This whirlwind fifteen day tour through two different countries' highlights begins in Hanoi, the Paris of the Orient. From there, new destination come at a break neck pace, ensuring that our travelers get a good sense of each city and town before moving on to the next stop. This is the perfect itinerary for travelers who know they are on a time budget, and want to get the absolute most out of their two week holiday. An overnight cruise on Halong Bay, two nights in the imperial city of Hue, and two nights in charming Hoi An all combine to offer a thorough understanding of northern Vietnam. Its culture, its history, its people and its food are all represented well. Next up is southern Vietnam as you fly into Ho Chi Minh City. This flip side of the same coin offers a different point of view on modern Vietnam. Spend time exploring the rural parts of the Mekong Delta. This itinerary isn't over yet, though. Jet off to Siem Reap, Cambodia, a perfect base from which to explore the world famous ruins of Angkor Wat, and the surrounding ancient temples.
In the morning, you will be picked up at the airport in Hanoi and transferred to your hotel. (This service is on a private basis.)
In the evening, you’ll have tickets for a performance of traditional Water Puppetry (an art form unique to northern Vietnam, and a good, light-hearted introduction to its rural culture). (This service is on a group basis.)
Vietnam's capital is rich in a culture touched by French and Chinese influences over its 1,000-year-long history. One can spend days in the Old Quarter, where fashion houses, art galleries and coffee shops make up the city's most charismatic district. Hanoi features hundreds of serene lakes, great for people watching and strolling an afternoon away. Take an evening to dine at a modern, cosmopolitan restaurant and enjoy a night on the town, but don't forget to take an evening to enjoy the thriving street food scene, one of the city's primary attractions.
After breakfast this morning you’ll have the whole day to explore Vietnam’s capital city. Your English speaking guide will take you to the Temple of Literature, the first university in Vietnam dating back to the 11th century, as well as Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum.
After lunch, you’ll call in at the serene Tran Quoc Pagoda, the oldest in Hanoi, on the banks of Hanoi’s Ho Tay (West) Lake. We'll jump on a cyclo for this portion of the tour for some added excitement. The bustling Old Quarter is a magnet for visitors. It’s a maze of shopping streets and restaurants with a hotchpotch of architecture - traditional tube houses, religious buildings, artisans’ workshops and cottages, colonial houses and modern concrete edifices. It’s noisy and hectic, but definitely a ‘must-see’ attraction.
We’ll arrange your program to avoid the busy times at popular destinations, but if there’s anything you particularly want to see, let us know.
After breakfast, you'll leave by shuttle bus for Ha Long Bay, one of the most spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Areas and the world’s largest marine limestone ‘karst’ landscapes. On arrival, you will board your wooden junk.
Cruise through the Bai Tu Long Bay area, and dock to visit one of the less visited caves in the Bay. From there, you’ll then continue your cruise toward Cong Do area for swimming or kayaking through a hidden lagoon. The route is designed to avoid the busy areas and includes a very quiet location for your overnight stay.
For your two-day Ha Long excursion, you'll board the Dragon's Pearl Junk, one of the newest wooden boats on the Bay. It’s based on the model of the old Chinese court vessels with two barge sails, a wide transom and a rectangular superstructure. The boat has eleven cabins with seven twin bedded cabins and four double queen size bedded cabins, you'll have plenty space on board.
All cabins are air-conditioned and have windows overlooking the bay. The floor area of each cabin is about 9 m2. The cabins are furnished with two twin beds or a double queen size bed. The interior paneling, floor and furniture are made of hard wood. The cabin has a wardrobe, pillows, white cotton sheets, and an en-suite toilet and shower with a good selection of toiletries. All meals, usually based on fresh seafood, will be provided on board. Kayaking is available and included in the price. (This service is on a group basis.)
Seemingly infinite, the towering islands of Ha Long Bay form a landscape unique to this world. From sunrise to sunset, Ha Long offers some of the most beautiful sights in all of Asia, either from the deck of your Chinese style boat, from your kayak, or from a private beach enjoying a seafood lunch.
