Travel the length of Vietnam on this 10 day tour, stopping in HCMC (in the south), Hanoi (in the north), and the beaches and small towns of the central coast in between.
Begin in dynamic HCMC , the country’s commercial capital and center of a growing number of upscale restaurants and shops. Visit Chinatown, the Thien Hau Pagoda, the Reunification Palace, the Opera House and Hotel de Ville. If desired, also visit the moving War Remnants Museum. Explore colorful outdoor markets and Dong Khoi Street, the city’s most upscale shopping boulevard with fashion boutiques and accessories designed by new Vietnamese designers, hill tribe crafts, high quality linens and housewares. Take a day trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels and watch an unusual and eclectic religious ceremony at the main temple of Cao Daism, a unique fusion of world religions, in Tay Ninh . Alternatively, spend the day cruising the narrow canals of the Mekong Delta.
Fly to Danang and land transfer to the cozy town of Hoi An , a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site and riverfront port town crammed with historic homes, tiny museums, cafes, and bustling silk and fish markets. Nearby, see ancient sculptures in the Cham Museum, and tour Buddhist cave temples in the Marble Mountains. Opt to stay at a luxury beach resort in nearby Danang, or a boutique riverside hotel in the heart of Hoi An.
Next, view the dramatic central coastline by a private car or minivan to Hue, the former Imperial capital. It is a quiet city renowned for the unique architecture of its citadel, palaces, royal tombs, pagodas and temples, built under the Nguyen dynasty on the banks of the Perfume River.
Wrap up in Hanoi , Vietnam’s artistic and intellectual capital. Explore the fascinating Old Quarter and its hundreds of specialty shops selling silk clothing, lacquerware, embroidered linens, furniture, bamboo, cooking utensils, ceremonial objects and more. Walk around Hoan Kiem Lake, ride a cyclo to dinner, and watch a performance at the Thang Long Water Puppet Theater. Dine in French colonial villas converted into gourmet restaurants. Enjoy people watching at stylish cafes. Shop for impressive modern art in the city’s many galleries. Also visit Hanoi’s main cultural attractions, including the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, his House on Stilts, the One Pillar Pagoda, the Fine Arts Museum and the Temple of Literature.
Also spend a day cruising Halong Bay , where thousands of limestone rock sculptures jut dramatically from the sea and numerous grottoes have created an ephemeral, fantastic landscape.
Day 1: Arrive HCMC (D)
You will be warmly welcomed on arrival and transferred to the hotel. You will have an afternoon private city tour of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon), the largest and busiest city in Vietnam, with a population of 7 million people. Much of daily life takes place on the streets, which are lined with shops, stalls and vendors with their wares spread out on the footpath. Don’t miss the bustling Ben Thanh Market, the moving War Remnants Museum, The Reunification Palace and Notre Dame Cathedral. You will stay overnight in HCMC.
Day 2: Mekong Delta Excursion (B/L)
The Mekong Delta is the southernmost region of Vietnam. It is often referred to as the "rice bowl of Vietnam" as it produces three crops of rice per year. The fertile Mekong Delta is also famous for its tropical fruits and flowers. The Delta area marks the end of a 4,500 km journey made by the Mekong River after having traveled through six countries. Traditional transportation in the Delta is by boat along a vast network of canals and channels. Boating along these canals and visiting the floating markets always proves to be a fascinating and rewarding experience for all visitors.
You will leave HCMC for lush My Tho where you will cruise on a private boat through the green vegetation of the canals to an orchard, where you will be treated to a delicious lunch in a local restaurant in the heart of the Mekong, complete with tropical fruits. You will also visit the snake farm Dong Tam that breeds snakes for, among other things, snake wine. You will then head back to HCMC for an overnight stay. ( Tentatively, you can visit Cu Chi Tunnels and Cao Dai Temples)
Day 3: HCMC – Hoi An (B/L)
You will transfer to the airport and fly on Vietnam Airlines to Danang. Upon arrival at Danang Airport, you will be greeted by our guide who will begin by escorting you on a tour of Danang City, including the Cham Museum where you can find out more about this ancient but advanced civilization. After leaving Danang, you will make our way the short distance to the Marble Mountains , where there will be the opportunity to climb to the top and admire the temples that have a commanding view over the surrounding district. You will continue to the delightful town of Hoi An, approximately 30km away. You will check in and have leisure time before an overnight stay.
