Vietnam Highlights – 12 Day

Southeast Asia > Vietnam

Vietnam is a country located in Southeast Asia. It has a long coastline along the South China Sea.

 

It is bordered by China, Laos and Cambodia. Vietnam shares maritime borders with Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia. Vietnam is approximately 331,210 square kilometers (128,565 square miles) large.

The capital city of Vietnam is Hanoi. The population of Vietnam is over 97 million people. It is one of the more densely populated countries in Southeast Asia. When packing for Vietnam it is helpful to bring durable, waterproof, comfortable shoes. There is no need to pack an abundance of clothes, as clothing is relatively inexpensive in Vietnam, so purchasing extra clothing items upon arrival is easy. The Vietnamese dress conservatively in Vietnam, and visitors should do the same.

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Day 1: ARRIVE IN HANOI

Upon arrival, you will be welcomed and transferred to your hotel near the Old Quarters, about 45min drive from the airport. Rest of the day is free to rest up from your long flight.

Overnight at Silk Path Boutique Hotel Hanoi (Breakfast)

2

Day 2: HANOI FULL DAY CITY TOUR

Early morning, transfer to Ba Dinh Square, a favorite place for many Hanoians to gather for morning exercise. You can join in with the locals for "Tai Chi" or walk along and chat with them. Next, view the Red River from the historical Long Bien Bridge. Return to your hotel for breakfast before your walking tour around the Old Quarter, filled with local shops, residential areas and interesting local food vendors operating along the pavements. Explore narrow alleys and see how multiple families live together in this historic area. Stop by a famous café to enjoy a steaming cup of “Egg Coffee” while a local street artist demonstrates “To He”, a traditional art in making figurines with rice flour. Continue to the home of a local artist, a rare opportunity to see how multi-generations live together in the Old Quarter. For an authentic lunch experience, dine at the famous noodle shop where President Obama and the late Anthony Bourdain shared a meal of Bun Cha grilled pork with rice vermicelli in a cocktail of fish sauce. This afternoon, visit the charming French-colonial style buildings around the former French Quarter and discover why this city is called the “Paris of the East”. Other sites include the Presidential Garden, “His House on Stilts” and the famed Temple of Literature. If your visit falls over the weekends (Friday to Sunday), you can stroll easily on your own from your hotel to Hoan Kim Lake where the streets are converted to walking streets and lively night markets from 7pm.

Overnight at Silk Path Boutique Hotel Hanoi (Breakfast)

3

Day 3: DAY TRIP TO KY SON VILLAGE WITH BIKE RIDE & EVENING CRAFT BEER ADVENTURE

Meet your guide this morning and drive about 1.5 hours to Ky Son Village. Take a pleasant walk around the village to get a taste of the northern countryside lifestyle of Vietnam. After, set out on a bike ride (or a drive) to Duong Lam village with stops for taking pictures, chatting with children and farmers. Visit Mia pagoda, some old houses, the Mong Phu communal house and Ngo Quyen & Phung Hung temples. Enjoy a home cooked lunch at Moon Garden before returning to Hanoi around 3pm. Unknown to most, Hanoi is home to a great selection of craft beers in several unique microbreweries! At 6pm, your specialist guide will pick you up from your hotel and you will explore lesser known neighborhoods. Along the way, sample 12 different local craft beers over 5 stops at local microbreweries and bars, including an authentic local experience at a local beer store to enjoy “Bia Hoi Hanoi” a popular fresh beer enjoyed by most locals on the streets. Local finger foods will be included to compliment your beer feast. Transfer back to hotel by car after the tour.

Overnight at Silk Path Boutique Hotel Hanoi (Breakfast)

4

Day 4: DRIVE ABOUT 2 HOURS TO HALONG BAY CRUISE

Meet your guide this morning and be transferred to the boat pier for a relaxing scenic cruise around Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its spectacular scenery of mountains on the sea. Upon arrival at Hai Phong, where you will be transferred by tender to board the luxury Orchid Cruise. The boat proceeds to Da Chong islet, where you can see a lighthouse built by the French over 100 years ago. Have lunch while admiring amazing limestone karst formations rise up out of the sea. Afternoon, continue to Ba Trai Dao beach area known for its pristine beaches, enjoy kayaking or swimming around here if weather permits. Return to your boat to join a traditional cooking class in the making of some Vietnamese dishes. Later, enjoy dinner and after, you can try night squid fishing or watch a movie in the restaurant.

