17 days – 16 nights
Hanoi, Hai Phong, Cat Ba National Park, Lan Ha Bay, Cai Beo, Da Nang, Hoi An, Hue, Nha Trang, Dalat, Phan Tiet, Ho Chi Minh, Mekong Delta (Cái Bè)
Adventure, Discovery, Culture, History
This program may be operated for individuals or for groups
This is a suggested itinerary
Day 1: Hanoi
After clearing customs procedures and collecting your luggage at the Noi Bai International Airport, our tour guide will meet you as you exit the airport, and transfer you by private vehicle to the hotel for check-in. The rest of the day if free to rest and relax or to start discovering the city.
Day 2: Hanoi
This morning visit Ho Chi Minh’s complex. Subject to opening times it may be possible to join the silent single file queue of Vietnamese and foreigners going to pay their respects to Ho Chi Minh’s embalmed corpse in the Mausoleum*. The tomb is monumental, built of marble, granite and precious wood. Behind the Mausoleum is Ho Chi Minh's house. The simple house where Ho Chi Minh lived and worked is made of wood and enjoyed a tranquil setting, with a view of a lotus pond. Ho Chi Minh’s belongings are on display and visitors can walk up the steps of his house to see his bedroom. Close by, you will see a famous pagoda built in the 11th Century named the One Pillar Pagoda. Continue to visit Hanoi’s famous Hoa Lo Museum (former prison famously known as the ‘Hanoi Hilton’) and then visit the Temple of Literature founded in 1070. An excellent example of traditional Vietnamese architecture, the pagoda housed Vietnam’s first university, which was established in 1076 to educate the sons of Mandarins. The temple, dedicated to Confucius, consists of 5 walled courtyards leading to a pavilion where 82 stelae of an original 117 record the names and places of birth of successful candidates of the grueling mandarin examinations from 1498 to 1787, the years of the Ly dynasty. The stelae sit on the backs of giant turtles, symbol of longevity; these emblems along with the crane, another creature denoting longevity, are also found in the main red-lacquered temple nearby. This afternoon, enjoy an orientation of the tree-lined streets of Hanoi, resplendent with French colonial architecture, including the recently restored Opera House- the magnificent 900-seat Municipal Theatre was built in 1911 and is a jewel of French colonial architecture. Originally modeled as a smaller version of the Great Paris Opera House, it was from the balcony of this wonderfully restored French colonial building that the Viet Minh-run committee of citizens announced that it had taken over the city on 16 August 1945. Pass by Hoan Kiem Lake, also known as Lake of the Restored Sword from the legend that surrounds it en-route to one of the city's fascinating museums (Army, History or Fine Arts, depending on your preference). Then enjoy a green way to explore Hanoi Old Quarter by “cyclo” ride (Pedi-cab) - Vietnam’s most traditional form of transport - and on foot for a walking tour (approx. 1 hour) of the Ancient Quarter or 36 Streets District. This densely populated corner of the city was once a center of commerce where goods were sold under the street name of a particular guild. Still a thriving community of sellers today, you will see street names such as Sugar Street, Tin Street and Paper Street. Ancient homes and temples are interspersed with stores in this souvenir hunter's paradise! Overnight in Hanoi. [B/L]
* Note: the mausoleum is only open in the mornings and is closed all day on Mondays and Fridays. It is also closed to all visitors during the months of October & November
Day 3: Hanoi, Hai Phong, Lan Ha Bay (On board)
This morning you’ll be picked-up at Hanoi Old Quarter to take the new highway to Got Ferry Terminal (Cat Hai Town, Haiphong City) where you’ll arrive at around 11:30 am. Cross the longest and newest bridge in South East Asia area. On arrival at the pier, you may take a special tea at the cruise lounge for a warm welcome to your 3-day cruise.
12:30 pm Board the cruise, check in and enjoy a welcome drink while receiving your briefing, and safety instructions. Start cruising and explore Lan Ha Bay.
1:00 pm Proceed to Da Chong islet, where you can see a lighthouse built by the French over 100 years ago. Have an international buffet lunch while passing the islets of Con Vit area. These amazing limestone karst formations rise up out of the sea in an impressive manner. This area is basically untouched as not many cruise ships use the route via the Cat Ba Island.
3:00 pm Arrive Gia Luan and continue by bus to Trung Trang cave, located in the Kim Giao forest on Cat Ba island, part of Cat Ba National Park. Trung Trang Valley is the largest valley on Cat Ba Island, covering an area of approximately 740 acres reaching a depth of 100 feet. The cave is a 1,000-feet long and was carved by nature over more than 2000 years. Appreciate the many awesome stalactites in various shapes.
