21 days 20 nights
Hanoi, Halong, Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh, Mekong delta, Cu Chi, Phu Quoc
Day 1: Arrival and free time in Hanoi
You will arrive at Hanoi Airport and will be collected and driven into the buzzing epicentre of the Old Quarter. As you journey from the airport, you will begin to get a feel for the magic that Hanoi possesses. You will follow the world’s longest mosaic as it unfolds right before your eyes and leads you into the heart of the city. You will see the streets, animated with the throng of motorcycles negating their ways through the streets and hear the orchestra of people as they engage in their daily business. Smell the aroma of delicious food wafting from each open door and savour the flavour of each local delicacy you sample. You can enjoy the rest of the day immersing yourself in the magic of Hanoi with time to explore at your leisure. For those who do not enjoy hot and humid summers, winter is the perfect time to visit Hanoi with the fresh breeze and low chance of rain.
Day 2: The first day in Halong Bay (B, L, D)
You will be collected at 08:00 to take the shuttle bus to Halong Bay, one of the most famous beauty spots in the whole of Vietnam. You will embark on a cruise at midday to get the best views of the bay. During the winter, there is often a light fog which shrouds the bay in mystery. The fog softens the boundaries between land and sea and creates some stunning scenes, perfect for taking some striking photographs. Feel the true power of nature as you float between the towering islands, each striking out from the water like mythical creatures. Some of these islands have been named for their likeness to real objects. On the first day, you will visit Oan islet, Teapot islet, Monster Face islet, Torch islet, Dragon islet, Porcupines islet. You will be truly relaxed as you spend the night aboard the ship.
The afternoon will continue with a visit to two of Halong Bay’s most remarkable caves. Amazing cave speaks for itself and really has to be seen to be believed. The magnificent stalactites and stalagmites cast shadows across the cave that will stimulate your imagination as familiar shapes appear from the formations. Amazing cave has many different crevices to explore each illuminated by the light cascading in through the cracks. Following on from this, you will also get to visit tunnel of Luon Cave and venture through the arched mouth into the crystal lagoon on the other side. The clear waters make this the perfect chance to spot some of the varied wildlife inhabiting the water.
Day 3: The second day in Halong Bay (B, L, D)
Continue your voyage with a morning visit to one of Halong Bay’s most picturesque islands, Titop Island. Its conical shape and carpet of lush green trees meet the ocean at a rim of delicate white sand. You can enjoy the panoramic views of the stunning scenery and drink in the relaxing ambience from the top of this charming island. After a leisurely morning, you will disembark the cruise at midday and return to Hanoi where you can relax in your three-star hotel.
Day 4: The day in Hanoi + Food Tour (B, L, D)
After your relaxing trip around the stunning Halong Bay, introduce yourself back into the excitement of Hanoi with a mouth-watering food tour to sample the finest foods in Hanoi. Bun Cha, believed to have originated in Hanoi, is cherished by locals and tourists alike. Rice noodles, served with juicy grilled pork and aromatic herbs are all piled high onto the plates ready for you to dip into the flavoursome sweet and sour broth. Throughout the afternoon, you will also warm yourself with one of Hanoi’s most indulgent drinks, the famous egg coffee.The street food in Hanoi is certainly a highlight, and no food tour would be complete without tasting the soft, delicate banh cuon or the legendary banh mi. After a satisfying day soaking up the energy of downtown Hanoi and sampling the local specialities, you will be ready for another comfortable night in your hotel.
Day 5: Hanoi - Hoi An (B)
Day five will see your journey head South as you take a trip to Hoi An. You will be collected from your hotel and taken to the airport where you will take a flight to Danang. Once you arrive at Danang airport, you will be collected by your guide to start the drive to Hoi An. The drive will take you along some Vietnam’s most incredible stretches of road. Travel down the coastal road, separating the green covered peaks and city buildings from the clear blue seas. As you near the end of your journey, you will come to the magical marble mountains, each of the five karst peaks representing the five elements of earth, metal, fire, water and wood. The mountains feature many caves and caverns some of which have been turned into atmospheric shrines. You will also get to see the skilfully crafted marble statues that are made by the local artisans. After an exciting journey, you will be delivered to your hotel in Hoi An. During winter in Hoi An, there is a cool breeze making it a perfect time for exploring this picturesque town.
