Essentials of Vietnam
If you are visiting Vietnam for the first time, this trip is an ideal suggestion. In just 11 days, you will see all of the main highlights of this beautiful country. The journey is a combination of incredible natural beauty, rural villages, and busy cities of Vietnam.
You will start from Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital, then head out to Halong Bay to stay overnight a traditional junk. Continue onto the central Vietnam after returning from the bay, explore the imperial city of Hue and the ancient town of Hoi An. Here you may choose spend some time relaxing on the beach before taking a short flight down to Saigon, the most dynamic city in the south.
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Places visited: Hanoi
Itinerary Idea in Detail:
Day 1: Hanoi Arrival
Upon on your arrival in Noi Bai Airport, your tour guide will meet and take you to your hotel on a private car. You will be free to relax the rest of the day, or explore the surround areas at your own. A short walk from your hotel is the Hoan Kiem Lake, where local people enjoy different kinds of exercise in the late afternoon.
Day 2: Hanoi City Tour (B)
Today, explore the city of Hanoi with your private guide and driver. Visit Ho Chi Minh complex where the first president of Vietnam lived and passed away in the simple house, the Temple of Literature, known as Vietnam’s first university, and Hoa Lo Prison (Hanoi Hilton) which showcase the use of the prison by both the French and North Vietnam during the Indochina wars. Experience the hustle and bustle of the Hanoi’s Old Quarter on foot or on rickshaw before coming back to your hotel in the afternoon.
Day 3: Hanoi - Halong Bay (B, L, D)
In the morning, your private car and tour guide will pick up at your hotel and drive to Halong City, where you will aboard a traditional Vietnamese junk to cruise the bay. Spend the afternoon cruising through the magnificent limestone islands of Halong Bay, enjoy the sunset from the upper deck of your boat before having a wonderful dinner in the middle of the bay. Overnight on the boat. All meals are included during your stay on the boat.
Day 4: Halong Bay - Hanoi - Hue (B, L)
Drive back to Hanoi (3.5 hours) Fly to Hue (1 hour)
Wake up to practice some tai chi with the crews and see the beautiful sunrise over the bay this morning. Visit a limestone cave before cruising back to the harbor, where your guide and driver take you back to Hanoi airport in time for your afternoon flight to Hue. On the drive to the airport by private car, stop and visit Yen Duc village which is famous for authentic Vietnamese life in rural area. Upon arrival in Hue, our guide and driver will pick up and drive you to the hotel.
Day 5: Hue City Tour (B)
The Imperial Hue city was heavily destroyed by bombs during the wars, but your tour guide will help make sense of the ruins and show you many interesting building still standing. Start the day with the Imperial City, where you will learn about the once royal power of Vietnam. Take a private dragon boat to cruise along the Perfume River, visit the famous Thien Mu Pagoda and the ancient tomb of Ming Mang King.
Day 6: Hue - Hoi An (B)
Drive to Hoi An (3 hours)
This morning drive to Hoi An, the three and a half hours will pass abundant rice paddy fields and travel over the Hai Van Pass. On a clear day the pass offers spectacular views out to the Lang Co beach and the East Sea. Check in your hotel in Hoi An, where you can spend the afternoon to relax or enjoy a walk around the charms of Hoi An ancient town.
Day 7: Hoi An - My Son Sanctuary (B)
Today your guide will show you the hidden charms of this ancient town, which has been so stunningly preserved that it earned the status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. All over the town, streets are still lined with old tile-roofed shop houses, colorful communal halls and shady pagodas. Driver out to the My Son sanctuary to see the ancient Cham ruins with a series of Hindu temples. The remainder of your day is free to relax and explore the rest of the town at your own leisure.
Day 8: Hoi An (B)
Experience the everyday life of the local fisherman on a traditional bucket boat, today you will learn about Vietnamese fishing and try your hand at catching your own. Afterwards enjoy a fresh seafood lunch being served on board. In the afternoon you are free to relax and visit the local shops. You may also want to have some suits made by the local tailors, which Hoi An is really famous for.
Day 9: Hoi An - Danang - Saigon (B)
Your private guide and driver will drive you to Danang airport to take a short flight to Saigon, meet your Saigon guide upon your arrival and head out to the famous Cu Chi tunnels. Here you will have chance to see how the Viet Cong dug and organized their guerrilla war underground during the Vietnam war, you can enter a few of the tunnels if you are comfortable with narrow spaces. In the evening experience the truly Saigon city on the back of a Vespa motorcycle, sample some delicious street food along the way.
Day 10: Saigon (B)
Learn about the history of Saigon with your guide in a private half day city tour. Visit the Independent Palace which is Saigon’s iconic building, the War Remnants Museum and the government houses with its vibrant yellow French style. You may want to see some of the hidden markets, and experience Saigon’s coffee style on the side walk with the local people.
Day 11: Saigon Departure (B)
Enjoy your breakfast and the last day in Vietnam, your tour guide and driver will pick you up and drive you to Tan Son Nhat airport in time for your onward flight.
TRIP COST: 1,476 USD PER PERSON
Trip cost includes:
Private car transfers during the tour
English speaking guide in each city
All meals mentioned in the detailed itinerary (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)
Sightseeing as mentioned with permission fee and entrance tickets
Accommodations as suggested in the detailed itinerary
Domestic flights: HANOI – HUE, DANANG – SAIGON
Trip cost DOSE NOT include:
Any meals not specified after each itinerary day, beverages at meals
Tips or gratuities to tour guide or staffs
Hotel accommodation pre and post the trip
Pre-trip expenses of medical immunizations (if any)
Travel insurance, or passports and visas, and other expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.).
PAYMENT AND CANCELLATION FEE SCHEDULES
As you are not confirmed on the trip until deposit has been received by our office, please do not make non-refundable air arrangements prior to us confirming your booking. Our payment schedules:
20% of the total tour cost to be deposited upon commitment of the tour. This deposit is non-refundable.
80% of the total tour cost to be paid 45 days prior to arrival date. If booked less than 45 days to arrival, full payment is required.
If it becomes necessary for you to cancel your trip, the following fees will apply, computed as of the date of receipt of written cancellation notice, which can be sent by email.
22 days or more prior to arrival date: deposit only
21 – 15 days prior to arrival date: 50% of the total tour cost
14 – 8 days prior to arrival date: 75% of the total tour cost
7 days or less prior to arrival date: 100% of the total tour cost
Trip Details at-a-Glance
Price: 1,476 USD per person
Length: 11 Days/ 10 Nights
Arrival: Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital
Departure: Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City)
Travel Style: Leisure Travel
Cruise on a traditional junk in Halong Bay, weaving through stunning limestone formations
Learn about the ancient and modern history of Vietnam in imperial Hue
Relax and shop in the ancient but charming town of Hoi An
Explore the colonial French influences in Hanoi and Saigon
EXPLAIN TRIP LEVELS
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.
Hanoi City Tour, Hoa Lu Tam Coc, Halong Bay Day Trip
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.
Halong Bay Overnight Cruise, North Vietnam Travel
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.
Kayaking Lan Ha Bay, Sapa Trekking, Travel Vietnam
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.
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.