This amazing 19-day tour will bring you to discover the best of Vietnam, from big cities to rural villages, from the northern ethnic villages in Sapa passing through the central coast cities of Hue, Hoi An, and Nha Trang down to the Mekong Delta.
- Itinerary in Detail
Day 1: Hanoi
Day 2: Hanoi and Bat Trang ceramic village
Day 3: Hanoi – Ninh Binh – Hanoi – Night Train to Lao Cai
Day 4: Lao Cai – Bac Ha – Sapa
Day 5: Sapa
Day 6: Sapa – Ha Noi
Day 7: Hanoi – Halong - Overnight Cruise
Day 8: Halong – Hanoi – Flight to Hue
Day 9: Hue
Day 10: Hue – Hoian
Day 11: Hoian – Cam Thanh village – My Son Sanctuary – Hoian
Day 12: Hoian – Danang – Nha Trang
Day 13: Nha Trang
Day 14: Nha Trang – Da Lat
Day 15: Da Lat
Day 16: Da Lat – Saigon
Day 17: Saigon – Ben Tre – Can Tho
Day 18: Can Tho – Saigon
Day 19: Saigon –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 AND BAT TRANG CERAMIC VILLAGE (B/L/- )
Arrive in Bat Trang at around 08:45. Walking along the ceramic alleys, you can stop in the workshops specializing in vases and decor. Then, visit the house of one of the most famous pottery artists in Vietnam, where you will have the opportunity to admire his precious artwork, which made this house the first family ceramic museum in Vietnam. After that, visit the porcelain market, where you can see thousands of authentic products and do some shopping. Continue discovering the ancient village of Bat Trang by traveling through narrow lanes with many workshops and family temples. You will also visit the old town hall dedicated to the Genius Protector of the village (Dinh Lang). Have lunch in an old colonial house in the village (or in a restaurant, as your other choice).
After lunch, return to the center of Hanoi, passing through Ecopark, a new residential area on the outskirts of Hanoi.
In the afternoon, 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. 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 evening, you can attend a cultural show or performance of your choice, which depends on their schedules (Water Puppet, Golden Bell, Ionah, Four Palaces, My Village). Dinner on your own. Overnight at the hotel
Bat Trang village: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tonkintravelvietnam/albums/72157670840251836
DAY 3: HANOI – NINH BINH – LAO CAI (B/L/-)
Breakfast at your hotel and depart at 08:00 for a 2.5-hour drive through rural northern Vietnam to Ninh Binh province. On arrival at Tam Coc, board a private sampan, gently sailing along the Ngo Dong river, capturing the wonderful scenery of Karst hills, rice fields, and peaceful villages, and passing the three caves "Hang Ca", "Hang Hai" and "Hang Ba".
Lunch at a local restaurant, and then start cycling to Bich Dong Pagoda, hidden at the foot of Ngu Nhac Mountain, dating to 1428 and comprising three structures: Ha, Trung, and Thuong Pagodas, in ascending order. Later on, arrive at Mua Cave and start an exciting climb to the top of Ngoa Long Mountain to take in the breathtaking rice valley and the surrounding natural beauty.
Return to Hanoi and spend time at leisure until your night train departure to Lao Cai. Dinner on your own. Overnight on the train (4-berth, air-conditioned cabin)
DAY 4: LAO CAI – BAC HA (Sunday) – SAPA (B/L/-)
On your arrival in the small border town of Lao Cai at around 05:55, your guide will meet you at the exit gate and take you to a local restaurant for breakfast.
Then you will leave for Bac Ha (65km) via a winding road with breath-taking mountain views. Visit the Bac Ha Market (on Sunday only), considered the liveliest and most crowded in the region. It attracts a large number of Flower H’mong and other hill-tribe groups (Nung, Phu La, and Tay). It is no doubt one of the most attractive places for photo hunters in Vietnam. After visiting the market, continue an interesting trip to Sapa. Nestled on Fansipan Mount, Sapa offers spectacular scenery and is home to different hill tribes. Dinner on your own. Night at a hotel in Sapa
Note: Bac Ha market is open on Sunday only, the following markets may replace Bac Ha market according to your arrival date:
– Can Cau market on Saturday morning.
– Coc Ly market on Tuesday morning
– Cao Son market on Wednesday morning.
DAY 5: SAPA (B/L/-)
Breakfast at your hotel and get ready for a full trekking day. At 08:00 depart with your guide and driver for a short road transfer to the trekking point.
Trek uphill on a large and rocky path for 2 hours along the narrow valley that runs between two hamlets of the Black H’mong: Sau Chua and Sa Seng, untouched ethnic H'mong villages where you are able to learn about the local life and explore the local traditions, customs, and cultures.
After a picnic lunch, continue moving uphill to Den Thang Mountain on the same trekking trail to reach Hang Da village, a Back H'Mong village located at 1,800m overlooking the Muong Hoa Valley. This trek offers you the best panorama view of mountainous ranges, rice terraced paddy fields, and villages.
Leaving Hang Da, enjoy an easy walk for half an hour until arriving at Thao Hong Den, another Black H’mong village, and stop to visit local homes. Keep moving for another hour along a dirt track to Pho Village at the center of Hau Thao Commune, where your driver is ready to transfer you back to Sapa.
