Within its spectacular seascapes and mountainous landscapes, Vietnam hides its mysterious ethnic minority hamlets, impressive cascading rice terraces, a hotpot of cultures dating back thousands of years, one of the most vibrant food scenes in Southeast Asia, and many more.
This excursion will take you across the country, from Hanoi, Vietnam’s millennial capital city to Sapa, the North’s ultimate trekking base. The legendary karst limestone mountains of Halong Bay is next on our itinerary. This New Natural Wonder of the world with its serene emerald water is undoubtedly the perfect getaway.
The idyllic Hue, Vietnam’s formal imperial capital has all the grandeur and majesty to stir the curiosity of any history buff. Further south is Hoi An – playing the role of muse to any artist, its architectural consistency of buildings and the grid formation of narrow lanes and alleys have magically turned Hoi An into a de facto theme park.
Away from the serenity, the year-round party scene of Saigon is waiting to stir up the atmosphere. Saigon is one of Asia’s most exciting cities but doesn’t settle for just that. The verdant Mekong Delta, the melting pot of different cultures is another otherworldly aspect of Vietnam.
Let’s spend a meaningful holiday in Vietnam becoming part of her fluidity and examining her many facets acutely from the inside out in 14 days with Top Vietnam Travel.
Day 1: Arrive Hanoi
Meals: NA/Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi
Your holiday in Vietnam will start with Hanoi – the timeless capital of Vietnam. After a warm welcome upon arrival at Hanoi Airport, you will be transferred to your hotel. In the afternoon, you will engage in a private walking city tour to discover local markets and the Old Quarter – known for its 36 narrow, congested streets and guilds (now Hanoi has over 70 streets) – each was named after one trade – formed by artisans and traders from villages around Hoan Kiem Lake who came here to sell their goods.
Day 2: Hanoi City Tour – Night train to Lao Cai
Meals: Breakfast/Accommodation: on train (shared 4 soft sleeper cabin with AC)
The capital of Hanoi is a quintessential visit in any Vietnam holiday packages if you are looking forward to digging deeper into Vietnamese culture. Today you have a full day to explore the capital of Vietnam, with en route visits to its main attraction sites: the Ho Chi Minh Complex (Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum and Stilt House, One Pillar Pagoda, and the Presidential Palace), the Temple of Literature, West Lake with Quan Thanh Temple and Tran Quoc Pagoda, and the most beautiful attraction museum in Hanoi – The Vietnam Museum of Ethnology or History Museum.
Later in the afternoon, you will enjoy a traditional Water Puppet performance for an intimate insight into Vietnamese rural life throughout its history. Originated in the Red River Delta in the 11th century, water puppetry hails from the country’s wet rice culture, sketching a lively and colorful picture of an agricultural society typical of the North with a humorous twist to every skit. Stay overnight in Hanoi.
Enjoy dinner on your own arrangement before getting transferred to Hanoi Railway Station for an overnight train to Lao Cai.
Day 3: Lao Cai – Sapa.
Meals: Breakfast/Accommodations: Hotel in Sapa
You will arrive at Lao Cai Station early in the morning. Lao Cai is a town near the Chinese border. You will be greeted by our local tour guide and then transferred to Sapa town. Have breakfast and relax for a while before starting to trek to Mường Hoa Valley – known for its breathtaking scenery and being the largest farmland for rice cultivation in SaPa. You will trek along the Muong Hoa River through terraced fields, passing by some hamlets of the H’Mong. The trek will take you from Lao Chai Village – inhabited by Black H’mong People to Ta Van Village – inhabited by the Zay, offering an intimate insight into the different ethnic traditions and costumes showcased by the villagers. Go back to your hotel and stay overnight in Sapa.
Day 4: Sapa – Matra – Ta Phin Village – Bus to Hanoi
Meals: Breakfast & Lunch./Accommodation: hotel in Hanoi.
The walk starts from Sapa through the beautiful gardens and lush pine forests. On the way, you will pass by Matra – a a small, remote tribal village of the Black Hmong. Continue trekking through rice terraces and the scenic mountainous landscape of Sapa, and enjoy lunch served en-route to Taphin Village. This village has its visitors captivated by the unique cultural life of the Black Hmong and Red Dzao minorities – he 2 largest ethnic groups inhabiting the area through anecdotes told by the elders. You will also have the opportunity to visit some traditional houses here before returning to Sapa in a car. Our bus will take you to Hanoi for your overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 5: Hanoi – Ha Long Bay
Meal: Breakfast-lunch-dinner/Accommodation: On Cruise
No holiday in Vietnam is complete without a beach escape, so treat yourself to an over night stay amidst the majestic Halong Bay. After getting picked up from your hotel, you will be transferred by van/car to Ha Long Bay at 12:00. Upon arrival in Ha Long Bay, you will be welcomed aboard and enjoy lunch while weaving through a myriad of islands and islets towering over and reflected off the emerald waters of Halong Bay. After lunch, take a short trek to a nearby summit for a birds’ eye view of the bay peppered with golden sails, and then proceed to a quiet beach for some swimming or kayaking, or just simply go back to the ship and sunbathe on the sundeck, whatever tickles your fancy.
Later in the afternoon, pay a visit to a tranquil fishing village to interact with fishermen who have inhabited the bay for almost three generations. Go back on board and enjoy a drink on the sun deck while can enjoy drinks and lose yourself in the immense visual delight as the reddish-orange hue of the sky deepens and dusk creeps over the horizon. Enjoy dinner and stay overnight on the junk.
