Experience the sheer excitement of Vietnam in this all-encompassing two-week trip which takes in Hanoi, Halong Bay, Cat Ba Island, Hue, Hoi An, Saigon and the Mekong Delta. Walk past pagodas and temples in old Hanoi, kayak amid labyrinthine limestone outcrops in Halong Bay, bike past vibrant green rice paddies, investigate magnificent historic sites in Hue, stroll through the enchanting city of Hoi An and end your journey in the bustle of Saigon with an interesting side trip to the lush Mekong Delta, where scenes of local lifestyles can be observed with plenty of opportunity for interaction with the people.
This 12 day Vietnam family adventure tour can be reversed starting from Ho Chi Minh City and ending in Hanoi.
DAY 1: HANOI ARRIVAL
Arrive in Hanoi (Noi Bai airport), you will be welcomed and transferred to your hotel in downtown Hanoi for check-in (hotel rooms are available for mid-afternoon check-in).
Welcome drink and tour briefing.
The rest of the day is at your leisure to explore the tree-lined boulevards, French Indochinese architecture and tranquil lakes of this unique city.
Stay overnight in Hanoi.
DAY 2: HANOI CITY TOUR (B, L)
08h30 You will be picked up from your hotel lobby and depart for the city tour with visit to the One Pillar Pagoda, founded by King Ly Thai To in 1049. This structure is one of Vietnam’s most iconic temples. Close by is the mausoleum of the historic figure and father of modern Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh (viewed from outside; closed Mon and Fri and from Oct-Nov) and the former presidents house on stilts where he lived from 1958 to 1969, his former home illustrates the modesty of this Vietnamese revolutionary.
Continue your visit to the Temple of Literature – Vietnam’s first university, also referred to as Van Mieu, was established within a temple to educate Vietnam’s royalty, mandarins and members of the elite. The university functioned for an incredible 700 years and its gardens and well-preserved architecture offer a fascinating glimpse into Vietnam’s past.
Have lunch at the KOTO restaurant which is part of a program where street children can learn hospitality skills that will enable them to find employment. You can rest assured you are helping to improve lives as you eat your lunch today!
After lunch and break enjoy a relaxing cyclo* tour through the ancient “39 Streets” to discover amazing selection of shops in the Old Quarter; silk, silver, enamel bracelets and embroidery are among the best buys and the street names bear testimony to the business conducted there; Silk Street, Rice Street, Vermicelli Street, and even Boiled Fish Street! Some of the galleries boast the works of painters from all over Vietnam.
* “Cyclo” is three wheeled rickshaws, operated by pedal-power, with a seat attached to the front.
This evening you’ll make a visit to one of the water-puppet theatres to enjoy a performance of this fantastic art form – unique to Vietnam and best seen in Hanoi. The kids will be mesmerised! Return to your hotel where the full day trip ends.
Stay overnight in Hanoi.
DAY 3: HANOI – HALONG BAY, THE WORLD HERITAGE – OVERNIGHT ON BOARD (B, L, D)
Following breakfast leave Hanoi for a 3hr30mins drive to Halong Bay including a 20-minutes stop on the way. Arrive at your jetty in Halong City towards noon and proceed with check-in formalities. After your welcome onboard, a 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.
Stay overnight on board.
DAY 4: HALONG BAY – KAYAKING IN LAN HA BAY – CAT BA ISLAND (B, L, D)
Rising to the sound of lapping bay waters, we have time for an early morning dip followed by breakfast. Today, you would go further to other side of Halong by another boat, paddle and play in Lan Ha Bay then end up the day at a hotel in Cat Ba Island.
Along the cruising way, we go through famous Frog and Chop Stick Islands as well as Cua Van Floating Village or the Pearl farm to see real pearl cultivated by local fisherman (depending on each boat’s itinerary). Then it is your paddling time. Before making a very first stroke, our kayaking expert will show you all the useful techniques and safety guidelines to have fun on your kayak. As being guided, you will have a round trip paddling to different corners, passing fishing villages, beaches and lagoons. You can also swim or just relax.
Support boat will pick you up at the end of a kayaking route, and take you to Cat Ba Island. We will pass by Monkey Island before hitting Cat Ba.
Have dinner and stay overnight at hotel in Cat Ba Island.
DAY 5: CAT BA ISLAND – HANOI (B, L)
Have breakfast at hotel. Enjoy some visits and/ or activities (depending on each boat’s itinerary) or just spend some time relaxing on board/ or at hotel.
After lunch return to Hanoi (approx 3.5 hours).
