11 days

Glimpse of Vietnam

Glimpse of Vietnam

Nha Trang cruise - the islands of the South China Sea

The bustling streets and cyclos of Saigon

The tailors and market traders of UNESCO World Heritage-listed Hoi An

Vietnam's northern capital Hanoi

Trip rating
  • Explore the historic capitals of Vietnam, from the colonial charm of Hanoi to its bustling southern counterpart, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). Discover Hue, the former seat of power of the Nguyen Dynasty, and Hoi An, which still exudes the aura of bygone days. Also relax in the tropical beach spots of Nha Trang and Mui Ne, on the South China Sea.

    You can also end your Vietnam experience two days later and visit the bustling and colourful Mekong Delta. See 'Itinerary Variation' in the Detailed Itinerary for further information.

    Why we love it

    • Explore the historic capitals of Vietnam, from the colonial charm of Hanoi to its bustling southern counterpart, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon).
    • Discover Hue, the former seat of power of the Nguyen Dynasty, and Hoi An, which still exudes the aura of bygone days.
    • Relax in the tropical beach spots of Nha Trang and Mui Ne, on the South China Sea.
    • End your Vietnam experience two days later and visit the bustling and colourful Mekong Delta.


    Day 1 - Hanoi

    • On arrival in Hanoi you will be met and transferred to your hotel, where you will meet your tour leader who will organise a pre-trip briefing. You’ll meet the other members of your group during the briefing, before heading out for an optional group dinner.
    • Before the meeting we encourage you to get out and discover the many delights that Vietnam has to offer. Be sure to take a hotel business card so that you can find your way back to the hotel.
    • Please note that your tour leader will collect your travel insurance details at the meeting, so please bring them with you.
    Lan Vien Hotel or similar

    Day 2 - Hanoi

    • Hanoi is one of Asia’s most enchanting cities. The northern capital is a quiet contradiction to its southern counterpart. Its relaxed ambience is a joy, and exploration by foot or bicycle is recommended. The shopping is fun and the many lakes and parks provide enjoyable escapes from the city.
    • You will take a guided half-day tour of Hanoi, visiting the major sights, including the Temple of Literature, One Pillar Pagoda, and paying a homage to 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 you will travel on an overnight sleeper-class train journey to Hue. The train is very basic; you will travel in soft sleeper class, a compartment for up to four people. It is a communal environment. The beds on board come with a pillow and sheets, although some people may wish to bring their own sleeping sheet (purely optional and not a necessity).
    • Breakfast on the train is not the best food you will find in Vietnam, so it is recommended that you purchase some snacks before boarding in Hanoi.
    • This journey is in keeping with the adventurous nature of our trips and allows you to experience a taste of the real Vietnam.
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 3 - Hue

    • This morning you will reach Hue, the last imperial capital of Vietnam (1802-1945) and also one of its cultural centres. Upon arrival, you will freshen up before enjoying a tour of the city and its surroundings.
    • The royal mausoleum of Emperor Tu Duc and the beautiful Thien Mu Pagoda are must-see destinations, and will be included in a guided cruise on the Perfume River. The cruise will also give you a taste of the tranquil countryside.
    • Returning to town, you will then visit the Citadel and the Purple Forbidden City. This royal residence was all but destroyed during the 1968 Tet Offensive; however it is still fascinating to walk among the ruins.
    • In the evening you will have a chance to sample the local delicacy, 'banh khoai'.
    Mondial Hotel or similar

    Day 4 - Hoi An

    • This morning you will embark on one of Vietnam’s most spectacular road trips by crossing over the Hai Van Pass, towards Danang.
    • You will continue south to China Beach, enjoyed as a rest and relaxation spot during the Vietnam War. It lies against a backdrop of the sensational Marble Mountains.
    • You will also visit these mountains. They consist of five peaks that are actually limestone with marble outcrops. They are believed to epitomise the five elements: fire, water, earth, wood and metal.
    • The history of the mountains is rich. The Chams once used them for religious purposes, but in more recent times they became a haven for the Viet Cong, thanks to their clear view of the Danang air base - at one time the busiest airport in the world.
    • Good footwear is essential, as the paths between the rocks are sometime slippery.
    • You will continue your journey in the afternoon and finish the day in Hoi An. There are many street-side cafes and restaurants in Hoi An – sampling the culinary delights here is an ideal way to finish off the day.
    Hoi An Hotel or similar

    Day 5 - Hoi An

    • Hoi An was originally a Cham port town, but has been influenced through the centuries by a myriad of traders from various cultures. It has a distinctly Chinese appearance with pagodas and assembly halls scattered along the small streets.
    • In centuries gone by before the river silted up, Hoi An was a bustling port. Today it is a delightful backwater town with an air of liveliness about it.
    • The tranquility and charm of Hoi An, coupled with its low tiled houses, makes it one of the most delightful places to visit in Vietnam. It is a constant favourite among our travellers and staff alike.
    • A walking tour will take you to a historic house (formerly home to a prominent trader), the Japanese Covered Bridge, a Chinese assembly hall and a museum. During a free afternoon you can enjoy a bicycle ride in the countryside or relax at the nearby Cua Dai Beach.
    Hoi An Hotel or similar