5: 00 pm Continue to the less populated area at Tra Bau, where Lan Ha Bay is located to enjoy the cool, green emerald water for a deep and some swimming.
5:45 pm Return to your cruise and watch the magnificent sunset over the Gulf of Tonkin. Onboard you may join a traditional cooking class led by the chef who will teach you how to make some delicious Vietnamese dishes. After the class, relax or join the bar for the Happy Hour.
7:30 pm This evening, enjoy a sumptuous candlelight dinner in an intimate romantic setting to taste delectable local food prepared onboard.
9:30 pm On the boat’s top deck enjoy the bay at night up and relax in this uniquely captivating atmosphere or opt for watching a movie in the restaurant. Overnight on board. [B/L/D]
Day 4: Lan Ha Bay (On Board)
6:15 am The day starts early with a Tai Chi session on the sundeck. The breakfast is served in the restaurant with morning view of bay’s landscape.
8:30 am Continue cruising to Viet Hai village. Those who feel up to it will take a bicycle ride along the village path, through rain forests and stunning rice fields. You may opt to take nd electric car service instead. Stop at the village to relax. Then, visit an ancient local house made of straw mud and bamboo, meet local people and appreciate the local life in a valley. Return to the boat to continue your cruise and enjoy lunch on board.
1:30 pm Visit Ba Trai Dao Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches on Lan Ha Bay, and enjoy the emerald water. You may swim, kayak or just sunbathe on the beautiful sand.
3:00 pm Back on board to join your second cooking class that will make you and “expert” in Vietnam cuisine. It’s time to relax and enjoy the magnificent Gulf of Tonkin.
7: 30 pm Enjoy your Vietnamese while admiring the sun going down and the new colors of the evening.
9:30 pm Take the time to enjoy your last evening aboard. [B/LD]
Day 5: Lan Ha Bay, Hanoi (On Board)
6:15 am An invigorating Tai Chi session on the sundeck before breakfast. Continue cruising to explore the bay in the area of Ao Ech.
7:45 am Try a little kayaking at Frog Lake to discover the hidden charm of Lan Ha Bay.
9:30 am Return aboard and get ready to check out and enjoy a delightful brunch while cruising.
10:30 am After brunch join the other guests and crew for a Tea Ceremony in the restaurant to learn the old Vietnamese tradition.
You will disembark around 11:30 am to return to Hanoi. Check-in at your hotel for your overnight in Hanoi. [BR]
** Note: The above cruise itinerary is subject to change without prior notice and depends on weather conditions
Day 6: Hanoi, Da Nang, Hoi An
Enjoy breakfast before your journey to Hanoi’s airport for your flight to Da Nang**. Arrival and transfer from Da Nang Airport to your hotel in Hoi An for check-in. The rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight in Hoi An. [B]
Day 7 – Hoi An (Hue)
Leave for Hue for a visit of the sites in the city starting with the Imperial Citadel (Dai Noi) was built in the early 19th century, around 1804, by thousands of workers at the request of Emperor Gia Long. The Imperial City and the Citadel were a massive, large structure protected by a 6-mile moat. Modeled on the Forbidden City in Beijing, they were designed to be the royal residences of Emperor Gialong. Declared a UNESCO heritage site in 1993, the Huê complex had some of the buildings restored for historical preservation. Emperor Tu Duc’s Tomb, the longest reigning emperor in Vietnamese history, is not actually buried on the site of his tomb. Completed nearly 20 years before his death in 1883, Tu Duc's tomb was so heavy in work and cost that it led to a coup against Tu Duc in 1866. Near the square you will find his epitaph, inscribed on a piece of stone brought from a quarry more than 500 miles away that took 4 years to transport. While the Tu Duc’s tomb is recognized as the official resting place of the Emperor the actual burial place is still unknown. After lunch admire the impressive architecture of the An Dinh Palace, which was the residence of the Nguyen Dynasty built in the early 20th century, is one of Hue's most famous historical sites, although it is not often included in the traditional routes. When the prince was named king in 1916 the palace took the current name. Unfortunately, the palace fell into ruin until 2001 when it underwent a major restoration and now displays ancient objects and works of art that depict the royal life of the Nguyen Dynasty. Before returning to Da Nang take a Dragon-boat ride along the Perfume River. Return to Hoi An for dinner and overnight. [B/L/D]
Day 8: Hoi An, Da Nang, Nha Trang
