From the misty mountains of Sapa to the lush green paddies of Ninh Binh, the surreal Bay of Dragons and hidden beaches in Halong, to the bustling Mekong River Delta in the south, discover the legendary landscapes of Vietnam on this custom vacation. With unique tours at cultural hotspots such as Hanoi, Hoi An, and Ho Chi Minh City, experience Vietnam’s culture and cuisine too!
Hanoi has served as an erstwhile capital city and the seat of government for over a thousand years. Explore exotic ancient monuments and remnants of colonial imperialism as well as affable merchants at Hanoi’s night markets and at bustling street food stalls.
Temple and City Discovery in Hanoi Explore the heritage of Vietnam’s capital by the Red River delta, on a leisurely cyclos ride through the city. Learn about the nation’s beloved revolutionary leader, Ho Chi Minh and visit the simple little house where he lived during his years in Hanoi. Explore the historic building that showcases the great leader’s personal artifacts and items of everyday use. Stop by a small island on Hanoi’s West Lake to see the sixth century Tran Quoc Pagoda, the city’s oldest Buddhist temple. Ride over to visit the resplendent 11th-century Taoist temple, Quan Thanh, which stands in the shade of a giant banyan tree. An old shrine nearby houses a beautiful statue of Tran Vu, a principal Tao deity. Later in the afternoon, visit Vietnam’s first national university, the 11th century Temple of Literature that is known for its traditional Vietnamese architecture. Get an insight into Vietnam’s colonial and modern history at the ‘Hanoi Hilton’ or Hoa Lo Prison, where the French incarcerated Vietnamese political prisoners. Visit the remnants of the old complex and walk through the moving display of photographs and writings. (Full Day; Time of Day: Morning; Duration: 7 hrs; Private Activity & Transfer; Fitness level: Easy).
Sapa: Nestled amidst vistas of incredible beauty high in the Tonkinese Alps, overlooking lofty mountains with pockets of swirling mist in the valleys below, Sapa is an incredibly picturesque market town on the border of China and home to many ethnic minorities.
Half Day Trek to Love Waterfall & Heaven’s Gate Discover Love in Sapa! Take a short 30 min drive to visit the twinkling Love Waterfalls and soak in stunning panoramic views of the sweeping landscape. Admire the towering mountains that form a backdrop to the lush forests of Hoang Line National Park near the waterfalls. A charming local farm lies just a short walk away. Journey uphill by car for another 15 min to reach the aptly-named Heaven’s Gate, for breathtaking views of Fansipan Mountain – the highest in Indochina. Enjoy a few moments of rest and indulge your love for photography at this picturesque location, before returning to Sapa Town from your half day tour. The best time to do this activity is from May to November. (Best Time to Visit: May – Nov;Total Duration: 7 hrs;Travel Time to Activity Type : 45- 60mins by drive;Timings: 09:00 hrs – 16:00 hrs;Private Activity)
Hiking Among Vibrant Ethnic Villages Discover the colorful ethnic villages dotting this highland region while trekking from Lao Chai to Ta Van, out of Sapa. After an early breakfast or lunch at your hotel, drive up to the picturesque highland countryside of Muong Hoa Valley. Look out for the spectacular sight of terraced paddy fields along the way. Depending upon the season, the rice terraces don various verdant shades that turn golden at harvest time. From the valley, trek up to Black H’mong Village, home to the local Lao Chai hill community. Spend time with the villagers, getting to know their lifestyles and customs better. Learn why village homes are built without windows high up on these hills. Get back on your trail and hike up to Ta Van Village of the local Zay people, known for their colorful traditional fabrics. Visit the bustling local market or simply stop along the way to interact with the villagers. Continue along your hiking trail, as Indochina’s highest peak, Mount Fansipan, beckons. Soak in the ethereal sights of terraced paddy farms along your journey, garnished with majestic views of Mount Fansipan in the distance. Drive back to Sapa at the end of your trek. (Half Day; Times: 0800/1330 hrs; Private Activity & Transfer; Fitness Level: Moderate; Please wear comfortable walking shoes).
