Cities of Japan and Vietnam with Halong Bay

Cities of Japan and Vietnam with Halong Bay

Destination: Asia  |  Duration: 14 days  |  Call to Personalize your Custom Journey

Discover cosmopolitan Tokyo, explore the cultural heart of Kyoto, be moved in Hiroshima. Then explore the bustling city of Hanoi fused with temple-clad natural landscapes. Board a traditional Vietnamese Junk and glide past hundreds of giant limestone karsts and hidden islets in the emerald waters of Ha Long Bay.

Tokyo City Skyline

Day 1: Welcome to Tokyo!

Arrive at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport with warm greeting form your guide who will greet you after you pass through Custom. You will then be transferred to your hotel in Tokyo. The remainder of the day is on your own. Venture out for dinner and enjoy the surrounding neighborhood.

Night at the Park Hotel Tokyo

Senso Ji Temple

Day 2: Private Full Day Tour of Tokyo

After breakfast, meet your private guide for a full day exploration of the city using Tokyo’s public transportation. Visit Tsukiji Market, one of the world’s largest wholesale of fish, fruits and vegetables markets. Stop at Tokyo’s oldest temple, Senso-ji Temple. Wander down Nakamise, a shopping street that has been providing temple visitors with a variety of traditional, local snacks and tourist souvenirs for centuries. Hamarikyu Garden is a large, attractive landscape garden in central Tokyo. Located alongside Tokyo Bay, Hama Rikyu features seawater ponds which change level with the tides, and a teahouse on an island where visitors can rest and enjoy the scenery. The traditionally styled garden stands in stark contrast to the skyscrapers of the adjacent Shiodome district.

Night at the Park Hotel Tokyo (B)

Harajuku Tokyo

Day 3: Private Full Day Tour of Tokyo

Another day to explore Tokyo. Stop by the Edo-Tokyo Museum and check out their permanent exhibit that vividly illustrates the past of Tokyo from the Edo Period to relatively recent decades.

Akihabarais a district in central Tokyo that is famous for its many electronics shops and is the center of Japan’s otaku culture. Ometesando Street is a broad tree-lined avenue with stunning architecturally ambitious buildings designed by famous architects that house the flagship stores of the world’s top fashion brands. Harajuku is the center of Japan’s most extreme teenage cultures and fashion styles, but also offers shopping for adults and some historic sights. Slow down your pace in the spacious grounds of the Meiji Jingu Shrine where walking paths invite you to take a relaxing stroll. Then make a visit to the Samurai Museum to see exhibits of swords, armor and other weapons. For fun, you can out on some armor and try your hand at samurai cosplay.

Night at the Park Hotel Tokyo (B)

Kinkakuji Temple

Day 4: Bullet Train to Kyoto

Today after breakfast, take the Bullet Train to Kyoto where your guide will meet you for a half day tour of Kyoto. You will see Kinkakuji Temple, covered with gold leaf and surrounded by finely manicured green gardens and set on a lovely, tranquil pond. Originally built as retirement villa for the Shogun, it became a Buddhist Temple after his death and is one of Kyoto’s most famous religious temples. Take in the breathtaking view from the 13-meter high Kiyomizu Temple. Then stroll the pedestrian-only lanes of Sannenzaka and Ninenzaka with their beautifully restored traditional shophouses.

Night in Kyoto at Kyoto Tokyu Hotel (B)

Miyajima Japan

Day 5: Hiroshima and Itsukushima Shrine

Journey to Hiroshima by Bullet Train where your private guide will meet you full day exploration of Hiroshima and Miyajima. You’ll visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park & Museum an Important Cultural Property of Japan built to remind future generations of the terror wrought by atomic bombs. The Atomic Bomb Dome has been preserved as it was to promote peace and elimination of atomic weapons around the world.

Visit the 6th century Miyajima Itsukushima Shrine, a World Heritage site famous for its beautiful Shinden-zukuri style structure. The contrast of the green of Mount Misen behind the lacquered shrine pavilion and the blue of the Seto Sea is beautiful and evocative of the underwater palace of Ryugujo. Afterwards, your guide will return you to the train station and you will continue on your own to Kyoto.

Night in Kyoto at Kyoto Tokyu Hotel (B)

Senbon Torii

Day 6: Guided Tour of Osaka

This morning you will meet your private guide and depart for a half day of sightseeing in Osaka. On route to Osaka you will be short stop at Fushimi Inari shrine. During your tour in Osaka, visit Osaka Castle and Sinsaibashi District. Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine is the head shrine of 40,000 inari-jinja shrines located all over Japan. The bright red Senbon Torii gates are a must-see attraction.

The construction of Osaka Castle started in 1583 on the former site of the Ishiyama Honganji Temple, which had been destroyed by Oda Nobunaga thirteen years earlier. Toyotomi

Hideyoshi intended the castle to become the center of a new, unified Japan under Toyotomi rule. It was the largest castle at the time.

After touring Osaka, you will be taken to Kansai International Airport to board your flight to Vietnam. Upon arrival at Noi Bai International Airport, another guide will transfer you to your hotel.

Night in Hanoi at Hanoi Siesta Classic Hotel (B)

Hanoi Old Quarter

Day 7: Hanoi with Walking Tour of Old City

Explore the charming city of Hanoi with its yellow ochre colonial buildings, tree-lined boulevards and scenic lakes. The historic Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is an imposing monument of marble and granite built to house the preserved body of beloved revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh. Visit the One Pillar Pagoda, a Buddhist temple built in 1049 of wood in the shape of a lotus blossom and set on a single stone pillar. Continue to the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first national university built in the late 11th century. This picturesque temple is an example of well-preserved traditional Vietnamese architecture and is featured on the back of the 100,000 Vietnamese dong banknote.

