Essence of Vietnam South to North - 7 Days

Ben Tre / Ha Long Bay / Hanoi / Ho Chi Minh City / Danang / Hoi An

Essence of Vietnam South to North - 7 Days

Ben Tre / 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.


  • Experience the local culture firsthand by taking a peek into life in Vietnam. Immerse yourself in the charm of villages and farms in the Mekong Delta and stroll through Hanoi's Old Quarter to gain insight into the way of life of the Vietnamese people.
  • Delve into the rich historical tapestry of Vietnam. Explore the country's ancient heritage at the Temple of Literature and delve into its wartime history by visiting the War Museum and Reunification Palace.
  • Witness the beauty of Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Conclude your vacation with a relaxing overnight cruise on Halong Bay, where you can marvel at the breathtaking landscapes.

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Trip Itinerary

DAY 1: Ho Chi Minh City Arrival

Upon arrival, your local guide will greet you at the airport; after that, transfer to the hotel for check-in and balance the day at leisure.

Meals included: none

Accommodation: Overnight in hotel (Acnos Grand (Grand Deluxe) or similar)

Check-in at the hotel from 14:00 (2pm)

DAY 2: Ho Chi Minh - Ben Tre - Ho Chi Minh city

In the morning, you will depart from Ho Chi Minh City to explore Ben Tre in the Mekong Delta. Upon arriving at Ben Tre, you will embark on a boat and start cruising on one of the arms of the Mekong river. You will make a quick stop in a local coconut candy factory before walking through a brick factory and a local coconut factory, where the coconuts are opened by hand. You will continue to cruise on the river and on a smaller canal surrounded by coconut trees. Then, you will make a stop to visit the coconut gardens of a local house, where you will be able to taste some tropical fruits. You will continue on a smaller boat through the canal rowed by a local oarsman. After disembarking, you will hop on a bicycle to discover the countryside, before stopping for lunch in a beautiful local restaurant to taste some traditional dishes of the Mekong region.

In the afternoon, you will walk on a small path to a small jetty where your boat is waiting, and then cruise back to Ben Tre. At the end of the tour, you will travel back to Ho Chi Minh City by car.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Overnight in hotel (Acnos Grand (Grand Deluxe) or similar)

Distance & duration for cycling: 6 kilometers - 30 minutes

Terrain: good road, easy to ride

Transportation: Transfer by car - 100 kilometers - 2 hours 30 minutes

DAY 3: Ho Chi Minh visit. Flight to Danang-Hoi An

Head to District 5 and start your day strolling down a small alley to discover the life of the locals. Continue along the streets of Cho Lon (Chinatown) and enjoy the living, breathing, authentic traditions of this former Chinese village. Zigzagging between small streets and local businesses, you will arrive at a traditional medicine shop. Then, passing by a stunning Chinese pagoda, which you must visit, make your way to the local market before heading to a local cafe to wrap up the activity. Duration & distance: 2 hours to 2h 30min - 2.6 kilometers

After that, you will set off to visit to the city’s main historical sites: the War Remnants Museum. The museum exhibits US weapons and vehicles used during the Vietnam War, along with photos showing the consequences of this war and details of the chemical weapons that were used (caution: some images can cause discomfort). Later on, the old Post Office (built in the French Indochina era) and continue your way to Dong Khoi Street- a wide avenue lined with luxurious shops and hotels before heading to Ho Chi Minh airport for your onward flight to Danang (Suggested flight VN 138 SGNDAD 1600 1735)

Arrival in Danang, you will meet the other guide and driver for transfer to hotel in Hoi An.

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: 3 Star Hotel in Hoi An - Silk Eco Hotel Hoi An (Superior City - or similar)

DAY 4: Hoi An

In the morning, you will visit Hoi An, recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage site for its well-preserved ancient streets and houses. The town features a harmony of Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese and French architecture elements, which can be seen from the famous Japanese Bridge, the Chinese Temple and Tan Ky trading house (which used to belong to a rich Vietnamese merchant 200 years ago and has been kept original ever since). This visit will be followed by a folklore show in one of the old houses.

Afternoon at leisure to explore the ancient town at your own pace.

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: 3 Star Hotel in Hoi An - Silk Eco Hotel Hoi An (Superior City - or similar)

Optional: Discover Hoi An Street Food (meal included: Lunch)

Enjoy a walk along the bustling streets, weaving in and out of tiny alleys as you go, and make your first stop to try the delicious Hoi An specialty white rose dumpling(made from translucent white dough filled with spiced minced shrimp or pork).Continue walking on the street to reach a hidden banh my shop (famous Vietnamese sandwich) before enjoying Cao Lau on the way to Ba Le Ancient Well. Into the small alleys in the old town, you will visit a Wonton shop, where you will indulge in this iconic dish patronized mostly by locals.The final stop of your epicurean experience is at a local cafe to enjoy fresh Vietnamese coffee.

