Culture and Coast

14 nights - £1800pp

This trip takes in the very best that Vietnam has to offer; from the stunning scenery of Halong Bay, the tribal land of the north and the capital of Hanoi to the beautiful coastline, shopping and architecture of Hoi An. It finishes in Saigon and promises to get under the skin of ‘Nam in just two weeks.

Day 1 - Welcome to Hanoi

Your private driver and English-speaking guide will give you a warm welcome when you land in Hanoi. They will then drive you through the bustling capital to your central hotel in the Old Quarter. where you can relax and enjoy the evening at your leisure. We love La Siesta Hotel in Hanoi’s Old Quarter – it’s one of our favourite boutique hideaways! (Deluxe room)

Day 2 - Discover a hidden Hanoi

Today you will explore Hanoi like a local; walk down the capital’s winding streets with a private walking, try local street food and have a local whipped coffee in a hidden coffee shop before exploring Hoa Lo Priosn where American and French POWs were once held and the Temple of Literature built in 1076. Finish your day walking down the city’s railway tracks and then stop for a home brewed beer, the renowned Bia Hoi.

Day 3 - 5 - The majestic Halong Bay

Today you will join your cruise companions in an air conditioned mini bus and travel four-hours east to Ha Long Bay, a beautiful emerald green bay pierced by hundreds of towering lush islets as far as the eye can see. Here you will embark on a wonderful two-night cruise. Treasure Junk is a wonderful boat as it takes a different route to the rest of the crowds on the bay. Breakfast, lunch and dinner is included each day, as is swimming and kayaking. On day five you will return to Hanoi for the night. (Superior Cabin).

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Day 6 - Explore rural Vietnam

After breakfast depart Hanoi with your private chauffeur and travel for about three hours southwest to Mai Chau, a picturesque river valley, which is home to colourful hill tribes. Take a stroll to the nearby White Tai hilltribe village where you can enjoy a freshly prepared local lunch before exploring further into the valley to visit more remote villages. At dusk, return to the lodge. We love the Mai Chau Eco Lodge for its superb location set among rice fields and misty mountains. (Deluxe Room)

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Day 7 - Off the beaten track

Today take the scenic paved road from Mai Chau to Paco, near the Laos border with North West Vietnam to hike around Pa Co, passing through Blue and Flower H’mong villages, surrounding mountain jungle and apricot and peach orchards. Continue walking to Hang Kia village to visit a traditional home and find out how the locals make their beautiful brocade for their impressive costumes. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, discovering the unique dishes of the area before returning to your lodge in Mai Chau.

Day 8 - From rice paddies to Hue

After breakfast, continue exploring the valley and enjoy the rich landscape and picturesque rice terraced fields. The highlight of this walk is experiencing the beauty of Pu Luong Nature Reserve and the everyday life and culture of the white Thai people. At about mid-day return to the lodge for lunch then take the three-hour drive back to Hanoi in time to catch your evening flight to Hue in central Vietnam, where you will check into the beautiful La Residence (superior river view room).

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Day 9 - Explore the imperial capital

This morning you will explore the ancient capital of Vietnam. The Forbidden Purple City, constructed under the Emperor Gia Long in the early 19th century, suffered during the Vietnam War but remains very significant. Afterwards, board a dragon boat and sail down the Perfume River to visit the striking Thien Mu Pagoda, then visit tombs of the emperors TuDuc and Khai Dinh. If time permits you can enjoy a short cyclo ride to Dong Ba market where you can buy traditional souvenirs.

Day 10 - Scenic drive to the quaint town of Hoi An

Take one of the most scenic journeys down the Vietnam coastline this morning, over a beautiful pass, and along miles of coast as you make your way from Hue to Hoi An by motorbike. You will be driven by experienced motorcyclists (or you can travel by car). We’ll make a day of it stopping for fabulous seafood, visit mountain caves and a fresh cool spring, before reaching Hoi An and checking into one of our favourite boutique hotels – Hoi An Chic, which is located in the rice paddies (deluxe chic room).

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Days 11 - 13 - Hoi An highlights

Take three full days to soak up this glorious beach town. Hoi An has it all; delicious cuisine, fabulous tailors and shopping and a beautiful beach just 4km away. We haven’t organised anything for you for these days so you can explore and sunbathe at your own pace (but do ask us about local excursions here including a fun fishing trip in traditional basket boats with local fishermen!)

Day 14 - Fly to Saigon and see the highlights

This morning fly to Saigon and take a fascinating private tour of the city. Visit the finest examples of French Colonial architecture in the city, explore Chinatown and its medicine museum before learning about the country’s tragic past at the War Remnants Museum. You will also have the chance to visit the Reunification Palace, former residence of the presidents of South Vietnam before 1975. Stay at the Majestic Hotel tonight (colonial pool view room).

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Day 15 - Goodbye 'Nam

This morning we will drive you to Ho Chi Minh City Airport by private chauffeur so that you can catch your international flight home.

DETAILS:

This itinerary costs from £1,800 per person B&B based on 2 sharing and including all private transfers but not international flights.

You can get flights from as little as £500 per person return and do ask us for advice. Alternatively we can book the flights for you but a booking fee may apply.

INCLUDED:

  • Prices start from £1,800 per person
  • Accommodation on B&B basis
  • Cruise has breakfast, lunch and dinner included
  • Private transfers (air-conditioned vehicle)
  • All entrance fees with service of English speaking guide for excursions
  • Lunch on Days 2, 6, 7, 8, 9 & 10
  • Dinner on Days 6 & 7
  • Internal flights (two)
  • Local taxes
  • All trips are ATOL protected or ABTA bonded to ensure you are fully covered