Explore Vietnam from North to South, gain a deeper understanding of Vietnam’s diverse landscapes, intriguing history and rich culture. The program not only explores the key historic, spiritual and cultural sites but also the architectural and natural wonders as recognized by the esteemed UNESCO organization. From the unknown parts of the vibrant Hanoi to the natural beauty of Ha Long Bay then venture southward to Hue’s imposing Imperial Citadel and the charming Hoi An ancient town before concluding the journey in the bustling city Saigon to the water world of the Mekong Delta.
The additional surcharge applies for bookings on Christmas, New Year & Tet (Lunar New Year).
Upon arrival Noi Bai International Airport, meet our representative and transfer to your hotel (official check-in at 14.00 o’clock. Early check-in subject to availability and chargeable).
You will have time to relax at the hotel after a long flight. Depending on the time of the day, our tour guide can take you to a local restaurant for lunch (excl. and on your own account). Up next, experience Hanoi's pulsating Old Quarter and St. Joseph's Cathedral in an electric car ride. Walk through the narrow and turbulent streets, most of which are named after the crafts or goods that were originally sold here, such as fabrics, medicine, etc. Then visit the Ngoc Son Temple on Hoan Kiem Lake. In between you take a short break and enjoy the famous egg coffee in a typical Hanoi café.
You will be invited to a welcome dinner at a nice local restaurant to enjoy the authentic Vietnamese cuisine.
The city tour begins in the morning. First you explore the Ho Chi Minh complex (mausoleum only from the outside). Then continue to the Temple of Literature, Vietnam first university, from the 11th century, and an oasis of peace away from hustle and bustle of Hanoi. In the late afternoon, visit a water puppeteer in his private home and enjoy an exclusive performance.
In the evening transfer to Hanoi station to board the night train to Lao Cai (departure between 8.30 p.m. - 10 p.m., depending on the train schedule).
Arrival in Lao Cai around 5:00 a.m. You will be taken to your hotel in Sapa Town, where you can rest and have breakfast. Later your guide awaits to start sightseeing in this beautiful part of the Vietnam. Visits this first day include the old French church, the local market and Fansipan Mountain, the highest peak in Southeast Asia, just a cable car ride away from Sapa. Return to your hotel and overnight in Sapa.
After breakfast drive to the beautiful village of Y Linh Ho. From there your hike across the quiet villages of the Muong Hoa Valley begins. Most of them inhabited by people of the H'mong ethnic group. This route will lead you past rice fields and impressive mountain scenery, the land of Black H'mong and the Giay (Zay).
At the villages you have time to look around a little more closely and to come into contact with the local population. You will have lunch in one of the village's houses to get a taste of the gastronomy here. Hike up to the main rod from Ta Van village. Your driver will be waiting to take you to the hotel in Sapa.
The rest of the day is free.
4.5 - 5 hours hike with a break. Difficulty level 3/5 - Moderate
In the morning you set out again and do an easy hike (approx. 3-4 hours) downhill to some H'mong villages in Sa Seng and Sau Chua to get an overview of local life there. Here and there you can see children playing, the peculiar houses and the farm animals raised by the modest people of these region. At the end of the trek return to the hotel and refresh yourself.
In the late afternoon transfer to Lao Cai to board the night train back to Hanoi. Departure from Lao Cai around 8:00 p.m.
Note: moderate hike 3-4 hours. Difficulty level 2/5 (easy trek)
Arrival in Hanoi around 5:00. Your driver will waiting at the station to take you your hotel, where a room will be ready to rest and have a nice breakfast before departing for Halong. After breakfast, check out of the hotel and head to Halong Bay. The bay itself was declared as a UNESCO Natural Heritage Site, Halong Bay covers an area of 43,400 ha and including over 1600 islands and islets, most of which are uninhabited and unaffected by humans, it forms a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars and is an ideal model of a mature Karst landscape developed during a warm and wet tropical climate.
Arrive at Tuan Chau International Passenger Port, embark on the traditional wooden junk followed by a welcome drink while the cruise manager briefing about the itinerary and safety info. A tasty lunch will be served on board when our cruise starts sailing towards the southeast of Halong Bay, passing by many stunning rocks and islets. Then we can join some activities such as rowboat or kayak (Kayaks can be booked in advance at reception with extra cost). Return to our cruise and rest of the day at leisure. Later, take part in a cooking demonstration with traditional Vietnamese food on the sundeck (or in the restaurant if weather does not allow). The boat cruises back through the Bay to its overnight anchorage. Dinner & overnight on board.
Flexible program of each cruise - subject to change
No private guide on board.
In the early morning, start your day with a Tai Chi lesson while hot tea and coffee are being served on the sundeck then enjoy a light breakfast on board before exploring the Surprise Cave, one of the biggest caves in Halong Bay with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites. Back to our main boat and check out. Brunch will be served in the restaurant while the boat heads back to harbour. Disembark at Tuan Chau port and head to Noi Bai airport for the evening flight to Hue.