Breakfast at the hotel and free time until your transfer to the airport for your flight to Nha Trang. On arrival you’ll be picked-up and driven around the city to visit Long Son Pagoda, also known as Chua Long Son, is located at the foot of Trai Thuy Mountain, in the city of Nha Trang. The temple is famous for its large white Buddha image, which sits at the top of the mountain ridge and can be seen from anywhere in the city. Today, Long Son Pagoda has a unique Taoist architecture at the turn of the century, characterized by the embellishment of mythical animals and sculptures of Taoist gods. It is also a working monastery with a school for monks in its park. An impressive three-tiered entrance, decorated with mosaic dragons, leads to the grand temple decorated with potted topiaries. Then, continue to Thap Ba Po Nagar, a Champa temple founded shortly before 781 AD and located in the medieval principality of Kauthara, near the present city of Nha Trang. Recently renovated and restored almost to its former glory Cham towrs are really beautiful to see. If you like charming relics from an ancient era, this is for you! One of the best places to make travel photos; the promontory offers a view of the Cai River and the fishing village on the edge of the river and maybe you’ll catch a traditional dance performance by the local people. After the visit continue to your hotel for check-in. Nha Trand is a resort area so enjoy the local beaches and hotel facilities. [B]
Day 9; Nha Trang
Free day to rest and relax at this beach resort. [B]
Day 10: Nha Trang, Dalat.
Leave your hotel to Dalat nicknamed Little Paris. After check-in and lunch discover Bao Dai Summer Palace, the summer residence of the last emperor of Vietnam, aka Bao Dai (from 1926 to 1945). Nothing has changed since the 30s. The pieces that are open to the public are the throne, the office and the room of the emperor, dining room and the quarters of the empress. Many portraits and sculptures of the royal family are on display as well. Continue to Linh Phuoc, one of the most famous pagodas in Vietnam with a 121-feet bell tower - the largest in the country and a dragon 160-feet long. Pagodas and statues are covered with sherds of bottles (about 12,000 bottles in all) and pieces of pottery. The first floor houses a bell 7.5-feet in diameter and weighing 8.5 tons. The bell can rotate and has four faces representing the four seasons. There is also a Buddha statue covered with 650,000 flowers! Next visit the 100-feet tall Elephant Waterfall that sounds like a roaring tiger! Get away from the panoramic view by following the path and descend to the foot of the fall to discover a splendorous site! Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight. [B/L/D]
Day 11: Dalat, Phan Tiet
Early drive to this most favorite destination well-known by beach lovers around the world. Traveling in this picturesque city, almost everyone is impressed by the pristine beaches and water sports but, there are dozens of other fantastic activities for you to enjoy during your stay. After lunch try kayaking at Bau Sen Lake an interesting dream place with white sand, jade water and green borders. The lake has lots of fresh lotus and clear water, perfect for kayaking during all seasons. For a change of pace, we’ll take you to the all-terrain car racing at Bau Trang. It will be a memorable experience having fun racing cars on this white, smooth sand and vast landscape! For those with calmer instincts, photography will be a thrill due to the fantastic landscapes. Energized by the thrills of the day return to your hotel for dinner and overnight. [B/L/D]
Day 12: Phan Tiet
In this morning, free time at leisure. It’s a great opportunity to take the optional Balloon ride and explore the surroundings. After lunch visit the Van Thuy Tu Temple, the largest and oldest whale temple in Phan Thiet, displaying skeletal remains of whales, fishing boats, conical hats, and authentic artefacts from the Nguyen Dynasty. Built in 1762 to commemorate Ca Ong (Lord Whale), locals believe that whales are benevolent creatures that protect fisherman from bad weather and the dangers at sea. Today, this small temple houses the skeletal remains of more than 500 whales over hundred years old, including a 72-feet long skeleton that’s believed to be the biggest in Southeast Asia. Numerous artefacts from the Nguyen Dynasty are also displayed within the main hall of the temple, such as written decrees by 24 former kings, terracotta statues, incense table, lacquered boards, and an antique bronze bell. From here we go to the 2.5-mile long fountain that people call "Fairy Source" simply because it's so beautiful! You have to walk barefoot to feel the water and white sand exalt your feet while the top of the hill lets you spread your eyes to the wonderful landscape creating an exhilarating experience. Sunset is the best time to visit Ong Dia Stone Group, located in a wonderful beach with golden sand offering many flattering corners for photography, so we left this activity for the end of the day. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight. [B/L/D]
Option: Balloon flight
Day 13: Phan Tiet, Ho Chi Minh
Morning free to enjoy the beach, rest and relax. After lunch we’ll drive to Ho Chi Minh formerly known as Saigon, and the largest city in the country. Check it the hotel for overnight. [B]
Day 14: Ho Chi Minh
