Enjoy the most essential of the beautiful country of Vietnam on a 12 day trip that allows you to experience the many delights that the nation has to offer, from the bustling city of Ho Chi Minh to the laid back atmosphere around the Mekong Delta, the former capital of Hue and the ancient trading port of Hoi An.
Day 1: Arrival in Hanoi (D)
We’ll be greeted upon arrival and transferred to the hotel for check-in and tour briefing. We’ll take an orientation tour and a chance to acclimatize ourselves if time permits. A welcome dinner awaits us tonight.
Day 2: Hanoi (B, L)
Today we'll be touring the most outstanding attractions of Hanoi. First, we pay a visit to the complex of memorials to Ho Chi Minh to know the amazing life of the founder of modern Vietnam. Continue to the Temple of Literature to gain understanding of one of the driving forces in Vietnam culture. Our next stop is the Museum of Ethnology which exhibits a large collection of artifacts about the 54 ethnic groups in the country. Enjoy a rickshaw ride through the lively Old Quarter, a series of 36 ancient streets where peddlers still trade the way they have done for centuries. The rickshaw tour ends up at an old house on Ma May Street, an example of dwellings in the 19 century. Enjoy a performance of the water puppetry, the famed traditional art form created by village farmers around the Red River Delta region. Unique but widely known!
Day 3: Hanoi – Halong (B, L, D)
Today we journey east to Halong Bay, the greatest natural wonder of Vietnam, through the Red River Delta, where we see daily Vietnamese village life. On arrival, we board a beautiful traditional junk and spend a full day and night cruising the bay's 3000 magnificent limestone islets. In the evening when the boat is anchored in the middle of the stunning lagoon, we enjoy a wonderful seafood meal and later there is opportunity for an evening swim from the side of the boat. Spend the night on boat.
Day 4: Halong – Hanoi – Hoian (Brunch)
Wake up to fresh coffee then further cruising and sightseeing. En route the junk weaves through more rock formations that invite comparisons from fighting cocks to dragons and even further! Disembark after lunch and return to Hanoi for a late afternoon/early evening flight to Danang in Middle Vietnam. Meet up with our local guide at Danang airport and drive along the scenic coast to Hoian for the night.
Day 5: Hoian (B)
This morning we’ll be on foot exploring the ancient quarter of Hoian, recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage site because of its historic role in international trade, unusually well-preserved ancient streets and homes. Sites include the Japanese Bridge, a Sino-Vietnamese merchant house, a Chinese Temple, the Central Market, and the Culture Museum. There’ll be time for independent exploration and shopping opportunities.
Day 6: Hoian – Hue (B, L)
We leave Hoian and travel overland to Hue - the former capital of Vietnam, visiting the Marble Mountains and the Cham museum in Danang, climbing over the breath-taking Pass of Ocean Clouds and passing by the scenic beach of Lang Co. In Hue we'll be exploring the former Imperial Citadel, a complex of palaces and temples built in the early 19th century and a recognized UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. Next site is the beautiful Thien Mu pagoda on the bank of the Perfume River.
Day 7: Hue – Phuoc Tich – Hue (B, L)
This morning we journey in the direction of Phuoc Tich – a 500 years old village which is known for its dozens of wooden houses beautifully decorated with flowers, bonsai gardens and lush orchards. Surviving the savages of time, these old houses of the village are almost intact until this moment. After lunch we return to Hue and continue sightseeing with a fascinating royal garden house, the grand mausoleum of Emperor Tu Duc on a serene hill. We also visit the nearby villages crafting incenses and conical hats. A wonderful photograph opportunity!
Day 8: Hue – Saigon (B, L)
We fly to Saigon in the morning and enjoy a tasty lunch of "Pho" noodle soup in restaurant "Pho 24". Afternoon, we’ll be visiting the best known sites in the very center of Saigon, taking in the Reunification Palace, the War Museum, the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Post Office, the Opera House, Ben Thanh Market, etc.
Day 9: Saigon – Cu Chi Tunnels – Saigon (B)
This morning we travel to Cu Chi to explore the legendary network of underground combat tunnels. This incredible system, covering almost 250km in length, served as communication routes, storage facilities, hospitals and living quarters for Vietnamese fighters throughout the wartime. Known as the "Iron Triangle" during the war of the 60's, the story of Cu Chi is one of struggle, determination against all odds, and eventual victory. Now the tunnels are a major site of interest for tourists and historians, and those interested in Vietnam's military history. After the tunnels, we return to town and enjoy the balance of the day at own leisure.
Day 10: Saigon – Mekong Delta (B, L)
After breakfast we leave the hustle and bustle of Saigon behind and travel into the Mekong Delta, a world that lives and works on the waters. Arriving in My Tho, 80 km from Saigon, we get on a boat trip on the Mekong River, then into a palm-shaded canal towards an island. Disembark and roam into the insular village to see production of handicrafts and candy from coconut, taste freshly picked seasonal tropical fruits, enjoy folk musical by amateurs, and ride a horse cart along the village road. Row a sampan along a side arm of the river to further experience river life. For lunch, we’ll sample some regional specialties such as Elephant Ear Fish, Rice Ball, Coconut Salad, etc. After a pleasant break we travel to Can Tho, the largest city in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam, for the night.
Day 11: Mekong Delta – Saigon (B)
This morning we take a boat to visit the extraordinary market of Cai Rang. Being the largest markets on the complex of waterways that comprise the Mekong Delta, Cai Rang receives hundreds of boats packed with local produces gather every morning. Boats come from all sides, offering fruits, vegetables, plants, foods, etc. Sellers advertise their wares by hanging samples high atop bamboo poles so that their customers can find from afar. The boat tour ends up at an orchard where we’ll see and taste various tropical fruits. We then drive back to Saigon for the night. A visit to the Chinese quarter of Saigon, noted for the ornate Thien Hau temple and the bustling Binh Tay Market, can be arranged upon request.
Day 12: Departure from Saigon (B)
Free before transfer to the airport for the departure flight.
- Accommodation of the class quoted
- Land transfer by AC vehicle
- Local English-speaking guide
- Admission fee to indicated sights
- Meals as mentioned in the program
- Government tax and service charge
- Supply of bottled water & tissues on car on touring days
- Visa arrangement
- Any flight does not mentioned and international tax
- Travel insurance
- Early check-in and late check-out
- Hotel/Room upgrade
- Festivity surcharge & festivity compulsory service by hotel(s) if any
- Tip, drinks, personal expenses and others