Day 6: Ha Long – Hanoi
Meal: Breakfast-Brunch/Accommodation: On Cruise
Kickstart your day with an early Tai Chi Session on the sundeck and you will be rewarded with an unparalleled visual glory of the sun peeking above the watery horizon. After breakfast, you will visit an enigmatic limestone grotto and then go back to the ship for a final glimpse of Ha Long Bay as you cruise back to the dock. Check out as the ship arrives at the harbor by noon and drive back to your hotel in Hanoi and stay there for the night.
Day 7: Hue
Meals: Breakfast/Accommodation: Hotel in Hue
Today, you will embark on a full-day exploration of Hue – Vietnam’s former ancient capital. Get started with a visit to the Imperial Citadel – home to the Imperial City and Forbidden Purple City – once the Emperor’s and his family private residence. The Imperial City was built in the 19th century, based off the design of the Forbidden City in Beijing. Aside from the Forbidden Purple City and the main buildings of state, the Imperial Enclosure houses many other palaces and temples within its walls.
In the afternoon, continue to visit the Imperial Museum, Tu Hieu Pagoda, and the vibrant Dong Ba Riverside Market.
Day 8: Hue – Danang – Hoi An
Meals: Breakfast/Accommodation: Hotel in Hoi An.
Wake up in the ancient capital and enjoy your breakfast in the hotel. Then, embark on a private boat trip cruising the romantic Perfume River with visits to Lady Pagoda (Thien Mu Pagoda) and the grandiose Minh Mang’s tomb – captivating beholders with its regal nature. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant then leave Hue for Hoi An – another UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will travel via the Hai Van Pass, stop in Danang for a visit to the Cham Museum and handicraft villages at the foot of the Marble Mountains before arriving in Hoi An. Upon arrival in Hoi An, you will check in to your hotel and have some free time to explore the town then stay overnight there.
Day 9: Hoi An
Meals: Breakfast/Accommodation: Hotel in Hoi An
From the 16th to 18th centuries, Hoi An was a thriving international commercial port for Chinese, Dutch, French, Japanese, Portuguese and Arab traders. These people came primarily to trade in the high grade silk, which is still produced in the area, as well as ceramics. Today, Hoi An is a quaint riverside town, popular with tourists for its eclectic architecture, tailors shops, and numerous cafes. Some of the buildings in the narrow streets have remained unchanged for more than a century. You will enjoy a half-day walking tour through the narrow winding streets of the Ancient Quarter visiting Chua Ong Pagoda, Chinese Assembly Halls, the 200 – year old Tam Ky Ancestral House, and the Japanese Bridge. Following the tour, there will be free time to shop or relax. You will stay overnight in Hoi An.
Day 10: Hoi An – Ho Chi Minh City
Meals: Breakfast/Accommodation: Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City
You will then leave Hoi An for Danang Airport for a one hour flight to Ho Chi Minh City. In the afternoon, you will embark on a city tour of HCMC (Saigon) including the Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Old Post Office and bustling Ben Thanh Market. You will stay overnight in HCMC.
Day 11: Cao Dai Temple & Cu chi Underground
Meals: Breakfast/Accommodation: Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC)
This morning you will drive to Cao Dai Temples in Tay Ninh. Cao Dai Holy See Temple is the cathedral of the Cao Daism religion and home of the Divine Eye, the official symbol of this unique religion. Cao Dai followers worship Jesus Christ, Confucius, Taoism, and Buddha. You will also be able to observe the midday service.
Following lunch you will drive to the Cu Chi Tunnels, which consist of more than 200 km of underground tunnels. This main axis system has many branches connecting to underground hideouts, shelters, and entrances to other tunnels. The network included innumerable trap doors, specially constructed living areas, storage facilities, weapons factories, field hospitals, command centers and kitchens. Today the remaining tunnels have become a major tourist attraction giving the visitor a unique experience and a feel of what underground life was like during the Vietnam War. You will stay overnight in HCMC.
Day 12: Ho Chi Minh City – Can Tho
Meals: Breakfast/Accommodation: Hotel in Can Tho
You will leave HCMC to lush My Tho where you’ll cruise on a private boat through the green vegetation of the canals to an orchard, where you are treated to a delicious lunch in a local restaurant in the heart of the Mekong, complete with tropical fruits. You will also visit the snake farm Dong Tam that breeds snakes for, among other things, snake wine and visit Vinh Trang Pagoda. You will then head off to Can Tho City – the metropolis of the Southwest situated right at the heart of the Mekong Delta, for an overnight stay.
Day 13: Can Tho – Ho Chi Minh City
Meals: Breakfast/Accommodation: Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City
You wake up to the sounds of the Mekong River welcoming a new day and take boat trip to join in the sun-soaked Cai Rang floating market, one of the most bustling floating markets in the Mekong Delta, with hundreds of small boats barging and jostling for space to sell their goods that will definitely leave you in awe. After sampling local fruits, our guide will escort you back to the hotel through myriad canals. You will have lunch at a local restaurant before returning to Ho Chi Minh City for an overnight stay.
Day 14: Ho Chi Minh City – Departure
Meals: Breakfast/Accommodation: NA
There is no activity planned for today so you are free to enjoy your free time souvenir shopping until getting transferred to the airport for your onward flight. This is the end of your holiday in Vietnam.
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