Day 1| Hanoi Arrival
Day 2| Hanoi City Tour (B/L/D)
Day 3| Hanoi – Mai Chau (B/L/D)
Day 4| Mai Chau – Hanoi (B/L)
Day 5| Hanoi – Halong City (B/L/D)
Day 6| Halong Bay Day Cruise Trip – Transferring to Hue by Flight (B/L/D)
Day 7| Hue City Tour (B/L)
Day 8| Hue – Hoi An (B/L/D)
Day 9| Hoi An (B/L)
Day 10| Hoi An – Ho Chi Minh City Departure by Flight (B/L/D)
Day 11| Ho Chi Minh City – Cu Chi Tunnels (B/L/D)
Day 12| Ho Chi Minh City – Bangkok Half Day City Tour
Day 13| Bangkok – Damnoen Floating Market – Rose Garden (B)
Day 14| Bangkok – Departure (B)
Day 1: Hanoi Arrival
Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is the second biggest city in the country. It offers French-colonial architecture, a long history and a rich food culture.
On arrival in Vietnam’s capital, you’ll be welcomed at the airport and transferred to your hotel by private car. You’ll have free time to explore Hanoi. Lunch and dinner are on your own.
Suggestion: You can rent a bike or take a walk around Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple. Hoan Kiem Lake also known as the Turtle Lake is a popular hangout place for local and tourists. Ngoc Son Temple sits on a small island in the center of the lake and linked by a bridge, makes a beautiful background for a few photos.
Day 2: Hanoi City Tour (B/L/N)
In the morning, visit the President Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the Temple of Literature and take a rickshaw ride through the bustling Old Quarter. Have lunch at a local restaurant.
In the evening, attend a performance of the world-famous Water Puppet Show, accompanied by a traditional Vietnamese orchestra and Cheo (a form of opera). The show depicts a series of ancient Vietnamese folktales, acted out by puppets over a pool of water.
President Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
Ho Chi Minh was the greatest leader of Vietnam. The locals often refer to him as “Uncle Ho” and his preserved body is now laid to rest in a glass case in the Mausoleum. This is more than a tourist attraction, it is a part of living history.
Temple of Literature
The Temple of Literature is often cited as one of Hanoi’s most picturesque tourist attractions. Originally built as a university in 1070 dedicated to Confucius, scholars and sages, the building is extremely well preserved and is a superb example of traditional-style Vietnamese architecture.
Wander around Hanoi Old Quarter
The Old Quarter is located in the Ba Dinh district. There are a considerable number of classical French constructions that are conserved at present in Hanoi Old Quarter, which is also called the “36 streets”. For those who visit Hanoi with a genuine desire to have a grasp of the city’s culture or a curiosity to travel back in time, Hanoi Old Quarter is a must-go place that they definitely should not be missed.
Water Puppets Performance
Water Puppetry is a Vietnamese traditional performance which originated in the villages of the Red River Delta area. In the past, water puppetry was served only for the King’s family and ancient Vietnamese aristocracy amusement. A water puppet show is performed in a pool of water as the stage of the puppets. They are controlled by puppet-masters behind a bamboo screen.
Day 3: Hanoi – Mai Chau (150km, 3-hour drive) (B/L/D)
Mai Chau Valley is a rural world away from Vietnam’s chaotic capital. It is situated between tall cliffs and is surrounded by bright-green paddies, making it a sight to behold; the beauty of the place if enough reason for many tourists to stay longer than expected.
In the morning, get picked up from your hotel in Hanoi and depart for Mai Chau. Contemplate the beauty of the sloping mountains and terraced paddy fields, either sparking in the sunlight or dimly eerie in the thick fog.
Arrive in Mai Chau in time for a traditional lunch of Thai minority.
In the afternoon, a gentle trek leads you to the villages of Lac and Pom Coong, inhabited by members of the Thai ethnic group, to learn about their culture and traditions.
Tonight, you will be welcomed by the villagers for dinner. A typical meal will be served to you, then tasting the rice wine in jar that people drink with a big straws. You will then attend folk dances presented by the White girls of the village.
Day 4: Mai Chau – Hanoi (B/L)
After breakfast, make your way through a series of quaint villages en route to the Go Lao Fall and Ba Khan Lake where you have the opportunity to go for a swim or a kayaking.
Have lunch in the home of a local family before returning to Hanoi. Tonight, dinner is on your own.
Day 5: Hanoi Halong (180 km, 4 hours drive) (B/L/D)
In the morning, visit Vietnam Museum of Ethnology which offers an insight into the 54 different ethnic groups of Vietnam in an effort to preserve cultural heritage and promote socio-cultural diversity within the country.