Day 6: Guided tour of Hoi An: (B, L)
Today your guide will collect you at 09:00 and take you some of Hoi An’s finest spots. Firstly, you will immerse yourself in the diverse history of this once bustling trade port. You will visit a meeting hall and two fascinating houses that illustrate the multicultural influences that have shaped this unique town. First is the ornate and luxurious Phuc Kien assembly hall which is a feast for the eyes with its intricate architecture and elaborate art.
After this, you will visit the ancient houses of Tan Ky and Phung Hung. Built at the edge of the Thu Bon river, the houses have been carefully preserved and showcase Chinese, Japanese and European influences in the architecture and design. This fusion of architectural styles illustrates the town's multicultural history. Just a stone's throw away is the beautiful Japanese covered bridge, a striking and ornate walkway that connects the Japanese and Chinese areas.
After lunch in Hoi An, you will venture into the mountains to the stunning My Son Sanctuary, an ancient Cham site of worship. The unique stone pillars were part of a Hindu temple and were built to worship purity and greatness, both of which are abundant in the stunning scenery all around.
Day 7: Bicycle ride and cooking class at Tra Que vegetable village. (B, L)
You will take a leisurely bicycle ride through the patchwork of fields and paddies, past lazy water buffalo and glassy rivers until you reach the tranquil Tra Que vegetable village. Famed for its array of fresh vegetables and herbs, as you drink in the fresh air, you will feel healthy just being here! You will be able to reap the full benefits of these vegetables, all of which have been lovingly tended to by the local villagers, during your cooking class. Learn how to pick the best produce for your recipe and how to prepare flavoursome local dishes. This trip will surely feed the body and soul leaving you revived and refreshed.
Day 8: Free time in Hoi An without a tour guide. (B)
The cooler winter months are perfect for exploring the city as there is no need to hide from the scorching heat. It is easy to explore this charming town either by bicycle or on foot. Meander between the sunshine yellow houses and down the winding alleys to uncover the hidden gems of Hoi An.
Hoi An is famed for its exquisite tailors who make high-quality clothing using the finest fabric at a fraction of the cost you would pay at home. Wander down the lantern studded streets and become enthralled with all the delightful souvenirs on offer.
If you would like to delve deeper into the history of Hoi An and discover the secrets of its past, you can visit the various museums around the town. Discover the rich history of the town, the people and the trade that once flourished here.
The town is spectacular at night with the reflections of the many colourful lanterns dancing slowly on the peaceful river.
Day 9: Transfer from Hoi An to Ho Chi Minh. (B)
As your time in Hoi An comes to an end, you can prepare for the next part of your journey to the energetic and dynamic metropolis of Ho Chi Minh. You will be collected from your hotel and taken to Danang airport where you will board your onward flight to Ho Chi Minh. Once you arrive in Ho Chi Minh, you will be collected from the airport and taken to your hotel, all making for a stress-free journey! In Ho Chi Minh you will notice the warmer temperatures and the buzz of the city, ever moving and changing. The fusion of traditional Vietnamese towns and contemporary structures illustrates the dizzying rate at which this city has been developing.
Day 10, 11: Mekong Delta tour 2 days 1 night (My Tho - Ben Tre - Can Tho) (B, L, D) (B, L)
Your adventure will take to the water once more as you adventure through the maze-like waterways of the Mekong Delta. Enveloped by the fertile lands around, you will taking a floating tour and drink in the rich culture of the local people living in and around the delta. You will see the farms and taste some of the local produce in My Tho, a farming village that cultivates rice and coconuts as well as a variety of fresh fruits. Then onwards to Ben Tre, a smaller, more peaceful village famous for its sweet keo dua, coconut candy produced by local women. Lastly is the vibrant and lively village of Can Tho, a thriving waterside town where you can experience the colourful flotillas of the floating markets.
