Welcome to Hanoi, where Chinese influence and French design peacefully coexist. Experience the limestone scenery that made the classic French film Indochine famous when you visit Hoa Lua and feel the full panorama of its romance while cruising on a replica steam ship for an overnight cruise on Halong Bay.
The luxury Vietnam experience continues in the Central regions. Discover how life is life in Imperial Vietnam; visiting the Citadel and past emperor’s mausoleums while cruising along the romantically named Perfume River in Hue. Continue your history lesson as you discover ancient Champa ruins at My Son and wander through 400 year old shop houses in Hoi An.
Waiting in the south is the Mekong Delta, the mouth of the dragon. You will discover Saigon, a city of contrasts where modern and ancient Asia competes openly with colonial France for your attention. Far from the city we will take you on a private and truly memorable overnight cruise through the tropical delta on Vietnamese sampan. Wake up in the Mekong Delta, slide through the boats, fruit and sweet savories to be first customer at the floating market.
Tour Code : VLT 04
Tour Route: Hanoi – Hoa Lu/Tam Coc – Ninh Binh– Ha Long Bay– Hanoi – Da Nang – Hoi An – Hue – Sai Gon – Mekong Delta – Sai Gon
Tour Duration: 10 Days, 09 Nights
Day 1: Hanoi Arrival
Day 2: Hanoi City Tour
Day 3: Hanoi – Hoa Lu – Tam Coc (Ninh Binh)
Day 4: Ninh Binh – Ha Long Bay
Day 5: Ha Long Bay – Hanoi – Da Nang – Hoi An
Day 6: Hoi An – Hue
Day 7: Hue
Day 8: Hue – Ho Chi Minh City
Day 9: Ho Chi Minh City – Mekong Delta
Day 10: Mekong Delta – Ho Chi Minh City
Dates: No fixed departure dates. You may go whenever you wish.
Starts/Ends: Hanoi/Sai Gon
Tour Type: Landscape and beach vacation, Halong Bay Cruise Holidays
Tour level: Luxury
Activity Level: Easy & comfort
Tour Customizable: Absolutely! (Tell us your specific requirements in the inquiry form)
Day 1 Arrive Hanoi (D)
Transfer via: International Flight on your own arrangement
Accommodations: Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel Hanoi
Upon our arrival at the Noi Bai (Hanoi) airport, our local guide will meet us and escort us to our hotel. The rest of the day is ours to relax and recover from jetlag. Tonight we will have dinner at one of the finest restaurant in Hanoi.
Day 2 Hanoi (B, L)
Accommodations: Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel Hanoi
Sites visited: Ho Chi Minh Complex, Ba Dinh square, Temple of Literature, Museum of Ethnology, Cyclo in Hanoi old quarter, Water puppet show
On this day we will first visit Ba Dinh Square, Ho Chi Minh complex followed by the Temple of Literature. In the afternoon we will visit Museum of Ethnology and explore Hanoi old quarter by cyclo (paddle rickshaw). In the evening we will enjoy the water puppet show
Day 3: Hanoi – Tam Coc/Hoa Lu (B,L)
Accommodations: Emeralda Ninh Binh Resort
Sites visited: Hoa Lu, Tam Coc River, Dinh and Le Temple, Thung Nang or Trang An Nature Reserve
A couple hours drive outside of Hanoi will take you deep into Vietnam’s past and picturesque countryside: discover Hoa Lu, ancient capital of Vietnam during the Dinh and Le dynasties, before taking a sampan trip down the so called ‘Halong Bay on Land’ – Tam Coc River, famous for its charming grottoes and limestone karst mountains. A real insight into Vietnam’s outstanding heritage and dramatic scenery.
Depart your hotel this morning at 8:00 for the 2-hour drive through rural northern Vietnam to 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). The ancient Hoa Lu Citadel (most of which has since been destroyed) once covered an area of three square kilometers.
If time permits after visiting Hoa Lu (for the fit and healthy), take a half-hour walk up one of the surrounding limestone karst hills, the climb is rewarding with spectacular views.
In the late morning depart for Tam Coc Town for a Vietnamese lunch, along the way stop
where you wish to take photographs of local villages and the stunning landscape.
After lunch board your private sampan to either Thung Nang (visited in summer) or Trang An (visited in winter). As the boat gently slices through the water, notice the enormous limestone karsts jutting out from the green rice fields giving rise to other name, ‘Halong on Land’.
Should you feel adventurous climb up to Bich Dong Pagoda on nearby Ngu Nhac Mountain, dating to 1428 and comprising three structures: Ha, Trung, and Thuong Pagodas, in ascending order.
