From charming Hanoi with its fading colonial architecture and national monuments, to the spellbinding scenery of Halong Bay and bustling Ho Chi Minh City on the edge of the Mekong Delta, Vietnam is as colourful as it is diverse. See the very best of vibrant Vietnam in 10 captivating days.
Saturday. Welcome to Hanoi, perhaps the most graceful, atmospheric and exotic capital city in Asia. Airport to hotel arrival transfer. The remainder of the day offers free time for you to explore the wide tree-lined avenues, beautiful lakes, ancient pagodas and the thriving historic old city, all easily navigated on foot.
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 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 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: 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 this morning, we explore the beautiful Sung Sot cave (Surprise Grotto), which is 10,000m² and consists of two major chambers which are spectacular and spacious enough to hold thousands of people.
Arriving back into Hanoi mid-afternoon we’ll explore the maze of streets in the French Quarter on 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 and here we’ll view the elaborate mausoleum of Emperor Tu Duc. As the sun sets there is 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 My Khe beach, a beautiful stretch of coastline which was nicknamed 'China Beach' by the Americans during the war and famously 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 its cobbled streets, traditional homes and tiny shop houses is a perfect place to lose yourself in a bygone 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
A bicycle ride into the countryside leads us to Tra Que village. Here, we discover age old farming practices and learn about traditional medicine. It’s a hands-on experience today where we’ll assist with tending the fields and gardens and cooking lunch.
Overnight: Hoi An | Breakfast, Lunch
A free day for you relax or further sightsee. You may wish to take a relaxing rowboat journey along the river or spend the day lazing by the beach or hotel pool. It’s also possible to take an optional excursion to the holiest and most evocative of Vietnam’s Cham sites - My Son, or to Quang Ngai, the site of the My Lai massacre memorial. The massacre was a significant turning point in the Vietnam War and the story is told through photo presentation on a walk through the village.
Overnight: Hoi An | Breakfast
Hoi An - Ho Chi Minh City. 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 its fantastic views while boating along the canals. Taking our sampan from Cai Be we'll 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 - 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. Our walking tour of Ho Chi Minh City includes visits to the Notre Dame Cathedral, Old Post office and the sombering War Remnants Museum. Evening at leisure.
Overnight: Ho Chi Minh City | Breakfast
Monday. Today is free for you to enjoy Ho Chi Minh City before 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 1960’s. 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 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. If you are happy to be paired up with another single traveller of the same gender on your tour, this can be arranged provided there is another single traveller booked on the tour date of your choosing. If a roommate cannot be found the single room supplement will apply.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.
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 world-class 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 sight-seeing.
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.
The tour was excellent. The Halong Bay cruise and the Village visit were absolute highlights. Tuan, our tour guide was amazing. Very knowledgeable, caring and always ready with a joke. He made the trip, would not have been nearly such a great experience without him. ”
My partner and I really enjoyed the tour. John was really informative and approachable for questions and advice. The hotels were really nice and most of the excursions really worthwhile. My only complaint was the unbearable heat which is obviously out of your control, but I would never go at this time of year again! My partner and I both think John deserves to win the tour guide of the year award!”
The tour was absolutely amazing! Every little detail of every single day was well planned and perfectly organised. We saw the most beautiful sights, experienced the most interesting activities and ate like kings. The restaurants where we were taken were absolutely top notch! Our guide, Hung Do was THE BEST!!! He was so patient, but totally in control. He was so informative and shared interesting information about his beautiful country, Vietnam. He balanced seriousness and humour perfectly to keep his audience captivated. I loved his personal anecdotes that he added to make his narrative all the more enjoyable and gripping.
What can I say!? We got value for money and enjoyed a most amazing holiday!
This tour was a fantastic experience led by a fantastic guide, Tran Binh Nguyen, who so obviously enjoyed leading a diverse group of Westerners on a journey from north to south Vietnam, enthralling us and looking after us all the way.
The tour itself is an amazing mix of sights, adventure, history and culture. The itinerary and activities have been so thoughtfully planned and paced that even companions who were concerned by the "on the go" tag did not find themselves overstretched. Most notable was Nguyen's ability and freedom to adapt the program to the particular make-up and needs of our group at any given time. Consequently I have heartily recommended him and the tour to friends at home who had thought this kind of experience was only for the young or very fit.
