Essential Vietnam - 10 Days
Journey south through Vietnam on this budget-friendly adventure starting in bustling Hanoi, visiting beautiful Cat Ba island in Halong Bay, charming Hoi An, Hue and the beaches of Mui Ne, before ending in vibrant Ho Chi Minh City.
Today marks the start of your Vietnam adventure! Make your own way to the start hotel in Hanoi. There is a welcome meeting and drinks in the hotel lobby at 4pm to meet your guide and fellow travellers. The rest of the day is free to spend at your leisure exploring Vietnam's charming capital.
Please note: If you would like more time to take in the sights of Hanoi, we can book pre tour accommodation upon request.
Hanoi - Cat Ba Island. This morning we journey to Cat Ba Island in Halong Bay and enjoy a cruise to the Beo floating village and pristine Lan Ha Bay, the sister bay of Halong. Surrounded by emerald waters and limestone rock formations, we enjoy lunch onboard before sailing back to Cat Ba. This afternoon there's the option to kayak around the island's beautiful lagoons or enjoy a 10km bike ride through the jungle to visit Cat Ba's most remote village.
Returning to our hotel later in the afternoon, the rest of the day is free for you to either relax on the beach, enjoy a few drinks at the bar or visit Canon Fort to enjoy a breathtaking sunset over the archipelago.
Please note: from May-August our visit to Cat Ba Island and Lan Ha Bay day cruise will be replaced with an overnight Halong Bay junk boat cruise. Please read the trip notes for further information.
Overnight: Cat Ba Princess Hotel | Breakfast, Lunch
Cat Ba – Hue. Today either enjoy a free morning at your leisure or early birds can take our optional excursion to Cat Ba fish market and climb one of Cat Ba's peaks for truly breathtaking views over the national park. Returning to our hotel to freshen up, we then drive to Hanoi train station to catch our overnight train (simple 4 berth cabins) to Hue.
Please note: from May-August our visit to Cat Ba Island will be replaced with an overnight Halong Bay cruise. Please read the trip notes for further information.
Overnight: Sleeper Train | Breakfast
Today we enjoy a tour of Hue’s biggest highlight, the Imperial Citadel, before exploring the village of the Mandarins on the banks of the Perfume River. Here we get the chance to meet the locals and enjoy lunch in one of their homes.
This afternoon we journey to our hotel and enjoy some free time to relax. Perhaps visit the imperial tombs and the Thien Mu Pagoda or take a taxi to the unknown beach of Thuan An (10km away). Alternatively, choose one of our optional excursions either cycling through less-visited rural Hue or watching the sunset over the Chuon lagoon.
Overnight: Hue | Lunch
Hue – Hoi An. Today we travel by public tourist bus (modern coach with air conditioning) to the charming port town of Hoi An. Here we have an orientation walking tour, visiting the town's wonderfully preserved colonial houses and the iconic Japanese Bridge. The rest of the day is free to spend at your leisure.
Overnight: Hoi An | Breakfast
Hoi An – Mui Ne. Enjoy a free day to explore all that Hoi An has to offer, perhaps doing some shopping, sampling the local street food or enjoying some downtime on the nearby beach. There are also two optional excursions available, either visiting a local farm to learn about traditional methods of farming, cook a Vietnamese lunch and enjoy a basket boat ride through the coco-palm forest, or a cycling and paddle adventure through Hoi An’s surrounding countryside.
This evening we head to Da Nang railway station to get our overnight sleeper train (simple 4 berth cabins) to Mui Ne, one of Vietnam's most popular beach resorts.
Overnight: Sleeper Train | Breakfast
Arriving into Binh Thuan railway station around noon, we transfer to our hotel in Mui Ne, where we spend the rest of day 7 and day 8 at leisure. Mui Ne Beach in Phan Thiet is the perfect place to enjoy some rest and relaxation. Perhaps stroll along the glorious 21km stretch of golden sandy beach with its rolling sand dunes, soak up the sunshine and swim in the emerald water which is dotted with colourful fishing boats.
Overnight: Mui Ne | Breakfast x 1
Mui Ne – Ho Chi Minh City. Today we travel by public tourist bus to vibrant Ho Chi Minh City. After hotel check-in, the rest of the day is free to either spend at your leisure or take our optional city tour in the afternoon which visits the lesser-known Tan Dinh market.
Overnight: Ho Chi Minh City | Breakfast
Today is our final day in Ho Chi Minh City. If you have time before your flight, you may wish to join our optional morning excursion to the famous Cu Chi Tunnels, which played a vital part in the American War. Alternatively, if you would like to extend your time in Vietnam, we can arrange post-tour accommodation by request.
Prices & Dates
Departure dates noted with a 'G' are guaranteed to operate. All other departure dates are guaranteed with a minimum of 2 persons. Prices shown are per person travelling. 'Twin/Double' prices per person apply when there are 2 people travelling, sharing a room. The 'Single supplement' applies for single travellers who require their own room and needs to be added to the 'Twin/Double' price. If you are happy to be paired up with another single traveller of the same sex on your tour, this can be arranged, thus avoiding the single person supplement.
The hotels listed below are ones which we frequently use on this tour. We reserve the right to substitute these hotels to ones of a similar standard when necessary.
