We then visit the infamous Hoa Lo Prison. Originally used by the French to hold political prisoners, it gained the ironic nickname the "Hanoi Hilton" during the Vietnam War due to its harsh and unsanitary conditions. While most of the prison has been demolished, the old gatehouse remains and is now a museum housing exhibits from the two eras.
The tour concludes with a water puppet show. This traditional Vietnamese art form dates to the 11th century where it developed in the paddy fields of North Vietnam. Today, the water of the paddy field is replaced by a large pool which acts as a stage for the puppets who are expertly guided by puppeteers hidden behind a bamboo screen. Accompanied by music, the puppets depict rural tales and historic stories.
The popular half-day tour includes the private tour, entrance fees and lunch. Approximate tour duration is 4-5 hours.
After breakfast, we will enjoy a boat cruise up the scenic Perfume River to visit the seven-story Thien Mu Pagoda, set atop Ha Khe Hill. Local legend says that an old woman foretold a great leader would visit and erect a pagoda to bring peace and prosperity to the country. Upon visiting the site in 1601 and hearing this story, Nguyen Hoang, the first of the Nguyen dynasty, ordered the construction of this temple, naming it after the woman who foretold its construction. The temple's name translates to "celestial lady". On our return to Hue, we visit the tomb of Khai Dinh. This elaborate tomb is interesting as it combines a mix of Asian and French influences. Khai Dinh ruled from 1916 to 1925, by which time the Nguyen dynasty only really retained symbolic power as much of its real control had been ceded to the French colonialists. This close relationship gave him the opportunity to visit France, and it is clear from the design of his mausoleum that he was influenced by the architecture he witnessed on this trip.
Then we visit the tomb of Tu Duc. The "Poet Emperor" is set in an elegant garden with a magnificent lake and pavilion complex. In complete contrast to Emperor Tu Duc's stylish creation, the tomb of Emperor Khai Dinh appears at first to be an unprepossessing concrete construction. Its interest lies within in an uneasy combination of Vietnamese and European features and the use of fragments of ceramics and glass for decoration.
Our tour starts with a drive out to the town of Ben Tre, situated in the heart of the Mekong Delta and being well-known as "the land of coconut".
Upon arrival, we board a traditional boat for a short leisure trip on the river, enjoy the Delta's amazing scenery while being served some refreshing fruits on board.
Next, we stop at a brickwork to get to know how the locals make the bricks by their traditional handy method. We continue our boat trip to visit a coconut workshop which is located along the canal; here we can sample some fresh coconut and see how every single part of the coconut could be turned into the other products such as food, daily utensils, musical instruments...
Following, we arrive at a tranquil village for a short walk to experience the daily life of the villagers in the Mekong Delta area. We stop at a local place to see how the local wave the mat by hand, this traditional way has been remained since the old time. We can give a try, weaving by ourselves while enjoying the seasonal tropical fruits and tea, chatting with local people.
We then hop on the moto-cart for a short ride, passing by the green gardens, the fields or the vegetable plains. We stop at the local restaurant for our lunch, served with the local specialties. Afterwards, we walk to the nearby pier and getting on the sampan for a short rowing boat trip till we arrive at the meeting point, where the driver is waiting and ready to take us back to Saigon.
Unlike most other Mekong cruises offered by our competitors, our comprehensive people-to-people program features both a cruise on the Mekong River and the visits around the less touristy areas for a complete insight about the real life of the locals - a genuine experience for an eye-opening journey.
In the afternoon, we depart to visit the temple of Banteay Srei. Built largely of red sandstone in the 10th century, this is an earlier example of Angkor architecture on a significantly smaller scale than the grand architecture of Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom. It is this contrast that makes it particularly popular, especially as it has been very well preserved and is highly regarded for its elaborate wall carvings. On the way back, visit Grandma's House for some local flavor.
World Spree's Taiwan Stopover Program offers two-night hotel accommodations in a 4-star hotel within Taipei' s bustling business district. We include buffet breakfasts and airline stopover change fees. We do not include airport transfers as it is easy to arrange those by yourself. It costs about $30-$40 per cab ride from Taipei Taoyuan Airport (TPE) to your hotel.
Minimum of two passengers.
Today's Recommended DIY Tour: Pack in a full day of Taipei sightseeing at multiple must-see attractions in the capital. View Taipei 101 with an optional entry to the 89th-floor observatory. Visit the Longshan Temple and explore 8,000 years of Chinese history at the National Palace Museum. Drive through Yangmingshan National Park, visit the Beitou Hot Spring Museum and finish at the Shilin Night Market!