About 18 km from Hanoi, Mai Chau is an ideal destination for locals as well as visitors to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and to enjoy the peaceful scenery and fresh air.
Highlights of Mai Chau Meet ethnic minorities of Vietnam. The idyllic village of Mai Chau lies on a verdant valley engulfed by the lush landscape of northern Vietnam. Embark on a journey through the splendid winding vistas of mountains to reach the charming stilted houses of the White Thai people. Stroll through the indigenous villages, discover the rustic rural life of the people and learn more about the traditional craft of making brocade which has become a symbol of the local culture. This is your chance to indulge in a bout of shopping for Vietnam’s famous woven scarves and fine fabrics! Kindly note that this activity is not recommended during the colder months of January and February. (Best Time to Visit: Mar – Dec;Avoid: Apr – Jan – Feb (Very cold);Total Duration: 4 hrs;Travel Time to Activity Type : 30 mins;Timings:09:00 hrs – 13:00 hrs; Private Activity)
Hang Kia Village Excursion in Mai Chau Discover splendid cultural and natural beauty in Mai Chau set in a lush valley surrounded by terraced sloping hills and inhabited by the White Thai ethnic group. After checking into your room at Mai Chau Ecolodge, walk or cycle to a hamlet named Lac for a traditional homemade lunch. Continue cycling or walking around the beautiful, quiet valley passing stilt houses, beautiful wet rice fields and typical village scenes. Stop to chat with the local hill tribe people and learn about their daily lives and routines including planting rice, herding cattle and building stilt houses. Alternatively, enjoy a 45-minute drive to the H’Mong village of Xa Linh after breakfast. Hike on scenic mountain trails, stopping often to observe the everyday activities of the H’Mong hill tribe people. Observe them working on crafts such as paper making and embroidery outside their homes, and notice their traditional clothing with elaborate embroidery, especially on the women. Visit the nearby Pa Co Primary School if you wish to, or the colorful Sunday market at PaCo where the H’Mong and White Thai people sell their fresh produce and handmade wares. It’s time to call it a day and return to your accommodation for lunch. (Half Day; Times: 0900/1400 hrs to 1200/1800 hrs; Private Activity and Transfers; Fitness Level: Easy; Please note that the hiking distance is 4 km or 2 miles. The Pa Co Primary School is closed on weekends, public holidays and in summer.)
Ninh Binh is a small town deep in the Red River Delta, 93 km south of Hanoi.
Highlights of Ninh Binh & Boat Ride Throw yourself into the ancient capital of Hoa Lu in Ninh Binh province, where you can experience life’s fragility and the ravage nature of time first-hand, amidst the many rice paddies of the region. Much of what once existed no longer stands, aside from a few temples, such as Lê Đại Hành and 17the century Đinh Tiên Hoàng Temple and are well worth exploring. Take a drive to Van Long, an eco tourism area where you can enjoy a two hour boat trip as you are rowed along Van Long River. As the oars are swished, you can hear children’s laughter from distant villages and witness the stunning scenery of local villages dotted among the limestone karsts and caves. Kindly note that the boat trip is not recommended during the colder months of January and February. (Best Time to Visit: Oct – Mar;Avoid: Jan – Feb (since it is very cold);Total Duration: 7 hrs;Timings: 09:00 – 16:00;Included: 2 hrs Boat ride.;Private Activity)
Halong Bay in the Gulf of Tonkins is a dazzling world. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, you can witness the dense cluster of over 3,000 limestone islands as they rise spectacularly from the ocean.
