Stretching over 3,200 kilometers in length with countless mountains, rivers, forests, and beaches, Vietnam is one of Asia’s most diverse and fascinating countries. Introducing you to the country’s three main regions, this 11-day journey starts with the natural splendor and majesty of the North, continues to the historic charm of the Central Provinces before concluding with the beauty and vibrancy of the South.
Begin your tour of Vietnam in the atmospheric capital of Hanoi. Here the wide streets buzz with motorbikes and street vendors, yet peaceful parks and scenic lakes can also be seen around the city. A short drive from Hanoi lays Hoa Lu, an ancient capital that is also home to stunning limestone peaks and lush paddy fields. An overnight cruise on Ha Long Bay unveils a spectacular landscape of dramatic limestone formations jutting out of the emerald waters.
In central Vietnam, the UNESCO heritage towns of Hue and Hoi An wait your discovery. Having served as the old imperial capital city, Hue still remains the cultural heart of the country with its many ancient buildings, museums and buildings. Hoi An was once an important trading port town and the traditional shop houses and small laneways offer a glimpse into Vietnam’s storied past.
Your tour concludes in the bustling south. Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon, is the fast-paced commercial capital of the country yet is still filled with architectural remnants of the French Indochina period. Travel to the nearby Mekong Delta and experience the rustic lifestyle of this region as you explore the labyrinth of waterways, floating markets and fertile rice fields.
Enjoy the best that Vietnam has to offer as the experts at Exotissimo take you through the highlights of this dynamic country.
Day 1: Hanoi Arrival (-/L/D)
Arriving in Hanoi, you will be welcomed by your guide and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is at your leisure to explore the tree-lined boulevards, French Indochinese architecture and tranquil lakes of this unique city. Overnight hotel stay in Hanoi.
Day 2: Hanoi (B/L/D)
The capital of Vietnam, a city that celebrated 1,000 years in 2010 has countless fascinating cultural and historic sites, and our days’ tour will visit the highlights. See the grand and solemn mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh (viewed from outside; closed Mon and Fri and from Oct-Nov), the ‘icon of Hanoi’ – The One Pillar Pagoda, the beautiful Temple of Literature, West Lake’s Tran Quoc Temple and Quan Thanh Pagoda as well as the fascinating Ethnology Museum, the bustling Old Quarter and at the end of the day – a water puppet performance. Overnight hotel stay in Hanoi.
Day 3: Hanoi – Hoa Lu – Hanoi (B/L/-)
Leave the city behind with a short drive through rural Northern Vietnam to Hoa Lu, Vietnam’s first capital. After visiting the two remaining sanctuaries of the ancient citadel, take a sampan boat ride through the rice paddies and enormous limestone karsts to reach the sacred Tam Coc Caves. (Note: In place of Tam Coc, you can opt to visit either Trang An, a nature reserve, or Thung Nang, a lush valley.) End your visit with a climb up to Bich Dong Pagoda for panoramic views of the surrounding countryside before returning to Hanoi in the afternoon. Overnight hotel stay in Hanoi.
Day 4: Hanoi – Halong Bay (B/L/D)
After breakfast, enjoy the 3.5 hour ride to Halong Bay and take in the lush scenery as you drive through the rich farmlands of the Red River Delta. Upon arriving in Halong, board your boat. Lunch will be served as you cruise amongst the bay’s rock formations and unspoiled pockets. As the sun sets, enjoy dinner on-board and your boat will anchor in the bay for the night. Overnight hotel stay in Halong Bay.
Day 5: Halong Bay – Noi Bai Airport – Danang – Hoi An (B/-/-)
This morning, watch the sunrise from the deck and enjoy a full breakfast (or brunch) as your boat sails back to the harbor. Depending on the availability of time after disembarking, your guide will take you to Hanoi’s Old Quarter for you to enjoy some time at leisure or drive straight to Noi Bai Aiport for your short flight to Danang. Upon arrival, a private vehicle will be waiting for you for the 40-minute drive to Hoi An. Overnight hotel stay in Hoi An.
Day 6: Hoi An – My Son – Hoi An (B/-/-)
Today will be spent discovering Vietnam’s rich cultural and historical heritage. The morning begins with a visit to My Son, the capital and religious centre of the Champa Kingdom, and Tra Kieu (formerly known as Simhapura or the Lion Citadel) to view the Cham ruins and artifacts. This afternoon, a walking tour of Hoi An’s ancient town centre will take you back in time to when it was a major trading port in Asia. Overnight hotel stay in Hoi An.
Day 7: Hoi An – Hue (B/-/-)
Enjoy this morning at leisure before leaving for Hue, the former imperial capital of Vietnam. Driving through Danang, stop to visit the Cham Museum that houses the finest collection of Hindu-Cham sculptures in the world. Continue driving along the scenic coast of central Vietnam, first ascending the Pass of Ocean Clouds for panoramic views of the surroundings before descending to the picturesque fishing village of Lang Co. Overnight hotel stay in Hue.
Day 8: Hue (B/-/-)
Start your day with a visit to the Imperial Citadel where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled between 1802 and 1945. After exploring the ruins of this wonderful monument take a cyclo through the ‘Old City’ to Tinh Tam Lake where the Emperors used to come to relax. This afternoon, visit Thien Mu (Celestial Lady) Pagoda overlooking the Perfume River. Continue to former Emperor Minh Mang’s Tomb and end the day at Khai Dinh’s Tomb, which boasts a traditional Vietnamese design with a European touch making it unique from the other tombs in Hue. Before heading back to your hotel take time to stroll around Dong Ba Market with your guide. Overnight hotel stay in Hue.
Day 9: Hue – Ho Chi Minh City (B/-/-)
Today, fly to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), formerly known as Saigon. Begin your sightseeing tour of HCMC at the bustling Chinese district of Cholon, and continue to FITO Museum, Vietnam’s first traditional medicine museum, and Ben Thanh Market to see the wide variety of goods for sale. This afternoon, depending on your preference, visit either the War Remnants Museum or History Museum, and the former Presidential Palace. Finish the day with a stroll around the city’s colonial architecture, including the Old Saigon Post Office, Dong Khoi Street (formerly Rue Catinat), Continental Hotel, Opera House and City Hall. Note: History Museum is closed on Mondays. Overnight hotel stay in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 10: Ho Chi Minh City – Mekong Delta – Ho Chi Minh City (B/L/-)
Today, leave the bustle of the city behind for a day of exploring scenic rice fields, waterways and colorful markets of the Mekong Delta. Cruise along the Mekong tributaries to Cai Be Floating Market and visit cottage industries that make ‘pop’ rice, rice paper and coconut candies. Cruise deeper to Dong Hoa Hiep Island and discover the rural lifestyles and daily activities of the delta inhabitants. Return to Ho Chi Minh City late this afternoon. Overnight hotel stay in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 11: Ho Chi Minh City Departure (B/-/-)
Transfer to Tan Son Nhat Airport. Services end.