Classic Vietnam

With this itinerary you will experience all that Vietnam has to offer. Start your two-week adventure in the north of this cultural and history rich country and leisurely make your way south.

Along the way you will experience an overnight cruise in Halong Bay with some of the most amazing views you will find in Asia. In central Vietnam,  walk along the quiet banks of the Perfume River, lounge on the beach in Da Nang and visit the ancient trading port and world heritage site of Hoi An. At the end of your journey, visit the bustling city of Ho Chi Minh and the famous tunnels used by the vietnamese in the Vietnam War before making you way back home.

Day 1: Arrival in Hanoi

On arrival in Hanoi you will be met by a Lightfoot Travel representative and be taken by private transfer to Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi where you will spend the next 2 nights.

Stay: Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi

Day 2: Hanoi

Start you day with a delicious breakfast at the hotel before heading out to explore this bustling city. With ochre-colored colonial buildings, tree-lined boulevards and scenic lakes, Hanoi is full of charm.

Start the tour at the historic Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum; an imposing monument lavishly built using marble and granite, and where the preserved body of “Uncle Ho” resides. A short walk from the mausoleum is the lotus-like shaped One Pillar Pagoda which is resting on a single stone pillar emerging from the water. Inside is a statue of the Goddess of Mercy with her legendary “thousand arms and thousand eyes”.

From here you will be taken to the Temple of Literature, the first University for the sons of Mandarins, for an overview about Hanoi culture and ancient Vietnamese architecture. In the afternoon, you will visit the serene Museum of Ethnology which is a 30-minute drive out of town and offers a chance to get to know Vietnam’s 54 ethnic groups better. From simple daily objects such as fishing instruments to precious items such as jewelry, as well as an outdoor area with ethnic houses, the Museum’s rich displays showcase the cultural heritages of the diverse communities.

After this you will be driven back to start a walking tour through the Old Quarter to experience bustling local life. Then cap off the day with a show at the water puppet theatre – a uniquely northern Vietnamese art form depicting scenes of rural life and episodes of national history.

Stay: Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi

Day 3: Hanoi – Halong Bay

Take off early this morning for an overnight cruise in Halong Bay. Once you reach the port you will board the traditional wooden boat and be greeted aboard with a delightful welcome drink. Savour a delicious Vietnamese buffet lunch as the boat heads to Bai Tu Long Bay and Vung Vieng fishing village. Here you will visit the fishing village aboard a local row boat before returning to the vessel where you can choose how you would like to spend the rest of the afternoon.

Options include kayaking to the floating village, swimming around the boat, having a traditional massage or simply sunbathing on deck. This evening you will anchor overnight in Ho Dong Tien and experience a Vietnamese cooking demonstration on the main deck before having a sumptuous seafood dinner onboard. After dinner take in the movie on the deck or simply retire to your cabin.

Stay: Tuan Chau Marina

Day 4: Halong Bay - Hanoi

Start your day with Tai Chi on the Sundeck while complimentary tea and coffee are served. The boat will then weigh anchor and cruise through the bay passing beautiful spots like Trong(Drum), Trinh Nu (Virgin), Me Cung Caves, Coc Ngoi (Toad) Islet and more.

Once the boat is anchored you will be taken to explore Sung Sot (Surprise) Cave before returning to for a nice buffet brunch served onboard. The vessel will then cruise leisurely back to harbor when you will then be taken by private transfer back to Hanoi where you will reside at the lovely Sofitel Metropole Hotel.

Stay: Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi

Day 5: Hanoi - Hue

This morning you will fly to Hue where you’ll be met and taken by private transfer to La Residence where you will spend the next 2 nights. Ideally located opposite the Imperial Palace along the quiet banks of the Perfume River, the hotel boasts outstanding views of both the Ancient Citadel and the Forbidden City.

Built around the renovated 1910 Art Deco ‘Residence Superieure de L’Annan’, the administrative centre of the French rule in central Vietnam during the colonial era, the hotel has an art deco inspired design of the 1920s and 1950s.

In the afternoon you will take a short cylco trip to the pier then embark on a half-hour boat trip on the picturesque Perfume River to visit Thien Mu pagoda, Hue’s best-preserved religious monument. Standing on the riverbank with its seven-story tower, the pagoda is a sight to behold.

