Days
13
Price from
$3,066NZD

Travel through town and rainforest alike on this 13-day adventure through Vietnam.

Spend 13 days in Vietnam discovering the highlights and traditions of this colourful country. This adventure samples the Old World charm in this pocket of Asia, while uncovering the natural treasures of Vietnam’s verdant northwest along the way. Venture into the misty mountains of the Hoang Lien National Park, an evergreen realm where cloud and hills often meet. Return to Vietnamese society and discover 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 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.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Hanoi, Vietnam
Finish
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Country
Vietnam
Style
Peregrine
Code
PAVIC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why we love this trip

  • Experience the highlights and traditions of this colourful country on this short but comprehensive trip that traverses the length of Vietnam

  • Embark on several of Sapa's scenic day treks. With idyllic green landscapes, ethnic hill-tribe villages and hidden waterfalls, this is a slice of Vietnam that will linger long in the memory.

  • Be rewarded at the end of your trekking in the Sapa region with spectacular views of the Hoang Lien mountains while enjoying the comforts of the Topas Ecolodge.

  • Discover the traditional arts of Vietnam with a special visit to the home of a seventh generation water puppet master

  • Take an overnight cruise on Halong Bay and discover this place of famed beauty while enjoying a candle-lit dinner on deck

  • Sail down the Thu Bon River and watch the sunset over Hoi An, a city rich in ancient and recent history

  • Visit the cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) 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

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip includes a some day hikes and town walking tours—these are considered easy to moderate.

  • While the walking in Sapa not overly strenuous, terrain can be quite steep and unpredictable, with uneven and slippery or muddy surfaces. It's important to bring sturdy walking shoes.

  • Winter (November–February) can get cold, wet and foggy in Sapa. Even outside of winter, Sapa is known for having four seasons in one day. It's best to pack layers and be prepared for varied conditions throughout the day (and for cooler nights)

  • 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.

  • 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.

Itinerary

Welcome to Hanoi. You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel. There will be a welcome meeting at 6 pm where insurance details and next of kin information will be collected. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. 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 the meeting. Subject to availability, additional accommodation may be arranged. If you find yourself with free time before the meeting, why not visit the Temple of Literature or Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum.
Accommodation
  • Lan Vien Hotel or similar (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh Complex: Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum, Stilt House and Museum - VND80000
  • Hanoi Urban Adventure - Village Discovery by Bike - USD33
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Your journey to the verdant mountains of northwest Vietnam begins with a private bus ride to Sapa (approximately 5 hours). Considered a summer capital by the French in the early 20th century, Sapa’s grown into the crown jewel of Vietnamese tourism since being opened to international visitors in 1993. The mix of ethnic cultures, eye-popping scenery and hill-tribe villages make it an ideal place to see on foot. Trek about 2 kilometres / 1.2 miles from the center of Sapa town to Cat Cat, one of the oldest Hmong ethnic minority villages in the region. Here you’ll see rice growing on terraced fields using traditional methods of cultivation, plus the Hmong people’s famed method of making cloth from hemp and dying it deep indigo.
You will have an evening to relax and enjoy crisp mountain air and vistas. 
Accommodation
  • Victoria Resort or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sapa - Cat Cat village walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
After breakfast meet your local guide and drive to Lao Chai. From here your delve deeper into serene Vietnam with a trek past isolated mountain hamlets to Ta Van (approximately 5 hours). Passing rice terraces and farm animals you’ll have opportunities to learn about the daily life and traditional culture of the Hmong people. The trek may vary depending on local conditions. Afterwards you’ll need a well-earned rest and rest is what you’ll find at Topas Ecolodge in Hoang Lien National Park. After arriving via private bus transfer (approximately 1 hour) take in the views from your private room across the valley in this majestic location. Perhaps even take a massage or simply unwind at the lodge’s hilltop spa.
Accommodation
  • Topas Ecolodge or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sapa - Guided trek with local lunch
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Make the short trek to Lech Village and back this morning. About 20 km / 12 mi from Sapa, the village is home to the Red Dao ethnic minority, a remarkable people whose culture has remained relatively unaffected by outside visitors. Your camera will get a workout as you encounter the stunning vistas and rice paddies of the Thanh Kim valley. Afterwards, the day is yours to spend as you please. Those with the energy can venture down further scenic trails (ask your leader for a recommendation). There are many more hill-tribe cultures and photographic opportunities to be found in the surrounding hills. Alternatively, simply sit back and soak it all up from your perfectly appointed lodge.
Accommodation
  • Topas Ecolodge or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sapa - Tea with local family
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
On departure from the Sapa region, stop to try the regional speciality of 7 colours sticky rice. This dish is so named as the rice is coloured with locally sourced ingredients natural ingredients such as leaves and flowers.
Return to Hanoi (approximately 5 hours driving) and use free time to discover its many treasures. Perhaps visit Hoan Kiem Lake, the excellent Ethnology Museum or the Hanoi Social Club. In the evening, sit down to a farewell dinner with your fellow travellers at KOTO restaurant. This philanthropic Hanoi institution is a long-time friend of Peregrine and is supported by our sibling charity, The Intrepid Foundation. Not only is it a lovely place to dine, it's also a great cause, doubling as a hospitality training program for disadvantaged local youth.
Accommodation
  • Lan Vien Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hanoi - KOTO dinner
  • Sapa - Sample 7 colours sticky rice
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
You'll have the day to yourself before meeting with your group tonight - perhaps consider taking a Hanoi Urban Adventure outside of the city before then. In the evening, meet up with your new group and take an optional meal out at one of Hanoi's fantastic eating spots.
Accommodation
  • Lan Vien Hotel or similar (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Hanoi Urban Adventure - Citadels, Karsts & Cycle - USD88
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you will leave Hanoi and drive north (approximately 4 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 or to explore by kayak (optional and extra cost involved). A night on the boat under the stars is very special, but another highlight of this evening is a delicious candlelit dinner out on deck (weather permitting). This is the perfect way to enjoy the beautiful surroundings, dining on a seafood feast.
Accommodation
  • Halong Bay Boat (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Halong Bay - Overnight boat cruise
Optional Activities
  • Halong Bay - Kayaking - VND220000
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Swimming in the bay from the boats is banned by the local authority. Kayaking is restricted to designated zones within the bay.