Day 12: Cu Chi Tunnels (B, L)
You will be collected at either 08:00 or midday to travel back in time in the Cu Chi tunnel system that once harboured many Viet Cong soldiers during the war. The tunnels played a vital role in mounting surprise attacks on American bases, sending secret communications and sheltering soldiers. The tunnels once stretched across the country as far as Cambodia and were made up of many miles of tunnels and living cramped living quarters. Now you can experience these fascinating mazes first hand.
Day 13: Free time in Ho Chi Minh without tour guide (B)
You will be captivated by the pulsing rhythm of Ho Chi Minh where the beautifully preserved traditional buildings merge with the ultra-modern shopping malls and tower blocks. For the historian, there is the Reunification Palace, The War Remnants Museum, the Museum of Vietnamese History and Ho Chi Minh Museum, all will transport you back through the fascinating history of this diverse city. You can take a break from the bustling city at one of its many of temples and religious buildings. Some of the top spots are Phung Son Tu Pagoda, the Jade Emperor Pagoda, Notre Dame Cathedral, the colourful Mariamman Hindu temple or Cho Quan Church. A more modern architectural highlight is the impressive Bitexco sky-scraper. Designed by Carlos Zapata, and supposedly resembling a lotus bulb, this structure stands 68 stories high. You can take a trip up to the viewing floor or enjoy sunset drinks in the bar and restaurant which have unrivalled views of the city.
Day 14: Journey to Phu Quoc Island (B)
The next exciting leg of your journey will take you to the idyllic island of Phu Quoc. You will be collected from your hotel and taken to Ho Chi Minh airport where you will board your flight for Phu Quoc.
Day 15, 16, 17, 18, 19: Free time in Phu Quoc without a tour guide (B)
You will have five days relaxing on the serene island of Phu Quoc. Until recently, this stunning retreat has remained relatively untouched. This is evident in its amazing natural beauty and relatively undeveloped surroundings. The peak season to visit is between November and March when the temperature is settled between 25-28 degrees Celsius and the weather is mostly dry and sunny. There is a border of fine sand dividing the crystal clear turquoise water and the dense jungles and mountains of the island. Phu Quoc is the perfect place to relax in the sun or cool off in the water. The clean waters are great for diving amongst the coral or kayaking around the island. You can head deeper into the island to discover the dense jungles and the wild animals that live there. However you choose to spend your time here, you will be sure to enjoy the magnificent sunsets that grace the island each night.
Day 20: Return to Ho Chi Minh (B)
After five days drinking in the serene atmosphere of Phu Quoc, you will return to Ho Chi Minh. You will be taken to Phu Quoc airport where you will fly back to Ho Chi Minh and your guide will take you back to your hotel.
Day 21: Sightseeing in Ho Chi Minh (B)
At 9:00 we will leave for the historic Reunification Palace and War Remnants Museum where you can uncover the secrets of the turbulent Vietnam War. After, you will visit the French colonial Notre Dame Cathedral and The Post Office where you can see the impressive architecture of the once French Colonies. You will enjoy a local lunch before visiting the colourful and bustling Chinese district of Cho Lon. This area is alive with the sights, sounds and smells of China. As you stroll through the streets dotted with red lanterns and ornate sculptures, be sure to taste some of the mouthwatering delicacies on offer. You will then venture into the hubbub of Ben Thanh market where you will find every type of item piled high in abundance. As you squeeze through the stalls, you can watch the art of the Vietnamese street sellers, all bargaining for the best prices. After you will have free time to practice your own bargaining or to relax with some refreshments and shopping.
After a busy day taking in as much of the colourful culture of Ho Chi Minh as you can, we will take you to Ho Chi Minh airport. This ends your amazing adventure in Vietnam. As you board your homeward flight, we hope you have nothing but magical memories of this once in a lifetime adventure.