The trip has Vietnam’s most popular sites rolled into one. Visit the historical sights of Ho Chi Minh City, formally Saigon, Hanoi, Hoi An and Hue” plus take a dragon boat cruise along the Perfume River; spend the night on a junk boat in Halong Bay and take sampan cruise through the Mekong Delta.
Day 1: Ho Chi Minh City arrival (Dinner, Guide)
Arriving at Tan Son Nhat airport in Ho Chi Minh City, you’ll be met and driven to your hotel. You’ll have time to relax after your journey before a Welcome dinner. In the evening, you’ll have tickets for a performance of traditional Water Puppetry (an art form unique to northern Vietnam, and a good, light-hearted introduction to its rural culture). You’ll spend the night in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 2: Ho Chi Minh City – Cai Be – Junk Boat Overnight (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide)
After breakfast, your guide will take you to Can Tho or Cai Be. When arrival, you will board your comfortable wooden river cruise vessel around noon. After a refreshing welcome drink you will be showed the on-board facilities and the cosy cabin. As lunch is served on boat when it starts cruising, you will sit back and watch the fantastic scenery and the daily life of the Mekong people. In the afternoon you can disembark for a guided leisurely stroll through a village and the surrounding fruit orchards or rice fields. You will then meet the friendly locals and taste the local produce and fruits. After that, you will get back on board and enjoy a drink at the bar or relax on deck as the sun sets over the magnificent water landscape of the Mekong river. The cruise boat will anchor for the night for you to enjoy a delicious on-board dinner. You stay overnight on board, the floating hotel in the Mekong Delta.
Day 3: Mekong Delta – Ho Chi Minh City – Danang – Hoi An (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)
Wake up well rested to the sound of the river and get ready for another exciting day of sightseeing in the Mekong Delta. At 6.30h the cruise vessel sets off for a sunrise cruise. Then you will watch the locals go about their daily work drying exotic fruits and building ships on the wooden yards while enjoying an early breakfast. You will then board a sampan boat to Cai Be or Cai Rang floating market, the region’s busiest and most lively markets. Marvel at the sheer abundance of exotic fruits, vegetables and skillfully handcrafted regional products. You will pull up to the boats for talking and bargaining with the merchants. You will also visit some of the local candy and cake making factories or boat through the green water landscape to see local houses, verdant orchards and ship-building yards. After brunch or lunch you will be transferred back to Ho Chi Minh City. You will spend the night in Ho Chi Minh City
Day 4: Ho Chi Minh City orientation (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)
After breakfast, your guide will arrive to show you around Ho Chi Minh City. You’ll visit the History Museum where there is a special exhibition of the 5th century ‘Oc Eo’ civilisation. (Alternatively, you’ll visit the Fito Museum (First Museum of Traditional Vietnamese Medicine) is host to a large collection of relics, including traditional Vietnamese medicinal implements, and chronicles the history of medical practice in Vietnam from 2000 BC). The Museum of War Remnants provides a very partial, but riveting, perspective of the ‘American War’: not for the squeamish! The Binh Tay market and the China Town are worth a stroll to explore the local daily life and the culture mix.
You’ll also call in at the Jade Emperor Temple. It’s one of the best Taoist temples in Vietnam, with superb effigies, remarkable carved panels of the descent to Hell and somewhat incongruous terrapin and tortoise sanctuaries. You’ll then return your hotel for freshen up or wander around the huge Ben Thanh market, one of the liveliest areas of Ho Chi Minh City, is packed with every conceivable commodity. You’ll spend the night in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 5: Ho Chi Minh City – Dalat (Breakfast, Guide)
After breakfast, you will be free until the driver arrives to take you to the airport for the flight to Dalat city - The former French colonial hill station town of Dalat was founded over 100 years ago by a French scientist, Dr Alexander Yersin. In the afternoon, you will visit the Summer Palace of the last emperor of Vietnam, Bao Dai, and Hang Nga Guesthouse, known as the ‘Crazy House’ to locals because of its bizarre architecture. You may also wish to pay a visit to Dalat market. You will spend the night in Dalat.