    Day 6-7 - Nha Trang

    • Catch a flight to Nha Trang. On arrival you will check into your hotel, which is close to the local beach. A highlight of your visit here will be a day trip out on a boat exploring the islands of the South China Sea. You will spend a day on the water enjoying swimming, snorkelling, lazing on a beach, and feasting on a seafood lunch.
    Asia Paradise Hotel or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 8 - Mui Ne

    • You will continue down the coast to Mui Ne today, which is a quieter beach stop that offers a relaxing change of pace from Nha Trang. Nearby there are some very large sand dunes, one of the country’s more renowned natural wonders. There are also interesting fishing villages nearby.
    Sea Links Beach hotel or similar

    Day 9 - Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

    • Your southbound journey will continue as you head towards the tropical south. Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city in Vietnam and the nations economic capital.
    • In the afternoon a short city tour will take you to the Reunification Palace, War Remnants Museum and Notre Dame Cathedral, and will allow you to admire the many beautiful French colonial buildings such as the main post office and the former Hotel de Ville (city hall).
    • The city is also renowned for its nightlife, ranging from international class cafes to surprising bars and nightclubs.
    Asian Ruby Hotel or similar

    Day 10 - Ho Chi Minh City

    • In the morning, you will head out of town to visit the Cu Chi Tunnels. Cu Chi is actually the name of the district that covers an extensive underground network (approximately 200 kilometres) of tunnels dug initially by the Viet Minh and later expanded by the Viet Cong.
    • The tunnels contained hospitals, accommodation and schools, and were used extensively for refuge and storage as well as a military base for the Viet Cong close to Ho Chi Minh City.
    • The 1968 Tet Offensive was launched from Cu Chi with surprising effect. A section of the tunnels has been widened to allow tourists to get a feel for what the life underground must have been like (please note that this will be hot and sweaty and also a bit claustrophobic!).
    • The afternoon will be free for further exploration and shopping. Your final night together is an ideal opportunity to go out for a final group dinner (optional).
    Asian Ruby Hotel or similar

    Day 11 - Ho Chi Minh City

    • The tour will come to an end after breakfast. A transfer to the airport is not included; however, the hotel staff will be on hand to advise you as to the options available.
  • What to Know

    What's Included

    • The services of Peregrine's expert English-speaking local tour leader throughout the tour, and local guides at some sites.
    • Sightseeing (including entrance fees where relevant): Hanoi's One Pillar Pagoda, Ho Chi Minh’s House and Temple of Literature; Hue's Citadel and Purple Forbidden City
    • Sightseeing (including entrance fees where relevant): Thien Mu Pagoda and Emperor Tu Duc’s Mausoleum; Hai Van Pass; China Beach; Marble Mountain; Hoi An historical sites
    • Sightseeing (including entrance fees where relevant): Dai Lanh Beach; Saigon's Reunification Palace, War Remnants Museum and Notre Dame Cathedral; and Cu Chi Tunnels.
    • Lunch at KOTO café in Hanoi – a project providing vocational hospitality training and experience to underprivileged young people.
    • Full day boat cruise on the South China Sea off Nha Trang.
    • Visit to the sand dunes and beach at Mui Ne.
    • Overnight train to Hue with accommodation in 'soft sleeper' class – a compartment for up to four people with beds (a pillow and sheets provided).
    • Arrival transfer.
    • Accommodation: 9 nights comfortable hotel, 1 night overnight train.
    • Meals: 9 breakfasts, 2 lunches.

    Not Included

    • International flight
    • Airport departure taxes
    • Visas
    • Insurance
    • Other meals
    • Any optional tours and activities during free time
    • Tips and items of a personal nature
    • Departure transfer

    Safety Information

    It is recommended that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information prior to your departure.Peregrine strongly recommends the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Please leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Most of our hotels will have a safety deposit box, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

    Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and Peregrine makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

    FIRE PRECAUTIONS: Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.

    TRAFFIC AND DRIVING CONDITIONS: Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Be aware that traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home.

    PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY: While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

    SWIMMING POOLS: You may stay at hotels with unfenced pools and no life guard on duty.

    BALCONIES: Some hotel balconies don't meet western standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.

    SEAT BELTS: Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in the western world or from your home country and not all the transport which we use provides seat belts.

  • Map Itinerary

  • Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments

    At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.

    Glimpse of Vietnam

    HAZEL - United Kingdom, 10 Jun, 2013
    Overall Rating

    Great variety from the basic local stuff to tourist luxury! A great experience and I learned a lot about Vietnamese culture. Hotels all good apart from one in Nah Trang which was dirty.

    Glimpse of Vietnam

    Claire - Australia, 17 Sep, 2012
    Overall Rating

    If your dream holiday is to visit an exotic location, learn the history of the land and the people, taste amazing food and aspects of life which differ from your own,all in a developing country, then this is the tour for you!

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Trip at a glance

Trip Code PAGV
Group size 4 - 16
Start City: Hanoi, Vietnam
End City: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Style: Small Group

What to know

On Day 3 there is the option to fly from Hanoi to Hue.

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