This in-depth journey traverses Vietnam from south to north – travel from fast-paced Ho Chi Minh City to the Old Quarter of Hanoi, via the tranquil hill tribes of Sapa and stunning Halong Bay and Ninh Binh Province – dubbed ‘Halong Bay on land’. Travel by boat, cyclo, train and road while discovering cultural sights, natural wonders and historic landmarks.

• Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon): 2 nights

• Hoi An: 2 nights

• Hué: 2 nights

• Dong Hoi: 1 night

• Vinh: 1 night

• Ninh Binh: 1 night

• Halong Bay: 1 night

• Victoria Train: 1 night

• Sapa: 1 night

• Victoria Train: 1 night

• Hanoi: 1 night

16nights Escorted Small Group Tour
NATURE
CULTURE
ACTIVE
Escorted Small Group Tour
NATURE
CULTURE
ACTIVE
 
 
ITINERARY

Day 1: UK to Ho Chi Minh City Depart from the UK on your overnight flight to Ho Chi Minh City.

Day 2: Ho Chi Minh City Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. You could explore the Old Quarter or book a day room to catch up on your sleep. Get to know your group and tour leader during a welcome dinner. Stay: Liberty Central Riverside Hotel, or similar. D.

Day 3: Ho Chi Minh City Begin your exploration with a half-day city tour. Visit the Reunification Palace, stop for photos by the French Post Office, and trace 2000 years of history at the Museum of Vietnamese History. There’s a free afternoon with an optional tour to the Cu Chi Tunnels, a network of tunnels that provided a home to fighters and families during the Vietnam War. Stay: Liberty Central Riverside Hotel, or similar. B.

Day 4: Ho Chi Minh City to Hoi An Explore hidden corners of the city during a ‘Saigon Streets Secrets’ tour. Escape the tourist crowds and experience the city like a local as you stroll through streets which sell everything from birds and bonsai trees to antiques and handicrafts. Visit the traditional medicine museum and discover the ancient art of healing, and explore markets that sell antiques, military memorabilia and souvenirs. You’ll also experience an authentic meal when you stop for lunch at a local home. Transfer to the airport for your flight to Danang (approx. 1¼ hours). Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel in the pretty UNESCO-listed city of Hoi An (approx. 1 hour). Stay: Victoria Hoi An Beach Resort & Spa, or similar. B, L.

Day 5: Hoi An Explore Hoi An during a walking tour with visits to the local market, Tan Ky Old House, the Fujian Assembly Hall and the iconic Japanese Bridge. You’ll also observe the raising of silkworms and the process of silk production for which the city is renowned. This afternoon is at leisure with an optional tour to the UNESCO-listed ruins of My Son. Stay: Victoria Hoi An Beach Resort & Spa, or similar. B, L.

Day 6: Hoi An to Hué Learn the secret to creating authentic Vietnamese dishes during a cookery class at the excellent Red Bridge Cooking School. Visit the local market to get some fresh ingredients before boarding the Red Bridge boat for a river cruise to the cookery school. After the class you can enjoy your dish. Visit Cham Museum in Danang before departing for Hué, via the Hai Van Pass. Sit back and enjoy the scenery and stunning ocean views. Stay: Pilgrimage Village, or similar. B, L.

Day 7: Hué Rise early for a cruise along the Perfume River. Visit the Thien Mu Pagoda, see the Royal Tomb of Tu Doc and discover the city’s royal past at the impressive Imperial Citadel. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and an afternoon at leisure. This evening is a real highlight for foodies. Experience Hué’s vibrant night scene and culinary delights during a relaxing rickshaw ride, stopping off at some venues to taste local delicacies and learn some local expressions. Stay: Pilgrimage Village, or similar. B, L, D.

Day 8: Hué to Dong Hoi Follow the Ho Chi Minh Trail towards Dong Hoi, passing the Truong Son Cemetery, Ben Tac Bridge, Dong Ha Town and the ruins of Quang Tri Citadel as you traverse stunning mountain and jungle landscapes. Continue along the Ben Hia River and through the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) which surrounds the former border between north and south Vietnam. Arrive late afternoon and enjoy an evening at leisure. Stay: Sun Spa Resort, or similar. B, L.

Day 9: Dong Hoi to Vinh Visit the UNESCO listed Phong Nha Cave before lunch at a local restaurant. Journey to the city of Vinh, stopping at Dong Loc Junction en route to hear the moving story of the ten young women who sacrificed their lives to try and keep the Truong Son Road open between bombings in 1968. Arrive late afternoon and enjoy an evening at leisure. Stay: Phuong Dong, or similar. B, L.

Day 10: Vinh to Ninh Binh Begin your journey to the city of Ninh Binh which is famous for its spectacular surrounding scenery and has been dubbed ‘Halong Bay on land’. Take a sampan (small wooden boat) ride to Thung Nang, an incredible landscape of flooded paddies encircled by limestone karst formations. You’ll also visit the Temples of the Dinh and Le dynasties. After lunch at a local restaurant you’ll have the rest of the day to yourself. Stay: Emeralda Resort Ninh Binh, or similar. B, L, D.

