Essence of Vietnam: Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh

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    Wander through the busy streets of Hanoi

    Wander through the busy streets of Hanoi

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    Explore Hanoi's historic One Pillar Pagoda

    Visit One Pillar Pagoda, one of Hanoi's most iconic temples

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    Sit back as boat you cruise through the magnificent formations of Halong Bay

    Sit back as boat you cruise through the magnificent formations of Halong Bay

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    Take a walking tour of Hoi An
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    Take a day tour into the colourful Mekong Delta

    See the traditions of daily life along the Mekong River

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    Discover Ho Chi Minh City by scooter

    Dodge the many scooters of Ho Chi Minh City!

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    Experience a slower pace in the Mekong Delta region – and shop at a floating market!

    Visit the floating markets of Cai Be

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    Extend your time in Ho Chi Minh and discover this fascinating city

    Extend your time in Ho Chi Minh and discover this fascinating city

Trip ideas

Duration(in days): 8

From: Hanoi

To: Ho Chi Minh City



Exc. International flights (per person, based on 2 sharing)

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See more ideas for: Vietnam

    Distill the very essence of Vietnam and travel its length from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh on this week-long trip. Visit the temples and street food markets of Hanoi, cruise through the karst peaks of Halong Bay and wander the charming alleyways and back streets of Hoi An. Fly south to Ho Chi Minh City to discover the traditional daily life of those who live along the Mekong River before enjoying the historic museums of the city.

    Arriving in Hanoi you’ll be shown the sights of the city from the ancient Temple of Literature to the pretty architecture of the Old Quarter, packed with noodle houses and shops. Enjoying a cruise on Halong Bay is a classic Vietnamese experience and from the moment you sail away from the harbour you’ll be captivated by the towering karst formations and the emerald water as the traditional junk boat sails along.

    Fly down to Hoi An, where you can enjoy wandering through the pretty lantern-lit streets and stroll through the markets, picking up trinkets and lanterns to take home with you. Finally you’ll visit Ho Chi Minh City, a city of mopeds and big bowls of ‘pho’ (Vietnamese soup), where you’ll visit the museums and take a trip out to the Mekong Delta, to see how traditional life occurs along the river.

    This itinerary can be tailored to suit your requirements please contact one of our consultants to start planning your dream trip.


    • Visit the length of Vietnam from Hanoi in the north to Ho Chi Minh in the south
    • Cruise through the emerald waters and limestone peaks of Halong Bay
    • Wander the pretty streets of Hoi An
    • See the traditions of daily life along the Mekong River
    • Explore the French colonial architecture of Ho Chi Minh City


    Itinerary in brief:

    • 2 nights Hanoi
    • 1 night Halong Bay
    • 2 nights Hoi An
    • 2 nights Ho Chi Minh


    Day 1: Arrival in Hanoi

    On arrival into Hanoi Airport you will be greeted and taken by private transfer to your hotel in the city. After checking in you can spend the evening at your leisure, perhaps heading out for a dinner of traditional pork noodles in the Old Quarter.

    Day 2: Hanoi

    Today you will enjoy a tour of the city, stopping first at the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first university. This incredible institution functioned for over 700 years, educating Vietnam’s royalty, mandarins and members of the elite. Next you’ll see the One Pillar Pagoda, one of the city’s most iconic temples, before visiting the mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh, the historic father figure of modern day Vietnam.

    Later you’ll stroll past the West Lake before exploring some museums, either the Ethnology Museum which will teach you about the ethnic groups of Vietnam or the highly acclaimed Vietnam Women’s Museum. After exploring Hanoi’s Old Quarter which is packed with literally thousands of small businesses and traditional homes.

    Finish your day with a Water Puppet show; a pretty, North Vietnamese art form depicting scenes from local rural life.

    Day 3: Hanoi to Halong Bay

    After breakfast, you’ll leave Hanoi and be driven to Halong Bay, one of Vietnam’s most famous areas. On boarding your boat you’ll enjoy lunch and spend the afternoon relaxing on board, taking in the magical landscape as you sail through the green waters past the towering karst peaks.