Day 6: Dalat Sightseeing Tours (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)
Option 1 (Kayaking): A trip to the Highlands wouldn't be complete without exploring the beautiful lakes in the region. Nothing beats the stunning views of mountains and forests from the serenity of Tuyen Lam Lake. Head deep into the jungle on small rivers and tributaries that feed into the lake, the flat water kayaks offer the stability of a canoe and the speed of a more traditional kayak. Get out into areas that are accessible only by water and see some of the natural beauty and wildlife Vietnam has to offer then back to hotel and stay overnight in Dalat City.
Option 2 (Easy Trek): After breakfast, you will stroll through the pine forest and hike to the top of Pinhatt Mountain (1,700 meters) for a view of beautiful Tuyen Lam lake. You will enjoy a boat ride across the lake to visit Vietnam most beautiful pagoda, a good mix of pine forest, coffee plantations, and jungle on this trek. Moderate 4 hour walk with one strenuous uphill climb.
Option 3 (Motorbike): Today will be devoted to Dalat and its surroundings. The city is quite compact, but its hinterland extends well beyond, so we suggest a tour on the back of a motorbike. You’ll visit the Linh Phuoc Pagoda and an embroidery workshop in an attractive garden setting. Alternatively, you could visit Dalat’s railway station instead of the embroidery workshop. After lunch, Emperor Bao Dai’s Summer Palace, the Crazy House and Dalat market are on the itinerary. The day will end at a café at about 4.00 p.m.
Option 4: You’ll visit the Linh Phuoc Pagoda and an embroidery workshop in an attractive garden setting. Alternatively, you could visit Dalat’s railway station instead of the embroidery workshop. After lunch, Emperor Bao Dai’s Summer Palace, the Crazy House and Dalat market are on the itinerary.
Option 5 (Pinhatt & Tuyen Lam Bike & Hike): After breakfast, you will bike to the lake trails and hike to the top of Pinhatt Mountain. This mixed activity combines a great off road ride on single track through pine forest with a hike up to one of the best lookout spots in Dalat. You will bike from Dalat down to Tuyen Lam Lake, ditch the bikes before hiking up the mountain, have lunch and then ride back up to Dalat.
Day 7: Dalat - Nha Trang (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)
After breakfast, you will head eastward, making our way towards the coast. You will pass through pine forests and small market garden communities before reaching the top of Ngoan Muc Pass where you begin our 18 kilometer descent down to the coastal plains below. If you look to the left from here you may see where the old rack and pinion railway made its way down the range. Looking forward, you may just be able to make out the coastline situated 50 kilometers in the distance. You will arrive in Nha Trang City in the afternoon where you will spend the night.
Day 8: Full day private boat trip in Nha Trang (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)
After breakfast, a car will take you to board a boat for a whole-day cruise to some of the small islands in the bay. You’ll anchor off Mun Island for snorkelling and a glass bottom basket boat ride to see colourful corals and the various marine life. You’ll then head to Mieu Island to enjoy a local basket boat ride and explore the life of fishermen at Mieu fishing village. If you wish, you can join other tourists for the ‘music entertainment’ with a wine and fruit party, followed by a seafood lunch on Tre Island. In late afternoon, you’ll return to the mainland and be driven to your hotel. You’ll spend the night in Nha Trang.
You’ll cruise on a private boat with Vietnamese crew members who will highlight the beauty of Nha Trang Bay. En route, plenty of wine and tropical fruits are available. The coral around Mun Island is good, provided you swim away from the area where the boats tie up.
Alternative for Day 8: Nha Trang River Tours (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)
After breakfast, you will cruise down river and enjoying the village peaceful life along the banks of Cai River. The trip begins with a visit to the Po Nagar Temples, an outstanding example of Cham architecture, situated on Mount Cu Lao where you can have panoramic views of the surrounding. From here board the riverboat for the leisurely cruise visiting Cu Lao Fish market. You will then take a horse carriage to visit a wide range of local handicrafts in production. You also can enjoy the beautiful scenery that unfolds along the banks, experience and make acquaintance with local people in their natural scenery & daily life. Next stop you will have a short visit to Pagoda Orphanage where it shelters and cares for over 120 abandoned, orphaned or street children. You will then visit a family of local people and see a typical Vietnamese country house in the countryside before being transferred you back to the city. You will stay overnight at hotel in Nha Trang
Day 9: Nha Trang – Hoi An (Breakfast, Guide)
After breakfast, you will stay at your leisure until the driver arrives to take you to the airport to take 1 hour flight to Danang City, famous for stunning long sandy beaches (former UAs R&R). Upon arriving in Danang, you’ll have a brief look at the remarkable Hindu statuary in the Cham Museum and the Marble Mountains before leaving for Hoi An. After lunch, you’ll have a guided visit to the Ancient Town of Hoi An, where you’ll spend the night.
