An incredible journey is planned, highlighting the major battlefields of Vietnam, known historically for their notoriety, with equal interest allotted to the many cultural sites found north and south across the country.
Hanoi will be the gateway to Dien Bien Phu, the Citadel in Hué, visits to Quang Tri, the DMZ, Khe Sanh, the Cu Chi tunnels and a private boat excursion to the backwaters of the Mekong Delta.
Battlefields is for everyone who has an interest in Vietnam, be they Veterans traveling alone, together with family members, with friends or those who perhaps had not served in the war, however, have a historical interest in knowing more of what happened during that era as well as having a genuine interest in the many cultural monuments across both North and South Vietnam.
First Cabin Travel has been associated with custom touring to Vietnam since the country opened its doors to travelers from the United States in 1994. Robert Kenyon, a Marine Corps Veteran, having served two tours of duty in Vietnam and president of First Cabin Travel will accompany the tour.
Day 01 / United States - Bangkok
Wing your way across the Pacific, crossing the International Dateline for your late evening arrival to the colorful and exciting city of Bangkok.
Day 02 / Arrival Bangkok
The friendliness and genuine hospitality of the Thai people welcome you upon arrival. Your guide, with private transport shall accompany you for check-in to the Novotel Airport Hotel. (Executive Room)
Day 03 / Bangkok – Hanoi
Your morning air flight takes you above the verdant jungle carpet as you make your way to Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital city. Upon arrival, your local guide, who will have prepared all immigration documents to insure a swift and carefree passage into the country will meet and greet you upon arrival.
After a leisurely lunch, begin your city tour of Hanoi with a private cyclo ride to Hanoi’s “Old Quarter” often referred to as the “36 Streets”. Even today, it remains a cloistered community with long time vendors who specialize in various crafts nestled within shops offering a wide variety of specialties. There is no better way to experience this neighborhood than by cyclo.
This evening you are the welcomed guests at the Press Club restaurant for a get-acquainted dinner with your fellow travelers. Thereafter, enjoy the performance of the renowned water puppeteers as they perform their magic with puppets on the water. Pullman Hanoi Hotel B, L, D
Day 04 Hanoi
Your morning begins with a visit to the private residence of Ho Chi Minh and the near-by One-Pillar Pagoda, which was built by Emperor Ly Thai To in 1049 to honor the Goddess of Mercy. Your visit continues with a viewing of Ho Chi Minh at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Thereafter, take a leisurely walk through the grounds of the Temple of Literature, established in 1076 to educate the sons of the Mandarins. After enjoying a relaxing lunch, drive into the countryside for a visit to Huu Nghi village at Hoai Duc where many Veterans of the war have found accommodation for themselves and family. B, L
Day 05 Hanoi – Dien Bien Phu
A morning flight takes you to Dien Bien Phu, the site for fierce fighting between the French and Vietnamese forces. This afternoon, travel to the Northeast of Dien Bien Phu to Muong Phang where after a short trek through dense forest, you will visit Ho Chi Minh’s most relied upon General Giap’s legendary tunnels used to hide both men and arms during their conflict with the French forces.
Return to Dien Bien Phu where you will be the invited guests in one of the minority villages to enjoy a dinner meal accompanied by music and dance. Muong Thanh Hotel B, L, D
Day 06 Dien Bien Phu – Hanoi
This morning begins with a visit to the local market to capture the sights and aromas of a wide variety of food and product that is offered to the local populace. Continue on to visit the Muong Thanh airfield, Eliance Hill (A1 Hill), De Castries’ Bunker and the Dien Bien Phu museum. Your tour now complete, return to Hanoi for a late lunch. Thereafter, finalize your tour of Hanoi with a visit to the “Hanoi Hilton” (Hoa Lo prison), where those American servicemen captured by the North were held prisoner, some for many years. This evening is set aside for rest and relaxation. Pullman Hanoi Hotel B, L
Day 07 Hanoi – Hué
Fly to the city of Hué, considered by many to be the most beautiful and fascinating city in all of Vietnam. Upon arrival at Phu Bai Airport, join your private transport to visit the tomb of Khai Dinh, one of the more colorful among the many. After a leisurely lunch, enjoying some of the delicious spring rolls found only within the city, board your private vessel for a trip up river to the Thien Mu Pagoda and thereafter, the tomb of Minh Mang. Perhaps the most fascinating of your stops in Hué will be your visit to the Citadel, the site for some of the most fierce fighting during the Tet Offensive. Morin Hué Hotel B, L
Day 08 Hué – DMZ – Dong Ha
Drive north for a visit to the Quang Tri Citadel en route to Dong Ha. Visit the Dong Ha Bridge (destroyed to deter the advance of North Vietnamese forces during the 1972 Easter Offensive). Pass through the villages of Mai Xa Chanh and My Loc crossing the Song Ben Hai River that was once the true physical demarcation between the North and South. Continue on to visit the tunnel complex at Vinh Moc.
