- Trip Outline
Day 1. Arrival in Hanoi
Day 2. Hanoi
Day 3. Hanoi - Ha Long
Day 4. Ha Long - Ha Noi - Flight to Da Nang - Hoi An
Day 5. Hoi An
Day 6. Hoi An - Danang - Flight to Saigon
Day 7. Ho Chi Minh City - Ben Tre
Day 8. Ben Tre - Ho Chi Minh City - Departure
DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN HANOI
Arrive in Hanoi, the capital of unified Vietnam and one of the most charming cities in Southeast Asia, with its authenticity, large shady avenues, numerous lakes, manicured gardens, and well-preserved architecture. Meet your guide and driver, then transfer to your hotel. Free time for a stroll around the city. Dinner on your own. Overnight at a hotel in Hanoi.
DAY 2 : HANOI (B/-/D)
After breakfast at the hotel, meet your local guide at 08:30 and start your city tour with a visit to the Temple of Literature, known as Vietnam’s first university, founded in 1076. Its well-preserved architecture and tranquil gardens offer intriguing glimpses into Vietnam’s past. Continue to Ba Dinh Square, where you can see the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, National Assembly, and Presidential Palace from the outside. Later on, visit the Ethnology Museum (closed on Monday), which offers an insight into the 54 different ethnic groups of Vietnam.
In the late afternoon, take a walk around the Old Quarter, named after the original 36 artisan guilds that date back to the 13th century, then stroll around the Hoan Kiem Lake area to admire Hanoi's busy traffic and taste a wide variety of authentic Hanoi street food. Wander around Hang Be market to enjoy the sights, sounds, and aroma of the hundreds of kinds of food on offer. Your tour guide will give you an insight into the intricacies and traditions of Vietnamese food culture, including details on ingredients and the historical backgrounds of popular northern dishes. You eat as you go, trying seasonal fruits.
As an appetizer, tempt your tastebuds with the famed Hanoi dish "Nom bo kho", a green papaya salad with dried beef. Then make a stop to taste a "Banh My", short baguette with meat, pickled and fresh herbs and vegetable, followed by a typical Vietnamese dessert: “Hoa qua dam” a little bowl of fresh fruit mixed with condensed milk or “Che” a sweet soup made from different kinds of bean or lotus seeds.After dinner, try a glass of “Bia Hoi”, a local draught beer, at a small corner in Ta Hien and Luong Ngoc Quyen streets, and watch local life move around you. If you are less interested in beer, then follow our guide to a local coffee shop and enjoy egg coffee, a specialty of the city. Return to your hotel at around 21:00 and overnight in Hanoi.
DAY 3: HANOI – HA LONG (B/L/D)
After breakfast at the hotel, depart at 08:30 from your hotel through the Red River Delta to Tuan Chau Pier, where you will board a selected cruise for your overnight stay on Lan Ha Bay. Lunch will be served while the vessel starts cruising through thousands of limestone islets emerging from the emerald water. Join in some activities such as kayaking or swimming, or just relax on the sun deck and enjoy the stunning scenery of this World Heritage Site. Dinner with fresh seafood and overnight on the cruise.
Alternatively, breakfast at the hotel and depart at 08:30 from your hotel to Ha Long International Port, where you will board a selected cruise for your overnight cruise on the pristine Bai Tu Long Bay.
After the on-board safety briefing, lunch will be served while the vessel starts cruising through thousands of limestone islets emerging from the emerald water.
Join in some activities such as kayaking, cave exploring, floating village visits, or just relax on the sun deck and enjoy the stunning scenery of this charming bay. Dinner and overnight on the cruise.
The itinerary is subject to change due to the weather and operating conditions without prior notice.
DAY 4: HA LONG – HA NOI – FLIGHT TO DA NANG – HOI AN (B/Brunch/-)
Enjoy a beautiful sunrise over the bay, followed by a light breakfast. As the cruise sails back to the pier, enjoy brunch on board while admiring the limestone rock formations that glide by.
Upon disembarkation, your driver will be waiting to take you to Hanoi’s Noi Bai Domestic Airport for a short flight to Da Nang. On arrival, your driver will be waiting to transfer you to Hoi An. Overnight in Hoi An.
DAY 5: HOI AN (B/L/-)
At 08:00, head out to the countryside of Hoi An on the back of the Vespas and zoom out of the town center. Cross to Cam Kim Island, driving along the riverside and into the beautiful countryside. Stop at an ancestral house for a glimpse into Hoi An’s cultural traditions and at a boat building yard to see skilled craftsmen at work. Continue along the winding roads of the island, zig-zagging through scenes of rice paddies and farmland. Pop into cottage industry workshops to see the art of mat weaving, learn to make delicious rice crackers (banh dap), and meet with local families to gain deeper insight into rural lifestyles and traditions. Back on the Vespas, ride onward to a local cafe and fuel up with a cup of Vietnamese drip coffee. Then continue along a scenic tree-lined road to reach the coast at the mouth of the Thu Bon River. The last part of the Vespa tour takes you over a new bridge for spectacular views over Hoi An, followed by lunch at a local restaurant.
