11 Days

Vietnam

Designed for Vietnam Veterans, their families and friends, as well as those who would like to see the new Vietnam.  A great opportunity to visit many of the important sites in Vietnam – and with high quality hotels and accommodations, you will be living in comfort.  There is something for everyone on this tour!  Visit Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Nha Trang, Da Nang, Hoi An, Hue, Quang Tri, Hanoi and the former DMZ.  Crawl into the Cu Chi Tunnels, visit the Ben Duoc Memorial and former U.S. Military bases, such as Cam Ranh Airbase, Chu Lai, LZ Baldy / Hill 63, Khe Sanh, Doc Mieu, Con Thien Fire Base, and Camp Carroll.  See the Marble Mountains and China Beach on Son Tra Peninsula with “Monkey Mountain.”  Enjoy some R&R at a beautiful resort on the famous Nha Trang seaside, and a dinner cruise on the Mekong River, with traditional Vietnamese food, music and dance.  A special treat includes an overnight cruise on a luxurious vessel in the breathtakingly beautiful Ha Long Bay.  With its more than 2000 islands rising from the emerald green waters of the Gulf of Tonkin – it is a sight to behold!  Enjoyed by people of all ages and all walks of life, the details and special care of our international tours will provide you with a worry-free vacation that will entertain and educate.  If you are a Veteran, we may be able to include additional visits to the area where you were stationed, if feasible and with early notice.  Be amazed by the changes that have taken place since the 60s and 70s in a fact-filled tour of the Vietnam country and battlefields.

Dates Available
  • March 2 - 13, 2018

Itinerary

Day 1:          Meet at Chicago O’Hare International Airport
Meet your Rupiper Tour Manager in Chicago at O’Hare International Airport and prepare for your flight to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon.)  In-flight Meal Service

Day 2:              Depart Chicago O’Hare International Airport
Your International flight departs just after midnight and flies through the night.  In-flight Meal Service

Day 3:               Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
Upon your morning arrival at Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon International Airport we are welcomed by our Vietnamese Tour Guide.  Enjoy a chance to stretch your legs during a visit to the Notre Dame Cathedral and Central Post Office as well as a visit to the Reunification Palace before transferring to the hotel for an early check-in.  Enjoy a good night’s sleep so you will be refreshed for your tour tomorrow.  In-flight Meal Service, B, D

Day 4:               Excursion of former US Military Bases
After a hearty breakfast we visit the Cu Chi Tunnels, which is a network of connecting underground tunnels more than 150 miles long.  In the late 1940s Communist forces began digging these tunnels under the terrain of South Vietnam and were expanded by the Viet Cong in the early 1960s.  The tunnels were used to house Viet Cong troops, transport supplies, and launch surprise attacks, after which they could disappear underground to safety.  Early in 1968, North Vietnamese and Viet Cong would use the tunnels as refuge in the Tet Offensive.  If you wish, you may enter the tunnels before we depart the region.  Enjoy a bit of free time in Ho Chi Minh City, before boarding a cruise of the Saigon River with traditional Vietnamese food, music, and dance. We will overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.  B, L, D

Day 5:               Ho Chi Minh City / Hue
This morning we’ll transfer to the airport and fly to Hue.  Upon arrival we’ll have lunch and explore Hue and the Old Imperial Citadel (Forbidden City) via electric car.  With its central location between the North and South, Hue was in a vulnerable position during the war and suffered considerable damage in the Tet Offensive of 1968.  During the initial phases of the Battle of Hue, considered one of the longest and bloodiest battles during the Vietnam War, Allied forces were restricted from bombing or shelling the city for fear of destroying its historic structures.  As the fierce fighting went on and casualties escalated, these restrictions were lifted, resulting in substantial damage to the Imperial City leaving only 10 of the 160 buildings intact.  After the war the remaining buildings fell into neglect.  The city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993, and with a change in politics, these buildings were gradually restored and preserved, with plans to conclude the restoration in 2015.  Since we are close to Hamburger Hill, we will have commentary about the A Shau Valley, well known for the battle of Hill 937 aka – Hamburger Hill.  The twenty-five mile long and one mile wide valley lies along the Ho Chi Ming Trail and is bordered by Laos in the west, and skirted by densely forested, three to six thousand feet high mountains.  Due to its location, this was a major infiltration point for the Communist North Vietnamese Army and was the scene of heavy fighting.  We will stay the night in Hue.  B, L, D

