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Vietnam Adventure

from £2995
An incredible 20 Day adventure, exploring Vietnam - from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi.

Look just beneath the surface of this country and you’ll discover the authentic Vietnam; a potpourri of beautiful landscapes and vibrant cities, striking coastlines, sandy beaches and welcoming locals. A Vietnam where ancient custom sits happily alongside the modern and where the street is still the heart of social life – colourful floating markets bobbing on the river, vendors selling local delicacies, the washing of laundry alongside the riverbank and market squares where gossip and tales are shared. Immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of Vietnam.

Our journey takes us from Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) in the south to Hanoi in the north. From Ho Chi Minh City with its beautiful French colonial buildings, we’ll explore the Cu Chi tunnels used during the Vietnam War by the Viet Cong. Next to the charming, ancient town of Hoi An, where we visit the UNESCO site of My Son, and visit some local villages to get acquainted with the local people.

We travel over the breathtaking Hai Van Pass to the Imperial City of Hue and take a trip on the Perfume River before continuing to the city of Hanoi where we have a full day sightseeing. We move on to the attractive Mai Chau Valley to visit some of the local villages and walk in the tropical countryside. Halong Bay is next, for an extensive cruise amongst the distinctive 3000 limestone islands and ‘stacks’ forming this quite remarkable scenic phenomenon. We enjoy some breathtaking walks in Sapa’s lush countryside before we return to Hanoi.


Holiday Highlights

  • Cruise around Halong Bay amongst the natural wonders of limestone islands and grottos, and spend the night at sea.
  • Explore the UNESCO World Heritage jungle temple site of My Son.
  • Meet local people while exploring villages.
  • Experience breathtaking walks in Mai Chau and Sapa.
The holiday inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What's included in this holiday Items that are covered in the cost of holiday price.

      Return flights from Heathrow to Ho Chi Minh City returning Hanoi to Heathrow via Bangkok both ways (Thai International Airways)
      Airport transfers
      En suite accommodation with breakfasts to be taken at the hotels
      Dinner taken in hotels and local restaurants
      Eight lunches
      One night on a traditional boat in Halong Bay
      Local English speaking guides
      All local travel and entrance fees.
Whats not included in this holiday Items that are not covered in the cost of holiday price.

  • Entrance fees to some museums and historic buildings (unless otherwise specified)
  • Personal expenses (such as your bar bill)
  • Discretionary tips
  • Optional excursions
  • Insurance
Please select Departure Date to view:

Please see Holiday Information Sheet for this holidays individual departures itinerary (located under View Departures & Book tab)

Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised program, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.

This departure: Grade 3

  1. Day 1

    Depart on an overnight flight to Bangkok.

  2. Day 2

    Arrive in Bangkok and connect to another flight to Ho Chi Minh City. On arrival we will transfer to our hotel to relax before we take a tour of the city. We will take a stroll toward the Saigon River along Dong Khoi Street, which figured prominently in Graham Greene’s famous Vietnam novel, The Quiet American, to the Saigon Opera House, a commanding building completed in 1901. Shelled during World War II, it was used to shelter French citizens fleeing North Vietnam in 1954, the year Vietnam earned its independence from France. The tour continues with a stop at the Reunification Palace, where a North Vietnamese tank crashed through the gates in 1975 to end a war that killed an estimated 58,000 Americans and 3 million Vietnamese. We continue with a visit to Tan Dinh church and nearby Tan Dinh market. Tan Dinh church is a complete contrast to traditional Notre Dame Cathedral, but equally impressive with its high steeple and distinctive pink design. It is one of the most beautiful and unique churches in Ho Chi Minh city with its dazzling architecture and sculpture patterns, and inside is just as dramatic! Wrap up your day with a wander through the vibrant Tan Dinh market next door, where you can haggle for a bargain. Our evening will finish with a culinary adventure in the heart of Saigon in Nguyen Dinh Chieu alley, a place well known for its abundance of street food. We’ll observe the small pop up restaurants, a nightly feature that disappear during the day. We may even try some of the local food such as a Vietnamese sandwich, Banh Xeo, shellfish, broken rice and even rice paper pizza!

