See the iconic sites and natural wonders that define Vietnam. Travel from vibrant Hanoi into the highlands to discover terraced rice fields and hilltribes. Get a history lesson in Hue, be charmed by Hoi An then wrap up the journey in bustling Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta.
After meeting with locals in Hanoi, head to Sapa’s villages where the different ethnic groups have their own, unique traditions
Travel by boat to get up close to Halong Bay’s limestone karsts and to see the Delta’s many wonders.
Venture through historic monuments in Hue and wander Hoi An’s UNESCO-heritage old town, two of Vietnam’s most tranquil towns.
Grand Vietnam - 13 Days / 12 Nights
Arrive in Hanoi and be welcomed by the guide and transferred to the hotel. Spend the rest of the day at leisure.
Overnight in Hanoi.
Please note: In case of early arrival, it is possible to arrange some visits scheduled on Day 2 as well as the Water Puppets Show. This arrangement will allow for more free time on Day 2
This tour starts at 08:30 by driving pass the historical Ba Dinh Square where Ho Chi Minh proclaimed the independence of Vietnam in 1945. Driver drops off at Lenin Garden – communal space of local for taking an easy walk through before strolling through areas where sewing shops have been in family hands for generations, and people still practice the old ways, or admire the daily life of local people in the alley of Hanoi. Proceed to the millenia-old Temple of Literature and explore its role in the country’s past, as both a university and a temple.
If interested, make a stop at the last courtyard where Vietnamese traditional instruments contribute to the oriental feel. For travelers who are musicians, opportunities to play some notes will present themselves, all under the guidance of the artists. And then visit the fascinating Ethnology Museum (closed Mondays), which is both a research centre and a public museum exhibiting the ethnic groups of Vietnam.
After lunch, embark on a walk through Hanoi’s Old Quarter. Witness the ancient commercial street names, mirroring the crafts and businesses dating back over a thousand years. En route, make a stop at Thuong Tra tea house nested in an old apartment building to escape from Hanoi’s bustling life and learn about the importance of drinking tea in Vietnamese society. Listen to the guide share this culture over a cup of tea.
Finish the day with a Water Puppet show. This is a uniquely northern Vietnamese art form depicting scenes from rural life and episodes of national history.
Overnight in Hanoi.
Start an easy morning with late morning drive from Hanoi to Sapa, simple lunch is served en route.
Arrive Sapa in the late afternoon, then checking in hotel & free at leisure
Overnight in Sapa
This morning depart for 6km from Sapa town to Hang Da village, inhabited by Black H’mong ethnic. Stop along the way to admire the marvelous views over Muong Hoa Valley and Fansipan Mountain, which is 3,143m - the highest mountain of Indochina. Leave the vehicle for an easy walk through a nice path leading through hilly mountains. Enjoy the spectacular view with mountainous, green valleys and fresh air. The path continues gradually downhill through the stunning valley of Sa Seng, passing through several Hmong hamlets along the way. A typical Hmong village comprises wooden roofed houses surrounded by rock walls where pot-bellied pigs, chickens and water buffaloes run here and there, and children play with makeshift toys. With some luck, there is a chance to see Hmong women making fibre from hemp, which they spin and weave to make traditional costumes. After visiting local house and experiencing more on the culture of the H’mong ethnic, continue the walk to Sa Pả, another hamlet of the Hmong people settle at the bottom of the valley. Here the car awaits for the short transfer back to town.
Overnight in Sapa.
This morning after breakfast, leave Sapa for a 30-minute winding road transfer to Ban Khoang Valley. Enjoy the breathtaking view of Hoag Lien Mountain Range along the way, also known as The Tonkinese Alps.
Observe the amazing view of the valley on arrival to Ban Khoang Village through the high road. Snap some great pictures of the impressive beautiful landscape. Then, stop for an easy walk to visit a village of Red Dao ethnic at Ban Khoang. The Red Dao women are very skill of making their own embroidery as well as how beautiful their tradition costume. For hundreds of years living in the mountain the people here still maintain their culture of farming rice using buffalo and upkeeps a self-sufficient system.
Depart from Ban Khoang Valley for a 8-km road transfer to Ta Giang Phinh Valley and enjoy a local lunch there. This afternoon, take a leisurely walk through the charming Ta Giang Phinh Valley. Walk on the village path which winds down the impressive valley, home to Blue Hmong ethnic minority people. Visit some local houses to see some handicrafts workshops, observe villagers working in the fields tending their crops with buffalos.
Appropriate footwear must be worn on treks in Sapa. Note that if conditions are wet, programs may be changed.
Mid-late afternoon, transfer to Lao Cai and have day use room for freshening up before having overnight train to return Hanoi
Overnight in Sapa.
Following early breakfast leave Hanoi for a 2.5 hrs drive to Halong Bay . Arrive at the jetty in Halong City towards noon and proceed with check-in formalities. After a your welcome onboard, a lunch will be served while cruising towards the bay itself. In the afternoon, enjoy some visits and/or activities (depending on each boat’s itinerary) or just spend some time relaxing on board. Towards the end of the day the boat sets anchor for the night among the karst formations. Dinner is served on board.