    In the evening you’ll have dinner on board under the stars before spending the night on the boat.

    Day 4: Halong Bay to Hanoi to Hoi An

    The sun rising over Halong Bay is a beautiful sight to behold and this morning you can enjoy it before eating your breakfast as the boat cruises through the magnificent formations back towards the port. You’ll be transferred back to Hanoi to catch a flight to Danang, the gateway to Hoi An.

    On arrival in Danang you will be taken to Hoi An, a major Asian trading post in the 17th Century and one of the prettiest towns in the country, where colourful lantern stalls sit alongside the ancient buildings. This evening is yours to wander through the town, perhaps stopping for a classic Hoi An dinner of Cau Lau; a dish of crispy pork, thick noodles and handfuls of beansprouts and Vietnamese herbs.

    Day 5: Hoi An

    Today you’ll enjoy a morning walking tour of Hoi An, taking in the main sights including the 400 year old Japanese Covered Bridge which was built by the Japanese community before they returned to their homeland. You’ll also explore the colourful market, where you can purchase a whole range of items, from paper lanterns and fresh fruit to local pottery and a made to order tailored suit.

    The afternoon is yours to enjoy the city – why not try a cookery lesson and learn to whip a delicious Vietnamese dish? If you just want to relax, grab an iced coffee and just people watch as the city bustles along.

    Day 6: Hoi An to Ho Chi Minh City

    After breakfast you’ll be transferred back to Danang Airport for your flight to Ho Chi Minh City. When you arrive in the city you’ll visit some museums, either the War Remnants Museum, the History Museum or the former Presidential Palace.

    Strolling past the colonial sights of Ho Chi Minh City is a wonderful way to spend your first afternoon here – you’ll see the Old Saigon Post Office, the Opera House and City Hall, all examples of the old French architecture. In the evening, why not head out to try a bowl of pho, the famous noodle dish of Ho Chi Minh City, now eaten all over the world.

    Day 7: Mekong Delta

    The colourful floating market, the vast emerald rice fields and the lush waterways: these are the things that make Cai Be such a great day trip from Ho Chi Minh City. This morning you’ll leave the bustling city and drive 2 hours towards the delta town of Cai Be.

    On arrival you’ll board your cruise and visit the floating market, where fruit and vegetables are traded over the water before cruising to a cottage factory were rice paper and coconut candies are made. Along the way you can admire the scenery and daily life of the local villagers before eating a Mekong style lunch and returning to Ho Chi Minh City in the late afternoon.

    Day 8: Ho Chi Minh City Departure

    Although it’s your final day in Vietnam, there’s still time for a half day tour of the city, visiting Chinatown which is packed with markets and shops, as well as the Thien Hau Pagoda, dedicated to the goddess of the Sea. Vietnam’s traditional medicine museum is a fascinating place to explore – there are over 3,000 specimens relevant to the development of local medicine. Finally, explore the Ben Thanh Market before heading to the airport for your onwards flight.


    The climate in Vietnam varies dramatically depending on the region you are visiting and is incredibly diverse with weather ranging from snow and frost in the northern hills to tropical conditions in the south. There are two monsoons in Vietnam; the winter monsoon arrives between October and March and brings cold and wet winters to the north and dry and warm conditions in the south. From April to October the summer monsoon brings humid weather to the whole country apart from those regions sheltered by mountains. For the best balance we recommend visiting in either April, May or October.

    This itinerary is purely a suggestion, and can be tailor-made to your requirements, so please contact us with your dates and requests and we’ll put together a bespoke quotation for you.

    What's included
    • 7 nights accommodation (6 nights hotel, 1 night onboard boat)
    • Meals as mentioned
    • English or French speaking guide (for other languages supplements apply)
    • Tours and transfers as mentioned by private air conditioned vehicle
    • Boat trips as mentioned in the itinerary
    • Entrance fees for mentioned visits
    • Domestic flights
    Not included
    • Meals other than those mentioned
    • Serivces other than those mentioned
    • International and domestic Flights
    • Laundry, telephone calls and expenditure of a personal nature
    • Tips & gratuities