This trip takes in the very best that Vietnam has to offer; from the stunning scenery of Halong Bay, the tribal land of the north and the capital of Hanoi to the beautiful coastline, shopping and architecture of Hoi An. It promises to get under the skin of ‘Nam in just two weeks.
Hanoi - Halong Bay - Mai Chau - Hue - Hoi An
DAY 1 - WELCOME TO HANOI
Your private driver and English-speaking guide will give you a warm welcome when you land in Hanoi. They will then drive you through the bustling capital to your central hotel in the Old Quarter. where you can relax and enjoy the evening at your leisure. We love La Siesta Hotel in Hanoi’s Old Quarter – it’s one of our favourite boutique hideaways! (Deluxe room)
DAY 2 - DISCOVER A HIDDEN HANOI
Today you will explore Hanoi like a local; walk down the capital’s winding streets with a private walking, try local street food and have a local whipped coffee in a hidden coffee shop before exploring Hoa Lo Prison where American and French POWs were once held and the Temple of Literature built in 1076. Finish your day walking down the city’s railway tracks and then stop for a home brewed beer, the renowned Bia Hoi.
DAY 3 - THE MAJESTIC HALONG BAY
Today you will join your cruise companions in an air conditioned mini bus and travel four-hours east to Halong Bay, a beautiful emerald green bay pierced by hundreds of towering lush islets as far as the eye can see. Here you will embark on a wonderful overnight cruise. Treasure Junk is a wonderful boat as it takes a different route to the rest of the crowds on the bay. Breakfast, lunch and dinner is included, as is swimming and kayaking. (Superior Cabin).
DAY 4 - A MORNING IN HALONG BAY
Wake up amongst the majestic islets of Halong Bay and take a bamboo boat to visit secluded floating village surrounded by the mountains. Observe the floating houses and small rowing boats of another world before bidding farewell to the majestic Halong Bay at about 11.30am and travel back to Hanoi. Check back into La Siesta for the evening before your rural adventure!
DAY 5 - EXPLORE RURAL VIETNAM
After breakfast depart Hanoi with your private chauffeur and travel for about three hours southwest to Mai Chau, a picturesque river valley, which is home to colourful hill tribes. Take a stroll to the nearby White Thai hill tribe village where you can enjoy a freshly prepared local lunch before exploring further into the valley to visit more remote villages. At dusk, return to the lodge. We love the Mai Chau Eco Lodge for its superb location set among rice fields and misty mountains. (Deluxe Room)
DAY 6 - OFF THE BEATEN TRACK
Today take the scenic paved road from Mai Chau to Paco, near the Laos border with North West Vietnam to hike around Pa Co, passing through Blue and Flower H’mong villages, surrounding mountain jungle and apricot and peach orchards. Continue walking to Hang Kia village to visit a traditional home and find out how the locals make their beautiful brocade for their impressive costumes. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, discovering the unique dishes of the area before returning to your lodge in Mai Chau.
DAY 7 - FROM RICE PADDIES TO HOI AN
After breakfast, continue exploring the valley and enjoy the rich landscape and picturesque rice terraced fields. The highlight of this walk is experiencing the beauty of Pu Luong Nature Reserve and observing the culture of the white Thai people. Return to the lodge for lunch then take the three-hour drive back to Hanoi in time to catch your evening flight to Hoi An where you will check into your beach hotel – The Victoria (superior garden view room).
DAYS 8 - 11 - THE BEACH & UNESCO HERITAGE TOWN OF HOI AN
Take four full days to soak up this glorious beach town. Hoi An has it all; delicious cuisine, fabulous tailors and shopping and a beautiful beach just 4 km away. We haven’t organised anything for you for these days so you can explore and sunbathe at your own pace (but do ask us about local excursions here including a fun fishing trip in traditional basket boats with local fishermen!)
DAY 12 - FLY TO SAIGON FOR A FOODIE MOTORBIKE TOUR
At lunch time fly to Saigon and take the afternoon to marvel at the city’s marvellous skyline. This evening we will take you on a motorbike street food tour (you will be passengers with expert drivers) and there will be plenty of stops to sample some of the best and unique dishes to the city, finishing with an authentic Saigon streetwise barbecue, one of the most memorable meals of your trip. Stay at the Alagon d’Antique hotel tonight (deluxe window room).
DAY 13 - EXPLORE THE UNDERGROUND WAR TUNNELS
This morning you will be take a speedboat to the famous Cu Chi Tunnels, more than 200 km of tunnels were built here by the Vietnamese guerrillas, where they lived and fought during the American War. You can explore the bedrooms, meeting rooms, air-raid shelters, smokeless kitchens, and experience a unique underground world. The best bit? Not only to you travel in speedboat to avoid the city traffic but you arrive before all the other tourists! Afternoon is free at leisure.
DAY 14 - BON VOYAGE!
This morning we have planned nothing for you so you can relax at leisure until your international flight home when your driver and guide will collect you from the hotel and take you to Saigon Airport. Safe travels!