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 23rd September 2023. Hello Hanoi! Arrival transfer from Hanoi airport 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. This morning we travel to heavenly Halong Bay - the jewel in Vietnam's crown. Here we board a comfortable junk boat to explore the emerald waters of the bay which is dotted with limestone peaks. Enjoy lunch with a view on board.
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 colorful 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-meter-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 - Hoi An. We drive via the spectacular Hai Van Pass (Road of the Ocean Clouds) along the coast to Hoi An this morning. Stopping 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 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 is free for you to relax and explore the town and its 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 techniques 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 30th September 2023. 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 marked with a 'G' are operating. All departure dates from 1 Apr 2023 are guaranteed to operate when there are 2 persons booked on the tour. Prior to this date a departure is guaranteed with 4 persons. 'Twin Share' prices are per person when there are 2 people sharing a room. 'Single Room' prices are applicable to solo travellers or anyone wanting the privacy of a single room.
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.
La Casa Hotel, Hanoi
Set in the tranquil French Quarter of Hanoi, La Casa Hotel offers a comfortable stay in Vietnam’s bustling capital. Each guestroom features free high-speed WiFi and individually controlled air conditioning, alongside the other amenities you’d expect of a modern hotel. Guests can enjoy Asian cuisine in the on-site restaurant as well as a range of beverages in the bar. The gym boasts fantastic views over the city, however, if you’re looking to unwind, you can take a dip in the fountain swimming pool or head to the hotel's spa center.
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.
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.
ÊMM Hotel, Hoi An
Ideally located less than 200 metres from Hoi An's Old Quarter, this beautiful hotel features a mix of French colonial and traditional Vietnamese architecture. There's an outdoor swimming pool and a serene private garden to unwind in. Guests can enjoy a buffet breakfast and other meals in the onsite restaurant and drinks at the bar. There is also free Wi-Fi throughout the property. Room are colourfully and tastefully decorated, with minibars, fridges, TV and ensuite bathrooms.
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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!”