Vietnam: North to South
Day 1 – USA-Hanoi
Depart on your flights to Hanoi, Vietnam.
Day 2 – Hanoi
Arrive in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. Hanoi has sidewalk cafes, lakes, parks, villas and mansions. To begin your meandering, take a walking tour around the city’s lovely French Quarter, filled with artifacts from Vietnam’s colonial past.
Day 3 – Hanoi
Depart for a full day tour: Proceed to the historical monument which contains Ho Chi Minh’s tomb. The mausoleum is truly monumental, built of marble, granite and precious wood. Close by, you will see Ho Chi Minh’s house, as well as a famous pagoda built in the 11th century. Continue your tour of Hanoi, highlighting the restored Opera House, Temple of Literature and Hoa Lo Museum. Later, enjoy a traditional water puppet show followed by a cyclo tour and welcome dinner.
Day 4 – Hanoi-Halong Bay Cruise
Drive to Halong Bay, north of the city. This is considered the eighth wonder of the world. Three thousand spectacular chalk and limestone outcroppings, cliffs, arches and coves form a dragon’s tail across the bay. Board a traditional junk boat (pictured above) and cruise along the emerald green waters, exploring many islands and caves. Enjoy sunset on top of Titov Mountain followed by dinner. Overnight on-board.
Day 5 – Halong Bay Cruise-Hue
Optional kayaking is available for further exploration. Transfer to the airport in Hanoi for your flight to Hue. One of the country’s foremost cultural, religious and educational centers, Hue began its existence as the citadel of Phu Xuan in 1687. Visit two important Nguyen Dynasty tombs, the first belonging to Emperor Tu Duc. This site boasts traditional architecture, paved walkways and resting pavilions overlooking tranquil lotus ponds. In stark contrast, the tomb of Khai Dinh sports colonial architecture and its glass mosaic frieze dominates the interior.
Day 6 – Hue-Da Nang-Hoi An
Depart on a half-day tour with a boat cruise on the Perfume River to visit Thien Mu pagoda and Imperial Citadel. Afterwards, travel overland across spectacular Hai Van Pass to Da Nang with lunch en route. Da Nang was the center of the Cham Dynasty from the 2nd century and boasts the largest collection of Cham artifacts. Continue to Hoi An for the night.
Day 7 – Hoi An
Hoi An was cut off from outside influences by destroyed rail lines and today this gem is untouched by war and frozen in time. Visit the unique covered Japanese bridge, former merchant homes, temples and art galleries and absorb the atmosphere of one of the country’s most colorful marketplaces. In the afternoon, take a bike tour and get a unique glimpse into the lives of rural villagers.
Day 8 – Hoi An-Saigon
Depart on your flight to Saigon or also called Ho Chi Minh City. Begin a guided city tour. View the General Post Office (1886), City Hall and Notre Dame Cathedral. Next, see Reunification Palace, the War Remnants Museum, followed by lunch. Balance of the day is free to explore.
Day 9 – Saigon
After breakfast, begin a full day tour, visiting a Cao Dai Temple and Cu Chi tunnel. The Great Temple at Tay Ninh is the center of the Cao Dai religion. Then proceed to Cu Chi where you will visit the vast underground network of tunnels built as a defense against the French and later used in the American war. Return to Saigon for a free evening.
Day 10 – Saigon
Journey to the Mekong River town of Cai Be for a boat tour. Also see the floating market, where merchants’ items are displayed hanging from bamboo poles. Cruise to Vinh Long, then return to Saigon for a delicious farewell dinner at one of the best restaurants in town.
Day 11 – Depart
Board your return flight to the US.