Far East Encounter – China & Vietnam (19 days)

19 days from just £3,570 pp
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flag Beijing - Xi'an - Guilin - Yangshuo - Hanoi - Halong Bay - Hoi An - Saigon
What's included?
+ included - not included
  • International Flight
  • Accommodation
  • Water
  • Meals
  • Escorted Tour
  • Domestic Flights
  • Airport Taxes Charges
  • Visa
  • Insurance
  • Tipping

Make the most of travelling across the world and discover two countries in one tour with a leading specialist operator Emperor Tours.

In China you’ll experience the wonders of the mix which Beijing is – modern and fashionable as well as steeped in dynastical history. Xi’an with its amazing historical legacies including the Terracotta Warriors and finally the breath-taking beauty of Guilin, limestone mountains framing paddy fields and misty hilltops.

Taking the sleeper train, you’ll travel to Vietnam and French colonial Hanoi. Then on to the magnificent Halong Bay and an overnight stay on a junk.  Next stop is the merchant town of Hoi Ann and then the architectural delights of Saigon. 

Rounding off the itinerary you’ll spend time on the Mekong Delta surrounded by orchids and rice fields and plenty of local culture to immerse yourself in.

 

Day 1 - UK to Beijing

Take international scheduled flight from London Heathrow to Beijing.

(We can also arrange flights from other UK airports without any additional cost; upgrade to premium economy class or business class available on request)

Day 2 - Beijing Arrival

On arrival at Beijing Capital Airport we’ll be met by our guide and taken by private transfer to the 5* Crowne Plaza Beijing Wangfujing Hotel, located in the centre of this amazing city.

Rest of the day will be to relax and prepare for our journey to begin!

Day 3 - Beijing

We start the day with a visit to Tiananmen Square – the largest public square in the world.

Walking through the Gate of Heavenly Peace (with the late Chairman Mao’s huge portrait hanging over the gate), we enter the magnificent Forbidden City, a massive palace compound (home to 24 Emperors since the 15th century) which never fails to impress.

In the afternoon the tour continues visiting the enchanting Summer Palace with its lakes, gardens, teahouses and pagodas.  The largest Imperial garden in the world is where Qing Emperors and Empresses stayed between May and October, to escape the pollution inside the city.  End your day with a relaxing boat ride on the beautiful Kunming Lake.

Meals Included

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Great Wall of China tour

Day 4 - Beijing

Today we travel outside the city to the world famous Great Wall of China at Mutianyu. You’ll have plenty of time to explore the largest man-made structure on earth and one of the Great Wonders of the World. Spend time just taking in the breath taking, panoramic views!

We then return to Beijing with a visit to the Temple of Heaven – built in 1420, it was the place where the Ming and Qing emperors worshipped the God of Heaven and prayed for a good harvest for the year.

The evening is time to relax with a traditional Peking duck banquet!

Meals Included

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Package holidays to China

Day 5 - Beijing to Xi'an

We start our day with a rickshaw tour around old Beijing’s Hutong (alleyways) area where you can immerse yourself in local history and culture, including a visit to a typical Beijing family courtyard house.

In the afternoon we fly to Xi’an – the ancient capital of China. Upon arrival we transfer to the 5* Grand Noble Hotel in the city centre.

Later we visit the Ancient City Wall, originally built during the Tang Dynasty, it is the most complete, surviving city wall in China today.

We also visit the Big Wild Goose Pagoda – initially built in 589, it’s known as the best-preserved Buddhist temple complex.

In the evening relax and enjoy a spectacular Tang Dynasty Dinner Show.

Meals Included

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Terracotta Warriors

Day 6 - Xi'an

Today begins another highlight of our tour – a visit to the amazing Terracotta Warriors and Horses.  Built over 2,000 years ago, to guard the tomb of Emperor Qinshihuang, over 7,000 life-size soldiers, horses and chariots lay undiscovered until 1974 when they were uncovered by a farmer.  This is truly one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of the 20th century and now a must-see UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In the afternoon we return to the city and visit the landmark, stately Bell Tower – beautifully lit as night falls with enchanting red lanterns. 

There’s also time to browse around the colourful and vibrant local food market in the old Muslim Quarter.

