This is our standard, and most popular route through Vietnam. Beginning in Hanoi, the Paris of the Orient, move onto an enjoyable overnight cruise on Halong Bay before continuing onto charming Hoi An. Get a taste of southern Vietnam with a few days in Ho Chi Minh City before departing.
Beyond the turbulent past that fosters false perceptions about Vietnam, there exists a county teeming with natural beauty and cultural moments waiting to be explored. Rugged coastlines blend into broad green valleys, deltas of snaking rivers, and limestone mountains, all complimented by a culture that has managed to create the best culinary experiences in all travel.
In the evening today, you’ll have tickets to watch a traditional Water Puppetry performance. This is an art form unique to northern Vietnam. The show will be a good, light-hearted introduction to the area's rural culture. (This service is on a group basis.)
In the morning, you will be picked up at the airport and transferred to your hotel. (This service is on a private 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.
You’ll have the whole day to explore Vietnam’s capital. Your guide will take you to the Temple of Literature, the first university in Vietnam dating back to the 11th century. It's a popular attraction, as is Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, his simple stilt house where he lived and worked and the museum dedicated to his memory.
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. In the afternoon, you’ll visit the center of Hanoi, including Hoan Kiem Lake, the Ngoc Son temple and cruise ride around the Colonial and Old Quarters on a cyclo to discover the city’s architectural mixture of French colonial style, social realism (mostly public buildings - designed or influenced by the USSR), pagodas and communal houses with many features, merchants’ residences, ‘tube’ dwellings, modern buildings and vernacular houses. (This service is on a private basis.)
After an early breakfast, you’ll leave for Ha Long Bay, one of the most spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Areas and the world’s largest marine limestone ‘karst’ landscape. There, you will board a wooden junk to take you around the Bay, ultimately stopping off at a beach on an island.
Check in on the boat, before enjoying a Vietnamese lunch, while heading towards South East Halong Bay, passing by Chicken Rock, Finger Islet, and Frog Islet. During your excursion, and weather permitting, you will have the opportunity to swim, kayak or rowboat through the bay's sea level caves and climb a hill (not a mountain!) for an overview of the Bay’s remarkable seascape. During a visit to a fishing village, you can try your hand at fishing too! The route is designed to avoid the busy areas and includes a very quiet location for your overnight stay. Back on the boat, you can relax on the sundeck before your evening cooking demonstration and delicious dinner. Enjoy a movie on the lounge deck to finish your night, or head straight to bed on a full stomach, to be rocked to sleep by the gentle water.
For your two-day Ha Long excursion, you will board the Bhaya Cruise, one of the largest wooden boats on the Bay. It’s a wooden junk based on the model of the old Vietnamese court vessels with two barge sails, a wide transom with a rectangular superstructure. The boat can accommodate a maximum of 40 people, so you're likely to be joining other travelers for the cruise. (This service is on a group basis.)
Seemingly infinite, the towering islands of Ha Long Bay form a landscape unique to this world. Designated a World Heritage site in 1994, Ha Long Bay's spectacular scatter of islands, 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.
This morning, you will wake in fresh air of the bay and can start your day with an early Tai Chi session on the large sundeck (beginners welcome!). Enjoy the views of the bay and the surrounding islands, while having a light pastry and a tea or coffee for breakfast. Feel free to take a swim in the morning as well, to really wake yourself up! Later, you will discover Surprise Cave, one of the biggest caves in Ha Long Bay with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites. You’ll return to the junk for a brunch, while cruising back to dock around noon. When you depart the boat, you will be transferred to your accommodations in Hanoi. The afternoon will be free for you to explore Hanoi on your own. (This service is on a group basis.)
In the morning, you’ll be picked up from your hotel and transferred to a private house where you’ll learn to cook some typical Vietnamese dishes representing the north of Vietnam.
The cooking class begins with an introduction to Vietnamese culinary culture structured around the Vietnamese staple foods, rice and ‘nuoc mam’ (fish sauce). Next, you will get busy in the kitchen under the careful supervision of a Vietnamese, English-speaking cook. There’s a whole range of menus to choose from – one for each day of the week! Each has been developed specially to give an all-round flavor of Vietnamese cuisine. Once you’ve prepared your lunch, you can sit down the eat dishes that you’ve cooked.
Afterward, you will be transferred back to your hotel and the afternoon will be free. (This service is on a private basis.)
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.
You will start a walking tour through this charming small town composed of hundreds of historic houses, congregation halls, pagodas and other structures. Its buildings and streets reflect the indigenous and foreign influences this town had, defining it as a unique heritage and multi-cultural site.
There’s plenty to see in this delightful town, such as the Japanese Covered Bridges, the Pottery Museum, the 200 years old Tan Ky House, Chua Ong Pagoda and the vibrant local market. You'll have the chance to visit all of them in this walking tour. (This service is on a private basis.)
This morning, you will embark on a Farming & Fishing Life Tour, which provides you with a close-up and intimate exposure to both the local farming and fishing communities. Accompanied by your tour guide, you will start the day cycling slowly along country roads and witnessing local Vietnamese rural life first hand. Keep an eye out for the rice paddy fields, water buffaloes, bamboo bridges and local farmers on their daily work, that you will pass along the way. You will stop to visit a beautiful organic vegetable village, where you will help water and plant vegetables, hoeing the soil with a local farmer in a rice paddy field. Have your camera ready, because these are memories you will want to capture!