Arrive at your hotel around 17h00.
Free at leisure for wandering around small and lively streets to see busy local market then join locals for green tea or coffee in local café or go shopping.
DAY 6: HANOI – HUE – HALF DAY HUE CITY TOUR (B, L)
Take early flight to Hue City (1hr10mins flight), the former capital of Vietnam in 17th, 18th century. Hue has been recognized a World Heritage Site by UNESCO thanks to its outstanding cultural and historical values.
Upon arrival you will be picked up and transferred to your hotel for check-in (hotel rooms are available for mid-afternoon check-in).
After lunch and break, embark on half day Hue city tour with a visit to the Imperial Citadel where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled between 1802 and 1945. 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.
Then depart for Thien Mu (Celestial Lady) Pagoda overlooking the Perfume River constructed in 1601, the 21-meter tower is the centerpiece of the pagoda and represents seven reincarnations of Buddha. On the pagoda grounds is the famous Austin car a resident monk drove to Saigon in 1963 to protest against the southern regime. The photo of his self immortalization is one of the most well known images of the war.
Before heading back to your hotel take time to stroll around Dong Ba Market – another of the must see sites in Hue, the stalls are teeming with color and a great place to catch a glimpse of everyday life.
Stay overnight in Hue.
DAY 7: HUE CITY TOUR – HOI AN (B, L)
Have breakfast at hotel then depart for the rural area of Hue, passing scenic villages and green rice fields to reach Emperor Minh Mang Tomb, one of the most beautiful Emperor’s tombs in Hue. The tomb is particularly impressive being extravagant complex of pavilions, temple, courtyards, and lakes. Journey on to Khai Dinh’s Tomb designed in traditional Vietnamese style with a European touch making it unique from the other tombs in Hue.
Back to your hotel for check-out. Lunch in local restaurant with local delights.
After lunch leave Hue for 3 hour road transfer 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. Drive through Danang and visit the Cham Museum, which contains the finest collection of Cham sculptures in the world before climbing over the Pass of Ocean Clouds and dropping down to the wonderfully photogenic fishing village of Lang Co. Arrive in Hoi An and check in your hotel.
Stay overnight in Hoi An.
DAY 8: HALF DAY HOI AN TOUR (B)
Have breakfast at hotel and take an interesting guided walking tour of the ancient town centre to visit former merchants’ houses, the 400 year-old Japanese Covered Bridge, a Chinese communal hall and the colorful market. Hoi An is a destination with two faces – the charming, old-world trading port of narrow streets and traditional houses, and the beach with its new resorts and long stretch of clean white sand. In keeping with Hoi An’s heritage as a trading port, the town’s tiny shop houses now host a range of craft shops and artisans including some of Asia’s best bespoke tailors. Despite the passing of 200 years and the ravages of weather and war, the centre of Hoi An remains much the same as it was in its heyday.
Return to your hotel where the half day trip ends.
The rest of your time is left free to relax in this beautiful area. You could take a taxi or make the easy five-kilometre bicycle ride through the rice paddies and shrimp ponds to Cua Dai beach. Alternatively Hoi An is one of the best places to shop for souvenirs, especially if you’re looking for t-shirts, paintings or ceramics. For those interested in getting clothes tailored, this is definitely the place to shop. Another good idea is to take a boat trip out to a village specialising in ceramics and boat-building (optional).
Stay overnight in Hoi An.
DAY 9: HOI AN – FLIGHT TO HO CHI MINH CITY & CITY TOUR (B, L)
Transfer to Danang airport (30km from Hoi An) after breakfast for the short flight to dynamic Ho Chi Minh City, still called Saigon by the locals (1.10 hour flight). Upon arrival in Tan Son Nhat Airport we transfer to our hotel downtown Saigon. The busy city of Saigon, used to be the capital of South Vietnam, is the biggest commercial and cultural centre of Vietnam.
Have lunch in a local restaurant then take an interesting city tour of Saigon with visit to the War Remnants where exhibition halls display imagery of both the French and ‘American’ wars or History Museum (choose which one you would most like to see) and the Reunification Hall, formerly known as the former Presidential Palace it was towards this modern building that North Vietnamese tanks seized on the morning of April 30 1975, as Saigon fell. This fascinating building is filled with history still fresh in the minds of many.
Stroll (your vehicle will be available at all times) to the major sights of colonial Ho Chi Minh City: the Old Saigon Post Office, Dong Khoi Street (formerly Rue Catinat), Continental Hotel, Opera House and City Hall.
