Monday, December 22, 2014

Draft Itinerary April Trip

A tentative itinerary for a visit to Vietnam
by a delegation of US anti-war activists

(From 19 – 30 April, 2015)

Pre program options:

Cambodia and Laos:  April 14-19

Early arrival Hanoi, sightseeing Ha Long Bay:  April 17-19


A Tentative Itinerary for a visit to Vietnam
by a delegation of US anti-war activists
(From 19 – 30 April, 2015)

Sunday, 19 April, 2015: HANOI
18:00           Dinner among delegation members (meet in hotel lobby)

Monday, 20 April, 2015:
9:30-10:30   Presentation “The American War and the Anti-War Movement” by Historian
                     Duong Trung Quoc.
10:30-11:30 Presentation “Social and Economic Transformation from the time of Doi Moi” by Mr. Bui The Giang, Vice President of the Vietnam – USA Society, at 105A Quan Thanh Str.
12:00           Lunch
14:00–15:00 Visit the Museum of Vietnamese Ethnology
15:15           Visit GARCO 10 Clothing Factory (equitizing State company; during the war,
                     manufactured uniforms, now largest exporter to Europe and the US)

Tuesday, 21 April, 2015:
8:00-9:30     Visit to the Temple of Literature & Vietnam Military History Museum
9:50-10:30   Meeting with the Americas Department of Ministry of Foreign Affairs  - Presentation “Relations with the US before and after Normalization”
10:45-11:30 Meeting with Mr. Nguyen Vu Tung, Vice – Director of the Diplomatic
Academy, Head of the Institute for East Sea Vietnam Study – “The Situation in the Sea”.  
12:00           Lunch
14:00-18:00 “Friendship Meeting with American peace & anti-war delegates

Wednesday, 22 April, 2015:
8:00-10:30   Visit to Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum/His House (House on stilt of
Late President Ho Chi Minh)
10:45-11:15 Meeting with Vietnamese Leader (Tentative)
12:00           Lunch
14:00-15:00: Meeting with Mr. Tran Dac Loi, Deputy Head of  the Commission for
Foreign Relations of the Party
15:00-16:30 Visit the Women’s Museum
17h20           Water puppet show
19:00 Dinner with George (son of Wilfred) and Ilsa Burchette

Thursday, 23 April, 2015: HANOI-HUE
7:30             Check out the hotel (all luggage ready in the Lobby)
08:15           Leave the hotel for the US Embassy
                     (All passports need to be ready for security check at the Embassy)
09:00-10:00 meeting with US ambassador
                     Travel by bus directly to the Noi Bai Airport to fly to HUE
13:35           Fly to Hue on the Flight No. VN1543M
14:45           Arrive in Hue. Transfer to the Hotel. Check in the hotel.
                     Personal activities
19:00           Dinner with friends

Friday, 24 April, 2015: HUE
7:30             Travel to A Sao valley by bus to learn about Agent Orange contamination (70 km distance)
12:00           Lunch with community leaders
Afternoon:   Visit victims cared for by their families
                     Travel back to Hue
18:00           Dinner with Hue Union of Friendship Organizations

Saturday, 25 April, 2015: Visit Quang Tri
8:00             Travel to Quang Tri land mine/UXO projects by bus (over 200km distance)
                     Lunch with local officials, DMZ
14:00           Return to Hue       
Evening       Folklore concert on boat

Sunday, 26 April, 2015: Visiting DA NANG – Overnight in HỘI AN
Morning       Check out Hotel.
                     Visit Royal Palace, lunch in Hue
Afternoon    Travel to Da Nang by bus (100km distance)
                     Arrive in Da Nang.
                    Meeting with Da Nang Association of Victims of Agent Orange (DAVA)
                     Visit AO victims
                     - Check in hotel in Hoi An
19:00           Dinner with Andrew Wells-Dang (to be confirmed)

Monday, 27 April, 2015: DA NANG - HO CHI MINH CITY
Morning       Relax on the beach or walk around Hoi An
                     Check out the hotel
                     Lunch with Union of Friendship Organizations in Da Nang City
14:00           Visit the Remediation Site of AO in Da Nang
17:30           Dinner with Da Nang Association of Victims of Agent Orange (DAVA)
                     Leave Restaurant for DANANG AIRPORT
21:10           Fly to Ho Chi Minh City on the flight No. VN131Y
22:30           Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City. Transfer to hotel. Check in hotel.

