Highlights Of Vietnam

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11 days
Kuoni
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Description

This fantastic introductory tour covers the main attractions of Vietnam - a historical and once turbulent land. Discover captivating cities, intriguing cultures and stunning natural beauty while enjoying views from the seat of a traditional cyclo (three-wheeled bicycle), an overnight cruise in beautiful Halong Bay, a Mekong Delta river cruise, and more usual methods of transport.

Itinerary


 Day 1: UK to Hanoi

Depart from the UK on your overnight flight to Hanoi.


 Day 2: Hanoi

Upon arrival in the city, transfer to your hotel. If you can't wait to explore then you can head out and lose yourself in the alleys of the nearby Old Quarter or enjoy an optional cyclo tour around Hoan Kiem Lake, through the maze of streets that make up Hanoi's quaint Old Quarter. Or if you'd rather catch up on your sleep before sightseeing then there's the option to book a day room. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant and a traditional water puppet show. Stay: Movenpick Hotel Hanoi, or similar. D.


 Day 3: Hanoi

This morning visit the One Pillar Pagoda, the monumental marble mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh and the Temple of Literature. This afternoon you'll get to explore the Old Quarter in a fun and interactive way. A local guide will brief you about the area before equipping you with a map, some basic Vietnamese phrases and some local currency and sending you on your way. You'll set off in a small group on a scavenger hunt-style quest to find certain objects, source souvenirs and bargain with local vendors before meeting up with the rest of the group for local refreshments. Stay: Movenpick Hotel Hanoi, or similar. B, L.


 Day 4: Hanoi to Halong Bay

Today you can look forward to one of the highlights of your tour - a tranquil cruise in stunning Halong Bay. Drive to Halong City and board a traditional junk for your overnight cruise around Halong Bay - a picturesque landscape of over 3000 limestone islets dotted in emerald waters. Enjoy lunch onboard whilst cruising past towering limestone karsts. You'll then visit either Sung Sot Cave (Surprise Cave), which has a unique wave-like ceiling, or the island of Ti Tip where you can swim from the beach. Back on board, enjoy time at leisure by making the most of spa, having a drink at the bar or relaxing on the sundeck. Enjoy happy hour and a cooking demonstration before a set menu dinner is served on board. This evening there is an opportunity to try squid fishing on the deck. Approx. journey time: 4?-5 hours. Stay: Bhaya Cruise. B, L, D.


 Day 5: Halong Bay to Hue

Early risers can enjoy tea or coffee on the deck as the sun rises over the bay and try a spot of t'ai chi before breakfast. Visit Cua Van - a large floating village - by rowing boat, for a glimpse into local life. Reboard the ship and return to the harbour to disembark and transfer to Hanoi airport for your evening flight to the Imperial City of Hue. Approx. journey time: 3?-4 hours. Stay: Pilgrimage Village, or similar. B, L.


 Day 6: Hue

Enjoy a full day of cultural exploration, beginning with a short cycling tour to a nearby village. Visit local handicraft workshops before being welcomed by a friendly family in one of the city's ancient garden houses - traditional timber houses set in tranquil landscaped gardens. Learn about their lifestyle and traditions and join them in preparing an authentic home-cooked meal, using fresh ingredients from the garden.

Enjoy a relaxing herbal footbath before taking a cruise along the Perfume River to the Thien Mu Pagoda and the magnificent UNESCO-listed Imperial City, a walled fortress and palace that was the capital of the Nguyen Dynasty from 1802 to 1945. Seek out some bargains at the historic Dong Ba Market before experiencing Hue's vibrant night scene and culinary delights during a relaxing rickshaw ride. Stop off at some hand-picked venues totaste local delicacies and learn some local expressions to enhance your time in Vietnam. Stay: Pilgrimage Village, or similar. B, L, D.


 Day 7: Hue to Hoi An

Visit the impressive royal tomb of the 19th-Century Emperor Khai Dinh before journeying south to the charming town of Hoi An. The drive is incredibly picturesque, taking you past beautiful Lang Co beach and over the winding Hai Van Pass, otherwise known as the 'Pass of the Ocean Clouds'. Weather permitting, the views of the coast, mountains and local villages are truly spectacular.

