Vietnam’s Full Moon Festival is as fascinating as it is beautiful. Join us to celebrate the Full Moon Festival in the charming riverside town of Hoi An, where thousands of locals release beautiful lanterns into the night sky or onto a river filled with their hopes and wishes for the future. There is also tasty Mooncakes to be eaten too!
Friday 25th September 2020. Welcome to Hanoi, perhaps the most graceful, atmospheric and exotic capital city in Asia. Airport to hotel arrival transfer. This morning offers free time for you to explore the wide tree lined avenues, beautiful lakes and ancient pagoda’s and thriving old city.
Meeting our guide at 2pm we set of on foot to explore Hanoi’s charming Old Quarter known as the ‘36 streets of the old Hanoi’. There is Silver Street, Silk Street, Comb Street, Paper Street and importantly Hang Ma street where we’ll browse and learn about the history and traditions of Vietnam’s Full Moon Festival. There may even be deliciously sweet traditional Mooncakes to be shared.
Hanoi – Halong Bay. After breakfast this morning we leave Hanoi and transfer to the crown in Vietnam's scenic crown - the incredibly beautiful Halong Bay. We'll explore the jade waters studded with karst islands aboard a traditional wooden junk boat and after embarkation there's time for lunch soaking up the views.
This afternoon we will visit the spectacular Tien Ong Cave which was opened to the public in 2010, with its stunning stalagmites and stalactites. Later this evening back on board, watch a Vietnamese cooking demonstration held on the sundeck before settling down for a sumptuous seafood dinner.
Overnight: Halong Bay, Deluxe Junk Boat | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Halong Bay - Hanoi - Hue. Early birds can start the day with a relaxing Tai Chi class on the sundeck or a traditional massage - the perfect way to start the day. Before heading back to port we'll explore by kayak the Floating Village of Cua Van, which is home to generations of fishing families. Here we’ll see the traditional and colourful floating wooden houses and the locals going about their daily lives.
On arrival back into Hanoi mid-afternoon we’ll explore the maze of streets in the French Quarter on our very only cyclo (rickshaws), taking in highlights such as the Opera house and Ly Thai To park. We then swap our wheels for a leisurely walk through ‘36 streets of the old quarter’, named after the numerous guilds that once set up shop on a particular street from silk tailors to traditional medicine shops.
Later this evening there's a chance to freshen up before boarding the train (4 berth sleeper cabin, basic standard) on the ‘Reunification Express’ railway line to Hue. An option to fly from Hanoi to Hue is also available.
Overnight: Sleeper train | Breakfast
Upon arrival to Hue we embark on a guided sightseeing tour of the 19th-century Nguyen empire capital. We visit the Thien Mu Pagoda, home to the oldest monastery in the city, whose 21m high tower has become something of a symbol for Hue and the citadel. Within the citadel is the Imperial Purple Palace, an exact copy of the Forbidden City in Beijing, with its impressive ramparts, formal moats and imperial palaces, some of which lay in ruin.
In the countryside lies the Royal Tombs of the Nguyen kings, here we’ll view the elaborate mausoleum of Emperor Tu Duc. As the sun sets there's an optional cruise in a long boat along the gentle Perfume River, beautifully illuminated at night.
Overnight: Hue | Breakfast, Lunch
Hue - Road of the Ocean Clouds - Hoi An. Today we take the scenic Hai Van Pass (Road of the Ocean Clouds), which offers magnificent views of beaches to one side and lush hills to the other. En route we stop for a walk along China beach, featured in Francis Ford Coppola’s movie ‘Apocalypse Now’. Perhaps enjoy a refreshing swim in the sea before continuing our journey south along the coast to Hoi An.
The charming, old-world trading port of Hoi An with it cobbled streets, traditional homes and tiny shop houses is a perfect place to lose yourself in a by gone era. Boutique restaurants, hip cafes along the waterfront, delightful craft shops and artisans including some of Asia’s best bespoke tailors (whose services come at a nominal price), all can be found here.
On a short walking tour of the enchanting historical town, we’ll visit the Chua Ong Pagoda, Chinese Assembly Hall, 200-year-old Tam Ky house, former merchants’ homes and the 400 year-old Japanese Covered Bridge.
During your stay in Hoi An, we offer a unique optional Hoi An Street Eats add-on, which explores the city’s most popular local haunts. Cruise the city the way the locals do, by vintage Vespa and enjoy lots of tasty Vietnamese Cuisine. Book early with your reservation consultant, as numbers are limited.
Overnight: Hoi An | Breakfast
Today marks the height of the Full Moon Festival and we will be celebrating with the locals. This morning we ride by rickshaw to a local home on the outskirts of Hoi An where we will learn about the family’s long tradition of lantern-making and handcraft our own lanterns for tonight’s festivities. Heading into town we explore the local market stalls and authentic lantern shops before free time to visit one of the many great tailor shops, take a row boat down the river or spend the afternoon relaxing by the hotel swimming pool.
