14 days

Vietnam Coastal Explorer (Family)

Vietnam Coastal Explorer (Family)

'Junk' boat cruise among the limestone karsts of UNESCO World Heritage-listed Halong Bay

Vietnam's northern capital Hanoi

Cu Chi Tunnels - the underground network of the Viet Minh and Viet Cong

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

The bustling streets and cyclos of Saigon

Trip rating
  • Starting in busy, bright and bustling Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), we visit Reunification Palace and the fascinating Notre Dame Cathedral. We also crawl through the Cu Chi Tunnels and journey down the Mekong Delta, passing colourful floating markets. On a small island in the delta, we spend a night in a homestay with a local family – a real highlight. From the laid-back beach town of Nha Trang, we explore the offshore islands by boat and snorkel amongst the colourful coral in the warm waters of the South China Sea. We also explore ancient Hoi An and the charming northern capital, Hanoi, before heading to spectacular Halong Bay, where the rugged limestone pinnacles and grottoes combine to make up one of the world's most recognisable landscapes.


    Day 1 - Saigon

    • An arrival transfer is provided from the airport if you are joining directly on to the tour or have booked pre-tour accommodation at the joining hotel and have advised us of your arrival details
    • After you clear customs, a representative from our local agent will transfer you to your hotel.
    • There will be a pre-tour briefing at 6.30pm (exact time to be confirmed in a notice at the hotel foyer) Please note that your Tour Leader will collect your travel insurance details, so please bring them with you.
    • The meeting is generally followed by an optional group meal out at one of Saigon's many fantastic eating spots.

    Day 2 - Saigon

    • This morning we enjoy a city tour that includes visits to the Reunification Palace, War Remnants Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral and Ben Thanh Market.
    • The afternoon is left free for independent sightseeing, shopping or a chance to cool off and splash around at the excellent Dam Sen Water Park. The Water Park is easily accessed by bus or by taxi and is highly recommended, especially for the kids!
    • Overnight in Saigon.

    Day 3 - Mekong Delta

    • Depart Saigon by road to the agriculturally rich Mekong Delta and the town of Cai Be, where we begin a Mekong River boat trip that takes us past a floating market.
    • The scenery here is lush and impressive, with many terrific 'photo ops' along the way. We stop to visit typical riverside villages, where we have a chance to meet the people and learn about the local commercial enterprises.
    • After sampling various tropical fruits, we continue on to our overnight homestay, located on an island in the Mekong River.
    • Our accommodation for the night is in a large communal room that is separate to the actual living quarters of the family. Bed linen and mosquito nets are provided and we also recommend you bring a small towel as there are basic bathroom facilities available.
    Breakfast | Dinner

    Day 4 - Saigon

    • Today we take an early morning walk through the island’s orchards and navigate our way through the narrow canals in a traditional wooden sampan.
    • We then take another boat from our homestay island to rendezvous with our vehicle, which takes us back to Saigon.

    Day 5 - Saigon - Nha Trang

    • This morning we visit the wartime guerrilla stronghold of Cu Chi Tunnels, before returning to Saigon around lunchtime.
    • We then collect our luggage from the hotel and head off to our overnight train to Nha Trang. We travel in 4-berth, soft sleeper trains. 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). Also, breakfast tomorrow is not the best food you will find in Vietnam, so it is recommended that you purchase some snacks before boarding in Saigon.
    • This journey is in keeping with the adventurous nature of our trips and allows you to experience a taste of the 'real’ Vietnam.

    Day 6 - Nha Trang

    • Spend a relaxing day cruising around Nha Trang’s offshore islands.
    • Seafood lunch is served on board.
    • Snorkelling equipment is also provided, including kids’ sizes. Remember to take along a hat, sun block, swimwear and a towel.

    Day 7 - Nha Trang

    • Today is a free day, but it is an ideal place to relax, either by the hotel pool or at the nearby beach across the road.
    • You might like to take an optional excursion to visit the Po Nagar Cham Towers or Thap Ba Hot Springs and Mud Bath Centre.
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 8 - Danang - Hoi An

    • This morning we transfer to Nha Trang airport where we catch our flight to Danang. On arrival at Danang, we board our waiting vehicle and head towards Hoi An, the World Heritage-listed ancient port town that dates back to Portuguese trading days.
    • This afternoon is left free for you to enjoy the sights of Hoi An at your leisure, do some shopping or to relax by the hotel swimming pool.
    • In the evening you can join an informal cooking class, where you can learn how to make some of Hoi An’s famous specialty dishes and even participate in rolling your own spring rolls.
    Breakfast | Dinner

    Day 9 - Hoi An

    • A walking tour of Hoi An’s old town includes a visit to the Japanese Bridge, an ancient house, and a Chinese assembly hall.
    • We then have further free time to enjoy a town that has become many visitors’ favourite destination in Vietnam.
    • There are many optional activities that you can enjoy - maybe hire a bike, take a boat trip on the river, relax on the nearby beach or by our hotel's swimming pool.
    • Overnight in Hoi An.

