Grand Vietnam

  • Destination: Vietnam
  • Duration: 18 days
  • Price: $2235

18 days traveling from North to South Vietnam on Grand Vietnam Tour and experience local life up close as we explore the colorful hill-tribe villages in Mai Chau, stay overnight on Halong Bay cruise, discover Hoian and surroundings and explore the waterways and lust fruit orchards of the Mekong Delta. The trip covers all highlights of Vietnam – from Hanoi’s colorful Old Quarter to the beaches of Nha Trang, the old French hill station in the central highland of Dalat and the fantastic markets of China Town in Saigon. It absolutely offers great experience for those who want to discover Vietnam in depth.

Day 1

Hanoi Arrival

Welcome to Hanoi, Vietnam’s bustling colonial capital. Your driver and guide will meet you outside the baggage claim of Noi Bai Airport and take you to your hotel in the city center. In the afternoon, enjoy an orientation walk, visiting some of Hanoi’s main attractions: the Opera House, Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple. In the evening, savor a welcome dinner of authentic Vietnamese food at one of Hanoi’s finest restaurants. Meals: Dinner.

Accommodation: Mercure Hanoi La Gare Hotel  or similar, Grand Plaza Hanoi Hotel or similar

Day 2

Hanoi City Tour

Today you have a full day to explore Vietnam’s charming capital. With its wide tree-lined boulevards, French colonial architecture, peaceful lakes and ancient oriental pagodas, Hanoi is an eclectic mix that offers something for everyone. Your city tour will take you to Hanoi’s key sites: the Ho Chi Minh Complex (Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum and stilt house); the Presidential Palace; the nearby One Pillar Pagoda; the Temple of Literature; West Lake; the sedate Tran Quoc Pagoda & Quan Thanh Temple; and one of the city’s museums (a choice between the History Museum and the Ethnology Museum). In the evening enjoy a traditional Water Puppet Performance – a unique Vietnamese art form hailing from Southeast Asia’s wet-rice culture. Meals: Breakfast.

Accommodation: Mercure Hanoi La Gare Hotel  or similar, Grand Plaza Hanoi Hotel or similar

Day 3

Hanoi – Mai Chau – Homestay

This trip to the northwest highlands of Mai Chau offers a balance of cultural interest and physical activity, set amongst some of northern Vietnam’s most stunning scenery.
Your driver and guide will meet you at your hotel and take you along highway 6 to Mai Chau: a small town nestled in the midst of a lush valley and surrounded by emerald-green rice fields. Enjoy picturesque views of the scenic landscape, sown with pagodas and rural villages. Stop along the way to visit the Muong tribe and then at Thung Khe Pass for a spectacular view of Mai Chau Valley. Have lunch in Mai Chau then spend the afternoon trekking off the typical tourist track, along the Song Ma River. Trek through terraced rice paddies and small villages, discovering the natural beauty of the valley and encountering the culture of the White Thai people, living in the region. Stop at a Thai village for the night, having dinner with a local family and enjoying a home stay in their long house. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

Accommodation: At long house in Mai Chau

Day 4

Mai Chau Trekking – Hanoi

Start the day with a simple breakfast with your host family then take a short drive through the surrounding countryside, before setting off on a trek through rice paddies and down winding lanes to visit the “Cum” and “Xam Khoe” villages. Immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture and enjoy an authentic lunch at one of the villages. In the afternoon, drive back to the bustle Hanoi.  Meals: Breakfast, Lunch.

Accommodation: Mercure Hanoi La Gare Hotel  or similar, Grand Plaza Hanoi Hotel or similar

Day 5

Hanoi – Halong Bay – Overnight on cruise

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel, before setting out on a 3 to 4 hour drive to the UNESCO World Heritage Site: Halong Bay. Spend 24 hours on a traditional Junk Cruise in the amazing bay: a natural wonderland composed of jutting limestone islands and sparkling turquoise waters. Arrive at the dock around noon and board your junk. Savor a gourmet lunch of fresh seafood onboard as you sail out into the mystical bay. In the afternoon, cruise around some of Halong’s many islands, including Dinh Huong and Ga Choi. Along the way visit one of the bay’s 3 largest caves (Thien Cung, Dau Go or Sung Sot). Stop at an island cove with a sheltered white-sand beach and take a dip in the warm waters of the Gulf of Tonkin (weather permitting). Pass the night on your junk, lulled to sleep by the gentle rocking of calm waters.  Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

