Highlights of Vietnam North to South

Highlights of Vietnam North to South
5 (100%) 9 votes
Highlights of Vietnam North to South
From Upon request
Duration 11 Days 10 Nights

TOUR INFORMATION

Explore Vietnam from north to south, getting a taste of the country’s diverse landscapes, intriguing history and rich culture. From the natural beauty of Halong Bay to the buzzing streets of Ho Chi Minh City, enjoy immersive tours to truly connect with the remarkable wonders of Vietnam.

What’s Included

  • Accommodation in a shared twin or shared double room
  • Meals as mentioned (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner)
  • English or French speaking guide
  • Tours and transfers as mentioned by private air conditioned vehicle
  • Entrance fees for mentioned visits
  • Boat trip as mentioned in the itinerary

What’s Not Included

  • Other meals than mentioned
  • Other services than mentioned
  • International and domestic Flights
  • Laundry, telephone calls and expenditure of a personal nature
  • Tips, Travel insurance

TOUR MAP

ITINERARY BY DAY

DAY 1 – HANOI ARRIVAL

Upon arrival to Hanoi, our guide and driver will be waiting to provide transport to the hotel for check in. After checking in, enjoy the remainder of the day free at leisure.

Overnight in Hanoi.

DAY 2 – HANOI CITY TOUR

Begin the first full day of the trip with a tour of Hanoi. Depart from the hotel at 08:30 for a visit to Vietnam’s first university: the Temple of Literature. Founded in 1076, Quoc Tu Giam was established within a temple to educate Vietnam’s royalty, mandarins and members of the elite.

Continue with a visit to the iconic One Pillar Pagoda, one of Vietnam’s most iconic temples. Nearby is the mausoleum of the historic father figure of modern Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh, and his modest house on stilts. (Sites are viewed from outside; closed Mon and Fri and from Oct-Nov)

Wrap up the morning with a visit to the picturesque West Lake and its sixth century Tran Quoc Buddhist Pagoda. From here transfer (or stroll along the lakeside) 700 meters to the nearby Taoist temple of Quan Thanh dedicated to Tran Vu, one of the principal deities in Taoism.

This afternoon visit the fascinating Ethnology Museum (closed Mondays), which is both a research centre and a public museum exhibiting the ethnic groups of Vietnam. As an alternative to the Ethnology Museum, visit the highly acclaimed Vietnam Women’s Museum. The museum is located near Hoan Kiem Lake and helps explain the significant role Vietnamese women play in Vietnamese society.

At the end of the afternoon visit Hanoi’s Old Quarter. Take a walking tour through charming Hang Be Market and around Hoan Kiem Lake, home to literally thousands of small businesses and shops. Finish the day with a Water Puppet show, a uniquely northern Vietnamese art form depicting scenes from rural life and episodes of national history.

Overnight in Hanoi.

DAY 3 – HANOI – NINH BINH

Depart from the hotel early this morning for a 2-hour drive through rural northern Vietnam to the site of Vietnam’s first capital, Hoa Lu. Visit the temples dedicated to Emperor Dinh Tien Hoang of the Dinh Dynasty (968-80) and Emperor Le Dai Hanh of the Le Dynasty (980-1009). If time permits after visiting Hoa Lu, take a half-hour walk up one of the surrounding limestone karst hills, boasting spectacular views.

In the late morning, depart for a traditional Vietnamese lunch in Tam Coc. Along the way stop to take photographs of local villages and the stunning landscape.

After lunch, board a private sampan (see options for Tam Coc sampan trip below). As the boat gently slices through the water, take note of the enormous limestone karsts jutting out from the green rice fields giving rise to the area’s nickname, ‘Halong on Land’.

The adventurous sort can have the option of climbing up Bich Dong Pagoda on nearby Ngu Nhac Mountain. Dating to 1428, it is comprised of three structures: Ha, Trung, and Thuong Pagodas. Return by sampan to Tam Coc town before returning to Hanoi.

Option 1: Trang An Boat Option (in place of Tam Coc): Trang An is a less visited nature reserve illustrated by limestone hills and a peaceful river passing through a series of caves (one of which takes 15-minutes to pass through in darkness). An ‘eco tourism’ area, the only interruptions here are the sound of birds and the gentle paddle of the oar upon the crystal clear river.

Option 2: Thung Nang Boat Option (in replace of Tam Coc): Thung Nang is another less-visited area that is similar in style to Tam Coc. Pass through a cave, fields of lotus (in summer) and reach a quaint pagoda before returning on the same route.

Overnight in Hanoi.

DAY 4 – HANOI – HALONG BAY

After breakfast in Hanoi, depart for the 3hr 30mins drive to Halong Bay.

Arrive to the Halong City jetty (around noon) and proceed with check in formalities. After a welcome on board, lunch will be served while cruising towards the bay. In the afternoon, enjoy some sightseeing, on-board 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.