Day 4: Ninh Binh – Ha Long Bay (B,L,D)
Accommodations: Paradise Luxury Cruise
After breakfast leave Ninh Binh for an overnight boat trip on Halong Bay. Journey there through the rich farmlands, observe everyday life of Vietnamese villagers as they work the rice fields, take pigs to the market on bicycles and plough the fields with their water buffaloes. Arrive in Halong City late morning and board your traditional wooden junk for the overnight journey into the Bay. Lunch is served on board. Following cruise by rock formations with such names as Sail, Dog and Dinh Huong (incense pot).
Towards the end of the day set anchor for the night. As the sun sets over the bay dinner is served on board with fresh seafood, salads, and fruits.
Day 5: Ha Long Bay – Ha Noi – Da Nang – Hoi An (B,L)
Accommodations: Nam Hai Resort Hoi An
On your return to Halong City enjoy a wholesome brunch as your boat weaves through strange-shaped limestone rock formations. Upon disembarkation your driver will meet you for the transfer to Hai Phong Airport for the flight to Danang.
On arrival your guide will welcome you for the 40-minute drive to Hoi An.
Day 6: Hoi An – Hue (B,L)
Accommodations: La Residence Hotel & Spa
After your breakfast drive to the ancient port town of Hoi An. Despite the passing of 200 years and the ravages of weather and war, the centre of Hoi An remains much the same as it was in its heyday. A walking tour is the best way to see this marvellous town.
Lunch at one of Hoi An’s best restaurants which serves original and creative cuisine that can only be described as Vietnam-Latin American-Japanese fusion. With a combination of refreshing flavours, beautiful presentations and a relaxing atmosphere this eatery has one the heart of many loyal and happy customers.
Leave Hoi An after lunch for Hue, the former imperial capital of Vietnam. In Danang visit the Cham Museum, before climbing over the ‘Pass ofOcean Clouds’. Arrive in Hue late in the afternoon and transfer to hotel.
Day 7: Hue (B,L,D)
Accommodations: La Residence Hotel & Spa
Pick up from hotel by cyclo and head to dai noi ‘Old City’ to Tinh Tam Lake where the Emperors used to come to relax; full of lotus flowers in summer there are many local style coffee shops around the lake where university students come to study.
Continue by cyclo to Tay Loc Market which is located in the northwest part dai noi. This market is mostly for locals and is rarely visited by tourists.
From Tay Loc transfer by vehicle to the beautiful pagoda which dates back to 1843. What is most interesting at the pagoda are the eunuch tombs from the former Royal Court which in the whole city of Hue are only found here. If in Hue on Thursday or Sunday mornings between 0900-1000 it is the gathering place for up to 20 Buddhist monks and nuns who gather together to pray and read aloud scriptures. This is a fascinating time and highly recommended.
Ho Quyen, which was an arena where duels between elephants and tigers were fought for the entertainment of former Kings, will be visited next. The last fight was held here in 1904 and although small, you can climb the nearby ramparts and gaze down upon the area where the animals once fought.
At the end of the tour visit the recently restored An Dinh Palace where magnificent murals can be seen, as well as the stunning façade where oriental and European designs are integrated.
Enjoy lunch in Hue at one of the city’s most renowned restaurants, Ancient Hue.
In the afternoon see the tomb of the former emperor Minh Mang which is located in a tranquil setting of gardens and ponds.
Journey on to Khai Dinh’s Tomb which is traditional Vietnamese in design with a European touch making it unique from the other tombs in Hue.
At the end of the afternoon head back to your hotel.
Dinner at one of visit to Hue’s beautiful garden houses known locally as ‘nha vuon’. These houses are traditional, privately owned, and set in large and attractive formal gardens. Some have connections with the old Royal Imperial Court and the house’s traditional architecture has long been associated with the natural environment and the ancient belief of ‘feng-shui’
Day 8: Hue – Ho Chi Minh City (B,L)
Accommodations: Park Hyatt Hotel
Depart for Hue Airport after breakfast for the short flight to dynamic Ho Chi Minh City, still called Saigon by the locals. There are many ways to explore the bustling city of Ho Chi Minh, however none is as exhilarating as on the back of a Vespa scooter! Our professional drivers will drive you around Ho Chi Minh City, while you taking in the sites. Enjoy a local lunch before you depart on your vespa tour.
Head to the monument of Thich Quang Duc, a Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist monk who burned himself to death on June 11, 1963 to protest against the persecution of Buddhists by South Vietnam’s Ngo Dinh Diem administration.
Then take a quick stop at the colorful Ho Thi Ky flower market before riding to the Funeral Home to get to know about Vietnamese funeral ceremonies & customs.
Roll through Chinatown to Nhi Phu temple built in the end of 17th century by Chinese immigrants from Fukkien Province. Although the exact construction date is unknown, an inscription on the pagoda’s ancient bell dates the pagoda to pre-1765. Nhi Phu Temple is built in a “Khẩu” (gate) architectural style with an open yard in the center. Its roof is covered with tubular tiles lined with bas-relief mosaics made from broken ceramics, depicting the eight immortals of Taoism including apricot trees, orchids, bamboo and of course dragons and phoenix.