Tonight we make our way to the water's edge with hundreds of locals to release our lanterns and enjoy the spellbinding spectacle of hundreds of sparkling lights sailing down river and lighting up the night sky.
Overnight: Hoi An | Breakfast
A leisurely bicycle ride into the countryside, leads us to Tra Que village this morning. Here we discover age old farming practices and learn about traditional medicine. It’s a fun hands on experience today as we don conical hats and test our farming skills in the fields. Then we watch an entertaining cooking demonstration and help to cook up a tasty lunch.
Overnight: Hoi An | Breakfast, Lunch
Hoi An - Ho Chi Minh City - Can Tho. Early morning flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Drive to the Mekong Delta. Often referred to as the ‘rice bowl’ of Vietnam, the fertile Mekong Delta is famous for its abundant harvests of tropical fruits, flowers and rice, as well as it fantastic views while boating along the canals. Taking our sampan from Cai Be we cruise through the maze of waterways watching the hubbub of daily life on the river. Passing colourful trading boats, house boats and children swimming we stop to visit some of the local cottage industries that produce popcorn, coco candies and paper along the way. Lunch is served today in a traditional wooden home on Dong Hoa Hiep Island.
Overnight: Can Tho | Breakfast, Lunch
Can Tho - Hoi An - Ho Chi Minh City. Early today we visit the ever lively Cai Rang floating market. Watch as melons, pineapples, fresh greens, sacks of rice and children's toys get tossed from one sampan to another at great heights and speed before driving back to Ho Chi Minh City. Once called the Pearl of the Orient, modern Ho Chi Minh City is a thriving metropolis on the move. Sleek sky scrapers, gourmet restaurants, designer malls and swanky bars and spas are scattered between ancient pagodas, colonial era landmarks and lively street markets. On our walking tour of the city we see the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Old Post Office before visiting the sobering War Remnants Museum. Evening at leisure.
Overnight: Ho Chi Minh City | Breakfast
Sunday 4th October 2020. Today offers free time in Ho Chi Minh City till your departure transfer to the airport. Opt for a relaxing foot massage, shop for souvenirs at Ben Thanh Market or visit the grand Independence Palace, with its secret bunker and military command centre beneath!
You could also extend your stay and join us on a day trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels Here you can go underground to explore the vast network of tunnels and hideouts used by Viet Cong guerrilla fighters, see booby traps, trap doors or test your skill with an AK 47 at the firing range.
Cu Chi Tunnels - go underground!
Discover the Cu Chi Tunnels - a vast underground network of tunnels and hideouts used by Viet Cong guerrilla fighters during the 1960s. Often lead by a relative of a Viet Cong fighter in green fatigues you’ll walk the bush trails discovering grass covered trapdoors, ingenious, yet gruesome booby traps and hidden underwater entrances in rivers. There is also an opportunity to go underground and pop off a few rounds at the firing range. Our Cu Chi Tunnels bolt-on includes return transportation to and from Cu Chi, guided tour and 1 night accommodation in Ho Chi Minh City.
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 when there are 2 persons (or 3 persons if you wish to book a triple) sharing a room. The 'Single supplement' applies for single travellers who require their own room and needs to be added to the per person price.Read More
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.
Sunway Hotel, Hanoi
This ambient, boutique hotel combines traditional appeal with modern pleasures. Rooms are furnished in a contemporary fashion with an array of amenities for added comfort. Its restaurant provides a great variety of Vietnamese cuisine and you are welcome to enjoy cocktails and live music in the Jazz Bar or relax in the hotel's health spa.
Sleeper train - 4 berth cabin, Hanoi
Cabins on board are comfortable though not comparable to European standards. Aboard each wagon are 9 compartments that comprise of 4 bunks per compartment shared by mixed sexes. A western-style toilet (with a varying degree of cleanliness) is located at either end of the wagon. Air-conditioning (not always operational in the summer) and lighting are controlled from inside the cabin, which is also lockable. Luggage can be stored in a compartment under the bottom bunk. Linen and a pillow are provided.
Bhaya Classic I Junk Boat, Halong Bay
This premier cruise boat offers 18 well appointed cabins with en suite amenities. Cabins are contemporary in design, whilst the finer touches have a distinct oriental influence. All cabins feature large windows creating a bright and airy atmosphere as well as scenic views. Facilities and services onboard include a dining room and bar, a sunbathing area on-deck, masseur and small library.