Overnight on Halong Bay.

DAY 5 – HALONG BAY – DANANG – HOI AN

Early risers can enjoy an unforgettable sunrise over Halong, with breakfast served shortly thereafter. Enjoy breakfast (or brunch on some boats) while the vessels cruises slowly back towards port. Disembark and our guide and driver will be waiting to provide transport to either Hanoi or Haiphong.

En route to the airport, visit Thanh Chuong Palace, the home and studio of Thanh Chuong, of the most celebrated painters in Vietnam. More a living space than a museum, the Palace is an architectural gem showcasing Vietnamese traditional cultural objects, exquisite antiques and remarkable structures.

After the visit, head to the airport for the quick flight south to the central city of Danang. Upon arrival to Danang, our guide and driver will be waiting to provide transport to the town of Hoi An, about 40 minutes south. A major Asian trading port in the 17th and 18th centuries, Hoi An’s architecture and relaxed lifestyle has changed little over the centuries.

Overnight in Hoi An.

DAY 6 – HOI AN – MY SON

Begin Day 6 with a half day to visit the capital and religious centre of the former Champa Kingdom, My Son. Located 40km southwest of Hoi An in a lush green valley, My Son is home to dozens of red brick towers and sanctuaries dating between the 7th and 13th centuries. After a morning of exploration, head back to Hoi An, stopping for a visit to Tra Kieu, the capital of Champa between the 4th and 8th centuries. Some of the finest sculptures in Danang’s Cham Museum originated from here.

Upon returning to Hoi An, take a 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. After the tour, enjoy some time at leisure exploring the old town.

Overnight in Hoi An.

DAY 7 – HOI AN – HUE

Enjoy this morning at leisure before leaving Hoi An for Hue, the former imperial capital of Vietnam. Its mesmerizing tombs and mausoleums of the last emperors of Vietnam reveal fascinating insights into the lives of the imperial families and their subjects. 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.

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. Continue one hour to the city of Hue.

Overnight in Hue.

DAY 8 – HUE CITY TOUR

Begin the day’s explorations with an 08:30 departure from the hotel in Hue. Start the tour at the Imperial Citadel where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled between 1802 and 1945. From here take a cyclo through dai noi ‘Old City’ to Tinh Tam Lake where the Emperors used to come to relax. The lake is full of lotus flowers in the summer and there are many local style coffee shops around the lake, perfect for soaking in the local scene.

Next, pay a visit to the Thien Mu 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-immolation is one of the most well-known images of the war.

Continue to former emperor Minh Mang’s tomb located in a tranquil setting of gardens and ponds. Afterwards, 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.

Before heading back to the hotel, take time to stroll around Dong Ba Market with the guide. The market is another of the must see sites in Hue, with stalls teeming with color and life.

Overnight in Hue.

DAY 9 – HUE – HO CHI MINH CITY

After breakfast, transfer to Hue Airport for the flight south to Ho Chi Minh City. Upon arrival, check in and take a short rest before embarking on a city tour. Begin the tour with a visit to Cholon, the Chinatown district of Ho Chi Minh City. Discover the area’s markets, shops and the Cantonese Thien Hau Pagoda. Next pay a visit to Vietnam’s first traditional medicine museum, the FITO Museum, with an amazing collection of 3,000 items relevant to the development of traditional Vietnamese medicine. Implements used to prepare indigenous herbs and objects commonly found in traditional pharmacies can be seen in the galleries as well as ancient books and documents on traditional Vietnamese medicine.

Head back to the city centre to visit Ben Thanh Market, where an incredible display of fresh produce is offered. Enjoy a stroll through the market exploring the variety of goods for sale.

This afternoon visit the War Remnants or History Museum (personal preference) and the former Presidential Palace. From the Palace, stroll 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 (guide and driver will be available at all times).
At the end of the afternoon head back to the hotel.

Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
Note: History Museum is closed on Mondays.

DAY 10 – HO CHI MINH CITY – MEKONG DELTA

Begin this day with a departure from bustling Ho Chi Minh City for the 2 hour drive to the delta town of Cai Be.

Upon arrival, board a local vessel for the day’s cruise through the Delta. Start the journey by passing by Cai Be’s floating market, once a busy place to trade fruits and vegetables and nowadays a more quiet market.

Continue to a cottage factory where ‘pop-rice’, rice paper and coconut candies are made. Return to the boat for the cruise to Dong Hoa Hiep Island, admiring the scenery and daily life along the way. Lunch will be served local Mekong style featuring specialties of the area. Return to Ho Chi Minh City in the late afternoon with the rest of the day free at leisure.

Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.

DAY 11 – HO CHI MINH CITY DEPARTURE

Enjoy the morning at leisure until transport (provided) to the airport for the departing flight.

TOUR NOTES

Note: we only run private and customizable tours

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  1. Joseph Van Joseph Van says:

    Highlights of Vietnam North to South Tour – 11 Days

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