Meals Included

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Holiday to China from UK

Day 7 - Xi'an to Guilin

This morning we take a flight to Guilin and check in at the 5* Guilin Grand Bravo Hotel.  Described as one of the most picturesque cities in China, Guilin is surrounded by the sheer-sided Karst Mountains, as well as two rivers and four lakes, providing stunning watery landscapes.

During the day we visit the spectacular Reed Flute Cave, which got its name from the verdant reeds growing outside it from which people make flutes, and Fubo Hill (also known as Wave-Subduing Hill). A tale has it that Ma Yuan (also known as General Fubo) from the Han Dynasty poured all his pearls into the river on a southern expedition!

In the evening, after dinner, Emperor Tours treat every customer with a refreshing, traditional Chinese foot massage – perfect after a day sightseeing!

Meals Included

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 8 - Guilin/Yangshuo

Today we take a scenic boat cruise along the Li River, sailing through bamboo plains and limestone karst towers, to Yangshuo (a small town near Guilin) with its breathtaking natural landscapes.

After lunch on board, we have plenty of time to browse around Yangshuo’s lively local market and bustling West Street.

Return to Guilin in the evening.

Optional evening tour: See cormorant fishing – can be organised if enough interest

Meals Included

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch

Day 9 - Guilin to Hanoi, Vietnam

Today we take short train journey from Guilin to Nanning, where we connect to our overnight sleeper train to Hanoi, Vietnam.

Meals Included

  • Breakfast

Day 10 - Hanoi

Early morning we arrive in Hanoi where you will meet your guide and transfer to the 5* Sheraton Hanoi hotel for check-in. Close to the bustle and excitement of the city, Sheraton Hanoi Hotel is surrounded by lush gardens, sweeping lawns and tranquil courtyards. This peaceful oasis features picturesque views of West Lake and is less than 10 minutes from downtown Hanoi.

This evening meet your guide for tour briefing at your hotel before dinner at one of the city’s finest restaurants.

After dinner, we enjoy the solemn moments of the flag lowering ceremony in Ba Dinh Square before transfer back to your hotel for overnight.

Meals Included

  • Dinner

Day 11 - Hanoi

This morning we tour Hanoi’s charming French colonial boulevards and the Embassy Rows by a cyclo ride, taking in Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum, the House on Stilts and The One Pillar pagoda.

Then meet your vehicle and drive to visit the ancient Temple of Literature, to gain an understanding of one of the driving forces in Vietnam culture.

In the afternoon we explore Hanoi on foot, walking through the lively Old Quarter, a series of 36 ancient streets where peddlers trade their wares the way they have done for centuries. Visit an old house that’s typical of dwellings in the Old Town in Ma May street and then walk through the lively Hang Be market to the famed water puppet theatre for an evening show, the perfect way to finish our first day in Vietnam!

Meals Included

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 12 - Hanoi to Halong Bay

Today we journey east to Halong Bay, the greatest natural wonder of Vietnam, through the Red River Delta, where we see daily Vietnamese village life.

On arrival, we board a beautiful traditional junk (ancient Chinese ship) and spend a full day and night cruising the bay’s 3000 magnificent limestone islets. In the evening when the boat is anchored in the middle of the stunning lagoon, we enjoy a wonderful seafood meal prepared by our on-board chef.

Later there is the opportunity for an evening swim from the side of the boat before we turn in for the night on our luxurious boat.

NOTE: Kayaks are available if specified at time of booking.

Meals Included

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 13 - Halong Bay to Hoi An

Wake up to a perfect sunrise with fresh coffee and a wholesome breakfast before disembarkation at 11:30.

We bid farewell to Halong Bay and head straight back to Hanoi airport for a late afternoon flight to Danang. We will be met on arrival by our guide and driver and transfer directly to the 5* Palm Garden Resort in Hoi An.

Meals Included

  • Breakfast

Day 14 - Hoi An

Today after breakfast we explore this charming and wonderfully preserved merchant town that retains Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and European influences from its flourishing old days. We will walk narrow colourful lanes, admire historic architectures, and hunt for the unexpectedly good bargains of silk wares.

Afternoon is free at leisure to explore this wonderful town, recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage site because of its historic role in international trade, unusually well-preserved ancient streets and homes.

Meals Included

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch

Day 15 - Hoi An to Saigon

This morning we leave Hoian for Danang and fly to Saigon, the most dynamic city in Vietnam. On arrival we will have our lunch in local style, a tasty bowl of “Pho” noodle soup at “Pho 24”.