Note: Depending on the weather, your age, and your state of health, the trek's itinerary can be changed.
DAY 6: SAPA – LAO CAI – HANOI (B/L/-)
Start the day at 08:00 with a trek through terraced rice fields to Y Linh Ho village, inhabited by Black H’Mong people. You will also enjoy spectacular scenery while walking along a narrow river. Continue hiking across the stunning Muong Hoa Valley landscape as you admire the lovely orderliness of the rice fields that skillful, hardworking ethnic farmers have cultivated. Hike from the Black H’mong village of Lao Chai to the Zay village of Ta Van, enjoying the cool climate and magnificent views of the terraced fields and the Fansipan mountain range. Along the way, you may encounter vast indigo farms and hill tribe women with their hands dyed blue.
Return to Sapa for lunch and get ready to be transferred back to Hanoi in a shared 9-seat limousine. Arrival in Hanoi at around 08:00 and spend time at leisure. Overnight at a hotel in Hanoi
DAY 7 : HANOI – HALONG (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. 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 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.
Note: The itinerary is subject to change due to the weather and operating conditions due to weather and operating conditions.
DAY 8: HALONG – HANOI AIRPORT – HUE (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 Hue. On arrival, your driver will be waiting to transfer you to the hotel. Overnight in Hue
DAY 9 : HUE (B/L/-)
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 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. Lunch at a local restaurant.
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 10: HUE – HOIAN (B/L/-)
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. Lunch at a local restaurant.
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 11: HOIAN – CAM THANH VILLAGE – MY SON – HOIAN (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.
In the afternoon, take an hour-long drive to My Son, the ancient capital and religious center of the former Champa Kingdom, which is considered the most important Cham site in Vietnam and is classified by UNESCO as world heritage. My Son, in a lush green valley, is home to dozens of red brick towers and sanctuaries dating from between the 7th and 13th centuries, which offer you a glimpse into the fascinating history of this Malayo-Polynesian culture. Return to Hoi An and overnight at a hotel in Hoi An.
DAY 12: HOIAN – DANANG AIRPORT – NHA TRANG (B/-/-)
Breakfast at your hotel and transfer to Danang airport for your flight to Nha Trang. On arrival, transfer to your hotel. Check in and enjoy the beach. Overnight in Nha Trang.
DAY 13 : NHA TRANG (B/-/-)
Breakfast at your hotel and spend time at leisure. Overnight in Nha Trang.
DAY 14: NHA TRANG – DA LAT (B/-/-)
Breakfast at your hotel, and at 08:00 depart for Dalat, the city of eternal spring in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, at an altitude of 1,500 meters.
After lunch, visit Datanla waterfall, where you can walk on a peaceful path under the canopy of leaves or take a thrilling alpine coaster down a hill to touch a cool cascade. Overnight in Da Lat.
DAY 15: DA LAT (B/L/-)
Breakfast at your hotel, and start your day by taking a cable car to the top of Robin Hill, where you can see the panorama of Da Lat. Then visit Domaine de Marie Church, a Catholic convent located on top of a hill. Built in 1940, the church has a unique architecture with French influence, with a roof that reminds of the communal houses of the Central Highlands's minorites.
Continue to Bao Dai's Summer Palace, a French villa where the last Emperor of Vietnam and his family lived during summer vacations. Drive to Dalat to visit the Dalat railway station, notable for its distinctive architectural design, which combines aspects of the Central Highlands’s communal house with an Art Deco motif. Board the train and take a 7-kilometer journey through flower and vegetable plantations to Trai Mat to visit Linh Phuoc Pagoda.
In the afternoon, head out to Truc Lam Zen Monastery, which leans on the back of the mountain and overlooks the poetic Tuyen Lam lake, to learn about Zen Buddhism and enjoy the peaceful landscape. Overnight in Da Lat.
DAY 16: DA LAT – SAIGON (B/L/-)
Breakfast at your hotel. Depart at 08:00 for a 6-hour drive to Saigon with a stopover on the way to see the tea and coffee farm in Bao Loc.
Take a stroll 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 Saigon.
DAY 17: SAIGON – BEN TRE - CAN THO (B/L/-)
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 Tho. Overnight in Can Tho.
DAY 18: CAN THO – SAIGON (B/L/-)
This morning, rise early and get a unique taste of life in the Mekong on a cruise over the colorful Cai Rang floating market. At 07:00 embark on the Mystic Sampan Cruise, while enjoying your breakfast served with Vietnamese and Western tasty dishes, you can comfortably observe the scenery of local daily life on the river banks.
After breakfast, the Mystic Sampan cruises into the heart of the Cai Rang floating market, where you will see a maze of boats loaded with fruits, vegetables, or groceries for trade. You may also join the market by calling for fruits or a drink.
Leaving the market, our tour guide takes you to a local workshop where you have a great time learning how locals make "Hu Tieu" - rice noodles.
Lunch at a local restaurant, and then head back to Saigon. Overnight at hotel in Saigon.
DAY 19: SAI GON – DEPARTURE (B/-)
Breakfast at hotel. Free day until departure. Enjoy the last stroll to admire the colonial architecture, visit the colorful markets or take a trip through the frenetic streets in a cyclo. Transfer to the airport for your departure flight.