You’ll wake in the fresh air of the bay with a swim or you can relax on the sundeck. After breakfast, you’ll continue your cruise to visit a fishing village where you’ll have an opportunity to explore the village and the hidden lagoon in a rustic rowing boat. The route will ends at a Pearl Farm where you can see the whole process of making high quality pearl.
After that, you’ll then cruise back to dock around noon whereupon you’ll be picked up to return to Hanoi by shuttle bus. On the way you will visit Con Son Temple in Hai Duong Province where you’ll be charmed by the fresh air and tranquility of its lines of trees, picturesque fields. Here, you’ll enjoy the fine architecture of a well-known historical relic in the Red River Delta before returning to Hanoi then to Noi Bai airport for the evening flight to Hue. Upon arrival in Hue, your driver will welcome and transfer you to hotel for overnight accommodation.
The heart of imperial Vietnam's history, Hue is Vietnam's cultural capital. It's architecture calls back to a time when the Nguyen Dynasty built temples, pagodas and palaces across its landscapes. A calm, noble city lives on today, showcasing beautiful buildings that survived bombings during the American War. The easy-going local crowd enjoys a night out, and routinely interacts with foreigners. With a tradition for maintaining authentic recipes, Hue's chefs might be the best example of pure Vietnamese food that dates back to the country's imperial years.
After breakfast, your guide will arrive to take you on a tour of Hue’s ancient citadel, once the seat of the Emperors of the powerful Nguyen Dynasty that ruled Vietnam from approximately 1800 to 1945. You’ll begin with a stroll around the area between the Citadel’s massive walls and the defensive moat, now filled with lotus flowers. You’ll then enter via the Noon Gate to wander around the Thai Hoa Palace, the Pavilion housing the Nine Urns of the Nguyen rulers, and the remains of the Royal Palaces, followed by a visit to the Museum of Antiquities.
In the afternoon, you will take a cruise along the Perfume River to visit to the Thien Mu Pagoda. From there, you’ll drive to the Royal Tombs of Emperor Minh Mang.
Each Royal mausoleum reflects the personality of the Emperor it commemorates. The most majestic is that of Emperor Minh Mang, a staunch follower of Confucianism with many wives, concubines and a small army of children. Planned by the Emperor and built shortly after his death in formal Chinese style, it’s opulent and exotic, and a good example of classic Sino-Vietnamese architecture.
In the morning, you'll be met and driven to Danang. On the way, you'll cross the Hai Van mountain pass. The views from the top are excellent – you should be able to see Lang Co beach and village, and the lagoon far below, with Danang spread out before you to the south.
Upon arriving in Danang enjoy a brief look at the remarkable Hindu statuary in the Cham Museum, before continuing to Hoi An. After lunch, you will have a guided visit to the Ancient Town of Hoi An.
There is a good reason we encourage first time travelers to Vietnam to visit Hoi An. After the hustle and bustle of the big cities, travel in Hoi An will feel easier. There is little modern motor traffic, and its shops and restaurants are mainly tailored for tourists. A romantic cafe culture lives on in French colonial buildings, along with a thriving art scene, can keep you busy (and shopping) for days. Hoi An is also a great base from which to enjoy a couple of beach days, or venture inland to meet with local farmers for a more authentic local experience.
The day starts with cycling the narrow roads through the countryside, passing by rice paddy fields, water buffalos, bamboo bridges and local farmers on their daily work. You’ll then board a boat to the mouth of the Thu Bon estuary where the river meets the Cua Dai Sea and cruise along the coastline observing the lives of the local fishermen.
After joining a fisherman in trying your hand at catching fish in a traditional ‘Thung Chai’ basket boat, you will meander through the water palm coconut canal. During the American War, Viet Cong soldiers made use of this area as a highly effective hiding place from enemy attacks through their long struggle. Following an insightful visit to a local fishing village, you’ll be free to relax and enjoy a fresh seafood lunch before cycling back to your hotel. (This service is on a group basis.)
In the morning, you will be picked up at your hotel in Hoi An and transferred to the airport in good time to board your domestic flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Upon arrival in Ho Chi Minh City, you will be picked up at the airport and transferred to your hotel. (This service is on a private basis.)