  3. Day 3

    Today we visit the Cu Chi Tunnels. The cramped tunnels were central to a few of the war’s strategic operations, including the famous 1968 Tet Offensive, and they didn’t escape damage. American B52 bombers dropped hundreds of missiles leaving huge tell-tale craters behind. The tunnels served not only as living quarters, but as supply routes and hospitals for thousands of guerrilla fighters. Many died there from malaria and other diseases. Today they are viewed by some as a testimony to the Vietnamese people’s resiliency.

  4. Day 4

    Today we fly from Ho Chi Minh City to Danang and travel by road to Hoi An.

  5. Day 5

    Today we’ll explore the breezy Hoi An Ancient Town, a former trading port that welcomed Chinese, Ditch, French, Japanese, Portuguese and Arab merchants from the 16th to the 18th Centuries. Now one of Vietnam’s most charming coastal towns, Hoi An is home to some of the country’s most beautiful ancient architecture inspired by Portuguese, Chinese and Japanese culture. We walk through streets lined with honey-yellow buildings, and arrive first at Chua Ong Pagoda. We visit the Japanese Covered Bridge - one of Hoi An’s most iconic structures. We will enjoy a tasty lunch accompanied by a cooking demonstration at a restaurant specialising in traditional Hoi An delicacies. Afterwards, head out toward Cam Thanh Village, a small community located in the outskirts of central Hoi An. Take a short walk to a small village home to meet a local family, and take the opportunity to interact with them and learn about their home. On the nearby river, hop in a bamboo basket boat to visit a water coconut forest and then board a larger boat bound for central Hoi An.

  6. Day 6

    We visit My Son, the former capital of the ancient Cham civilization. The Cham people ruled central Vietnam from the 2nd - 13th centuries, and their kingdom once stretched into what are now Laos and parts of Cambodia. Most of the ruins have decayed over time or have been looted. There are a few headless statues in place and one of the temples has some decorative stonework.

  7. Day 7

    We transfer by road to Hue. This afternoon we will visit Minh Mang and Khai Dinh tombs.

  8. Day 8

    We discover Hue, the Vietnamese capital during the Nguyen Dynasty 1802-1945 and ruins of the city’s regal past can still be seen inside the Citadel and the Imperial City. Created in the 19th century, the Imperial City was modelled on the Forbidden City in Beijing and holds many palaces and temples inside its giant walls. Many of the buildings have been damaged by war over the years and are now being restored to their former glory. We spend some time wandering through the citadel before taking a boat trip along the Perfume River, visit Thien Mu Pagoda. In the afternoon, we fly to Hanoi.

  9. Day 9

    We explore Hanoi, we visit the Temple of Literature, an ancient collection of courtyards, gardens and architecture built in homage to the Chinese scholar Confucius. Considered the oldest university in Vietnam, the Temple of Literature dates back nearly one thousand years! We walk through some of the Quarter’s 36 streets named for the products historically sold here. Along the way, we pass by some of the only remaining streets that continue selling the goods of their namesake, including Tin and Bamboo street. Head through labyrinthine back alleys well off the tourist trail and see Hanoi at its authentic best. We peer into temples and traditional houses, and hear the stories of the ancient city and meet the people who call this fascinating city home. Our final stop is at Ngoc Son Temple on the tiny island on the lake.

  10. Day 10
    We spend the day exploring the ancient Pagodas and villages of northern Vietnam, seeing firsthand the unique culture of the Red River Delta. Next we visit the ancient village of Duong Lam - the only village in Vietnam listed as a national heritage monument. We take a walking tour through the village, passing by ancient temples and through narrow winding alleyways. We enjoy a traditional lunch at a local home. Later we continue on to Tay Phuong Pagoda, dating back to the 8th century, but rebuilt in 1632, the Pagoda is the perfect example of Sino-Vietnamese architecture. Hear the story of the ancient Vietnamese people of the Delta and discover the intricately carved wooden statues depicting the 5 stages of man. Then we visit Thay Pagoda - the Pagoda of the Heavenly Blessing. Sitting at the foot of Sai Son Mountain, the complex is dedicated to the Thich Ca Buddha, and dates from the 11th Century. It remains one of the most important sites for pilgrims in Vietnam and is famous for its connection to the ancient art of water puppetry. We spend time exploring the ornate chambers and ancient courtyards, before making the short climb up the hillside to enjoy commanding views over the countryside. Tonight we are entertained by the Tonkin Show with dinner.

