Saturday. Welcome to Hanoi and the start of your holiday! Upon arrival you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel for check-in. The rest of the day is free for you and your family to explore the city, with its picturesque tree-lined avenues, scenic lakes, ancient pagodas and bustling old town, all which are easily accessible by foot.
Hanoi – Halong Bay. Take a moment to picture in your mind some two thousand rugged karst islands dappled with lush vegetation seeming to float on top of pristine emerald coloured waters and you have the natural wonder that is Halong Bay. This morning a scenic drive will take us to this beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site where we will enjoy a junk boat cruise.
Based on traditional designs, these wonderful vessels combine oriental style with modern luxury. Soak up the panoramic views from the sundeck as the boat gently plies its course, opt for a swim in the divine waters or hop in a row boat and visit 'Dark & Bright Lagoon'. Tonight, there's a Vietnamese cooking demonstration held on the sundeck before an impressive seafood dinner is served – delicious for even the pickiest of eaters!
Overnight: Halong Bay | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Halong Bay - Hanoi - Hue. Wake up to the peaceful serenity of Halong Bay this morning, followed by a calming Tai Chi class on the sundeck or a traditional Vietnamese massage. After exploring a hidden grotto beneath towering cliffs, we will sail to the port for our journey back to Hanoi.
Arriving back in the capital we will enjoy a cyclo (rickshaw) ride through the famous Old Quarter, made up of an complex maze of intertwining alleyways and backstreets lined with small houses, handicraft workshops and street food vendors, for a quintessential Vietnamese experience. Later its back to the hotel for some time to refresh and relax before heading to the trains station in the evening to board our overnight journey (4 berth sleeper cabin, basic standard) to Hue on the ‘Reunification Express’ railway line.
Overnight: Sleeper train | Breakfast
Upon arrival in Hue we will set out on a guided sightseeing tour of this fascinating imperial city. Once the capital of the Nguyen emperors, the last ruling family of Vietnam, UNESCO-listed Hue is full of palaces, pagodas and temples. Two of the main highlights here are the Thien Mu Pagoda, home to the oldest monastery in the city, and the Citadel. Within the walls of the latter is the Imperial Purple Palace – an exact replica of the famed Forbidden City in Beijing, with impressive ramparts, formal moats and imperial palaces, some of which lay in ruin.
Outside of the city we will visit the Royal Tombs of the erstwhile Nguyen kings, including the extravagant mausoleums of the two emperors Tu Duc and Khai Dinh. In the evening there will be the chance to opt for a peaceful long boat cruise along the Perfume River as the sun sets and the river banks become illuminated by the dark of nightfall.
Overnight: Hue | Breakfast, Lunch
Hue - Road of the Ocean Clouds - Hoi An. Today we will travel on to the laidback riverside town of Hoi An, travelling through the picturesque Hai Van Pass – nicknamed the Road of the Ocean Clouds, with beaches on one side and verdant hills on the other. We will break up our journey with a stop at China Beach, an expansive sandy beach made famous by the film ‘Apocalypse Now’. Here there will be the chance to opt for a swim in its warm waters before continuing our journey south along the coast.
Radiating age-old charm with grand colonial architecture, Hoi An is one of Vietnam's most delightful destinations. The Old Town, recognised as an UNESCO World Heritage Site, is an immaculately preserved example of an Asian trading port with covered bridges, pagodas, temples and merchant houses. The town's beguiling riverside setting adds to the overall picturesque appeal of Hoi An with women in conical hats rowing their wooden vessels downstream and the glow of red lanterns in the evenings reflected on the water's iridescent surface. A short walking tour will take us to a bygone era, with a visit to the Chua Ong Pagoda, Chinese Assembly Hall, a 200-year-old Tam Ky house, former merchants’ homes and the 400 year-old Japanese Covered Bridge.
Overnight: Hoi An | Breakfast
For a taste of provincial life, today we will take a bicycle ride out of Hoi An to Tra Que village, famed for its traditional farming practises and rural atmosphere. Here enjoy a hands-on day for all the family, tending to the fields and gardens, before taking a lesson in preparation of traditional Vietnamese cuisine. Later enjoy your culinary masterpiece while soaking up the clean air and country views.
