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Classic Vietnam


From south to north, Vietnam is a kaleidoscope of welcoming locals, varied cuisine and diverse landscapes. Unlock the mysteries of the Viet Minh in Ho Chi Minh City, explore the beautiful lakes and boulevards of Hanoi, mingle with the locals while staying at a Mekong Delta guesthouse, float to sleep on a traditional junk boat in Halong Bay, and eat breakfast the local way in Hue. Experience historical temples, laze on the spectacular coastline, gorge on delicious banquets and explore lively cities – all with a touch of comfort – on this 15-day Classic Vietnam adventure.

15 days, from

$2,084

per person

GROUP SIZE

12 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

 
2
Trip code: TVKT
Style: Comfort
Theme: Explorer
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Details

Countries Visited:  Vietnam
Accommodation: Guesthouse (1 night), Hotel (12 nights), Overnight boat (1 night)
Transportation: Boat , Plane , Private vehicle , Taxi
Included Meals:

  • 14 breakfasts
  • 6 lunches
  • 4 dinners

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 12

  • Friendly faces will make you feel right at home in this country, and experiences like staying in a locally run guesthouse in the Mekong Delta will give you a real taste for local life.

  • Discover the bustling centres of Hanoi, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City – buzzing with personality these cities are a fascinating mix of ancient culture and glistening new-age cityscapes, and you’ll get the chance to visit all the most iconic spots.

  • You’ll take a culinary journey to discover the mouth-watering, achingly fresh delights of Vietnam. From slurping traditional Bun Bo Hue, to digging into a vegetarian feast at a local nunnery, to enjoying a home-cooked lunch with locals in Ninh Binh – your tastebuds won’t be the same again.

  • Be treated to an overnight stay on a traditional junk sailing boat in Halong Bay – wake up and feel like you’re still in a dream, surrounded by the incredible limestone karsts and turquoise waters of this magical place.

  • Visit a restaurant with a difference and enjoy a special lunch at KOTO restaurant – an Intrepid Foundation supported program that teaches disadvantaged youth hospitality skills.

Itinerary

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Day 1: Ho Chi Minh City

Xin chao! Welcome to Ho Chi Minh City – a French-infused city with a dynamic atmosphere. If you arrive early, perhaps head to Pham Ngu Lao Street to see the local open-air market or visit Vinh Nghiem Pagoda. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm this evening, where you’ll meet your tour leader and fellow travellers. After your welcome meeting, you’ll make your way out for dinner as a group – expect mouth-watering aromas and the achingly fresh flavours of herbs, lemongrass and rich sauces.

Day 2: Ho Chi Minh City

After breakfast this morning, you’ll head out of town to explore the Cu Chi Tunnels that make up part of a large war museum outside Ho Chi Minh. This former Viet Cong stronghold provides an insight into the resourcefulness and tenacity of the Vietnamese people, and offers a glimpse of what life was like during the war. Like an underground maze that stretches over 120km, the tunnels are complete with trapdoors, living areas, kitchens, storage facilities, armoury, hospitals, and command centres. Your trip through history doesn’t stop there, you’ll head back to Ho Chi Minh City to discover the War Remnants Museum where you’ll see old military equipment including an F5A fighter and a UH1-Huey helicopter. In the afternoon, you’ll be free to explore the city at your leisure. Perhaps gather some of your newfound travel buddies and explore Notre Dame, the Post Office or Reunification Palace.

Day 3: Mekong Delta

This morning you’ll wave goodbye to Ho Chi Minh City for the night and travel south by private bus to Ben Tre. When you arrive, you’ll board a small traditional boat and explore the intricate waterways of the Mekong Delta. The delta is known as ‘Vietnam’s rice bowl’ for its abundance of rice paddies, fruit and flower orchards. During the boat trip, you’ll stop to sample some of the fresh tropical fruit and visit a selection of cottage industries in the area. Then, you’ll get your first taste of Vietnamese hospitality and tuck into a home-cooked Vietnamese-style lunch at a local family home. Then, around sunset, you’ll make your way to your guesthouse to spend the night with the locals and enjoy another wonderful meal featuring regional specialties.