The ancient town of Hoi an is a UNESCO world heritage area and was once the largest trading port in Indochina. The archetectural features of the wooden buildings reflect the many cultures that have passed through Hoi an throughout its history. The remaining characteristics include the original street pattern and the quay where the ships used to congregate, sometimes for months waiting for the prevailing wind to take them home.
There are plenty of good restaurants offering a variety of cuisines and price levels. The town is also a good place for shopping for silk. You can have your clothes tailor-made within a day or two at a reasonable cost.
Hoi An town is three kilometres from Cua Dai Beach - part of what was once known as China Beach and used for rest and recreation by American GIs during the Vietnam War. The beach is composed of white sand fringed with palm trees and overlooks the South China Sea.
Day 10: Hoi An Tour (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)
In the morning, you will enjoy a walking tour with first stop is the bustling fish and vegetable market then you will go through the Old Quarters to see the town's landmarks of Japanese Covered Bridge, ancient Assembly Hall, Phuc Kien Temple. After that, you will get on a boat to take a river trip to enjoy the scenery along the Thu Bon River and the general view of Hoi An Ancient Town. It transforms itself at night, when many of the shops hang lanterns outside. You will then be transferred back to the town and rest of time at your own leisure. Hoi An is well known for souvenir shopping with great prices and also famous for its large number of tailor shops, so if you want to get a cloth tailor made to measure, this is the time to do it. You will spend the night in Hoi An.
Day 11: Hoi An – Hue (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)
In the morning, your car will arrive to drive you to Hue. On the way, you'll cross the high mountain pass of Hai Van. The views from the top are excellent – you should be able to see Lang Co beach and village, and the lagoon far below, with Danang spread out before you to the south.
Upon arriving in Hue, your guide will take you on a tour of Hue’s ancient citadel, once the seat of the powerful Nguyen Dynasty Emperors that ruled Vietnam from approximately 1800 to 1945. You’ll begin with a stroll around the area between the Citadel’s massive walls and the defensive moat, now filled with lotus flowers. You’ll then enter via the Noon Gate to wander around the Thai Hoa Palace, the Pavilion housing, the Nine Urns of the Nguyen rulers, and the remains of the Royal Palaces before crossing the river to modern Hue and the bustling Dong Ba market.
In the evening, you’ll sit down for dinner in the pleasant surroundings and a comfortable atmosphere of another of the garden houses. The owner will prepare and serve a traditional meal based on the distinctive characteristics of classic Hue cuisine. You’ll spend the night in Hue.
The garden houses are a unique feature of Hue. The houses are traditional, privately owned, and set in attractive formal gardens. Some have connections with the old Royal Imperial Court. Hue traditional architecture has long had close associations with the natural environment. The garden houses reflect this association. Each is highly individual - house and garden, people and scenery, plants, clouds and water co-exist and blend with each other in a harmonious context. The narrow streets and abundant flora give the garden house area a country village feeling.
Day 12: Hue – Hanoi (Breakfast, Guide)
Your morning will begin with a cruise along the Perfume River to visit to the Thien Mu Pagoda which also gives you a taste of the tranquil countryside. From there, you’ll drive to the Royal Tombs of Emperor Minh Mang. In the afternoon, your guide will take you to visit the Emperor Khai Dinh. After that, you’ll return to Hue to visit one of city’s ‘garden houses’ before leaving for Hanoi on the late flight. When you arrive in Hanoi airport, you will be picked up and taken to your hotel in the center. You will spend the night in Hanoi.