In booking this tour we had been attracted by the variety of experiences and transport, such as an overnight on Halong Bay and a sleeper train, an internal flight and boat journeys in the Mekong Delta, all of which were great and happened smoothly under Nguyen's guidance. What did surprise us, given the low cost of the tour, was the quality of the accommodation which was excellent throughout. The meals that were included and the restaurants to which we were directed were marvellous as were the cultural experiences, such as water puppet theatre, imperial banquet, cycling to a village to learn a little about farming and cooking, and numerous others. The historical background to this culture, the story of its people and its ancient palaces, pagodas and citadels comes alive as you listen to Nguyen's weaving narrative unfolding over the tour. His wealth of knowledge, passion for his country and ability to convey this to his group, is outstanding.
I cannot overstate the wealth of this experience. ”
The tour was extremely good and our Tour Guide, Nguyen, was excellent. He was responsive to the needs of the group as well as individuals in the group. He made the tour far more enjoyable than it could otherwise have been.”
tour was fantastic - made so much better by our guide john. He gave us so much information in regard to history, restaurants and places to visit - he worked so hard to make the tour magic for everybody.
He worked above and beyond what was expected of a guide and john is a credit to on the go tours.”
Excellent in every way. Very friendly, informative fun.
Took us to some lovely restaurants and joined in with us”
Very Vietnam tour definitely. We had some terrific travel companion's, South African's, and Durban were two, Canadian's and Australians, and even a couple of ladies from the UK. Our very favourite travel companion, was our terrific and very funny tour guide "Hung Do" without whom we could not travel far without our "on the go" and our very special daily reminder to grab our "day pack"! We affectionately nicknamed our tour guide "Boss" as the reminder always to have fun, water and do you have your day pack? We travelled well, we travelled wide, but on the road always to the left (right side). Lots of laughs, lots of fun, a great time for everyone. Hung Do - deserves to be the Winner of the tour guide of the year - for we wish to start the ball rolling - with this review - that you may all agree - he shared his country, his great knowledge was vast, he shared many stories of his country's history and people. Thank you for sharing your Vietnam with us. Happy travels always stay amazing Hung Do ! ”
We really would like to recommend on the highest possible recommendation available Mr. Tuan for the Tour Leader Awards, as he was an absolutely outstanding tour guide, by far the best that I have had the pleasure to have. He is a wonderful, kind, generous person, who always conveyed his passion for the work, conveyed the wonders and love of his beautiful country, assisted us with every possible need, and really went far beyond the call of duty to ensure that we all had a wonderful tour. Everyone in our group was absolutely impressed and really loved our tour with him. A couple of examples of his great assistance were, that I am a vegetarian, and as soon as I advised him, at every restaurant where we had a set meal, he organised a vegetarian meal for me in advance, which was always delicious, and he also assisted with selecting suitable options at other restaurants. That assistance really helped to make the holiday experience really pleasant and enjoyable. My birthday also happened to fall during the tour, and he organised a small cake to be delivered to my room in the afternoon, along with arranging a bigger cake, and a bouquet of roses and flowers, and a birthday card at dinner that evening, and it really made the day so special. He always gave us excellent advice, and a great deal of relevant information, so everything went extremely smoothly throughout the tour, and we all as a result had a wonderful, relaxing time. He also has an immense wealth of knowledge about the country which he shared with us, so we all learned a great deal about the country, its history and culture, and the people. He also was such a lovely, kind, friendly and humerous person, that it was such a wonderful pleasure to be on the tour. We really are so incredibly thankful to have had such an outstanding guide, as that is such an incredibly important part of having a wonderful holiday. He is definitely a young man who is passionate about his work, loves being with and assisting people, and really treats his work as a profession, which is just wonderful. We definitely think he truly deserves to receive the Tour Leader of the Year Award!!! We can't thank him enough for such a wonderful experience.”
What an amazing experience !!! Nguyen was an absolutely fantastic guide!! Always pulling out surprises for us! everywhere he took us that he organised was absolutely great! the restaurants he chose were always perfect with a great range of food for all of us to choose from! Nguyen was fantastic making every experience excellent especially the night of the train ride! ”
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Faultless tour with a fantastic guide.
The tour was well paced with a good number of activities and enough time to relax. I have seen all of the highlights of Vietnam. Hung was an insightful, friendly, knowledgeable, organised guide who made the trip as great as it was. He helped us with any problems or queries and thought of all the little things: like calling ahead to ask hotels to turn the air conditioning on, making sure we had enough water and recommending good places to eat. ”