Accommodation: On Cruise

Day 6

Halong Bay – Hanoi – Fly to Hue

Awake early and participate in Tai Chi on the top deck or simply relax and enjoy the sunrise over the bay’s towering islands. Enjoy a morning cup of coffee or tea, before setting out to explore nearby islands by rowboat. Return to the junk for breakfast then take advantage of the sundeck and admire the amazing rock formations of Bai Tu Long Bay as you navigate back to Halong City. Your driver will meet you at the Halong jetty and take you back to Hanoi to catch your in-country flight to Hue. Upon arrival to Hue airport, driver will be waiting for you and transfer you to hotel in Hue City. Meals: Breakfast.

Accommodation: Imperial Hotel Hue, Best Western Premier Indochina Palace

Day 7

Hue City Tour

Enjoy an entire day touring the Vietnam’s former ancient capital. Start the day with a visit to the Imperial Citadel, home to the Imperial City and Forbidden Purple City – once the Emperor’s private residence. The Imperial City was created in the 19th century and modeled on the Forbidden City in Beijing. The Imperial Enclosure houses many palaces and temples within its walls. In the afternoon, continue on your tour stopping at the Imperial Museum, Tu Hieu Pagoda and vibrant Dong Ba riverside market. Meals: Breakfast.

Accommodation: Imperial Hotel Hue, Best Western Premier Indochina Palace

Day 8

Hue – Danang – Hoian

Spend the morning on a private boat cruise down the romantic Perfume River to visit the iconic Lady Pagoda (Thien Mu Pagoda), an elegant seven-tiered octagonal tower that has become Hue’s most widely recognizable monument, and the ornate Minh Mang’s tomb. Have lunch at a riverside restaurant before starting on your drive to Hoian. Pass over the 500m-high Hai Van pass and stop en route in Danang for a visit to the Cham Museum and handicraft villages at the foot of Marble Mountain. Arrive in the sleepy riverside town, Hoian, in the late afternoon, check in at the hotel and then enjoy the rest of the evening free at your leisure.  Meals: Breakfast.

Accommodation: Swiss-Belhotel Golden Sand Resort & Spa or similar, Hoian Beach Resort

Day 9

Hoian Cooking Class – Walking Tour

This morning take part in a cooking class at the Red Bridge Cooking School. Meet at the Hai Scout Cafe in Hoian’s Old Town. From there we will head to Hoian’s colorful market. Explore the market and interact with local vendors to purchase some fresh ingredients for today’s cooking class. Next, board the Red Bridge boat for a leisurely 25min cruise along the Hoian River to the Red Bridge Cooking School. Discover the school’s herb and vegetable garden. Learn to cook and help prepare five traditional dishes to enjoy for lunch. You will also be entertained and taught some special techniques at the fruit and vegetable carving demonstration.
Enjoy an afternoon walking tour through the narrow, winding streets of the ancient quarter, visiting Chua Ong Pagoda, the Chinese Assembly Hall, the 200-year old Tan Ky ancestral house and the famous Japanese Bridge. Conclude the day with a relaxing sunset boat trip.  Meals: Breakfast, Lunch.

Accommodation: Swiss-Belhotel Golden Sand Resort & Spa or similar, Hoian Beach Resort

Day 10

Hoian – Free at leisure

Today you are at leisure on beach or go shopping on your own interest.  Meals: Breakfast.

Accommodation: Swiss-Belhotel Golden Sand Resort & Spa or similar, Hoian Beach Resort

Day 11

Hoian – Danang – Fly to Nha Trang

After breakfast, your driver will pick up and transfer you to Danang Airport for a short flight to Nha Trang where 10km of white sandy beach awaits. Rest of the day, you are free at leisure (please contact us for optional excursions that can be arranged such as boat trips, village excursions or cyclo rides etc.).  Meals: Breakfast.

