Essence of Vietnam South to North - 7 Days

Cai Be / Ha Long Bay / Hanoi / Ho Chi Minh City / Danang / Hoi An

Essence of Vietnam South to North - 7 Days

Cai Be / Ha Long Bay / Hanoi / Ho Chi Minh City / Danang / Hoi An

Discover Vietnam’s delightful melange of culture and history on a compact, insightful journey. Explore Ho Chi Minh City’s historic monuments then glide across the waters of the Mekong Delta. After a stop in sleepy Hoi An, travel to bustling Hanoi and cap off the adventure with a Halong Bay cruise.

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DAY 1: Ho Chi Minh City Arrival

Upon arrival to Ho Chi Minh City, our guide and driver will be waiting to provide transport to the hotel for check in.The remainder of the day will be free at leisure.

Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.

From Tan Son Nhat International Airport to hotel in HCMC (8km): 30mins

DAY 2: Ho Chi Minh City-Full Day City Tour

Depart from the hotel for a full day of touring Ho Chi Minh City. Head to Cholon, the Chinatown district, to discover the area’s markets, shops and Thien Hau Pagoda. Next pay a visit to Vietnam's first traditional medicine museum, the FITO Museum, with an amazing collection of 3,000 items relevant to the development of traditional Vietnamese medicine. Implements used to prepare indigenous herbs and objects commonly found in traditional pharmacies can be seen in the galleries as well as ancient books and documents on traditional Vietnamese medicine.

Head back to the city center to visit Ben Thanh Market where an incredible display of fresh produce is offered. Enjoy a guided stroll through the market exploring the variety of goods for sale.

This afternoon pay a visit to either the War Remnants Museum,  History Museum (closed Mondays) or the former Presidential Palace. Afterwards, stroll through the major sights of colonial Ho Chi Minh City: the Old Saigon Post Office, Dong Khoi Street (formerly Rue Catinat), Continental Hotel, Opera House and City Hall (a vehicle will be available at all times). At the end of the afternoon head back to the hotel.

Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City. Meals - B

DAY 3: Ho Chi Minh City - Mekong Delta - Ho Chi Minh City

Depart in the morning from bustling Ho Chi Minh City for the 2-hour drive to the Delta town of Cai Be. Upon arrival, board a boat for the day’s cruise along the Delta. Start the journey by passing by Cai Be’s floating market, once a busy place to trade fruits and vegetables and nowadays a more quiet market.

Continue the cruise to a cottage factory where ‘pop-rice’, rice paper and coconut candies are made. Return to the boat for the cruise to Dong Hoa Hiep Island, admiring the scenery and daily life along the way. Lunch will be served in the local Mekong style offering specialties of the area. Return to Ho Chi Minh City later in the afternoon and enjoy the remainder of the day/night at leisure.

Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City. Meals -B,L

HCMC to Cai Be (100km):2hrs

DAY 4: Hoi An – Danang - Hanoi – Full Day City Tour

After breakfast, transport will be provided to Tan Son Nhat Airport for the short flight to the central port city of Danang. Upon arrival to Danang there will be a 30-minute transfer to Hoi An, stopping en route to visit the interesting Cham Museum (time permitting). Upon arrival to Hoi An, enjoy a walking tour through this major Asian trading port of the 17th and 18th centuries, soaking in an atmosphere that has changed little over the years. During the walk, explore the former merchants’ homes, the 400 year-old Japanese Covered Bridge and the colourful market.

Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.

Overnight in Hoi An. Meals - B

DAY 5: Hoi An - Danang - Hanoi

Transfer to Danang airport for the short flight to Hanoi.

On arrival, transfer to hotel.

This afternoon visit the Temple of Literature. In 1076, Vietnam's first university Quoc Tu Giam was established within a temple to educate Vietnam's royalty, mandarins and members of the elite. The university functioned for an incredible 700 years and its gardens and well-preserved architecture offer a fascinating glimpse into Vietnam’s past.

Next, visit The One Pillar Pagoda, founded by King Ly Thai To in 1049. This structure is one of Vietnam’s most iconic temples. Close by is the mausoleum of the historic father figure of modern Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh, and the former presidents house on stilts where he lived from 1958 to 1969. His former home illustrates the modesty of this Vietnamese revolutionary. (Viewed from outside; closed Mon and Fri and from Oct-Nov)

Wander the streets of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, also known as the ‘36 streets’. Take a walking tour through charming Hang Be Market and around Hoan Kiem Lake. This bustling area of narrow streets and alleys is home to literally thousands of small businesses and shopkeepers. It's a great place to explore with plenty of photo opportunities all around.

Finish the day with a Water Puppet show. This is a uniquely North Vietnamese art form depicting scenes from rural life and episodes of national history.  

Overnight in Hanoi. Meals -B

DAY 6: Hanoi - Halong Bay

Following breakfast, depart Hanoi for the 4hrs drive to Halong Bay. Arrive at the Halong City jetty around noon and proceed with check-in formalities. After a welcome onboard, lunch will be served while cruising into the heart of the bay. In the afternoon, enjoy sightseeing, on-board activities (depending on each boat’s itinerary) or just spend some time relaxing on board. Towards the end of the day the boat sets anchor for the night among the karst formations. Dinner is served on board.

Overnight on Halong Bay. Meals- B,L,D

Hanoi to Halong Bay (160km):3hrs 30mins

DAY 7: Halong Bay - Hanoi

Enjoy a tranquil morning in the midst of the bay. Early risers can enjoy a memorable sunrise amongst the brilliant karst formations. Breakfast will be served (brunch on some boats) while the vessel cruises slowly through the magnificent rock formations and back towards port. Disembark and transfer to Hanoi.

Note: This tour may be subject to change depending on weather conditions.

As an optional extra, visit one of the oldest pagodas in Vietnam ‘But Thap’ on the way back to Hanoi.

Transport will be provided to Noi Bai Airport for the departing flight*.

(*An extra night may be needed in Hanoi depending on onward flight time.)

Additional Trip Info

  • Accommodation in a shared twin or shared double room
  • Meals as mentioned (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner)
  • English or French speaking guide (for other languages supplements apply)
  • Tours and transfers as mentioned by private air conditioned vehicle
  • Boat trips as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Entrance fees for mentioned visits

  • Other meals than mentioned
  • Other services than mentioned
  • International and domestic Flights
  • Laundry, telephone calls and expenditure of a personal nature
  • Tips
  • Travel Insurance - We recommend  World Nomads, or Global Rescue

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