Group Tour 12 days from £1455 per person

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  Places Visited: Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hue, Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh City

On this introductory group tour of Vietnam, one of Southeast Asia’s most diverse and enjoyable countries, you will start in Hanoi, the capital city, and explore buildings and shaded boulevards redolent of its French colonial past. Visit scenic Halong Bay, a World Heritage Site, and spend the night on a traditional junk boat.

Travel south to the historic cities of Hue and Hoi An to see their charming old towns, pagodas and merchant homes, colourful market stalls brimming with local specialities. Ho Chi Minh City is the last stop. Before travelling home, take a full-day tour of the main sights and visit the Mekong Delta with beautiful riverside landscapes.

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Holiday Types

Cultural Holidays River Cruising Family Holidays Honeymoons Beach Holidays Adventure Holidays

 

Travel Arrangements

  • Group Size 4-12 people
  • Internal Travel Arrival and departure transfers, internal travel by road and air
  • Accompanying Guide English-speaking accompanying guide throughout
  • Accommodation 11 nights
  • Meal Plan Breakfast daily, lunch on day 3, dinner on day 3

 

Itinerary for Vietnam Experience

Day 1
Hanoi

Arrive in Hanoi and transfer to Silk Path Luxury or similar for two nights.

Vietnam’s charismatic capital, on the Red River, may be expanding and modernizing at an extraordinary pace, but it’s a great city to explore. Surrounded by parks and tranquil lakes, the core is a medieval Old Quarter – one of the most atmospheric square kilometres in all of Asia – where traditional craftsmen ply their trade in narrow alleyways lined with antique shop-houses. For the most memorable experience, we say shed the car and enjoy the city on foot, by bicycle or motorbike and get a local’s view of the everchanging street life as you pass through at close quarters.

Uptown, colonial mansions and relaxing cafés flank the boulevards and leafy shores of Hoan Kiem Lake. Still, the prime attraction in the broader city is Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, where the Great Leader’s remains are embalmed in a sombre marble tomb. Other iconic landmarks include the 11th-century One Pillar Pagoda, and the Temple of Literature; a feast of medieval Vietnamese architecture erected in 1070 AD.

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Day 2
Hanoi

Visit Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum and Museum, the One Pillar Pagoda and the Temple of Literature – Vietnam’s first university, established in the 11th century. Visit the Ngoc Son temple, on the Hoan Kiem Lake. Later take a walk through Hanoi’s Old Quarter to glimpse the bustling local life. In the evening enjoy a Water Puppet show.

The heart of the city, Hanoi’s Old Quarter is a dense labyrinth of narrow streets, crisscrossing, intertwining and brimming with activity. You can easily spend half a day getting lost down the alleyways, shopping and eating. Traditionally, each street in Hanoi’s Old Quarter specialised in selling a certain craft or trade. Today, while the street names often remain, the local vendors sell anything from cheap knockoffs to local art or sweet treats.

Whilst exploring the sights of the Old Quarter, it’s a good chance to perfect the art of crossing the road. With mopeds buzzing by and no lights, roundabouts or traffic management systems in place, crossing the street is unavoidable and nerve-wracking for the first few times. To do so safely, walk slowly and persistently with no sudden movements or changes in direction. Once you get the hang of it, it’s surprising how well the system works.

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Day 3
Hanoi - Halong Bay

A morning drive to the World Heritage Site, Halong Bay. Board the Peony Cruise or similar for an overnight cruise. As you set sail into the bay, pass limestone islands and visit Sung Sot cave. Enjoy trekking and swimming at Titov island.

Rising in majestic fashion from the northern shore of Vietnam, the limestone formations of Halong Bay create a unique, spellbinding landscape. Around 2,000 islands, islets, outcrops and towering mountains, draped in thick vegetation and riddled with grottos, soar above the green-blue waters of the Gulf of Tonkin.

A fleet of converted junks guide visitors around the finest viewpoints and beauty spots, the most popular of them grouped on the western side of the bay, which is best visited on an overnight excursion from Halong.

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Day 4
Halong Bay - Hue

Visit Luon cave in the morning, disembark and transfer back to Hanoi. Stop at a pottery village and enjoy some snacks and tea. Take the evening flight to Hue and check in to Eldora Hotel or similar for two nights.

One of the most ancient cities of Vietnam, Hue was the imperial capital throughout the 143-year reign of the Nguyen Dynasty. Famed for the piety of its monasteries and the splendour of its royal palaces and mausoleums. Hue endured a great deal of damage during the Indochina wars, but extensive restoration work has revived much of its cultural legacy, including the famous moated Dai Noi citadel on the banks of the brilliantly named Perfume River.

 

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Day 5
Hue

Visit the Imperial tombs of Tu Duc, the longest reigning Vietnamese Emperor, and Khai Dinh, the last monument of the Nguyen dynasty. The afternoon sightseeing includes a tour of the Old Imperial City, which is modelled after the Forbidden City in Beijing. Also visit the Thien Mu Pagoda before taking a boat back to the hotel on the Perfume River.

One of the finest historic monuments in Southeast Asia, Hue’s Imperial City was where the Nguyen Emperor, his Queen and five ranks of concubines, servants and eunuchs resided amid fabulous pomp in the 19th century. Open courtyards and lawns divided the various buildings, which are all richly decorated and surmounted by beautiful glazed tile roofs. Some of the rulers who resided in it are entombed in suitably extravagant mausolea on the outskirts of town, around the banks of the Perfume River, where the tombs of Tu Doc and Khai Din are the standout monuments.