Stay: La Residence Hue

Day 6: Hue

Hue served as an imperial capital to the Nguyen Lords, a feudal dynasty which reigned from the 17th to 19th century. With its splendid emperors’ tombs, ancient pagodas and the remains of the Citadel, the city retains its Royal charm.

This morning start your day by heading out for some cultural integration with a 10-min cycle tour from your hotel to the Imperial Citadel. From here take a stroll to explore the history and architecture around the Capital Citadel (the bastion), Royal Citadel (the sanctum) and the Forbidden Citadel (the royal family’s residence).

This afternoon you will be driven 30 minutes to the serene Tu Duc Royal Tomb, designed to blend in with the natural surroundings. An incense stick making house makes for an interesting stop before heading to see the elaborate Khai Dinh Royal Tomb. The architecture and atmosphere here showcase elements of eastern art and western designs.

Stay: La Residence Hue

Day 7: Hue – Hoi An

This morning embark on a three and a half hour drive over Hai Van Pass which offers a spectacular panorama of the central coastline at the summit. Upon arrival in Danang, drive another 30 minutes to The Nam Hai resort just outside the ancient town of Hoi An.

Situated just outside the storybook village of Hoi An, The Nam Hai personifies the understated charm and magnificent culture of Vietnam’s Central Coast. This award-winning luxury resort features 60 beautiful villas and 40 pool villas resting on a tranquil 1km stretch of the pristine China Beach. Each occupies its own section of landscaped gardens and boasts views of the South China Sea and nearby Cham Islands.

Between 17th and 19th centuries, Hoi An was a prosperous trading port. Today, this World Heritage-listed ancient town boasts well-preserved buildings, pedestrianized streets and unique cuisine, allowing visitors a glimpse of its illustrious past.

Stay: The Nam Hai

Day 8: Hoi An

This morning you will be taken on a walking tour to visit the old merchant’s house with influences from Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese architecture, the 400-year-old Japanese covered bridge, the Assembly Hall of the Chaozhou Chinese Congregation with its outstanding wood carvings and the colorful market with stalls brimming with tropical specialties including silk, which can be turned into fashionable garments within a day.

If you’re lucky you may also have the chance to visit the private home of Diep Dong Nguyen whish has a stunning collection of artifacts ranging from potter and paintings to seals and money. You can explore the rest of the ancient city by yourself for the remainder of the day or you might like to head back to the beautiful Nam Hai to relax on the beach or by the pool.

Stay: The Nam Hai

Day 9: Hoi An

This morning you will take off on a half day trip to My Son. Considered one of the best- preserved Cham centers in Vietnam, My Son is the former capital of the ancient Cham civilization that ruled Central Vietnam from the 2nd to the 13th century.

There are 20 monuments still standing today, set in a verdant valley surrounded by hills and overlooked by massive Cat’s Tooth Mountain. Stroll around the temple complex to learn about the Cham culture, architecture and civilization before come back to the resort before noon.

This afternoon you are free at you own leisure to take in the sun by the pool, head off to the spa for some relaxing treatments or you might like to try your hand at some Vietnamese cooking.

Stay: The Nam Hai

Day 10: Hoi An – Ho Chi Minh City

After spending a last day relaxing at The Nam Hai Resort you will fly to Ho Chi Minh also known as Saigon. On arrival in Ho Chi Minh you will be met by a Lightfoot Travel representative and take by private transfer to the Park Hyatt Saigon where you will spend the next 2 nights.

Stay: Park Hyatt Saigon

Day 11: Ho Chi Minh City

This morning you will be taken on a 2-hour-drive northwest of Ho Chi Minh to the Cu Chi tunnels, you’ll pass through urbanized areas as well as the typically lush southern Vietnamese countryside.

The tunnel complex was dug in 1948 for the guerrillas to hide from French air and ground sweeps. It was also served as communication routes and food and weapon caches as well as hospitals and living quarters for guerrilla fighters throughout the Vietnam War. Visit the underground villages to better understand the tunnels’ history, life in the tunnels and the Vietnamese’s resilience during this time after this you will return to Ho Chi Minh to experience lunch at a local restaurant.

This afternoon you will embark on a walking tour to admire Saigon’s historic landmarks this will include a stroll down Rue Catinat of Graham Greene’s ‘The Quiet American’ a visit to the Opera House, a three-story classical theatre built to entertain the French colonists, the former Hotel de Ville constructed for the French bureaucrats of Indochina in 1901, this is now The People’s Committee building and has no public access; the Notre Dame Cathedral, a stunningly massive red-brick edifice with twin spires, a clear reminder that French once ruled this city; the Central Post Office influenced by Renaissance architecture; and the former Presidential Palace, headquarters of the Saigon Government during the Vietnam war.