Activities Aboard Stellar Cruise, Halong Bay: One Night and Two Days Day One – Embark on the Stellar Cruise at Tuan Chau marina. Sip on welcome drinks and set sail soaking in the vibrant atmosphere. Freshen up in your cozy cabins, and relish a leisurely lunch with stunning views of the dramatic limestone islands. Set out to explore the expansive and beautiful Surprising Cave and afterwards, you can swim and snorkel around the Titop island. After a nap onboard, gather on the top deck for a sociable sunset party. A lavish Vietnamese dinner later, retire for the night in your plush beds. Alternately, you can join the crew to fish for squids at night. Day Two – Rise and shine with Tai Chi classes on the sundeck. After a wholesome local breakfast, sail past numerous islets before anchoring at Luon Cave. Explore the island kayaking or take the guided bamboo boats. Lunch is served after a cooking demonstration of spring rolls. Recount your experience returning to shore and bid farewell! (Full Day; Best time to travel: March – December; Duration: 2D/1N; Shared Activity & Private Transfer; Meals Included: All meals. Please bring swimwear, sunglasses and sunscreen.)
Halong Bay Cruise Activities (Dragon Pearl) Enjoy a marvellous one night cruise aboard the Dragon Pearl! From your hotel you will be taken to the harbor where you can check-in, meet your crew and receive a safety briefing. The you can set sail to the magnificent Bai Tu Long Bay and Cap La, where the astonishing formations of Halong Bay await you. Enjoy a delicious lunch en route. If you wish, you can disembark and visit the local fishing village or go kayaking. Back on board, relax and unwind or have a swim before dinner. The following day you can cruise through an incredible panorama of grottos and explore Thien Canh Son cave. Enjoy a swim and another delicious lunch aboard the junk before a smooth cruise back to the harbor at Hanoi. (Open all year; Best Time to Travel: March – May, October – November; Full Day; Duration: Overnight; Shared Activity; Private Transfer; Meal included; Fitness level: Easy)
Hoi An pays testament to its remarkable history as a major port town, booming with grand architecture of old Japanese merchant houses, pale yellow houses draped in bougainvillea, shopfronts lit with glowing silk lanterns, and ageing tea warehouses.
Walking Tour of Hoi An Accompany your local expert through the narrow lanes of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Hoi An, which served as a prosperous trading port from the 15th century to the 19th century. Stroll through the pedestrian-only streets of this well-preserved architectural heritage passing by various buildings, temples, merchant houses, and pagodas showcasing French, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Japanese influences. Walk across the 400-year-old Japanese covered bridge over the stream as your guide narrates its history. Head on to the Assembly Hall of the Chaozhou Chinese Congregation for a closer look at the intricate wood carvings on the walls and beams. Explore the vibrant local market, past stalls displaying colorful wares, spices, and exotic fruits, that is particularly famous for its locally produced silk and tailors who even have a section of the market dedicated to them. (Half Day; Fixed Time: Yes; Time of Day: 0900/1400; Duration: 2 hrs; Private Activity & Transfers; Fitness Level: Easy.
Full Day Visit to My Son Temples Explore the magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Site of My Son on a full day tour. Take a one and a half hour drive from Hoi An to this significant place of worship for the Cham civilization, which dated from the 2nd to the 13th century. Set in a verdant valley surrounded by hills and overlooked by the imposing Cat Tooth Mountain, this is a peaceful location to embrace ancient Vietnamese and Hindu culture. Your guide will bring to life the legends of these twenty monuments, which despite their age are still standing. Learn about the Cham culture, the building of this fascinating architecture, and the civilization who once lived here, before heading back into Hoi An. (Distance: 1.5 Hrs Drive fm Hoi An, each way;Best Time to Visit: All Year;Total Duration: 5 hrs;Travel Time to Activity Type : 1.5 hrs;Timings: 09:00 – 13:00;Included: Lunch, Private Activity)
The ancient Imperial Capital of Hue, lies at the mouth of the Perfume River and is considered the fulcrum of Vietnam’s two rice baskets – the Red River Delta and the Mekong River Delta.
