Explore the best-loved highlights of Vietnam at your own pace! Discover Hanoi’s vibrant Old Quarter and take a cruise through the impossibly picturesque limestone karst seascape of Halong Bay. Uncover the old world charm of Hue and wander the lantern-laden streets of Hoi An. In Nha Trang, while away time on gorgeous beaches and in Ho Chi Minh City, feast on fresh and fabulous street food while you explore a unique medley of the old and the new.
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.
Evening Water Puppet Show (One Hour) Delve into the traditional Vietnamese art form of water puppetry, with an entertaining performance at Thang Long Water Puppet Theater. Water puppetry is believed to have begun over a 1,000 years ago, as a means of recreational entertainment in the flooded rice fields. Not much has changed since then and you can still witness the puppeteers standing in waist-high water as they skillfully manipulate their puppet people and animals, which are attached to long bamboo poles and use a system of pulleys and silk strings. Each of the short performances highlight stories and legends involved in the daily lives of local people. (30 min outdoor show; Total duration: 1 hr; Timings: 1700/1830/2000 hrs)
Highlights of Hanoi on foot Explore Hanoi – the cultural, historical, and culinary epicenter of Vietnam. Dodging scooters, traverse Hanoi’s bustling urban landscape that is punctuated with leafy boulevards and tranquil public spaces. Stroll to the iconic Hoan Kiem Lake, crossing the scarlet-colored wooden bridge to visit the Nga Son Temple (Temple of the Jade Mountain). Walk around the atmospheric pagoda, the most visited temple in Hanoi and home to historical artifacts, ceramics, and statues of deities. Finally, head to the Old Quarter, where vestiges of French and Chinese colonial architecture linger. Navigate the fascinating maze of back alleys, especially the ’36 streets of 36 wares’, flanked by tube houses with storefronts of merchants and artisans that have lived here for generations. Soak in the aromas of Vietnamese coffee, Bia Hoi beer establishments and a variety of street food delicacies as you make your way back. (Half Day; Time: 0900 hrs or 1400 hrs; Duration: 2.5 hrs; Private Activity & Transfer; Fitness level Easy)
Discovering Hanoi Discover the rich heritage of Vietnam’s capital city on this leisurely tour that takes you through the city’s tree-lined avenues, colonial structures, and national monuments. Begin on a delicious note at the old coffee shop in Hanoi’s Old Quarter as you walk down the winding alleyways of the neighborhood. Pay your respects to ‘Uncle Ho’ at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, as the beloved leader is affectionately called and get to know more about the nation’s revolutionary architect. Afterward, drop by the exquisitely beautiful 9th century Buddhist temple, One Pillar Pagoda, built in the shape of a lotus on a single stone pillar. Stop at the simple little house where Ho Chi Minh lived during his years in Hanoi and view a collection of his personal artifacts. End your city tour with a visit to Vietnam’s first national university, the 11th century Temple of Literature that is a remarkable example of traditional Vietnamese architecture. (Half Day; Time of Day: Morning; Duration: 4 hrs; Private Activity & Transfer; Fitness level: Easy; Note: Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum closed on Mon & Fri)
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.
Sailing the Misty Halong Bay Discover the fascinating seascape along Ha Long Bay with its innumerable islands and islets on this luxury cruise. Enjoy onboard activities and relish delicious meals served onboard. Day One: After an early breakfast in Hanoi, drive over to Ha Long Bay, where your cruise boat awaits. Just in time for luncheon, relish the gourmet spread before setting out to cruise around the striking rainforest clad islands of the bay. Revel in the serene landscape as the cruise passes by little known tropical islands. Visit the spectacular Surprise Cave, one of the largest limestone grottoes in the area. Return to your cruise and enjoy the serene environs as your boat drops anchor for the night. Join the master chef as he demonstrates traditional Vietnamese fruit carving techniques or indulges in a relaxing massage. After a scrumptious dinner, try your luck at squid fishing with the crew. Retire to your cabin for the night. Day Two: Participate in an early morning Tai Chi session atop the cruise deck, and sail off to explore Titov Island, named after the Soviet astronaut, Gherman Stepanovich Titov, who had visited the island with President Ho Chi Minh. Take a walk along the charming island with its lovely crescent-shaped beach, and enjoy panoramic views of the bay from the summit. Take a swim in the emerald waters or sunbathe by the beach. Return to the boat and enjoy a hearty breakfast as the boat heads towards the port. Disembark and drive back to Hanoi. (1 night/2 days trip; Shared Activity & Private Transfer; Meals included: All meals aboard cruise; Fitness level: Easy).