Day 4: Ho Chi Minh City

Enjoy more of the Mekong Delta’s finest fruits over breakfast this morning and then hit the road back to Ho Chi Minh City where you’ll arrive in the late afternoon. This evening will be yours to explore, perhaps go in search of the best food with some of your fellow travellers – your group leader will know where to go for meals of any budget. Then, you might like to leave yourself time to check out one of the city’s vibrant rooftop bars.

Day 5: Hoi An

This morning, you’ll take a short flight to Danang and make your way to your next stop in Hoi An. On arrival in Hoi An, shake off your morning of travel and dig into a traditional Vietnamese lunch to welcome you to the city. Our hot tip – try the mi quang or cao lau noodles that Central Vietnam is famed for. After lunch, your leader will take you on an orientation walk around the World Heritage-listed Old Town. The city was a major trading port with the west during the 16th and 17th-centuries, and has various architectural influences from Europe, China and Japan. Today, the city is being restored and looks much like it did over a century ago. You'll see Chinese temples, Japanese pagodas, French-colonial houses, wooden shop-houses and old canals during your walk. After your walking tour, enjoy free time to participate in optional activities or simply soak up the ambience of the place. You may like to wander Hoi An Market and the street stalls selling paintings, woodwork, ceramics, lanterns and much more.

Day 6: Hoi An

Enjoy a free day to further explore Hoi An and its majestic surrounds. Perhaps rent a bicycle and take a trip out to the nearby Cua Dai Beach. Better yet, why not book into an Urban Adventure, like Hoi An Boat & Bike, which offers a guided tour of the area, including a countryside bike ride and a sunset cruise along the Thu Bon River. Vietnam is, of course, known for its delicious food, and Hoi An is no exception. To unlock the flavours of Hoi An's vibrant Old Town on Hoi An Food Adventure. See urbanadventures.com/destination/Hoi-An-tours for more information. Your leader can help arrange optional activities and tours if this interests you.

Day 7: Hoi An

Spend another day as you please in this historic haven. If you can muster an early rise this morning, head to the local produce market to watch animated shoppers haggling over fresh fish, spices and vegetables. Otherwise, if you’d like, your leader can help you arrange an optional Vietnamese cooking class, or a visit to the ruins of My Son – Vietnam's most important Cham site. Set in a verdant valley, surrounded by hills and overlooked by the massive Cat's Tooth Mountain, the elaborate World Heritage-listed temples here reflect the cultural traditions of the Cham civilisation that flourished in this region between the fourth and 12th-century. There’s plenty to see and do here, this is your opportunity to decide how to spend your day.

Day 8: Hue

Continue your journey north today and drive over the spectacular Hai Van Pass – an incredibly scenic and mountainous stretch of highway with views of Lang Co Beach. Make a stop at beautiful Lang Co to buy yourself some lunch. In the afternoon, you’ll arrive in Hue – Vietnam’s former Imperial capital. Here you’ll take a step into the past as you visit the Imperial Citadel and the Forbidden Purple City. As the name suggests, The Forbidden Purple City was once reserved only for the personal use of the emperor and his concubines. It was almost entirely destroyed by bomb blasts during the war and now serves as a reminder of centuries past – the crumbling palaces tell a fascinating story if you look carefully. After a little time to explore, the evening will be at your leisure to relax and simply enjoy this poetic place.

Day 9: Hue

After a local breakfast of bun bo hue – a spiced beef noodle soup – it’s time to really delve into the historical highlights of Hue. You’ll stop off at the Thien Mu Pagoda and get the chance to see an active Buddhist monastery dating back to 1601. Then, break up your sightseeing with a dragon boat cruise on the iconic Perfume River, known as the soul of the city. Your adventures will work up an appetite that we’ll quickly fill with a delicious vegetarian feast at a local nunnery for lunch. Feeling full with more Vietnamese delicacies and warm hospitality, you’ll make one final stop at one of the royal tombs, that of Emperor Tu Duc, with its lake, frangipani and pine trees. After a big day of exploring beautiful sights, the evening is yours to enjoy as you wish. Our tip – be sure to ask your leader which of Hue’s favourites you should seek out for dinner – it’s not known as Vietnam’s culinary capital for nothing.

