24 October 2016
There are some great tours of Vietnam available these days but this 14 day trip is a real classic. It takes in all the highlights of this fascinating country, delves in to its history, gives you a wonderful insight into the war that ravaged so much of the land and gives you the chance to meet the people. You will visit all the big cities, the Mekong Delta, the beautiful rugged islands of Halong Bay and travel by road, boat and plane. Your accommodation will be in deluxe rooms in good quality hotels and you will have the benefit of a tour leader and experienced guides throughout.
On arrival in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, you will be met at the airport by one of our tour representatives and driven to the Grand Hotel, where you will stay for the next three nights. Relax and possibly do some exploring on your own before meeting your tour leader in the evening and the rest of your fellow travellers for welcome drinks and a briefing about all the exciting things that you will be seeing and doing over the next 14 days.
Saigon, as it is still known, is a friendly and welcoming place as you will see today. In the morning you will travel out to the Cu Chi Tunnels, used to such great effect during the Vietnam War, and have a chance to go into the amazing array of underground passages. On your return you take a tour of the heart of the city visiting Dong Khoi Street, formerly Rue Catinat, seeing the Municipal Theatre, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Post Office and the Reunification Palace.
This morning travel south from Saigon, to the Mekong Delta. Known as the 'rice bowl' of Vietnam, the Delta is the most fertile region in the country. On arrival board your boat, the Mekong Eyes, to begin your exploration of the area and cruise along tributaries of the mighty Mekong River. After a delicious lunch featuring some local specialties explore some of the regions canals. Later wind your way through picturesque plantations on a guided walk before returning to the boat for sunset and dinner on board.
After breakfast on board, continue exploring the small canals of the region and experience the unique spectacle of one of the Mekong Deltas floating markets, where local farmers trade their produce the same way they have done for centuries. Afterwards visit a family-run food producer. Return to Saigon in the afternoon and enjoy the remainder of the day at your leisure to explore this vibrant city seeing more of the famous sights.
This morning you fly to the cooler climate of the Central Highlands and the former French hill station of Dalat, which was founded by the French at the beginning of the 20th century as a retreat from the heat of Saigon. Dalat is now a city of great character and faded French elegance. Enjoy spectacular views as you drive through the highlands to a beautiful Zen Monastery and wander through the tranquil gardens then ride on an open-air train to the Trai Mat hamlet, finishing the day with a walk through the central market of Dalat.
This morning catch a flight to Danang and then drive to Hoi An. Stop at the Marble Mountains, a series of large marble outcrops and see a number of sacred Buddhist shrines. From the mountains there are great views across the ocean and the surrounding countryside. Then travel further south to Hoi An where you visit an old merchant house, a Chinese Assembly Hall and the Japanese Covered Bridge. This evening dine at one of Hoi An’s appealing restaurants or take part in an optional fun, hands-on cooking class.
Today your are free to explore this beautiful town with its many colourful markets and clothing shops where you can buy great souvenirs. If you tire of the town, which is highly unlikely, you can always head for the beach to swim, snorkel or relax in the sun or alternatively stay where you are at the plush Hoi An Trails Resort and use the pool there. There are so many things to see and do in this charming town you are truly spoilt for choice.
Enjoy a free morning in Hoi An before travelling to the old imperial capital of Hue via the spectacular Hai Van Pass in the early afternoon. This drive is considered one of the most beautiful in Vietnam and takes you through a combination of rural and coastal settings. Hue, with its lovely location on the banks of the Perfume River, was Vietnam’s capital throughout the Nguyen Dynasty and is a centre of Vietnamese Buddhism. It was also the scene of some of the Vietnam War’s most bloody fighting.
Begin the day with a visit the impressive Citadel and Imperial Palace then continue to the much revered Thien Mu Pagoda, which is Hue’s oldest and most beautiful religious monument. In the afternoon visit one of the magnificent Royal Mausoleums that surround Hue and later enjoy a unique visit to the Spiral Foundation to meet the deaf and mute workers as they guide you to make your own souvenir from 100 per cent recycled materials.
This morning after breakfast you have time to explore more of this fascinating city where you get a great insight into Vietnam life both past and present. Later you are collected from your hotel and taken to the airport for your flight to the nation’s capital, Hanoi. On arrival you are met by one of our tour representatives and taken to your hotel in the city. This evening you will have the opportunity to enjoy a performance of Hanoi’s famed water puppets.
This morning you journey east to Hon Gai, the gateway to Halong Bay, which has assumed an important position in Vietnamese legend for many centuries and continues to capture the imagination of visitors. On arrival board your boat for the cruise out to the Bay, enjoying a fresh seafood lunch. Considered Vietnam’s greatest natural wonder, Halong Bay boasts more than 3,000 islands that rise out of the sea to provide a spectacular natural environment. Visit some of the caves, then enjoy dinner on board before retiring to bed.
Today you rise early to make the most of Halong Bay’s stunning scenery at dawn. After breakfast, visit more of the spectacular islets and caves that make this area so unique and then head back to Halong City, enjoying a tasty seafood lunch as you cruise to the port. Say farewell to your fun crew before being picked up and driven drive back to Hanoi for a free evening. Lots more to see and do here and plenty of great restaurants where you can enjoy the local cuisine.
Today you explore Hanoi seeing all the iconic sights. Visit the humble stilt houses and see the Presidential Palace and One Pillar Pagoda and the house where Uncle Ho (Ho Chi Minh) ruled the country. Finally you visit the infamous Hanoi Hilton - the former central prison where US pilots shot down during the Vietnam War were held captive. Then at the end of another memorable day enjoy a farewell dinner with your fellow travellers and reflect on all that you have seen and done on the tour.
Your wonderful 14 day Classic Vietnam tour is now over and after breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your onward flight or to begin journey home. Included in the tour are all breakfasts, specified meals, boat cruises, all transport and transfers and the expertise of a tour leader and English speaking guides throughout. This tour represents a great way to get to know the real Vietnam and makes a marvellous introduction to the country.
Standard Rate fr £1623pp
Rates based on twinshare
International flights not included unless otherwise stated