Classic Vietnam

tours / Adventure

Classic Vietnam information and booking

from
$1690
  • Duration
    11 days
    Days
  • Group size
    4-16
    Persons
  • Difficulty
    Adventure touring
Check prices & availability

Schedule Details

Summary
  • 11 day trip
  • 8 nights hotel
  • 1 night train
  • 1 night traditional boat
Equipment Required
There is no specialized equipment required for this trip. A comprehensive list of recommended gear will be provided on booking.

Highlights

  • Explore the wonderful old quarter of Hanoi
  • Sail amongst the beauty and limestone karsts of Halong Bay
  • Discovering the history and classic pagodas of Hue
  • Soak up the ambiance of coastal Hoi An
  • Experience the bustling streets of Ho Chi Minh City

Tour description provided by World Expeditions

If you are short on time then this journey takes in the 'must see' gems of fascinating Vietnam. We immerse ourselves in Hanoi's teeming market places before escaping to the tranquil islands and emerald waters of stunning Halong Bay. Heading south by train to the ancient capital of Hue, we explore the Citadel and the Thien Mu monastery on the banks of the Perfume River. Our journey winds its way across the spectacular Hai Van Pass to the world heritage town of Hoi An where we discover the serenity and beauty of this must see port town. Our journey concludes in Ho Chi Minh City with a tour of the city highlights and the impressive Cu Chi Tunnels.

What's included

  • 10 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 1 dinner
  • Airport transfers on day 1 & day 11
  • Comfortable well located hotels on a twin share basis
  • Expert bilingual guide
  • Medical kit
  • Sightseeing and entry fees as listed in itinerary
  • Private ac vehicles for group transportation
  • Boat trip in halong bay
  • Comfortable train travel in 4 berth sleeper carriage from hanoi/hue
  • Internal flight danang/ho chi minh city (valued at us$85)

Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive in Hanoi
Upon arrival in Hanoi you will be met and transferred to the group hotel. Please look for the WORLD EXPEDITIONS welcome sign in the arrivals hall. The remainder of the day is at leisure to explore Hanoi. There will be a group meeting in the hotel foyer at a time indicated in your final documents. Overnight Hanoi.
Day 2 In Hanoi
After breakfast, you will visit President Ho Chi Minh’s complex, starting at the President’s Mausoleum. You continue to his humble “house on stilts”, see the French colonial Presidential Palace from outside and the 11th century One Pillar Pagoda. Following is a visit to the Temple of Literature – the first university of Vietnam built in 11th century. In the afternoon visit the Museum of Ethnology, which gives an excellent overview of the country's ethnic groups, their customs and ways of life. The highlight here is the large, beautiful outdoor area featuring genuine houses and compounds as built and used by the many different ethnic groups. You then drive to Hanoi center to explore the lively Old Quarter of Hanoi and Dong Xuan Market. This bustling heart of Hanoi has been a commercial centre since King Ly Thai To built his palace there in the 11th century. Skilled craftsmen started to migrate and artisan guilds were formed on the famous "36 Streets". Previously, each street carried the name of the item produced and sold there, and many still have the same names. This is a place you must see to experience Hanoi, where you will find shopping and cultural/historical sites all wrapped into one. Overnight in Hanoi Note: Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum opens in the morning only and closes on Mondays & Fridays and the whole months of October & November for anual maintenance. Ho Chi Minh’s house-on-stilts is closed on Monday & Friday afternoon. Most of Hanoi’s museums also close on Mondays, except Museum of Vietnam Women & Museum of Vietnam Fine Arts.
Day 3 Transfer to Halong Bay
This morning we transfer 3 hours to commence our Halong Bay cruise. On arrival we will join our traditional 'junk' sailing boat and head out into the Gulf of Tonkin amongst the huge limestone outcrops and emerald waters. We will spend the rest of the day cruising around the myriad of tiny islands and exploring many grottoes created by the wind and the ocean. While on board we'll have a fresh seafood lunch followed by a swim and an exploration of some of the limestone caves in this area. We'll spend the night on board the boat in our cabins.
Day 4 Halong Bay, transfer to Hanoi, overnight train to Hue
This morning we'll continue our cruise in the magnificent Halong Bay. We will reach the pier around noon and then transfer back to Hanoi. We'll arrive into Hanoi in the afternoon and have a couple of free hours to explore the city. We will have a couple of day rooms at the hotel for our group to use, before we board the famous Reunification Express for our southbound train to Hue this evening. The train from Hanoi to Hue is about sixteen-hours. We will be accommodated in sleeper cars with four berths per compartment. A sheet/blanket will be provided as bedding and we suggest that you bring your own sleeping inner sheet or a sarong. Lavatories on the train are basic but functional. Please bring your own toilet paper and toiletries that you may require. You might also wish to bring some snacks on the train.
Day 5 In Hue
You will arrive mid-morning into Hue. Have breakfast at local restaurant. Today is your insider day trip to Hue’s Imperial Citadel. The imperial city at Hue is the best-preserved remnant of a vast citadel and royal quarters that once existed on the site. Here you can see the ravages of time and war on what was the carefully designed capital of the Nguyen Dynasty. Built in the early 19th century by armies of conscripted labourers under Emperor Gia Long, the citadel was surrounded by a ten kilometer moat, and earthen walls formed the outer perimeter. Then head out to Emperor Minh Mang’s Tomb is renowned for its period architectural design, which fits harmoniously into the surrounding landscape. You will enter the compound through the outer wall featuring a triple gate, cross the Salutation Court flanked with statues of attendants, and then pass by lakes, pavilions and gardens before reaching the burial mound itself. On the way back, you will visit Thien Mu Pagoda. This 7-storey octagonal tower is a symbol of Hue. Behind the pagoda are peaceful gardens and, somewhat incongruously, the old Austin car which transported the bonze Thich Quang Duc to Saigon in 1963 for his self-immolation. Overnight Hue.
Day 6 Transfer to Hoi An
Today you continue by road south to Hoi An. The scenery is remarkable, as the route hugs the coastline of the East Sea before winding up the spectacular Hai Van Pass. Here you can stop to admire the stunning views: north over Lang Co Beach and south over Da Nang. Once in Da Nang, you will stop by the Cham Museum, housing the most complete collection of Cham arter facts anywhere in the world. Then continue driving along My Khe Beach to Hoi An. In the afternoon, walk the ancient streets of Hoi An, lined with Chinese traders’ homes and wooden houses reincarnated as restaurants, cafés, and outlets for local artists, craftsmen and tailors. Explore the beautiful 16th century Japanese Bridge. Hoi An's unique fusion of Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese architecture is well displayed here, in what is arguably Vietnam's most tourist-friendly town. Overnight Hoi An.
Day 7 In Hoi An
Hoi An is a charming, small town which can be easily explored on foot. Between the 17th and 19th centuries Hoi An was a thriving international trading port with a large Chinese and Japanese population. More than any other place in Vietnam, Hoi An retains the feeling of centuries past and is a favourite with all travellers. You can spend your time walking around the historic town soaking up the atmosphere, exploring the many Chinese assembly halls and fascinating ancestral homes, some of which have been occupied by the same family for fifteen generations. One of the most spectacular Assembly Halls is the Phuoc Kien Assembly Hall, built in 1690. The pagoda inside contains intricate statues and artwork, in part dedicated to Thien Hau Thanh Mau, the Goddess of the Sea and protector of fishermen. The unofficial emblem of the town is the Japanese Covered Bridge, which is over 400 years old. The town is also famous for its shops in particular it’s large number of tailors. If you wanted, you could have a whole new wardrobe made for you here! The riverside market is always a hive of activity, especially in the early morning when the day’s catch arrives. Overnight Hoi An.
Day 8 At leisure in Hoi An
Today is at leisure to explore this wonderful city and old trading port and visit the tailors for any last minute alterations. You might like to take a boat ride with one of the local women across the Thu Bon River. You could hire a bicycle and head off on a scenic ride to Cua Dai beach, about 4km away, stopping along the way at some of the neighbouring villages. There’s even the chance to improve your culinary skills with a Vietnamese cooking lesson! One thing is for sure - there is no shortage of things to do in this town! You even have the option of taking a day trip to My Son, about 1 1/2 hours away. My Son is another UNESCO world heritage - listed site. Here, in a secluded valley, the Cham built over 70 impressive Hindu-style temples, many over a thousand years old. Overnight Hoi An.
Day 9 Transfer to Danang, fly to Ho Chi Minh City
This morning we transfer early to Danang airport for our flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Upon our arrival in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, we transfer to our hotel. This is the largest and busiest city in Vietnam with a population of 6 million people. Much of the daily life takes place on the streets, which are lined with shops, stalls and vendors with their wares spread out on the footpath. Don’t miss the bustling Ben Thanh Market - a fantastic place for bargains of every kind! There are several interesting sights in Saigon. The War Remnants Museum has a wealth of images from the wars, the most moving being a gallery entitled ‘Requiem’, dedicated to Vietnamese and foreign journalists and photographers who perished during the French and American conflicts. The Reunification Palace was the former residence of the President of South Vietnam until April 30th 1975 when the North Vietnamese tanks came crashing through the front gates, bringing the American War to a dramatic end. Close to the Palace some of the best examples of French colonial architecture are represented in the forms of Notre Dame Cathedral and the Central Post Office. Notre Dame Cathedral was built between 1877 and 1883 and the stone used to create it was exported in its entirety from France. Next to the cathedral stands the Central Post Office, finished in 1891. It is another fine example of French architecture and is Vietnam’s largest post office. For all its French colonial history, Ho Chi Minh City is by far Vietnam’s most modern city. It has numerous shopping malls, cinemas, discotheques and a bewildering number of bars. Overnight Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 10 Ho Chi Minh City, trip to Chu Chi Tunnels
This morning we have an excursion to the famous Cu Chi tunnels. This network of tunnels, which stretched for over 200km, became legendary during the 1960’s. The Cu Chi tunnels played a vital part in the American war as they allowed the Viet Cong to control a large rural area only 30 to 40km from Saigon. At its height the tunnel system stretched from Saigon to the Cambodian border. The network, parts of which were several levels deep, included innumerable trap doors, specially constructed living areas, storage facilities, weapons factories, field hospitals, command centres and kitchens. Today the remaining tunnels have become a major tourist attraction giving the visitor a unique experience and feel of what underground life in the American War must have been like. The tunnels have been widened for our benefit (otherwise we would not be able to enter them!). Overnight Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 11 In Ho Chi Minh city, trip concludes
Your trip concludes this morning with a transfer to the airport for your onward flight.