Vietnam is a Southeast Asian country on the South China Sea known for its beaches, rivers, Buddhist pagodas and bustling cities. Hanoi, the capital, pays homage to the nation’s iconic Communist-era leader, Ho Chi Minh, via a huge marble mausoleum. Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) has French colonial landmarks, plus Vietnamese War history museums and the Cu Chi tunnels.
Vietnam is an extraordinarily varied and beautiful country and a luxury Vietnam holiday offers you a chance to explore not only its cultural and historical past but also its spectacular scenery filled with endless stretches of white-sand beaches and shimmering paddy fields.
This handcrafted Vietnam Luxury Holiday brings you natural beauty and incredible cultural heritage sites of Vietnam. From colonial Hanoi and dramatic Halong Bay, the mercantile history of Hoi An to the legendary Con Dao Islands to vibrant Saigon and the Mekong Delta, our Vietnam travel specialists use their personal experience of the country to plan this tailor-made tour in detail and create a truly individual Vietnam holiday.
Upon your arrival in Hanoi, meet with your tour guide and transfer to your hotel in the city center. The balance of the day is your free time to rest after your flight and discover the French buildings surrounding your hotel.
Lodging: Sofitel Legend Metropole
This morning you will join a Hanoi street food blogger for a fascinating street food tour of Hanoi’s eateries. After enjoying a plentiful brunch, wind your way afterwards to the Temple of Literature, the first University for the sons of mandarins, for an overview about Hanoian culture and appreciation for ancient Vietnamese architecture. Then drive to Ho Chi Minh complex and visit his mausoleum, walk to the Presidential Palace nearby to see houses where Ho lived and worked. Some of Ho Chi Minh belongings are on display in his wooden stilted house, you can walk up the steps of his house to have closer look to his bedroom.
Enjoy walking along the tranquil setting including mango road, pomelo garden, and Ho’s serene fishpond. At the same site, you can also visit One Pillar Pagoda, built in 1049, which are a historic Buddhist site and most iconic pagoda in Vietnam. Continue on to the Hoa Lo Prison, better known as Hanoi Hilton, and learn about the decades preceding its use as a place for holding American POWs. The prison now becomes a museum chronicling the use of both the French and North Vietnamese government in first and second Indochina War. End your day with a rickshaw ride to feel the real life of local people leaving in the old quarter, where each street name tells the good being sold along the sidewalks.
Lodging: Sofitel Legend Metropole
Today you will be picked from your hotel and taken to the airport in time for your scenic transfer to Halong Bay. Your seaplane flight will take around 45 minutes and is a spectacular way to see the UNESCO site. Upon arrival in Halong you can relax by the marina with a Vietnamese coffee before boarding your junk. This afternoon will be spent cruising through the bay, admiring the limestone Karst scenery and enjoying the luxurious hospitality on-board.
In the mid-afternoon, visit the mysterious Me Cung cave, adorned with stalactites and stalagmites, and then continue to Cua Van area. It was once the fishing village, however most of them have moved on the land for their children’s future due to the lack of education system and access to vital information. Head back to the boat, participate in a cooking class demonstration with the chef or enjoy sunset on the top deck before dinner.
Lodging: Halong Violet Cruise
Rise early and greet the day with another refreshing Tai Chi class on the upper deck, then it is time for an early swim – in the bay. Get on the tender and cruise to a natural white sandy stretch of a beach. Sporty ones can also climb up to a hill top to have a last view from above over Halong Bay before we return to our main boat and cruise slowly back to Halong city, passing by picturesque areas like the Tam Cung Cave and Poem Mountain.
During our cruise, breakfast is served before we arrive at the shore. The crew will bid you farewell then you disembark with our tender boat to Tuan Chau Marina. You will then be picked up by your guide and driver and transferred overland to Hanoi for your afternoon flight to Danang. Upon arrival in Danang you will be greeted by another tour guide and driver and taken to the renowned Nam Hai Resort.
Lodging: The Nam Hai
After a leisurely breakfast you will meet your guide for an insightful tour around Hoi An’s old town. The town was once the center for Vietnam’s vibrant trade of silk and cinnamon in the 15h to the 19th centuries. The narrow lanes are lined with cheerful paper lanterns. The Japanese Bridge was built in the 18th century and continues to act as an iconic image of the city’s past and present.
A Taoist temple is located on the bridge’s north side and continues to be used as a place of worship. Here you can explore the shop-houses, temples and charming Japanese covered bridge. You may wish to further explore the town on your own or return to your beachside hotel for some relaxation.
Hoi An is a popular destination for its combination of coast and culture. Visitors revel in the cookery courses, and it’s also home to some of the top tailors in Southeast Asia. Dresses and suits are made from high-quality fabrics, but at a fraction of the cost demanded back home, and completed at an unbelievable speed.
Lodging: The Nam Hai
Today will start with a trip to Hoi An’s bustling morning market where a local chef will introduce you to some of the key ingredients needed in order to create many of Vietnam’s most admired dishes. After sourcing the ingredients you will accompany the chef back to the revered Red Bridge Cookery School. The afternoon will be spent cooking and sampling many Vietnamese favorites before returning to your hotel.
Lodging: The Nam Hai
After your breakfast at the hotel, drive to Danang airport for the short flight to Saigon in southern Vietnam. On arrival transfer to Ben Tre in the Mekong, where you will board your private sampan, to enjoy a cruise through the charming Mekong Delta.
