General

Day 1: Hanoi Arrival

Day 2: Hanoi

Day 3: HanoiNinh Binh

Day 4: Ninh Binh – Thanh Hoa – Ninh Binh

Day 5: Ninh Binh – Halong Bay

Day 6: Halong Bay – Hanoi – Danang – Hoi An

Day 7: Hoi An – My Son – Hoi An

Day 8: Hoi An – Hue

Day 9: Hue

Day 10: Hue – Dong Hoi

Day 11: Dong Hoi – Phong Nha visit

Day 12: Dong Hoi – Ho Chi Minh City

Day 13: Ho Chi Minh City

Day 14: Ho Chi Minh City Departure

Activities

DAY 1 Hanoi Arrival

Arrive in Hanoi and transfer to your hotel in town

The rest of day is at your leisure

Overnight in Hanoi.

DAY 2 Hanoi

Depart the hotel to visit the Temple of Literature, or Quoc Tu Giam. Built in 1076, The Temple of Literature was Vietnam's first university and was established within a temple to educate Vietnam's royalty, mandarins and members of the elite. The grounds of the university, which functioned for 700 years, have been well-preserved

The next stop is a visit to Hanoi’s UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Thang Long Imperial Citadel. The Citadel was constructed on a Chinese fortress dating back from the 7th century and re-built in the 11th century by the Ly Viet Dynasty

We also visit The One Pillar Pagoda, which was founded by King Ly Thai To in 1049. This structure is one of Vietnam’s smallest but most iconic temples. Close by is the mausoleum of the historic father figure of modern Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh, and the former presidents house on stilts where he lived from 1958 to 1969

From there head into Hanoi’s Old Quarter, also known as the ‘36 streets’ area. Take a walking tour through charming Hang Be Market and around Hoan Kiem Lake. This bustling area of narrow streets and alleys is home to literally thousands of small businesses and shopkeepers and is a must see in person

In the evening, catch a Water Puppet show, a uniquely North Vietnamese art form depicting scenes from rural life and episodes of national history

Overnight in Hanoi

DAY 3 Hanoi – Ninh Binh

Depart in the morning for a Ninh Binh, the site of Vietnam’s first capital, Hoa Lu. Visit the temples dedicated to Emperor Dinh Tien Hoang of the Dinh Dynasty (968-80), and Emperor Le Dai Hanh of the Le Dynasty (980-1009)

After visiting Hoa Lu climb the surrounding limestone karst hills for a spectacular view of the valley

After lunch, visit Trang An Landscape Complex which was listed on UNESCO World Heritage Site in June 2014. Trang An is a spectacular landscape of limestone karst peaks permeated with valleys. The enormous limestone karsts jutting out from the green rice fields lend its name, ‘Halong on Land’

Should you feel adventurous, climb up to Bich Dong Pagoda on nearby Ngu Nhac Mountain, dating back to 1428 and comprising three structures: Ha, Trung, and Thuong Pagodas

Overnight in Binh Dinh

DAY 4 Ninh Binh – Thanh Hoa – Ninh Binh

Start the day with a visit to the remote Ho Citadel, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2011, situated in nearby Thanh Hoa Province. Ho Citadel remains consist of the Inner Citadel, La Thanh Outer Wall and the Nam Giao Altar, which are designed for a centralized imperial city in order to show a concept of royal power. The use of large stone walls with traditional feng shui principles are the main characters that represent the almost intact Ho Citadel.

Transfer back to Ninh Binh in the afternoon and enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure

Consider a walk or bicycle ride through the rice paddy fields that surround your hotel to soak up the beauty of the country side, or if time permits make an optional trip to Cuc Phuong National Park – Vietnam’s first national park established in 1962

Overnight in Ninh Binh

DAY 5 Ninh Binh – Halong Bay

Depart Ninh Binh in the morning for Halong Bay, perhaps Vietnam’s most famous and most popular UNESCO World Heritage site. The name ‘Ha Long’ means the dragon descending into the sea and owes its origins to a Vietnamese myth.

Arrive at the Halong Bay jetty around noon and proceed with check-in formalities before boarding a boat for your unforgettable overnight cruise on Halong bay. After your welcome onboard, a lunch will be served while cruising towards the bay itself

In the afternoon, enjoy some visits and/or activities (depending on each boat’s itinerary) or just spend some time relaxing on board. Towards the end of the day the boat sets anchor for the night among the karst formations. Dinner is served on board

Overnight on board the boat in Halong Bay

DAY 6 Halong Bay – Hanoi – Hoi An

Experience the sunrise over the emerald waters of Halong Bay

Mid-morning the boat will return to shore

Disembark and transfer to Hanoi Airport for the mid-late afternoon flight to Danang in Central Vietnam

On arrival in Danang, transfer to the nearby historic Hoi An town. Hoi An was a major Asian trading port from the 15th to the 19th centuries. The ‘Hoi An Ancient Town’ was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. While the architecture has been regulated to remain intact, the town has come alive with modern cafes, shops and entertainment making it a favourite destination for international visitors

Overnight in Hoi An

DAY 7 Hoi An - My Son – Hoi An

Head out in the morning to another of Central Vietnam’s UNESCO World Heritage sites – the temple complex at My Son Sanctuary

My Son was the homeland of the grand Champa Kingdom who built dozens of red brick towers during the 7th – 13th centuries. The sanctuary is situated in an impressive location surrounded by hills, around 35 km inland from the coast at Hoi An. Whilst not as spectacular as the great Angkor complexes in Cambodia, the remaining structures are atmospheric enough to conjure images of the majesty of the Champa Kingdom

