Vietnam HighlightsReference WW40213
Uncover the captivating beauty and fascinating culture of Vietnam during this exciting tour…from the spectacular islands of Ha Long Bay and the picturesque 'Pass of the Ocean Clouds', to the incredible Cu Chi Tunnels and the unique atmosphere of Ho Chi Minh City.
Fly overnight to Hanoi.
Transfer to the locally rated 4-star the Ann Hanoi Hotel for a two-night stay with breakfasts included. Colonised by the French in the 19th century, Hanoi has elegant tree-lined avenues and lush parks which work in harmony with the Vietnamese culture and history reflected all around. Look forward to discovering the 1,500-year-old pagoda, atmospheric old quarter, colourful markets, exuberant nightlife and curiously iridescent skyscrapers. D
This morning tour Hanoi and see the One Pillar Pagoda, Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum and Vietnam’s first university, the Temple of Literature. This afternoon is at leisure, perhaps join an optional excursion to the National Fine Arts Museum or join a street food walking tour. B, L
Leave Hanoi after breakfast and travel through the rich farmlands of the Red River Delta to Ha Long where the highlight of your day is bound to be a memorable cruise around Ha Long Bay or ‘Bay of the Landing Dragon’. This famous bay was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 and as you cruise its blue waters dotted with some 3,000 limestone islands it’s not hard to see why.
Stay overnight on board the junk boat with lunch and dinner included. B, L, D
Be sure to wake up early this morning to watch the stunning sunrise over the bay. After breakfast, travel to Hanoi Airport for your flight to Hue. The country’s capital for nearly 150 years, Hue saw some of the most fierce fighting during the Vietnam War and while much of the old city was destroyed, it still retains a certain graceful beauty.
Stay two nights at the locally rated 5-star Indochine Palace Hotel. Lunch is at a restaurant en-route. B, L
Experience the very best of this beautiful UNESCO-listed city on an included excursion this morning. First, enjoy a relaxing cruise on board one of the distinctive boats, which ply the Perfume River. After an included lunch in a local restaurant, you have some time to explore the Imperial City. B, L
After breakfast, begin your journey to Hoi An, passing through the picturesque fishing village of Lang Co. You'll also travel along the Pass of the Ocean Clouds, a mountain range often shrouded by heavy cloud. Once a major port, Hoi An gradually silted up until it could be a port no more. Today, it is a World Heritage Site, teeming with multi-cultural colour, architecture and atmosphere. When you arrive in Hoi An, you'll be able to enjoy an included lunch in a local restaurant, before joining a walking tour of the ancient town centre. You'll see the covered Japanese Bridge, which links the Japanese and Chinese communities. The yellow and green roof tiles are designed to look as if they're rippling, just like moving water!
Stay two nights at the locally rated 4-star Le Pavillion Hoi An Luxury Resort and Spa. B, L
Today is at leisure to continue exploring Hoi An. Perhaps join an optional excursion to My Son to explore the UNESCO-listed temple complex, or get a real taste of Hoi An at a local cooking class. B
This morning transfer to Danang airport for your flight to Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon.
On arrival, enjoy an included lunch at a KOTO training restaurant. This is a non-profit organisation that gives young adults living in poverty the opportunity to learn life skills and gain experience for a future in hospitality. Ho Chi Minh City is a lively city where the streets are lined with food stalls, and sleek skyscrapers and modern shopping malls sit alongside war relics and colonial architecture. This afternoon join an included tour of this vibrant city taking in Reunification Hall, formerly known as the Presidential Palace, the red-brick Catholic cathedral of Notre-Dame (admission not included) and the Thien Hau temple.
Stay two nights at the locally rated 4-star Eden Star Hotel. B, L
Travel by coach to My Tho in the Mekong Delta, often referred to as the ‘rice bowl’ of Vietnam. From here you’ll board a boat for a trip past fish farms and floating fish markets to Ben Tre, known locally as the land of coconuts. You’ll see the local tradition of coconut carving and sweet making, and have the chance to taste seasonal fruit. A horse and cart will then take you to an orchard where bees are bred and you’ll have the chance to sample the sweet produce before taking to the water once more to find an islet suitable for a lunch stop.
Return to Ho Chi Minh City for an evening dinner cruise along the Saigon River to see Vietnam’s largest city from a different perspective. A Vietnamese set dinner menu is served on board and traditional music will be performed throughout the cruise. B, L, D
This morning, join an included excursion to the Cu Chi Tunnels. The tunnels were first dug during the 1940s as a defence against French colonialists but it was during the 1960s that Communist resistance forces constructed a network of over 250 kilometres of tunnels. Soldiers and civilians inhabited the complex, which included kitchens, meeting rooms, field hospitals, weapon factories, booby traps and escape routes. The Americans bombed the area heavily and resorted to sending in teams of ‘tunnel rats’, highly trained, slimly-built members of the chemical platoon accompanied by hunting dogs, to deflect the threat of communist guerrilla warfare. Return to Ho Chi Minh City for lunch at a local restaurant, before spending the afternoon at leisure.
Transfer to the airport late this evening for your return flight to UK. B, L
Please note: on Day 11 you will be able to leave your luggage at the hotel until you are picked up for your airport transfer late in the evening, before flying through the early hours of Day 12.