“This compact tour of cities, rivers and rice paddies is about understanding the culture and customs of the Vietnamese - you will learn from the locals and not a guidebook.”
HighlightsHanoi | Halong Bay river cruise | Evening Water Puppets performance | Overnight sleeper train | Hue | Historic Hoi An | Ho Chi Minh City
Description of Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh holiday in VietnamOver the course of ten days on tour, Vietnam starts to open up before your very eyes with the hectic streets of Hanoi morphing into the ancient heritage monuments of Hue and Hoi An prior to the all too recent reminders of the past that you'll find in Ho Chi Minh City.
Overnight train rides from Hanoi to Hue and boat cruises in Halong Bay add a touch of adventure to tours Vietnam with the domestic flight from Danang to Ho Chi Minh allowing travellers to experience the country from top to tail without having to spend too much time away from home.
As you'd hope from a destination for a ten day holiday, Vietnam presents a remarkable array of contrasts with French café culture and colonial architecture just as prevalent as sandy coves and limestone karst monoliths jutting out of clear blue waters.
This Vietnam tour is a fantastic introduction to the cosmopolitan cities and sublime scenery of Southeast Asia with friendly locals adding to a bewildering blend of fun activities and cultural enlightenment to sow the seeds for future travels for many more years to come.
Responsible tourism: Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh holiday in Vietnam
Each traveller on this trip is given a gift of a Responsible Traveller cloth bag made by disadvantaged children from Central Vietnam. This bag is designed to combat the increasingly prevalent problem of plastic bag pollution disrupting the various marine and land habitats of Vietnam.
Your group leader and the local guides we use along the way will help to break down barriers in your interactions with local people. In addition, we travel by some local transport to facilitate and encourage interaction with the local population. In the Mekong Delta, we visit a local garden restaurant, in the heart of the Delta, where you can sample some of the regional specialities such as the famous elephant ear fish. We board small rowing boats, sampans, and paddle through the many mangrove tributaries to visit small villages and meet with the friendly locals.
Your leader will explain the range of projects we support in Vietnam, and in Hanoi, we visit one of these projects - KOTO, a restaurant dedicated to training street kids and disadvantaged youth in skills for the hospitality industry. At the end of our journey, travelers may donate any unwanted clothing, medicine and bandages, which are distributed to appropriate local charities.
© Copyright images: Chris Shervey; Scott Howard; Jennifer Broomhall; Dean Pemberton
|Day 1:||Hanoi. Welcome to Vietnam. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. We'll be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you bring these details to provide to your leader.
If you arrive early into the capital of Hanoi, there’s plenty to see and do. Consider booking the Hanoi Highlights Urban Adventure with an expert local guide to introduce you to the city. Start by visiting the Temple of Literature, drop into a traditional tea house, and learn the stories of the Hoa Lo Prison museum. This tour concludes at Hoan Kiem Lake, surrounded by modern office buildings and ancient Buddhist temples. Or take it at your own pace and wander the Old Quarter and admire the city’s French-colonial architecture, relax in a park, or enjoy some street food.|
|Day 2:||Halong Bay. Travel by private minibus to the spectacular World Heritage site of Halong Bay in the Gulf of Tonkin (approximately four hours). The bay is dotted with sandy coves, grottos and 1,600 limestone islands, which have been formed over millennia by wind and water erosion. Board a private boat and cruise the bay, exploring island caves and perhaps even enjoying a swim from Ti Top Island Beach during the warmer months. To end the day, spend a peaceful night aboard the boat beneath the night sky.
Your wooden junk-style boat has twin share cabins with air-conditioning and private facilities. There's also a dining room and bar to enjoy lunch, dinner and breakfast.|
|Day 3:||Hanoi / Overnight Train. Return by boat to Ha Long, and at approximately midday travel by bus back to Hanoi. Arrive late this afternoon, and use free time to shop, explore the sights or just relax. Later tonight board an overnight train to Hue.|
|Day 4:||Hue. Arrive into Hue at approximately 11 am and transfer to the hotel.
Once the imperial capital of Vietnam, Hue holds the treasures of the country’s royal past. You’ll have free time in the morning to rest or explore. The bustling Dong Ba Market is a great place to sample some of the foods that once graced the Nguyen emperors' tables, such as banh khoai (royal rice cake). Reunite with the group to visit the war-damaged ruins of the Hue Imperial Citadel complex, which once contained temples, state houses and the emperor’s palace.|
|Day 5:||Hue. Today, tour the sights of Hue on the back of a motorbike driven by a local guide. Explore the ruins of the Forbidden Purple City, once reserved for the personal use of the Emperor and his concubines, but almost totally destroyed during the Vietnam/American War. Visit the 17th-century active Buddhist monastery of Thien Mu Pagoda. During the visit you’ll see the car of a former monk who drove to Saigon in 1963 to set himself alight to protest the poor treatment of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese regime.
Enjoy a short boat cruise down the Perfume River before eating lunch inside a nunnery. Finally, visit the lakeside royal tomb of Emperor Tu Duc before heading back to Hue.|
|Day 6:||Hoi An. This morning travel by bus through coastal rice paddies and the spectacular Hai Van Pass. After a brief visit to Lang Co Beach, arrive into Hoi An. Recently declared a World Heritage site, Hoi An was a major international trading port during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Today, parts of the beautifully preserved town retain the feel of centuries past. It's also a shopping mecca, famous for its plethora of tailors. On arrival your leader will take you on a sightseeing walk through the Old Town and visit a handful of the city's major attractions. You’ll will also be given a sightseeing pass so you can further explore select attractions at your leisure.|
|Day 7:||Hoi An. Today is a free day to explore Hoi An. Browse the town’s cobbled streets and art galleries, or hire a bike and cycle through rice paddies out to Cua Dai Beach. Shop for paintings, ceramics and colourful cloth lanterns in the town’s markets and preserved Chinese shop houses. Perhaps visit one of the hundreds of tailors in the city to get something special made. Hoi An is also known for its delicious regional food, so be sure to enjoy a meal at a riverside restaurant or perhaps partake in a cooking class.|
|Day 8:||Ho Chi Minh City. Today take a short early morning flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City has a fascinating history and is arguably Vietnam’s capital of commerce and culture. After landing, check in to your hotel and then take a sightseeing bus tour around the city. Pass the Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Opera House, stopping in at the War Remnants Museum to discover some of the sobering stories of the Vietnam/American War.|
|Day 9:||Mekong Delta/Ho Chi Minh City. This morning head out on a day trip to explore the Mekong Delta. Board a boat to Ben Tre to visit a coconut candy factory and sample their sweet products. On a tuk-tuk tour around the remote village, learn about local rural life and stop to sample tropical fruits. Eat lunch at a restaurant in the heart of the delta, sampling regional specialties such as the famous Elephant Ear fish. Afterwards, paddle in sampans (small rowing boats) past water coconut trees along the Mekong, and then board a private boat to cruise the delta’s major waterways to My Tho. After the cruise return via bus to Ho Chi Minh City.
Enjoy a final group dinner at KOTO restaurant, an organisation dedicated to developing the hospitality careers of street kids.|
|Day 10:||Ho Chi Minh City. Your trip ends after breakfast today. There are no activities included and you’re free to depart your accommodation at any time. For those who are staying on and want to explore Ho Chi Minh City further, check out our Urban Adventure day trips.|
All tour descriptions and conditions are given in accordance with the information of Responsible Travel