Tours : Battle

TOUR FOR VETERANS & FAMILIES: 18 Nights In Country - (Code: VSE.VET-03)

TOUR FOR VETERANS & FAMILIES: 18 Nights In Country - (Code: VSE.VET-03)

For Veterans & families (spouses, sons, daughters, relatives), and Non-Vets too who have always wanted to know more about Vietnam. Nothing can match the "direct" experience, and seeing Vietnam at Peace today.

18 Nights Vietnam Country-Wide tour visiting from Saigon (Commercial Capital) and Hanoi (Political Capital), and Hue (Ancient Capital). The Tour also includes: Former War areas and locations historic significant (Iron Triangle, Cu Chi Tunnels, Ap Bac Village, etc.); cultural and spiritual centers (pagodas, churches, ethnic minority village, traditional music/dance etc.); economic development areas and activities; and many scenical locations (Da Lat, Nha Trang, China Beach, Hue, Ha Long Bay etc.).

DAY 1: HO CHI MINH CITY - ARRIVAL (- / LUNCH / DINNER)

Arrival at a modernized Tan Son Nhat airport in the mid-morning. Picked up and transfer to the elegant and historical Rex Hotel. Take an afternoon rest. Early evening take Cyclo tour around the town. Dinner 

DAY 2: HO CHI MINH - CITY TOUR (BREAKFAST / LUNCH / DINNER)

Today, we take a sightseeing of Vietnam’s Commercial Capital city. We start to visit the former Presidential Palace (the capital of South Vietnam); it's now called Independence Palace. Transfer to visit the former US Embassy (it's now the US Consulate – the Embassy is in Hanoi), visit Notre Dame Church. Then transfer to visit the Catholic Church in Cho Lon where Ngo Dinh Diem - President of South Vietnam (1955-1963) prayed the night before his assassination: famous Cho Lon wholesale Market was ran by General Westmoreland’s old Saigon headquarters. Visit a pagoda; stop at the street corner where the Buddhist Monk burned himself, and much more etc.
Dinner with traditional Vietnamese dancing music.

DAY 3:  EAST AND SOUTHEAST OF HO CHI MINH CITY - FORMER AMERICAN ARMY HEADQUARTERS TO THE BEACHES & HOT SPRING (BREAKFAST / LUNCH / DINNER)

After breakfast head East on Highway 1 to visit Bien Hoa and Long Binh, former USARV Headquarters, since transformed into industrial parks developed by foreign investment. (Nike has a factory in this area). Turning southwest we head towards Vung Tau (crowded and no longer scenic) but in veering west to the west coast and the quiet and beautiful eco-tour beaches at Ho Coc. Enjoy a lunch of fresh grilled seafood and relax for a while on the beach. In the afternoon we scoot over about 15 clicks to the soothing natural hot springs of Binh Chau. Relax in the hot pools, and visit this place then get an overnight stay.

DAY 4: THE LAST BATTLE OF THE WAR AT XUAN LOC AND RETURN TO HO CHI MINH CITY FOR  FREE AFTERNOON (BREAKFAST / LUNCH / DINNER)

After leisurely breakfast we return to Ho Chi Minh city using slightly different route passing by former headquarters of the 11th Armored Cav, plus a stop at Xuan Loc (40 clicks East of Saigon), the site of the last fierce ARVN/NVA battle in 1975 before the fall of Saigon. In the afternoon, you will be in Ho Chi Minh City and free for relaxing, shopping, or walking along Dong Khoi Street and downtown area.

DAY 5: NORTH AND NORTHWEST TO BINH DUONG PROVINCE, LAI KHE, IRON TRIANGLE AND TAY NINH PROVINCE
(BREAKFAST / LUNCH / DINNER)

