Covering an area of 331,698 km2, Vietnam, shaped like a letter S, is a narrow strip of land located in the center of Southeast Asia. The country itself looks like a dragon, a sinuous strip with 3260 km of coastline. The mountains occupy three quarters of its surface, the beaches are also ubiquitous without counting number of forests, some primary, sheltering a fauna and a flora precious, zones of altitude with temperate climate and original landscapes.
This trip will let you visit some of the most popular sites in Vietnam, spend relaxing time on a Luxury junk cruise on the legendary Ha Long Bay, discover the poetic city Hue & the ancient town Hoi An, experience the heart of the Mekong delta with its scenic floating markets. In this semi-aquatic world, you discover how life really is in around this majestic river.
Enjoy your holiday in Vietnam with this 8 – day trip and experience a real Vietnam by some amazing destinations you go through.
Quintessence of Vietnam – 8 Days 7 Nights
Arrive in Ho Chi Minh city and transfer to the hotel in town (note that hotel check-in time is 2pm).
Witness Ho Chi Minh City’s rich blend of Vietnamese traditions, Chinese influence and French colonial architecture. Join your guide and drive into the city, abuzz with scooters and bicycles. View the Reunification Palace, home of the president of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Continue past the soaring neo-Romanesque Notre Dame Cathedral, with its twin bell towers, and the elegant Central Post Office - a masterwork of Gothic, Renaissance and French styles.
Stop for photos at the Municipal Theater, which was modeled after the grand Opéra Garnier in Paris. In Chinatown, visit the richly ornamented Thien Hau Pagoda, passing through its red lantern–adorned courtyard to admire the exquisite woodwork and statuary of the incense-fragranced inner sanctum. Pass by Bình Tây Market, a colorful clothing marketplace, before stopping at a lacquer workshop. Here, you can witness skilled artisans at work and browse their finely crafted wares before returning to your hotel.
Overnight at Ho Chi Minh city.
Road transfer 140 km, approx.3 hours/ Boat trip & visits 3 hours
Immerse yourself in the rich agriculture and remarkable beauty of the Mekong Delta. This vast and fertile network of crisscrossing waterways leads to the South China Sea. Drive with your guide through the tranquil countryside to the small town of Cai Be, home to a bustling floating market and a French colonial-era Romanesque cathedral. Here, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant then embark a boat for a fascinating glimpse of life along Mekong River shores. Farmers and fishermen have earned a living here for generations, often living right on the water's edge in rustic homes. Visit with these delta residents and learn how they make traditional treats, including dried longans, rice pancakes and puffed rice candies. Sample these local favorites before continuing on through the narrow waterways lined by lush green orchards and canals. Afterward, the boat cruises toward Vinh Long. Disembark then you will return to Ho Chi Minh city.
Overnight at Ho Chi Minh city.
Flight 1 hour/ Road transfer 30 km, approx.3 quarters/ visits 2 hours
After early breakfast at hotel, be transferred to Tan Son Nhat airport for a short flight to Danang.
Drive through Danang and visit the Cham Museum.
Follow lunch, transfer 40-minutes to Hoi An, a major Asian trading port in the 17th and 18th centuries whose architecture and relaxed lifestyle has changed little over the years.
After checked in, discover Hoi An with a walking tour. Discover the charming, old-world trading port of narrow streets and traditional houses, former merchants’ homes, the town’s iconic 400-year old Japanese Covered Bridge and the colorful market where an array of fresh ingredients are on offer.
Check in hotel.
Where to have dinner in Hoi An:
Situated in an elegant traditional style building in the heart of Hoi An’s old town, Morning Glory offers ‘Street Food’ on the ground floor of the restaurant featuring Hoi An specialty foods. The upstairs balcony is perfect as the views are excellent over the street.
Secret garden is on one of the best addresses in Hoi An for traditional Vietnamese food. The location is in the middle of the old town down a hidden alley. Both the atmosphere and cuisine come highly recommended.
Located in the centre of Hoi An’s old town Mango Rooms serves original and creative cuisine that can only be described as Vietnam-Latin American-Japanese fusion. With a combination of refreshing flavours, beautiful presentations and a relaxing atmosphere Mango Rooms has one the heart of many loyal and happy customers.
More experimental than its sister restaurant Mango Rooms and with stunning views over the Thu Bon River and the Japanese Bridge, the food at Mango is exquisite and the fruit cocktails are to die for. Perfect for a pre dinner aperitif whilst watching the sun set over the Japanese Bridge.
Located near the Japanese Bridge and in a quiet street, Mai Fish offers simple but delicious Southern and Central Vietnam food. This is the 3rd restaurant of Chef Duc with Mango Mango and Mango Rooms.
