Embark on a two-week odyssey along Vietnam’s spectacular coast. Begin in the north with a visit to vibrant Hanoi and a Halong Bay cruise. Venture southwards to historic Hue and Hoi An, relax on secluded beaches then wrap-up this epic journey in Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta.
Day 1: Welcome to Hanoi! Vietnam’s capital is a city of wide, tree lined boulevards with tranquil lakes, colonial villas and a more sedate pace than other Asian cities. Upon arrival to Hanoi’s Noi Bai Airport, our guide and driver will be waiting to provide transport to the hotel for check in. This afternoon, wind down and relax after the flight before enjoying a welcome Vietnamese dinner in one of Hanoi's most charming restaurants housed in a beautiful villa. (D)
Day 2: Begin today with an introduction to Hanoi and its cuisine during a walking street food tour alongside a famous local food blogger. Begin the tour with a stroll through the Old Quarter to Thanh Ha market. This busy, eclectic market is alive with the sights and sounds of Hanoi and is the essence of Vietnamese culture. In the afternoon continue exploring this historic city with a visit to the Temple of Literature. Vietnam’s first university, Van Mieu was established in 1076 within a temple to educate Vietnam's royalty, mandarins and members of the elite. (B/L)
Day 3: After breakfast at the hotel, depart Hanoi for the road trip to Halong Bay. Journey through the Red River Delta, observing everyday life of Vietnamese villagers as they work the rice fields, take pigs to the market on bicycles and plough the fields with their water buffaloes. Arrive in Halong pier around midday and board the selected junk boat for the overnight journey into the Bay. Lunch will be served en route. Towards the end of the day, set anchor for the night. As the sun sets over the bay, dinner is served on board with fresh seafood, salads and fruits. (B/L/D)
Day 4: Enjoy a beautiful morning on the waters with a sunrise over the limestone formations of Halong. As the boat cruises back to Halong port, enjoy brunch on board while the myriad of limestone rock formations glide by. Upon disembarkation, our guide and driver will be waiting to provide transport by road to Hanoi’s Noi Bai Domestic Airport. Late that afternoon, board a scheduled domestic flight from Hanoi airport to the Imperial City of Hue. Transport will be provided to your accommodation. (B)
Day 5: Today is set aside for a full day exploration of Hue and its surroundings. Begin with a visit to the UNESCO-celebrated Imperial Citadel. Housing the former royal court, this “Forbidden City” reflects the pomp and ceremony of the dynasty rulers as well as the scars of many years of turmoil, both ancient and modern.
Next visit the tomb of the Emperor Minh Mang, the second Emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty. This tomb is famous for its imposing architecture and gorgeous forest setting. From the tomb, transfer by car to the Thuy Bieu countryside where a delicious lunch awaits in a beautiful pomelo garden. After a lovely meal, enjoy a brief walk through the village and countryside. Take note of the unique architecture (specific to Hue), small cottages and luxuriant gardens.
During the walk, take a break in a beautiful garden home for a fresh drink before embarking on a late afternoon cruise back to Hue. En route, stop at Thien Mu Pagoda, one of the most well-known symbols of the city of Hue. The remainder of the afternoon and evening is at leisure. (B/L)
Day 6: This morning, depart Hue for the road transfer to Danang – the largest city in Central Vietnam. This day journey will run from lowlands and beaches to the mountains, stopping at several viewpoints along the way, enjoy a picnic lunch en route.
After departing Hue and passing through the wonderfully photogenic fishing village of Lang Co, the road climbs over the scenic Hai Van Pass, where fabulous views of the coastline await. Descend along the other side of the mountain to see Vietnam’s biggest Buddha statue and down toward the small coves, beaches and fishing villages where the colourful wooden boats are moored along the coast. The road to Son Tra juts out over the coast and each switch back offers a new, breathtaking view. The rest of the afternoon and evening is at leisure to relax and enjoy the beach or the hotel facilities. (B/L)
Day 7: After breakfast, it's time to discover historic Hoi An. Despite the passing of 200 years and the ravages of weather and war, the center of Hoi An remains much the same as it was in its heyday. Explore the town during a private walking tour, discovering the main places of interest, and well as some of the hidden laneways and local ‘secrets’.