Today’s route will cover the four quadrants of “Leatherneck Square,” at Gio Linh, Con Thien, Cam Lo and Dong Ha. The day will end in Dong Ha where the remainder of the evening will be set aside for rest and relaxation. Saigon Dong Ha Hotel B, L, D
Day 09 Dong Ha – Khe Sanh - Hué
Begin your day going west to see Camp Carroll, the Rockpile and the Razorback and visiting the Bru Montagnard village. Lunch will be arranged in Khe Sanh village and thereafter, a visit will be made to the site. The final stop of the day will be at Lang Vei Special Forces Camp, overrun in the first ever NVA tank assault. Driving back to Hué, the route will pass Hamburger Hill. Morin Hué Hotel B, L
Day 10 Hué – Da Nang – Hoi An
Your morning drive takes you across three spectacular passes that are positioned aside the South China Sea as you make passage to the quaint city of Hoi An. En route, you will stop by Da Nang to visit the inner caves at Marble Mountain and walk the shoreline at China Beach, the renowned R&R site for those servicemen stationed in-country during the war. After an enjoyable lunch in Hoi An, arrive at your hotel to enjoy the remainder of the afternoon and evening at leisure.
Boutique Hoi An Hotel B, L
Day 11 Hoi An
Drive the short distance to Hoi An to enjoy a walking tour of this quaint town, visiting the Japanese Bridge, the Tan Ky Clan house and the Chinese temple. Lunch will be enjoyed within the town and thereafter, you will have a free afternoon to explore further or return and enjoy some of the fine amenities offered at your hotel. B, L
Day 12 Hoi An – Saigon
Your morning flight wings you to the city of Saigon, a bustling city along the waterfront that provides for a fascinating array of wondrous sights. Begin touring with a visit to the Reunification Conference Hall, previously the Presidential Palace, the War Remnants museum and the Cholon District of Saigon. Palace Saigon Hotel B, L
Day 13 Excursion to Cu Chi Tunnels
Depart the city environs across the countryside to Tay Ninth, site for the Cao Dai Cathedral, home to a religion that combines Buddhism, Christianity, Taoism and Confucianism. During the First and Second Indo-China Wars, members of the Cao Dai were active participants against both the French colonial forces and the Saigon government. Your timely arrival will include a short service within the cathedral.
Enjoy a leisurely lunch within the town before traveling to the Cu Chi Tunnels, an amazing complex of underground tunnels used by local and regular forces of the Viet Cong and NVA to store supplies, hide their troops and heal their wounded. Your guide for the day will be a war Veteran who lived in the tunnels for 12 years during the war. Return to Saigon to enjoy the remainder of the evening at leisure. B, L
Day 14 Excursion On The Mekong Delta
Your private coach takes you to Ben Tre, a small town along the Mekong Delta where you will board your private charter vessel and proceed up river. During your exploration of the Mekong, you will use sampan boats to glide the inner canals, where you will visit a family and a rice noodle factory. Further into the village you will stop by a home that specializes in Sampan building. You will reach the village of My Long to visit a war Veteran who survived two years of fighting the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and who now with his wife, runs their family business making rice paper.
Complete your Mekong Delta tour with a visit to Dong Tam, now a snake farm and formerly the base of the Army 9th Division and Riverine Units. Thereafter, return to Saigon for a bit of rest for tonight you are the invited guests to a farewell dinner at a charming local restaurant, arrived at by private cyclo, after which, for those who choose, the remainder of the evening will be spent enjoying the music at the Apocalypse Bar, a staple within the city of Saigon since early 1990. B, L, D
Day 15 Saigon – Bangkok
Fly to Bangkok for a day at leisure, enjoying a trip into city center or just relaxing to enjoy the many fine amenities at the Novotel Hotel B
Day 16 Bangkok – United States
All too soon your journey has ended and it is time to travel homeward taking with you the memories of your visit to Vietnam that will last for a lifetime. B
Day 15 Saigon – Siem Reap
Fly to Siem Reap, Cambodia, site for the ruins at Angkor, thought by many to be the finest of ruins to be found anywhere one travels. Upon arrival, visas will be acquired individually at the immigration counter followed by lunch at a local restaurant. The afternoon tour will include a visit to the Artisans d’Angkor, where local youth are trained to carry on the craft making skills of past generations. This aids greatly in the protection of and when necessary the replacement of statuary throughout Angkor. Thereafter, a stop will be made to the Angkor National Museum for an introductory presentation regarding some of the sites that will be visited during the tour. Tara Angkor B, L
Day 16 Sites at Angkor: Bayon and Ta Prohm
Begin your exploration of Angkor with passage through the south gate of Angkor Thom. The beauty and magnificence of these environs cannot be over-stated. Your private coach and guide will accompany you along the footpaths that lead to and through these ruins at a casual pace that allows for a step and a story. Return to the town for lunch and enjoy a continuation of your tour at perhaps the most unusual and highly treasured ruins at Ta Prohm, where the overgrowth of the jungle has reached into many of the temples and walls of the ruins. It is a place unlike any other and visitors never fail to consider this one of the greater highlights of their visit to Angkor. Complete your day with a visit to nearby sites, prior to returning to your accommodation for an evening of rest and relaxation. B, L
