Days
8
Price from
€1,066EUR

Spend a week in Vietnam discovering the highlights and traditions of this colourful country. This short adventure enables us to sample the Old World charm in this pocket of Asia that was part of the former French Indochina. But equally as evocative are the oriental influences that stem from a historic mix of Asian traders, settlers and indigenous people that have made this part of the world a cornerstone for empires and colonies. By visiting cities like Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and Hanoi, we uncover that vibrant mix of the various major influences. By stopping in Hoi An and Halong Bay, we discover places of eternal beauty that have also played their part in Vietnam's history.

It’s not hard to see why Vietnam is such a popular travel destination. This quick trip travels from exciting, full-on Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) to the historical treasure-trove of Hoi An, then on to enchanting Hanoi and the thrilling natural wonders of Halong Bay. In between, there is still much to discover – this trip distils the country’s finest moments, with plenty of time for hidden treats and quiet surprises.


Start
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Finish
Hanoi, Vietnam
Country
Vietnam
Style
Peregrine
Code
PACL
Physical rating
Traveller’s rating
52 reviews
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • Experience the highlights and traditions of this colourful country in this short but comprehensive trip

  • Visit the cities of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and Hanoi to uncover the vibrant mix of influences, from the French to Asian traders, settlers and indigenous peoples, that make this a unique pocket of Asia

  • Stopping in Hoi An and Halong Bay, you’ll discover places of famed beauty and rich in ancient and recent history

  • This trip brings you the country’s finest moments while also leaving plenty of time for hidden treats and quiet surprises

Is this trip right for you?

  • This is a faster paced, busy itinerary, covering the main highlights of Vietnam in just over a week. There is some travelling involved, however we fly to maximise your time in each destination. Be sure to book extra time in Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi if you want more time to explore these cities.

  • There is an included visit to the Cu Chi Tunnels. Going inside the tunnels is optional, but maybe best avoided if you are likely to feel claustrophobic.

  • There is some walking involved on this trip, with walking tours in the downtown areas of each city, as well as walking in the caves in Halong Bay.

  • Average temperatures vary greatly between South and North in Vietnam. While there is no best time of year, it's best to check the seasonal patterns on our country information page, to gauge what the weather will be like and to pack accordingly.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 May 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Welcome to Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh City. You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel. There will be a Welcome Meeting at 6pm on Day 1 where insurance details and next of kin information will be collected. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). Until this meeting we encourage you to head out and get your first taste of what Ho Chi Minh City has to offer.
Accommodation
  • Millennium Boutique Hotel or similar (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Mekong Discovery Urban Adventure - VND59
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning you will head out of the city to the nearby Cu Chi Tunnels. Cu Chi is the name of the district that covers the extensive network (approximately 200 kilometres) of underground tunnels dug by the Viet Minh and later expanded by the Viet Cong. The tunnels contained hospitals, accommodation and schools, and were used for refuge, storage and as a military base for the Viet Cong close to Ho Chi Minh City. A section of the tunnels has been widened to allow visitors to enter and get a feel for what the life underground must have been like (please note that this will be hot and sweaty, and claustrophobic for some). You will then return to Ho Chi Minh City for an afternoon tour of the city, where daily life plays out on the streets and the dynamic atmosphere is a fascinating blend of old and new, East and West. Your leader will take you to the Reunification Palace, formally the Presidential Palace and the site of South Vietnam’s surrender in 1975, before visiting the War Remnants Museum. This illuminating museum features equipment and vehicles from the Vietnam War, and here you can gain a deeper understanding of the how the Vietnamese view the war. The rest of the evening is free - perhaps explore the food stalls at Cho Ben Thanh market.
Accommodation
  • Millennium Boutique Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi Tunnels
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Reunification Palace
  • Ho Chi Minh City - War Remnants Museum
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning you will leave Ho Chi Minh City and fly (approximately 1 hour) north to Danang. You will have the chance to enjoy some spectacular scenery on the drive (approximately 1 hour) to Hoi An. Visit My Khe Beach, enjoyed as an 'R & R' spot during the Vietnam War, which lies against a backdrop of the sensational Marble Mountains. The five peaks, limestone with marble outcrops, are seen to epitomise the five elements: fire, water, earth, wood and metal. The history of the mountains is rich - the Champas once used them for religious purposes, and in more recent times they were a haven for the Viet Cong. You will arrive in Hoi An in the afternoon, when you can settle in for your two-night stay in this atmospheric old town.
Accommodation
  • Hoi An Historical Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Danang - Marble Mountain
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning you will take a tour of the unique town of Hoi An, influenced over the years by myriad traders from various cultures. Originally a busy Cham Port, the town also has Chinese influences scattered about, with pagodas and assembly halls found down the streets. For a small town it has a liveliness alongside its charm and serenity. The tour will take you down the streets of low tiled buildings, taking in a historic house (formerly home to a prominent trader), the Japanese Covered Bridge, a Chinese assembly hall and a museum. The afternoon is free for you to enjoy more of delightful Hoi An and the surrounding area. Perhaps browse the market for silk and other materials that can be tailored into fine garments on the same day, or hire a bicycle and ride along the lanes and out to a nice nearby beach.
Accommodation
  • Hoi An Historical Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hoi An - Ancient town walk and entrance ticket
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you will transfer (approximately 45 minutes) to the airport for a morning flight (approximately 1 hour) to the capital Hanoi. After arrival and a brief stop at the hotel you will take a guided half-day tour of the city. Enchanting Hanoi stands in contrast to its southern counterpart, relaxed rather than frantic, full of lakes and parks to escape to and best explored by foot or bicycle. The tour will take in the major sites, including the Temple of Literature, One Pillar Pagoda, and the former residence of Vietnam’s most famous revolutionary, Ho Chi Minh. The tour will also include lunch at the KOTO café, an amazing project aimed at providing vocational training and experience in the hospitality industry for underprivileged young people. In the evening there is an option to enjoy a performance of the unique Water Puppets.
Accommodation
  • Thien Thai or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hanoi - Koto Restaurant lunch
  • Hanoi - Temple of Literature
  • Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh's stilt house
  • Hanoi - One Pillar Pagoda
Optional Activities
  • Hanoi - Water puppet show - VND100000
  • Hanoi - Hoa Lo 'Hanoi Hilton' Prison - VND30000
  • Hanoi - Hanoi Street Food By Night Urban Adventure - USD31
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Today you will leave Hanoi and drive north (approximately 4.5 hours) to the famous Halong Bay. You can leave your luggage behind at the Hanoi hotel and pack an overnight bag for staying on the boat. Halong Bay is listed as a World Heritage site and is one of Vietnam’s most spectacular natural wonders. The views of sailing junks navigating past thousands of limestone islands with rocky outcrops are nothing short of spectacular. You will travel to Bai Chay (Halong City West) where you will board a boat for an exploration of the bay, enjoying a seafood lunch and dinner (non-seafood also available), as well as spending a night on board. We visit a cave in the area and, in the warmer months, you can enjoy a swim from Ti Top Island Beach. You may also have the chance to do some kayaking (optional and extra cost involved) while on Halong Bay.

