Day 1 HANOI ARRIVAL (D)
After your international flight, pass through immigration, collect your luggage and meet up with your guide who will travel with you through Northern and Central Vietnam. Transfer by private car to your hotel in the city center (about 40 minutes driving). Overnight in Hanoi. Free time to relax and to have dinner at the hotel.
Please note! Hotel check in time is from 14.00hrs.
Day 2 HANOI CITY TOUR (B/-/D)
After breakfast at the hotel, meet up with your guide who will take you around as you explore the capital city. Start from the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (from the outside), Ho Chi Minh’s simple house-on-stilts and the One-Pillar pagoda near Ba Dinh Square, where the most solemn ceremonies of Hanoi take place. Go on to the Temple of Literature, the first high school of Vietnam.
In the afternoon, enjoy a brief “cyclo” trip (similar to a cycle rickshaw) around Hanoi’s Old Quarters. Ride at the perfect pace to enjoy some of the 36 tree-shaded streets of this historic district named after the commodity produced and sold at each street, such as sugar, bamboo, leather or silver, etc. Afterwards, enjoy a fascinating show of Water Puppetry, the traditional stage art of Northern Vietnam.
Lunch at your own arrangement for more flexibility and dinner at local restaurant.
Day 3 HANOI – HALONG BAY (B/L/D)
After breakfast, check-out of the hotel and drive for about 3-4 hours to the coastline at Halong Bay, a Natural World Heritage Site as designated by UNESCO since 1994 and 2006. Subject to traffic and time, visit the Cultured Pearl Farm and shop before boarding your boat.
12:00 Arrive at the Gray Line Lobby for check-in (the port).
12:30 Enter your cruise via a private pier and being warmly welcomed by the crew. Enjoy welcome drinks, check in to your cabin and have a short briefing about the rest of the day and life on board the boat.
13:30 Have lunch while the cruise sails to Halong Bay and enjoy the scenery of hundreds of limestone islands with various shapes.
15:00 Drop anchor before taking a small boat to Luon Cave. Discover the area’s tranquility by kayaks or rowing boats.
16:00 Sail the short distance to Titov Island. There are various choices here – sunbath, swimming or conquering about 1000 steps up (25-30mins) to the peak to admire the panoramic view of Halong Bay.
17:30 Return to your boat to relax and watch the sunset before dinner.
19.30 Dinner will be served.
Lunch and dinner on board – Overnight on the boat.
Day 4 HALONG BAY – HANOI – NIGHT TRAIN TO DANANG (B/Brunch/D)
06:00 Waking up at dawn for sunrise over the islands in the bay.
07:00 Light breakfast will be served with cakes, bread, tea and coffee, etc.
07:45 A Small boat will collect you to visit the Surprising (Sung Sot) Cave, discovered in 1901. Walk up concrete steps to the cave entrance and along concrete and uneven paths inside the cave. After the rock formation and millions of years of water erosion, the cave now has hundreds of marvelous stalactites, stalagmites and grandeur stone chambers which are incomparable with any cave in the Gulf of Tonkin.
09:15 Return to the boat to freshen up and check-out of the cabins. Enjoy the scenery as you start sailing back to the mainland.
10:30 A buffet brunch will be served while the boat continuously cruises back.
11:30 Disembark from the boat and meet up with your driver and guide.
Visit the Cultured Pearl Farm and shop if not done on day 3. Drive back to Hanoi (3-4 hours) and check in to a small hotel in Hanoi for relaxing and refreshing yourself before going to a local restaurant for dinner.
After dinner, transfer to Hanoi station for your night train to Danang. Overnight on the train (a shared 4-soft berths – bunk beds). Snacks for the night journey could be bought at nearby mini-market or on board the train.
Vietnamese set menu dinner at local restaurant before train journey.