Return to town at around 13:30 and stroll through the narrow streets of the atmospheric Hoi An Ancient Town. This UNESCO Site is a precious gem that shows a range of architectural influences. Visit the Japanese covered bridge, one of the Chinese communal halls, and former merchants’ houses.
At the end of the day, enjoy a cup of tea at Reaching Out Tea House, a lovely and tranquil setting founded to help the disabled grow their artistic talents and lead independent lives through their art. Return to your hotel at around 17:00 and overnight in Hoi An.
DAY 6: HOI AN – DA NANG – FLIGHT TO HO CHI MINH CITY (B/-/-)
Breakfast and time at leisure until your driver transfers you to Da Nang airport for a short flight to Ho Chi Minh City. On arrival, you will meet your tour guide and depart for an exciting tour across several districts of the city.
First stop is the FITO museum (Museum of Traditional Vietnamese Medicine), which offers an in-depth look at the fascinating world of traditional Vietnamese medicine. Alternatively, you can visit the War Remnants Museum, which exhibits war crimes and their profound impact on the Vietnamese people by foreign aggressive forces.
Later on, let’s go back in time to delve into the history of Vietnam with a stop at Do Phu cafe, which was once the operational base of the Liberation Army of South Vietnam. While the coffee is being prepared, discover the secret bunker of weapons used for the Attack on the Independence Palace during the 1968 offensive and take pictures of the old car used to transport weapons to the Cu Chi tunnels.
Enjoy your coffee in the atmosphere of this historical house before heading to the hidden Van Phat Pagoda in Jewelry Street of China Town in District 5. Here at the pagoda, you can also learn how Vietnamese people preserve the cremation urns of their family members. Continue to the French Quarter in District 1 to visit Saigon Central Post Office, a vital part of Ho Chi Minh City's colonial legacy, and stroll along Nguyen Hue Street and Dong Khoi Street, the busiest streets of the city. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
DAY 7: HO CHI MINH CITY – BEN TRE (B/L/D)
Today you leave bustling Ho Chi Minh City behind and depart from your hotel at 08:00 for a 2-hour drive to Ben Tre province, the largest area of coconut plantations in Vietnam. Situated on the Mekong Delta, Ben Tre is a land of coconuts, fruit orchards, rice fields, narrow canals, and wonderful scenery.
Arrive at Ham Luong pier and take a boat trip to explore the local life and family-owned business activities along the Ben Tre River, one of the Mekong River’s tributaries. Stop at a brick kiln and learn about a traditional method of making bricks. Continue to visit one of the plenty of coconut workshops along the waterway to discover how every single part of the coconut, including the shell, the meat, and the water, is processed to produce a variety of products: coconut milk, coconut candy, coconut oil, and even floor mats and charcoal. Next stop is a sleeping mat workshop, where you can learn about hand weaving techniques and enjoy some fresh fruits and tea.
Later on, take a motor cart (xe lôi) or ride a bike on the shady paths of the peaceful countryside, passing by green rice fields and vegetable plains, to touch on real life and get to know tropical peasant culture. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant with local specialties such as elephant-ear fish and river shrimp.
In the afternoon, take a rowing boat on small canals shaded by wild coconut palm trees until Hung Vuong Pier, where your driver is ready to transfer you to cAN t.
In the evening, you participate in a cooking class and learn how to make "Bánh xèo" - Vietnamese pancakes made from rice milk. Dinner is ready to be served with fresh dishes cooked in local style, such as caramelized pork and fish soup, spring rolls, etc.
After dinner, relax in a lemongrass and ginger foot bath, a local therapeutic method to relieve the pain and fatigue of the legs. Overnight in Ben Tre.
DAY 8: BEN TRE – HO CHI MINH CITY – DEPARTURE FLIGHT (B/-/-)
After breakfast, start your 2-hour cycling trip to Oc Island on a concrete track lined with fruit trees and coconut trees. On the way, pass by the local market, where various local ingredients such as vegetables, meat, fruits, etc. are sold. Cross a local Mekong River ferry to reach the island, from where you continue cycling on small paths dotted with small huts hidden in lush vegetation while seeing the daily life of the inhabitants of the Mekong Delta, governed by artisanal and agricultural activities. Stop at a fish farm to learn more about two species of catfish: ca tra (Pangasius hypophthalmus) and ca ba sa (Pangasius bocourti).
Return to Mekong home and spend time at leisure until check-out at around 12:00. Drive back to Ho Chi Minh City for your departure flight.