Before heading back to your hotel visit Ben Thanh Market where an incredible display of fresh produce is offered. Simply stroll through the market exploring the variety of goods for sale.
Stay overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
DAY 10: HO CHI MINH CITY – MEKONG DELTA, CAI BE FLOATING MARKET (B, L)
This morning, leave bustling Ho Chi Minh for the 2 hour drive to the delta town of Cai Be. The local traditional wooden boats, vast emerald rice fields and lush back waterways; these are the things that make Cai Be such a desired destination.
On arrival board your boat for a cruise of Cai Be floating market. Traders work the river and some have been living on these waters for generations. Produce at the market are hung on a pole in front of boats to attract customers and make it easier for people to see from afar what is on offer. Immerse yourself in a world of lush vegetation from the Mekong Delta as you pick through the fascinating and lively market, watching buyers bargaining for produce.
After visiting the market continue to a cottage factory where ‘pop-rice’, rice paper and coconut candies are made. Return to the boat for the cruise to Tan Phong Island. Next, take a rowing boat along the maze of shady canals. Head for a local orchard to enjoy the local tropical fruits, and visit artisan workshops to see the handicraft producers of the village at work.
Break for lunch at an orchard garden. Lunch will be local Mekong style serving specialties of the area. Afterwards, you will ride bicycles to villages, sightseeing and soaking up the rural ambiance or enjoy cooking class. If you prefer to relax, you can laze in a hammock.
Following your cruise drive back to Ho Chi Minh City. Arrive at your hotel around 17h30.
Stay overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
DAY 11: HO CHI MINH CITY – FREE DAY (B)
Today is a well earned chance to cool off and let off some steam at the local water park. Great fun for all the family here as you ride the waterslides. The rest of the day is free to explore the city as you wish or take one of the optional excursions available.
Stay overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
DAY 12: HO CHI MINH DEPARTURE (B)
The day is at your leisure for last minute sight-seeing or shopping until your transfer to Tan Son Nhat Airport for your onward flight.
Your Vietnam family adventure ends.
If hotel and other travel arrangements are required, please contact us.
TOUR PRICES: Available upon Request
Rates vary frequently. Please contact us to get the best possible price based upon your travel period and specific touring needs.
Our services include:
– Full transportation by private air conditioned vehicle as tour program indicated (shared bus of 3 day Halong tour).
– All entrance fees as mentioned in the program.
– Boat trips as stated in above sights (shared boat of 3 day Halong tour).
– Sit-in kayak (double or single kayak depending on availability).
– All excursion trips and activities as tour program indicated.
– Water puppet show, and Cyclo.
– Local English-speaking guides (for other languages supplements apply).
– Meals as stated in the program (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner).
– Accommodation in shared twin or double bedded room with air-condition and private bathroom.
– Mineral water and chilled tissue served on trip.
– The written approval letter for a visa on arrival (single entry).
Our services exclude:
– Visa stamping fee on arrival (45 US$ per person).
– All air tickets not mentioned in the program and above quotation.
– Optional tours.
– Surcharges for other language guides.
– Personal travel insurance.
– Personal expenditure, such as drinks, souvenirs, laundry, camera fees, communications, postage, gratuities etc…
– Meals and services other than mentioned in the program.
– Drinks with meals.
– Early check-in and late check-out at hotels, if not mentioned in the program.
– Prices may vary according to your travel time and are higher in the high season, e.g. Christmas period (Dec 24-26), New Year period (Dec 31-Jan 02).
– For additional hotel night cost to the packages, please contact us for the rates.
– Domestic flights of Hanoi-Hue and Danang-Ho Chi Minh City can be arranged upon request (subject to availability at the time of final confirmation).
– This tour package can be fully customizable to fit your travel plan. You can also disregard full package tours and choose whatever travel items you need or a mix of private and group tours to minimize the cost. We can quote the tours you really want. Usually travel insurance is not covered in our quotations.
– Child definition: from age of 3 to 9 Years (usually enjoying 10%-20% discount. Contact us for the actual discount for your case). 10 Years old and above will be charged as Adult Price.
– All tours & transfers are all based in English Speaking local guides. For other languages, please contact us for new quotations.
– Itinerary Change to the confirmed itinerary may happen because of traffic, weather, or any other conditions not under our control such as war, strike, fire, acts of government, riot, etc. We will do our best to make sure that all the travel will be similar. Go Viet Travel can substitute the itinerary upon your agreement.
– Transportation and Restaurants: The cars, vans or coaches for the land transportation should be in good shape with air conditioner. All restaurants should be tidy and clean.