The Mekong Delta used to be considered as a tour from Saigon, a one day get-away, an escape from the hustle and bustle of the big city. Today, it is widely recognized as the highlight of Southern Vietnam and worthy of multiple nights. The combination of endless waterways, friendly local people and lush green vegetation create an atmosphere unmatched anywhere, and make for a very memorable experience that people of all ages will enjoy. (B)
Lodging: Mekong Cruise
Continue cruising through the Delta this morning. Visit one of the wonderful floating markets, before disembarking and transferring to the airport for your flight to the Con Dao Archipelago. Upon arrival on Con Do you will be greeted by a resort representative and taken to your hotel. The next few days will be spent enjoying the stunning location and the resorts abundant facilities.
Situated about 230 km (143 mi) from Ho Chi Minh City, the Con Dao archipelago includes 16 mountainous islands and islets. The total land area reaches 75.15 km2 (29.02 sq. mi) and the local population is about 5,000. The islands are composed of magmatic rocks of different ages. Formally the Vietnamese settled a Khmer Empire territory, known as Koh Tralach islands, by the 17th century. During the French colonial era, the island was made infamous for its penal facilities and the notorious "tiger cages". Vietnamese nationalists were sent here to serve their sentence for anti-French activities. Many Vietnamese Communist leaders were "schooled" on Con Đao Island as well.
Lodging: Six Senses Con Dao
Perhaps you may wish to part-take in some of the hotels activities today or alternatively you may just wish to relax on the beach or by the pool.
Lodging: Six Senses Con Dao
This morning you will be taken back to the airport in time for your flight to Saigon. Upon arrival you will be greeted by your tour guide and transferred to your city hotel via the Cu Chi tunnels. Here you will learn a little more about the Vietnam War and the guerrilla tactics of the Viet Cong.
The Cu Chi tunnels, 40km (27mi) northwest of Ho Chi Minh City, are an immense network of connecting underground tunnels located in the Cu Chi district of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam, and are part of a much larger network of tunnels that underlie much of the country. The Cu Chi tunnels were the location of several military campaigns during the Vietnam War (American war), and were the Viet Cong’s base of the famous operations for the Tet Offensive in 1968.
The tunnels of Cu Chi were used by Viet Cong soldiers as hiding spots during combat, as well as serving as communication and supply routes, hospitals, food and weapon caches and living quarters for numerous North Vietnamese fighters. The tunnel systems were of great importance to the Viet Cong in their resistance to American forces, and helped to counter the growing American military effort. This evening will be free to enjoy at your own leisure.
Lodging: Park Hyatt
Today you will enjoy a full day city tour of Saigon with your guide, start your day visiting two iconic architectural landmarks the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Central Post Office, which was built between 1877 and 1883 by renowned designer Gustav Eiffel. The cathedral still remains an active church with services each day and is favored backdrop for Vietnamese wedding photographs.
From the cathedral, take a short stroll along Dong Khoi Street to the Opera House. From a bomb shelter to housing the parliamentary Lower House, the Opera House has had an interesting history. Restored in 1995, the Opera House has returned to its roots and is once again a theatre.
Continue onto the Reunification Palace, once a symbol of the South Vietnamese Government. It was here on 30 April 1975 that the war ended when a North Vietnamese Army tank crashed through its gates. See the war room, the banquet hall and the presidential office with the unusual gifts, which have been received. In the afternoon continue on to the War Remnants Museum. Here, your guide will tell the story of the city’s darkest and most tragic hours during the Vietnam War. The museum contains displays of military aircraft, weaponry and many photographs – some that are quite graphic in nature.
Head to Cholon the city’s Chinatown and Thien Hau Pagoda, which is dedicated to the Goddess of the Sea. With intricate friezes, carved tableaus and impressive incense coils make for some great photos. Then observe street life with a rickshaw ride through the narrow streets to wholesale market of Binh Tay.
This evening you will embark on a fascinating discovery through the streets of Saigon on the back of a Vespa. You will enjoy tasty street food, local music and a wonderful atmosphere. This will be a memorable evening and a real highlight before traveling home.
Lodging: Park Hyatt
After breakfast you will be picked up and taken to the airport in time for your onward flight, bid farewell to Vietnam.
Arrival: Hanoi, Vietnam
Departure: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
We want to help you find the trip that’s right for you. Our Trip Level system ranks each trip from 1 to 5 according to the activity and general travel rigors (1 is the easiest and 5 the most difficult in style).
Our system ranks each trip in two ways. The number gives you a quick reference point, the description is perhaps more important, with activities, hiking, and travel conditions (at the bottom of the long-day-itineraries, there is also a brief description of what this Trip is like).
We are always happy to answer questions, and guide you to the trip that best suits your interests.
1 - Easiest
No hiking journeys, optional walks, little driving hours, leisurely travel, one day trips.
2 - Easy to Moderate
Easy to Moderate: Hotel nights or overnight cruises with other physical activities, such as hikes or bike of 2 to 4 hours on some days, sea kayaking.
3 - Moderate
Half- to full-day hikes (3 to 6 hours) over rolling countryside on most days, occasional steep trails. Many of our hotel-based country walking tours are in this category, as are our hiking adventures.
4 - Moderate to Strenuous
Trips with Full-day hikes (4-6 hours), mountainous terrain, significant elevation gains and losses (hiking up or down as much as 3,000 feet) on many hikes.
Examples: Hiking Mai Chau Pu Luong
5 - Strenuous
Full-day hikes (4-8 hours), mountainous, steep terrain (hiking up or down as much as 3,500 feet) on many hikes. Trips with more than 3-day sea kayaking, hiking at average altitudes of 10,000 to 12,000 feet are in this category.