Saigon Holidays

Sample Itinerary - REF SOUTHEAST ASIA 516

If you like the itinerary below please quote REF SOUTHEAST ASIA 516 when enquiring for further details.

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Women practising Tai Chi by Hoan Kiem Lake

Day 1: Hanoi

Welcome to Hanoi! You will be met at the airport for transfer to your hotel in Hanoi. The rest of the day is free. Renowned as the ‘Paris of the East’, Hanoi is one of Asia’s most fascinating cities. Rich in culture and history, this diverse city draws on its influences from both French and Chinese culture. This evening enjoy dinner before attending a traditional Vietnamese water puppet performance.

A street in the Old Quarter of Hanoi

Day 2: Hanoi

In the morning, commence your exploration of Hanoi by visiting the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first university dating to 1070. The excursion continues on to Ho Chi Minh’s humble “stilt house” before visiting the French colonial Governor’s Palace and the 11th century One-Pillar Pagoda. Afterwards, there is a 30min drive to Van Giang Village to attend a cooking demonstration given by a local family. After the cooking demonstration, join the Vietnamese family in their home for a delicious lunch before driving back to Hanoi for a fascinating Cyclo ride to explore the bustling Old Quarter and the 36 “Guild streets”. The evening is free.

The Huc Bridge

Day 3: Hanoi - Halong Bay

Depart in the morning for the scenic three-hour drive through the countryside to Ha Long Bay, a natural wonder with thousands of islands rising out of the water. On arrival, embark on one of the vessels for an overnight cruise through the 3,000 limestone islands, many punctuated by caves and grottoes. Savor a delicious Vietnamese buffet lunch as the cruise heads to Bai Tu Long Bay passing the towns of Hon Gai and Cam Pha, Oan Lagoon, Mat Quy (Monster Head) and Am Tich (Teapot) Islets. Take a row boat to visit the Vung Vieng fishing village. Enjoy a range of fantastic recreation or relaxation activities onboard: a cooking demonstration, traditional massage, swimming, kayaking etc.

A junk sailing past a limestone peak in Halong Bay

Day 4: Halong Bay - Hue

Enjoy fresh air and the gentle breeze of the bay this morning as you relax onboard the Junk. There will be more opportunities to swim and explore hidden caves before returning to port. Transfer back to Hanoi airport for your flight to Hue in central Vietnam. Upon arrival in Hue, you are met and transferred to your hotel.

The Perfume River in Hue

Day 5: Hue

In the morning, take a boat ride along the romantic Perfume River. Stop off at the Thien Mu Pagoda on the banks of the river to see the 7-storey Stupa. Continue on to visit the mausoleum of Emperor Minh Mang (1791-1841), built between 1841 and 1843. The Emperor’s mausoleum complex consists of 40 constructions (palaces, temples, pavilions etc.) designed on a symmetrical axis. Lunch is a special vegetarian meal with the nuns of Dong Thuyen Pagoda. In the afternoon, visit the Imperial Citadel and Forbidden City, created in the 19th century for the Emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty. Enjoy some “retail therapy” at Dong Ba Market before transferring back to the hotel.

Women trading at Dong Ba Market by Tormod Sandtorv

Day 6: Hue - Hoi An

After breakfast at the hotel, visit the mausoleums of the Emperors Tu Duc (1829-1883) and Khai Dinh (1885-1925). On the way down to Danang, stop off for a refreshment break at Lang Co beach, one of the World’s most beautiful bays. Continue on to Danang to visit the Cham Museum. Afterwards, head to the World Cultural Heritage Site of Hoi An Ancient Town. Check-in to your hotel. Enjoy some free time on a walking tour through the narrow lanes of the town, lined with century-old buildings and illuminated at night by hundreds of colorful lanterns. Discover the traditional shop-houses and temples, and the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge.

Men sitting on the street in Hoi An in conical hats

Day 7: Hoi An

In the morning, take a half-day excursion to My Son Sanctuary. My Son is s religious site dating back to the Kingdom of Champa, and also a burial place of Cham royals and national heroes. The My Son temple complex is one of the foremost remaining examples of Hindu influence in South East Asia and is the most prominent heritage site of this nature in Vietnam. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. This afternoon is free in Hoi An Ancient town. For something different, you can join in a fun cooking class, head to the nearby Cua Dai beach or observe local life on a sunset cruise on the peaceful Thu Bon River (book/pay locally for optionals).

A bridge in Hoi An

Day 8: Hoi An - Saigon

In the morning, transfer to the airport for the flight to Saigon, Vietnam’s vibrant southern metropolis. In the afternoon, discover the city’s most attractive sites, taking in the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Central Post Office before ending the day with a visit to Chinatown. In the evening, have dinner at local restaurant

Ho Chi Minh's Notre Dame Basilica Cathedral at night

Day 9: Saigon - Can Tho

In the morning, travel overland into the beautiful countryside of the northeastern Mekong Delta and Vinh Long province. On arrival, take a boat ride to visit a local orchard and the famous Cai Be floating market. Approximately 400-500 boats loaded to the gunnels with fruit, vegetables and other local produce anchor or moor along the banks of the river every day waiting to offload their goods to wholesale traders or local customers. Leaving Cai Be, visit a local family producing coconut candy, a regional delicacy. After a lunch of local delights, drive on to Can Tho, the hub of the Mekong Delta and its largest city.

A woman rowing a boat to Can Tho floating markets

Day 10: Can Tho - Saigon

After breakfast, cruise some of the narrow and picturesque canals and waterways by small boat. Visit the Cai Rang-Phong Dien floating market with its hordes of small vendor boats. Take in the sultry scenery and witness the daily activities of the locals who live along these Mekong canals. After lunch, drive back to Saigon. Why not add on the Cu Chi Tunnels experience - see the Enhance your Holiday Page for details.

A street trader in Saigon

Day 11: Saigon

We will transfer you to the airport in time for your departure flight.