The afternoon will be time for the city’s architectural highlights, such as the Notre Dame Cathedral, French Post Office, Reunification Palace, colonial Dong Khoi Boulevard, etc.

Meals Included

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 16 - Saigon/Cu Chi Tunnels

We start today with a drive out of the city to the Cu Chi amazing tunnel system built by Communist guerrillas during the Vietnam War. This incredible system, covering almost 250km in length, was shelter to over 16,000 Vietcong guerrillas during the wars. Initially started in 1948 to provide shelter against the French air and ground sweeps, the network went on to serve as communication routes, storage facilities, hospitals and living quarters for Vietnamese fighters throughout the wartime. We can even descend into the tunnels to learn more about the tunnel life.

After lunch in Cu Chi we return to Saigon and delve into the hustle and bustle of Cho Lon, Saigon’s Chinatown. There we’ll see a have-all market and the elaborately ornate pagoda of Lady Hau.

Meals Included

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch

Day 17 - Saigon/Mekong Delta

Today we enjoy a day trip to My Tho to sample life on the Mekong River. My Tho is a prosperous town of 170,000 inhabitants, famous for its extensive orchards and immense rice fields.

We’ll ride a local boat on the criss-crossing waters of the area to the orchards on Phoenix Island, where local handicrafts and sweets from coconut are being produced. Enjoy fresh seasonal fruits and traditional live music and songs performance and relax under the restaurant’s garden canopy.

Take a horse cart ride to a farm to taste some homemade honey-tea and proceed by boat through the small canals and side arms of the river to observe the daily life along the river banks.

We return by private transfer to Saigon late in the afternoon.

Meals Included

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 18 - Saigon Departure

Sadly it is time to say “tạm biệt” (goodbye) – there will be some free time for last minute shopping and exploration, or simply rest and watch the hectic Saigon lifestyle pass you by.

Late evening transfer to airport for your departure flight home.

Meals Included

  • Breakfast

Day 19 - UK Arrival

Today we arrive back at London Heathrow.

Beijing - 5* Crowne Plaza Beijing Wangfujing Hotel

5* Crowne Plaza Beijing Wangfujing Hotel

Feel the pulse of the city from your central location on Wangfujing Steet, a short walk from Beijing’s international banking and shopping districts. Stroll 15 minutes to the mighty Forbidden City, Beijing’s vast, imperial network of wooden temples and palaces, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

For more information click here

Xi'an - 5* Grand Noble Hotel

5* Grand Noble Hotel

Grand Noble Hotel Xi’an is a luxurious property, managed by Grand Noble Hotels & Resorts. The hotel offering comprehensive facilities and services for leisure and business stays. It is conveniently located in the commercial center, shopping and entertainment area of downtown Xi’an, neighboring several popular tourist attractions. Bell Tower and Forest of Stone Steles Museum is 10 minutes-walk away.

For more information click here

Guilin - 5* Guilin Grand Bravo Hotel

5* Guilin Grand Bravo Hotel

Tranquilly set amongst the mountains and Peach blooming River, 20-minutes-drive from the international airport, the Grand Bravo Guilin greets you with the most breathtaking scenery in Guilin.

For more information click here

Hanoi - 5* Sheraton Hanoi

5* Sheraton

Close to the bustle and excitement of the city, Sheraton Hanoi Hotel is surrounded by lush gardens, sweeping lawns and tranquil courtyards. This peaceful oasis features picturesque views of West Lake and is less than 10 minutes from downtown Hanoi. The hotel provides the perfect balance between tranquillity and convenience.

For more information click here

Halong Bay - 5* Victory Star Cruise

5* Victory Star Cruise

All cruises are designed not only in classic and traditional boat type on Ha Long but also in safe, modern and comfortable specification. We provide all best Halong Bay’s cruises. We only hire well-trained and professional staffs, a high-end service for all the luxury cruises. You will enjoy the hospitality of our friendly and warm staffs having very high competences.

For more information click here

Hoi An - 5* Palm Garden Resort

5* Palm Garden Resort

Set on five hectares of landscaped tropical gardens, overlooking the Cua Dai Beach, Palm Garden Beach Resort & Spa is the best charming upscale beachfront retreat in Hoi An. Influenced by Hoi An City’s local culture and people, the resort offers a touch of Hoi An’s traditional architectural design combined with a taste of modern luxury.

