Travel between two of Vietnam's most charming destinations from the fading colonial chic of Hanoi to the attractive riverside merchant town of Hoi An with a night spent cruising the jade waters of Halong Bay and time spent exploring the royal citadel of imperial Hue, all in just 8 days.
Xin Chao or 'hello' in Vietnamese! Welcome to Hanoi, one of the region's most charming cities where French colonial elegance meets Asian spirit with attractive lakes, colourful pagodas and atmospheric streets. On arrival you will be met by our local representative and transferred to our joining hotel where the remainder of the day is at leisure for you to relax or head out and explore.
For those able to arrive very early today or the day prior, why not get off the beaten track and explore Hanoi with us on our optional Back Streets of Hanoi add-on, which explores the quaint districts of Cho Buoi, Hoang Hoa Tham and Vinh Phuc, and also includes an exhilarating local experience - riding pillion, on taxi-motorbikes through a maze of tiny streets and along the shore of beautiful Ho Tay Lake.
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 Trinh Nu Cave, one of the finest caves in Halong Bay, covering an area of 2,000m² with a stunning array of stalactites and stalagmites. There's also the opportunity to go kayaking and enjoy a refreshing swim. Later this evening back on board, watch a Vietnamese cooking demonstration held on the sundeck before settling down for a sumptuous seafood dinner.
Overnight: Deluxe Junk Boat | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Caves & Hanoi cyclo ride
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 this morning we explore the beautiful Sung Sot cave (Surprise Grotto), which is 10,000m² and consists of two major chambers. These spectacular chambers are spacious enough to hold thousands of people.
On arrival back into Hanoi mid-afternoon we’ll explore the maze of streets in the French Quarter by cyclo (rickshaw), 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 overnight 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
Arriving into imperial Hue this morning, we enjoy a guided sightseeing tour of the 19th-century capital. Visit the iconic Thien Mu Pagoda, with its 21-metre-tall tower. There will be time to explore the walled fortress of the Imperial Purple Palace, ringed by a moat with elaborate arches and impressive ramparts, some of which lie in ruin.
Later we head out to the countryside and visit the mausoleum of Emperor Tu Duc, one of the wonderfully ornamented Royal Tombs of the Nguyen kings. This evening there is an optional sunset cruise on the Perfume River. Travelling by longboat, it's the perfect way to enjoy the city skyline.
Overnight: Hue | Breakfast, Lunch
Hue - Road of the Ocean Clouds - Hoi An. Departing Hue this morning our scenic drive via the Hai Van Pass (Road of the Ocean Clouds) takes us to Hoi An. The road follows the coast so there'll be wonderful views of beach to the east and verdant hills to the west. We enjoy a stop to walk along My Khe beach, nicknamed 'China Beach' by the Americans during the war. This beach also featured in Francis Ford Coppola’s movie ‘Apocalypse Now’.
Arrive into the charming, old-world trading port of Hoi An later this afternoon. A short walking tour will introduce you to the highlights of this enchanting and historical 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 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
Rural Life in Vietnam
Today will be spent out in the countryside learning all about the rural way of life in Vietnam. We'll reach Tra Que village by bicycle, a leisurely ride on flat roads that take us through ride paddies and farm land. The option of a taxi is available locally for those not keen on bike riding (payable locally). Once at the village we'll get our hands dirty learning about age-old farming practices and putting our knowledge to use by tending the fields and gardens. Lunch is a home-cooked affair with everyone mucking in. Later this afternoon return back to Hoi An on your bikes.
Overnight: Hoi An | Breakfast, Lunch
Hoi An - at leisure
Today is completely free for you to enjoy Hoi An as you wish. Lose yourself in the cobbled streets lined with boutique restaurants, hip cafes, delightful craft shops and some of Asia’s best bespoke tailors (whose services come at a nominal price). If you prefer some R&R, lounge by the hotel pool or head to the beach. Those keen on Vietnam's ancient and more recent history can take an optional excursion to the ruined Cham city of My Son, or to Quang Ngai, the site of the My Lai massacre memorial, which marked a significant turning point in the Vietnam War.
Overnight: Hoi An | Breakfast
Saturday. 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 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.
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Fabulous trip. Extremely well organized and planned. Hung (Our guide) really made the trip a gem. His knowledge, humor, and organization was superb. Would recommend him heartily ”