Syrena Junk Boat, Halong Bay
A tradition hand crafted boat, the Syrena Junk Boat offers superb en suite air conditioned cabins with comfortable interiors and balconies. The on board Lotus Restaurant serves up a delicious array of Vietnamese and International cuisine. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available in the public areas. Swimming, kayaking and tai chi are all offered on board and movie nights are also very popular.
Mondial Hotel, Hue
Just a 5 minute walk from the Ho Chi Minh museum, the Mondial Hotel is a contemporary hotel with excellent amenities. Guest rooms benefit from spacious interiors, comfortable beds and lots of mod-cons. There is complimentary Wi-Fi for guests, an outdoor pool and onsite spa - perfect for a re laxing massage. As well as the delicious Huong Xuan Restaurant there is also the Lobby Lounge - great for cocktails before dinner!
ÊMM Hotel, Hue
Situated in the heart of the former imperial capital, ÊMM Hotel is the perfect base from which to explore Hue’s UNESCO World Heritage-listed sights. Completely renovated in 2016, the guestrooms are generously-sized and complete with modern amenities. The imperial jade and royal purple colour scheme was inspired by ancient Hue itself and guests can take advantage of the mini-gym, pool-side bar and a spacious reading area. Enjoy delicious Vietnamese and international cuisine in the contemporary restaurant after a day of exploring.
River Green Hotel, Hoi An
Set next to the Hoai River, the River Green Hotel is just a five-minute walk from the iconic Japanese Bridge. Guestrooms offer city or river views, alongside all the amenities you’d expect of a contemporary hotel. There’s an outdoor pool, perfect for a refreshing swim, and an on-site restaurant where you can enjoy a variety of international flavours. Complimentary WiFi, bicycle hire and a fitness centre add to this hotel's list of facilities, making it a great base for exploring historic Hoi An.
Vinh Hung Riverside Resort, Hoi An
Situated right on the banks of the Thu Bon River, this upscale hotel is just a 10-minute walk from the ancient town of Hoi An. Combining Vietnamese tradition with modern facilities, its guestrooms are set in coconut tree-shaded gardens beside the water. They’re well-equipped, with free WiFi and air conditioning, as well as private balconies. The hotel also offers a riverside restaurant, serving local specialties and western dishes on the outdoor terrace. This hotel’s highlight, however, is its pool and fabulous swim up bar, which is the perfect place to enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail.
Thanh Binh Riverside hotel , Hoi An
Boasting a beautiful outdoor swimming pool, the Thanh Binh Riverside offers excellent accommodation in a great loacation. Guest rooms benefit from garden or river views and all come full air-conditioned, with stunning hardwood floors and all mod-cons. The onsite restaurant offers a great selection of Vietnamese and International dishes and the town centre is just a mere 200m walk away. Why not grab a cocktail and relax by the pool in the afternoon - a great way to refresh yourself from the Vietnam heat.
Iris Hotel, Can Tho
This elegant hotel is housed within a modern building in the city of Can Tho. Each guest room comes equipped with plush furnishings to ensure a good night's sleep and is decorated with a neutral palate and calming tones. Rooms look over the city and boast a range of modern amenities such as air conditioning and stylish ensuite facilities. Magnificent views of the city can be had from the hotel's skybar while a range of gourmet local and international dishes can be sampled at the onsite restaurant.
Victoria Hotel Can Tho, Can Tho
This attractive, colonial-style resort is tastefully decorated with well-appointed rooms and a wide range of facilities including a spa, tennis courts, open-air bar, restaurant and a gym. The hotel also offers sunrise and sunset cruises to the floating markets aboard the Lady Hau junk.
Muong Thanh Centre, Ho Chi Minh City
Centrally located, yet on a peaceful, tree-lined street, you will find the Muong Thanh Centre. Only a ten-minute walk from top attractions such as the Notre Dame Cathedral, Opera House and Ben Thanh Market, this hotel is a great base for exploring the famous sights of the city. Its guest rooms boast sophisticated designs and panoramic views. Warm and friendly, the Muong Thanh Centre also features a spa and swimming pool for you to relax and unwind after a long day of sightseeing.
Lotus Central Hotel, Ho Chi Minh City
Just footsteps from the Ben Thanh Market, the Lotus Central Hotel offers a great location in Ho Chi Minh City. Its guestrooms are well-equipped, with ensuite bathrooms, air conditioning and free WiFi. On the 8th floor you’ll find the Moon Restaurant, where you can enjoy a range of Vietnamese, Asian and Western specialties. However this hotel’s highlight is the rooftop pool, where you can enjoy a cocktail or two alongside views over the city.
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Extra Tour Info
Hung is an excellent guide very knowledgeable and a lovely person. The tour was fantastic but a few more down days would have been nice. Great mix of ages in our tour from 26 to 70. Lots of laughs and fun.”