Hoi An boasts a unique heritage and striking blend of French-colonial and Asian architecture. Enjoy some free time to relax before an afternoon walking tour of the UNESCO-listed Ancient Town which was once a thriving port. Wander through Hoi An market, discover the life of an 18th-Century merchant at the Old House of Tan Ky, cross the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge and visit the Fujian Assembly Hall. Approx. journey time: 2 hours. Stay: Victoria Hoi An, or similar. B, L.


 Day 8: Hoi An

Today you can choose to spend the whole day at leisure or take part in an optional experience. Join a popular cookery class at the renowned Red Bridge Cooking School in the morning which includes a visit to the market to choose your ingredients, and lunch. If you've chosen to have some time to yourself then you could relax on a white-sand beach, explore local art galleries or just wander along the river bank. Stay: Victoria Hoi An, or similar. B.


 Day 9: Hoi An to Ho Chi Minh City

Transfer to Danang (approx. 1 hour) for your flight to Ho Chi Minh City (approx. 1A? hours). Learn about Vietnam's history with a visit to the thought-provoking War Remnants Museum. See touches of colonial architecture in the buildings and watch the streets throng with a million mopeds as you continue to the Reunification Palace and stop for photos outside the Notre Dame Cathedral. Look for some hidden gems at a local market selling antiques and wartime memorabilia before an evening at leisure. Stay: Liberty Central Riverside Hotel, or similar. B, L.


 Day 10: Ho Chi Minh City

Rise early for your journey to My Tho, which is considered the gateway to the Mekong Delta (approx. 1? hours). Enjoy a cruise on the Mekong River to the island of Con Lan, visit a fruit orchard to see a rural cottage industry at work and taste fresh fruit, coconut candy and honey. Take a scenic walk through the village before lunch and then take a short ride in a traditional Mekong River sampan boat. Return to Ho Chi Minh City for a farewell dinner in a local restaurant. Stay: Liberty Central Riverside Hotel, or similar. B, L, D.


 Day 11: Ho Chi Minh City

Today you'll have the chance to explore the remarkable underground network of tunnels at Cu Chi which was once both a hideout and home for scores of Vietnamese insurgents during the war (approx. 1? hours). You have the option of booking a day room for the afternoon so that you can relax before transferring to the airport for your overnight return flight to the UK, or you may choose to extend your holiday. B. Stay longer

2017

Luang Prabang 3 nights

Unwind in this charming and delightfully laid back riverside city before or after your tour. Browse stalls at the night market, swim in natural pools at Kuang Si Falls or visit enchanting temples.

Cambodian Explorer 10 nights

Discover the best of neighbouring Cambodia, including the remarkable ruins of Angkor and Phnom Penh's stunning pagodas (please see here for a full Cambodian Explorer itinerary).

Siem Reap (Angkor) 3 nights

Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angkor to discover the remains of different capitals of the Khmer Empire which were built between the 9th and 13th centuries. Highlights include the magnificent temples of Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom.

Beaches of Vietnam (Nha Trang) 3 nights

Spend a few days relaxing on Nha Trang's impressively long beach which stretches for miles along a curved bay and is backed by beautiful mountains in the distance. The city offers a host of dining and shopping options while the surrounding countryside offers a fascinating glimpse into traditional village life.

2018

Beaches of Vietnam (Nha Trang) 3 nights

Relax on the beach which is backed by beautiful mountains and enjoy a host of dining and shopping options in the city.

Cambodia & Laos Explorer 9 nights

Discover the best of neighbouring Cambodia and Laos on this captivating tour

Cambodia & Laos Explorer and Thailand Explorer 18 nights

Combine Vietnam with two tours for an extensive adventure through South-East Asia's most popular regions.

Cambodia & Laos Explorer; Thailand Explorer; and Burma Encounter 29 nights

A 'trip of a lifetime' combining five of South-East Asia's most fascinating countries.