Day 11: Ninh Binh to Halong Bay Today is one of the tour’s highlights – a cruise in beautiful Halong Bay. Drive to Halong City (approx. 4½-5 hours) to board a junk and enjoy lunch onboard whilst gliding past limestone peaks and islands. You'll then visit either Sung Sot Cave (Surprise Cave), which has a unique wave-like ceiling, or the island of Ti Tip where you can swim from the beach. Back on board, you have some time at leisure to relax on the sundeck, treat yourself to a traditional massage at the spa, or have a drink at the bar. Enjoy happy hour and a cooking demonstration before a set menu dinner is served on board. This evening there is an opportunity to try squid fishing on the deck. Stay: Bhaya Cruise, or similar. B, L, D.

Day 12: Halong Bay to Lao Cai Early-risers can join a t’ai chi exercise on the deck (6.30am) and tea or coffee. Continue cruising and visit the village of Cua Van by rowing boat, for a glimpse into local life. Reboard the ship and enjoy brunch as you make your way back to the harbour to disembark. Drive to Hanoi (approx. 3½-4 hours) and enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and some free time before a traditional water puppet show in the evening. Transfer to the station to board the overnight train to Lao Cai. Stay: Victoria Train, or similar. B, L.

Day 13: Lao Cai to Sapa Arrive early and continue to the mountain town of Sapa by road. After breakfast at your hotel, walk around Ta Phin village to gain an insight into the life of the Red Dao hill tribe. After lunch, the rest of the day is at leisure so you could visit Sapa’s market. Stay: Victoria Sapa, or similar. B, L.

Day 14: Sapa to Hanoi Spend a day trekking through local villages including Lao Chai and Ta Van. After lunch in a local home, continue walking to Cat Cat village. Return to Sapa before transferring to Lao Cai for your overnight train journey back to Hanoi. Stay: Victoria Train, or similar. B, L.

Day 15: Hanoi Visit the One Pillar Pagoda, the marble mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh and the Temple of Literature. This afternoon, explore the Old Quarter in a fun and interactive way. A local guide will brief you about the area and equip you with a map, some basic Vietnamese phrases and some local currency. Set off in a small group on a scavenger hunt-style quest to find objects, source souvenirs and bargain with vendors. Stay: Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi, or similar. B, L.

Day 16: Hanoi Today you could book a day room so that you can relax before your overnight return flight to the UK, or you may choose to extend your holiday. B.


Stay longer

Beaches of Vietnam (Nha Trang) 4 nights
Enjoy some post-tour relaxation in this popular beach resort.

Luang Prabang, Laos 3 nights
Unwind in this pretty, laid back riverside town.

Siem Reap, Cambodia 5 nights
Explore the incredible Temples of Angkor.

Stay longer

Beaches of Vietnam (Nha Trang) 4 nights
Enjoy some post-tour relaxation in this popular beach resort.

Luang Prabang, Laos 3 nights
Unwind in this pretty, laid back riverside town.

Siem Reap, Cambodia 5 nights
Explore the incredible Temples of Angkor.

ABOUT THIS TOUR

Is this for you?

Perfect if you’re looking for full days of sightseeing and authentic experiences but also some time at leisure for exploration.

Good to know

• All departures are guaranteed
• For guests over 16 (unless travelling on a private journey)
• Average group size of 10 guests
• A maximum of 16 guests
• Unsuitable for those with walking difficulties.
• The Victoria Train is in a public four-berth cabin. Private cabin upgrades available on request (there are a maximum of 2 upgraded cabins per departure, and these are subject to availability with early requests recommended).

What to expect

• A considerable amount of travelling with some early starts
• A gentle pace that builds as you journey north
• Overnight train journeys in a public four-berth cabin. Private cabin upgrades are available
• Busy days with lots of walking
• Authentic local experiences.

Accommodation on tour

Enjoy views over the water from your Premier Riverview Room at the Liberty Central Riverside Hotel. The characterful Victoria Hoi An Beach Resort & Spa is next to a beach, just 10 minutes outside the city. Your Sapa adventure includes a stay in a public four-berth cabin on the overnight Victoria Train and at the chalet-style Victoria Sapa – a cosy retreat with a log fire. The Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi is just five minutes from the Old Quarter.

Single travellers

Single supplement from £615

DATES AND INCLUSIONS

Tour dates

All departure dates are guaranteed to operate.

2017 Jan 11; Feb 15; Mar 15; Apr 12; Jul 12; Nov 08

Included in price

• Quality accommodation
• Insightful local tour leaders
• Hand-picked itineraries
• Flexible arrival times
• Small groups and a relaxed approach
• Porterage and guide tips
• Meals where most convenient

(B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner), or the freedom to explore local restaurants independently
• All specified flights.

Upgrade your tour

Private tour Upgrade to a private tour with a local tour leader on the same itinerary, departing on the date of your choice from £3202 per person
Day-use room Pre-book a day-room to relax and freshen up on arrival or before your return flight from £57 per person.

Excursions

Day 3: Half-day Cu Chi Tunnels from £31 per person
Day 5: Half-day My Son tour from £42 per person

The Complete Vietnam

Why Kuoni?

This tour includes all of the highlights plus some fantastic experiences. Learn to create local dishes at a professional cooking school in Hoi An. Continue the culinary theme in Hué where you’ll sample local specialities and learn some basic Vietnamese during an evening foodie tour by rickshaw. Soak up the spectacular scenery during an overnight cruise in Halong Bay and on a sampan ride in the stunning Ninh Binh Province.

Why Kuoni?

Request a brochure

Escorted Tours 2018