Day 6:               Hue / Quang Tri / Former DMZ / Hue
Today’s excursion takes us to Quang Tri and the former demilitarized zone (DMZ.)  The DMZ restricted locals from crossing south to north thus keeping families and friends apart.  We explore Khe Sanh Combat Base and Doc Mieu Base, follow the Ben Hai River, visit Con Thien Fire Base, and Camp Carroll, the largest fire base of the U.S. Marines below the DMZ.  We also see the Dak Rong Bridge which is the starting point of Highway 15, one of the main branches of the Ho Chi Minh Trail, and the Lang Vay Special Forces Camp.  Tonight’s dinner in Hue includes a performance of the Royal Music Show.  This is sure to be an incredible evening with traditional food, music and dance.  B, L, D

Day 7:             Hue / Da Nang / Hoi An
Today, enroute to Da Nang, we cross the Hai Van Pass, the dividing line between the climate zones of North and South Vietnam.  Our journey takes us past Marble Mountains, five marble and limestone hills, where they sculpt marble into incredible works of art.  Continuing on we stop at “China Beach” and then on to Chu Lai, a former U.S. Marine Corps base.  There was no settlement on this spot until the construction of the base in 1965.  Chu Lai has now developed into a sea port and industrial area.  Sources tell that Chu Lai was dubbed after the Chinese characters of Lieutenant General Victor H. “Brute” Krulak’s name, a decorated U.S. Marine Corps officer who was considered a visionary among fellow Marines.  We continue on to the area which was the former Marine Regimental Headquarters and easternmost combat base known as LZ Baldy/Hill 63, located about 20 miles south of Da Nang, before arriving at our final destination, Hoi An.  Enjoy a tour of the well-preserved ancient city of Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  On a guided walking tour we explore the city’s historical Old Town with its many shops where they produce popular brand name clothing.  This afternoon you have some free time to relax, do some shopping or meander on your own and meet some of the local people.  We will spend the night in Hoi An.  B, L, D

Day 8:                Hoi An / Danang / Nhatrang
Today we visit the beautiful Son Tra Peninsula with its pristine coastline and fantastic natural assets – crystal clear sea water, white sand, and a jungle which is a sanctuary to a vast diversity of plants and animals.  The peninsula is dominated by Son Tra Mountain, dubbed “Monkey Mountain” by American soldiers.   Next we will transfer to the airport and fly to Nhatrang for a visit to Cam Ranh Bay’s airbase and on to the Long Ho Bridge.  We’ll also visit the Nhatrang airbase and former American Military Academy.  Tonight we’ll overnight in Nhatrang.  B, L, D

Day 9:               Nhatrang / Hanoi
Today we have free time in the morning and after lunch transfer to the airport for your flight to Hanoi. Upon arrival, we transfer to our hotel and enjoy dinner.   B, L, D

Day 10:              Hanoi / Ha Long Bay Cruise
After breakfast we transfer to Ha Long Bay, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where we board a luxurious vessel for an overnight cruise.  Ha Long Bay is of unimaginable beauty with its more than 2000 islands rising from the emerald green waters of the Gulf of Tonkin – what a breathtaking sight!  Legend tells that the islands of Ha Long were created by a great dragon.  While charging from the mountain towards the sea its flailing tail gashed out valleys, and when it finally plunged into the sea, the area backfilled with seawater, leaving only the pinnacles visible.  We cruise through limestone inlets, enjoy the tranquility of the lagoon at Luon Cave on a traditional row boat, and visit Titop Island, regarded as one of the most attractive sites in Ha Long Bay.  Onboard ship we attend a chef’s cooking demonstration and conclude the day with an elegant dinner.  B, L, D

Day 11:                Hanoi / Return to the USA
Say goodbye to Halong and return to Hanoi where we visit the site of the former Hoa Lò Prison, dubbed “Hanoi Hilton” by American POWs.  The prison was demolished in the 1990s – only the gatehouse remains as a museum.  U.S. Senator John McCain was probably the most famous POW at the “Hanoi Hilton” from October 1967 until 1973.  His uniform and other personal items along with photos remain on display as testimony.  We also pass by the place where John McCain’s plane was shot down.  Finish out the day with a stop at the Old Quarter for last minute souvenirs.  Our flight departs in the evening, bound for the USA. B, L, In-flight Meal Service

Day 12:             Arrive in the USA
Morning arrival into the Chicago O’Hare Airport allows time to connect with your domestic flight home.