La Dolce Vita Hotel, Hanoi
Offering an excellent location in the heart of Hanoi, La Dolce Vita Hotel is within walking distance of a variety of restaurants, shops and bars. Its spacious guestrooms feature wooden furniture and modern artwork, with complimentary WiFi available throughout the hotel. Enjoy drinks or a light bite to eat with your travel companions in the Lobby Bar and Café or, if you’re looking for a sit-down dinner, you can choose between delicious Vietnamese and Western dishes in the La Dolce Vita Restaurant.
Hong Ha Hotel, Hanoi
Boasting a fantastic location in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, the Hong Ha Hotel is just a short walk from top attractions such as the Water Puppet Theatre, Dong Xuan Market and Hoan Kiem Lake. Each of its modern guestrooms offer views of the city and are equipped with all the essential amenities to ensure a comfortable stay. Dine on tasty international cuisine in Le Bistro Restaurant or head to the hotel's Terrace Café to enjoy a beer or cocktail after a day of sightseeing.
Duy Tan 1 Hotel , Hue
Well located in the centre of Hue, the Duy Tan 1 Hotel is just footsteps away from the Perfume River and Trang Tien Bridge. Its comfortable guestrooms are fitted with wooden furnishings and offer free WiFi so you can stay connected with your friends and family back home. The hotel’s restaurant serves a mix of European and Vietnamese dishes, which you can enjoy whilst watching traditional music performances. There's also laundry facilities and a gym if you're looking to squeeze in a workout.
Carnosa Hotel, Hue
Situated close to the romantic Huong River, the Carnosa Hotel offers a great location in the imperial city of Hue. Its guestrooms are equipped with all the essential amenities, with free WiFi available so you can stay connected to friends and family back home. Start your day with the hotel's buffet breakfast and enjoy dinner at the in-house restaurant, which serves a variety of American dishes. One of the best ways to explore Hue is by bike, so be sure to take advantage of the hotel’s free bike hire during your stay.
Indochine Hotel, Hoi An
Boasting a fantastic riverside location, the Indochine Hotel enjoys the best of both worlds being just a 5-minute walk from Cua Dai Beach and still within a short drive of Hoi An’s ancient town. Its spacious guestrooms offer garden, pool or river views, with complimentary WiFi, air conditioning and a welcome fruit basket. Enjoy the outdoor pool with a refreshing swim after some sightseeing or indulge in a treatment at the hotel’s spa. The Indochine Restaurant serves authentic Vietnamese and international cuisine or you can unwind with a drink at the Windy Lounge Bar, which overlooks the pool and river.
Sunrise Hoi An Beach Resort, Hoi An
Beach front elegance at its best, the Sunrise Hotel is modern, luxurious and right on the beach. The whole complex is tastefully decorated and the rooms are all well appointed with gorgeous hard wood flooring, excellent en suite facilities with rain showers and private balconies. All rooms provide a stunning garden or ocean view. The in house Bodyworks Spa offers luxurious revitalisation and is the perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon. Well positioned on Cua Dai Beach on the glorious South China Sea.
Sandune Mui Ne Beach Resort & Spa , Mui Ne
Located on a stretch of untouched sand, this beautifully landscaped hotel features a range of rooms, suites and bungalows set around a central pool and lush palm trees. Each guestroom offers a sea view, with modern amenities including air conditioning and free WiFi. However, this hotel’s list of attractions doesn’t stop there, with treatments available at the Ocean Spa, two stylish restaurants serving Vietnamese and Western cuisine, and the Swim Up Bar offering refreshing drinks without even needing to leave the pool.
Nam Chau Resort, Mui Ne
Set in a three-hectare garden, this boutique resort features rustic accommodation in the form of villas with thatched roofs. Each villa is complete with an ensuite, TV and minibar, and you can enjoy a complimentary breakfast with Vietnamese style bread and your choice of coffee. Thanks to its position on a white sand beach on the cape of Mui Ne, this resort offers a vast range of water sports. Depending on the season, you can choose between paddle boarding, kite and wind surfing, kayaking and jet skiing, alongside beach volleyball and football. And that’s not all, with the resort organizing pool and beach parties on Saturday evenings.
Hoang Phu Gia Hotel, Ho Chi Minh City
Offering a prime location in the city centre of Ho Chi Minh, the Hoang Phu Gia Hotel is set between the bustling downtown area and China Town. Its guestrooms are cosy and comfortable, with free WiFi and room service available. When it comes to food and drink, you have a choice of two restaurants serving European, Asian and traditional Vietnamese cuisine. However, for breakfast you’re truly spoilt for choice, with a complimentary buffet of over 30 different dishes.
Universe Central Hotel, Ho Chi Minh City
This laid-back hotel offers a great location just 3 kilometres from the Ben Thanh Market, which sells an array of crafts and textiles, and the impressive Notre-Dame Basilica. Guestrooms are well-equipped, with 24-hour room service available and high-speed internet access. Unwind with a massage in the hotel’s spa, which offers a steam bath and sauna for you to relax in after your journey. A buffet breakfast is served in the hotel’s restaurant, which offers a tasty range of European, Asian and Vietnamese dishes.