From south to north, Vietnam is a kaleidoscope of wonderful people and picturesque landscapes. Imagine learning the mysteries of the Viet Minh in Ho Chi Minh City or exploring the beautiful lakes and boulevards of Hanoi – and what better way to get to know the locals than to be their guests on a Mekong Delta homestay? Experience historical temples, visit Vietnam’s spectacular coastline, enjoy delicious banquets and explore lively cities – all with a touch of comfort – on this 12-day Essence of Vietnam tour.
Day 1: Australia – Ho Chi Minh
Today you arrive at Ho Chi Minh from a non-stop flight from Melbourne/Sydney with Vietnam Airlines. Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is an exciting and dynamic city brimming with street vendors, cyclos, temples, shops and colonial architecture.
Stay overnight in Ho Chi Minh.
Day 2: Ho Chi Minh City excursion
With countless food stalls, restaurants, museums and markets, the busy streets of Ho Chi Minh City have something for everyone to enjoy.
Take a guided tour of the highlights of this bustling, cosmopolitan city including the Reunification Palace, the former palace of President Thieu and his predecessors. Nearby are the Post Office and the Notre Dame Cathedral.
Stay overnight in Ho Chi Minh.
Day 3: Ho Chi Minh – Can Tho with 40km cycling and homestay
The Mekong Delta is the lifeblood of South-East Asia, and this fertile region within Vietnam is a maze of canals brimming with life, markets and tropical foods.
This morning drive from Ho Chi Minh City to Cai Lay a town at the entrance of the Mekong Delta. After a quick safety briefing and gear check, grab you bike and start your 40km ride along a series of paved and dirt paths. Cycle through small villages, rice fields and fruit orchards, where you will see daily life unfold, wave to the kids as they go to school and see farmers tending to their animals and crops. Take a boat cruise to see traditional floating market and visit home-based factories producing rice popcorn and coconut candies.
Have dinner, chatting with the local and overnight at a local house.
Day 4: Can Tho to Ho Chi Minh City with 30km cycling
It’s an early start to the day as you take a small boat and cruise to the Can Tho market, the busiest floating market in the Mekong. Watch the daily ritual of people haggling for goods and grab a morning coffee at the local floating café! Enjoy your last cycling day pedaling along country roads to see a historic communist base. Glide quietly on a sampan around the base and discover how the communists lived and worked during the war. Afterwards, drive back to Ho Chi Minh arriving late afternoon.
Day 5: Ho Chi Minh – Fly to Danang – Hoi An
Take a morning flight to Danang. On arrival we are greeted and driven a short distance to Hoi An which was originally a Cham seaport but has been influenced down centuries by a myriad of traders from various cultures. There are plenty to see in this tranquil and delightful town, some of which are the famous Japanese Covered Bridges, the Pottery Museum, the 200 years old Tamky House, the Chua Ong Pagoda and the vibrant market. We visit these sights on an enchanting walking tour past many low tiled houses scattered along the small streets, and assembly halls which reflect the town’s multi-cultural past
Overnight in Hoi An.
Day 6: Hoi An Farming and Fishing tour
Getting in touch with local fishing life by using the fishing nets, riding funny basket boats, visiting a water palm coconut paradise and learning about the history about the Vietnamese people are great things to experience. The Farming and Fishing eco tour will be the special and unique tour that is committed to providing you a unique cultural window into the Vietnamese way of life.
Day 7: Hoi An Free time
Spend the day at leisure on the beach or having clothes made by one of the expert, inexpensive tailors Hoi An is famous for. If you like to cook, you can spend a fabulous day exploring the local produce market with an expert chef who will teach you the secrets of Vietnamese cuisine.
Day 8: Hoi An – Danang – Fly to Hanoi
Today take a 01hour10min flight from Danang to Hanoi.
This afternoon city tour, we visit Literature Temple and Quoc Tu Giam – Vietnam’s first university constructed in 1070. After that, we enjoy one hour cyclo tour of Hanoi’s vibrant Old Quarter and Hoan Kiem Lake, the focal point of the city. This is great fun! Lastly, in the late afternoon, you will be enchanted by the legends and stories told at the Thang Long Water Puppet show that no one should miss while visiting Hanoi.
Spend overnight in Hanoi.
Day 9: Hanoi – Ha Long Bay on Private chartered Junk
Today you will leave Hanoi for Halong Bay. Upon arrival Halong you are welcome on board on a private boat for your family . Check- in. Enjoy welcome drink & cruise briefing. Time for short relax followed by lunch with traditional Vietnamese seafood while cruising cruising to magnificent BaiTuLong Bay, admiring by the fascinating formations of the Bay. Enjoy swimming in the crystal water. Explore the well-hidden Thien Canh Son Cave then take a short cruise to Hon Co island where you can enjoy relaxing on a white sandy beach, swimming or kayaking. Back to junk for relaxing. Have dinner and overnight on board.
Day 10: Ha Long Bay – Hanoi
Greet the day with an opportunity to view the sunrise over the bay and view of Bay’s landscape with a cup of tea or coffee. Have breakfast in the fresh air. Visit Vung Vieng fishing village by a rustic row-boat, meet the local people and pass through the floating school and fish farms. More time for swimming in the middle of the bay. Start cruising towards the harbour while an A la carte lunch is served. Checkout. Boat arrives at the harbor by noon for a drive back to Hanoi. Overnight in Hanoi .
Day 11: Hanoi Free time
With a vibrant Old Quarter to explore, delicious food to discover and a city where ancient meets modern with ease, no wonder Hanoi is a favourite with travellers.
Time is at your own leisure to explore Hanoi on your way.
Spend overnight in Hanoi.