 Day 1: UK to Hanoi

Depart from the UK on your overnight flight to Hanoi.


 Day 2: Hanoi

Upon arrival in the city, transfer to your hotel. If you can't wait to explore then you can head out and lose yourself in the alleys of the nearby Old Quarter or enjoy an optional cyclo tour around Hoan Kiem Lake, through the maze of streets that make up Hanoi's quaint Old Quarter. Or if you'd rather catch up on your sleep before sightseeing then there's the option to book a day room. This evening you can look forward to a traditional water puppet show before enjoying dinner at a local restaurant. Cha cha is a 200-year old northern speciality made with white fish, green vegetables, rice, noodles and saffron-infused oils. Stay: Movenpick Hotel Hanoi, or similar. D.


 Day 3: Hanoi

This morning visit the One Pillar Pagoda, the monumental marble mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh and the Temple of Literature. This afternoon you'll get to explore the Old Quarter in a fun and interactive way. A local guide will brief you about the area before equipping you with a map, some basic Vietnamese phrases and some local currency and sending you on your way. You'll set off in a small group on a scavenger hunt-style quest to find certain objects, source souvenirs and bargain with local vendors before meeting up with the rest of the group for local refreshments. Stay: Movenpick Hotel Hanoi, or similar. B, L.


 Day 4: Hanoi to Halong Bay

Today is one of the tour's highlights - a cruise in beautiful Halong Bay. Drive to Halong City (approx. 3?-4 hours) to board a junk and enjoy lunch onboard whilst gliding past limestone peaks and islands. This afternoon, explore Sung Sot Cave, also known as Surprise Cave, and go swimming or hiking on Titov Island. Return to the ship to join a cooking demo and fruit-carving demo as you cruise to Ho Dong Tien. Enjoy happy hour and a cooking demo before dinner. This evening there is an opportunity to try squid fishing on the deck. Stay: Bhaya Cruise. B, L, D.


 Day 5: Halong Bay to Hue

Early risers can join a t'ai chi exercise on the deck (6.30am) as the sun rises over the bay. After breakfast, continue cruising the bay and visit Dark and Light Cave by traditional bamboo boat or kayak (subject to availability). Reboard the ship and enjoy brunch as you make your way back to the harbour to disembark and transfer to Hanoi airport (approx. 3?-4 hours) for your evening flight to the Imperial City of Hue. Stay: Pilgrimage Village, or similar. B, L.


 Day 6: Hue

Enjoy a full day of cultural exploration, beginning with a short cycling tour to a nearby village. Visit local handicraft workshops before being welcomed by a friendly family in one of the city's ancient garden houses - traditional timber houses set in tranquil landscaped gardens. Learn about their lifestyle and traditions and join them in preparing an authentic home-cooked meal, using fresh ingredients from the garden.

Enjoy a relaxing herbal footbath before taking a cruise along the Perfume River to the Thien Mu Pagoda and the magnificent UNESCO-listed Imperial City, a walled fortress and palace that was the capital of the Nguyen Dynasty from 1802 to 1945. Seek out some bargains at the historic Dong Ba Market. Stay: Pilgrimage Village, or similar. B, L, D.


 Day 7: Hue to Hoi An

Journey south to the charming town of Hoi An. The drive is incredibly picturesque, taking you past beautiful Lang Co beach and over the winding Hai Van Pass, otherwise known as the 'Pass of the Ocean Clouds'. Weather permitting, the views of the coast, mountains and local villages are truly spectacular.

Hoi An boasts a unique heritage and striking blend of French-colonial and Asian architecture. Begin your tour of this UNESCO-listed Ancient Town which was once a thriving port.Visit the 17th-Century Chua Ong Pagoda, a colourful Chinese-inspired structure. Continue to the beautifully ornate Fujian Assembly Hall and the Jinshang Temple which is dedicated to the goddess of the sea. Pass the Old House of Tan Ky, which was the home of an 18th-Century merchant, and cross the iconic 400 year-old Japanese Covered Bridge. End your afternoon with a relaxing boat trip along Thu Bon river. Approx. journey time: 2 hours. Stay: Victoria Hoi An, or similar. B, L.


