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(ILV-1)
...................................................................Food Tasting Walking Tour (Ha Noi Old Quarter)
4 hours

To truly experience Hanoi, you should taste the food of that city. While the dishes may appear strange to foreigners, the flavors are actually quite subtle. Less sweet than southern Vietnamese food and less spicy than food from central Vietnam, Hanoi food appeals to most diners. On the walking tour, you will taste Banh Goi, a crispy deep fried savory pastry made of rice flour. Filling consists of pork sausage, wood fungus and spring onions. Then, Banh Ran, a bit heavier, not as crispy, made of sticky rice flour with a similar filling. Banh Ran Ngot; a fried, sticky rice flour shell with sweet yellow bean paste. The first two are served with the traditional Vietnamese herbs, Rau Thom and Kinh Gioi, and some Nuoc Mam, fish sauce. We walk to a famous Bun Cha place and have a look at Bun Cha: cold rice noodles served with charcoal grilled bacon pieces and pork patties. This is served with herbs and Nuoc Mam, and can be ordered with Nem, fried spring rolls. A little further, we sample Bun Bo; a dish of rice noodles served over herbs and topped with stir-fried beef, bean sprouts, nuts, fried onions and a ladle of meat broth. Then, we will try some of the Gio; pork sausage served in a banana leaf; and the Nem Chua, a sour sausage, both served with a spicy red sauce. A few doors down, we taste Mien Xao, stir-fried noodles with crispy eel on top and served sprinkled with herbs, egg, cucumber and bean sprouts. Squeeze some lemon over it and enjoy. For those who prefer noodle soup, there is the Mien Nuoc. Dessert will be taken at the Ice Cream Bar, called Che, you can make your own and have them put in the dish what you want. We will take a look at some of the Mut places, dried apricots and plums in a variety of flavors, salty and gingery. Some of the other snacks you will see are Banh Com. We close the tour with some Vietnamese tea and coffee.

Includes:
Tour guide - 5 tasting dishes during the tour.
 

(ILV-2)
...............................Silk Village - Dong Ho Prints Village - Pottery / Ceramic Village
1 day

Silk Village - During feudal times silk was considered an extreme luxury, on par with rhinoceros horn, ivory and precious hardwoods. Associated with nobility, this cloth adorned kings, queens and mandarins. Vietnam’s various dynasties developed strict rules governing the color, ornamentation, style and fabric of clothes worn by aristocrats. The days when Vietnam’s silk was reserved for nobility are long gone. What hasn’t changed is the sense of romance and luxury imparted by this luminous cloth. With 2000 years of history behind them, the silk weavers are still busy, weaving dreams.
 


Dong Ho Prints Village - Five centuries ago, young girl, from Dong Ho Village would sing this verse to attract travelers passing by the village gates. Dong Ho, which lies beside the Duong River some 40km northeast of Hanoi, has long been famous for its rustic prints. Using etched wooden blocks, generations of artisans have produced these distinctive prints, once essential decorations during the Tet Lunar New Year festival. Yet as well as being decorative, these prints were intended to convey popular fables, social values or historical struggles. Some are both instructive and humorous. One popular print, known as Mouse Wedding, depicts a fat cat demanding bribes of fish from a mouse bridal party.
 


Pottery / Ceramic Village - The road is black with coal dust while, all around, smoke drifts up from hundreds of brick kilns. Men and women wheel bicycles laden with huge bundles of pottery towards the river, where small boats are waiting to carry Bat Trang’s famous wares to Hanoi. With its atmosphere of smoke, dust, noise and sweat, the village feels medieval, its narrow lanes hemmed in by high brick walls, its yards crowded with kilns, workers, and pottery. In stark contrast to the way in which they are produced, the wares themselves are both delicate and beautiful. Today, over 80 percent of Bat Trang’s 6,000 or so residents are involved in the pottery trade, turning out everything from floor tiles to exquisitely crafted tea sets.

Includes:
Tour guide - lunch - bus or mini-van. Price per PAX based on 4 to 6 persons

(ILV-3)
...........................................Conical Hats Village - Green Rice Village - Flower Village
1 day
 

Conical Hats Village - Long ago, a young man would present his sweetheart with a conical bamboo hat, or non. The gift was all the more precious since the suitor was expected to make the hat himself, and even skilled hat-makers can only turn out about two hats per day. In the 1930s, Vietnam had over 50 styles of palm-leaf hats, including the imposing quai thao, a style of large, flat hat that is still worn by women performing quan ho folk songs. The most widely worn style of palm-leaf hat today is the conical non, which was derived from the bai tho or poem hat of Hue.

Green Rice Village - The most famous com - green sticky rice hails from Vong village, which lies about 10 kilometers west of Hanoi. According to legend, 500 years ago the village was hit by a famine. With nothing to eat save green rice still growing in the paddies, one hungry farmer decided to roast the unripe grains. The villagers discovered that by roasting the rice in a clay pot and pounding it to remove the rice husks they could produce a dish that was not merely palatable, but delicious. When the king heard of this new delicacy he summoned the head of Vong village to visit the court. Thereafter, each autumn the villagers presented the court with an offering of com.
 