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Day 6
Hue - Hoi An

In the morning drive to Danang (3-4 hours), crossing the picturesque Hai Van pass. Also have the chance to visit the Cham Museum which houses the finest examples of Cham art, reflecting 1,000 years of Hindu influence in Vietnam. Continue the drive south to Hoi An, past the Marble Mountains and numerous villages, before checking in at Hoi An Central Boutique Resort or similar for three nights.

With the beautiful, pristine sands of ‘China Beach’ on the eastside, and a maze of local cafés, street food stalls and markets on the west, there’s plenty to occupy you in the seaside city of Danang.

Drive past ‘Marble Mountain’, a cluster of peaks bristling with ancient temples, pagodas and Buddhist statues, before arriving in Hoi An. Spend the evening, soaking up the magical atmosphere of Hoi An’s Old Town, with its hundreds of paper lanterns and lively bars. Housed in a stately colonial building, Brother’s Café has a particularly lovely candlelit garden.

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Day 7
Hoi An

Enjoy a walking tour of Hoi An in the morning. The buildings and street plan of this formerly prosperous trading post are a mix of local and colonial influence, recognised today as a World Heritage site. Enjoy a sunset cruise in the evening.

A thriving port before it was eclipsed by nearby Danang, Hoi An’s Old Quarter preserves a unique cultural legacy spanning more than three-hundred years of colonial trade. Wandering its grid of 17th-century streets, you’ll pass some fine examples of old tube houses, Chinese pagodas, elaborately decorated community halls and shrines, and a wonderful Japanese covered bridge, as well as a restored French enclave. 

Accommodation Options

Day 8
Hoi An

Day at leisure.

Spend the day savouring the traditional Vietnamese atmosphere of the riverfront and market district, or shopping for locally made art, crafts and silk, displayed in numerous boutiques around the backstreets. Hoi An’s traditional tea shops and restaurants are good places to sample local cau lau noodles and white-rose dumplings.

Alternatively book onto a Vietnamese cooking class, join a farming experience, or a visit to My Son.

Accommodation Options

Day 9
Hoi An - Ho Chi Minh City

Fly from Danang to Ho Chi Minh City, the largest of the Vietnamese cities. Visit Cu Chi Tunnels, outside the city. Stay at the Northern Charm or similar for three nights.

During the Vietnamese War, Vietcong guerrillas evaded capture by digging an extensive tunnel networks, protected by hidden entrances. One of the largest of these secret underworlds survives at Cu Chi village, just north of HCMC, where you can explore a small section of a staggering 125 miles (200km) of cavities carved on various levels.

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Day 10
Ho Chi Minh City

Enjoy a morning walking tour of Chinatown. In the afternoon take a city tour to see the former Presidential Palace now known as the Reunification Hall, the War Museum and the Notre Dame cathedral.

Your sightseeing today takes in the former presidential palace, now known as ‘Reunification Hall’. The 1960s behemoth has been turned into an extraordinary museum where visitors can marvel at the decadent décor installed by the South Vietnamese régime. No less extravagant, though more traditionally Asian, is the resplendent Jade Emperor Pagoda, the loveliest of HCMC’s many Chinese-style temples.

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Day 11
Ho Chi Minh City

A full day out to the Mekong Delta. Explore the smaller waterways and canals by local boat, visiting orchards and local cottage industries.

One of the most intensively farmed regions in Asia, the Mekong Delta is also one of the most ethnically diverse – a fact reflected in the rich architectural heritage of the larger towns, many of whose inhabitants live crammed into houseboats on the river, or in stilt houses perched above it. During your excursion you’ll get to experience Delta life at close quarters: field workers in conical straw hats hunched over fields of ripe rice paddy; boats piled high with cargoes of pink dragon fruit; children sluicing water over their buffaloes in the morning, as fishermen cast hand-nets from tiny canoes.

Accommodation Options

Day 12
Ho Chi Minh City

Transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

Accommodation Options

Group Tour 12 days from £1455 per person


What's included


✓   11 nights accommodation
✓   Arrival and departure transfers, internal travel by road and air
✓   English-speaking accompanying guide throughout when minimum group size achieved.
✓   Breakfast daily, lunch on day 3, dinner on day 3
✓   Entrance fees to sites and monuments listed in the tour itinerary

Holiday Extensions for this tour

Vietnam Experience - Temples of Angkor Wat

4 days, 3 nights from £525 per person

Single supplement £ 95 per person
view itinerary
Day 12
Ho Chi Minh City, Siem Reap

Fly to Siem Reap late this morning and check in for three nights at the Lotus Blanc Resort. In the afternoon, visit Angkor Thom, the ancient royal city of the Khmer Empire with its centre piece, the Bayon temple.

Day 13
Siem Reap

Visit the Ta Phrom temple and Banteay Srei temple, one of Angkor’s most significant structures built in the 10th century. In the afternoon see the well preserved carvings at Angkor Wat. Witness the spectacular sunset in the countryside.

Day 14
Siem Reap

Day at leisure to explore Siem Reap on your own. Optional excursions: Tonle Sap Village and Lake. Dinner with show at The Smile of Angkor

Day 15
Siem Reap

Transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

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Places and Experiences in this tour

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