     

    It is recommend to wear comfortable shoes and clothing and to cover your knees and shoulders when visiting pagodas.

  11. Day 11

    Today we travel to Mai Chau. The drive from Hanoi to Mai Chau takes about four hours but the lush scenery will keep us entertained. This afternoon, visit a military cave opposite and take a gentle trek to Lac and Pom Coong, two villages of the Thai ethnic group. We meet the villagers and enjoy a chat over a cup of tea to learn about their culture and traditions. Total walking time: 1 ½ – 2 hours. Tonight, enjoy a dinner of Vietnamese and international dishes, followed by traditional dancing by members of the local ethnic-minority group.

  12. Day 12

    Today you'll visit villages of the local ethnic-minority group to learn about their lifestyle and farming methods. You'll enjoy lunch before spending the rest of the afternoon relaxing at the lodge’s pool or sauna, or just reading a good book on the patio.

  13. Day 13

    After breakfast we drive to Ninh Binh. We visit Trang An, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its outstanding natural beauty and the scenic karsts formations which contribute to its reputation as being the “Halong Bay on land”. We board a small boat and meander down the peaceful river while passing through a series of caves. We enjoy the sounds of soaring birds overhead and paddling along the crystal-clear waters of the river, jagged limestone hills jutting skyward out of electric green rice paddies.

  14. Day 14

    Today, we drive to Halong Bay as you board your traditional junk boat and set sail through UNESCO World Heritage Halong Bay. We can admire the endless islands and jungle-clad limestone pillars as you sit down to a delicious lunch and a cruise briefing. Pass by the distinctive formations of Chicken Rock, Finger Islet and Frog Islet on your way to South East Halong Bay. In the afternoon, visit the aptly named 'Surprise Cave' and admire the stunning stalagmites and stalactites. There is plenty of time to relax on the junk's sun deck, take advantage of the Spa services and sip a cocktail or two, before a cooking demonstration in the evening. Learn to create traditional Vietnamese dishes with the boat's own chef and try more delicacies at dinner. Later, you can even decide to use your time by taking the opportunity to try your hand at squid fishing before the day is done! Tonight we stay on the Bhaya Classic boat.

  15. Day 15

    Wake early to start your day with Tai Chi on the sundeck, as the sun rises over the bay. After a light breakfast, visit Bright and Dark Cave by rowing boat or in a kayak. Enjoy a final extravagant brunch before sailing back to the harbour, where you will continue to on Hanoi. The weather in northern Vietnam can be slightly cooler with a higher possibility of rainfall so please pack appropriately for various weather conditions. 

  16. Day 16
    Today we drive to Sapa (around 5 hours). On arrival we will have lunch, and then visit the small Giay village of Ta Van, in the breathtaking Muong Hoa Valley. Here we can enjoy a scenic walk through the tranquil rice terraces towards the Black H’mong village of Lao Chai. Marvel at the cascading paddy fields that cling to the mountainside and take in one of Vietnam’s most breathtaking views before arriving at the home of Ms Moo, a local Black H’mong lady. Soak in the view whilst learning more about the traditional life and culture of the Black H’mong people and enjoying a traditional H’mong herbal foot bath! Afterwards head over to nearby Lao Chai village where you will learn the art of Batik painting. The beautiful textiles of the Black H’mong are famous around the world and Batik is a traditional part of H’mong culture. Under threat from modernization, Batik is now only practiced by a handful of villagers. Join a hands-on master class led by a local expert and take your creation home! You will be supporting a sustainable tourism project that supports local women and ensures this amazing art form is handed down to the next generation. The tour concludes with a stroll to the main road before transferring back to Sapa town. Approximate walking time is 1 ½ hours.

     

    Please ensure you have sturdy and comfortable walking shoes as mountain trails can become slippery in wet weather.