Tuesday, 28 April, 2015:  HO CHI MINH CITY
8:00             Visit to the Reunification Hall (i.e. the former President Palace) and
the Museum of the War Relics
12:00           Lunch
14:00           Visit Tu Du Hospital
15:20           Meeting with the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations of Ho Chi
                     Minh City and get-together with Vietnamese peace activists, former
                     political prisoners in “tiger cage”

Wednesday, 29 April, 2015:
8:30             Travel to Tay Ninh
11:45           Visit the Cao Dai Temple to view Mass
13:10           Depart Tay Ninh for Cu Chi; stop for lunch
15:00           Visit to Cu Chi Tunnels at Ben Duoc Gate
                     Visit Thien Phuoc Humanitarian Center and meet Father Phan KhacTu
17:10           Return to Ho Chi Minh City

OPTION 2:    Activities related to the State-organized  40th Anniversary
  ceremony Program.
Evening       Dinner hosted by leaders of the City People’s Committee

Thursday, 30 April, 2015:
06h00:         Attend the Celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the Liberation of
                     South Vietnam and National Reunification (Military parade, meeting…)
                     Afternoon and evening flights for US

Friday, 1 May, 2015:
A day off:    Shopping
Evening       Leave Vietnam for the US or Cambodia


Estimate of Costs

I am trying to keep costs as low as possible by not having you go through a travel agent here.    The down side will be several payments, and either bringing cash to cover your Vietnam program or making a bank transfer to FfRD.

Cambodia and Laos are estimates.  We will be on our own except for meetings I arrange.

Transpacific flights

There are too many origin points and itineraries to do more than agree on a time to meet in Phnom Penh or Hanoi.

You will be getting an open jaw ticket:  home city to Phnom Penh or Hanoi; Ho Chi Minh City to home or Washington (unless you go elsewhere in Asia).

You should check with your travel agent or favorite booking engine.

If you can afford it, or have mileage, get at least a premium economy ticket.  A flight in economy is hard.  Business class is ideal but is too expensive unless you have the mileage to upgrade that much.  Depending on connections, the travel time will total between 21 and 30 or more hours, with the loss of a day on the calendar.  Vayama is a good site for Asian airlines, but once you decide which airline you want to use, check its own web site for costs, seat choices, mileage options  and upgrades. 

I will depart Ho Chi Minh City on April 30th to get back to Washington by May 1st.  If you want to stay longer in Vietnam or in the region, that is fine but you will be on your own.


If you are going directly to Phnom Penh, US departure is probably on April 13 for arrival on April 14

If you want to go to Angkor Wat on your own first, plan on flying from the US by April 11 to Siem Reap and on coming to Phnom Penh on April 14 (plane, boat or bus)

We will be going from Phnom Penh to Vientiane on April 17 and to Hanoi on April 19.  If you prefer to go to Angkor Wat on your own, rather than to Laos, you will depart about the same time from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap and then come directly from there to Hanoi on April 19th.

The air costs are about the same, currently listing from Phnom Penh to Vientiane to Hanoi at $375 and Phnom Penh to Siem Reap (Angkor Wat) to Hanoi at $353.   Plan for cost of hotel and meals in Cambodia and Laos to be $100 to $150 per day     There will be an additional cost ($50?) for entry to Angkor Wat.

In other words,  Phnom Penh + Vientiane or Phnom Penh + Angkor Wat  will cost about $500 to $750.  If you go beforehand to Angkor Wat, estimate an additional $500.


For the core Vietnam trip, you need to be in Hanoi by Sunday, April 19th.

The per person cost in Vietnam for hotels, many meals, domestic transportation, meals for guests, etc. is $1,400 per person double occupancy, $1,800 with single supplement. 

The donation to FRD which covers my costs to prepare the trip and to accompany you is $ 500.  That can be done as a tax deductible contribution to Insert VN in the box.

If you want to go to Ha Long Bay, you need to arrive in Hanoi by Friday, April 17, either direct from the US or by-passing Laos.  There are a  variety of excursions, including one night on a  boat or in a beach hotel.  For Friday night in Hanoi and Saturday night at Ha Long with transportation, it is probably between $250 and $350 each..

So with 15 participants, your total cost for Vietnam only will be $2200 double occupancy plus international air, including Cambodia and Laos $2700 to $3000 plus international air.