Accommodation: Novotel Nha Trang Hotel , Evason Ana Mandara Nha Trang Hotel

Day 12

Nha Trang – Dalat

This morning, drive up hills to Dalat with a stopover of rural Nha Trang on your way out for a peek of what countryside living in Vietnam is all about. You will reach the mountain town of Dalat, known as the “City of Eternal Spring”, after four hours on the road. An afternoon of sightseeing takes in the art deco former summer residence of Bao Dai – the last Emperor of Vietnam, the old Dalat Railway Station, the Central Market and famous XQ embroidery workshop. There will be the chance for a short walk around Xuan Huong Lake to get a feel for this delightful city in the evening.  Meals: Breakfast.

Accommodation: Hotel in Dalat

Day 13

Dalat – Fly to Saigon

After breakfast, visit Thien Vien Truc Lam – the largest Zen Monastery of Vietnam. Then take the steps down toward the Tuyen Lam Lake, enjoy sightseeing of the nicest vast lake of Dalat on boat. On the way back to the city for lunch, visit Lat village, home to a number of distinct ethnic minority groups with varying traditions and beliefs. Here you have the chance to purchase traditional handicrafts and gain a unique insight.
Transfer to Lien Khuong Airport for onward flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure or explore the city on your own.  Meals: Breakfast.

Accommodation: Hotel in Saigon

Day 14

Saigon City Tour

Enjoy a full day to tour Saigon’s diverse attractions. Start with a visit to Saigon’s China Town, then learn about traditional Vietnamese medicine at the FITO Museum and browse through the amazing array of goods at Ben Thanh Market. Stop for lunch then continue on the city tour with a visit to the War Remnants Museum and former Presidential Palace. Conclude the day exploring the city’s French colonial architecture, stopping at the Notre Dame Cathedral and the City’s Post Office.  Meals: Breakfast.

Accommodation: Hotel in Saigon

Day 15

Saigon – Cao Dai Temple – Cu Chi Tunnels

Today you travel outside of Saigon to visit the beautiful Cao Dai Temple in Tay Ninh and partake in the noontime prayer service. This large and colorful compound is home to the hybrid religion founded in the 1920s: Caodaism, which combines elements of Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam in order to promote peace. After lunch in a local restaurant explore the famous historic Cu Chi Tunnels on the way back to the city. The tunnels are an underground labyrinth of passageways, used by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War (or “American War” as it’s referred to here) as protection against American air raids. Those inclined are invited to crawl through selections of the tunnels to better understand what life was like for the Vietnamese soldiers during wartime.  Meals: Breakfast.

Accommodation: Hotel in Saigon

Day 16

Saigon – Cai Be – Vinh Long – Can Tho

Today you leave Saigon and travel to the Mekong River Delta. Enjoy an early breakfast at the hotel before driving to the riverside town, Cai Be. Along the way, stop at a candy factory and orchard garden, where you have an opportunity to listen to traditional music. Enjoy a relaxing lunch at a riverside restaurant, then cross the Mekong by motorized boat to visit some fluvial islands and explore the countryside by bicycle. Your driver and will meet you at Vinh Long jetty and take you to Can Tho City for the night. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch.

Accommodation: Victoria Can Tho Resort , Ninh Kieu 2 – Hoa Binh Hotel

Day 17

Can Tho – Cai Rang Floating Market – Saigon

Wake early and leave the hotel to visit the famous Cai Rang floating market by motor boat. Continue the boat ride to visit the Mekong Delta’s famous orchards and sample the fresh, exotic fruit. Then venture deeper into the country side, passing traditional houses made of wood and palm leaves as you observe the activities of the local people. Return to Can Tho for lunch then drive back to Saigon, arriving in the late afternoon.  Meals: Breakfast.

Accommodation: Hotel in Saigon

Day 18

Saigon Departure

Today is free at your leisure for last minute shopping or sight-seeing before driving to the airport to catch your departure flight home. Safe journey home.

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Inclusions
Accommodations
Daily breakfasts and other meals as mentioned in the itinerary
Transportation by private car with A/C
English or French speaking guides
All entrance fees, performances, boat trips & excursions.