Vietnam in Style
• Hanoi • Halong Bay cruise • Hoa Lu Tam Coc Caves • Hoi An • Hue • Ho Chi Minh City • Mekong Delta
Stay in some of the finest accommodations in the country as you discover the exoticness of this vast country in our Vietnam In Style package. Drive through rural northern Vietnam to the site of Vietnam's first capital, Hoa Lu. After visiting the two remaining sanctuaries of the ancient citadel, take a sampan on a river through the rice paddies to the grottoes of the sacred Tam Coc Caves. Enormous limestone karsts jut out from the green rice fields giving rise to this place's other name, 'Halong on Land'. In Hanoi, you will see French influences all over the streets and admire the beautiful scene of Halong Bay on a boat ride. In Central Vietnam, venture into the forbidden city of Hue. Enjoy an overnight cruise on the Mekong Delta where you can sample the culinary delights of the floating market.
Day 1: Hanoi On arrival into Hanoi you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
Day 2: Hanoi Explore the charming city of Hanoi, often referred to as the 'Paris of the East', with its yellow ochre colonial buildings, tree-lined boulevards and scenic lakes. Visit the historic Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, an imposing monument of marble and granite built to house the preserved body of beloved Vietnam leader Ho Chi Minh, affectionately known to the Vietnamese as "Uncle Ho". Visit the One Pillar Pagoda, a Buddhist temple built in 1049 of wood in the shape of a lotus blossom and set on a single stone pillar. Continue on to Ho Chi Minh's House nearby, a simple wooden house in a tranquil setting where Ho Chi Minh lived and worked. Some of his belongings are on display and visitors can walk up the steps to see his bedroom. Next, visit the Temple of Literature, Vietnam's first national university built in the late 11th century. The picturesque temple is an example of well-preserved traditional Vietnamese architecture and is featured on the back of the 100,000 Vietnamese banknote.
After lunch at local restaurant, visit the fascinating Museum of Ethnology, which houses an extensive collection of traditional costumes and artefacts from Vietnam's 54 ethnic minority groups. Drive back to central Hanoi for a 1 hour cyclo tour through the famed Old Quarter known for its '36 streets of 36 wares' named after the original 36 artisan guilds that date as far back as the 13th century. Explore the fascinating maze of back streets, fronted by narrow houses known as 'tunnel' or 'tube' houses, built to avoid taxes based on the width of their frontage onto the street, a wonderfully eclectic glimpse into Hanoi street life. Conclude the day by watching an entertaining water puppet performance, a uniquely northern Vietnamese art form said to have originated in the flooded rice fields of the Red River Delta. The show uses colourful wooden puppets to depict scenes of rural life and episodes of national history set to music.
Day 3: Hanoi Travel to the photogenic Red River Delta village of Tho Ha via a 45 minute drive from Hanoi and a short ferry across the Cau River. The Red River Delta is an agriculturally rich area producing 20% of Vietnam's rice crop. Despite the increasing industrialisation of the area, the village of Tho Ha has remained mostly unaffected by modern development. A visit here presents an authentic portrait of a typical Vietnamese village with some of the homes dating back more than a century. Visit the 17th century Tho Ha Pagoda with its triple gate, belfry, and forecourt carved with dragons, clouds, and flowers. Enjoy a conversation with one of the local residents to gain insights into life in the village before returning to Hanoi.
Eating on the street is a very typical activity for Hanoians and makes up an important part of the city's unique culture. This evening take a leisurely walk with your tour guide to the Old Quarter as they give you an insight into street food in Hanoi. Stop first at a coffee shop to try the local brew, then spend the evening trying all sorts of traditional and popular dishes. Later head to Dong Xuan night market, well-known for all types of goods including souvenirs. Try your hand at bargaining for a good deal before heading off to Beer Corner to try a cold glass of Bia Hoi (fresh draft beer) like a local.
Day 4: Hanoi > Halong Bay Embark on a 3.5 hour drive to Halong Bay with a quick rest stop at Hong Ngoc Centre - the best place to stop and stretch your legs en route. On arrival in Halong Bay, board your deluxe junk, settle into your cabin and prepare your appetite for an enjoyable lunch on deck. Mid-afternoon you will visit the mysterious atmosphere of Tien Ong cave, adorned with stalactites and stalagmites, then continue to the Cua Van fishing village, the largest community on the bay. This will allow a closer look into the lives of local fishermen before you transfer to a bamboo boat and are rowed slowly through the village with a museum and a school among floating houses. Back on the boat, a cooking class is offered with the chef if you are interested. Enjoy sunset cocktails and canapes on the top deck before being served a wonderful dinner on board tonight.
Day 5: Halong Bay > Hanoi > Danang > Hoi An Wake up early and partake in a Tai Chi class held on the upper deck. Visit Soi Sim Island, where you can relax in the azure water of Halong Bay or climb up 200 steps for a panoramic view of the whole bay. Return to the boat and cruise towards the shore while brunch is served. Arrive at the jetty late morning and transfer back to Hanoi. En route visit Thanh Chuong Palace, the home and studio of Thanh Chuong, one of the most celebrated painters in Vietnam. An architectural gem showcasing Vietnamese traditional cultural objects and structures, it is a living space rather than a museum. Have lunch here before exploring the monuments at this fascinating location. Later, transfer to Hanoi for your flight to Danang, where you will be met and transferred to your hotel in Hoi An.
