HOI AN
On this day, we will visit the last resting place of the 12th King Khai Dinh, who left behind a magnificent tomb, idyllically located on Mount Chau Chu on the outskirts of Hue. Then a visit to the Thien An Monastery located on Pinehill Hill. It was founded in 1940 by French monks of the Benedictine order – Father Romain and Father Corentin. Many years after its foundation, it still retains its intimacy, harmonizes with nature and fits beautifully among green forests. In the afternoon we will take an overland trip to Hoi An via the Hai Van pass. We will have dinner at the hotel and then we have free time and the opportunity to admire the night illuminations of Hoi An.
HOI AN - TRA QUE VILLAGE
After breakfast, we will leave the hotel and take a short drive to the herbal village of Tra Que, located on the outskirts of Hoi An. We will take a short walk through the vegetable garden, where we will witness the daily work of local farmers. It is a practical and fun experience; raking the ground, sowing, watering, picking vegetables and observing other gardening activities. Then we will see a cooking demonstration of local delicacies such as “tam huu” spring rolls, Banh xeo and Vietnamese local pancake. After a shared meal, you will be able to undergo a traditional Vietnamese foot massage in a wooden pool. Return to Hoi An for a guided walking tour of the ancient city of Hoi An. We will visit a Japanese covered bridge, a Chinese assembly hall and a typical Vietnamese merchant house.
HOI AN – BANA HILLS – DA NANG
After breakfast, transfer from your hotel to the Ba Na Hills cable car station. We will stop at the place where one of the greatest attractions of Vietnam is located – the Golden Hand of Buddha Bridge. This bridge, supported by gigantic divine hands, was put into service in 2018. It stands 1414 meters above sea level and 150 meters long. The view from it is impressive; we will be able to admire the panorama of the green Nui Chua Mountains and the Mountain of God. Free time to visit Ba Na Hills, where you can visit the Linh Ung Pagoda and the French Wine Cellar – a wine vault. Then we will go down the cable car and go to Da Nang city. The next highlight of the day is a visit to the Da Nang Cathedral, also called “Cox Church” and the iconic Dragon Bridge, crossing the Han River. Transfer to Da Nang airport and flight to Siem Reap. After leaving the airport, together with the guide, we will go to the hotel. You can spend the evening visiting old local pubs or cafes and return to your local Tuk Tuk hotel.
SIEM REAP - ANGKOR HERITAGE SITES
We will start the day by visiting the beautiful temples of Angkor with a local Tuk Tuk. At the beginning we will see the West Gate of Angkor Thom – not yet discovered by mass tourists, the ancient capital of Angkor Thom from the 12th century, South Gate, and Bayon Teple – a unique temple due to its 54 towers decorated with over 200 smiling faces of Avolokitesvar. Then we will visit the Baphuon Temple – north of Bayon, the pyramidal residence of the mythical Mont Meru, the Royal Farm, Phimeanakas, Terrace of the Elephant and Terrace of the Leper King. We continue to explore the fabulous Ta Prohm, surrounded by the roots of huge fig trees and giant vines – by tuk tuk. Next is the mighty temple of Preah Khan or “Holy Sword”, built by King Jayavarman VII in the late 12th century. Then we move on to the elegant buildings of Neak Poan. In the afternoon, we will discover the Angkor complex (transfer by bus) with the famous Angkor Wat temple, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992. It is famous for its beauty and splendor. It has the world’s longest one-length bas-relief that stretches along the outer walls of the gallery and tells stories from Hindu mythology. In the evening, dinner at one of the Khmer restaurants and an overnight stay in Siem Reap.
SIEM REAP - PHNOM KULEN MOUNT - BANTEY SREI - APSARA
Today we will visit Phnom Kulen Mountain, considered Cambodia’s most sacred mountain, dating back to 802 AD when Jayavarman II declared Cambodia’s independence from Java. We will also visit the Preah Ang Pagoda, with a giant reclining Buddha and the “Valley of the Lingas”, also known as the “River of the Lings”, with 1000 carved sculptures of Hindu gods and symbols. It is a special spiritual place for the people of Cambodia. On the way back we will visit Banteay Srei Temple. Built with red sandstone in the 10th century and dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, it is one of Angkor’s most remarkable structures, and its walls are adorned with exceptionally well-preserved intricate carvings. Return to the hotel and dinner combined with Apsara dances.
SIEM REAP - TONLE SAPE LAKE - HANOI - CHICAGO
After breakfast, we will go to a local village, where we will take a walk and visit the Khmer people living there to learn about their daily life. We will then take a pleasure boat trip on Tonle Sap Lake to visit a floating village and learn about the life of the local fishermen. At the end of the cruise, we will have lunch in a restaurant. Then transfer to Hanoi airport and return back to Chicago.
THE PROGRAM IS A FRAMEWORK. THE ORDER OF IMPLEMENTATION OF INDIVIDUAL POINTS OF THE PROGRAM MAY CHANGE. HOLY MASS (IF POSSIBLE IN SELECTED SANCTUARIES). PLEASE REMEMBER THAT PASSPORT MUST BE VALID MINIMUM 6 MONTHS FROM THE DATE OF RETURN AND CONTAIN 2 BLANK PAGES FOR ENTRY/EXIT STAMPS.
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The company is not responsible for client’s lost property due to burglary, theft, loss, etc. we are also not responsible for client’s losses in motels. Rek Travel Company reserves the right to change the program, dictated by circumstances beyond its control. The client is obliged to comply with the tour regulations. Tour participants are insured as required by the U.S. Department of Transportation for a total of $5,000,000 (policy available for review upon request). For an additional fee, participants may be insured for in-patient and out-patient treatment of medical conditions acquired during the tour, as well as for accidents at sightseeing facilities (all information at the office).