Days
8
Price from
$1,880CAD

From Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City - experience the heart of Vietnam.

Spend a week in Vietnam discovering the highlights and traditions of this colourful country. This short adventure samples the Old World charm in this pocket of Asia that was part of the former French Indochina. But equally 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 Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), we uncover that vibrant mix of influences. By stopping in Halong Bay and Hoi An, we discover places of eternal beauty that have also played crucial roles in Vietnamese history.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
Hanoi, Vietnam
Finish
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Country
Vietnam
Style
Peregrine
Code
PAVT
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 in this short but comprehensive trip

  • 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 is a faster paced, busy itinerary, covering the main highlights of Vietnam in just over a week. To cover this distance there are some travel days or half days. However you have 2 included flights to maximise your time in each destination. Be sure to book extra time in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City if you want more time to explore these cities.

  • 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.

  • 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 6pm where insurance details and next of kin information will be collected. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time for this meeting, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. Subject to availability, additional accommodation may be arranged. Until this meeting we encourage you to head out and get your first taste of what Hanoi has to offer.
Accommodation
  • Lan Vien Hotel or similar (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Hanoi Urban Adventure - Village Discovery by Bike - USD33
  • Hanoi Urban Adventure - Citadels, Karsts & Cycle - USD88
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
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

7 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 1 dinner

Transport

Boat, Plane, Private vehicle

Accommodation

Comfortable hotel (6 nights), Overnight Boat (1 night)

Included Activities

  • 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 2 (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.
4. Prior to March 2018, this trip operated in reverse, and had the trip code PACL

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.