Overnight on Halong Bay.
Enjoy a fresh morning in the middle of the bay, the sun rises on Halong in the morning and breakfast is served (brunch on some boats) while the vessels cruises slowly through the magnificent rock formations and back towards port. Upon disembarkation, be met by the driver for a transfer to Noi Bai Airport for a flight to Danang. On arrival in Danang transfer to Hoi An, a major Asian trading port in the 17th and 18th centuries whose architecture and relaxed lifestyle have changed little over the years.
Overnight in Hoi An.
Note: This tour may be subject to change depending on weather conditions.
Spend the morning on a walking tour in Hoi An, a charming destination with two faces – the old-world trading port of narrow streets and traditional houses, and the beach with its new resorts and long stretches of clean white sand. In keeping with Hoi An’s heritage as a trading port, the town’s tiny shop houses now host a range of craft shops and artisans including some of Asia’s best tailors. Despite the passing of 200 years and the ravages of weather and war, the centre of Hoi An remains much the same as it was in its heyday. Take a walking tour of the ancient town centre to visit former merchants’ houses, the 400 year-old Japanese Bridge, a Chinese communal hall and the colorful market.
Overnight in Hoi An.
After breakfast, leave Hoi An for Hue, the former imperial capital of Vietnam. Its mesmerizing tombs and mausoleums of the last emperors of Vietnam reveal fascinating insights into the lives of the imperial families and their subjects. The ancient Citadel reflects the pomp and ceremony of the dynastic rulers as well as the scars of many years of turmoil, both ancient and modern. The Royal Citadel was badly damaged in the latter stages of the war but retains a sense of grace and majesty even today.
Drive through Danang and visit the Cham Museum, which contains the finest collection of Cham sculptures in the world before climbing over the Pass of Ocean Clouds and dropping down to the wonderfully photogenic fishing village of Lang Co.
Overnight in Hue.
08:30 depart from the hotel in Hue. Start at the Imperial Citadel where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled between 1802 and 1945. From here take a cyclo through dai noi ‘Old visit Tran Dinh Son private museum with a collection of everyday items that past Kings have used, and learn how royal descendants are keeping the family’s traditions alive today. Continue to visit Thien Mu (Celestial Lady) Pagoda overlooking the Perfume River; constructed in 1601, the 21-meter tall tower is the centerpiece of the pagoda and represents seven reincarnations of Buddha. In the grounds of the pagoda is the Austin car made famous when in 1963, a resident monk drove the vehicle to what was then Saigon to protest against the southern regime, the photo of his self immortalization was captured and was one of the most well known images of the war.
Lunch at a local restaurant for an authentic Hue style cuisine.
Continue to former emperor Minh Mang’s tomb located in a tranquil setting of gardens and ponds, inspired by the Chinese Confucianism, a harmonious design of balance and symmetry for the emperor’s resting place.
Journey on to Khai Dinh’s Tomb designed in traditional Vietnamese style with a European touch making it unique from the other tombs in Hue.
Overnight in Hue.
Transfer to Hue Airport after breakfast for the short flight to dynamic Ho Chi Minh City, still called Saigon by the locals.
Meet with a local guide and set off on a half day tour in Ho Chi Minh City. Start with a visit to the city’s most iconic building: Reunification Hall. Formerly called the Presidential Palace, images of the building were seen around the world on 30 April 1975 when tanks stormed the gates as Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese. Hear the echoes of time while walking through this historic downtown site.
Then take a stroll to Ho Chi Minh City’s colonial quarter, walking past scenes of everyday life on the way. Admire the beautiful architecture of the Opera House, City Hall, the old Saigon Post Office, Hear about the glory days of French Indochina and how that era continues to influence aspects of modern Vietnamese culture. Step inside the War Remnants Museum for an insightful, yet sombre, look into Vietnam’s military history.
See exhibitions displaying imagery from the French and American wars, learning more about the country’s struggle for independence and hearing tales of the resilience of the Vietnamese people.
Then step off the tourist trail for one last visit on this Ho Chi Minh City tour at a Vietnamese coffee shop, sit down and taste the coffee like locals. After this insightful visit, return to the hotel.
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
This tour begins at 08:00. Leave the busy streets of Ho Chi Minh City and drive deep into the Mekong Delta on this Cai Be day tour. Upon arriving in Cai Be, disembark the boat when reaching Tan Phong Island and start a very interesting cycling tour through small villages and narrow roads. Ride along the pathways and take the opportunity to visit local families making traditional products such as handicraft items made from water hyacinth, roofs made from palm leaves, hammocks made from coconut ropes, and rice papers.
Enjoy lunch with specialties of the Mekong Delta in the ambience of an ancient house. After lunch,
walk through narrow lanes of a local market to enjoy the hustle and bustle before getting on board and continue cruising on the Mekong River, witness everyday life in the watery world passing by while sampling local fresh fruits. Leave the boat for a while to visit local businesses such as family-run rice wine making and rice mill factory and interact with the host learning about their daily lives.
At the end of the tour, drive back to Saigon.
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
Departure day. Time at leisure until transfer to Tan Son Nhat Airport for onward flight.
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