Afterward, depart for the famous Halong Bay (about 4h drive). Along the way, you’ll stop at the Hong Ngoc Humanity Centre, which provides vocational training and employment to Vietnamese people who experience a disability.
Spend your free time in the afternoon to explore the beautiful Halong City and its attractions.
Suggestion: Halong Night Market, Bai Chay Beach, Tuan Chau Island.
Day 6: Halong – Hue (B/L/D)
Wake up early in the morning and board your boat for your cruise on the bay. Sail around the stunning natural wonders of Halong Bay with thousands of gorgeous limestone cliffs jutting from its calm jade water. Stop for a visit to Sung Sot Cave, and perhaps take a swim at Ti Top Beach or opt for a kayaking trip.
At the end of your trip, have lunch whilst cruising back to the marina, where your transfer to Noi Bai International Airport awaits you. A short flight of one hour will take you to Hue – Ancient Capital of Vietnam. Then transfer to your hotel and dinner.
Day 7: Hue City (B/L)
The ancient city of Hue in central Vietnam was the capital of Vietnam during the Nguyen Dynasty at the beginning of the 19th Century. Hue has such historical significance that it is recognized today as a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO.
After breakfast, start exploring Hue with the Imperial Citadel. Get an up-close look at the former seat of power for the Nguyen Dynasty’s emperors as you visit the Imperial City. Have lunch in a local house. In the afternoon, cruise on Perfume River whilst watching Royal Court Music performance.
Dinner is on your own today.
Hue Imperial Citadel
Hue Imperial Citadel is a historical complex which once was exclusively used by the royal family and their eunuch servants. They were constructed in the early 19th century and were modeled after Beijing’s Forbidden City. The historical complex is known not only for its rich architecture but also for beautiful landscaping. It features hundreds of monuments and ruins, such as the Forbidden Purple City, the Imperial City, royal tombs, flag tower, pagodas…
Thien Mu Pagoda
Thien Mu Pagoda is set atop a hill just outside Hue City Centre, offering breathtaking views of Perfume River and Hue Imperial City. One of its standout features is a 21 meter-tall octagonal tower called Thap Phuoc Duyen, which was built in 1844 under the reign of Emperor Thieu Tri. Meanwhile, the main sanctuary houses wooden sculptures of temple guardians, gold-plated Buddha statues, and two-ton bell cast in 1710. Thien Mu Pagoda was also the home monastery of Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc, who had self-immolated in 1963 in protest against the persecution of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese government.
Day 8: Hue – Hoi An (130 km, 2 hours drive) (B/L/D)
In the morning, visit Tomb of Emperor Tu Duc before making your way to Hoi An. You’ll be travelling on the incredible Hai Van Pass, through lush mountains. In the afternoon, your guide will take you on a sightseeing walk through the Hoi An Old Town and visit some of the city’s major attraction.
Hoi An Town is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a Southeast Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. Its buildings and its street plan reflect the influences, both indigenous and foreign, that have combined to produce this unique heritage with beautiful temples, French colonial homes and some of the best tailors in Vietnam. Hoi An Old Town was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999.
Tomb of Tu Duc.
Once you’ve had some time to explore the complex of museums, gardens, and lakes around the Imperial City, a short drive takes you to a lush valley that holds 7 imperial tombs. Visit the Tomb of Tu Duc, a 19th century emperor who saw the longest reign of any Nguyen Dynasty ruler.
Japanese covered bridge
One of Vietnam’s most iconic attractions, Hoi An’s Japanese covered bridge dates back to the 18th century and is a beautiful historical piece of Japanese architecture. It is claimed that it was created by the Japanese then living in Hoi An as a way to reach the Chinese quarter across the water. Today, the bridge stands as a symbol of Hoi An and remains as aesthetically pleasing as it was when it first opened.
Phuc Kien Assembly Hall in Hoi An
The photogenic Phuc Kien (Fujian) assembly hall was created as a place in which residents from Phuc Kien in China could meet up and socialize whilst living or visiting Hoi An. Built around 1690 with the main gate added much later, the assembly hall is also a World Cultural Heritage Site and is much visited today by those seeking a glimpse of this superb piece of architecture.