Stay: Park Hyatt Saigon

Day 12: Ho Chi Minh - Can Tho

After checking out this morning you will be taken on a two hour drive to a lush green area in the middle of the Mekong Delta called Ben Tre, Stop en route to visit Vinh Trang pagoda, an ancient southern architectural gem. Built in 1849, the structure is a mixture of Asian and European architecture which include elements from the Renaissance period, Romanesque style, French decorative flowers and Japanese enameled tile.

Upon arrival at My Tho jetty, get on local motorized boat trip to Ben Tre. En route visit a small coconut-candy workshop just to get a glimpse of typical family run business in this area. Another 30 minutes on the waves brings you to deeper parts of agriculture life. Disembark your boat to walk around a sleepy village and picturesque orchards until you reach Vuon Dau rest stop. Here you can sample freshly picked fruit at the invitation of friendly local farmers and savor a tasty lunch of Mekong Delta specialties. After Lunch enjoy a fun rowing boat ride in the shadows of water-coconut palms along idyllic tiny canals before being taken for another two hour drive which will bring you to Can Tho.

Stay: Victoria Can Tho

Day 13: Can Tho - Ho Chi Minh

If you are an early riser you can catch the bustling atmosphere of the unique floating market of Mekong Delta and then head back to hotel for a leisurely breakfast. Otherwise you may prefer to take a local boat after breakfast to explore the colorful Cai Rang floating market, where a number of boats laden with fruit, vegetables and fish jostle for trade. Sellers advertise their goods by crying out across the waters or tie their goods to a tall pole so that buyers can see from a distance. After this cruise back to hotel to freshen up and check-out. Once you are checked out and ready to go you will be taken back to Ho Chi Minh.

Stay: Park Hyatt Saigon

Day 14: Departure

Wake up this morning for a last look abound Ho Chi Minh before your departure today.

* This basic structure works very nicely, but don’t forget that Lightfoot Travel can provide a range of experiences and we tailor-make each itinerary based on your travel requirements.

Get in touch to start planning your perfect trip with your own travel consultant.

Itinerary

Duration Description Overnight
Day 1: Arrival in Hanoi Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi
Day 2: Hanoi Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi
Day 3: Hanoi – Halong Bay Tuan Chau Marina
Day 4: Halong Bay - Hanoi Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi
Day 5: Hanoi - Hue La Residence Hue
Day 6: Hue La Residence Hue
Day 7: Hue – Hoi An The Nam Hai
Day 8: Hoi An The Nam Hai
Day 9: Hoi An The Nam Hai
Day 10: Hoi An – Ho Chi Minh City Park Hyatt Saigon
Day 11: Ho Chi Minh City Park Hyatt Saigon
Day 12: Ho Chi Minh - Can Tho Victoria Can Tho
Day 13: Can Tho - Ho Chi Minh Park Hyatt Saigon
Day 14: Departure

Inclusions

Included

  • Accommodation with daily breakfast
  • All meals aboard Bhaya Boat
  • All transfers and tours as indicated, with private car and English speaking guide
  • Boat trip as indicated
  • Airfare Hanoi – Hue/ Danang – Saigon in economy class
  • Vietnam visa approval letter
  • 24 hour emergency contact

Not Included

  • Visa stamping fee
  • International flights
  • Personal expenses
  • Other meals where not mentioned in the program
  • Hotel early check in / Late check out
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Overweight luggage
  • Travel insurance (please note that this is requried for all Lightfoot Travel holidays)

Map

1. Hanoi 2. Halong Bay 3. Hanoi 4. Hue 5. Hoi An 6. Ho Chi Minh City

From USD 3,251 per person based on two guests travelling

Notes on our prices

  • This price guide provides you with a broad indication of how much to budget for your holiday.
  • Prices are generally based on two people travelling together (unless stated otherwise) on a shared room basis.
  • Prices can fluctuate depending on season, standard of accommodation, excursions selected (private versus shared) etc.
  • This basic structure works very nicely, but don’t forget that Lightfoot Travel can provide a range of experiences and we tailor-make each itinerary based on your travel requirements. Get in touch to start planning your perfect trip with your own travel consultant