After lunch, enjoy the walking tour through the famed Old Quarter known for its ‘36 streets of 36 wares’ named after the original 36 artisan guilds that date as far back as the 13th century. Conclude your day by watching an entertaining water puppet performance. This unique art form said to have originated in the flooded rice fields of the Red River Delta where villagers entertained themselves by manipulating puppets over the water. The show uses colorful wooden puppets to depict scenes of rural life and episodes of national history set to music.

Night in Hanoi at Hanoi Siesta Classic Hotel (BL)

Trang An

Day 8: Hoa Lu and Tam Coc

Depart Hanoi for a drive to the Trang An Landscape Complex in Ninh Binh Province. Inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014, Trang An is famed for its spectacular landscape of limestone karsts peaks permeated with valley. Visit Vietnam’s ancient capital of Hoa Lu, the country’s first centralized feudal state from the end of the 10th century. While the ancient citadel has largely disappeared, the temples of the Dinh and Le dynasties still stand surrounded by rice paddies. After lunch at a local restaurant in Ninh Binh, continue to Tam Coc. A skilled rower will take you on a slow journey on the winding rivers/canals. Enjoy the views of the beautiful karst formations as you enter three of the many natural caves formed under the hills.

Night in Ninh Binh at the Legend Hotel (BL)

Red River Delta

Day 9: Van Long and Cuc Phuong NP

Van Long Nature Reserve is the largest wetland natural reserve in the Red River Delta. Enjoy a boat trip taking in stunning scenes of local villages dotted among the limestone karsts and caves. Bring along binoculars as you may encounter some rare langurs and birds. After the boat trip, drive to Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam’s first national park and one of the few remaining tropical rain forests left in the country. The Cuc Phuong Endangered Primate Rescue Centre and the Cuc Phuong Turtle Conservation Centre are two research centres vital for the breeding, rehabilitation and preservation of animals rescued from poachers. Enjoy a simple Vietnamese lunch at the canteen of the National Park Headquarters. After lunch, explore some of the many nature trails available for avid to recreational hikers. Return to Hanoi in the late afternoon.

Night in Hanoi at Hanoi Siesta Classic Hotel (BL)

Halong Bay

Day 10: Ha Long Cruise to Tien Ong Cave

Journey to Ha Long Bay, making a stop en route for some refreshment. On arrival, board your deluxe junk, settle into your cabin and prepare your appetite for an enjoyable lunch on deck. In the afternoon, visit the mysterious Tien Ong Cave. This wide cave has a short entrance which is said to resemble the shape of frog’s mouth. In 2007 a team of Vietnamese archeologist conducted extensive research which led to the discovery of human bones and artifacts dating to 10,000 – 8,000BC, and then continue to Cua Van area. It was once the fishing village, but most people moved to back to the mainland for their children’s future due to the lack of education system and access to vital information. Back on the boat, participate in a cooking demonstration with the chef or enjoy sunset on the top deck before dinner.

Overnight on Boat on a Private Cabin with Outside Balcony (BLD)

Halong Bay junk

Day 11: Cruise and Kayak, Luon Cave

Rise early and greet the day with a refreshing Tai Chi demonstration on the upper deck. Transfer to your day boat named Sunset, discover the biggest cave in Ha Long Bay with 10,000 square meters. Surprise Cave is like a Vietnamese house with three distinct chambers as lobby, dining room and bedroom with beautiful stalagmites and stalactites. Set sail for the Luon Cave, joining a kayaking excursion to the Luon Cave and surrounding waters and beautiful scenery. Lunch is served while sailing to the Pearl Farm Village and Factory. Head back to the boat, participate in another cooking demonstration or enjoy sunset on the top deck before dinner.

Overnight on Boat on a Private Cabin with Outside Balcony (BLD)

Halong Bay fruit seller

Day 12: Ha Long Bay Cruise and Swim

If you missed the previous day’s Tai Chi demonstration on the upper deck, this morning is your second chance. Then it is time for an early morning swim in the Bay. Guests are taken by tender boat to a natural white sandy stretch of beach. If you’re feeling particularly energized, climb up to a hilltop to have a last view from above over Ha Long Bay. Return to the boat and cruise slowly back to Ha Long City while having breakfast. You arrive at the jetty in late morning to disembark at Heritage Line Lounge in Tuan Chau New Marina. You’ll have a private transfer back to your Hanoi hotel. Make a stop on the way at a local village for stretching your legs or having a chance to witness the local life of Northern countryside.

Night in Hanoi at Hanoi Siesta Classic Hotel (B)

Hanoi street

Day 13: Discover Hanoi

Take your time as you wander around Hanoi on your own today. You might want to visit peaceful and quiet Hoan Kiem Lake. Ngoc Son Temple is a pagoda on a small island known as Jade Island located in the center of the lake. Jade Island is accessible by Rising Sun Bridge, a charming scarlet-painted wooden bridge of classical Vietnamese design. The pagoda is guarded by two towering posts decorated with Chinese writing. It was built in commemoration of the 13th century military leader Tran Hung Dao, renowned for his bravery in the battle against the Yuan Dynasty. After spending time at Hoan Kiem Lake, you’ll soon realize why it’s one of the best places in Hanoi city to rest, enjoy the beauty of the place and people watch. Before the day’s end, be sure to find out why Hanoi is legendary for street food. There are endless options to choose from on every bustling street.

Night in Hanoi at Hanoi Siesta Classic Hotel (B)

Vietnam

Day 14: Farewell to Vietnam

After the previous day of leisure, you should be well rested for your journey home. Your private transfer will take you to Hanoi International Airport in plenty of time to check in for your flight. You are returning to your life with many wonderful memories and stories to share with family and friends.