Hoi An is a charming, old-world trading port of narrow streets and traditional houses. In addition to its history and culture, it also boasts long stretches of clean, white-sand beach. In keeping with Hoi An’s heritage as a trading port, the town’s tiny shop houses now host a range of craft shops and artisans including some of Asia’s best bespoke tailors. Enjoy the afternoon free at leisure relaxing at your beachfront resort or exploring the old town independently. The guide and driver will be available at all times. (B/L)
Day 8: Enjoy this day free at leisure to soak up the sun and enjoy the range of resort amenities. (B)
Day 9: Leaving Danang and Hoi An behind, begin a full day’s exploration along one of the most scenic stretches of coastline that Vietnam has to offer en route to Quy Nhon. The highway hugs the coast revealing typical coastal cities, fishing ports and villages, small coves and stretches of stunning empty beaches.
Stop for a picnic lunch at one of the beaches or enjoy a local lunch at one of the small eateries along the way. There will also be a chance to take a swim on one of the deserted beaches – weather permitting. Arrive in Quy Nhon mid to late afternoon and check into the comfortable beachfront resort. The remainder of the evening is at leisure. (B/L)
Day 10: Check out of the hotel this morning and continue the Coastal Odyssey traveling further south to Khanh Hoa Province. Similar to yesterday's itinerary, the day will be ripe with amazing photo opportunities, deserted beach swims, and stunning vistas. As Nha Trang draws closer, take note of the stunning Doc Let Beach, renowned for its chalk white sand, clear turquoise water and the famous salt fields at Hon Khoi. Mid to late afternoon arrive in Nha Trang and transfer to your resort, the remainder of the afternoon and evening is at leisure.. (B)
Day 11: Today is free at leisure to relax at the sandy beach or by the pool. (B)
Day 12: After breakfast, depart in the morning from Nha Trang’s Cam Ranh Airport for the short morning flight to dynamic Ho Chi Minh City – Vietnam’s largest and most modern city.
This afternoon, begin exploring the highlights of Vietnam’s largest city with a local guide. Begin with a visit to the former Presidential Palace and then stroll (vehicle will be available at all times) to the most well-known sights of colonial Ho Chi Minh City: Old Saigon Post Office, Dong Khoi Street (formerly Rue Catinat), Continental Hotel, Opera House and City Hall.
This evening, soak in a truly local experience with a ‘Saigon After Dark’ Vespa tour. The tour begins at 18:00 with a pick up at the hotel before hitting the buzzing streets of Ho Chi Minh City. The first stop on the culinary exploration will be to sample some light evening snacks. Continue to a traditional quan (bia hoi) for dinner and drinks, sampling Saigon's best authentic street food. Top off the evening with a visit to a Vietnamese-style coffee shop and a visit to a local club, where the younger generation of Saigon pass the evenings. The night adventure finishes at approximately 22:00. (B/D)
Day 13: Depart the hotel at 08:30 for the 2-hour drive into the Mekong Delta. On arrival, board a boat for a 30-minute cruise up a small river to the trailhead of the cycling tour. This leisurely 7km cycling trip runs along shady back roads over tiny canals, past fruit gardens and sleepy villages (instead of a bike, a xe loi, or bicycle-towed trailer, is also available.) During the trip, stop at some traditional workshops which make turmeric spring roll paper and roof thatching made from the water palms.
Mid-morning, arrive at a family-run orchard where diverse tropical fruits are grown. The owner, a former war veteran, will share stories from his life as well as lead a tour of his gardens to sample some fresh tropical fruits. Alongside the farmer’s family, jump into a small mud pond and learn how to catch fish by bare hands. The reward? A tasty grilled fish! After bidding the host good-bye, relax while enjoying the views from a small sampan boat while paddling slowly along tropical canals.
Disembark and continue cycling to a stunning 100-year old house which is architecturally a mixture between traditional Vietnamese and European designs. Here a Vietnamese lunch will be served consisting of dishes only found in the Mekong Delta. After the meal, bid farewell to the family before returning to Saigon, arriving in the late afternoon. (B/L)
Day 14: Sadly today it's time to say goodbye to Vietnam as you are transferred to the international airport in time for your return flight home, leaving Vietnam with lots of amazing memories and photos! (B)
Prices from: £1450 per person
Services included: hotels on shared room basis, meals, transfers and activities as mentioned, entry fees, English speaking guide, 24 hour assistance
Services not included: flights, drinks, tips and personal expenses.
This is a suggested itinerary. Dates, stops & activities are all flexible.
Best Time To Travel
Best time to visit: November - April
North: Nov – Apr sunny and dry but can be cold in the evenings. May – Sep rainy and humid, especially the middle months, drying up in late Oct.
Centre: Feb – Aug generally dry and sunny but humid in later months. Sep – Dec monoon season with typhoons possible especially in Oct/Nov. Jan rain possible but less.
South: Nov – Apr dry and sunny. May – Oct wet season with frequent, but not constant rain.