Explore the north and center regions of Vietnam, focusing on the four big Hs: 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 ancient town of Hoi An.
The additional surcharge applies for bookings on Christmas, New Year & Tet (Lunar New Year).
Arrival in Hanoi in the morning, greeting by the Vietnamese tour guide and transfer to the hotel. Check-in is around 2 p.m. (NO early check-in included). Then 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. Welcome dinner in a local restaurant in the evening.
The city tour begins in the morning. First, explore the Ho Chi Minh Complex (mausoleum only outside). Continue to the Temple of Literature, Vietnam's first university (from the 11th century). Here you can enjoy a respite of peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle of the big city. In the late afternoon, visit a water puppeteer in your private home and enjoy an exclusive performance. Free time in the evening.
The afternoon is free at leisure.
After breakfast, leave Hanoi for a short drive (approx. 2 hours) to Ninh Binh. You can leave your luggage at the hotel in Ninh Binh before starting your bike tour through the rice fields and villages to the Old Citadel of Hoa Lu. We continue through the limestone landscape of the "Halong Bay on Land" to Tam Coc. Then take a 3-hour trip on a traditional sampan boat.
Overnight in Ninh Binh
Today we will visit Cuc Phuong, Vietnam's first national park. The primeval forest area in the national park near Ninh Binh (40 km, about 1 hour) covers some 25,000 hectares. Ancient trees, ferns and many species of animals and birds are among the highlights of this protected area. Upon arrival, visit the Primate and Turtle Protection Center. In the afternoon, drive to the center of the park to visit a 1000 year old tree and a cave on foot before heading back to Ninh Binh.
Overnight in Ninh Binh
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.
Today you will spend another day in Halong Bay for more intensive impressions and excursions in less touristy areas.
"At dawn, the most magical time in the bay, you can optionally do meditation or yoga on the upper deck. During breakfast you will gradually cruise back to Halong harbour and visit a cave and various islands along the way, where will have a chance to swim again. A delicious brunch will be served on board as you cruise back to the marina. Disembark and transfer back to Hanoi. At the indicated time, transfer to the airport for onward travel to Hue. Arrival in Hue and transfer to your hotel. "
Today you will explore the Imperial City of Hue, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After breakfast visit the Citadel that houses the Imperial Palace, then drive to Thien Mu Pagoda, a landmark of the city. Afterwards you visit a typical Hue garden house and have an opportunity to chat with your host. In the afternoon, take a boat trip down the Perfume River and visit the famous imperial tomb of Khai Dinh. Return to your hotel.
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 Danang you will visit the Marble Mountains. Arrival in Hoi An and rest of the day at leisure.
Today 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. Lunch in the old town. Rest of the day free to explore at leisure.
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).
Free day to explore or rest. We recommend a day at the beach or shopping spree in the old town.
Day at leisure. You will be brought to the airport in good time for your departure.