15 days 14 nights
Hanoi, Halong Bay, Mai Chau, Danang, Hoi An
DAY 1: Arrival in Hanoi
Your adventure begins when you step off the plane and into the warm, welcoming air of Hanoi. Your driver will meet you at the airport and you will be driven the Old Quarter, the hub of Hanoian culture. En route make sure to look out for the world’s longest mosaic as it snakes along the main road, its tiles glistening in the sun. As you reach the Old Quarter you will be immersed in the excitement of the swarming streets. The afternoon is yours to discover the magic of the city. If you arrive early, please feel free to come and visit our office in the Old Quarter. We will be happy to share some practical information with you.
DAY 2: Hanoi City Tour (B, L, D)
Today, you will visit the top spots in Hanoi to get a true feel for the culture and tradition that underpins this dynamic city. After breakfast in your hotel, you will be collected at 08:00 by your tour guide who will take you to the serene Tran Quoc Pagoda, the oldest Buddhist temple in Hanoi. It sits peacefully next to the glimmering waters of the lake, Tay Ho, and provides a moment of stillness in the energetic city.
Next, you will visit the iconic Ho Chi Minh Complex where you can feel the gravity of Vietnam’s victory of independence. You will have the chance to view the legendary Ho Chi Minh in his final resting place and visit Ba Dinh square where the declaration of independence was read in 1945.
After lunch, your cultural discovery will continue with a visit to Vietnam’s first national university, The Temple of Literature. The courtyards boast beautifully preserved traditional Vietnamese architecture and well-maintained gardens all decorated with ornate sculptures. Originally built and dedicated to Confucius in the 11th century, this complex honours some of Vietnam’s finest scholars and will leave you feeling inspired.
After a day of cultural and historical discovery, you will be entertained by the amusing stories told in the water puppet shows. This unique form of entertainment takes a light-hearted look at life in rural Vietnam.
You will be able to relax after your first day with a night in a three-star hotel.
DAY 3: Depart Hanoi for Halong Bay (B, L, D)
Today you will experience the awe-inspiring beauty of Halong Bay whose iconic karst peaks and azure blue waters are often shown as the pinnacle of Vietnam’s beauty. You will board the 08:00 shuttle bus to Halong Bay where you will board a cruise at midday. First, you will tour a collection of islands all named for the objects they depict. On the cruise, you will visit Oan islet, Teapot islet, Monster Face islet, Torch islet, Dragon islet, and Porcupine islet.
Halong bay is not only popular for its collection of islands but also for the amazing caves that lurk beneath them. You will get to experience Amazing Cave whose impressive stalactites and stalagmites dance in the sunlight breaking in from above, casting shadows that will set your imagination running. After, you will venture to Luon Cave whose cavernous mouth opens up into a blissful oasis of still waters surrounded by towering karst walls. The protection from the elements makes this the perfect habitat for many different species of wildlife and plants.
Your night will be just as magical as your day as you spend the night on board the boat.
DAY 4: Halong Bay – Lan Ha Bay (B, L, D)
Welcome the new day with a Thai Chi class, a traditional activity that prepares the body and mind for the day ahead. Today, you will discover the hidden world of the Dark and Light Caves. First, you will pass through the low, dark mouth, its roof cobbled with worn stalactites. Then you will emerge into a pool of light as you enter the harbour created by the surrounding islands.
The afternoon will take you to see the incredible craftsmanship of the pearl farmers at the Halong Pearl Farm. Here you can learn about the processes involved in creating the stunning pearls and see the artisans perfecting each one meticulously.
You will have one more night to enjoy on board the boat.
DAY 5: Ha Long Bay – Hanoi (B, L, D)
Your Halong Bay cruise will climax with a visit to the beautifully formed Titop Island. The island sits like and emerald gem on the waters. Its conical shape makes a great viewpoint for the surrounding areas. From the peak, green forests roll down to the dusty white sand. It is the perfect place to end your cruise and take some amazing photos.
You will disembark the cruise at midday and you will arrive back in Hanoi at around 16:30 where you are free to explore and relax. You will spend the night in a three-star hotel.
DAY 6: Mai Chau (B, L, D)
Today, you will once again leave behind the hubbub of Hanoi and head into nature as you uncover the stunning vistas of Mai Chau and the local villages. Located only 130km outside of Hanoi, this peaceful valley will feel like a whole world away from Hanoi. The vast valley is a patchwork of green dotted with small Thai villages. Here you can see the women working fastidiously, weaving lengths of intricate textiles. You will experience local culture and hospitality as you have lunch with a local family and spend the afternoon discovering the nearby villages by bicycle.
After a delicious local dinner, you will be treated to a traditional dance show, where the playful and artistic nature of the communities living here really comes to life.
DAY 7: Mai Chau - Hanoi (B, L, D)
After a nourishing breakfast, you will be ready for the day's hike to the 1000 Step Cave which is aptly named! The steps lead you up the steep incline to the summit where a cave with strikingly formed stalactites and stalagmites awaits you. This, however, is not your only reward as this is also one of the best vantage points to take in the stunning view of Mai Chau.
After your descent from the cave, you will take a trip to the local market where you can see the amazing craftsmanship of the local people who make the colourful and intricate items on sale. It is amazing to discover the hard work and skill that is put into each and every item on offer. After another delicious local meal for lunch, you will return to Hanoi. You will arrive back in the city at around 18:30 where you will be free to relax.
DAY 8: Hanoi – Danang – Hoi An (B)
Today you will travel to the charming and well-preserved port town of Hoi An, a town that manages to capture the hearts of Vietnamese and foreigners alike. You will be collected from your hotel and taken to Hanoi airport for your flight to Danang. From here you will be driven down the stunning coastal road which divides the powerful green mountains and the clear, blue sea. Along the way, you will see the striking marble mountain whose five peaks represent each of the five elements. You can also see the artisans carving incredible marble creations in the Marble Carving Village.
Day 9, 10, 11, 12, 13: Hoi An and surrounding areas (B)
Now you have four days with your tour guide to discover the many amazing sights that Hoi An has to offer. Uncover the rich and diverse history in the ancient town. Here you can discover the influences of the multicultural tradesmen that once inhabited the town.
Discover the splendidly ornate Phuc Kien Assembly Hall bought by rich Chinese traders and dedicated to the Goddess of the Sea in order to protect the sailors. Follow this up with a visit to the faithfully preserved ancient housed of Tan Ky and Phung Hung whose intricate and eclectic architecture beautifully demonstrates the Chinese, Japanese and European influences.
Take a trip to the atmospheric My Son Sanctuary, a temple of Hindu origin that sits peacefully in the mountains. Time seems to have merged the striking stone pillars and the surrounding nature as the foliage has begun to wind its way up their trunks.
Choose to float along the lazy river and take in the view of the town from the water as you visit the fishing village and try your hand at driving the unusual and impressive coconut basket boats through the rich agricultural patchwork of fields and rivers.
Day 14: Hoi An to Ha Noi (B)
You will be collected in the morning and driven to Danang airport where you will take your return flight to Hanoi. Once back in the city, you will be collected from the airport and delivered to your hotel. The night is yours to enjoy. You will be free to make the most of your last night in this magical city.
Day 15: Free time in Ha Noi. Ha Noi to Ha Noi airport (B)
Today you will have free time to drink as much of the Hanoian culture as you can before your homeward flight. Fit in one last flavoursome meal, one more rich Vietnamese coffee and buy any last souvenirs before we deliver you to Hanoi airport for your journey home after your amazing adventure.