For more information click here

Saigon - 5* Fusion Suite

5* Fusion Suite

Located in the centre of the Ho Chi Minh City and close to all major tourist attractions, Fusion Suites Saigon is an all-suite property with a minimalist, modern design and the Fusion signature wellness philosophy deeply embedded at its core.

For more information click here

 

Tour Price includes:

  • International economy flights;
  • Vietnam visa;
  • Hotel accommodation as shown (based on twin occupancy);
  • Meals as described (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner);
  • Meeting and assistance on arrivals and departures;
  • Sightseeing excursions with English speaking guides;
  • All transfers and road transportation in air-conditioned vehicles;
  • Entrance fees for visits mentioned in program;
  • Train/Boat journeys where mentioned in program;
  • Domestic flights where mentioned in program;
  • Daily supply of bottled water;;
  • All currently applicable taxes.

Tour Price excludes:

  • Chinese visa;
  • Drinks during meals;
  • Personal expenses such as laundry, souvenirs etc;
  • Travel insurance (can be arranged, please ask for details);
  • Tips to guides and drivers;
  • Optional tours;
  • Early check-in or late check-out;
  • Flight and accommodation upgrades.

 

FLIGHT TIMES: 9.5 hours direct from London Heathrow to Beijing / 12.35 hours direct from Saigon to London Heathrow.

 

TIME DIFFERENCE: China: +7 hours in summer time / +8 hours in winter time (BST) / Vietnam: +6 hours in summer time / +7 hours in winter time (BST).

 

CURRENCY: Chinese Yuan (official name Ren Min Bi) £1 = approx. 9 CYN / Vietnamese dong £1 = approx. 31,000 VND

 

MONEY: You can take Sterling cash with you and exchange in China – hotels and banks all provide a currency exchange service. Credit cards are widely accepted and there are ATM machines for withdrawing cash in local currency. 

In Vietnam almost all goods and services are calculated and paid for in US dollars. Credit cards are accepted only at major hotels, restaurants owned by foreigners and souvenir shops. Travellers cheques and currencies other than US Dollars are accepted only by major banks. We recommend changing a small amount into local currency on arrival, for drinks and gifts etc.

 

TIPPING: Tipping is at your own discretion. We recommended £5 (approx. 45 CYN) or $10 per day for your tour guide but it’s entirely up to you based on how good you think your guide and driver are.

 

VISA: All visitors to China are required to apply for a Chinese visa in advance of travel. Upon booking Emperor Tours will provide visa forms and detailed instructions explaining the application process.

No visa is required for UK passport holders if stay is 15 days or less in Vietnam.

 

LANGUAGE: The official language spoken in China is standard Mandarin (Pu Tong Hua). The official language spoken in Vietnam is Vietnamese.

 

BEST TIMES TO VISIT: Generally Spring and Autumn months – end of March to early June and September to early November.

 

FESTIVALS:  Here are the main Chinese and Vietnamese festivals and what you will expect to see and experience during these festivities…

Chinese New Year –   1st-15th of the first lunar month 

Scrolls and paper-cut pictures, firecrackers and fireworks, New Year visits to family and friends, eating celebratory dishes.

Mid-autumn Festival – 15th day of the 8th lunar month 

Appreciating and offering sacrifice to the moonlight and eating moon cakes.

Vietnamese New Year ‘Tet’ – mid to late February 

Vietnamese people gather with their families to exchange best wishes and pray for prosperity over the coming year. In big cities, the streets are adorned with beautiful flower decorations. It’s a great time to see the preparations and immerse in the festive atmosphere before Tet, but travel during the festival is not recommendable.

Mid Autumn Festival (whole of Vietnam) – 15th day of the 8th lunar month in the Chinese lunar calendar

Marked with fanciful lanterns, the festival is a favourite with children, as the occasion calls for more toys, candies, fruit, and entertainment than any other time of the year. Mid-Autumn parties serve cakes, traditional and modified. Lion dances are commonly performed by travelling troupers who go from house to house to perform for tipping.  

Reunification Day (whole of Vietnam) – 30th April yearly

Also known as Victory Day or Liberation Day, this national holiday marks the fall of the Saigon government on 30 April 1975. The communist troops captured Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) and brought the Vietnam war to an end. This began the process of reuniting the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in the north and the Republic of Vietnam in the south

National Independence Day (whole of Vietnam) – 2nd September yearly

This day commemorates Vietnam’s declaration of independence from France in 1945. On that day, President Ho Chi Minh, read out the Declaration of Independence. Nowadays, national red flags are raised high everywhere. People are entitled to one day off. Public and official celebrations can be found in all cities.

