Day 1: Arrival Hanoi
Your holiday starts as we meet you at Hanoi airport (Noi Bai) and you’re taken directly to your hotel. You’ll also get to see a unique performance of the Water Puppets. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 2: Hanoi City Tour – Halong Bay
Your Vietnam holiday continues 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, and 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 then continues with a trip to the remarkable Temple of Literature, well known as Vietnam’s first university. A local restaurant for your own lunch is a lovely experience of the Vietnam cuisine and culture. Later, you’ll enjoy a walk around the peaceful Hoan Kiem Lake and through the bustling Old Quarter city of Hanoi, after which you will depart in a private vehicle for Halong Bay, truly one of Vietnam’s most impressive sights and a World Heritage Site. Overnight at a hotel in Halong.
Day 3: Halong Bay Cruise – Hanoi – Hue
After breakfast you’ll be taken to the harbour to board a junk ship for departure at 07:30 a.m. on a magical four-hour cruise around Ha Long Bay, made world famous by James Bond in the movie Tomorrow Never Dies. You’ll have the opportunity to explore the picturesque scenery and some 3,000 limestone islands rising vertically from the emerald water. The extraordinary limestone karst formations are full of hidden beaches, grottoes and beautiful caves. Along the way you’ll anchor for a leisurely swim in a secluded cove and an enjoyable visit to one of the many hidden grottoes beneath the cliffs. After a delicious seafood lunch on board, we will disembark and return to Hanoi, stopping en route at the Dong Trieu pottery village. We arrive in Hanoi in time to enjoy the water puppet show in front of the Hoan Kiem lake. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 4: Hue
In the morning you will be met at your hotel by your guide, and from there 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 5: 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 6: 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 7: Hoian – Danang – Ho Chi Minh
Today you have an early morning transfer to Danang airport for a short flight to Ho Chi Minh City. On arrival you will be guided around 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. You’ll also visit the Jade Emperor Pagoda, one of the best examples of Taoist temples in Vietnam, and the War Remnant Museum. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh.
Day 8: Ho Chi Minh – Cu Chi tunnel – Tay Ninh Temple
After an early breakfast you’ll avoid the city heat by heading out to visit the Cu Chi Tunnels, an incredible underground network constructed by Vietnamese fighters during the long struggle for independence. The tunnels contained hospitals, as well as 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 the 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 its patron saints. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh.
Day 9: Ho Chi Minh – Mekong Delta
It will take two hours to reach Ben Tre, the homeland of the coconut plantations. On arrival in Hung Vuong pier we board a boat for a journey along the Ben Tre river—one of tributaries of the Mekong river—to enjoy the peaceful environment along with a treat of fresh coconut juice on board. We will stop at a local brickwork shop to see how to they make bricks in the traditional style by printing and baking. Then we will visit a local house to see all they can do with coconuts; using its fiber, hard shell, water and coconut meat. Enjoy the sweet coconut products with tea before leaving. We will stop at the mat-weaving village and enjoy some delicious seasonal fruits. Then we take a motor rickshaw and ride along shady paths, pass by green rice fields and vegetable plantations get a taste of country life and learn about the culture from the local people. You will have a special lunch at a local restaurant with specialties from the Mekong delta area. Then we take a rowboat along the water palm creek before going back to the Hung Vuong pier and return to Ho Chi Minh City. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh.
Day 10: Ho Chi Minh Departure
Depending on your departure time, you will have some free time to relax or further explore Ho Chi Minh on your own before a transfer to Tan Son Nhat Airport for your departure flight. The trip ends at the airport.