What's Included

International Round-trip Airfare from Chicago, IL
 Vietnam Domestic Airfare including taxes
Airline Taxes & Fuel Surcharge
Private Motorcoach Transportation
Deluxe Hotel Accommodations
Halong Bay Overnight Luxury Cruise
All Meals • All Admissions & Tours • Visa Fee
English speaking Tour Director & Guides

Special Events and Sights

 Cu Chi Tunnels • Reunification Palace
Saigon River Dinner Cruise
Chu Lai • LZ Baldy/Hill 63
Marble Mountains • China Beach
Son Tra Peninsula and “Monkey Mountain”
Quang Tri and former DMZ • Ben Hai River
Khe Sanh and Doc Mieu Base • Dak Rong Bridge
Lang Vay Special Forces Camp • Royal Music Show
Old Imperial Citadel • Luon Cave
Ha Long Bay with Luxury Overnight Cruise
Titop Island • “Hanoi Hilton”

Testimonials

Testimonials from 2017 Vietnam Tour Participants

"The group we were with were a very enjoyable bunch and I enjoyed the trip very much! Tour Manager was extremely friendly and approachable. Extremely diligent in making sure all tour members were accounted for before any change of location.  Tour guide was very friendly."
- Dave B. (Florida)

 

Testimonials from 2016 Vietnam Tour Participants

"Everything was great. We loved this trip and would recommend it to everyone.  I really enjoyed the forbidden city and Ha Long Bay."
- Ardie & Tammy L. (Nebraska)

"I'll admit it was a long shot for me to reply to your small ad in the Legion Magazine. From the airline reservations to and from my county airport, the trip was well organized. Hotels and meals were all 4-star. Our guide was a world of knowledge. No one could have made any better plans. Thanks for your hard work."  PS: I sent this letter because my phone call "thank you" didn't do your tour justice.
- Dennis D. (New York)

"I would rate the tour a 5 out of 5! The tour manager and guide were good, and I liked all of the visits in the South the best. Your staff were all helpful."
- Marvin T. (Oklahoma)

"Both tour manager and tour guide were excellent. Working with us old soldiers is not always easy."
- Dean B. (Arkansas)

"We enjoyed the tour, the people, and the sights. All of our interactions with Rupiper's staff were excellent. The tour manager and guide were friendly, easy to talk to and sociable. "
- Bruce & Jeannie T. (North Carolina)

"The tour manager and guide were extremely professional, fun and efficient. I enjoyed the tour very much. It was a learning and fun tour for me."
- Jerry N. (South Carolina)

"I was so honored and humbled to go to Vietnam! This trip was so incredibly special from the historical perspective, as well as the emotional and social aspects. Awesome to see the whole country. Trip of a lifetime. Thank you!"
- Scarlett C. (Florida)

"Thank you so much, I needed to go back. The tour manager and guide did a great job."
- Paul S. (Iowa)

"This is the second time we have traveled with Suzi, and once again we had a great time. The guide, Thao, was great. I loved A Shau Valley and Ha Long Bay."
- Dean & Carolyn S. (Kansas)

The tour manager was excellent and the tour guide was very knowledgeable of all areas and history. We really enjoyed Ha Long Bay, Hoi An, and the beach/ocean area."
- Paul & Ila K. (Iowa)

"I wouldn't change anything.  All interactions with Rupiper staff were good.  We saw everything we wanted to see."
- Woody & Jean W. (Montana)

Testimonials from Previous Vietnam Tour Participants

“Things have slowed down enough that I can send you a THANK YOU.  What a trip!!!  I thank you for the DVD.  I have watched it and it is great.  I put a story together for our Legion Letter (Post 42 Arlington S.D.) and 200+ members have received it.  On Memorial Day I am supposed to put on a 20 minute speech about my trip.  It is for sure I will mention how good of a job your group at Rupiper Tours did.  For 15 years I thought about going back to Vietnam.  Back in about December 2013 I got serious and I called your place of business.  I have to say every question was answered and the follow up was second to none.  Never once did I think I should shop for another travel agent.  I thank your entire crew.  Until my next trip, be good”.
- David O. (South Dakota) 

"The tour manager was friendly and fun to be with. She could talk to anyone and we all had different personalities and working backgrounds. The local guide was excellent. He knew history and geography of all areas. He was serious at times and fun at times. Very kind and invited us into his home to give us treats.  We had never heard of your tour company before. If we go on another trip - it definitely will be with you.
- Kenneth & Eileen B. (Minnesota)

"Thank you for such a good trip. You kept it going with a lot of fun and included everyone. The trip was set up nicely, and Tao, the local guide, was the best I've seen. Please keep me on your mailing list."
- Anonymous

“This was a trip of a lifetime for Sue and me.  We very much enjoyed it.  The time spent in Da Nang, China Beach, and Marble Mountain area was special to me and the comparison from then and now is unbelievable. I am glad I saw Vietnam at peace and prospering. I want to go back sometime and live on China Beach for a month or so and really explore the area before it becomes too costly and crowded.

That area will be discovered by the masses, then I won't enjoy it that much.

Thanks for making the trip a lifetime memory.”
- Dave & Sue S. (Florida)

“Since my trip to Vietnam, the old images of the war are still with me, but have somewhat faded and are put into the past.  Now when I think of Vietnam, I have new images: smiling children, happy faces, a beautiful country, the people are at peace.  It makes my heart feel good.”
- Steve S.

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