This morning, take an essential highlight tour, visiting the former Presidential Palace, which is now preserved as a museum, including the underground communications bunkers, headquarters for the Saigon Government during the American War. Continue to the History Museum (or the Museum of War Remnants or Fine Arts, depending on your preference) which houses an excellent display tracing the origins of the indigenous Vietnamese. Visit Notre Dame, an impressive neo-Romanesque cathedral in the center of the city, the 'wedding cake' styled Hotel de Ville and Dong Khoi Street, formerly the center of haute couture in Saigon when it was known as Rue Catinat. Continue with your guide to visit the nearby Central Market (Ben Thanh Market) where you will wander the colorful stalls and stands of this central area of local trade and commerce. Afternoon free to you to discover the city. Early this evening (6:00 pm), take a part night excursion, part street food adventure by motor-scooter tour. Pick you up from the hotel to first drive you off the chaotic traffic of district 1, then through a couple of crisscross alleys to a local seafood store in district 4 that is well-known by locals but won’t be found by tourists. You’ll have a taste of some local dishes such as steamed clams with lemongrass, grilled mussels with scallion, etc. Leaving district 4, we make a ride to a riverside park in district 2 for a short walk side by side an awesome night view of Bach Dang pier with local beer and snack pairings. Next stop is at a not-too-popular “Banh Xeo” store but still one of the most favorite by local gourmets serving Vietnamese pancake and Southern food. Then, we head to a street food alley where you find yourself holding a glass of Avocado smoothie with Coconut ice cream, sitting on Vietnamese stools surrounded by local people and ambience. At the end of the tour, we roll onto a hidden coffee shop for Live Music. Sit down and enjoy the cozy atmosphere and the romantic violin melodies that enhance the singer’s deep-lying voice. These will give you a taste of Saigon’s nightlife! Overnight in Ho Chi Minh. [B/D]
Day 15: Ho Chi Minh City, Mekong Delta (Cái Bè’s area)
A tow and a half hour drive going south of Ho Chi Minh City will get you to the Mekong River town of Cai Be to board a motorized sampan for a winding introduction to life on the river. Cái Bè is known for its large floating market, where displays of food produce are hung from bamboo poles over the host boat in order to attract customers. From here the journey continues across the upper reach of the river to a maze of tributaries and fruit plantations. Barges ply the route, overloaded with rice husks used as fuel for the region’s numerous brick kilns. It’s time to board a sampan for a relaxing trip along narrow canals before re-joining your craft for the leisurely cruise back to the pier. Depending on the season, a sample of local tropical fruit will be served with lunch in the shade of a local farmer's home before rejoining your craft for the leisurely cruise back to Cái Bè and returning to your hotel. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City. [B/L]
Day 16: Ho Chi Minh City
This morning, visit Cu Chi to see the vast underground network of tunnels built first as a defense against the French, and later expanded during the American war. It was from here that the North Vietnamese waged their guerrilla warfare and you will marvel at their ingenuity and resilience. See secret trapdoors, underground kitchens, living areas and meeting rooms. The more adventurous may explore the deeper secondary, and even third level tunnels. For those preferring to remain above ground, there is ample opportunity to view excavated areas from above. Your guide will advise you of the length and level of difficulty of each tunnel before entering - some are easily accessed by stairs. We recommend good walking shoes and sun protection for this tour and advise that you may get a little dirty! This afternoon and evening are at leisure for you to explore the city on your own or go shopping what you like. Overnight in Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City. [B]
Day 17: Ho Chi Minh City, USA
Day at leisure until time comes to transfer you to the Tan Son Nhat Airport for your departure flight back to the USA. [B]
[B] = Breakfast | [BR] = Brunch | [B/L] = Breakfast and Lunch | [B/D] = Breakfast and Dinner | [B/L/D] = Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
- All necessary transfers
- 16 days’ accommodation:
- Hanoi 3 nights
- Cruise 2 nights
- Hoi An 2 nights
- Nha Trang 2 nights
- Dalat 1 night
- Phan Tiet 2 nights
- Ho Chi Minh 4 nights
- Breakfast daily
- 7 lunches + 1 Brunch
- 7 dinners
- Sightseeing of Hanoi
- Tour of Cat BA National Park
- 2-day cruise in Lan Ha Bay
- Visit the floating village of Cat Beo
- Visit Hoi An
- Excursion to Hue
- Tour of Nha Trang
- Visit of Dalat
- Visit of Phan Tiet
- Sightseeing of Ho Chi Minh
- Excursion to the Mekong Delta (Cai Be)
- Visit the tunnels and War Museum of Ho Chi Minh
- A/C vehicles for transfers and tours (type depending on size of your party)
- Local English-speaking guides
- Entrance fees for sites visited
- Local taxes
Balloon Ride includes:
- Transport from and to hotel
- The flight
- Light breakfast after landing
- Certificate of the Hot Air Balloon flyer
Not included in tour
- International or Domestic airfares
- Any taxes and surcharges relating to airfares
- Travel insurance
- Entry Visa and visa fees
- Wi-Fi at hotels except as indicated
- All alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks except as indicated
- Other meals not mentioned in the itinerary
- Extras and gratuities
- Early check-in, late check-out (Most hotels begin check-in around 2:00pm).
