VIETNAM from south to north
Ho Chi Minh City – Cu Chi Tunnels – Mekong Delta - Hue - Hoi An - Hanoi - Ha Long Bay
12 Days/11 Nights
12 Days/11 Nights
This is a very classic Vietnam, at a relaxed pace. We have no ambition of bringing to you something strange or adventurous, but we focus on real Vietnamese culture, history, culinary and natural beauty. You will start the tour from Ho Chi Minh City in the South, visit Cu Chi Tunnels and experience river life in the Mekong Delta. Continue your journey to the centre of Vietnam with visits to the vestiges of Hue Imperial Citadel and King Tombs before driving along the coast to Hoi An, cook and taste local food. The tour ends in Hanoi in the North after 3 days of romantic cruising on the crystal blue water (it wasn’t crystal blue when I was there!) of Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site.
Day 1: Ho Chi Minh City – Arrival (D)
Upon arrival at Tan Son Nhat Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, you will be welcomed by your guide and transferred to your hotel in the city center. Relax after a long journey before enjoying a Welcome Dinner with Vietnamese food – your first taste of Vietnam. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 2: Ho Chi Minh City's Highlights & Cu Chi Tunnels (B)
After breakfast, visit the incredible underground Cu Chi Tunnels network constructed by Vietnamese fighters during the long struggle for independence and reunification.
In the afternoon, visit the moving War Remnants Museum which presents a partial, but riveting, view of the American War, as it is known in Vietnam. Continue to the Reunification Palace, former residence of the Indochina Governor General and later President of the Republic of Southern Vietnam until the fall of Saigon in April 30, 1975. The day ends with visits to the charming Notre Dame Cathedral, the Old Post Office, one of the oldest buildings Ho Chi Minh City built around 1886-1891, the elegant Saigon Opera House and the bustling Ben Thanh Market. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 3: Ho Chi Minh City - Mekong Delta – Ho Chi Minh City (B/L)
After breakfast, it takes only a 2 hour pleasant drive to Ben Tre province crossing Rach Mieu bridge. Upon arrival in Hung Vuong Pier, hop on a motorized boat on Ben Tre River – one of the tributaries of the Mekong river while sight-seeing lively activities along the river such as fishing and boats transferring fruits, flowers and rice to local markets. Our first stop is at a brick kiln to see how to make bricks traditionally by printing and baking. Those brick kilns are opened in summer time only when it’s enough sunshine to dry bricks. Continue to visit one coconut processing workshop located along the canals. Return to the boat and go through natural scissors creeks to a village and see some local houses, making sleeping mats, and enjoying some local fruits.
Take a Tuk-Tuk (motorized cart) or bicycle on shady paths, pass by green rice fields and vegetable plains to be able to touch on real life and find out about tropical culture from peasants. Have lunch at a local riverside restaurant.
After lunch, we take a rowing-boat along beautiful water palm creek before meeting the motorized boat and transferring you back to the pier. Return to Ho Chi Minh City for overnight.
Day 4: Ho Chi Minh City - Hue by flight - Imperial Citadel & King Tomb (B)
After an early breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for a flight to Hue. Upon landing, you're greeted by our guide and head downtown. Start a cyclo (rickshaw) tour around the poetic Hue city on the bank of Perfume River. Visit the Imperial Citadel where Kings of Vietnam’s last feudal dynasty ruled from 1802 to 1945, including Flag Tower, Nine Holy Cannons, Ngo Mon Gate, Thai Hoa Palace, Nine Dynastic Urns, Forbidden Purple City, etc.
In the afternoon, take a Dragon boat Cruise upstream of the peaceful Perfume River (Huong River) to Thien Mu Pagoda. Our car will pick you up there to King Tu Duc Tomb. The tomb is set in an elegant garden with a magnificent lake and pavilion complex. Overnight in Hue.
Day 5: Hue - Hoi An Ancient town by car (B)
After breakfast, you will drive along the most beautiful coast of Vietnam to Hoi An. Stop at Hai Van pass for a panoramic view of white sand beach, blue sea and green mountains.
Arrival in Hoi An and take a guided walking tour around Hoi An Ancient Town. Visit the Japanese Covered Bridge, Chinese Assembly Hall, and the local market. There are numerous art galleries, souvenir and tailor shops where you can get some express made-to-order clothes if you like! Overnight in Hoi An.
Day 6: Hoi An – Ultimate Cooking Class (B)
After breakfast, you will gather at a local restaurant and your cooking class starts with a short and picturesque bicycle ride to one of Hoi An's colorful markets where all of your senses will be aroused.
You will have the opportunity to interact with the local sellers and purchase some of the ingredients to be used in the cooking lesson later in the day before learning about some of Hoi An's and Vietnam's well-known specials. A scenic and short bicycle ride will lead you to the picturesque An My village which will give you a real glimpse into the traditional way of living of these charming people.