Flower Village - In Dam village, most of the flower-growers have switched to fancy imported strains, leaving the common roses, gladiolas and dahlias to farmers living further afield. Since the profit from growing imported strains of flowers is several times higher than that earned from paddy, more than 3,000 families in Dam village now cultivate exotic blooms like lilies and orchids. Set beside the Nhue River and surrounded by fields of flowers, the village is a pastoral dream. Venture west along the dyke road in the early morning hours and you’ll find a scene from a fairytale. As mist rises from the paddy fields, clusters of flower-vendors stand by the roadside, selling thick bushels of blooms from the backs of their bicycles and motorbikes.

 

Includes:
Tour guide - lunch - bus or mini-van. Price per PAX based on 4 to 6 persons
 

(ILV-4)
...............................Embroidery Village - Stone Carving Village - Rush Mats Village
1 day

Embroidery Village - In Van Lam, a traditional embroidery village in Ninh Binh province, rows of women sit beneath a canvas awning in the courtyard of an old, tile-roofed house. Golden light filters down through the canvas, and the only sounds are the soft voices of the women and the occasional trill of a caged bird. All heads are bent, all eyes focused on the designs emerging beneath their skillful hands. You will see some dazzling examples of Vietnamese embroidery paintings - landscapes, portraits or still - life, all executed in silk threads. Thousands of minuscule stitches make these pictures as sharp as photographs, while the soft shine of silk lends them a warm and lively glow.

Stone Carving Village - We drive past shimmering green paddy fields, glittering canals and limestone mounts, which rise from the flat plain like marbles scattered by a race of giants. These giants, it seems, must work in Ninh Van village, since the roadway is lined with massive blocks of stone, towering statues of revolutionary heroes seated monk twice life-size, and stone pedestals as big as our car. The village of Ninh Van is heralded as the birthplace of Vietnamese stone carving, using marble and dolomite. Crouched on his front stoop, an old man uses a sharp metal ve, a steel-tipped tool that looks like a pencil, to etch cranes and flowers onto a stone tablet. - It will take two days to finish.

Rush Mats Village - In the afternoon heat, the streets of Kim Son village are deserted, but for the occasional farmer on a bicycle. Someone is listening to traditional music on the radio, the sound droning through the village, adding to the atmosphere of rustic calm. In the courtyard of a tile-roofed house, two women are sitting on a rush mat, weaving baskets. Only their hands are moving, so fast that their fingers blur, twisting the rushes into an intricately woven circle.
 

Includes:
Tour guide - lunch - bus or mini-van. Price per PAX based on 4 to 6 persons
 

(ILV-5)
...................................................................Bronze Casting Village - Lacquer Wares Village
1 day

Bronze Casting Village - The villagers of Truc Bach secured their reputation as Vietnam’s best bronze-casters by producing a massive Buddha statue, which stood five-and-half meters tall and weighed over 12 tons. The mold from which this sacred image was cast required 70 tons of clay mixed with paper, and took three years to make. Today, Truc Bach is no longer a separate village, but rather a neighborhood in Hanoi. Yet this area has retained a self-contained, village-like atmosphere, with quiet, shady streets and a charming lakefront promenade.

Lacquer Wares Village - Prior to getting married, Vietnamese couples hold an an hoi engagement ceremony, during which the groom’s family presents the bride’s family with round red lacquered boxes, filled with tea, betel nuts and traditional cakes. Just as the gifts are symbolic, so are the boxes, which, covered in shiny red lacquer, represent good luck and happiness. Lacquer is made from the resin of the son tree, which grows in highland areas. These trees start to produce lacquer sap after three years, and are exhausted within seven or eight years. The resin is stored in jars for two to four months. After boiling, the resin turns white and grows thick, like cream. In Chuyen My Village, most families supplement their income from rice farming by producing lacquered furniture inlaid with mother-of-pearl.
 

Includes:
Tour guide - lunch - bus or mini-van. Price per PAX based on 4 to 6 persons

(ILV-6)
..............................................................................................................................................Ha Noi City Tour
1 day


Morning tour - Ngoc Son Temple - Old Quarter - Dong Xuan Market - Hanoi Cathedral - Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum / Museum and One Pillar Pagoda - Quan Thanh Temple - Tran Quoc Pagoda.

Afternoon tour - Museum of Ethnology- Temple of Literature.

Includes:
Tour guide - lunch - transportation by bus or mini-van - entrance fees. Price per PAX based on 4 to 6 persons

(ILV-7)
.......................................................................................................................................................Ha Long Bay
1 day

 

Morning tour - Pick-up and drive to Ha Long Bay.
Afternoon tour - Boat trip (4hrs) - Thien Cung & Dau Go grottoes exploration - Drive to Ha Noi.

Includes:
Tour guide - lunch - transportation by bus or mini-van and boat - entrance fees. Price per PAX based on 4 to 6 persons.