Continue with a short walk through the alley full of tailor’s supplies. Then back to Nhi Phu temple to return to district one by bike. On the way stop at a Chinese Medicine shops for an explanation about “Thuốc Bắc – medicine from herbs” or ”Thuốc tàu – medicine from China.”
Leaving Chinatown, we drive through the tunnel to District 2 where we see downtown Saigon from a different perspective and we have a chance to see a developing Ho Chi Minh City.
Visiting a local market before heading back to District 1 for a twin set of neighboring landmarks: the Post Office, noting the architecture and in particular the map of Saigon that shows where this modern city has come from, followed by Cathedral of Notre Dame.
Moving then to the remarkable Reunification Palace and the previous CIA Office before a drive down Dong Khoi Street (it means “people’s revolution”). Pass by the historic Opera House (now the Municipal Theatre). You may recognize the square from the film based on Phil Noyce’s “The Quiet American”.
Pass HCM City People’s Committee (formerly Hôtel de Ville) which is one of the most photographed buildings in Vietnam – notable for its gardens, ornate facade and elegant interior lit with crystal chandeliers. End the tour at your hotel.
In the afternoon step off the beaten track and take a stroll to the oldest quarter of the city (car at your disposal should you need it). ExploreSaigon’s well-kept secret – Antiques Street (Le Cong Kieu), where genuine antiques are mixed in with genuine fakes: Aladdin oil lamps, carved wooden chests, Marelli copper fans, opium pipes, abacuses, etc. You can also find military cast-offs from the Vietnam War, and if you look hard enough, relics from the French Indochina era. Follow a typical street to reach the Beaux-Arts Museum, a superb neo-colonial building home to various modern arts. Explore the art galleries surrounding the museum, where local artists gladly display their talent.
The rest of the evening at leisure.
Day 9: Ho Chi Minh – Mekong Delta (B,L,D)
Accommodation: Song Xanh Boat
The Cuu Long region, which translates as ‘Nine Dragons’, otherwise known as the Mekong Delta is a great place to discover Vietnam. Amazing waterways hidden amongst vibrant tropical fruit gardens, bustling floating markets that offer a cornucopia of items and acres of emerald rice fields are what make this region so unforgettable.
The private Song Xanh is designed as a traditional sampan and its small size allows you to discover the smaller canals, rivers and tributaries of this region. Cruise Cai Be’s and Cai Rang’s colourful floating markets; visit Sadec, the Mekong town made famous from Marguerite Duras’ novel ‘The Lover’, enjoy an unforgettable dinner in a 19th century house and the sights of sounds of this fascinating region.
After breakfast, depart for the Mekong Delta. Leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind as you travel through Vietnam’s picturesque countryside with its rice paddies and rural villages. Upon arrival in the Delta board the private ‘Song Xanh’, modeled after a traditional sampan. The boat’s small size allows you to discover the smaller canals and tributaries of this region. Your visit includes the home of Mr. Huyen Thuy Le, a character from the novel ‘The Lover’ by Marguerite Duras as well as Thien Hau Pagoda. Return to the boat for lunch. Continue to Can Tho stopping en-route at a Cao Dai Temple. Cao Daism is indigenous to South Vietnam and the colorful and unusual murals that cover the temple’s interior will blind you with their brilliance.
Before sunset, the last stop is at a splendid 19th century house where an unforgettable dinner will be served. After dinner, proceed for one hour to Can Tho where your sampan will be moor for the night
Day 10: Mekong Delta – Ho Chi Minh City (B)
Crossing the Mekong on the way to Cai Be Floating Market, you’ll take in traditional sights such as rice barges, wooden ship building yards and even fruit drying along the Mekong’s banks. After paying a visit to the colourful floating market check-out and disembark before the return to Ho Chi Minh City. Your private car and guide will be at your disposal until your transfer by private car to Ton Son Nhat Airport for international flights or a domestic extension.
About the price
Since this is a private tour, the price per person varies and depends on many aspects, such as your group size, the hotel ratings and your departure date. If you want to get a custom price quote for this tour, please fill out the online inquiry form and give us as much information as possible about your trip. Your online travel consultants will be at your service and help you make the most of your travel time and dollars!
Our services include:
Accommodation in a shared twin or shared double room.
Meals as mentioned (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner).
English or French speaking local guide (for other languages and a national guide supplements apply)
Tours and transfers as mentioned by private air conditioned vehicle
Entrance fees for mentioned visits
Boat trips as mentioned in the itinerary
Our services do not include:
Other meals than mentioned
Other services than mentioned
International and domestic flights
Laundry, telephone calls and expenditure of a personal nature
Tips, Travel insurance