Each Royal mausoleum reflects the personality of the Emperor it commemorates. The most majestic is that of Emperor Minh Mang, a staunch follower of Confucianism with many wives, concubines and a small army of children. Planned by the Emperor and built shortly after his death in formal Chinese style, it’s opulent and exotic, and a good example of classic Sino-Vietnamese architecture.
The tomb of Emperor Khai Dinh is an unprepossessing concrete construction on the side of a wide valley. Its interest lies in the uneasy combination of Vietnamese and European features, the use of fragments of ceramics and glass for decoration, and the striking views from the courtyard in front of the mausoleum.
Day 13: Hanoi Orientation (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)
After breakfast at your hotel, you will be taken to visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and historical presidential relics and then the Temple of Literature nearby. Afterwards you will head to Ngoc Son Temple and Hoan Kiem Lake. The Ngoc Son temple is set on a tiny island on the Hoan Kiem Lake and dates back to the 13th century. The lake itself is a picturesque focal point of Hanoi, frequented by tourists and locals alike. In the afternoon, you will visit Museum of Ethnology, widely acknowledged as the best in the country which houses a display dedicated to Vietnam's 54 ethnic minority peoples. Then you will take 1 hour by cyclo ride through Hanoi's Old Quarters to experience daily life of people who are living in the oldest parts of the city, Enjoying the famous traditional water puppetry show in Thang Long Theatre where you will have chance to get a general picture of the daily activities typical to Vietnam's rural areas. You will spend the night in Hanoi.
Day 14: Hanoi - Halong Bay (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide)
You’ll arrive in the early morning, where you’ll be met and taken by car to your hotel to have breakfast and take a short rest before departure to Halong Bay. On the way, you will go through the scenic countryside. The wondrous Halong Bay is truly one of Vietnam’s most impressive scenic sights. Heading out of the town then you embark on a boat for an exploration of the legendary Halong Bay. This exciting cruise will provide you a fantastic view of the picturesque scenery blending with the sky and some 3,000 limestone islands rising amazingly from the clear and emerald water. The limestone karsts formations are littered with beaches, grottoes and beautiful caves. Along the way you will anchor for a leisurely swim in a secluded cove and an enjoyable visit to one of the many hidden grottoes beneath towering cliffs. You will stay overnight on the Junk Cruise
Day 15: Halong Bay - Hanoi (Breakfast, Lunch, and Guide)
Greet the day with a morning Tai Chi exercise with an opportunity to view the sunrise over the bay. After breakfast, you will visit beautiful limestone grotto then back to the boat for a final glimpse of the Halong Bay while cruising back to the dock. Your driver will be waiting for you at the pier and drive you back to Hanoi where you will spend the night.
Day 16: Hanoi departure (Breakfast, Guide pickup)
After breakfast, you’ll be free until your guide/driver arrives to take you to Noi Bai airport for your departure flight.
- Free Vietnam Visa Invitation letter.
- Breakfast and accommodation sharing a twin or double room.
- Pick-ups and transfers by private air-conditioned vehicle as specified in the itinerary above (Please note: pick-ups will be by a guide and driver or, where a guide is not necessary, a driver only. All unaccompanied drivers will be briefed in advance, and will carry a mobile phone to ensure smooth transfer arrangements)
- Domestic flight tickets: Ho Chi Minh – Dalat, Nha Trang – Danang, Hue Hanoi, including domestic airport taxes.
- Boat cruises as specified in the programme. All Ha Long Bay boats will be fully licensed and comply with current safety regulations.
- Travel in an appropriate private air-conditioned vehicle with an experienced safe driver.
- The services of experienced English-speaking guides as indicated in the itinerary (please note: guides will be on hand from pick-up until guests’ return to their hotel or reaching their destination). Free days or part days will not include the services of a guide unless requested and included in the final itinerary.
- Where necessary, entry fees for all visits as mentioned in the programme.
- Lunches and dinners (as specified in the itinerary) in the best local restaurants and full board on the boat in Ha Long Bay.
- VAT and other taxes
- International flight tickets and airport tax.
- Lunches and dinners, except as specified above.
- Drinks, gratuities and personal expenses.
- Surcharges for Peak seasons (if any)
- Compulsory meal (if any)