Meet A Kite Maker in Hoi An (Half Day) Indulge your childhood dreams of flying kites! Located by the famous Perfume River, Hue offers ideal conditions for this fun pastime. On a sunny day, you can observe hundreds of kites lining the clear blue sky, soaring over the Imperial Citadel as the adventurous populace compete against each other. In the Royal city, kite flying is considered an interesting hobby for people of all ages. Begin your tour at the home of Mr. Cu, who has been crafting kites for more than four decades. During your conversation, the skilled craftsman will explain the history of this traditional recreational activity and share his passion with you. Learn how to make a kite yourself and afterwards, if the weather permits, watch your kite soar high above the clouds over Hue. (Half Day, Afternoon, Private Activity & Transfer, Travel Time to Activity: 15 mins, Duration: 2-3 hrs, Fitness Level: Easy, Please note that this activity can be cancelled due to poor weather conditions between May – October)
Imperial Vietnam by the Banks of the Perfume River Immerse yourself in Vietnam’s rich imperial heritage on this tour of historic Hué. The town is dotted with ancient pagodas, royal tombs, and the remains of an imperial stronghold. Set off after breakfast to visit Hué’s iconic, 17th century monument of Thien Mu Pagoda, whose narrow, seven-storied structure stands atop a hill by the Perfume River. Afterwards, you could either explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Hué Monuments centered on the Imperial Citadel, or the royal tomb of Emperor Minh Mang. At the Imperial Citadel, be dazzled by the regal architecture and royal gardens. Set amid a forested area, the Royal Tomb is equally spectacular. In the afternoon, drive down to the charming little village of Duong No, which was home to the young Ho Chi Minh. Walk over to the ornate Thanh Toan Covered Bridge spanning the Perfume River, featuring traditional Asian design and a timber arch dotted with ceramic elements and elaborate calligraphy. (Best Time to Travel : Oct – Mar;Times : 9 AM – 3 PM;Duration – 5 hours;Private Activity;Fitness level: Easy).
Can Tho, or nine dragons as it literally translates, is the largest town in the Mekong Delta. Can Tho buzzes with life, and the colorful burst of large floating markets and riverside hamlets with sculpted gardens are a unique sight to witness.
Can Tho Floating Market & City Tour Embark on a half day motorboat trip to Cai Rung, the most renowned and biggest floating market in Can Tho, where you can witness boats laden with fruits and vegetables and freshly caught fish. The way the busy market sellers advertise their goods in their own time-tested manner, shouting across the waters and tying their goods on tall poles that rise out of their boats and can be seen on the horizon. After this exuberant visit, head to Can Tho Museum, that holds over 5,000 Mekong relics, and venture into the countryside where you can see how ethnic Vietnamese, Chinese and Khmer live together. Finish your tour with a drive to Binh Thuy Ancient House, a feat of French influenced architecture that houses many valuable antiques. So as not to miss the market in full swing, we recommend you start this activity in the early morning. (Best Time to Visit: All year;Avoid: During Tet Festival, Jan/Feb;Total Duration: 6hours including city tour;Travel Time to Activity Type : 20 Mins;Timings:6:00 hrs -11:00 hrs (It is recommended to depart hotel around 5.30am since Cai Rang market is busy very early in the morning but slows down after 7:30am for floating market visit), Private Activity)
Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), still often referred to as Saigon, was a Khmer seaport in the 17th century before becoming a French colony. Rapid and thrilling and, even with the maddening traffic as cyclo drivers speed under vast neon billboards, you can immerse yourselves in variety at HCMC.
Serene Ben Tre Village Life Experience the timeless rhythms of Mekong country life on this day trip to the tranquil village of Ben Tre. Leave the urban bustle of Ho Chi Minh for the calm waters of the Mekong. A leisurely boat trip brings you to the quaint village where your first stop is a coconut workshop. Marvel at the variety and intricate beauty of products made from this eco-friendly resource. Next, hop on a bike or tuk-tuk to arrive at a lush orchard heavy with tropical fruits. Walk through the leafy fragrant groves where fruits like pomelo, rambutan and durian are grown the organic way. Drop by a wooden chopstick workshop to witness the age old techniques that go into making this ubiquitous dining accessory. Tuck into a colorful ethnic lunch at a local restaurant after which you are ready to return to your hotel but not before you have experienced the serene delights of sailing in a sampan or wooden boat. (Full Day: Time: 0800 hrs; Private Activity & Transfer; Duration: 8 hrs; Fitness level: Easy).