We leave early from Ho Chi Minh city and travel North up Highway 13 (Thunder Road), past Phu Cuong and stop for a short visit at  Phu Loi (ARVN 5th Div. Headquarters, 1st US Aviation Brigade, POW Camp and more). Then continue going North to Ben Cat (VC country) and Lai Khe (3rd Bde Hqts of the US 1st Inf. Div and now a Rubber Research Center). Then we spearhead East into the Iron Triangle (Operation Cedar Falls) to the restored village of Ben Suc - a well know VC arms port on the Saigon river where the Col Alexander Haig landed with his 1st Div. unit to kick off Operation Cedar Falls. This village was completely evacuated and burned out to the ground, but you could never know it from how it looks today. Then we cross a new bridge over the Saigon River and link up with Highway 22 heading Northwest past Trang Bang. We stop at a coffee shop in Trang Bang owned by relatives of the girl burned by napalm photographed running down the road.  Also stop to see a roadside brick factory along the Vam Co Dong River, and maybe even a roadside rice harvest in process. Then on past Go Dau Ha (tip of the old Parrots Beak)  to Tay Ninh city and check in Hotel, to the right across the street from the old airfield in Tay Ninh City.  Attend the colorful Cao Dai Temple at 6 pm service. Cao Dai is a unique Vietnamese religion practiced by several million people in Tay Ninh and the Mekong delta area.  It combines worship of Christ, Buddha, Lao Tzu (The Dao), and Mohammed. The unique temple architecture is a striking hybrid of a church and pagoda.

DAY 6: TAY NINH - HO CHI MINH CITY (BREAKFAST / LUNCH / DINNER)

Morning visit to Tay Ninh cemetery for brief memorial tribute to all war dead, and then continue on to Tay Ninh Mountain also known as Nui Ba Den (Black Woman Mountain). Ride the cable tram half way up the mountain to visit the pagodas and pilgrimage /recreational site of local residents of the province.  This mountain was the scene of much fierce fighting, and the most photographed during the war and seen on American TV. Learn why the Americans controlled only the top and base of the mountain while the VC controlled the rest.  Lunch in Tay Ninh and head back toward Ho Chi Minh City stopping at the famous Cu Chi Tunnels.  For those so inclined, you can fire an old M16 or AK 47 at the firing range.  After Cu Chi, we pass by Dong Zu, former base camp of the 25th Infantry Div, now used by Vietnam’s current army, and return to Ho Chi Minh City via the Ho Chi Minh city River and enjoy a memorable dinner and boat cruise, and then back to Hotel.

DAY 7: CRUISING IN MEKONG DELTA (BREAKFAST / LUNCH / DINNER)

Our tour today heads south past the city of My Tho on the Northern Branch of the Mekong River (Song Tien). We then travel West and stop briefly at the historic village of Ap Bac where in Jan 1963, the VC shot down their first helicopter in the war. This battle was written up in the book “Bright and Shining Lie). Then we continue on a short way and board a boat at Cai Be to cruise the Mekong, visiting a floating market, and several family enterprises making rice paper/ and popped rice. Then we put on our brown water Navy hats and patrol the side canals across several river islands, stopping for lunch on the way.  We leave the boat at Vinh Long City, where the bus will take us back across the Mekongs first bridge at My Thuan designed and built by the Australians (opened 2001) and then head back to Saigon.

DAY 8: HO CHI MINH CITY - DA LAT (BREAKFAST / LUNCH / DINNER)

Transfer to Da Lat Plateau: Lakes, Waterfalls, and COOL Weather city. We pass by the Tri An reservoir (400 MW power plant), and run past Bao Loc (tea plantation country), before we are welcomed by the cool air of one of Vietnams most scenic mountain resorts in the South.  Visit some waterfalls, and beautiful Tuyen Lam lake, also home of a Buddhist Monastery. Visit the former resort palace of Bao Dai - the lastest Vietnam emperor and other beautiful sites in the area. Enjoy some night shopping at the Da Lat market. Overnight in Da Lat.

DAY 9: OUT OF THE MOUNTAINS TO THE BEACH - NHA TRANG (BREAKFAST / LUNCH / DINNER)

Today we drive out of the mountains toward the sea coast to Phan Rang (former Airforce base), then heading for the North on Highway 1 past Cam Ranh bay to the Sandy Beaches of Nha Trang. 

Arrive at Nha Trang, transfer for check in. In the afternoon, take a boat ride nearby offshore islands, and do snorkeling to discover the underwater life. In the evening, transfer for dinner. Overnight in Nha Trang.