Lifestart Foundation is a grassroots, not-for-profit charity that helps disadvantaged Vietnamese people and their families to become self-sufficient. Founded in 2000 by Australian Karen Leonard and supported by a team of dedicated volunteers, the Foundation applies a holistic approach to helping those in need through proven working programs and initiatives which are designed to effect a generational change. Visit Lifestart Foundation and learn how to make your own miniature Hoi An lantern taught by workshop beneficiaries. Take your unique lantern home as a memory of your time spent at the Lifestart Foundation.
Day 9: Hoi An (B/L)
Today, you’ll join a cooking class to discover flavors of Vietnamese cuisine. The chef and guide will take you to the market to find fresh, flavorful ingredients at the local market. You’ll have the opportunity to interact with the sellers, get to know about their daily life in Hoi An, and learn more about the Vietnamese ingredients you will use for cooking.
Afterward, discover Vietnamese culinary arts and culture as you prepare each dish yourself, after watching your chef make each dish first.
After the lesson, sample your own cooking for lunch, and enjoy a special extra-dish as well.
In the afternoon, you’ll have free time to explore Hoi An. Dinner is on your own today.
Day 10: Hoi An – Ho Chi Minh City (B/L/D)
Transfer to Da Nang City then a short flight will take you to Ho Chi Minh City.
Also known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is the business and financial hub of Vietnam with a colorful history going back hundreds of years, resulting in a myriad of attractions, restaurants, and hotels as well as a vibrant nightlife and shopping scene.
In the afternoon, visit Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral and Central Post Office in Ho Chi Minh City.
Reunification Palace was the Base of Vietnamese Republic President until the reunification in 1975. It made its name in global history in 1975. A tank belonging to the North Vietnamese Army crashed through its main gate, ending the Vietnam War against the America. Today, it’s a must visit for tourists in Ho Chi Minh City.
Notre Dame Cathedral in Ho Chi Minh
Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral, built in the late 1880s by French colonists, is one of the few remaining strongholds of Catholicism in the largely Buddhist Vietnam. Located in Paris Square, the name Notre Dame was given after the installation of the statue “Peaceful Notre Dame” in 1959.
Central Post Office in Ho Chi Minh City.
The Central Post Office in Ho Chi Minh City is a beautiful preserved remnant of French colonial times and perhaps the grandest post office in all of Southeast Asia. Located next door to Notre Dame Cathedral, the two cultural sites can be visited together and offers visitors a chance to imagine life in Vietnam during the times of the Indochinese Union (French Indochina). The building was designed by Alfred Foulhoux and features arched windows and wooden shutters, just as it would have in its heyday in the late 19th Century.
Day 11: Ho Chi Minh City – Cu Chi Tunnels (B/L/D)
Depart from Ho Chi Minh City to Cu Chi Tunnels, just 60 kilometers away from Ho Chi Minh City. Cu Chi is now considered a heroic district for its role in the anti-American war in Vietnam. It is legendary for its 220 kilometers-long tunnel system and is a popular spot for both Vietnamese and foreigners to visit.
The peacefully rural rice paddy scenery is home to ducks and water buffalos swimming in the rivers along the side of road. You will find it hard to imagine the destruction and damage all over the area caused by bombing and mines when Cu Chi was a “Free Target Zone”. The remnants in Cu Chi are evidence of the fierce battle that took place. You will even have chance to fire an AK-47.
In the afternoon, you will come back to Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 12: Ho Chi Minh City – Bangkok Half Day City Tour
After breakfast, you are free to relax until your transfer to Tan Son Nhat International Airport for your departure flight to Thailand – the land of Golden Pagodas.
On arrival, your Travel Thailand tour guide will pick you up and take you to the hotel in the city-center for check in. After refreshment, you will start the half day tour in Bangkok. Your first visit is The Grand Palace, which is the official Palace of The King Of Siam since 1782 made up of numerous buildings, halls, pavilions set around open lawns, gardens and courtyards. It is located on the bank of The Chao Phraya River. Inside the Grand Palace complex is Wat Phra Kaew or Temple of the Emerald Buddha – the most beautiful and sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand. The following visit is Wat Pho – the temple of reclining Buddha. The temple has a long list of credits: The oldest and largest temple in Bangkok, the longest reclining Buddha and the largest collection of Buddha images in Thailand, the first public education institution. Then cross Chao Phraya River to Thon Buri to visit Wat Arun which is known as Temple of Dawn – one of the best well-known sites in Bangkok. It is best seen from the opposite side of the river. After visiting this Wat, back to your hotel. Free time and relax.
Day 13: Bangkok – Damnoen Floating Market – Rose Garden (B)
Day 14: Bangkok – Departure (B)
Free until time transferred to the airport for your departure flight home.
Have a good journey back home.