Overnight on Orchid Cruise (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

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Day 5: HALONG BAY CRUISE - CYCLING / KAYAKING

Early birds can enjoy the splendid beauty of Halong Bay at sunrise and participate in Tai Chi lesson before breakfast. At 9am, you will move to a smaller day boat which will take you to Viet Hai fishing Village. You can cycle or take an electric cart along the village paths, through rain forests and a dark tunnel. Enjoy stunning scenery of rice fields on the way. Stop at the village to visit an ancient local house made from straw and mud, see typical rural local life. Back to your day boat and cruise to Bai Tu Long Bay where you can enjoy more swimming, some kayaking or relaxing on the beach if weather permits. Return to main cruise boat at about 4pm to relax and enjoy the stunning views before dinner.

Overnight on Orchid Cruise (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

6

Day 6: DISEMBARK FROM CRUISE FLY TO HUE

After enjoying breakfast, passengers will be transferred by canoes to explore Toi Sang Cave. At about 9:30am, get back to your boat for check-out followed by a delightful brunch. At about noon time, arrive at Dinh Vu Port where your guide will be waiting for you. Along the drive back to Hanoi, stop a local village known as the birthplace of water puppetry in the Red River Delta. This is a very unique traditional art that originates from Northern Vietnam. You will watch an authentic outdoor water puppet performance while sampling some local delicacies. You’ll get to bring home a wooden puppet as a souvenir. Then continue to Hanoi Airport for a flight to Hue. Upon arrival at Hue Airport, you will be welcomed by your guide and transferred to your hotel.

Overnight at Scarlett Boutique Hotel Hue (Breakfast)

7

Day 7: HUE CITY TOUR AND DINNER WITH ROYAL DESCENDANT

This morning, take a cyclo ride from your hotel over the famous Trang Tien Bridge and past the Dong Ba Market. The cyclo will take you around the ancient citadel of Hue, through local streets and shops for an overview of daily life. Stop at the Noon Gate of the Imperial Citadel for the walking tour to the inner area of the citadel where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled between 1802 and 1945, including the Flag Tower, Noon Gate, Nine Dynastic Urns, Nine Holy Cannons, Thai Hoa Palace, and the Forbidden Purple City. In the afternoon, visit the poetic mausoleum of Emperor Tu Duc. Later, stop by Tha Om Garden House to discover the friendliness and hospitality of the host family and taste traditional Hue confectionaries. Proceed to the Thien Mu Pagoda to witness a daily Buddhist prayer before enjoying a short cruise on the river back to town. This evening, visit Ben Xuan, a local house with wonderful features of traditional Vietnamese architecture situated at a serene place on the northern banks of the Perfume River. Built with consideration and love, the nostalgic owners constructed the unique property using reclaimed housing materials over 100 years old sourced from around Hue to reflect the history and culture of the former Imperial City. After a warm welcome, you will get to see some of the well preserved wooden buildings around the tropical garden. Then enjoy a home-made meal prepared by the hospitable owner who is a descendant of the second king of the Nguyen Dynasty.

Overnight at Scarlett Boutique Hotel Hue (Breakfast, Dinner)

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Day 8: HOME HOSTED MEAL IN HUE AFTERNOON DRIVE ABOUT 3 HOURS TO HOI AN

YMeet your guide this morning and take a short drive to your host's house. Stop by a vibrant local market at Truong An where you will meet your friendly host. Together you will explore the market and shop for local ingredients used for your home hosted lunch. Continue to your host's house, where you get to interact and chat with your hosts to learn about their traditional customs. Take a short walk to their family ancestral temple to learn about the customs associated with ancestral worship before coming back to see the cooking demonstration of traditional dishes. You can assist in their kitchen before enjoying your lunch. After lunch, enjoy one of the most scenic drives in Asia over the Hai Van Pass to the ancient town of Hoi An. Stop by My Khe in
Danang, the landing ground and famed “RnR” location for American marines during the Vietnam War.

Overnight at Little Hoi An Boutique Hotel (Breakfast, Lunch)

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Day 9: HOI AN HALF DAY TOUR OF OLD TOWN & TRA QUE HERB FARM

A charming UNESCO Heritage Site steeped in history and old architecture with Chinese, French and Japanese influence. You will meet your guide for a morning walking tour around the Old Town and a traditional lantern workshop to make a lantern on your own. Then finish the tour with a delicious local lunch at a herb farm to learn about the vast variety of herbs grown in this region. Enjoy a herbal foot rub before returning back to your hotel, rest of the day is free to explore on your own.

