Embark on a two week odyssey along Vietnam’s spectacular coastline, one of the longest in the world. You’ll find yourself by or on the water almost every day as you travel the dramatic coastal road, cruise through the limestone islands of Ha Long Bay, paddle on the Mekong Delta in a traditional sampan boat and relax on sun-kissed beaches. Not forgetting the chance to learn about Vietnam’s rich history in Hanoi, Hue and Hoi An and sample local culture on an unforgettable after-dark Vespa tour of Saigon!
This is a suggested itinerary. Dates, stops & activities are all flexible.
14 Days: Hanoi - Halong Bay - Hue - Da Nang - Hoi An - Quy Nhon - Nha Trang - Ho Chi Minh City – Mekong Delta
Activities: sightseeing and history, street food, cruises, rural villages, coastal scenery, beach time, night time vespa tour, gentle cycling, traditional crafts
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, our guide and driver will be waiting to take you to your hotel. This afternoon, wind down and relax before enjoying a welcome dinner in one of Hanoi's most charming restaurants housed in a beautiful villa. (D)
Day 2: An introduction to Hanoi and its cuisine on a walking street food tour alongside a famous local food blogger. Stroll through the Old Quarter to Thanh Ha market, a busy, eclectic market alive with the sights and sounds of Hanoi. In the afternoon continue exploring this historic city with a visit to the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first university established in 1076 to educate royalty, mandarins and members of the elite. (B/L)
Day 3: After breakfast depart for Halong Bay, a journey through the Red River Delta where you'll see the everyday life of Vietnamese villagers as they work the rice fields, take pigs to the market on bicycles and plough fields with their water buffaloes. Arrive around midday and board your junk boat then tuck into lunch while cruising towards the bay itself. As the sun sets over the bay, the boat sets anchor for the night among the karst islands. Dinner on board. (B/L/D)
Day 4: Enjoy a beautiful morning on the water with sunrise over Halong's limestone formations , then breakfast or brunch is served while you cruise slowly back towards port. After disembarking your driver will take you to Hanoi airport for an afternoon flight to Hue, then transfer to your hotel. (B)
Day 5: Today is a full day exploration of Hue, the former imperial capital of Vietnam. Begin with a visit to the UNESCO-listed Imperial Citadel that housed the royal court, a 'Forbidden City' that reflected the pomp and ceremony of the rulers and retains a sense of grace and majesty, despite the scars of years of turmoil, both ancient and modern.
Continue the tranquil gardens and ponds of emperor Minh Mang’s tomb, famous for its imposing architecture and gorgeous forest setting. From the tomb, drive to the Thuy Bieu countryside where a delicious lunch awaits in a beautiful pomelo garden. Afterwards enjoy a brief walk through the village, noting the unique Hue architecture, small cottages and luxuriant gardens and stopping in a beautiful garden home for a fresh drink. Late afternoon, enjoy a peaceful boat ride along the Perfume River to Hue via 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: Today's drive to Danang takes you from lowlands and beaches to mountains and back again, stopping at several viewpoints along the way. After passing through the wonderfully photogenic fishing village of Lang Co, climb over scenic Hai Van Pass where fabulous views of the coastline await. The road on to Son Tra, also known as 'Monkey Mountain' for its endangered red-shanked doucs, juts out over the coast and each switchback offers a fresh, breathtaking view. After a picnic on the slopes, descend the other side of the mountain past Vietnam’s biggest Buddha statue and down toward small coves, beaches and fishing villages where colourful wooden boats are moored. Rest of the day free to relax and enjoy your beachfront accommodation at Da Nang or Hoi An. (B/L)
Day 7: After breakfast, it's time to discover historic Hoi An, a charming, old-world trading port of narrow streets and traditional houses. 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 some of the hidden laneways and local ‘secrets’.
Reflecting Hoi An’s heritage as a trading port, the town’s tiny shophouses now host a range of craft shops and artisans, including some of Asia’s best bespoke tailors. In addition to history and culture, Hoi An also boasts long stretches of clean, white-sand beach. The afternoon is free to relax at your hotel or explore the old town independently. The guide and driver will be available at all times. (B/L)
Day 8: Today is free at leisure to soak up the sun and enjoy the resort amenities. (B)
Day 9: Leaving Danang and Hoi An behind, today you explore one of the most scenic stretches of coastline that Vietnam has to offer. The highway to Quy Nhon hugs the coast revealing coastal cities, fishing ports and villages, small coves and stretches of stunning empty beaches.
Stop for a picnic on the beach or eat at a small local restaurant along the way and there will also be a chance to take a swim on one of the deserted beaches – weather permitting. Arrive in Quy Nhon late afternoon and check into your comfortable beachfront resort. (B/L)
Day 10: Check out and continue your coastal odyssey south to Khanh Hoa Province. Similar to yesterday, the day will be ripe with amazing photo opportunities, deserted beach swims and stunning vistas. As Nha Trang draws closer, take note of stunning Doc Let Beach, renowned for its white sand, clear turquoise water and the famous salt fields at Hon Khoi. Mid to late afternoon arrive at your resort, the rest of the afternoon and evening is free. (B)
Day 11: Today is at leisure to relax on the sandy beach or by the pool. (B)
Day 12: After breakfast, drive to Nha Trang’s airport for the short flight to dynamic Ho Chi Minh City, still called Saigon by the locals. In the afternoon, explore the highlights of Vietnam’s largest and most modern city with a local guide, beginning with a visit to the former Presidential Palace. Then stroll to the most well-known sights - the historic Central Post Office, Dong Khoi Street (formerly Rue Catinat), Continental Hotel, Opera House and City Hall.
This evening, try a truly local experience with a ‘Saigon After Dark’ Vespa tour. The tour begins at 18:00 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, then continue to a traditional quan (bia hoi) for dinner and drinks, sampling Saigon's best authentic street food. Round off the evening with a visit to a Vietnamese-style coffee shop and 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 at 08:30 for the 2 hour drive into the Mekong Delta, where you will take a 30 minute cruise up a small river to the start of the cycling tour. The leisurely 7km pedal 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.) Along the way, stop at some traditional workshops that make turmeric spring roll paper and roof thatching from water palms.
Around mid-morning, arrive at a family-run orchard where the owner, a former war veteran, will share stories from his life as well as lead you round his gardens to sample fresh tropical fruits. Alongside the farmer’s family, try jumping into a small mud pond and learn how to catch fish with your bare hands - the reward? A tasty grilled fish! After saying goodbye, relax and enjoy the view from a small sampan boat as you paddle slowly along tropical canals. Back on land, cycle to your final destination, a stunning 100 year old house that mixes European and traditional Vietnamese architecture. Tuck into a Vietnamese lunch consisting of dishes only found in the Mekong Delta, then bid farewell to the family and return to Saigon, arriving late afternoon. (B/L)
Day 14: Sadly today it's time to say goodbye to Vietnam as you are transferred to the airport 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.
Note: stops can be extended, added or cut - just ask us!