Boat accommodation:
Our wooden junk-style boat has twin-share cabins with en suite facilities and air-conditioning. Due to the limited cabins on board our smaller vessel, the single supplement is excluded for tonight, and accommodation will be on a twin-share basis.
Local authorities only permit a limited number of boats to stay overnight in Halong Bay. To ensure we can accommodate all travellers on board available boats, on rare occassions we will use larger boats (approx. 12 cabins) or split the group between different vessels. A group leader will be present on each boat, and the route taken and inclusions on board will remain the same.
Accommodation
  • Halong bay boat (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Halong Bay - Overnight boat cruise
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
After breakfast at Halong Bay, return by bus to Hanoi (approximately 3.5 hours). The afternoon is free for you to explore this delightful city. Why not stop for a bia hoi (freshly brewed draught beer) at one of the microbars in the Old Quarter, relax at a café or explore the wealth of street food options.
Accommodation
  • Thien Thai or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Your Vietnamese adventure will come to an end after breakfast this morning. A transfer to the airport is not included; however, your tour leader will be on hand to advise you as to the options available.
Optional Activities
  • Hanoi Urban Adventure - Village Discovery by Bike - USD33
  • Hanoi Urban Adventure - Citadels, Karsts & Cycle - USD88
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

7 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 1 dinner

Transport

Boat, Plane, Private vehicle

Accommodation

Comfortable hotel, Boat

Included Activities

  • Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi Tunnels
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Reunification Palace
  • Ho Chi Minh City - War Remnants Museum
  • Danang - Marble Mountain
  • Hoi An - Ancient town walk and entrance ticket
  • Hanoi - Koto Restaurant lunch
  • Hanoi - Temple of Literature
  • Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh's stilt house
  • Hanoi - One Pillar Pagoda
  • Halong Bay - Overnight boat cruise

Reviews

Our Essence of Vietnam trips score an average of 4.83 out of 5 based on 52 reviews in the last year.

Essence of Vietnam, November 2016

Ruth Cruttenden

Essence of Vietnam, November 2016

Leonie Savona

Dates & availability

Trip search is unavailable.

Jump to a departure month

Important notes

1. An airport arrival transfer is included. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking.
2. A Single Supplement to have your own room is available on this trip and excludes night 4 (Overnight boat) where you will be in shared accommodation.
3. Passport Details: Please provide your full name exactly as per passport at the time of booking (including any middle names listed on your passport), for internal flights and train tickets. Ticketing fees may apply for amendments to details within 45 days of departure, and in some cases you will be required to cover the cost of issuing a new ticket.

Essential Trip Information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.