- Expenses of personal nature
- Porterage at airport and hotels
- Optional tours and activities
- Any service not specifically listed under "included”
|Category||Hotel Name||Room Type||Tripadvisor|
|Hanoi||Silk Path Luxury Hanoi||Premium Deluxe||4.5|
|Hoi An||Allegro - Little Luxury Hotels & Spa||Junior Suite||5.0|
|Nha Trang||Liberty Central Nha Trang Hotel||Premier Ocean||4.5|
|Dalat||TTC Hotel Premium - Ngoc Lan||Jr. Deluxe Lake view||4.0|
|Phan Thiet||Victoria Phan Thiet Beach Resort & Spa||Beach Front Bungalow||4.5|
|Ho Chi Minh||Liberty Central Saigon Riverside Hotel||Premier River view||4.5|
|Hanoi||Pan Pacific Hanoi Hotel||Deluxe||4.5|
|Cruise||Azalea cruise||Deluxe balcony||5.0|
|Hoi An||Palm Garden Resort||Deluxe sea view||4.5|
|Nha Trang||Sunrise Nha Trang Beach Hotel & Spa||Deluxe Ocean view||4.5|
|Dalat||Dalat Palace Heritage Hotel||Luxury room||4.0|
|Phan Thiet||Anantara Mui Ne Resort||Deluxe Ocean||4.5|
|Ho Chi Minh||New World Saigon Hotel||Deluxe room||4.0|
Hotels will be confirmed at time of booking
|Season||2-3 Pax||4-5 Pax||6-9 Pax||Single Suppl.|
|January - April||$3,179||$2,605||$2,385||$1,385|
|May - September||$2,999||$2,435||$2,215||$1,229|
|January - April||$3,789||$3,215||$2,995||$2,029|
|May - September||$3,479||$2,905||$2,685||$1,685|
Prices are per person and may change without notice
Prices are not applicable during the following periods:
1 – 10 Jan / 20 Jan – 1 Feb / 1 - 10 Apr / 30 Apr – 3 May / 28 Aug - 3 Sep
Tour Code: VT04SGN20TE
Today we’ll try a balloon sightseeing! It is a magnetic and wonderful sight and a God given opportunity for photographers. Most of the time we fly near or over the white sand dunes of Mui Ne. It's called the driest place in Vietnam. However, we will see not only dunes, but also a desert lake and even swamps! When winds are too strong in the dunes, we move further from the sea to not-so-distant mountains, river, local villages and farmlands with grazing animals - it's a picturesque experience.
Schedule: 4:30-5:00 AM: Pickup from your hotel
5:20-7:00 AM: Flight
7:30-8:00 AM: Transport back to your hotel or another place in the city
Note: Don’t forget to wear convenient casual non-synthetic clothes, have with you a hat or cap and bring your camera together with protective cases
|Balloon sightseeing in early morning at Phan Thiet||$185|
The price is per person. Balloon ride must be booked with your tour.
- Lunches and dinners can be arranged for individuals, families and groups at top restaurants or any restaurant requested by you.
- We can revise the itinerary to spend more time and provide more depth in those areas that you are interested on.
- If you wish to use these programs for your group or as the basis for a customized journey please either call us (1-855-55-TOURS or use the web Group Quote Request.
- In either case our specialists will work with to refine all the details and they will get you a quote with 2 business days. Quotes may be obtained for the air and land portions of just for the lad journey.
- Booking both air and land with us will represent savings for you because of our buying power and longtime relationship with the airlines.
- We will also may have the choice between regular fares and special leisure fares not available to the public.