Day 17 Sites at Angkor
Your entry to Angkor Wat will start from the east entry, which is seldom used by travelers and thus provides you the opportunity to begin touring the site with few if any others at the location. It is one of the more important sites at Angkor and one to be enjoyed throughout the visit. In the afternoon, you will journey away from Angkor to visit Banteay Srey and Banteay Samre temples, which for some are the most revered and impressive of all the monuments within the Angkor environs. Thereafter, return to you accommodation for an evening at leisure. B, L
Day 18 Siem Reap - Bangkok
Drive outside the town to board your private watercraft and embark upon the waters of Tonle Sap Lake toward the Floating Village, where you will find a community of Vietnamese fishermen who tend their fish farms and send their trawlers to lake center for their catch. Tonle Sap Lake has the unique feature of flowing in two directions. When the monsoon rains are heavy in the season, the flow of the water is in one direction and when dryer weather arrives, the flow changes direction. After a relaxing lunch, fly back to Bangkok to enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure. Novotel Hotel B, L
Your exciting journey has now drawn to a close and it is time for your onward flight returning homeward with a wealth of memories to be rekindled over a lifetime. B
Accommodations for 2 in a twin-bedded room accommodation*
Breakfast meals on each day in a designated restaurant within the hotel**
Lunch Meals on each day in a designated restaurant by set menu
Dinner meals on occasion and as noted within the itinerary by set menu
Breakfast meals most often are buffet style, with eggs to order
Your visa for Vietnam will be prepared for you upon arrival and is an included feature
You will be transferred and tour in a private vehicle***
Private driver on all transfers and accompanying tours
Private English speaking guide for all transfers and while on tour
Admission fees to all sites mentioned within the itinerary
*These will mostly be deluxe rooms in each of the hotels.
**Upon check-in you will be advised which restaurant is assigned for breakfast
***Transportation is arranged only for inclusive features as listed within the itinerary
Flight: Bangkok - Hanoi
Flight: Hanoi – Dien Bien Phu
Flight: Dien Bien Phu - Hanoi
Flight: Hanoi – Hué
Flight: Da Nang – Saigon
Flight: Saigon – Bangkok
Flight: Saigon – Siem Reap (Angkor Wat)
Flight: Siem Reap – Bangkok
International airfare round-trip from the United States to Bangkok is not included
Visa fees as required: Your visa for Cambodia will be acquired upon arrival individually
Inoculations if chosen****
Airport taxes if required
Meals or snacks other than the breakfast meal in the designated restaurant
Room service for breakfast is not included
Special requests at the breakfast meal, if not on the regular menu or buffet
Lunch meals are included and shall be by set menu on each occasion
Dinner meals are not included on this tour program, except as noted in the itinerary
Tips to hotel staff, porters and waiters at the dinner meals not included on tour
Tips to the driver and tips to your guides and occasional transfer man
Bottled water when not included with the meal plan
Items taken from the mini-bar in your room should a mini-bar be available
Personal items, such as alcohol, laundry, telephone, fax, e-mail, etc.
Any item not mentioned as an included feature listed above
****First Cabin cannot make any recommendations for which shots, if any are required for such a tour - please check with your doctor or traveler clinic.
Battlefields Land Arrangements ............ $3,290
Single Supplement ............ $925
In-Country Airfare ............ $1,140
Land Arrangements ............ $670
Single Supplement ............ $325
In-Country Airfare ............ $390
A non-refundable deposit of $300 per person must be made at the time of booking to confirm membership. This amount will be deducted from the final invoice as a credit back once full payment is required. Should the traveler decide, for whatever reason, not to continue on with the tour, the full $300 will be considered a consultation fee payable directly to First Cabin Travel and as such is non-refundable.
Final payment is due 75 days prior to departure. All funds received by First Cabin are placed into an escrow/trust account with the Wells Fargo Bank at Rancho Santa Fe, CA.
As such, no payments can be made by credit card. If you choose to wire funds, please request instructions or if by check, please mail to the following address:
First Cabin Travel Corporation
1155 Camino Del Mar, #167
Del Mar, CA 92014
Kindly note that the following parameters basically are dictated to First Cabin from the hoteliers and the ground operators that all tour companies deal with in arranging such travel plans.
Cancellation received 75 - 45 days prior to commencement will be assessed a 25% penalty of total cost.
Cancellation received 45 - 25 days prior to commencement will be assessed a 50% penalty of total cost.
Cancellation received less than 25 days prior to commencement will be assessed a minimum of 75% or greater penalty of total cost.
First Cabin does its utmost in attempting to recoup your funds, however, the hoteliers and ground operators generally will adhere to this formula. Please read over our cancellation policy very carefully. Traveler insurance is highly recommended.
Some weeks prior to departure, an advisory letter will be sent out addressing issues such as weather conditions, visa requirements, suggested clothing on tour, shot requirements, foreign currency, shared accommodations and more.
Questions that may arise beforehand are best raised by email contact with Robert Kenyon at email@example.com