While much of Vietnam is set in its traditions, and content to live life at a slower pace, HCMC is where the nation's urban warriors congregate to work hard and play harder. The city that some still call Saigon has been the driving force leading Vietnam into the 21st century, and the result is a whirlpool of activity that one cannot help but be swept into. Remnants of Vietnam's history pockmark the city, creating a charming contrast of old and new.
Today your guide will take you to visit the famous Cu Chi tunnels, a Byzantine maze of underground passages, chambers, rooms and booby traps used by both the Vietminh and the Viet Cong to suddenly materialize as if from nowhere, launch a lightning ambush, and vanish equally rapidly.
After escaping from Ho Chi Minh City’s urban sprawl, you will travel to Cai Be where a Mekong River cruise will take you to visit the fruit orchards, a traditional family-run brick kiln, and some long established cottage industries. Later, a rowing boat will carry you through the maze of the Mekong Delta’s myriad channels to connect with the real life of local people, visiting a local house and listening to live music performed by local artists.
You will drive further into the Mekong Delta to Can Tho. Upon arrival you’ll call in at the Munir Ansay – an ancient Khmer style pagoda, renowned for its unique structural decorations. You’ll then drive to your hotel in Can Tho where you’ll spend the night.
Munir Ansay Pagoda has many statues and pillars with sophisticated decoration; the main gate was built in the shape of the towers illustrative of Angkor architecture.
Today, after breakfast, you will be driven to Cai Rang for a boat cruise to its floating market, one of the best on the Mekong Delta, with good views of the riverside lifestyle along the way. You will then journey back to Ho Chi Minh City. En route, you will call in at the beautiful and ancient Vinh Trang Pagoda, 3 km from My Tho center. You will arrive in Ho Chi Minh City in the late afternoon with time to freshen up in your hotel before the evening.
Vinh Trang Pagoda is renowned for its architectural mixture of Chinese, Vietnamese and Angkor styles. Located on a 2 hectare block with 5 buildings, 2 ornamental yards, 178 pillars and many valuable statues (especially the 18 arahants, wooden statues carved in 1907), the pagoda will give you a deeper look into the relationship between Vietnamese art and Buddhist beliefs.
In the morning, you will be picked up at your hotel in Ho Chi Minh City and transferred to the airport in good time to board your domestic flight to Siem Reap. Upon arrival in Siem Reap, you will be picked up at the airport and transferred to your hotel. (This service is on a private basis.)
Siem Reap is the best option for an international traveler's base from which to explore the Angkor temples. If not for the tourism boom brought on by the awesome sites around the city, Siem Reap might have been another sleepy Khmer village. Instead we find a bustling tourist town, complete with a well-named Pub Street, food vendors, luxury hotels, backpacking hostels, and the international travelers that drive it all. Sure, you'll probably want to spend most of your time outside the city, but don't underestimate the awesome opportunity to hit the town and mingle, bargain, eat, and drink your way through Siem Reap.
A novel way to discover the magnificent temples of Angkor is astride the back of an elephant! Enjoy an Emperor’s eye view with a 20-minute ride on these majestic and good natured animals, from the South Gate of Angkor Thom to the Bayon, or simply around the Bayon Temple. Your next visit will be to the Elephant and Leper King Terraces followed by the Baphoun Temple, which is now nearing the end of an eight-year multi-million dollar restoration program.
In the afternoon, you'll explore the most famous temple, Angkor Wat, the largest, and for many, the most impressive temple in this vast complex. Weather permitting; a sunset view from the top of Phnom Bakheng Hill will bring a pleasurable end to the day. If the Bakheng Hill is overcrowded by the exceeding visitors, we change to sunset view on Pre Rup Temple. Your overnight stay will be in Siem Reap.
After breakfast, visit the famous temple of Bantey Srey “the Citadel of Women”. This small pink sandstone temple (late 10th century) is considered the crown jewel of classical Khmer art with the delicate beauty of its carvings. Continue to Bantey Samre (mid 12th century), which has been admirably restored.