NOTE: A lunar month is the time between two successive syzygies (new moons or full moons).

 

FOOD & DRINK: Our Group Tour includes most meals however if you are venturing out to eat on your own all our hotels are in city centres so it’s very easy to find local restaurants. Your guides will be more than happy to recommend restaurants of various cuisines to you. It’s not expensive to eat out – a simple meal in a local restaurant costs around £10 per person.

It’s advisable not to use the minibar in your hotel room as it can be very expensive, and you can find cheap soft drinks, beer and wine in supermarkets. Emperor Tours provide bottled water for guests and your hotel will also provide free bottled water in your room.

 

SOCIAL ETIQUETTE: China is a fairly relaxed country regarding etiquette, but there are a few things to be aware of: 

Greetings and goodbyes – shake hands but never kiss someone’s cheek. 

Religion – dress sensitively when visiting Buddhist (especially in Tibet) and Taoist temples, churches and mosques.? You should avoid touching monks, especially women.

Eating and drinking – its polite to help fill your neighbour’s plate at the dinner table and toast the host and others at the table.  At the start of dinner, wait until toasting starts before drinking from your glass.

Gestures – don’t use too many hand movements or excessive body language.

People throughout Vietnam are very kind and easy going. People are very relaxed with foreigners and their different habits. 

Showing anger is seen as a weakness.

Respect and care should be shown when visiting temples and shoes should always be removed before entering.

 

HEALTH ADVICE: Before you travel, please make sure that you have obtained appropriate medical / travel insurance. There is no compulsory requirement for vaccination – the common recommendations are Hepatitis A and Typhoid. Visitors are advised to check with their GP or travel immunisation clinic regarding protection. Any essential medications should be brought with you as there is no guarantee they will be available in the areas you will be visiting.

If travelling in Summer months, please bring sunscreen, mosquito repellent etc.

It is not safe to drink tap water in China and Vietnam – please drink boiled water or bottled water only.

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18 nights
08/02/2020
26/02/2020
£3,570(pp)
N.B. There is an additional surcharge for single supplement applied for travellers occupying a room on their own. Please select below if this applies.
18 nights
07/03/2020
25/03/2020
£3,570(pp)
N.B. There is an additional surcharge for single supplement applied for travellers occupying a room on their own. Please select below if this applies.
18 nights
04/04/2020
22/04/2020
£3,730(pp)
N.B. There is an additional surcharge for single supplement applied for travellers occupying a room on their own. Please select below if this applies.
18 nights
02/05/2020
20/05/2020
£3,730(pp)
N.B. There is an additional surcharge for single supplement applied for travellers occupying a room on their own. Please select below if this applies.
18 nights
06/06/2020
24/06/2020
£3,730(pp)
N.B. There is an additional surcharge for single supplement applied for travellers occupying a room on their own. Please select below if this applies.
18 nights
23/07/2020
10/08/2020
£3,730(pp)
N.B. There is an additional surcharge for single supplement applied for travellers occupying a room on their own. Please select below if this applies.
18 nights
05/09/2020
23/09/2020
£3,730(pp)
N.B. There is an additional surcharge for single supplement applied for travellers occupying a room on their own. Please select below if this applies.
18 nights
19/09/2020
07/10/2020
£3,730(pp)
N.B. There is an additional surcharge for single supplement applied for travellers occupying a room on their own. Please select below if this applies.
18 nights
10/10/2020
28/10/2020
£3,730(pp)
N.B. There is an additional surcharge for single supplement applied for travellers occupying a room on their own. Please select below if this applies.
18 nights
24/10/2020
11/11/2020
£3,730(pp)
N.B. There is an additional surcharge for single supplement applied for travellers occupying a room on their own. Please select below if this applies.
18 nights
07/11/2020
25/11/2020
£3,730(pp)
N.B. There is an additional surcharge for single supplement applied for travellers occupying a room on their own. Please select below if this applies.
18 nights
05/12/2020
23/12/2020
£3,730(pp)
N.B. There is an additional surcharge for single supplement applied for travellers occupying a room on their own. Please select below if this applies.
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