Day 1: Arrival Hanoi
Your vacation starts as we meet you at Hanoi airport (Noi Bai), and you are escorted directly to your hotel. After check-in, you have the rest of the day free at leisure. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 2: Hanoi City Tour
Your private Vietnam holiday starts after breakfast at hotel, followed by a full day city tour starting with the Ho Chi Minh Complex, containing the mausoleum of the nation’s founder Ho Chi Minh, the Presidential Palace, Ho Chi Minh’s house on stilts. Close to this site is the One Pillar Pagoda, whose origin dates back to the foundation of Hanoi a thousand years ago. Your tour of Hanoi continues with a trip to the remarkable Temple of Literature, well known as Vietnam’s first university. After your own lunch, you’ll enjoy the always impressive Ethnology Museum dedicated to Vietnam’s 54 ethnic groups. You’ll then continue to the peaceful lake of Hoan Kiem. In front of this lake is the famous Water Puppet Theatre where you’ll see a fantastic performance. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 3: Hanoi – Halong Bay Over Night Cruise
After an early breakfast you start with a transfer out to the internationally famous and stunningly beautiful Halong Bay, made world famous by James Bond in Tomorrow Never Dies. Arriving just before lunch, you’ll embark on a traditional Vietnamese junk. Take lunch on board and enjoy the afternoon and overnight cruise as it provides you with fantastic views of the fabulous scenery blending with the sky and some 3,000 limestone islands which amazingly rise from the clear and emerald water. The limestone karst formations are littered with beaches, grottoes and beautiful caves, some of which you’ll stop to visit. Overnight on board in Halong Bay.
Day 4: Halong bay – Hanoi – Hue
The tour continues with a morning spent cruising on to the Man’s Head and Tortoise islands, and then Luon Cave by way of a small bamboo boat. After a brunch, check out and continue to travel though Bai Tu Long to Bai Chay for disembarkation, where you will meet your driver and guide who will transfer you back to Hanoi for your flight to Hue—Vietnam’s last feudal capital. This small and quiet city is widely known for its magnificent architecture, pagodas and royal tombs lying throughout the many small villages and surrounding hills. Overnight in Hue.
Day 5: Hue
In the morning you will be met at your hotel and take a short drive to explore the massive Hue citadel built in 1832, along with the Eastern citadel containing the Imperial City and the Purple Forbidden City. This Royal Residence was destroyed during the 1968 Tet Offensive, but thanks to the great work on renovations by a well-known local artist, we are able to see and learn more about the Nguyen dynasty.
The trip continues to the Minh Mang Mausoleum located on the Cam Khe mountain by the top of Perfume River. It was constructed within three years, from 1840–1843 by about 10,000 workers and artists. The Minh Mang emperor was the 2nd king under the Nguyen Dynasty who was strengthening country relationships, and he changed the name to Dai Viet as he was working for more power and influence both regionally and internationally. As we continue the trip, you will board the Dragon boat to cruise on the river downstream in order to visit charming Thien Mu Pagoda, built in 1601, sitting atop of Ha Khe hill at the riverside, hidden behind the seven-layered Phuoc Duyen Tower. Overnight in Hue.
Day 6: Hue – Danang – Hoian Old Town
Upon leaving Hue you will drive south to Hoian; originally a Cham seaport, and influenced throughout the centuries by traders from many various countries and cultures. The scenic road you will travel hugs the coastline before crossing over the winding Hai Van pass. A view from the top of the pass is one of Vietnam’s most impressive panoramic scenes of Lang Co Beach. You will have the opportunity to stop en route to visit Non Nuoc Beach, Marble Mountain, whose peaks represent the five elements of the universe, and the Cham Museum in Danang City before reaching the Hoian Old Town. Overnight in Hoian.
Day 7: Hoian City Tour
The ancient architecture of Hoian is a fascinating combination of Vietnamese traditional buildings with Chinese and Japanese influence. There’s plenty to see in this delightful town, some of which are the famous Japanese Covered Bridges, the Pottery Museum, the 200-year old Tan Ky House, the Chua Ong Pagoda and the vibrant local market. Today we include these on a walking tour past many low tiled houses scattered along the small streets and assembly halls, which reflect the town’s multi-cultural past. You’ll understand why many visitors come to Hoi An again and again. In addition to the beautiful setting and atmosphere, many visitors site the food as a highlight of their trip to Hoi An – ask your guide for a recommendation! Overnight in Hoian.
Day 8: Hoian Tour – Free at Leisure
Day 9: Hoian – Danang – Ho Chi Minh
You will have free time at leisure in the morning to enjoy yourself at a nice beach in Hoian before you continue your Vietnam Holiday. Then you will have a transfer to the airport for an hour-long flight to Ho Chi Minh. You will be greeted at the airport and then driven to your hotel in the most bustling city in Vietnam, also known as the “Pearl of Indochina”. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh.
Day 10: Ho Chi Minh City Tour
Today you will have a full day to enjoy a city tour of Ho Chi Minh, followed by a guided tour of some of the most important attractions in Ho Chi Minh City, beginning with the Reunification Palace, which was the former residence of the Southern Vietnam President until the end of April 1975. Close to the palace are some striking French colonial structures including the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Old Saigon Post Office. Afterwards, we’ll visit the History Museum where there is a special exhibition of Phu Nam country which dates back to the 2nd century ‘Oc Eo’ civilization. You’ll also visit the Jade Emperor Pagoda, one of the best examples of Taoist temples in Vietnam. In the afternoon, you will visit the Museum of War Remnants which provides a partial, but riveting perspective of the Vietnam war. Then on to the Binh Tay market in the Chinatown area. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 11: Ho Chi Minh – Cu Chi tunnel – Tay Ninh Temple
After an early breakfast you’ll avoid the city heat to visit the Cu Chi Tunnels, an incredible underground network constructed by Vietnamese fighters during the long struggle for independence. The tunnels contained hospitals, accommodations and schools, and were used as a military base for the Viet Cong during the American war. Afterwards, you’ll continue to the headquarters of Cao Dai religious sect which is located in Tay Ninh. This religion was founded in 1923 and now numbers over two million members. It’s an unusual religion with an eclectic mix of different saints from different religions, and has Victor Hugo and Charlie Chaplin as patron saints. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh.
Day 12: Ho Chi Minh – Cai Be – Vinh Long – Can Tho
Today you’ll head out of the city to travel to the Mekong Delta for a visit to Cai Be for a local traditional boat trip to observe the daily lives and activities of the local people who live along the river. You’ll have a chance to visit the various fascinating local cottage industries in the area, including rice paper makers and bonsai nurseries before docking at Vinh Long. We will then continue on to Can Tho, the largest town in the Mekong Delta. Overnight at a hotel in Can Tho.
Day 13: Can Tho – Cai Rang Market – Ho Chi Minh
The last day of your tour of Vietnam brings you to Can Tho, which is famous for its Cai Rang floating market where hundreds of local boats drift along on the Mekong River and sell local agriculture products. An early wake up is required to start your trip before returning to hotel for breakfast. You’ll head back to Ho Chi Minh City before noon, and on arrival in the city you’re free to relax in the afternoon, perhaps do some final shopping, or just to enjoy yourself Vietnamese style—sitting in a café watching the world go by. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh city.
Day 14: Ho Chi Minh – Departure
Depending on your departure time there is some free time to relax or further explore Ho Chi Minh on our own before a transfer to Tan Son Nhat Airport for your departure flight. The trip ends at the airport.