Overnight at Little Hoi An Boutique Hotel (Breakfast)

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Day 10: FLY TO SAIGON - AFTERNOON CITY TOUR

Transfer to Danang Airport for a flight to Saigon. Upon arrival, you will be welcomed and transferred to your hotel. In the afternoon, visit the Reunification Palace, the former Presidential Palace of the Southern Vietnamese Government before 1975. Proceed for photo opportunities at some of the most iconic colonial buildings in the city, including the Central Post Office, City Hall and Opera House. Head up to the observation deck at the new Bitexco Financial building for a bird's eye view of Saigon at 627 feet high.or departures. If opportunity permits, visit a private museum of war photography by Mr. Hoang Van Cuong, a former United Press International photojournalist during the war. Most American journalists departed with the US Embassy staff when North Vietnamese troops took over Saigon on April 30, 1975. Mr. Cuong was one of the few journalists who stayed behind and documented this momentous period with his photos. Listen to his encounters with combat troops and imprisonment in a re-education camp for seven years. If you are interested in antiques, Mr. Cuong also has an extensive collection to show. He is one of the leading collectors in Vietnam known to have the most valuable collection.

Overnight at Liberty Central Saigon Riverside Hotel (Breakfast)

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Day 11: PRIVATE MEKONG DELTA CRUISE

In the morning drive about 1.5hours towards the Mekong Delta region to explore the quiet waterways of Ben Tre province. Upon arrival, begin your exploration with a motorized trishaw ride on deserted country roads. You will then board your boat and cruise along the river to visit a brick yard. Continue with a sampan (small row boat) to visit a local house to enjoy seasonal fresh fruit and see rice noodle production. Switch to a bicycle to visit other local houses making rice paper and sampan boats. You might be able to visit a former Vietcong soldier who survived two years fighting the Khmer Rouge. Enjoy lunch at a riverside restaurant before visiting a neighbor who is a famous for producing sticky rice. Then return to your boat and cruise back to the dock where you will be transferred to your hotel in Saigon.

Overnight at Liberty Central Saigon Riverside Hotel (Breakfast, Lunch)

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Day 12: DEPART SAIGON

Transfer to airport for departing flight home or onward journey.

(Breakfast)

Accommodations

SILK PATH BOUTIQUE HOTEL HANOI

Located conveniently by Hoan Kim Lake and minutes walk from the Old Quarters, Silk Path Boutique Hotel Hanoi is a charming small hotel with only 33 rooms. Each room is well appointed with modern amenities, free Wi-Fi, mini bar and TV. The hotel also has 2 restaurants, a rooftop terrace, a 24-hour business center, and concierge services are onsite.

 ORCHID CRUISE

A luxury small cruise company with only 18 cabins onboard each boat. All cabins are well designed with beautiful large windows opening toward the sea and private balconies to enjoy spectacular views from the comfort of your own cabin! Each cabin has a roomy size of 36 sqm with private bathrooms, hot & cold shower and a separate bathtub. There is also a spa, restaurant and spacious sundeck on board.

SCARLETT BOUTIQUE HOTEL HUE

Scarlett Boutique Hotel is a charming small hotel with only 18 rooms and centrally located in Hue, just minutes walk to local restaurants, shops and weekend markets. All rooms are well equipped with modern amenities including free wifi and private bathrooms with hot & cold shower. The hotel also has a spa and restaurant.

LITTLE HOI AN BOUTIQUE HOTEL

Located on the banks of Hoai River, Little Hoi An Boutique Hotel is in the bustling Old Town and easily accessible to popular sights and night markets. This charming small hotel features 30 comfortable rooms with modern comforts including free Wi-Fi, a swimming pool, spa and restaurant.

LIBERTY CENTRAL SAIGON RIVERSIDE HOTEL

Located on Ton Duc Thang Street, along the active Saigon River, Liberty Central Saigon Riverside Hotel is a boutique hotel with close proximity to the shopping hub as well as in walking distance to many of the city’s prominent landmarks. All rooms are well equipped with modern furnishings with higher floor rooms providing stunning views of the city skyline. The hotel features a roof top swimming pool, spa, gym and all day dining restaurant.

  • Meet & assist at airports with transfers between the airports and hotels
  • Accommodation on a bed-and-breakfast basis
  • Surface transportation per itinerary by air-conditioned vehicle with driver
  • Private tours per the itinerary with the services of local English-speaking guides unless otherwise stated in itinerary.
  • Entrance fees to listed sights and activities
  • Meals per itinerary
  • In-country flights in Economy Class including 20kg (44 lbs) check-in luggage per person
  • Hanoi to Hue
  • Danang to Saigon
  • Visa fees and visa arrangement for Vietnam
  • International airfare to/from Vietnam
  • Travel insurance
  • Meals not specified in the itinerary
  • Beverage during meals
  • Tipping
  • Personal expenses (like laundry and internet connection at hotels)