I never expected the hotels to be so luxurious or the meals so good,” is a comment frequently overheard on World Spree’s Amazing Vietnam tour. But Vietnam tour participants shouldn’t be surprised. All World Spree tours provide a 5-star experience for a 2-star price.
The 9-night Amazing Vietnam tour, which starts at only $1,899 from Los Angeles and San Francisco ($200 more from New York), includes round-trip air on China Airlines, all intra-Vietnam transportation, 5-star hotel accommodations, private sightseeing tours with entrance fees, an overnight cruise on Halong Bay, nine American buffet breakfasts, two lunches, two dinners, English-speaking tour guides in each city, taxes and fuel surcharge, and discounted optional tours.
The tour starts in Vietnam’s lovely capital, Hanoi, with its parks, French colonial mansions and a fascinating Old Quarter of tiny shops and street vendors that dates back to the 13th century. Sightseeing here includes monuments associated with Ho Chi Minh and there’s an optional half-day tour of the Old Quarter, the infamous “Hanoi Hilton” prison and a water puppet show. Overnights are in the resort-like Sheraton Hanoi, set in lush gardens with views of West Lake.
Next comes a tour highlight: an overnight cruise on a luxe little cruise ship through the beautiful waters of Halong Bay, which is celebrated for its spectacular seascape of limestone outcrops and islets. The cruise includes a cooking lesson, a visit to a traditional floating village and a chance to explore enormous caves, take a swim or relax on a white sand beach.
A flight south to Da Nang and a short ride past China Beach brings the tour to Hoi An, a charming market town that retains much of its traditional architecture, with well-preserved temples and pagodas, not to mention shops that can produce a bargain-priced dress in 24 hours. There’s plenty of time for relaxation in the beautiful beachfront Golden Sand Resort and Spa.
On to Hue, the old imperial capital and its wealth of royal palaces, temples and gardens. Sightseeing here includes the impressive Citadel and its Forbidden City and there’s an optional cyclo excursion through the old town, ending with a sumptuous dinner in a delightful garden restaurant. Accommodations are in the luxurious Imperial Hotel, which offers views of the Perfume River.
And finally, the bustling metropolis called Saigon (officially Ho Chi Minh City), where skyscrapers are rising beside ancient temples and French colonial buildings. Here there are two not-to-be-missed optional excursions: the Mekong Delta, known as Vietnam’s “rice basket,” and the truly amazing Cu Chi Tunnels. The Saigon hotel is the splendid Renaissance Riverside with pool, gym and spa.
Prices are cash-only, are per person double occupancy, and are subject to availability. For more information about the Amazing Vietnam tour, log onto www.worldspree.com, click “Tour Packages” and then “Vietnam.”