Day 1: Ha Noi arrival
Day 2: Ha Noi city tour
Day 3: Ha Noi – Ha Long bay cruise
Day 4: Ha Long bay – Da Nang
Day 5: Hoi An
Day 6: Hoi An – Nha Trang
Day 7: Nha Trang
Day 8: Nha Trang with full of activities
Day 9: Nha Trang – Ho Chi Minh
Day 10: Cu Chi tunnel
Day 11: Ho Chi Minh – Mekong delta
Day 12: Mekong delta – Ho Chi Minh city
Day 13: Ho Chi Minh city
Day 14: Ho Chi Minh departure
Day 1: Ha Noi arrival
The day is free to recover from the flight or stroll among broad tree-lined avenues dating from the French period. There is a faded colonial charm where baguettes and good coffee are sold from doorways of grand buildings of a past era. There will be a welcome briefing this evening with your leader followed by an optional dinner at a local restaurant, where your children will have their first opportunity to practice their chopsticks skills.
Day 2: Ha Noi city tour (B,L)
This morning we take a city tour, which will include a visit to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum area to see his House on Stilts and visit the One Pillar Pagoda. We’ll also visit the Temple of Literature and the Hoa Lo Prison (also known as the Hanoi Hilton). Afterwards we enjoy a cyclo (bicycle taxi) ride through the Old Quarter, with its 36 Streets, where each street is named for the products sold on it, such as Silk Street, Gold Street, Paper Street and Souvenir Street. The remainder of the day is at leisure to stroll around the Hoan Kiem Lake, stopping for a coffee or ice cream at one of the many cafes surrounding it. In the evening there is the option to enjoy a performance of Hanoi’s famous water puppets.
Day 3: Ha Noi – Ha Long bay cruise (B,L,D)
We make an early start for the approximate four-hour journey to Halong Bay. This is one of the most stunningly beautiful sights in Southeast Asia with roughly 3,000 limestone peaks rising directly from the clear emerald sea. We cruise among this amazing karst scenery, stopping to have a go at kayaking, allowing us to get to places inaccessible by boat (weather permitting), and enjoy a seafood lunch on board. In the late afternoon, we watch the sun go down and enjoy another lovely meal before overnighting on the boat in twin share cabins with en suite facilities.
Day 4: Ha Long bay – Da Nang (B,L)
We continue to cruise around Halong Bay this morning before returning to port. We then drive back to Hanoi, and transfer to the airport for a flight to Da Nang (approximately 1hr 30min). Upon arrival in Da Nang, the group will take a short transfer (approximately 45 minutes) and check in to our hotel in Hoi An and relax.
Day 5: Hoi An (B,L)
After breakfast, the group will enjoy a walking tour of the old town of Hoi An; a World Heritage site and the original European trading port in Vietnam dating back to the mid-16th century. It is now a living museum, with attractive wooden merchant’s houses and pagoda-style temples with Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and European architectural influences. The afternoon is free for you to discover this marvellous place and to wander around at leisure and enjoy the thriving riverside market. In the evening we join an informal cooking class where adults and children alike will learn how to make some of Hoi An’s speciality dishes and even participate in rolling your own spring rolls.
Day 6: Hoi An – Nha Trang (B)
This morning we jump on bikes for a ride on quiet roads through the countryside past local markets, schools and villages before continuing on to Cua Dai beach (5km). Please note that we are able to provide child sized bikes for those children who are 120cm and taller. The afternoon is dedicated to free time at the beach for swimming, or you can take an optional boat trip on the river or relax back in town. Later this evening, we transfer (approximately 45 minutes) to Da Nang Train Station where we board an overnight train to Nha Trang. The group will have use of day rooms at our hotel in Hoi An until 6pm for anyone who would wish to freshen up before the overnight train.
Day 7: Nha Trang (B)
This morning upon arrival in Nha Trang, we will have breakfast and then transfer (approximately three hours) to the tropical island retreat of Whale Island. With just one guesthouse on the island and accommodation in beach bungalows, this really is a chance to unwind and relax or while away the rest of the day swimming in the sea.
Day 8: Nha Trang with full of activities (B,L)
We will join a boat trip in the morning for a spot of snorkelling and swimming before a seafood lunch is served. In the afternoon there is the option to visit a local fishing village, see the Whale temple or walk around the island to the viewpoint for a 360-degree view of the stunning mountainous coastline and the surrounding coves and white sand beaches.
Day 9: Nha Trang – Ho Chi Minh (B)
Depending on flight schedules, there may be time for one last dip in the sea before transferring to the airport for our flight to Ho Chi Minh City, previously known as Saigon. This is an exciting and absorbing city where scooters pack the streets and temples stand defiantly alongside modern developments. Devastated by the Vietnam War, it is now a bustling free market city where anything goes.
Day 10: Cu Chi tunnel (B)
In the morning we visit the famous Cu Chi Tunnels used by the Viet Cong during the war the network covers three levels and approximately 240km of tunnels. The tunnels were used by the guerrillas as living quarters and escape routes during the Vietnam War. Although originally very narrow, some parts have been widened for the tourists and we have the opportunity to explore parts of the system. People with claustrophobia may prefer to stay outside in the sunshine before we return to Ho Chi Minh City. In the afternoon we wander around the city visiting the Saigon River, Ben Thanh market, Reunification Hall and Notre Dame Cathedral.
Day 11: Ho Chi Minh – Mekong delta (B,D)
This morning we drive to Cai Be in the Mekong Delta (approximately 2hr 30min). The Mekong, known as the Rice Bowl of Vietnam, produces much of Vietnam’s fruit, sugar cane and coconuts. We spend some time at Cai Be from where we begin a Mekong River boat trip passing a floating market and visiting typical riverside villages where we learn about some of the local products for which the Mekong Delta is famous – e.g. popped rice, rice paper & coconut candy. Cai Be floating market is becoming less crowded and smaller as fruit trading is mostly now done by trucks due to the bridge being built. However, this is still a great opportunity to see a local market and the trade being conducted traditionally on a smaller scale. After lunch, we continue our journey passing some magnificent countryside and stopping at some small cottage industries. The evening is tranquil as we have dinner on an Island and enjoy some ‘Delta’ hospitality. We spend the night sleeping at a simple guesthouse built in the style of a local house. Bedding, a mosquito net and a small towel are provided.
Day 12: Mekong delta – Ho Chi Minh city (B)
This morning we take a walk through the fruit orchards and navigate our way through the small canals in a traditional wooden sampan. Later we rejoin our boat to rendezvous with our vehicle for the journey back to Ho Chi Minh City via a little visited Cao Dai temple used by devotees of this strange indigenous religion, which fuses all the great religions of east and west.
Day 13: Ho Chi Minh city (B)
Today is a free day to explore Ho Chi Minh City at leisure or do some souvenir shopping. Alternatively, there is the option (additional cost, payable locally) to visit the excellent Dam Sen Water Park with its slides and rides. Your leader will advise further during the trip for those who wish to do this optional activity.
Day 14: Ho Chi Minh departure (B)
Free time until get picked up to the airport to catch your international flight.