Overnight: Hoi An | Breakfast, Lunch
Today is free for you to spend as you choose. You may wish to head to the beach for a day of relaxation or hit the town for some serious shopping - the streets of Hoi An are overflowing with tailor shops where you can get your own silk suit made exclusively! Hoi An is also something of a culinary mecca with classy restaurants for those who prefer their food served to them and local cooking schools for those who enjoy getting their hands dirty. Alternatively, those seeking a little more culture or history can opt to visit My Son – one of Vietnam’s holiest and most evocative Cham sites, or Quang Ngai – the site of the My Lai massacre memorial.
Overnight: Hoi An | Breakfast
Hoi An - Saigon. An early morning flight will take us to Saigon today. Once called the ‘Pearl of the Orient’, old and new collide in this modern city as gleaming sky scrapers, glamorous restaurants and designer shops stand side-by-side with colonial era landmarks and post-war remnants. Here we will enjoy a walking tour of the city taking in some of Saigon’s most famous landmarks, including the impressive red-brick Neo-Romanesque Notre Dame Cathedral, the central Post Office and the sobering War Remnants Museum. Spend the remainder of the evening at your own leisure – Saigon has plenty of fun to offer all ages!
Overnight: Saigon | Breakfast
Sunday. This morning is free for you to do some last minute shopping or sightseeing before your departure transfer to the airport in the afternoon. Why not opt for a relaxing foot massage, bargain for goods at Ben Thanh Market or visit the grand Independence Palace.
Alternatively, those with a bit more time to spare can extend their stay and opt to join us on a day trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels, where there will be the chance to explore a vast network of underground tunnels and hideouts that were used by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. Learn about booby traps, climb through trap doors, or even test your skills 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 Saigon.
Prices & Dates
For all our tours and tailor-made holidays we provide you with a clear categorisation of all hotels we use. The REGIONAL CATEGORY indicates the local rating of each hotel in each respective country. We have also rated each hotel using OUR CATEGORY, which will be in line with generally accepted western hotel grading standards.
Basic hotels and simple accommodation is a no frills option with an adventurous authentic feel.
Standard accommodation equates to a Western 3-star standard, always featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant.
Superior accommodation equates to a Western 4-star standard, featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant and often a swimming pool and/or a fitness centre.
Deluxe accommodation equates to a Western 5-star standard, usually featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, excellent service and customer care.
Lavish accommodation equates to a Western 5-star plus standard - the creme de la creme. Featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, this accommodation is a cut above the rest. Sheer opulence!
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.
The Ann Hotel, Hanoi
In the centre of Hanoi sits the contemporary and sophisticated The Ann hotel. Guest rooms are spacious and well appointed with delightful en suite facilities including bath and shower. The hotel boasts both a bar and restaurant. The swanky A lounge offers a wonderful selection of beverages and diners can enjoy the Onyx house for delicious local and international dishes on A la carte or buffet style. Our top tip is to head to the roof top pool for a refreshing dip and wonderful views across the city.
Bhaya Classic 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. This boat departs from the port of Halong City and plies its route through the karst peaks of Halong Bay during their journey and overnight stay on the water.
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!
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.
Northern Hotel, Saigon
Located in Saigon's central business district, the Northern Hotel offers comfortable and stylish accommodation. Guest rooms are contemporary in style and are decorated with warming tones and excellent en suite facilities. The onsite restaurant offers a variety of European and Asian dishes set on the mezzanine floor. The hotel also offers complimentary use of computers in the lobby and a fully equipped gym for those who wish keep fit whilst staying in the city.
Tipping is not a natural part of many Western cultures and many of us feel uncomfortable, or unsure, about when, or how much, to tip. However, in Vietnam, tipping makes up a significant part of many people's wages so it's important that we get it right. For this reason we've developed a very simple system to take all the hassle out of tipping. With our 'tipping made easy' policy, a nominal pre-determined amount is collected from all group tour participants to cover tips en route. This then saves you the hassle of when and how much to tip bellhops, luggage handlers, local guides and other support staff through the tour. Our 'tipping made easy' doesn't include a tip to your group tour leader. Naturally, though, the amount is up to you as tipping is an entirely personal gesture.
Great knowledge, friendly funny. Knew all our names from day 1.
Always available if help or advise needed. Did more than was necessary to make our trip totally enjoyable.”