Day 5 DANANG – HOI AN ANCIENT TOWN (-/-/D)
Upon arrival in Danang station, you will be picked up by your private car where you will be transferred to have lunch at a local restaurant on route to Hoi An. (about 1-hour drive)
During the sightseeing in Hoi An, ride a bicycle to visit the highlights of the ancient town, including the market area, cultural and historical museum, the Japanese bridge and the Chinese assembly hall – (some walking and some cycling.) Watch the sunset over the Thu Bon River and see the streets lit up by the lanterns at night. Have dinner before cycling back to your hotel. Overnight in Hoi An with dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 6 HOI AN AT LEISURE (B)
Breakfast at hotel. A free day for you to enjoy Hoi An for additional exploration, sight-seeing – there are many cultural buildings to see in the town, shopping at the night market and in the many souvenir shops or just relaxing at a café over-looking the river
– Borrow a bicycle from the hotel for as long as you wish for the day (subject to availability)
– Take a sun set boat trip to admire the sunset on the Thu Bon river
– Visit the night market
Lunch and dinner on your own arrangement to give more flexibility
Day 7 HOI AN – DA NANG BEACH RELAX (B/-/D)
Drive from Hoi An to Danang. Check-in to the beach resort and have the rest of the day free to enjoy the beach and the resorts facilities (optional extras).
Dinner and overnight at the resort
Day 8 DA NANG BEACH RELAX (B/-/-)
Free day to relax, enjoy the sunshine and beach at Da Nang. Overnight in Da Nang.
Day 9 DA NANG – BACH MA NATIONAL PARK – HUE (B/L/D)
After breakfast, with a packed lunch, drive to Bach Ma National park (approx. 1.5 hours) where there are many good trails for birder watchers / nature lovers and for non-birders alike with several waterfalls and small lakes. Pass through the small village before arriving at the ticket office and entrance gate. Drive up through the tropical vegetation on the concrete road from sea level to about 1400m – depending on the weather, enjoy the views back down towards the coastline.
Walk to the summit tower / temple along the woodland paths (mud and paved – uneven in places) and back down through the woodland keeping an eye out for birds and insects. Enjoy your picnic lunch before more walking to visit waterfalls – enjoy the “Five Lakes” walk which involves walking down many steps before following the river, scrambling over rocks, holding on to a fixed rope, crossing the river (getting wet up to your knees) and climbing down wooden ladders – if you like a little bit of a adventure this is an enjoyable walk!
Optional extension to the walk of going down and back up 738 steep steps to see the 600ft high Do Quyen Waterfall. There are also alternative walks available. Return to your car and drive north to your hotel in Hue. Dinner at hotel in Hue.
Day 10 HUE SIGHTSEEING (B/-/-)
After breakfast, start your sightseeing in the town – being recognized by UNESCO as the 1st Cultural World Heritage for Vietnam, Hue is highlighted by the old royal architectural works and the most traditional Vietnamese lifestyle. Discover the charm of the city from the Royal Citadel, Forbidden City, Hue Royal Museum. In the afternoon, take a traditional dragon boat on the Perfume River, visit the well-known Thien Mu Pagoda, which is consecrated to the heavenly mother and rises directly on the riverbank and the mausoleum of King Minh Mang one of the most beautiful works of royal architecture in Vietnam.
Overnight in Hue and dinner at local restaurant.
Day 11 HUE – FLIGHT TO SAIGON (HO CHI MINH CITY) (B/-/D)
Breakfast at hotel. Time to relax before transferring to Phu Bai Airport for your flight to Saigon. Upon arrival, you will be greeted by your new tour guide for Southern Vietnam and transferred to hotel for check-in. Overnight in Saigon with dinner at the hotel.
Day 12 SAIGON CITY TOUR – CU CHI TUNNEL (B/-/D)
Breakfast at hotel. A busy day of sightseeing starts with a city tour. Visit the Reunification Palace, the witness of the fierce Vietnam War which ended in 1975 – the grand building today is a Museum. Nearby the Palace are the colonial-styled Post Office, built between 1877 and 1883 and Notre Dame Cathedral, two of the city’s major landmarks. Visit the Ben Thanh Market – a wholesale market, to intermingle with the local lifestyle and a good place for souvenir shopping. Also visit the War Remnants Museum (US military) which is interesting and sad.