Day 4: Hoi An (B)
From the 16th to 18th centuries, Hoi An was a thriving international commercial port for Chinese, Dutch, French, Japanese, Portuguese and Arab traders. These people came primarily to trade in the high grade silk, which is still produced in the area, as well as ceramics. Today, Hoi An is a quaint riverside town, popular with tourists for its eclectic architecture, tailors shops, and numerous cafes. Some of the buildings in the narrow streets have remained unchanged for more than a century.
You will enjoy a half-day walking tour through the narrow winding streets of the ancient quarter, visiting Chua Ong Pagoda, Chinese Assembly Halls, the 200-year-old Tam Ky ancestral house, and the Japanese Bridge. Hoi An is now one of five UNESCO-designated World Heritage sites in Vietnam. In the afternoon, you are free to meander in Hoi An, unwind at Cua Dai Beach or take an optional half day trip to My Son Cham Ruins. You will stay overnight in Hoi An.
Day 5: Hoi An – Da Nang – Hue (B/L)
You will leave Hoi An for Hue for two-night stay. In the afternoon you will board a Dragon Boat for a cruise on the romantic Perfume River. Being the ancient capital, Hue is surrounded by ancient tombs of emperors past, temples and pagodas, and a visit to the most beautiful tombs will be on the itinerary for today. The charming Lady Pagoda (Thien Mu Pagoda) will be the first stop of the day and you can get a great view of the Perfume River and surrounding area. You will visit Thien Mu Pagoda which is considered the symbol of Hue and of Buddhism in Vietnam. From here you will continue a drive to visit ornate Minh Mang’s tomb and Tu Duc’s tomb before an overnight stay in Hue.
Day 6: Hue (B/D)
Today you will explore this fabulous city starting with a visit to the Citadel, containing the Imperial City and the Forbidden Purple City, the Emperor’s private residence. The Imperial City was created in the 19th century and modeled on the Forbidden City in Beijing and there are many palaces and temples inside. You will also visit the Imperial Museum, The Tu Hieu Pagoda and the vibrant Dong Ba Riverside market. To round off the day’s activities, you will visit one of Hue’s fine restaurants to sample some of its local delicacies, as Hue is regarded by many as the culinary capital of Vietnam. You will stay overnight in Hue.
Day 7: Hue – Hanoi (B/D).
After breakfast at the hotel, you will have free time before transferring to Phu Bai Airport for a short flight to Hanoi for a three-night stay. Arriving in Hanoi, you will transfer to your hotel in town and have free time and optional cyclo ride around the Old Quarter. Then you will go to dinner at a popular restaurant in the Old Quarter of Hanoi. In the evening you will enjoy a traditional Vietnamese water puppet show at Thang Long theater before an overnight stay in Hanoi.
Day 8: Hanoi (B/L)
The colonial capital city of Hanoi is a unique Asian city with tree-lined boulevards, French colonial architecture, peaceful lakes, pagodas and temples. This full day tour takes you around Hanoi’s most interesting sights, including the Ho Chi Minh Complex: Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum and his Stilt House, the Presidential Palace, the One Pillar Pagoda, and the nearby Old Quarter, also known for its 36 streets and former craft guilds. Also on the tour are the Lake of the Restored Sword, Ngoc Son Temple, the Temple of Literature, peaceful West Lake, Thanh Nien, the peaceful Tran Quoc Pagoda and Quan Thanh Temple. You can also try one of the city’s best museums, either the History Museum or the Ethnology Museum. Before an overnight stay in Hanoi.
Day 9: Halong Bay Excursion (B/L).
In the morning you will drive to Halong Bay City, approximately 3 hours away. Once at Halong Bay City you are welcomed on board for a four-hour cruise on the stunning bay, stopping along the way to visit one of the limestone caves in the area. As you are cruising, the boat crew will serve you a sumptuous local seafood lunch. Aftera4 hour navigation, you will sail back to harbor and rejoin your car and head back to your hotel in Hanoi for an overnight stay.