Day 1 – Flying from the UK to Saigon
Depart the UK on an overnight flight to Saigon.
Day 2 – Arrival into Saigon
Arrive early morning. Be met by our English-speaking representative. At leisure in the hotel. Stay at Hotel Majestic Saigon for 3 nights with breakfast & lunch included.
Day 3 – Saigon
Morning walking tour of the largest city in Vietnam. Saigon is a melting pot of flavours with an amazing street food scene. Your local food expert will meet you before a short journey to Vuon Chuoi Market to sample freshly made rice cakes and chargrilled pork with noodles. Continue exploring the surrounding alleyways and observe local life and habits, including lunch. The afternoon city tour takes in some of Saigon’s most historic landmarks as well as insights into daily life of a Saigonese before returning to your hotel.
Day 4 – Mekong Delta
Early departure to Ben Tre and a full day of exploring life on the Mekong Delta River including villages surrounded by sprawling rice paddies, colourful fruit farms and lush gardens. Enjoy a motorboat excursion passing peaceful scenes of countryside living, then trade your boat for bicycle and a relaxing ride over easy, level terrain. Sample exotic fresh fruits followed by a ride on either a horse-drawn cart or tri-motorcycle through the lush surroundings before boarding a sampan for a ride along the narrow canals of the Mekong. Lunch of Mekong Delta specialties with a local before driving back to Saigon.
Day 5 – Saigon to Hoi An
Visit the Cu Chi tunnels with a Viet Cong veteran. Originally dug in 1948 and then used by the Viet Cong as hiding spots, they served as living quarters, communication and supply routes, and housed hospitals, food and weapons. Transfer to the airport and flight to Danang, upon arrival meet your guide and transfer to your hotel Hoi An, evening at leisure. Stay at Boutique Hoi An Resort for 2 nights on bed & breakfast basis.
Day 6 – Hoi An
Morning walking tour of Hoi An, this World Heritage ancient town is recognised for its well-preserved architecture, pedestrian-only streets and distinctive local cuisine, allowing visitors a glimpse of its illustrious past. Atmospheric sights include the 400-year-old Japanese Covered Bridge and the colourful market stalls brimming with local specialties including silk, which can be turned into fashionable garments within a day or two. In the afternoon enjoy a 40 minute scenic boat ride on the Thu Bon River to the Thanh Ha pottery village, and try your hand at pottery before driving back to Hoi An.
Day 7 – Hoi An to Hanoi
Transfer to Danang airport and take your flight to Hanoi. Upon arrival be met by your English-speaking guide, and transferred to your hotel. *Optional tours or afternoon and evening at leisure. Stay at Intercontinental Hanoi Westlake Hotel for 3 nights on a bed & breakfast basis.
Day 8 – Hanoi
Half day morning tour of Hanoi, with its ochre-coloured colonial buildings, tree-lined boulevards and scenic lakes, learn about daily life and visit the historic Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, tour the One Pillar Pagoda, a Buddhist temple built in 1049 of wood in the shape of a lotus blossom, Ho Chi Minh’s House followed by the Temple of Literature as featured on the back of the 100,000 Vietnamese dong banknote. In the afternoon take a street food tour of Hanoi’s best culinary spots, try local delicacies and listen to explanations of Vietnamese food practices. At the end of the tour, stop at one of the Old Quarter coffee shops for a well-earned coffee before transferring back to your hotel.
Day 9 – Ninh Binh
Depart Hanoi and drive to Trang An in Ninh Binh Province. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Trang An is famed for its spectacular landscape of limestone karst peaks, then visit Vietnam’s ancient capital of Hoa Lu and the temples of the Dinh and Le dynasties. After lunch continue to the Van Long Nature Reserve, the largest wetland natural reserve in the Red River Delta. Enjoy a two hour boat trip taking in stunning scenes of local villages dotted among the limestone karsts and caves. Bring along binoculars as you may encounter some rare langurs (monkeys) or birds. Return to Hanoi.
Day 10 – Halong Bay
Morning transfer to Halong Bay, covering an area of 168sq miles and including over 1,600 islands and islets, most of which are uninhabited and untouched. Halong (literally “where the dragon descends into the sea”) is world renowned for its spectacular seascape of limestone pillars complemented by its biodiversity and is home to 14 endemic floral species and 60 faunal species. Settle in on board your Indochina Sails cruise where lunch awaits on deck. Cruise through Halong Bay, passing the most beautiful and quiet areas including Incense Burner, Dog Stone Islet, Fighting Cock, Finger Islet. Continuing to Surprise Cave, one of the most spectacular and largest grottoes of Halong Bay. Return to the boat, sail for 30 minutes before anchoring overnight. Onboard on a full board basis.
Day 11 – Return to the UK
Start your day with gentle Tai Chi on the upper deck. Explore Titov Island noted for a beautiful crescent-shaped beach and a summit with panoramic views of Halong Bay (accessible via 420 steps). Spend some time swimming or relaxing on the beach, weather permitting. Return to the boat and enjoy breakfast on the way back to shore. Disembark and drive back to Hanoi. Transfer to the airport with your guide.