Return to Hoi An just in time for a sunset walking tour and explore the ancient trading ports unique characteristic: wooden-fronted houses that once belonged to the town’s prosperous merchants, the Japanese-covered Bridge and the wonderful market as well as the silk, handicrafts, antique shops and galleries that take you back in time

Enjoy the evening at leisure exploring some of the local cafes and restaurants

Overnight in Hoi An

DAY 8 Hoi An - Hue

Start the day with a Vietnamese cooking class, one that takes you through the entire process of sourcing ingredients in the local market through to preparing your own lunch. A hands-on experience is the best way to become more familiar with the art of Vietnamese cuisine

All efforts are rewarded with the lunch that you have made for yourself!

After the cooking class, you will depart from Hoi An for a 3-hour drive through Hai Van Pass to Hue, the former citadel of the very last Nguyen Dynasty

Overnight in Hue

DAY 9 Hue

This morning after breakfast, depart from your hotel in Hue for a city tour to explore the UNESCO World Heritage listed ‘Complex of Hue Monuments’

The structures of The Complex of Hue Monuments are carefully placed within the natural setting of the site and aligned cosmologically with the Five Cardinal Points (centre, west, east, north, south), the Five Elements (earth, metal, wood, water, fire), and the Five Colours (yellow, white, blue, black, red). The Imperial Citadel is where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled between 1802 and 1945, this ancient citadel reflects the pomp and ceremony of the dynastic rulers as well as the scars of many years of turmoil, both ancient and modern

From the citadel, take a cyclo through dai noi ‘Old City’ to Tinh Tam Lake where the Emperors used to come to relax. If you come during the summer, the water will be full of lotus flowers, while nearly year round the local style coffee shops are full of young Vietnamese congregating

Continue to visit Thien Mu (Celestial Lady) Pagoda overlooking the Perfume River; constructed in 1601, the 21-meter tall tower is the centerpiece of the pagoda and represents seven reincarnations of Buddha

After a lunch to experience authentic Hue style cuisine, head out to visit Khai Dinh’s Tomb which is Vietnamese in design with European influences, making it unique from the other tombs in Hue. On the way back to Hue, visit Ho Quyen (tiger arena). Built in 1830 during the reign of Minh Mang emperor, the arena was the stage of yearly battles between an elephant and a tiger. The arena is a rarity of Asian architecture and is still intact

IN the afternoon, head to the Dong Ba market, a must see in Hue, where the stalls are teeming with color and a great place to catch a glimpse of everyday life

Overnight in Hue

DAY 10 Hue – Dong Hoi

Transfer to Dong Hoi in the morning via Highway 1 across the Hien Luong Bridge and over the Ben Hai River, which demarcated North and South Vietnam

This area saw some of the heaviest fighting during the war. Doc Mieu Firebase, which lies just north of here, played a pivotal role and was the command post for calling in airstrikes along the Ho Chi Minh Trail

The journey from here to Vinh Moc Tunnels is scenic after you leave the main highway, pass through quaint villages and skirt along Cua Tung Beach. The village of Vinh Moc found itself tragically positioned in one of the most heavily bombed areas of Vietnam. In order to escape this bombardment, the villagers constructed approximately 2.8 km of underground tunnels

From Vinh Moc drive to Truong Son National Cemetery where the remains of some 15,000 Vietnamese soldiers and civilians have been laid to rest

Overnight in Dong Hoi

DAY 11 Phong Nha

In the morning head out to the Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003. The National Park contains and protects over 104 km of caves and underground rivers making it one of the most outstanding limestone karst ecosystems in the world. The karst landscape is not only complex but also ancient (more than 400 million years ago), with high geo-diversity and geomorphic features of considerable significance in the world

On arrival in Phong Nha area visit the Paradise Cave, which was opened to the public in 2010. Here you have a chance to see one of the larger and most impressive accessible caves in the area

Take a leisurely boat trip down the Son River to the mouth of the Phong Nha cave, passing by the entrance to the 'Cave of Teeth and Wind’. The area has numerous grottoes and caves and so far only a total of 20 caves with a total length of 70km have been surveyed

Overnight in Dong Hoi

DAY 12 Dong Hoi – Ho Chi Minh City

In the morning transfer to Dong Hoi Airport and on to Ho Chi Minh City

In the afternoon, take a tour of some of the main sites, including the Reunification Palace, the Old Saigon Post Office, Dong Khoi Street, the Continental Hotel, Opera House and City Hall

Visit the War Remnants Museum where exhibition halls display imagery of both the French and ‘American’ wars

Continue to the Jade Emperor Pagoda located on the fringes of district 1. Dating from 1909 and built by Cantonese Buddhists, this quiet oasis was designed using feng shui principals showcasing ornate statues and effigies.

Enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure and experience some of Saigon’s nightlife

Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City

DAY 13 Ho Chi Minh City

Start the day with an early morning market visit to sample Saigon’s best offering: it’s delicious street food. Walk around the vibrant and colorful wet market early in the morning to experience the local life and taste some of the Vietnamese people’s favorite local delicacies

Take the afternoon at your leisure and explore other parts of the city

In the evening, board a river cruise for a 3-hour dinner. Seeing the city from the water is a unique experience

Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City

DAY 14 Ho Chi Minh City Departure

Enjoy the morning at leisure before heading out on your next adventure

Available departures

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