Day 1: Arrival in Hanoi
Day 2: Hanoi city tour
Day 3: Ha Noi – Mai Chau
Day 4: Mai Chau Villages
Day 5: Mai Chau – Ninh Binh
Day 6: Ninh Binh cycling
Day 7: Ninh Binh – Halong Bay
Day 8: Ha Long Bay – Hue
Day 9: Hue
Day 10: Hue – Hoi An.
Day 11: Free day in Hoi An
Day 12: Hoi An – Ho Chi Minh city
Day 13: Chu Chi tunnels
Day 14: Ho Chi Minh city – Mekong delta
Day 15: Ho Chi Minh departure
Day 1: Arrival in Hanoi
Arrive in Hanoi and get picked up from the airport ti your chosen hotel. There are no planned activities for the day, so feel free to explore the Old Quarter or simply relax in the hotel.
Day 2: Hanoi city tour (B,L)
Join the trip leader in the morning to visit the One-Pillar Pagoda, the Temple of Literature, and the Mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh. The afternoon is free for optional activities like taking a cooking class or exploring the elegant French Quarter by cyclo. In the evening, there is an optional traditional water puppetry performance.
Day 3: Ha Noi – Mai Chau (B,L)
After a four-hour drive, check in to the hotel in Mai Chau with a view of the local villages. Enjoy a biking tour through the rice terraces of Mai Chau Valley, with opportunities for panoramic views of paddy fields and spectacular karst cliffs. On the way back, pass by Van Village, home to the White Thai people.
Day 4: Mai Chau Villages (B,L)
Drive to Xam Khoe Village and enjoy a walking tour to Buoc Village, populated by the Thai ethnic minority. Enjoy a home-cooked lunch prepared by the host family before returning to Mai Chau with a stop at Van Mai Valley.
Day 5: Mai Chau – Ninh Binh (B,L)
Drive to Ninh Binh, known for its impressive cave formations and network of waterways, lakes, temples, and towering limestone peaks.
Day 6: Ninh Binh cycling (B,L)
Cycle through the back roads to Dong Tam village before heading towards the spectacular limestone peaks of Van Long. Enjoy a traditional lunch in Vuon Thi village before taking a sampan ride along the Ngo Dong River to a cave complex.
Day 7: Ninh Binh – Halong Bay (B,L,D)
Drive to Ha Long Bay and board a traditional junk boat for an overnight cruise. Visit a Vung Vieng fishing village by rowing boat or kayak and spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the bay scattered with hundreds of islands and dotted with caves.
Day 8: Ha Long Bay – Hue (B,L)
The day begins with an optional sunrise viewing at 06:30 over the bay. After a light breakfast of pastries, tea, and coffee, the group disembarks to explore the Thien Canh Son caves, which feature impressive stalactite and stalagmite limestone formations. After returning to the boat, the cruise through the bay continues while brunch is served on board. Upon arrival at Hon Gai harbor, the group will rejoin the vehicle and drive back to Hanoi. Two day-use rooms are provided to allow for freshening up before heading to the central train station to board the Reunification Express overnight sleeper train to Hue, Vietnam’s former imperial capital. The journey will take place in soft sleeper compartments, with four passengers sharing each compartment. Please note that breakfast will not be provided on the train, so it is advisable to bring snacks for the morning.
Day 9: Hue (B,L)
The group will arrive in Hue this morning and begin exploring the city’s highlights. The Royal Palace, guarded by Terracotta Warriors, and the iconic Thien Mu Pagoda, home to the oldest monastery in the city, are just a few of the destinations on the itinerary. The group will also visit the house of a national champion kite flier, where they will learn how to make traditional Vietnamese kites and decorate them with iconic symbols like dragons, birds, and peacocks. The Citadel, a massive monument that is nearly 10 km in circumference, will be explored as well. The Imperial City, which is over 600m long on each side and located in the center of the Citadel, can be accessed through four entrance gates, with the Noon Gate being reserved only for the King.
Day 10: Hue – Hoi An (B,L)
On this day, the group will travel to Trieu Son village, located on Hue’s outskirts along the Perfume River, for a guided walk and boat ride. The first stop will be Sinh village, where the group will meet a local family that specializes in making wood paintings. Following that, the group will take a leisurely cycle ride around the village and along countryside lanes to Thanh Tien village, famous for paper flowers, crisscrossing an intricate network of paddy fields. The group will then board a cruise boat in Tien Non village, which will take them back to Hue (total cycling distance is approximately 6km). An included martial arts lesson will be provided, followed by a journey over the Truong Son Mountains and through the Hai Van Pass, as featured on the TV programme Top Gear, to the historic merchant seaside town of Hoi An.
Day 11: Free day in Hoi An (B)
This day is free for the group to explore the historic heart of Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Highlights include traditional wooden houses, Chinese temples, and the fish market, which presents the perfect setting for some great photographs. The group could hire bicycles and explore the surrounding countryside, experience a gentle river cruise, or grab the chance to visit some of Hoi An’s famous tailor shops. Alternatively, a 20-minute taxi ride to the nearby coast offers a chance to spend the day on the beach.
Day 12: Hoi An – Ho Chi Minh city (B)
Fly to Ho Chi Minh City, explore Old Saigon, and discover the Secret Weapons Bunker. Walk through the back alleys of District 3 by cyclo and stop at a local stall for traditional Vietnamese coffee and Banh Mi. Visit the bunker, which played a key role in the TET Offensive of 1968.
Day 13: Chu Chi tunnels (B)
Visit the infamous Cu Chi tunnels, which served as an underground command base for 10,000 Viet Cong troops during the Vietnam War. Afternoon visit to the waterpark.
Day 14: Ho Chi Minh city – Mekong delta (B,D)
Drive to the Mekong Delta, cycle along the Cai Thai village path, and visit Mrs Nani’s and Mr and Mrs Chin’s homes for rice paper making and traditional doughnuts. Board a cruise boat for lunch and transfer to a traditional homestay for a Vietnamese cooking lesson and traditional entertainment.
Day 15: Ho Chi Minh departure (B)
Cruise back along the Mekong delta, passing small floating markets, and drive back to Ho Chi Minh City. Complimentary airport transfer for those departing from Saigon’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport (airport code SGN).