C FOR CONSCIOUS IN VIETNAM
HANOI I HUE I HOI AN I DANANG I MEKONG DELTA I SAIGON
WHEN TO GO
DECEMBER – FEBRUARY
16 HOURS 30 MINUTES FROM AUCKLAND
Here at Black Lotus we’re all about nurturing the meaningful sense of community and opening your eyes to different cultures across Vietnam. A place that never fails to surprise us, and one destination full of interesting characters. Come and meet some of our favourites. A country quite like no other, our want to give back to Vietnam is the inspiration behind C – for Conscious in Vietnam. Make that positive impact in supporting the local communities and projects for the less privileged on this truly unforgettable and meaningful experience. You’ll touch lives at a personal level. Providing help to flower growers, sponsoring good causes or gifting a cow are just a few things you will do to give back to this beautiful country. Lifestyle, workshops, creative community. Indulge in it all.
MAKE THIS ITINERARY YOURS
Inspired by what you see? Remember we design each itinerary around you, so this suggested itinerary is a starting point that we can tweak or transform into something that is entirely you. If we need to start from scratch, lets start with a conversation.
Your Vietnam journey starts off in the country’s capital Hanoi, for four nights. A city with a cultural combination of contemporary and traditional. The 1000 – year old city will astound and amaze, boasting beautiful colonial buildings and boulevards, palm trees, oddly angled streets and lakes with names like White Silk and Bright Heavens, before you stumble into modernity in its more sleek and chic districts.
Next, we’ll drive you south west to meet a group of flower growers. You will have an authentic experience and gain an understanding of the passage from seed to sapling to matured bloom. You will be helping to cut, trade, compose and enjoy the account of an elegant exchange between hard work and nature. Then, we will head back to Hanoi to have dinner and meet with a non- governmental organization where you will have a first-hand conversation about the poverty and current humanitarian projects in Vietnam. To really get under the skin of these communities we’ll arrange a one on one with one of our favourites non – government organizations “Hold the Future”, there’s something simultaneously ethereal and grounding about them.
The following day take a quick flight to Hue for cultural stimulation. Hue is the old imperial capital, fit to bursting with tombs, temples and palaces and host of a biennial arts festival, the Festival of Hué. You’ll be invited to join in for a few creative classes, hand-building workshops, and make your very own unique, one-of-a kind paper lotus piece based on an ethos of simplicity, functionality and sustainability.
Moving south, it’s time to take to the sky. 500 metres above sea level, the Hai Van Pass is a picturesque perch from which to take in the incredible views of the South China Sea and the Annamese Mountains. Stop in Hoi An, a charming and jaw-dropping coastal town. The place is a living version of Vietnam’s history with many of the town’s wooden buildings dating from the 18th century or earlier. But to really get to know the destination, you need to see it from the local’s point of view, and we know the best people in town to show you around. We will introduce you to some interesting characters who will share with you how they survive in their small single craft villages. After learning the art of lantern making, and you’re looking for a challenge, there’s the opportunity to design your own signature lantern and take home your very own hand made artisanal piece from Vietnam.
Next day fly to exciting Ho Chi Minh City. Explore ancient temples, Chinatown and a private residence and school for blind children, founded by a benevolent blind musician. Meet the children and the Sister nuns who will want to sing and perform music for you – a raw beautiful talent show. This evening enjoy dinner at Noir, Dining in the Dark, its more than just a meal. It is a sensory journey that will make you re-evaluate your perception of taste and smell. Be one of the first to try this one of kind dining experience for a unique date in Saigon.
Wake up early and get a unique taste of life in the Mekong Delta. The Mekong’s myriad of tributaries and canals is the only region in Vietnam where boats are the main form of transport. Sampan boats are crucial to make a living but often families cannot afford to buy one. Make a difference to a family and be part of buying them their own Sampan in a specially arranged ceremony. An overnight homestay experience will be the highlight of your Vietnamese holiday, providing you with an authentic slice of local life in the Delta’s lush surroundings. One of our fondest homestay memories is of lying in a hammock as the sun went down and listening as herds of buffalo were herded back into the village for the night – their bells clanking all the way. Leaving the Mekong behind, you’ll then return to Saigon for another spot of urban exploration before you fly home.