Day 6: Hoi An Between the 17th and 19th centuries, Hoi An was a prosperous trading port. Today, this World Heritage-listed ancient town boasts well-preserved buildings, pedestrianised streets and unique cuisine, allowing visitors a glimpse of its illustrious past. The narrow lanes are ideal for a guided walking tour. There is plenty to visit including the old merchant's houses with influences from Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese architecture; the 400 year old Japanese Covered Bridge; the Assembly Hall of the Chaozhou Chinese Congregation with outstanding wood carvings; and the colourful market with stalls brimming with local specialties including silk, which can be turned into fashionable garments within a day or two.
After lunch at local restaurant, your afternoon is dedicated to the lantern, a simple yet colourful item that is now an essential part of Hoi An culture. Lanterns here are hand-made by local artisans and are meant to bring good fortune. A recent revival of the art has been led by an experienced artisan who will give you a brief introduction to the history, shape, and colour of the lanterns as well as the stages of production. Try creating your own lantern and take it home as a souvenir.
Day 7: Hoi An Full day at leisure to relax on the beach or have clothes tailored in Hoi An Town.
Day 8: Hoi An > Danang > Hue Depart for a 3.5 hour drive over the Hai Van Pass and enjoy a spectacular panorama of the central coastline from its summit. Upon arrival in Danang, visit the Cham Museum, which is home to the best collection of the Cham ruins dating back to the 2nd to 15th century. The objects on display represent the architecture and sculptures of the Hindu-influenced ancient civilisation of Champa. A researcher on Cham sculptures and architecture will accompany you. Continue to Hue.
Day 9: Hue Hue served as an imperial capital to the Nguyen Lords, a feudal dynasty which reigned from the 17th to the 19th century. With splendid emperors' tombs, ancient pagodas and the remains of the Citadel, the city retains its royal charm. Start with a 10 minute cyclo ride from your hotel to the Imperial Citadel, a UNESCO listed site. Enter through the towering main gate and appreciate the magnificent architecture and gardens while your guide explains the events and the intrigue of the former royal court. Despite being bombed heavily, there are some incredibly well-preserved sections still intact and others which are being lovingly restored. From there, drive to Thien Mu pagoda, Hue's best-preserved religious monument. Standing on the riverbank with its seven-storey tower, the pagoda is a sight to behold. After lunch at a restaurant in ancient Hue, drive 30 minutes to the elaborate Khai Dinh Royal Tomb. Its architecture and atmosphere showcase elements of eastern art and western designs. Continue to the serene Tu Duc Royal Tomb, designed to blend in with its natural surroundings and built on principles of feng-shui. Transfer back to your hotel with an optional stop en route at an incense stick making house.
This evening, visit the former home of Princess Ngoc Son, a daughter of Emperor Dong Khanh - when she married, her father granted her the land to build a home. Today, it is one of the best garden houses in Hue and has been maintained largely in its original form. The present owner also has a fascinating collection of artifacts and mementos from the days of the former Royal Empire. Enjoy a meal of traditional Hue specialties prepared by the family at their historical home while you unearth Hue's fascinating past.
Day 10: Hue > Saigon Transfer to the airport for your flight to Saigon. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Later, discover the real Saigon like a local on the back of an old style vintage Vespa. Enjoy a ride behind your driver passing by the city's historic landmarks including the Opera House, Notre Dame Cathedral and Central Post Office, as well as heading to Chinatown to visit Francis Xavier Church and the Thien Hau pagoda.
Day 11: Saigon > Ben Tre > My Tho > Cho Lach This morning, depart for a 1.5 hour drive from Saigon to Ben Tre, situated in the Delta of the Mekong River. Upon arrival at Ham Luong river, board your private charming Mango Cruise. Your luggage will be brought to your cabin while you enjoy a refreshing welcome drink on the deck and meet the crew members. The cruise will take you to Phong Nam village in Giong Trom, where you will take a sampan boat through the small canals, covered in green by the water coconut plants. Stop at a local house to taste the tropical fruits and talk with the farmer. Visit the rice noodle factory before starting your bike trip around the village. Return to your boat to enjoy lunch before continuing to Thoi Loc village. On the way, visit a floating fish farm and experience the local river culture. In the evening, relax before enjoying your cooking demonstration and dinner. Overnight on board on the Upper River at Thoi Loc village.
Day 12: Thoi Loc > Cai Be > Saigon After breakfast, enjoy a leisurely cycling trip to explore Vung Liem town, visiting the Happy Buddha and Cao Dai Temples. Return to your boat for check-out and then transfer to Saigon airport for your onward flight.
• Tailor-made journey with English-speaking local guides • 9 nights' accommodation in deluxe hotels • 1 night aboard a luxury junk boat in Halong Bay • 1 night aboard the Mango Cruise on the Mekong Delta • Transfers and transportation • Sightseeing and entrance fees • Economy class airfares Hanoi > Danang and Hue > Saigon including airport tax • Boat trips as specified • 11 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 3 dinners
Pricing (per person) $NZD
Departs Daily. Itinerary also operates in reverse.
Daily. Itinerary also operates in reverse.
Booking conditions • Surcharges apply during TET Vietnamese New Year (February) and other public holidays
• Surcharges apply during TET Vietnamese New Year (February) and other public holidays