DAY 10: NHA TRANG / DA NANG - HOI AN (BREAKFAST / LUNCH / DINNER)

Transfer to the airport and board a morning flight to Da Nang.  Brief visit at the “Village of Hope” an orphanage funded in part by American vets. In the afternoon, take a visit to nearby Marble Mountains, the Non Nuoc Beach. Transfer to Hoi An, upon arrival, transfer to visit the historic seaport town of Hoi An ancient. We explore this ancient town on foot and visit many historic structures, and there are many places to shop for fine silk, and other things.  Dinner and overnight in Hoi An.

DAY 11: HOI AN - HUE (BREAKFAST / LUNCH / DINNER)

Today, we drive North back to Da Nang and continue over the Hai Van pass towards Vietnam ancient capital of Hue. We pause at the top of the pass at the old French fort to enjoy the view, and then we descend down the mountain and stop at the fishing village of Lang Co beach to enjoy seafood lunch.

Continue driving to Hue, in the afternoon, we take a visit to the famous Citadel which is now slowly being restored by artisans and craft-people. Overnight in Hue.

DAY 12: HUE - CITY TOUR (BREAKFAST / LUNCH / DINNER)

Take a morning boat trip on the Huong River (Perfume River) and visit Thien Mu pagoda, continue by boat to visit Minh Mang tomb. Disembark then transfer to visit Tu Duc tomb. After lunch, return to hotel. The rest of the day is free at leisure.

DAY 13: HUE / HA NOI (BREAKFAST / LUNCH / DINNER)

Breakfast at the hotel, free at leisure until transfer to the airport for the flight to Ha Noi.

Arrival at Ha Noi, take a city tour of the capital of Ha Noi, then you will see for yourself and experience the sharp contrast between Hanoi and Saigon. The tour includes the One Pillar Pagoda (Chua Mot Cot), Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and museum, Temple of Liturature (Van Mieu) which was a Vietnamese first University was built in the 9th century (now restored), the Army museum. Dinner at the famous Cha Ca fish restaurant and then enjoy evening performance of the Water Puppet show at a Theater. Overnight in Ha Noi.

DAY 14: HA NOI - HA LONG - HA NOI (BREAKFAST / LUNCH / DINNER)

After breakfast, transfer to Ha Long - 2 times recognized as World Heritage by UNESCO, it was elected one of the seven new natural wonders of the world in an unforgettable day on 11-11-11 (November 11, 2011). Arrival at Ha Long bay, check in on board and beginning an unforgettable excursion in Ha Long bay about 4 or 5 hours trip. A seafood lunch will be served on board before land on and transfer back to Hanoi.

Day 15: Ha Noi Capital (Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner)

Morning vistit Hanoi, afternoon is free to enjoy downtown Hanoi, walking around  Hoan Kiem lake and shopping in Hanoi- old quarter of 36 narrow streets.

DAY 16: HA NOI - HOA BINH - MAI CHAU (BREAKFAST / LUNCH / DINNER)

Morning drive from Hanoi to Hoa Binh province. We travel on the mountain roads with a stop at the Hydroelectric Dam along the Da River (2000 Megawatts built by Russians in mid 90s). Arrival at Mai Chau, take an afternoon walking tour of this scenic valley where 100 families cultivate wet rice, weave cloth on their mechanical looms, and just hang out.  This is the closest thing to Shangri –la that you will experience.  Overnight in the village guest house and enjoy evening performances of music and dancing by the local villagers.

DAY 17: MAI CHAU - HOA BINH - HA NOI (BREAKFAST / LUNCH / DINNER)

After breakfast. Transfer back to Hanoi (about 4 hour drive), on the way stop to visit Tay Phuong Pagoda. 

Continue driving back to Hanoi. Upon arrival in Hanoi, transfer to hotel for check in. Enjoy farewell dinner on beautiful Ho Tay Lake (Banh Tom Ho Tay).

DAY 18: HA NOI - FREE DAY (BREAKFAST)

Breakfast at the hotel. Free day to explore Ha Noi or to go shopping. Overnight at hotle in Ha Noi

DAY 19: HA NOI - DEPARTURE (BREAKFAST)

Breakfast at the hotel. Free until transfer to the airport for your departure flight.