 Day 8: Hoi An

Today you can choose to spend the whole day at leisure or take part in an optional experience. Join a popular cookery class at the renowned Red Bridge Cooking School in the morning which includes a visit to the market to choose your ingredients, and lunch. If you've chosen to have some time to yourself then you could relax on a white-sand beach, explore local art galleries or just wander along the river bank. Stay: Victoria Hoi An, or similar. B.


 Day 9: Hoi An to Ho Chi Minh City

Transfer to Danang (approx. 1 hour) for your flight to Ho Chi Minh City (approx. 1A? hours). Learn about Vietnam's history during a visit to the thought-provoking War Remnants Museum. See touches of colonial architecture in the buildings and watch the streets throng with a million mopeds as you continue to the Reunification Palace and the Central Post Office. Look for some hidden gems at a local market selling antiques and wartime memorabilia before enjoying an evening at leisure. Stay: Windsor Plaza Hotel, or similar. B, L.


 Day 10: Ho Chi Minh City

Journey southwest to the charming town of Cai Be in the heart of the Mekong Delta for another incredible highlight - a cruise on the mighty Mekong River. Along the way, stop to visit a local Cao Dai temple which is home to a blend of religions including Buddhism, Taoism and Christianity. Board your boat for the chance to witness life on and around the water. Pass floating markets and continue through a maze of narrow canals to visit a local family and watch as they use centuries-old methods to produce rice paper.

Continue with a cycling tour around the village, stopping to visit families that use coconut leaves to thatch roofs, weave hyacinth products, and make net rice paper. Enjoy a short ride on a traditional Mekong River sampan boat and soak up the scenery before enjoying late lunch at a local home and learning how to make traditional savoury Vietnamese pancakes during a cooking demo. Ride a boat back to Cai Be and return to Ho Chi Minh City. Stay: Windsor Plaza Hotel, or similar. B, L, D.


 Day 11: Ho Chi Minh City

Today you'll have the chance to explore the remarkable underground network of tunnels at Cu Chi which served as a hideout and home for scores of Vietnamese insurgents during the war (approx. 1? hours). Watch a short film to learn what life was like for the soldiers who lived there during the war. Return to the city this afternoon. You have the option of booking a day room for the afternoon so that you can relax before transferring to the airport for your overnight return flight to the UK, or you may choose to extend your holiday. B. Stay longer

2017

Luang Prabang 3 nights

Unwind in this charming and delightfully laid back riverside city before or after your tour. Browse stalls at the night market, swim in natural pools at Kuang Si Falls or visit enchanting temples.

Cambodian Explorer 10 nights

Discover the best of neighbouring Cambodia, including the remarkable ruins of Angkor and Phnom Penh's stunning pagodas (please see here for a full Cambodian Explorer itinerary).

Siem Reap (Angkor) 3 nights

Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angkor to discover the remains of different capitals of the Khmer Empire which were built between the 9th and 13th centuries. Highlights include the magnificent temples of Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom.

Beaches of Vietnam (Nha Trang) 3 nights

Spend a few days relaxing on Nha Trang's impressively long beach which stretches for miles along a curved bay and is backed by beautiful mountains in the distance. The city offers a host of dining and shopping options while the surrounding countryside offers a fascinating glimpse into traditional village life.

2018

Beaches of Vietnam (Nha Trang) 3 nights

Relax on the beach which is backed by beautiful mountains and enjoy a host of dining and shopping options in the city.

Cambodia & Laos Explorer 9 nights

Discover the best of neighbouring Cambodia and Laos on this captivating tour

Cambodia & Laos Explorer and Thailand Explorer 18 nights

Combine Vietnam with two tours for an extensive adventure through South-East Asia's most popular regions.

Cambodia & Laos Explorer; Thailand Explorer; and Burma Encounter 29 nights

A 'trip of a lifetime' combining five of South-East Asia's most fascinating countries.