Halong Bay Cruise Activities (Jasmine Cruise) Set sail into Halong Bay! Take a four hour drive from Hanoi to reach the jetty and take a boat to the Jasmine Junk. After your safety briefing, feast on a seafood lunch while cruising past limestone islands. Visit Tien Ong Caves, or take a bamboo boat ride to Halong’s oldest floating village at Cua Van. Back on the junk experience a Vietnamese culinary demonstration, unwind with a massage, and enjoy a cultural performance before dinner. Begin the next morning with Tai Chi before heading to a beach. Cruise back to Halong through picturesque Ti Top Island, Tam Cung Cave and Poem Mountain. Enjoy your brunch on board just before you arrive at Royal Park Pier around 1100 hours, before a leisurely drive back to Hanoi.
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.
A Family Meal in Hue Enjoy a leisurely afternoon with a local family in Hue, Vietnam. After a green tea welcome, take a guided tour of the ancestral home, browse through family albums, and be introduced to the entire household. Visit the family temple, and understand the customs and rituals associated with ancestral worship. This is your chance to hang out with the friendly family and get a glimpse into their lifestyle. Follow your host to the bustling Dong Ba market on the banks of Perfume River, and shop for a plethora of fresh produce from the region. Back at the home, learn about the history of unique ingredients that go into making Hue’s traditional folk dishes. You’re welcome to assist the family in the kitchen, preparing an array of well-plated meals. Later, gather with your host family, and enjoy a delicious multi-course lunch over conversation. Exchange cultural stories and anecdotes of the Royal land before bidding farewell. (Half Day; Time: 1100 hrs; Duration: 4 hrs; Private Activity & Transfer; Fitness level: Easy)
Sunrise Tour of the Imperial Citadel Embark on an early morning walking tour to experience a magical sunrise from the Imperial Citadel located in the Complex of Hue Monuments, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Travel back in time to Hue’s royal past as the political, cultural and religious capital under the Nguyen Dynasty between the 17th and 19th centuries. Soak in the symbolic importance and natural beauty of the complex surrounded by hills and the Perfume River. Wander through splendid tombs of emperors, gardens, pagodas, and temples. Observe the majestic architecture in the sections restored after the Vietnam war bombing. After the walk, relish light snacks and green tea at the opulent Co Ha Gardens amid bonsai trees and picturesque ponds. (5:30am to 7:30am, Private Activity & Transfer; 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.
Half Day Red Bridge Cooking School Experience For the adventurous palates, visit Red Bridge cooking school – a highlight of Hoi An’s culinary scene. Meet your chef at Hai Café in the old town for an introduction and welcome drink. Then explore the central market with him, learning about the quintessential ingredients of Vietnamese cuisine. Enjoy photographic moments on the 20min cruise to the school, with glimpses of local river life. Visit the school’s herb garden and enjoy a private hands-on cooking class. Savor what you have created. (Best Time to Visit: All Year; Total Duration: 4- hrs; Timings: Two slots: 08:00 hrs and 11:00 hrs; Important Notes: Private class is available for the afternoon only)
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.
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.
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 12 days / 11 nights
Meals as indicated
Flights mentioned below on Economy Class unless otherwise specified:
Hanoi – Hue
Danang – Nha Trang
Nha Trang – Ho Chi Minh / Saigon
All activities as listed :
Hanoi: Evening Water Puppet Show (One Hour)
Hanoi: Highlights of Hanoi on foot
Hanoi: Discovering Hanoi
Halong Bay: Sailing the Misty Ha Long Bay
Halong Bay: Halong Bay Cruise Activities (Jasmine Cruise)
Hue: A Family Meal in Hue
Hue: Sunrise tour of the Imperial Citadel
Hoi An: Half Day Red Bridge Cooking School Experience
Hoi An: Walking Tour of Hoi An
All airport and hotel transfers
A high-quality air conditioned vehicle with a safety-tested chauffeur for all activities specified in the itinerary
All activities specified in the itinerary, including entrance fees wherever applicable, accompanied by our tour guide
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