    Day 10 - Hoi An - Hanoi

    • This morning we transfer to Danang where we visit Marble Mountain and China Beach. Note: Appropriate footwear (runners rather than thongs) should be worn for the walk up Marble Mountain.
    • The walk takes about an hour and involves climbing approximately 200 steps.
    • After the morning activity, we transfer to Danang Airport in time to catch a flight to Hanoi.
    • On arrival in Hanoi we make our way to our hotel in town.
    • This evening we enjoy a performance of Hanoi’s famous Water Puppets - kids and parents will be equally delighted!

    Day 11 - Hanoi

    • This morning we enjoy a city tour of Hanoi that includes visits to the Mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh, the ‘House on Stilts’, One Pillar Pagoda, Temple of Literature and the Hoa Lo Prison (nicknamed the ‘Hanoi Hilton’ by American POWs).
    • Lunch is included at the KOTO restaurant. KOTO (Know One, Teach One), is a training centre and restaurant set up to help disadvantaged kids in Hanoi to get off the streets and into a stable living and working environment.
    • Founder Jimmy Pham explains "The aim is not only to build teamwork but also to ensure the young people at KOTO get the chance to see more of their own incredible country. We want to teach a responsible attitude to the environment and give the trainees an opportunity to learn and grow through the experience. We also want to reward their hard work"
    • We have a chance to meet these young people who are being afforded opportunities in life because of this unique project.
    • You are at leisure this afternoon to enjoy a stroll around the Hoan Kiem Lake or a walk through the Old Quarter.
    • Overnight in Hanoi.
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 12 - Hanoi - Halong Bay

    • Depart Hanoi for the three-and-a-half-hour drive to the bayside resort town of Bai Chay.
    • Upon arrival, we board our boat, put our bags in our cabins and begin a memorable cruise amongst the remarkable limestone formations of Halong Bay.
    • A lunch of local seafood is served on board and there are opportunities for swimming, visiting one of Halong Bay’s many limestone grottoes and even kayaking around the bay.
    • Weather permitting we can watch the sunset over Halong Bay whilst our crew prepares tonight’s dinner.
    • Overnight on boat.
    • Note: Just prepare a daypack for your overnight Halong Bay tour. Main luggage can be stored at the hotel in Hanoi. Don’t forget a hat, sun block and swimwear. Northern Vietnam can be quite cold during the winter months and at this time you will also need to bring some warm clothing. It is also advisable to carry a sturdy pair of shoes for visiting the grottoes. All boats used by us have twin-share cabins with en suite facilities and air-conditioning. We also have the chance to get active and do some kayaking on Halong Bay.
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 13 - Halong Bay - Hanoi

    • After breakfast and perhaps an early morning kayak we continue sightseeing and cruising around Halong Bay, before returning to port and driving back to Hanoi.
    • Tonight is our chance to celebrate the end of a terrific family journey through a beautiful country.
    • Overnight in Hanoi.

    Day 14 - Hanoi

    • Your tour finishes after breakfast.
    • Your tour leader or the hotel receptionist can assist in booking an airport transfer, if required.
  • What to Know

    What's Included

    • • The services of Peregrine's expert English-speaking local tour leader.

      • Sightseeing (including entrance fees where relevant): Saigon's Reunification Palace, War Remnants Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral and Ben Thanh Market; Cu Chi Tunnels; Hoi An; China Beach; Marble Mountain; and Hanoi's Mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh, One Pillar Pagoda, Temple of Literature and Hoa Lo Prison.

      • Local flights: Nha Trang to Danang to Hanoi.

      • Mekong River boat trip with visits to a floating market and riverside villages.

      • Overnight homestay with a local family on a Mekong River island including a traditional wooden sampan canal cruise.

      • Full day boat cruise on the South China Sea off Nha Trang, with a seafood lunch.

      • Lunch at KOTO café in Hanoi – a project providing vocational hospitality training to underprivileged young people.

      • Performance of Hanoi’s famous Water Puppets.

      • Overnight cruise on a traditional boat on Halong Bay with a seafood lunch and dinner (non-seafood also available) and accommodation in twin-share cabins with en suite facilities and air-conditioning.

      • Overnight train from Ho Chi Minh City to Nha Trang, with accommodation in a 4-berth 'soft sleeper' class compartment (a pillow and sheets provided).

      • Free time to explore Saigon, Nha Trang, Hoi An and Hanoi.

      • Arrival transfer.

    Not Included

    • International airfares, visa costs, departure taxes, insurance (obligatory on all trips), departure transfer, other meals, drinks, snacks, any optional additional tours or activities during free time, spending of a personal nature such as gratuities, laundry, drinks, souvenirs.
  • 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.

    Vietnam Coastal Explorer (Family)

    Anne-Marie - Australia, 18 Jan, 2014
    Overall Rating

    Vietnam is an incredibly friendly and beautiful country. This was the first time we were travelling with our boys 12 and 15 and had concerns about how they would cope. But the tour, activities and options were very family friendly. There was enough adult interest as well.

    Vietnam Coastal Explorer (Family)

    David, Tracy, Hayley - Australia, 15 Jan, 2014
    Overall Rating

    This was our first overseas family holiday, and it was nothing short of amazing. Our guide, Hanh Nguyen, was a remarkable host and we are thankful that we were able to share in the vast knowledge, pride and respect that he held for his country. We will always be eternally grateful to Hanh for helping us to build long lasting memories of a very special holiday.

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Trip at a glance

Trip Code PTVC
Group size 8 - 15
Start City: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
End City: Hanoi
Style: Family

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