  17. Day 17
    Today we travel north of Sapa town to the quiet valleys and gorges surrounding the village of O Quy Ho. The shallow winding valley sits in the shadow of Indochina’s highest peak, Fangxipan Mountain, and on clear days you can enjoy superb views of the range. We pass by oolong tea farms before joining a local footpath that clings to the contours of the rice terraces and takes you gently down the valley past grazing buffalo and working farmers. We walk along ancient stone paths and hear the story of the Black H’Mong migration to these mountains centuries before. We travel back to Sapa town in the early afternoon and enjoy lunch at the Hill Station - sampling traditional mountain dishes from Vietnam's far north. Approximate walking time 2 1/2 hours.

     

    Please ensure you have sturdy and comfortable walking shoes as mountain trails can become slippery in wet weather.

  18. Day 18
    You'll have a chance to visit one of Sapas famous markets. After we travel to the northern edge of the town to Hoang A Tuong’s palace, otherwise known as the outlandish Vua Meo. Constructed by the French in 1921 in an unusual ‘oriental baroque’ style, it resembles a hybrid between an exotic church and a French chateau, and was used to entertain the Flower H’mong chief Hoang A Tuong. And afterwards, head to Trung Do Village, home to the Tay ethnic minority group, and wander around this rustic yet charming hamlet. We settle down for a tasty lunch prepared by a local Tay family and get a glimpse of village life. Then, enjoy breath-taking views as you take a boat trip down the Chay River before heading back to Sapa Town.

     

  19. Day 19

    Today we bid farewell and transfer straight to Hanoi airport for our international flight.

  20. Day 20

    We arrive back in the UK.

Travel Details

  • Return flights from Heathrow to Ho Chi Minh City returning Hanoi to Heathrow via Bangkok both ways (Thai International Airways)
  • Airport transfers by road c.30mins
  • Upgrades are available on most flights. For scheduled flights this may be Premium Economy, Business or First Class. Please ask us for details and a competitive quote.
  • If direct regional flights are not available, we can often offer add-on flights to a London airport at a competitive rate. Please ask us for details and a competitive quote.
  • Visa is required

Trip Map

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Our Accommodation on this holiday

Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday. If you are on a multi-centre holiday, these are highlights of the places where we stay. Please refer to your Holiday Information sheet (which can be found under View Departures & Book), for your departure date and for all your accommodation details.

Bhaya Classic

While in Halong Bay, we stay on board the Bhaya Classic for 1 night. Bhaya Classic Cruises is a member of what is now Halong Bay’s largest fleet of cruise boats and ships. The 4 Bhaya Classic boats are constructed in a classic oriental style. The Bhaya Classics first sailed in 2007 and are traditional long wooden boats with 15-20 cabins. Its four decks are newly refurbished but still maintain its classic décor. There is a restaurant and a bar area. The spa area offers a unique open air zone where you can relax with the quiet sounds of Halong Bay whilst receiving a relaxing massage. The top deck offers a sundeck with wooden loungers where you can relax and enjoy the scenery of Halong Bay. Treatments and massages are at an additional price. There is also a boutique library and equipment for fishing, kayaking and swimming. Cabins are equipped with a shower cabin, a toilet and bathroom amenities. There is air conditioning, a mini bar, slippers, life vest and fire extinguishers. We will participate in a safety briefing before setting sail for the night.


Grand Hotel Saigon

The Grand Hotel Saigon is one of the oldest hotels in Ho Chi Minh City. It is located on Saigon’s scenic riverside and is only a short walking distance from the main areas and popular attractions. There is an outdoor swimming pool, a Western restaurant, an Asian restaurant, a bar and a spa area. The ensuite rooms have a French colonial style décor with traditional furnishings. There is air conditioning, TV, mini bar and tea/coffee making facilities. There is free WIFI access throughout the hotel.









Hoi An Silk Village Resort

The tropical Hoi An Silk Village Resort resembles an original silk village. The resort is set in a spacious garden connected with rocky garden paths, offering plenty of privacy for guests. There is an outdoor pool, garden, spa and wellness centre. The resort also has a gift shop and salon! The ensuite accommodation has air conditioning, TV, safety deposit box, mini bar and kettle.









Sapa Highland Resort

The four star Sapa Highland Resort is located in the heart of Sapa. There is an indoor pool, spa and fitness centre, and restaurant. There is free WIFI access throughout the hotel. The ensuite rooms are fitted with air conditioning, TV and refrigerator.


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