Full Moon Festival Express - 8 days
Celebrate Vietnam's enchanting Full Moon Festival (aka the Mid-Autumn Festival) in the picturesque riverside town of Hoi An, on this special 8 day tour which also takes in the highlights of Hanoi, heavenly Halong Bay and imperial Hue. Festivities are at their best in Hoi An where we'll enjoy the wonderful spectacle of thousands of lanterns being released into the night sky or cast adrift down the river.
Saturday 07 September 2019. Welcome to Vietnam! Upon arrival at Hanoi airport you will be transferred to our hotel. This morning is free for you to relax or explore Vietnam's enchanting capital. At 2pm meet your guide and set of on foot to explore Hanoi’s captivating Old Quarter which is 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 learn about the history and traditions of Vietnam’s Full Moon Festival and perhaps sample some tasty traditional Mooncakes.
Hanoi - Halong Bay. After breakfast this morning we leave Hanoi and transfer to the jewel in Vietnam's scenic crown - the incredibly beautiful Halong Bay. Board a comfortable junk boat to explore the emerald waters of the bay, dotted with green islets and enjoy lunch with a view onboard.
This afternoon we visit the spectacular Tien Ong Cave, which was opened to the public in 2010. Marvel at the stunning stalagmites and stalactites before we return to our junk boat for the evening. Watch a Vietnamese cooking demonstration on the sundeck before settling down for a sumptuous seafood dinner.
Overnight: Halong Bay, Deluxe Junk Boat | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Floating villages and cyclo rides
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 the ‘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 we board the overnight train (4 berth sleeper cabin, basic standard) to Hue. An option to fly from Hanoi to Hue is also available.
Overnight: Sleeper train | Breakfast
This morning we arrive into the imperial city of Hue and enjoy a guided tour of the 19th-century capital. Highlights of the tour include the city's oldest monastery, the iconic Thien Mu Pagoda with its 21-metre-tall tower and the walled fortress of the Imperial Purple Palace.
This afternoon we head out of the city to the incredible ornate Royal Tombs of the Nguyen kings, which lie in a valley surrounded by pine forest. Here we'll see the mausoleum of Emperor Tu Duc. This evening there is the option to enjoy a leisurely sunset cruise on the Perfume River.
Overnight: Hue | Breakfast, Lunch
Hue - Road of the Ocean Clouds - Hoi An. This morning we continue our journey, driving via the Hai Van Pass (Road of the Ocean Clouds) along the coast to Hoi An. We stop en route for a walk along My Khe beach, nicknamed 'China Beach' by the Americans during the war, the beach featured in Francis Ford Coppola’s film ‘Apocalypse Now’.
This afternoon we arrive into the historic riverside town of Hoi An. Hoi An is best explored on foot and a short walking tour introduces us to this enchanting town with highlights including 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 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
Full Moon Festival
Today marks the height of the Full Moon Festival and we will be celebrating with the locals. This morning we take rickshaws 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 back into town we explore the local market stalls and authentic lantern shops. The rest of the day if free for you to explore the town and it's wonderful array of shops. Consider getting some clothes made at 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 the river and lighting up the night sky.
Overnight: Hoi An | Breakfast
Tra Que farming experience
This morning we take a scenic bike ride through the countryside to Tra Que village where we learn all about the age old farming practices and assist with tending the fields. It's a hands on experience and after we've tested our farming skills we enjoy a fun and interactive cooking demonstration. Make sure you follow the chef's instructions carefully because you'll be eating the food that you prepare for lunch!
Overnight: Hoi An | Breakfast, Lunch
Saturday 14th September 2019. Today marks the end of your time in Vietnam. A departure transfer will be provided to take you to Danang airport in time for your onward flight.
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.
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.
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.
Vinh Hung Riverside Resort, Hoi An
Vinh Hung Riverside Resort offers luxury and gracious hospitality in a traditional Vietnamese environment right on the banks of the Thu Bon river with top notch facilities.
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.
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Extra Tour Info
The tour was incredible, it was informative and interesting and fun. Our guide was fantastic, he set the tone of the group and did a great job and our group were all wonderful to get along with.
Yes, the tour gave us a good taste of what the country and culture and people were like, it was fascinating. Best trip ever!”