 

 

(ILV-8)
.................................................................................................................................Ha Long Bay - Cat Ba
2 days

Day 1 - Pick-up and drive to Ha Long Bay - Boat trip to Cat Ba Island (4hrs) -
Exploration of Thien Cung and Dau Go caves.

Day 2 - Boat trip to Ha Long (4hrs) - Swimming in the bay - Drive to Ha Noi.

Includes:
Tour guide - meals - transportation by bus or mini-van and boat - entrance fees - twin-share accommodation in hotels. Price per PAX based on 4 to 6 persons

(ILV-9)
.........................................................................................................Ha Long Bay - Cat Ba - Viet Hai
3 days


Day 1 - Pick-up and drive to Ha Long Bay - Boat trip to Cat Ba Island (4hrs) -
Exploration of Thien Cung and Dau Go caves.
Day 2 - Walking tour in Cat Ba National Park - Free time for shopping -
Day 3 - Boat trip to Ha Long Bay (4hrs) - Swimming in the bay - Drive to Ha Noi.

 

Includes:
Tour guide - meals - transportation bus or mini-van and boat - entrance fees - twin-share accommodation in hotels. Price per PAX based on 4 to 6 persons

(ILV-10)
.............................................................................................................................................Perfume Pagoda
1 day

Morning - Pick-up and drive to Perfume Pagoda (2 hrs) - Rowing-boat trip  to Thien Tru Harbor on the Yen River & trekking to Main Cave Pagoda and back (3hrs) -
Afternoon - Drive to Ha Noi (2hrs).

Includes:
Tour guide - lunch - transportation by bus or mini-van and rowboat - entrance fees. Price per PAX based on 4 to 6 persons.

 

(ILV-11)
......................................................................................................................Cuc Phuong National Park
1 day


Morning -
Pick-up and drive to Ninh Binh (4hrs) - Visit to the Endangered Primate Rescue Center -
Afternoon - Visit to the Cuc Phuong National Park Center & Cave of Early Man - Drive to Ha Noi (4hrs)

Includes:
Tour guide - lunch - transportation by bus or mini-van - entrance fees. Price per PAX based on 4 to 6 persons.

 

 

(ILV-12)
.....................................................................................................Mai Chau Ethnic Minority Villages
2 days - 1 night

Day 1 - Pick-up and drive to Mai Chau - Visit of two Thai villages (Ban Van & Ban Lac)

Day 2 - Visit of a Muong minority village - Drive to Ha Noi

Includes:
Tour guide - meals - transportation by bus or mini-van - entrance fees - accommodation in stilt-houses. Price per PAX based on 4 to 6 persons.
 

(ILV-13)
.................................................................................................................Phong Nha Cave Exploration
3 days - 2 nights

Day 1 - Pick-up and drive overnight to Dong Hoi province.
Day 2 - Phong Nha caves exploration by boat.
Afternoon; swimming at Da Nhay beach.

Day 3 - Drive overnight to Ha Noi.

Includes:
Tour guide - meals - transportation by bus or mini-van - entrance fees - twin-share accommodation in hotels.
Price per PAX based on 4 to 6 persons.

 

 

 

(ILV-14)
..........................................................................................................................................................Ba Be Lake
3 days - 2 nights


Day 1 - Pick-up and drive 250km to the mountainous rice-fields region of Ba Be Lake.
Day 2 - Exploring Ba Be Lake by boat - Nang river - Phuong grottoes - Dau Dang waterfall.
Visit of Pac Ngoi ethnic minority village - Lunch with the Tay minorities.
Day 3 - Visit of the Vietnam Minority People Museum in Thai Nguyen - Drive overnight to Ha Noi.

Includes:
Tour guide - meals - transportation by bus or mini-van - entrance fees - twin-share accommodation in hotels. Price per PAX based on 4 to 6 persons.

(ILV-15)
............................................................................................................................Sapa - Ta Phin - Cat Cat
4 days - 3 nights

Day 1 - Pick-up; and a 10hr-drive to Sapa.
Day 2 - Fabulous walks to the Red Dao minority village of Ta Phin.
Day 3 - A 5km-trek to the Black Hmong minority village of Cat Cat - Cat Cat Waterfall - Mountainous terrace rice-fields - Love Market.
Day 4 - Drive to Hanoi.



I
ncludes:

Tour guide - meals - transportation by train & bus - entrance fees - twin-share accommodation in hotels. Price per PAXbased on 4 to 6 persons.

(ILV-16)
......................................................................................................Sapa - Ta Phin - Cat Cat - Bac Ha
4 days - 3 nights

Depart on Thursdays for Bac Ha Market on Sundays.
Day 1 - Pick-up; and a 10hr-drive to Sapa.
Day 2 - A 5km-trek to the Black H'mong minority village of Cat Cat - Cat Cat Waterfall - Mountainous terrace rice fields - Love Market.
Day 3 - Visit of Bac Ha ethnic minority village and the market.
Day 4 - Drive to Hanoi.

Includes:
Tour guide - meals - transportation by train & bus - entrance fees - twin-share accommodation in hotels. Price per PAX based on 4 to 6 persons.
 

 

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