Optional afternoon excursion – drive for about an hour to the Cu Chi Tunnels, an incredible underground network of tunnels constructed by Vietnamese guerrillas to protect the region against the American attacks during the Vietnam War. You can even crawl inside the tunnels (which have now been enlarged), visit the infirmary and kitchen to discover how people survived.
Return to Saigon to visit the Skydeck Tower for 360-degree views of the city and enjoy dinner with panoramic views of the city from the Eon 51 restaurant.
Overnight in Saigon.
Day 13 SAIGON – MEKONG DELTA – SAIGON (B/-/-)
Breakfast at hotel. Drive south for about 1.5 hours to My Tho enjoying the scenic journey along the way as the road is bordered by many green rice fields. Upon arrival in My Tho, visit Vinh Trang Pagoda seeing the large reclining and laughing Buddha. Take a leisurely boat ride along the river, view the stilt houses, fruit plantations and fishing villages along the riverbank. Then a boat ride to An Khanh – a less touristy attraction in Ben Tre – enjoy cruising on a hand-rowed sampan under the shadow of the water coconut trees along natural canals, before sampling seasonal fruit and honey tea to the sound of Southern Vietnamese folk music, performed by the local people.
Visit a family business which makes delicious coconut sweets and observe the pastoral life as you roam through the fruit plantation and village. Lunch at a local restaurant before taking a boat back across the Mekong river and driving back to Saigon for dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 14 CAT TIEN NATIONAL PARK (B/L/D)
After breakfast, check out of the hotel. Drive to Cat Tien national park (4 hours approx.) through lovely landscapes and villages. The landscape rises gradually via a volcanic area. Upon arrival at the park, say goodbye to your car as you cross the Dong Nai River on a small boat to the park centre and begin your wildlife experience. Check in to your accommodation.
Cat Tien is blessed with fantastic birds including green peafowl, orange-necked partridge, Siamese fire back pheasant, and numerous hornbills, broadbills, and babblers. After lunch, go on a nature walk where you will see many trees of different species that are hundreds of years old, plants, birds and butterflies. After sunset enjoy a jeep safari for animal spotting at night – if you are lucky you might see Indian Gaur, Sambar deer and owls.
Overnight in Cat Tien National Park – BASIC GOVERNMENT ACCOMMODATION
Vietnamese set menu lunch and dinner at park restaurant
Day 15 CAT TIEN NATIONAL PARK (B/L/D)
Start the day with a sunrise boat trip on the river for bird watching and enjoy the environment around you. Return to the lodge for breakfast before optional cycling along some of the park’s tracks, walking, relaxing, bird / butterfly watching. If you want to, drive 10km further inside the park to a junction where you turn off the main route and then trek for about 5km to Crocodile Lake Station. Along the route, (if you are lucky), see primates and birds such as Germain’s peacock-pheasant, bar-bellied pitta, orange-breasted trogon and red-and-black broadbill. You might also see gliding lizards along this trail as they cling to tree trunks and extend their dewlaps in territorial displays.
Vietnamese set menu lunch and dinner at the park restaurant
Day 16 CAT TIEN NATIONAL PARK – SAIGON (B/-/D)
Wake up to the sounds of the native birds. Breakfast at the restaurant in the park before an optional morning walk to Crocodile Lake if not done the day before or a bike ride along the forest tracks. Check out and leave Cat Tien National Park by river-crossing and meet up with your driver again. Drive back to Saigon. (4-hour drive approx.) – Overnight in Saigon with dinner at the hotel.
Day 17 SAIGON DEPARTURE (B)
Breakfast at hotel. Check out and depart to airport in time for your flight home or onward travel.
Please note! Hotel check out time is from 12.00