Next, you will board an eco-tour boat for a river cruise to meet and engage with local fishermen and enjoy a hands-on experience of net fishing, catching fish in a traditional ‘Thung Chai’ basket boat. You will also experience paddling the unique Vietnamese bamboo basket boat along the waterways of coconut palm paradise. This tour provides you with a cultural window into the ways of life of both Vietnamese farming and fishing communities. After enjoying a fresh seafood lunch, you will be taken back to the hotel, where you can enjoy the rest of the day as you wish.
*Please note that the clothing and footwear used for today's activities are likely to get wet and dirty throughout the day. We suggest bringing a spare clothes and comfortable shoes. (This service is on a group 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.
After breakfast, your guide will arrive to show you around Ho Chi Minh City. You’ll visit the Reunification Hall – an early colonial masterpiece constructed to accommodate the Governor, general of Indochina. The Museum of War Remnants provides a very partial, but riveting, perspective of the ‘American War’: not for the squeamish! The Binh Tay market and the China Town are worth a stroll to explore the local daily life and the culture mix.
After lunch, you’ll also call in at the Jade Emperor Temple. It’s one of the best Taoist temples in Vietnam, with superb effigies, remarkable carved panels of the descent to Hell and somewhat incongruous terrapin and tortoise sanctuaries. You’ll then return your hotel for freshen up or wander around the huge Ben Thanh market, one of the liveliest areas of Ho Chi Minh City, is packed with every conceivable commodity.
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.
Today, you will be picked up at your hotel and transferred to the airport. (This service is on a private basis.)
The Ann Hanoi boasts the contemporary designs and dedicated services from the center of Hanoi. Within a walking distance to key landmarks and Old Quarter of Hanoi and 30-minute drive from Noi Bai International Airport, we always make sure your stay with The Ann Hanoi is exclusively indulgent and totally hassle-free. Enjoy Hanoi's charismatic landmarks just a few door steps away and make yourself comfortable in our graceful yet vibrant settings. Whether you choose Deluxe or Premium Room, be ready to pamper you through impeccably featured ergonomic amenities and unpretentious concepts. Welcome to The Ann Hanoi!
For your Ha Long Bay excursion, you'll board the Bhaya Cruise, one of the largest wooden boats on the Bay. It’s a wooden junk based on the model of the old Vietnamese court vessels with two barge sails, a wide transom with a rectangular superstructure. The boat has 16 Deluxe Twin/Double cabins, 2 Bhaya Suites and 2 Royal Suites which can accommodate a maximum of 40 people, so you're likely to be joining other travelers for the cruise. All Cabins and Suites are finished in traditional Vietnamese hardwood giving them a rich, luxuriant warmth. The white deckheads, thatched bamboo-matting panels and expansive curtained windows deliver ambient light and views. Hand-crafted hardwood furniture, gold and white fittings, white bed linen and soft pastel turquoise bed runners and pillows further enhance the warmth and light. All accommodations include air-conditioning, fans, private toilets and showers (with bath in the Royal Suites), TV with music and news channels, access to a film library, refrigerator, hair dryer, fluffy bathrobes and slippers, in-cabin safes and picturesque ocean views as standard. All meals, usually based on fresh seafood, will be provided on board. Kayaking is available upon request and at a surcharge.
Located on Hung Vuong Street, on the edge of Hoi An’s old town and not far from the Japanese Covered Bridge, this brand new 4+ star resort-hotel with 5 star service nestles on the edge of quiet lush green paddy fields away from the crowds of the old town. Set in a tropical garden, the style embodies authentic Hoi An charm mixed with modern influences. Our guest rooms have either balconies or large windows bringing you close to nature in a luxurious and comfortable setting. A couple can enjoy their stay in a Deluxe room or Suite while a Family room with balcony or a Luxurious Pool View Suite with connecting rooms are large enough for a family of 4/5. . We provide private transfers from Danang airport or rail station, daily buffet breakfast, morning Tai Chi, afternoon tea and sunset cocktails as well as many other complimentary services and amenities.
As a 4-star standard hotel, Eden Saigon is located right in the center of business, shopping, commercial and entertainment of Ho Chi Minh City and only a 5 minute walk from the Ben Thanh Market. From the very beginning, the Hotel targets the customers for business and leisure purposes. With the advantage of convenient transportation system, Eden Saigon Hotel also offers the luxury guest rooms, hospitable services as well as the completely furnished business facilities. The hotel also has massage area and fitness center with an outdoor swimming pool and bar with views of the city.
The only luxury hotel in the center of the Mekong Delta, the Victoria Can Tho Resort blends colonial-style architecture with the natural beauty of the river. Close to Can Tho town, but a quiet retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city, the resort lies on the banks of the Hau River, set amidst gardens with a plethora of exotic plants. The Victoria Can Tho Resort features 92 rooms, including 8 luxurious suites, all designed with wood flooring, authentic Vietnamese decoration and balconies offering spectacular views of the river, pool or of the garden. Each room combines the elegance of traditional artefacts and the comfort of an international standard hotel.
*Pricing is based on two persons traveling together, based on availability, subject to change.