Let’s discover Vietnam on this 10-day tour, starting from the south with Cu Chi Tunnels and the Mekong Delta, passing the coastal cities of Hue and Hoi An to the splendid Lan Ha Bay, and flying back home from the capital of Hanoi.
- Itinerary in Detail
Day 1. Arrival in Ho Chi Minh City
Day 2. Ho Chi Minh City – Cu Chi Tunnel – Ho Chi Minh City
Day 3. Ho Chi Minh City – Ben Tre
Day 4. Ben Tre – Ho Chi Minh City – Flight to Hue
Day 5. Hue
Day 6. Hue – Hoi An
Day 7. Hoi An – Da Nang – Flight to Ha Noi
Day 8. Ha Noi
Day 9. Ha Noi – Ha Long – Lan Hay Bay
Day 10. Ha Long – Ha Noi – Departure flight
DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN HO CHI MINH CITY
On your arrival at Tan Son Nhat Airport, please look for our signboard which reads your name. Your guide and driver will transfer you to your hotel in the city center. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
DAY 2: HO CHI MINH CITY – CU CHI TUNNELS (B/-/-)
Meet your local guide at 08:00 and start exploring the different sides of Ho Chi Minh City with a visit to the colorful China Town in District 5, where you stop to visit Ha Chuong Assembly Hall, painted in red with a unique Fujian architectural style, which served as a meeting venue for the Fujian Chinese community as well as a place of worship for the goddess of the sea. Then visit the nearby Phung Hung market, well-known for its fresh food stalls and variety of commodities. Don’t miss the chance to taste "racket coffee" served in a tiny ceramic pot at Ba Lù Cafe, one of the most well-known cafes in Saigon.
Head out to the Cu Chi Tunnels, begun in 1948 to assist the Viet Minh in combating the French. This is an underground city with living areas, kitchens, storage, weapon shops, field hospitals, and command centers. During the Vietnam War, the entire area of Cu Chi was designated a fire-free zone and was heavily bombarded.
Return to Ho Chi Minh City in the afternoon and visit the Saigon Central Post Office, a vital part of Ho Chi Minh City's colonial legacy, and the historic Saigon Opera House. Stroll along Nguyen Hue street and Dong Khoi Street, the busiest streets of the city. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
DAY 3: 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 many 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 agrarian 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 to Hung Vuong Pier, where your driver is ready to transfer you to your homestay in Ben Tre. 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
DAY 4: BEN TRE – HO CHI MINH CITY – FLIGHT TO HUE (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 a short flight to Hue. On arrival, your driver will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel. Overnight in Hue.
DAY 5: HUE (B/-/-)
Depart from your hotel at 08:30 and you will spend a full day visiting Hue, the former capital of Vietnam from 1802 to 1945 during the reign of the Nguyen dynasty emperors, declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1993.
Start your tour with a visit to the Imperial Citadel, seat of the Nguyen Dynasty emperors. The Citadel was inspired by Vauban fortifications and is composed of three sections; the capital city (Kinh Thanh), the Imperial city (Hoang Thanh) and the Forbidden City (Cam Thanh). Continue to the Buddhist shrine Thien Mu Pagoda, also known as the Pagoda of the Heavenly Lady, which was built in the seventeenth century and is easily recognizable by its octagonal tower.
In the afternoon, visit Tu Duc's mausoleum, one of the most beautiful royal tombs of the Nguyen dynasty with unique architecture and perfect harmony with the natural landscape. Visit the nearby Thuy Xuan incense-making village, where you'll be amazed by the smell of aloeswood and the sight of innumerable bouquets of colorful bamboo incense sticks being sundried along the village roads. Continue to Khai Dinh Emperor’s mausoleum, where you can admire the blend of traditional architecture of the Nguyen Dynasty with European touches, which not only shows Khai Dinh Emperor’s characters but also makes it unique from the other tombs in Hue. Overnight in Hue.
DAY 6: HUE - HOI AN (B/-/-)
After breakfast, meet your guide at 8:30 and leave Hue for Hoi An on a scenic drive through the fishing village of Lang Co and Hai Van Pass.
Continue to Hoi An 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 16:30 and overnight in Hoi An.
DAY 7: HOI AN – DA NANG – FLIGHT TO HA NOI (B/L/-)
Meet our guide at 8:00 and start your cycling trip to Cam Thanh village, where you have the opportunity to observe the daily activities of local villagers and learn how they have developed their traditional handicrafts, which create products from bamboo and coconut trees that serve their lives as well as souvenirs. Continue to the fishing village to explore the coconut palm forest on a unique basket boat and try your luck by catching fish with the local fishermen’s net. Lunch at a local family's house.
Time at leisure until your driver transfers you to the Da Nang airport for a short flight to Ha Noi.
On arrival, your driver will transfer you to your hotel in the city center. Overnight in Hanoi.
DAY 8: HA NOI (B/L/-)
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, Vietnam’s first university, founded in 1076. Known locally as Quoc Tu Giam, this place of learning was established inside a temple to educate Vietnam’s nobles, scholars, and society’s elites. Its well-preserved architecture and tranquil gardens offer intriguing glimpses into Vietnam’s past. Later on, take a walk around the Old Quarter, also known as "the 36 streets" and Hoan Kiem Lake to learn more about the legend of the lake and the temple of Jade. Visit St. Joseph’s Cathedral, one of the first buildings built by French colonists during their expansion in Indochina and still intact in Hanoi after two fierce wars, and emerge in the serene and peaceful atmosphere of Pagoda Ba Da, hidden in a very quiet corner in the middle of Hanoi's busy traffic, just a few steps from the cathedral.
In the afternoon, you will discover the different neighborhoods of Hanoi on the back of a Russian Minsk motorcycle. First stop at a local restaurant in Ba Dinh District, where you can taste one of the city's specialties, “pho" or rice noodles, served in a variety of ways: rolled, stirred, and fried. After having filled your stomach with delicious food, head off to a hidden farmland on the Red River bank to discover the countryside on the edge of bustling Hanoi, where people plant bananas and vegetables and live in floating homes. On your way back to the city center, stop at Long Bien Bridge, a historic bridge across the Red River that was built by the French from 1898 to 1902 and designed by Gustave Eiffel .
Next stop is Hanoi’s largest open-air second-hand market in Hai Ba Trung district. Emerge yourself in the narrow alleys of residential areas nearby, then take a walk around a wet market to learn about ingredients used daily in Vietnamese meals and taste tropical fresh fruits. Continue heading towards Dong Da District, the most populated area of Hanoi with more than 400.000 residents per km2. Stop at the train street, where houses are built just a few meters away from the railway. Later on, visit a local house with a separate kitchen and bathroom that brings back memories of Hanoi in the 1960s. The journey concludes with Hanoian egg coffee at an old coffee shop. Return to your hotel at around 16:30. Overnight in Ha Noi.
DAY 9: HA NOI – 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 10: HA LONG – HA NOI – DEPARTURE (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 International Airport for your departure flight.