Welcome to Hanoi, one of the region’s most charming cities where French colonial elegance meets Asian spirit with attractive lakes, colourful pagodas and atmospheric streets. On arrival you will be met by our local representative and transferred to our joining hotel where the remainder of the day is at leisure for you to relax or head out and explore.
Overnight in Hanoi.
Hanoi – Halong Bay (B,L,D)
After breakfast this morning we leave Hanoi and transfer to the crown in Vietnam’s scenic crown – the incredibly beautiful Halong Bay. We’ll explore the jade waters studded with karst islands aboard a traditional wooden junk boat and after embarkation there’s time for lunch soaking up the views.
This afternoon there will be the chance to enjoy a dip in one of the many sheltered coves before taking row boats to the pristine ‘Dark & Bright Lagoon’. Later this evening back on board, watch a Vietnamese cooking demonstration held on the sundeck before settling down for a sumptuous seafood dinner.
Overnight in Halong Bay.
Halong Bay – Hanoi –Hue (B)
Early birds can start the day with a relaxing Tai Chi class on the sundeck or a traditional massage – the perfect way to start the day. Before heading back to port we’ll explore a lofty grotto hidden beneath towering cliffs.
On our arrival back into Hanoi mid-afternoon we’ll explore the maze of streets known as the ‘36 streets of the old quarter’, named after the numerous guilds that once set up shop on a particular street from silk tailors to silversmiths. Travelling by cyclo (rickshaw), the quintessential mode of transport in Hanoi, we’ll see traditional narrow-front tube houses with the chance to sample some of the local delicacies sold on street stalls from ripe fruits to steaming noodle dishes.
Later this evening there’s a chance to freshen up before boarding the train (4 berth sleeper cabin, basic standard) on the ‘Reunification Express’ railway line to Hue.
Overnight in Sleeper Train.
Arriving into the imperial city of Hue this morning enjoy a guided sightseeing tour of the 19th-century capital. During the tour we’ll visit the city’s oldest monastery and what has become the city’s emblem – the Thien Mu Pagoda with its 21-metre-tall tower. There will be time to explore the walled fortress of the Imperial Purple Palace, ringed by a moat with elaborate gateway arches and impressive ramparts, some of which lay in ruin.
Later we head out to the countryside and visit the wonderfully ornamented Royal Tombs of the Nguyen kings, which lie in a narrow valley surrounded by pine forest. Our visit will focus on the mausoleums of Emperors Tu Duc and Khai Dinh. This evening there is the option to enjoy a leisurely sunset cruise on the Perfume River. Travelling by longboat it’s the perfect way to enjoy the city skyline.
Overnight in Hue.
Hue –Hoi An (B)
Departing Hue this morning our scenic drive via the Hai Van Pass (Road of the Ocean Clouds) takes us to Hoi An. The road follows the coast so there’ll be wonderful views of beach to the east and verdant hills to the west. There’ll even be time to walk along My Khe beach, nicknamed ‘China Beach’ by the Americans during the war and featured in Francis Ford Coppola’s movie ‘Apocalypse Now’.
Arrive into the charming, old-world trading port of Hoi An later this afternoon. A short walking tour will introduce you to the highlights of this enchanting and historical town with highlights including the Chua Ong Pagoda, Chinese Assembly Hall, 200-year-old Tam Ky house, former merchants’ homes and the 400 year-old Japanese Covered Bridge.
Overnight in Hoi An.
Hoi An (B,L)
Today will be spent out in the countryside learning all about the rural way of life in Vietnam. We’ll reach Tra Que village by bicycle, a leisurely ride on flat roads that take us through ride paddies and farm land. The option of a taxi is available locally for those not keen on bike riding (payable locally). Once at the village we’ll get our hands dirty learning about age-old farming practices and putting our knowledge to use by tending the fields and gardens. Lunch is a home-cooked affair with everyone mucking in. Later this afternoon return back to Hoi An on your bikes.
Overnight in Hoi An.
Hoi An (B)
Today is completely free for you to enjoy Hoi An as you wish. Lose yourself in the cobbled streets lined with boutique restaurants, hip cafes, delightful craft shops and some of Asia’s best bespoke tailors (whose services come at a nominal price). If you prefer some R& R, lounge by the hotel pool or head to the beach. Those keen on Vietnam’s ancient and more recent history can take an optional excursion to the ruined Cham city of My Son, or to Quang Ngai, the site of the My Lai massacre memorial, which marks a significant turning point in the Vietnam War.
Overnight in Hoi An.
Hoi An (B)
Today marks the end of your time in Vietnam. A departure transfer will be provided to take you to Danang airport in time for your onward departure flight.
Hanoi – a cyclo ride through the charming old quarter with traditional shop fronts
Hue – ancient citadel, Imperial Purple City, Royal Tombs, Thien Mu Pagoda and monastery
Halong Bay – UNESCO-listed region with thousands of beautiful limestone peaks and islets
Hoi An – UNESCO-listed ancient town famed for its beautifully preserved old city and nearby beaches
7 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 1 dinner
Halong Bay Junk boat cruise – opt to swim, kayak and explore caves
Airport arrival transfer day 1 and departure transfer day 8
Escorted by an English speaking Vietnamese tour guide
Visa approval letter (excl. stamping fee required upon arrival)
5 nights 4 star and special class hotels, 1 night deluxe junk boat and 1 overnight sleeper train (Junk boat: private cabin, Sleeper train: basic, 4 berth cabin)
Bicycle ride to Tra Que village and cooking demonstration
Guided sightseeing – Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hue and Hoi An
All relevant transfers and transportation in private air-conditioned vehicles
International flights and visa. Vietnam visa letter included – stamping fee required upon arrival
Entrance Fees: USD$25-35, paid in USD
Tip for your tour guide. We recommend you allow USD$3 – 6 per day, per traveller. Tipping your guide is an entirely personal gesture
Tipping Kitty: USD$30-40, paid in USD