Highlights of Vietnam – Luxury
- Go on a enchanting overnight cruise in Halong Bay
- Full day cruise on the iconic Mekong Delta
- Village visits filled with culture
- Hanoi Street Eats tour to sample legendary Vietnamese cuisine
Itinerary in Brief
- Hanoi – 2 Nights
- Halong Bay – 1 Night
- Hue – 2 Nights
- Hoi An – 2 Nights
- Ho Chi Minh City – Nights
Day 1: UK to Hanoi
Depart from the UK on your overnight flight to Hanoi.
Day 2: Hanoi
Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel and spend the rest of the day at leisure. If you’d like to catch up on your sleep before any sightseeing then you can book a day room. This evening, enjoy a traditional water puppet show before a welcome dinner at a local restaurant. Stay: Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi (or similar). D.
Day 3: Hanoi
This morning, visit the monumental marble mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh, his former residence – the One Pillar Pagoda – and the 11th-Century Temple of Literature. This afternoon, visit the iconic Ngoc Son Temple which occupies a tiny island on Hoan Kiem Lake. Admire elegant French Colonial architecture during a cyclo ride through the narrow streets of the evocative Old Quarter which was once a thriving centre for craftsmen. Visit a traditional coffee shop to enjoy a taste of Vietnamese egg coffee, a sweet drink made with egg yolk and condensed milk, before embarking on a Street Eats tour. Begin at Bia Hoi corner where you can pull up a stool and enjoy a local beer. Continue through the Old Quarter, sampling street food while learning about traditions and mingling with locals. Enjoy a flame-grilled barbecue of beef, chicken, tofu and vegetables on skewers followed by a sweet treat from the city’s best-known ice-cream parlour. Stay: Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi (or similar). B, D.
Day 4: Hanoi to Halong Bay
Today is one of the tour’s highlights – a cruise in beautiful Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Drive to Halong City (approx. 3½-4 hours) and board a junk. Enjoy lunch while gliding past limestone peaks and islands in the bay. This afternoon, transfer by tender to the Tien Ong cave where human bones and artifacts dating to 10,000-8000 BC were discovered. You can also see beautiful stalagmites and stalactites here. Return to the ship to join a cooking demo before admiring the sunset over the bay. Dinner is served on board and you’ll have the chance to try squid fishing. Stay: Bhaya Cruise (or similar). B, L, D.
Day 5: Halong Bay to Hué
Early risers can join a t’ai chi exercise on the deck (6.30am) as the sun rises over the bay. After a light breakfast, continue cruising the bay and visit Cua Van, a large floating fishing village. Reboard the junk and enjoy brunch as you make your way back to the harbour to disembark. Transfer to Hanoi airport (approx. 2-3 hours) for your evening flight to the Imperial City of Hué. Stay: Pilgrimage Village (or similar). B.
Day 6: Hué
A full day of cultural exploration begins with a cruise along the Perfume River to the Thien Mu Pagoda and the UNESCO-listed Imperial City, a walled fortress and palace that was the capital of the Nguyen Dynasty from 1802 to 1945. During a short cycling tour of the ancient village of Thuy Bieu you can enjoy a glimpse into local life. Join a local family in one of the city’s ancient garden houses – traditional timber houses set in landscaped gardens. Learn about their lifestyle and join them in preparing an authentic home-cooked meal, using fresh ingredients from the garden. Have a relaxing herbal footbath before heading back to the city and shopping for bargains at the historic Dong Ba Market. Stay: Pilgrimage Village (or similar). B, L.
Day 7: Hué to Hoi An
Journey south to the charming town of Hoi An. The drive is incredibly picturesque, taking you past Lang Co beach and over the winding Hai Van Pass, otherwise known as the ‘Pass of the Ocean Clouds’. Weather permitting, the views of the coast, mountains and local villages are spectacular. Hoi An has a unique heritage and striking blend of French Colonial and Asian architecture. Begin your walking tour of this UNESCO-listed Ancient Town which was once a thriving port. Visit the 17th-Century Chua Ong Pagoda, a colourful Chinese-inspired structure. Continue to the beautifully ornate Fujian Assembly Hall and the Jinshang Temple which is dedicated to the goddess of the sea. Pass the Old House of Tan Ky, the home of an 18th-Century merchant, and cross the iconic 400 year-old Japanese Covered Bridge. End your afternoon with a relaxing boat trip along Thu Bon river. Approx. journey time: 2 hours. Stay: Almanity Hoi An Resort & Spa (or similar). B.
Day 8: Hoi An
Enjoy a whole free day. You may prefer to relax on a white-sand beach, explore local art galleries or soak up the vibrant atmosphere during a stroll along the river bank. Stay: Almanity Hoi An Resort & Spa (or similar). B.
Day 9: Hoi An to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
Transfer to Danang (approx. 1 hour) for your flight to Ho Chi Minh City (approx. 1¼ hours). A half-day city tour takes in the Central Post Office, which was designed by renowned French architect, Gustave Eiffel, and the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral. Admire grand colonial buildings as you stroll along Dong Khoi Street (formerly Rue Catinat) which featured in Graham Greene’s novel, The Quiet American. Continue heading towards the Saigon River to see the elegant Saigon Opera House which sheltered French citizens fleeing North Vietnam in 1954. Stop at the Reunification Palace and discover the country’s turbulent past at the poignant War Remnants Museum. Stay: Amena Residence & Suites (or similar). B.
Day 10: Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
Journey southwest to the town of Cai Be in the heart of the Mekong Delta for another highlight – a cruise on the mighty Mekong River. Board your boat and witness life on and around the water as you pass floating markets. Continue through a maze of narrow canals to visit a local family and watch as they use centuries-old methods to produce rice paper. Return to Ho Chi Minh City late afternoon and enjoy a farewell dinner on the Bonsai Cruise as it glides along the Saigon River. Stay: Amena Residence & Suites (or similar). B, L, D.
Day 11: Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
Today you’ll have the chance to explore the remarkable underground network of tunnels at Cu Chi which served as a hideout and home for scores of Vietnamese insurgents during the war (approx. 1½ hours). Return to the city this afternoon. You have the option of booking a day room so that you can relax before transferring to the airport for your overnight return flight to the UK, or you may choose to extend your holiday. B.
Beaches of Vietnam (Mui Ne) 3 nights
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Siem Reap 3 nights
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Day 1: Siem Reap
On arrival, transfer to your hotel for an afternoon check-in. You have free time today to explore at your own pace. Approx. journey time: 25 minutes, 6 miles. Stay: Tara Angkor Hotel (or similar). B.
Day 2: Siem Reap
Travel to the South Gate of Angkor Thom, the most beautiful entrance of the five gates into the former capital of the Khmer empire. Later, visit of one of Cambodia’s most famous sights – Angkor Wat. Stay: Tara Angkor Hotel (or similar). B.
Day 3: Siem Reap
View the spellbinding temples of Banteay Srei and Banteay Samré. On your return to Siem Reap, stop at a local village and learn about the traditional agricultural practices of growing rice and collecting sugar (dependent on season). Later, visit Preah Khan and Neak Pean temples as well as Ta Prohm. Dinner tonight will be accompanied by an Apsara Dance Show. Stay: Tara Angkor Hotel (or similar). B.
Day 4: Siem Reap
Today you’ll have the option to receive a blessing from a Buddhist monk, visit Theam’s House, and Les Senteurs d’Angkor, an artisanal craft shop where you can buy fragrant souvenirs. Depart for Siem Reap airport for your onward return flight to the UK. B.
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