Highlights of Vietnam

tours / Adventure

Highlights of Vietnam information and booking

from
$2260
  • Duration
    15 days
    Days
  • Group size
    4-16
    Persons
  • Difficulty
    Adventure touring
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Schedule Details

Summary
  • 15 day trip
  • 12 nights hotel
  • 1 night train
  • 1 night traditional boat

Highlights

  • Experience the bustling streets of Ho Chi Minh City
  • Visit the wartime historical Cu Chi Tunnels
  • Experience the charming highland town of Dalat
  • Cruise the blue waters and explore the beach city of Nha Trang
  • Soak up the coastal ambiance of Hoi An
  • Discover the history of elegant Hue
  • Explore the french colonial city of Hanoi
  • Sail amongst the beauty of Halong Bay on a traditional 'junk' boat

Tour description provided by World Expeditions

This journey explores the hidden Vietnam - from the bustling cities to the isolated highlands. Our journey begins with a tour of Ho Chi Minh City and the Cu Chi Tunnels before heading into the picturesque highlands of Dalat - the traditional home of Vietnam's artists. We continue via the white sands of Nha Trang, exploring Cham Towers and the world heritage sites of My Son and Hoi An, where we immerse ourselves in this stunning place and take time to enjoy its colourful markets. We drive north to the elegant, ancient capital of Hue, before we take an overnight train to Hanoi. Here we will marvel at the colonial architecture, visit a local family for lunch, explore the historical treasures of the city and experience the bustling old quarter. Our journey through Vietnam is completed with a cruise through the tranquil islands and emerald waters of stunning Halong Bay onboard a traditional 'junk' sailing boat.

What's included

  • 14 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 6 dinners
  • Airport transfers on day 1 and day 15
  • Expert bilingual guide
  • Medical kit
  • Comfortable well located hotels
  • Private air conditioned transportation
  • Comfortable train travel in 4 berth sleeper carriage
  • Traditional cruise in halong bay
  • Sightseeing & entry fees as listed in itinerary

Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive Ho Chi Minh City
If you are arriving on DAY 1 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 Ho Chi Minh City. There will be a group meeting in the hotel foyer at a time indicated in your final documents. Overnight Ho Chi Minh.
Day 2 Cu Chi Tunnels
Drive 70kms from Ho Chi Minh City, stopping en route to visit a rice paper making village, and you will reach Cu Chi Tunnels. After an introductory video, viewing various mantraps, the remains of an American tank and numerous bomb craters, you will spend the next hour exploring the maze of tunnels to see how the Viet Cong survived in this underground network. Drive back to the city In the afternoon, visit the Reunification Palace, the home and workplace of the President of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. It witnessed the end of the Vietnam War during the Fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975, when a North Vietnamese Army tank crashed through its gates. Today this building is a museum and sometimes a venue for official receptions. You can visit the “War Room” from where the South Vietnamese forces were controlled, and most poignantly, the room where the North Vietnamese army took official control in 1975. The nearby Notre Dame Cathedral, built between 1877 and 1883, most materials for Saigon's Notre Dame Cathedral were imported from France. Neo-Romanesque in form, it is a major centre of Catholicism in modern Vietnam, and one of the city’s major landmarks. Next to the cathedral stands the Saigon Post Office, a classic French colonial structure, is still a functioning post office today and features huge ceilings, a giant portrait of Uncle Ho, and many beautiful details. Finally, visit of the day is to Ben Thanh Market – a symbol of the city, stands in the center of District 1, packed to the rafters with everything from fruits to nuts, from tourist kitsch to true bargains, it is a definite must-see. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh
Day 3 Transfer to Dalat (approx 7 hours)
Today we travel overland to Dalat, the capital city of Lam dong province. At an altitude of 1500m above sea level, Dalat was dubbed the 'city of spring', and the 'city of thousands of flowers' due to its very ideal climate. It's famous for its lakes, waterfalls, pine-tree forests, vegetable gardens and flowers. The drive is about 7 hours through national road. On the way, we'll stop at Bao Loc town and visit Dambri Waterfall. We'll then arrive into Dalat late this afternoon. Overnight Dalat.
Day 4 In Dalat
Today we take a sightseeing tour of Dalat. This morning we visit Xuan Huong Lake, which is located at the center of Dalat. It was created when the French dammed the Cam Ly River in 1919. We then continue to Central Market where you will be bewildered with a riot of multicoloured flowers as well as various kinds of fresh vegetables and mouthwatering fruits. We'll also visit Prenn waterfall which is nestled in the valley covered with dense lush vegetation and hugged by pine-forested hills. In the afternoon we visit Lam Ty Ni pagoda, one of the unlikeliest and most delightful attractions in Dalat. The pagoda is home to Vien Thuc, the so-called 'mad monk' of Dalat, who is also a great poet, gardnerm builder and artist. We end the day with a visit to Dalat flower garden. Overnight Dalat.
Day 5 Drive to Nha Trang (approx 4 hours)
Today we drive to Nha Trang. This city is famous for its 7 km white sand beach and blue water with seaside resorts, more than 200 islands offshore, strong ancient culture of the Cham with numerous pagodas and wonderful scenery. In addition, Nha Trang offers a variety of optional activities for travellers to enjoy. We'll arrive Nha Trang in the early afternoon. Overnight Nha Trang.
Day 6 In Nha Trang
A day of leisure and indulgence as we cruise the clear blue waters amongst the islands off Nha Trang! First we drive to Cau Da port where we'll board on our boat. We then cruise to Tri Nguyen Aquarium at Mieu Island where we'll see many of the sea species of the local province. We'll then head out to Mun Island where you have the chance for swimming and optional snorkeling in the crystal clear waters. Lunch is at the fishing village of Lang Chai where there is time to explore before re-boarding the boat and heading back to Nha Trang harbour. The rest of the day is then at leisure for your own exploration. Overnight Nha Trang.
Day 7 Drive to Quy Nhon (approx 5 hours)
In the morning, we leave Nha Trang and drive north along the coast on the national Highway Number 1 to the beach city of Quy Nhon. We will arrive into Quy Nhon in the afternoon where we'll check into our hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight Quy Nhon.
Day 8 Drive to Hoi An via Cham Towers and My Son (approx 6 hours)
Today we continue to travel overland along the coastal road of Highway Number 1 passing Quang Ngai province and Tam Ky town. On the way we'll pass several Cham Towers such as Duong Long tower in Quy Nhon, Chien Dan Tower and Khuong My Towers in Tam Ky. We'll also make a visit to My Son Holly Land in Quang Nam province. My Son used to be the most important Cham intellectual and religious center between the 4th and 13th centuries. It's one of the most stunning attractions in the area of Hoi An. We'll explore all the relics before continuing our drive to Hoi An. We'll reach Hoi An in the afternoon. Overnight Hoi An
Day 9 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. You might also like to take a boat ride on the Thu Bon River, or hire a bicycle and take a 4 km scenic ride to Cua Dai beach. There's even the chance to improve your culinary skills with a Vietnamese cooking lesson! Today your guide will pick you up at the hotel and will take you to visit the major highlights of this ancient town. Overnight Hoi An.
Day 10 To Hue via Hai Van Pass
We begin the day with a drive to Danang city where we'll visit the impressive Cham Museum and Marble Mountain. The Cham Museum, founded in 1915 by the Ecole Francaise d'Extreme Orient, is an open-air collection of the finest Cham sculptures in the world. Marble Mountain consists of five marble hills. Each of them is representing a different element: Thuy (water), Moc (wood), Hoa (fire), Kim (metal), and Tho (earth). The largest and most famous, Thuy Mountain, has numerous caves in which Buddhist sanctuaries have been built through the centuries. We continue north with a stop in Lang Co beach to enjoy the tranquil atmosphere of the crystal clear waters and have lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch, we head to Hue city. Overnight Hue.
Day 11 Explore Hue, overnight train to Hanoi
Hue city was the capital of Vietnam from 1802 to 1945 under 13 Emperors of Nguyen dynasties. The World Tourism Organization (WTO) has classified Hue as one of the four main attraction centers of Vietnam. Hue is famous for its magnificent architecture of citadels, palaces, pagodas and royal tombs, built in poetic surroundings on the banks of the Perfume River. In the morning we have a boat ride on the the Perfume River and visit Thien Mu Pagoda. Our next stop is the Imperial Citadel and the Forbidden City, created in the 19th century for the Emperors under Nguyen Dynasty. We then have a late lunch at a local restaurant (by your own arrangements) before transferring to the railway station for our overnight train to Hanoi. Overnight on train.
Day 12 In Hanoi
Upon arrival in Hanoi you’ll be taken to hotel for early check-in. After breakfast, you will visit the Ho Chi Minh 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. Transfer to The Ethnology Museum which gives an excellent overview of the country's ethnic groups. The large outdoor area features genuine houses and compounds as built by the many different ethnic groups. In the afternoon you will have time on cyclo tour around Hanoi's vibrant Old Quarter and Hoan Kiem Lake, the focal point of the city. You will then meet your chef to visit one of the local markets to get an overview of the ingredients for local food, accompanied by your chef. Photo opportunities abound in this vibrant and colorful site. You'll then arrive at a local house where your friendly host will teach you to make some of Vietnam’s well-known dishes. Test your skills in Vietnamese food carving (plate decoration) before enjoying lunch of your own creation, topped off with some time to chat with your host about Vietnamese cuisine and culture 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 13 Transfer to Halong Bay, commence cruise
This morning we depart for Halong Bay, one of the most stunning natural wonders of Vietnam. Whoever comes to Vietnam shouldn't miss the chance to visit Halong Bay, a picturesque blend of harmonious transition between mountains and the sea. Halong Bay belongs to the Bac Bo (Tonkin) Gulf which stretches an area of 1500 km2 with 3000 green islands that look like gems. Many islands bear names given by fisherman according to their shape (i.e. Cone-shaped cookie, Banana, Small fish, Tortoise, Nail and Wading ox Islands). On arrival we'll board our traditional 'junk' sailing boat and head out into the Gulf of Tonkin amongst the huge limestone outcrops and emerald waters. We'll spend the rest of the day cruising around the myriad of tiny islands, exploring many grottoes created by the wind and ocean. While on board we'll have a fresh seafood lunch followed by a swim and an exploration of some of the many limestone caves in the area. We'll spend the night on board the boat in our own cabins.
Day 14 Cruise Halong Bay, transfer to Hanoi
This morning we continue to cruise Halong Bay. We'll reach the pier around noon and then transfer back to Hanoi, with some free time in the afternoon to explore the city . Overnight Hanoi
Day 15 In Hanoi, trip concludes
Morning at leisure before taking your departure transfer to the airport for your return flight home.