This is the ultimate private tour of Vietnam – perfect for those who have three weeks to spare and want to really get under the skin of the country. It travels from North to South and there is not much you won’t see – from the capital of Hanoi, mountainous Sapa and Halong Bay in the north – to Hue and Hoi An in the centre; it shows you the country in depth. The trip then finishes with an adventure in the south that includes Saigon, the Mekong Delta and the tropical island of Phu Quoc.
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 adore the Viethouse – it is everything a small boutique hotel should be – quirky and charming! (Deluxe Room, B&B).
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.
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. (Standard Cabin, B,L&D).
Rise early today to make the most of the short morning on board and visit a floating village in Halong Bay. You will return to Hanoi with your cruise companions and there will be time for dinner in town before catching the night train to Sapa in the north for your rural Vietnam adventure. First class sleeper tickets are included in the cost of this holiday – the train gets in very early and your guide will take you straight onto the activities below.
This morning you will be met by your guide and driver at Sapa Station and be driven to your luxury eco lodge for breakfast before beginning a day of trekking off the beaten track. You will walk through through splendid rice paddy terraces and hill sides with valley views – expect to see water buffalos, goats or mountain pigs – as well as tribal villages – on the way. After lunch you will visit Nam Cang village, renowned for some fo the most colourful and diverse costumes in Vietnam before checking into the scenic Topas Eco Lodge (exec bungalow).
This morning we will take you on a walk through rice paddy terrace sand over a river to the Red Dao village Lech Dao. Here you have your lunch on a hilltop, while enjoying the surrounding breathtaking views. After lunch, you can visit Ban Moi village, which is also inhabited by the Red Dao minority, before following hill trails up to the main road. Tonight you will catch the night train back to Hanoi. (Today includes about 5 hour’s walking but this is flexible based on fitness levels).
Your train arrives in Hanoi early this morning and you will catch an early flight to Hue. This afternoon you will take a private Hue Street Food Tour. Discovering the city by cyclo, you will cross over the historical bridge Trang Tien to visit Dong Ba market. Here you will be able to see a lot of the ingredients used in the local food before visiting picturesque sites of the city, stopping for plenty of street food stops! Tonight you will check into Eldora Hotel (Deluxe Room, B&B).
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.
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 private chauffeur (or motorbike if you prefer!) 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 Room, B&B).
We have left these two days completely free for you to soak up this glorious beach town at your own pace. 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 so you can explore and sunbathe as you please. If you would like to spend longer here on the beach just let us know and we can revise the itinerary.
This morning you will fly to the modern metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City (also known as Saigon). Here you will enjoy a city tour with a difference. With an expert guide, take a tour on a Vespa motorbike to see the highlights including French Colonial architecture, a colourful flower market, China town and the historic Opera House among other sights. Enjoy your evening at leisure – we love the kitsch decor at the historic Majestic Hotel, which has one of the best rooftop bars in the city. (Pool View Room, B&B).
This morning you will be driven to the famous Cu Chi Tunnels, More than 200 km of tunnels were built here by the Vietnamese guerrillas, where they lived and fought during the American War. You can explore the bedrooms, meeting rooms, air-raid shelters, smokeless kitchens, and experience a unique underground world. In the afternoon, visit the War Remnant Museum and the Reunification Palace in Saigon before enjoying the evening at leisure.
This morning, after an early breakfast, you will be driven to Cai Be in the Mekong Delta, where you will get on our charming shuttle boat to reach Mekong Lodge – your home for the night. After a slap-up lunch you will take a cycling tour to Tan Phong Island and visit the orchards. Tonight you can take part in a Vietnamese cooking class and learn how to cook the lodge’s signature dish before enjoying dinner at the lodge. (Lunch and dinner included).
This morning you will be rowed in a sampan to visit Cai Be floating market, before visiting handicraft villages and a market on land, to learn more about local life here. Later you will check out of the Lodge and be driven two hours further into the heart of the Mekong Delta to Can Tho, which is considered to be the capital of this region. You will check into the Victoria Can Tho Hotel where you can enjoy the night at leisure. (Superior Room, B&B)
This morning you will be driven to Can Tho Airport to take the short flight to the tropical island of Phu Quoc, in the gulf of Thailand (which belongs to Vietnam). We adore this little island, and challenge you to find calmer waters! Tonight you can check into Cassia Cottages, a sweet little selection of bungalows that are tucked in jungle-like gardens with direct beach access (modern premium room, B&B).
Take three full days to relax on this beautiful sun-kissed island. It is super chilled and in the evenings the restaurants string up lanterns and put candles on the tables that are dug into the sand, where you can laze away the hours eating incredible seafood and enjoying a cocktail or two. We don’t sy away from admitting this is probably our favourite beach destination in Vietnam.
This morning you will be driven to the island airport and fly to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), where you can catch your flight home. Bon voyage and safe travels!
This itinerary costs from £3,750 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.