Duration: 3 hours to 3h 30min

Note: 11:30 to 2:30

DAY 5: Hoi An - Danang - Hanoi

Check out early today, at around 6:00am, you will depart to Danang Airport for your morning flight to Hanoi. (Suggested flight VN158 DAD-HAN 0835 1005)

Arrival in the Hanoi, you will meet the other guide and driver for transfer to your hotel. Refresh a while and begin your full day discovery of the capital with Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum - a tribute to the architecture of Lenin Mausoleum in Moscow, his traditional stilt house and the One-Pillar Pagoda - built in the 11th century. Later on, you will visit the Ethnology Museum. Created in November 1997 at the Francophonie Summit, it is both a research center and a public museum featuring the 54 ethnic groups found across Vietnam.

In the afternoon, you will visit the Temple of Literature (Van Mieu in Vietnamese), situated in the place once known as the first university of Vietnam. Built in 1070 by Emperor Ly Thanh Tong, the university was first opened for princes and mandarins exclusively. With its ancient courtyards, altars and roofs, Van Mieu is a very fine example of Vietnamese architecture. Then, continue your way to the Old Quarter and the surroundings of the Sword Lake, passing by Hang Hanh - the famous coffee street and heading towards the Catholic Church. Wandering in these peaceful alleys, your eyes will catch the daily scenes of street vendors quietly napping in the shade or a motorbike taxi-driver (or xe om in Vietnamese) sleeping precariously on his bike. Then, suddenly you will again find yourself in a noisy and busy street. Throughout the tour, your senses will be bombarded with a cascade of different sights, sounds, smells and characters that harmonize to the music of life in Hanoi. At the end of the walk, you will have time to enjoy a cup of coffee from one of the many small shops in the area.

Meals included: Breakast

Accommodation: Overnight at 3 star hotel Soleil Boutique (Deluxe or similar)

Distance and duration of the walk: 4 kilometers - 2 hours

Option in the evening: story of Hanoi street food (meal included: dinner): Tonight, you'll have a chance to understand what makes Hanoi's Old Quarter such a captivating place. Here, you will be able to taste a wide variety of Vietnamese specialties, such as banh cuon (steamed rolled rice pancake) and banh mi (the famous Vietnamese sandwich that even appears in the Oxford Dictionary). Then, stop at a bia hoi (beer club) and taste the fresh Vietnamese beer that is incredibly popular with locals and travelers alike. After that, you will head to a pho shop, where you will be able to choose between regular pho or pho tron (pho noodles mixed with chicken without soup). Then, make your way along Hoan Kiem Lake for one of the tastiest ice creams in Hanoi. You will then say goodbye to your guide and go on to explore Hanoi by night on your own.

Duration: 3 hours

DAY 6: Hanoi - Halong Bay

In the morning, you will travel to Halong and arrive around noon. There, you will embark on a cruise in the must-see Lan Ha Bay, a part of Halong Bay. This world-famous bay is one of the most beautiful landscapes in Vietnam, with its giant rock islets covered in luxuriant vegetation overlooking the waters. Halong Bay includes some 1,900 islands and islets of rocky peaks, often uninhabited and unvisited. This scene creates a spectacular marine landscape, which earned it UNESCO World Heritage status in 1994. You will be served lunch and dinner on board.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Accommodation: Luxury Calypso Cruise; 2D1N; Night Cabin; ROH (Deluxe) - or similar

Distance: 155 kilometers - 2h 30min

DAY 7: Ha Long - Ha Noi

Early in the morning and depending on the season, you will wake up to enjoy the sunrise over the aquamarine waters of the bay. Then the cruise will tour around the bay until you disembark at the end of the morning. After that, you will then heading to Hanoi International Airport for your return flight.

Meals included: Breakfast, brunch

Distance: 155 kilometers - 2h 30min

Please book your flight to depart Hanoi after 7pm

Optional: Visit Yen Duc village upon transfer Halong - Hanoi (airport) (time permitting)

En route, you will make a stop at Yen Duc village, known to be one of the birthplaces of the art of water puppetry. You will then attend a water puppet show portraying the daily life of the peasants in the delta: rice cultivating, buffalo herding, fishing, singing and dancing to celebrate an abundant harvest. After the show you will have time to stroll around to discover the rural life and workshops of craftsmen before heading to the airport for your return flight

Additional Trip Info

• Accommodation in the category chosen or similar (subject to availability)

• Meals as mentioned in the program. B= Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner

• All local boat rental and cycling as mentioned in the program. Cruise 01 night Non-private junk in Ha Long Bay

• Transfer from and to the airports by private vehicle with A/C. Transportation by private vehicle with A/C.

• All entrance fees and sightseeing as mentioned in the program.

• Local English speaking guide(s) as mentioned

• Participation in the Refill not landfill project providing refillable water in hotels and vehicles.

• One reusable water bottle

  • Meals and drinks which are not mentioned in the program
  • International flight tickets and airport taxes. All internal/ regional flight tickets in economy class
  • Visa fees upon arrival in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand.
  • Tips & personal expenses. Personal insurance. Any services not clearly mentioned in the program.
  • Travel Insurance - We recommend  World Nomads, or Global Rescue

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