If helicopters make you nervous, and luxurious cars intimidate you, and the presidential suite scares your wallet, well then, you better stop here. This Vietnam Private Exploration probably isn’t for you. The seven-day journey is about discovering unique Vietnam in inimitable style with VIP airport services, fine dining at one of Hanoi’s finest French restaurants, luxe accommodations and more.
That doesn’t mean you’ll miss the everyday side of life in Vietnam. On the contrary, on your first early morning, you get a glimpse of people in the park at Hoan Kiem Lake as they perform their daily ritual practicing tai chi and aerobics. You can join the locals if you like before settling in with a cup of Vietnam’s distinctive ‘Egg coffee’.
Meet fascinating ‘outsiders’ who call Vietnam home such as French-born Réhahn, a noted photographer based in Hoi An. He is widely known for his portraits that “capture emotions and people’s souls.” He has a special interest in the heritage of Vietnam’s 54 indigenous tribes. As he visited the tribes of northern Vietnam, he saw these diverse cultures and understood how quickly these cultures were disappearing. In January 2017, he opened the Precious Heritage Art Gallery Museum, showcasing these ethnic groups traditions and heritage through their traditional costumes, dialects, rites and ancestral knowledge. Some of the traditional costumes were given to him by the chiefs of the tribal communities because they, too, can see that their lifestyles are slowly vanishing.
And for a truly singular encounter, meet Nguyen Hong My in his Hanoi home for tea and talk. As a young man at engineering college, Hong My was approached to take a test. That changed his life. He was sent to flight school in Russia. He returned one of only 120 qualified fighter pilots in the country. He took to the skies to defend his country. You have a rare opportunity to listen someone who was on the other side of our war with his country and gain a rare look at a different perspective. Spend time with him in his home looking through old photographs, books and testimonials. His war stories are fascinating, but his post-war story is possibly more so. Some 30 years later, he met two Americans – the US pilot that he shot down and the US pilot who shot him down! Remarkably, the three men are friends today.
Savor a private cooking class with the Academy Chef focusing on Hanoi cuisine. You are guided through the heart of the oldest and busiest market in Hoi An to gain insights into Vietnamese food found in the old quarter’s myriad of street stalls.
See Saigon from one of the classic rooftop bars in Saigon with panoramic views of this frenetic city while you sample an array of cocktails and delicious snacks and close out the day in your Presidential Suite.
From a five-star speedboat down the Saigon River to the infamous Cu Chi Tunnels, to a helicopter over serene Halong Bay with its towering limestone stacks, their bushy tops rarely seen from this perspective, to luxury vehicles in the larger cities, you will be pampered, Vietnamese style!
Even if you have been there before, Vietnam Private Exploration will make you rethink your ideas about what is possible in Southeast Asia.