Your wooden junk-style boat has twin-share cabins with en suite facilities and air-conditioning. Due to the limited cabins on board, the single supplement is excluded, 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 all travellers can be accommodated on board available boats, on rare occasions you will stay on a larger boat (with up to 12 cabins) and share your boat with another group. Or your group may be split across different vessels, in which case a group leader will be present on each boat, and the route taken and inclusions on board will remain the same.
After breakfast at Halong Bay, return by bus to Hanoi (approximately 3.5 hours). Late this afternoon, you will enjoy a unique Peregrine experience when you sit down to a water-puppet performance hosted by a local puppet master. Artist Phan Thanh Liem’s father and grandfather were important figures in this Vietnamese folk art, and the tradition of water puppet performance goes back six generations in the family. You will visit his home, which is like a small-scale theatre and also a museum on the history of puppetry and the background of the artists. There’s also a workshop that shows how the puppets are made. You’ll have a chance to speak with Liem about the history, development and meaning of this traditional art. Later, why not stop for a bia hoi (freshly brewed draught beer) at one of the microbars in the Old Quarter, relax at a cafe or explore the wealth of street food options.
Accommodation
  • Lan Vien Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hanoi - Local water puppet performance
Optional Activities
  • Hanoi - Hanoi Street Food By Night Urban Adventure - USD31
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning take a half-day tour of Hanoi with your leader. Enchanting Hanoi stands in contrast to its southern counterpart, relaxed rather than frantic, full of lakes and parks to escape to. 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.

This afternoon you will leave Hanoi and fly (approximately 1 hour) south to Danang. You will have the chance to enjoy some spectacular scenery on the drive to Hoi An (approximately 1 hour). Arrive in Hoi An late this afternoon and check into your accommodation.
Accommodation
  • Pearl River Hoi An Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hanoi - Temple of Literature
  • Hanoi - Koto Restaurant lunch
  • Hanoi - One Pillar Pagoda
  • Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh Complex: Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum, Stilt House and Museum
Optional Activities
  • Hanoi - Hoa Lo 'Hanoi Hilton' Prison - VND30000
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
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.

There is some free time to this afternoon to further explore the Old Town or surrounds at your own pace. Later this afternoon, take a boat trip out on the Thu Bon River. There are few better ways to soak up the atmosphere of this wonderful town than with sunset drinks as you float down river.
Accommodation
  • Pearl River Hoi An Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hoi An - Ancient town walk and entrance ticket
  • Hoi An - Thu Bon sunset river cruise
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
The morning is free for you to enjoy more of delightful Hoi An and the surrounding area. Perhaps browse the market for silk and other materials or collect any garments that you might have had crafted by the efficient tailors, or hire a bicycle and ride along the lanes and out to a nice nearby beach.
Transfer to Danang and fly to Ho Chi Minh City. Check into your hotel and enjoy a free evening - perhaps explore the food stalls at Cho Ben Thanh market.
Accommodation
  • Millennium Boutique Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Rooms at the Millennium Boutique Hotel and in Ho Chi Minh City in general are compact given the building style and central location.
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.
This evening perhaps go for dinner with your group before your travels in Vietnam draw to a close.
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
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Notre Dame Cathedral
  • Ho Chi Minh City - City tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Your tour ends 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
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Mekong Discovery Urban Adventure - VND59
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

12 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners

Transport

Boat, Plane, Private vehicle, Private Bus, Taxi

Accommodation

Comfortable hotel (9 nights), Lodge (2 nights), Overnight Boat (1 night)

Included Activities

  • Sapa - Cat Cat village walk
  • Sapa - Guided trek with local lunch
  • Sapa - Tea with local family
  • Hanoi - KOTO dinner
  • Sapa - Sample 7 colours sticky rice
  • Halong Bay - Overnight boat cruise
  • Hanoi - Local water puppet performance
  • Hanoi - Temple of Literature
  • Hanoi - Koto Restaurant lunch
  • Hanoi - One Pillar Pagoda
  • Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh Complex: Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum, Stilt House and Museum
  • Hoi An - Ancient town walk and entrance ticket
  • Hoi An - Thu Bon sunset river cruise
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi Tunnels
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Reunification Palace
  • Ho Chi Minh City - War Remnants Museum
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Notre Dame Cathedral
  • Ho Chi Minh City - City tour

Dates & availability

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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 7 (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.