Afternoon, you’ll see Ta Prohm, strangled by massive tree roots and typical of the condition of the whole complex when it was discovered in 1860 by French naturalist Henri Mouhot. Your guide will then show you the Prasat Kravan (also known as the Cardomom Sanctuary) and Srah Srang Lake and landing terrace. The Srah Srang is less touristy and could be sunrise alternative to Angkor Wat. You’ll spend the night in Siem Reap.
Today, you will be picked up at your hotel in Siem Reap and transferred to the airport. (This service is on a private basis.)
Opened in May 2010, the well-known Hanoi Elegance Diamond Hotel is perfectly located in Hanoi’s historic Old Quarter, just a 2-minute walk from Hoan Kiem Lake (the Sword Lake). The hotel is perfect for value-conscious travelers, with a great location, nice clean rooms, and good service.
For your Ha Long Bay excursion, you'll board the Dragon's Pearl Junk, one of the newest wooden boats on the Bay. It’s based on the model of the old Chinese court vessels with two barge sails, a wide transom and a rectangular superstructure. The boat has eleven cabins, you'll have plenty space on board. All cabins are air-conditioned and have windows overlooking the bay. The floor area of each cabin is about 9 m2. The cabins are furnished with two twin beds or a double queen size bed. The interior panelling, floor and furniture are made of hard wood. The cabin has a wardrobe, pillows, white cotton sheets, and an en-suite toilet and shower with a good selection of toiletries. All meals, usually based on fresh seafood, will be provided on board. Kayaking is available and included in the price.
Within walking distance to Huong River and in the heart of Western Town, the location of The Moonlight Hotel Hue could not be more central or ideal for those wanting experience the popular attractions of Hue City. The Moonlight Hotel provides a wide selection of accommodation from Superior, Deluxe to Suites rooms. All 91 guest rooms and suites are equipped with luxurious, modern facilities and come with a river and city view. The hotel features Moonlight Restaurant which is on the highest floor with a spectacular river view and Lobby Bar offers a unique and sophisticated of wine, cocktails and dining options.
At the Ancient House Resort, you will find the focus is on ensuring your stay is truly relaxing where all you have to do is enjoy the good things in life. Ancient House offers you traditional familiar hospitality and warm ambience, combined with all the comforts of a modern hotel. The Resort is situated 35km from Danang International Airport and only 1km from the ancient town of Hoi An. The resort replicates an original village of Vietnam with small streets, water ponds, rooms with garden around, providing a warm and restful environment. Specially, this resort is named Ancient House because it includes a 200 years-old ancient house that has recognized as the provincial - level relic. It was designed in Vietnamese style - 3 apartments and 2 roofs.
Located in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City’s vibrant business and entertainment District 1, Nhat Ha 3 Hotel is a haven of convenience, relaxation, safety and tranquility. The hotel is conveniently located near recreation areas and shopping centers. Each of our 90 hotel rooms is designed to provide comfort and style with personalized service and convenient amenities including Cable and Satellite TV, air-conditioning, and complimentary coffee and tea.
The cutting-edge premise of Kim Tho includes 51 rooms equipped with 3-star facilities Its luxurious restaurant serves a wide range of Western and Eastern cuisine, including the unique specialty of the Mekong Delta. Conference facilities provide state-of-the-art sound and lighting and can accommodate up to 200 guests.
La Niche Boutique Hotel offers 36 rooms, decorated with a modern style, simple, natural and comfortable. The rooms feature private bathroom facilities. Most of rooms have terrace and views of the big beautiful swimming pool setting in the middle of a lush tropical garden. The open air restaurant with terrace offering a choice of traditional Cambodian cuisine and international dishes with local influences. The restaurant is set in a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere overlooking the garden and swimming pool. When you need to re-balance and rejuvenate your body in between daily routines, La Niche Spa is the perfect answer for a time and resource saving relaxation. A therapeutic health massage well suited to urban lifestyle, La Niche Spa provides professional massage to restore and enhance natural beauty from the inside Tune your body, mind and spirit.