Here you will have an introduction to visit a typical Vietnamese house and duck farm. This visit doesn't stop with a brief introduction, but also provides you of interesting information about the cultivation of fresh herbs and vegetables as well as discovering the use of them in traditional Vietnamese medicine. Back to the restaurant in the town and the cooking class runs for about two hours and is a hands-on experience. Our chefs will demonstrate how to prepare each dish and you will cook your first Vietnamese dishes. After the lesson, you are able to enjoy your own creations and bring home Vietnamese food recipes to treat your family or close friends!
Afternoon is to be free for leisure or to explore the town further! Overnight in Hoi An.
Day 7: Hoi An – Hanoi by flight (B)
After breakfast, you will also be free to enjoy Hoi An. If you have clothes tailored, it’s time to go back to the tailor shop again to try them on and adjust anything for a perfect custom fit.
Check out your hotel by noon time and have lunch at your own expense before boarding an afternoon flight to Hanoi. Arrival in Hanoi, you will be greeted by our guide and transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 8: Hanoi - Sightseeing (B)
After breakfast, you will visit Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum before exploring his house on stilts and his garden. A short walk from the mausoleum is one of the great symbols of Hanoi, the One Pillar Pagoda, an 11th-century wooden temple built on a single stone pillar in the water. It was designed to resemble a blooming lotus. A tour around the beautiful West Lake takes us to Tran Quoc Pagoda, Hanoi’s oldest pagoda and further to the venerable Temple of Literature built in 1077 – Vietnam’s first university.
In the afternoon, visit the Museum of Ethnology where the artifacts of 54 minority groups in Vietnam are exhibited. After the visit, return to the Old Quarter of Hanoi for a walking tour around the Old Streets which were named after the specific goods once offered for sale at these places. Stop at Hoan Kiem Lake to learn about legend of the lake and visit Ngoc Son Temple. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 9: Hanoi - Ha Long Bay by car (B/L/D)
After breakfast, you will depart by road to Ha Long Bay, a World Heritage Area of outstanding natural beauty. Travel through the rich farmlands of the Red River Delta and the landscape of rice fields, water buffalo, and the daily life of the Vietnamese village. On arrival at the pier, you will board your cruise and enjoy a welcome drink before check-in to your cabin. The cruise starts right afterward with a delicious lunch served on board. The cruise passes by many karst rocks and islets in many un ique and funny shapes. Again your dinner is served on board. In the evening, enjoy night fishing, drinks on the rooftop, watching an Indochina film, or massage, spa etc. Overnight on boat.
Day 10: Ha Long Bay – Lan Ha Bay (B/L/D)
Breakfast buffet will be served at the restaurant and you will be transferred to a day-boat, soon heading to Lan Ha Bay which is at the furthest side of Ha Long bay. This bay is famous for its tunnels, lagoons, crystal waters and secluded beaches. The highlight of this day will be kayaking through spectacular tunnels to reach secret lagoon (if tides permit). First kayak stroll of the day. Follow your tour guide in the maze of karst rocks.
Fresh seafood and traditional Vietnamese cuisine will be served aboard the Junk. She will be anchored close to a beautiful beach, where you will have time to swim and enjoy the beach after lunch.
Relax on the beach and practice more kayaking. You will also have the opportunity to visit a temple and a floating fish farm.
Late afternoon, back on your overnight boat for optional spa and massage services, happy hour, scrumptious dinner and overnight stay, anchored in a peaceful bay.
Day 11: Ha Long Bay – Hanoi by car (Brunch)
In the morning, a Tai Chi class is available for "early birds", then enjoy tea/coffee before visiting a Cave naturally carved inside the karst formations. Breakfast/brunch will be served while the cruise is returning back to the pier. Disembark the pier and our guide will pick you up for a ride back to Hanoi. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 12: Hanoi - Departure (B)
After breakfast, you will be free in Hanoi until being driven to the airport for your departure flight.
:>> Our prices include:
> Breakfast and accommodation sharing a twin or double room
> Travel in an appropriate private air-conditioned vehicle with an experienced safe driver
> The services of an experienced English-speaking guide throughout the tour (please note: guides will be on hand from pick-up until guests’ return to their hotel or reaching their destination)
> Domestic flights Ho Chi Minh City – Hue & Danang – Hanoi, including airport taxes (Vietnam Airlines, economic class)
> Where necessary, entry fees and permission to enter border areas for all visits mentioned in the program
> Lunches and dinners (as specified in the itinerary) in the best local restaurants, or picnics where no suitable restaurant is available
> VAT and other taxes
:>> Our prices do not include:
> International flight tickets and airport tax
> Vietnamese Visa handling and stamp fee
> Dinners, except as specified above
> Drinks, gratuities and personal expenses
> Camera fees (if any)