Hoi An to Hue (150km): 3hrs
Follow breakfast, leave Hoi An for Hue, the former imperial capital of Vietnam. Its mesmerizing tombs and mausoleums of the last emperors of Vietnam reveal fascinating insights into the lives of the imperial families and their subjects. The ancient Citadel reflects the pomp and ceremony of the dynastic rulers as well as the scars of many years of turmoil, both ancient and modern. The Royal Citadel was badly damaged in the latter stages of the war but retains a sense of grace and majesty even today.
Lunch at a local restaurant for an authentic Hue style cuisine.
Continue to former emperor Minh Mang’s tomb located in a tranquil setting of gardens and ponds, inspired by the Chinese Confucianism, a harmonious design of balance and symmetry for the emperor’s resting place.
Overnight in Hue.
Flight 1 hour/ Road transfer 30 km, approx.3 quarters/ Boating & visits 4 hours
At 08:00 this morning, depart from the hotel in Hue for a city tour of the ancient town.
Start at Cau Da pier for a boat trip to visit Thien Mu (Celestial Lady) Pagoda overlooking the Perfume River; constructed in 1601, the 21-meter tall tower is the centerpiece of the pagoda and represents seven reincarnations of Buddha. In the grounds of the pagoda is the Austin car made famous when in 1963, a resident monk drove the vehicle to what was then Saigon to protest against the southern regime, the photo of his self - immolation was captured and was one of the most well-known images of the war.
Continue by coach to the Imperial Citadel. where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled between 1802 and 1945. Protecting the citadel are ramparts and a moat with fortifications to defend the city within. As you enter through the towering main gate, you will appreciate the magnificent architecture and colorful gardens within this imposing citadel. Stroll the grounds and picture how the royal family once lived in this exclusive residence. Despite being heavily bombed during the 1960s and 1970s, there are some incredibly well-preserved sections, while others are being lovingly restored. From here take a cyclo (45’) through Dai noi ‘Old City. End the cyclo trip at Dong Ba market – famous for its conical hat - for a short visit.
Transfer to Hue Airport after lunch for the short flight to Hanoi, one of the oldest capital cities in the world, and one that has held this title for more than 1,000 years. Despite several battles that have raged over the city, Hanoi has retained the charm of bygone eras.
Arrive in Hanoi and be welcomed by the guide and transfer to hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Overnight in Hanoi.
Hanoi to Ha long Bay (160km): 3hrs30mins
Ha Long Bay is home to about 2,000 limestone islands rising from the water to astonishing heights. Legend says they were created by dragons who breathed out jewels into the bay to prevent enemy ships from coming ashore. Embark on a scenic and serene cruise on an authentic junk through one of the world’s most magnificent landscapes. An overnight boat trip is the best way to enjoy this Vietnamese must-see.
Arrive at the jetty in Ha long City towards noon and proceed with check-in formalities. After a welcome onboard, lunch will be served while cruising towards the bay itself. In the afternoon, enjoy some visits and/or activities (depending on each boat’s itinerary) or just spend some time relaxing on board.
Towards the end of the day the boat sets anchor for the night among the karst formations. Dinner is served on board.
Overnight on Ha long Bay
Ha long Bay Hanoi to Hanoi (160km): 3hrs30mins/ Dinner with a local family
The sun rises on Ha long in the morning and breakfast is served (also brunch on some boats) while the vessels cruises slowly back towards port. Disembark and transfer back to Hanoi.
Gain a unique perspective into Vietnamese culture during a traditional homemade dinner prepared for you by a local family. Talk with your hosts and learn about the more intimate details of Vietnamese customs and traditions before returning to your hotel.
Departure day. Half day visit of the capital city of Hanoi until transfer to Noi Bai Int’l Airport for onward flight.
This morning, the tour starts at 08:00. Drive pass the historical Ba Dinh Square where Ho Chi Minh proclaimed the independence of Vietnam in 1945. Driver drops off at Lenin Garden – communal space of local for taking an easy walk through before strolling through areas where sewing shops have been in family hands for generations, and people still practice the old ways, or admire the daily life of local people in the alley of Hanoi.
Proceed to the millennia - old Temple of Literature and explore its role in the country’s past, as both a university and a temple. If interested, make a stop at the last courtyard where Vietnamese traditional instruments contribute to the oriental feel. For travelers who are musicians, opportunities to play some notes will present themselves, all under the guidance of the artists.
Afterward, visit the fascinating Ethnology Museum (closed Mondays), which is both a research center and a public museum exhibiting the ethnic groups of Vietnam.
Towards the end of the tour, stroll on a walk through Hanoi’s Old Quarter. Witness the ancient commercial street names, mirroring the crafts and businesses dating back over a thousand years.
Enjoy a delicious lunch at a local restaurant.
PM transfer to Noi Bai Int’l Airport for onward flight.