Half Day Highlights of Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon Explore the commercial capital of Vietnam! Saigon or Ho Chi Minh City has more than eight million people and four million motorbikes and yet retains its old world charm. A half day tour takes you to the Notre Dame Cathedral – a replica of the Parisian marvel across the square from which lies the Central Post Office – designed by French architect Gustave Eiffel. The former Presidential Palace and the War Remnants Museum tell the story of Saigon’s turbulent past. Enjoy a break with your guide at a local coffee shop, to see the city’s famed street coffee culture and learn interesting tidbits about life in Saigon.
Visit Cu Chi Tunnels (by Road) Discover the Cu Chi Tunnels, an immense world famous tunnel complex that was first constructed in 1948 as a means to protect the Viet Cong guerillas from their French enemy. The tunnel system network grew as the need arose during the Vietnam War (1955 – 1975), becoming not just a communication route and food and weapon storage facilities, but also the guerilla’s living quarters. In fact, they even housed hospitals. The Americans conducted several military campaigns against the tunnels throughout the last decade of combat. Dubbed the Black Echo due to the hardship of this underground life that was rife with insect infestations and disease, this unique tour provides you with an opportunity to witness the resilience of the Vietnamese. (Total Duration: 5 hrs;Travel Time to Activity Type : 2 hrs;Timings: 08:30 hrs – 13:30 hrs; Private Activity)
Prices are in USD and exclude international flights. This trip price is based on low season rates for accommodation and other applicable services, and may change depending on availability, currency fluctuations and number of people traveling together. For high season prices, please contact us with your exact travel dates and preferences.
Accommodation in one double room for 17 days / 16 nights.
Meals as indicated
Economy flights for all sectors :
Hanoi – Danang
Hue – Ho Chi Minh / Saigon
All activities as listed :
Hanoi: Temple and City Discovery in Hanoi
Sapa & The Tonkinese Alps: Half Day Trek to Love Waterfall & Heaven’s Gate
Sapa & The Tonkinese Alps: Hiking Among Vibrant Ethnic Villages
Mai Chau: Highlights of Mai Chau
Mai Chau: Hang Kia Village Excursion in Mai Chau
Ninh Binh: Highlights of Ninh Binh & Boat Ride
Halong Bay/Lan Ha Bay: Activities Aboard Stellar Cruise, Halong Bay: One Night and Two Days
Halong Bay/Lan Ha Bay: Halong Bay Cruise Activities (Dragon Pearl)
Hoi An: Walking Tour of Hoi An
Hoi An: Full Day Visit to My Son Temples
Hue: Meet A Kite Maker in Hoi An (Half Day)
Hue: Imperial Vietnam by the Banks of the Perfume River
Can Tho: Can Tho Floating Market & City Tour
Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon: Serene Ben Tre Village Life
Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon: Half Day Highlights of Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon
Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon: Visit Cu Chi Tunnels (by Road)
All activities specified in the itinerary, including entrance fees, accompanied by your tour guide
A high-quality air-conditioned vehicle with chauffeur for the activities specified in the itinerary
All airport and hotel transfers as indicated above
Your Trip Coordinator: a 24/7 point of contact, supporting you during your trip
Welcome kit including all important documents and information regarding your itinerary
Fees and taxes
Tips, additional meals and personal expenses
Travel, health and cancellation insurance
International airfare (from your home country to your destination and return)
What our guests say about this trip
What can I say. The trip was great and the hotel accommodations were fantastic, as were the tours and the guides.