Highlights of Vietnam 12 Days / 11 Nights
Our Vietnam Highlights will takes you from city centre buzz through enthralling historic sites, to blissfully laid back beaches, giving a balanced taste of Vietnam’s cultural landscape. Take in the headliner highlights and a handful of lesser-known gems, with the flexibility to tailor your time to suit you.
- Picnic in the shade of an ancient pagoda after a cycle around Tay Ho Lake
- Watch a romantic Halong Bay sunrise from the deck of a traditional junk
- Wander among Hue’s evocative architecture on the banks of Perfume River
- Weave between Ho Chi Minh's finest streetfood spots on the back of a Vespa
- Immerse yourself in the beach life and vibrant culture of Hoi An’s bustling port
Hanoi, Halong Bay Cruise, Hoi An, Hai Van Pass, Hue, Ho Chi Minh City
On arrival in Vietnam, you'll be met by your private guide, who will accompany you to your hotel.
Start the day away from the city centre bustle with a cycle ride around the perimeter of West Lake. Spend time in the shade of Tran Quoc pagoda’s elegant tower, and watch the world go by from a lakeside cafe. As the sun reaches its highest, continue your journey into Hanoi’s past with a visit to the atmospheric halls of the Temple of Literature on the site of Vietnam’s first university, and tuck into fast food, Vietnam-style, with lunch on the famous Trang Tien Street. Enjoy anything from pho to sweet treats sitting on a tiny plastic stool among the locals, with the grand Opera House just around the corner. Explore Hanoi’s contemporary culture with a Vietnamese coffee at Manzi Art Cafe, before heading back in time with a stroll past workshops and pagodas in the narrow streets of the Old Quarter. Enjoy a beer and keep exploring, or head back to your hotel for a little downtime.
Local legend tells how the gods sent dragons to Halong to defend the country from invasion, and the dragons spat out gemstones that turned into islands, creating a wall against the enemy. The truth is almost as evocative as the legend, with the bay displaying one of the most beguiling natural scenes you will ever witness. Cruise at a gentle pace, disembark onto smaller boats to venture into grottos and caves, stop to explore floating fishing villages and picturesque lookout points, and dine on beautifully prepared fresh seafood. Each junk operates with a slightly different itinerary and on board facilities, so chat with us to choose the one that’s right for you.
Wake early to the calls of Halong's seabirds nesting around the limestone karsts, and begin the day with a Tai Chi or cooking class on deck as the sun rises. While you enjoy brunch, the junk will slowly turn back towards the mainland where you’ll be driven to Hanoi to catch your flight to Danang. You’ll meet your guide on arrival and driven straight to Hoi An to check into your hotel.
The food in Hoi An is second to none, so where better to enjoy a food-focused experience? First thing in the morning, cycle to Hoi An’s central market to choose fresh produce, which you'll cook later with your hosts. Your guide will help you find the best ingredients, and identify the less familiar items on sale! Cycle on to Tra Que village to learn about the traditional gardening methods, and get your hands dirty as you join the farmers to dig vegetables and herbs in the garden, then help prepare Tam Huu spring rolls, Banh Xeo pancakes, Tra Que steamed chicken, and clay pot fish to enjoy with your hosts. After lunch, relax with a traditional herbal footbath before heading back to Hoi An, where the remainder of your day is at leisure.
Relax in Hoi An
Relax in Hoi An
Journey north from Hoi An to Hue over the stunning Hai Van Pass. There will be opportunities to stop en-route before arriving into Hue.
Set out to the area formerly known as the ‘New City’, and cross the famous Truong Tien Bridge, built by Gustave Eiffel, over to the 'Old City'. Visit the heavily bombed remains of the Imperial Citadel and wander along the banks of the Perfume River as far as Thien Mu Pagoda - Hue’s most famous religious site - via Kim Long village. Explore the pagoda's landscaped gardens and seven-storey octagonal tower. There’ll be time for a detour to the hectic Dong Ba Market on your way back, if you wish, or you can head somewhere quieter for a bite to eat. In the afternoon, take a tour of the extravagant temples, pavilions and lotus-filled lakes that make up two of the Nguyen dynasty tombs - the elaborate mausoleums of Emperors Tu Duc and Khai Dinh.
Fly to Ho Chi Minh City, where you’ll be met and driven to your hotel. Enjoy time at leisure until the evening when you’ll start a tour with a difference. Riding pillion on a Vespa, you’ll discover delicious Vietnamese specialities and hang out where the locals do. The evening culminates with a drink at the city’s leading live-music venue.
Spend the day visiting some of Ho Chi Minh City’s key highlights, with your guide by your side to offer local insight, starting by exploring the back alleys and aromatic markets of of District 1. We’ll tailor your tour to suit you, but we particularly recommend visiting the Reunification Palace, the Notre Dame Basilica, and the pink neoclassic confection that is Saigon Central Post Office (designed by Gustave Eiffel). Stop to observe a Viet Cong secret weapons store, now recognised as a National Historical Site, and continue to Cho Lon (HCMC’s Chinatown) to taste the locals’ favourite noodle dish, and visit the ornate Quan Am Pagoda, before finishing in fine style with a sundowner at the top of the Bitexco Tower.
Transfer to the airport for your onward flight.
- English speaking, local guide
- All accommodation listed
- Land transportation by private air-conditioned vehicles
- Any domestic flights listed (unless marked otherwise)
- All admission fees at attractions, temples and activities as mentioned in the itinerary
- All meals listed
- International flight reconfirmation.
- Entry visas
- International airport departure taxes
- Any meals not listed in the itinerary
- Drinks, other than water on activity days
- Personal expenses (laundry, telephone, drinks, tip...)
- Travel insurance
- All other services not listed in 'inclusive'