Make a stop on the way at Yen Duc village, a typical traditional village which remains the agricultural life and offers a beautiful countryside scenery with charming rivers, historical mountains, sacred legends and relics related to Ly and Tran dynasty. Upon arrival, visit the local family and interact with them to learn about the village’s life then continue to the culture house of the village before enjoying the culture water puppet show which were presented by the local artists on the village’s field (there will be other guests joining this tour. Surcharge for a private tour will be applied).
Later, bid-farewell to Yen Duc and head to Noi Bai airport for a flight to Hue. A late dinner will be served at the local restaurant. Check-in hotel and overnight in Hue.
Once the capital of the “Nguyen Lords” from the 17th to the 19th centuries, Hue is a charming city with a large historical and cultural background. Let’s explore some sites that make-up this city to observe a small part from the glorious past of the Nguyen Dynasty. Visit to the Imperial Citadel, originally constructed in 1804 as the seat of the imperial government, it is comprised of six-foot thick brick ramparts and 10 fortified gates, all encircled by a 100-wide moat. Follow our guide with a walkthrough of the main gate area and the magnificent architecture, gardens surroundings and the former royal court.
Although the grounds were bombed heavily during the civil war, there are some incredibly well-preserved sections intact, which have been restored. Continuing to Tu Hieu Pagoda, situated on the slope of a sleepy hamlet, Tu Hieu was founded by Zen master Thich Nhat Dinh in 1843. It was financially supported by eunuchs in the imperial court in the latter of the 19th century and their graves are ensconced within its grounds. Lunch will be served at the local vegetarian before heading to Tu Duc royal tomb, the most impressive of all the royal mausoleums and built by Emperor Tu Duc in three years. According to history, Tu Duc had 104 wives and countless concubines but left no heirs to the throne. Although the complex contains his tomb, together with pavilions and temples, no one knows exactly where he was buried.
End of the day, transfer to the local pier and board the charming boat to visit Thien Mu pagoda, one of the most beautiful pagodas in Hue which is situated on the top of a hill overlooking the Perfume River. Dinner will be served at the garden house at the end of the day.
Overnight in the city of Hue.
In the morning you will visit the Imperial Tomb of Minh Mang. Then you leave Hue and drive along the Lang Co lagoon over the Hai Van pass to the old trading town of Hoi An. In the afternoon, immerse yourself in the history of Hoi An, which has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. This exploration includes stops at the Hokkien Temple, the Japanese Bridge and some ancient houses. Learn about the local craftsmanship through a visit to a small lantern factory. Dinner in the old town.
Today you ride your bike to a rural village that is known throughout Vietnam for its organic cultivation methods. Here you get to know some local herbs, used extensively in Vietnamese cuisine and traditional medicine. At the end, enjoy a relaxing Herbal foot massage, a light lunch including a short cooking class with a local chef.
The afternoon is free for individual activities or an excursion to the ancient sanctuary of My Son (for an additional charge)
The morning is free in Hoi An. Around noon drive to Danang and visit the Marble Mountains before you fly to the metropolis of Saigon. Upon arrival, take a short taster tour and enjoy a sundowner from a roof-top bar. You will then be driven through Saigon on a vintage Vespa. On the way you will make various stops to eat some typical Saigon dishes. Back to hotel and overnight in the city.
Today, tour the colonial district with historic buildings such as the Reunification Palace (from the outside), Notre Dame Cathedral (from the outside), the Post office, the City Hall (from the outside) and the City Opera (from the outside). Then drive to Chinatown. We will explore the this lively part of the city with a cyclo ride (partly on foot) to visit the Binh Tay wholesale market and the Chinese temple of Thien Hau.
Pick up at the hotel and drive to Ben Tre, the Coconut Kingdom, in the early morning. Here you take a boat trip on narrow and shady canals to enjoy the calm and beautiful natural landscape of the Mekong Delta. You visit a family and taste fresh fruit in the garden. Lunch at the local family restaurant.
During the excursion you will visit some local industries dedicated to the production of bricks, sweet rice paper, weaved mats and coconut by-products for export. If you wish, you can cycle a short di, which offers a closer look at the daily life of the Mekong Delta dwellers. Continue to Can Tho in the afternoon and overnight there.
Early in the morning you can experience the hustle and bustle of Can Tho's largest floating market (a visit in the early morning during sunrise is recommended). Return to the hotel for breakfast.
Up next you will board an authentic Mekong cruise, where you will spend the night. A welcome drink and a cozy lunch await you on board while the ship heads north. In the afternoon you go on a delightful bike ride along the riverbank, past traditional villages and fruit orchards. You will have the opportunity to visit the gardens, get to know the locals and thus get a better feel of life in the delta. The ship continues north. In the evening, dinner will be served on board.
Wake up to the morning symphony of the river. After breakfast, explore Cai Be by small boat and walk along the narrow canals of this area. After sightseeing, return to Saigon in time for your departure flight.