Day 10: Hanoi

After breakfast today, you’ll take a flight from Hue to Vietnam’s charming capital of Hanoi. Upon arrival, enjoy a delicious lunch at KOTO restaurant – an Intrepid Foundation supported program that teaches disadvantaged youth hospitality skills. After lunch, take a half-day tour of Hanoi that captures the beauty and the history of the laidback, tree-lined capital. You’ll visit major sights including the Temple of Literature and One Pillar Pagoda. You’ll also pass by Hoan Kiem Lake and enter the ’36 Streets’ of the historic Old Quarter – a series of interwoven lanes and roads that historically sell a certain product in each street. Silk, bamboo, ceramics, kitchen products – and upwards of 32 more!

Day 11: Ninh Binh

You’ll depart Hanoi for the UNESCO protected Ninh Binh this morning. A naturally beautiful area, often referred to as ‘Ha Long Bay on land’, with its winding river etched between towering limestone mountains. On arrival, you’ll head straight to the Dinh and Le Temples which were built in the 10th century and dedicated to two of the kings of Vietnam. After exploring the ancient temples, you’ll be welcomed into a local home for a traditional Vietnamese lunch. Meet the family who live here and enjoy their Vietnamese delicacies... think everything from grilled beef wrapped with guise leaves, to spring rolls, to fried fish with tomato sauce. With a full belly and fuller heart, top off the day in this scenic spot with a rowboat cruise along the wetland of Van Long. As you paddle, you’ll be awed by the surrounding limestone mountain peaks and rice paddy fields, plus enjoy the pastel hues of a lotus pond along your way.

Day 12: Ninh Binh

Wake up without an alarm today as you’ve got the morning to explore at your leisure before a fun, action-packed afternoon to take in Thung Nham ecotourism zone, just outside of Ninh Binh. First up, you’ll take a traditional rowboat to discover the largest natural bird garden in the north of Vietnam. Float peacefully along the calm waters, as you’re surrounded by towering mountains, lush greenery and, of course, a mass of beautiful bird species. Then, you’ll explore the cave system that features Vai Gioi Cave, But Cave and Tien Ca Cave. From here, your journey will take you to spiritual sights that include the thousand year-old banyan tree, Gii Dai Temple and Linh Than Mieu. Finally, you’ll get a chance to unwind as you explore the Thung Nham flower paradise, nursery and vegetable garden.

Day 13: Halong Bay

Travel by private minibus to the spectacular World Heritage-listed site of Halong Bay. This is one of Vietnam’s most beautiful places – a bay of emerald waters flecked with sandstone islands and caves. Here, you’ll go on a cruise to explore Surprise Cave and surrounding rock formations, and in the warmer months perhaps go kayaking or opt for a swim from Ti Top Island. Access to Surprise Cave is via staircases, once inside the cave the pathways are a little uneven and slippery so be sure to watch your step. This evening, you’re in for a real treat – you’ll spend the night on a traditional cruising boat. The sailing junk (traditional sailing boat) has twin-share cabins with air-conditioning and private facilities. There's also a dining room and bar where you’ll enjoy all of your meals, including fresh seafood for lunch and dinner.

Day 14: Hanoi

You'd be forgiven for thinking you were still dreaming upon waking up today. Soak up the scenery of Halong Bay from your floating accommodation and take in those turquoise water views one last time before hitting the road toward Hanoi. Along the way, you’ll stop at Dong Trieu Factory to watch locals creating ceramic art pieces. On arrival in Hanoi enjoy a unique water-puppet performance hosted by a local family, who are experts in this art form. Tonight, gather as a group with your leader and tuck into dinner together, perhaps take this chance to try traditional Cha Ca La Vong, a fish dish bursting with flavour, filled with fresh herbs and noodles. Enjoy this evening with your group as you reminisce on the highlights of your Vietnam adventure.

Day 15: Hanoi

With no activities planned for today, your adventure comes to an end after breakfast. If you would like to spend some more time in Hanoi, we’ll be happy to organise additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).

15 days, from $2,084

to book call 1-844-205-6226