Tailored from £2,250 per person excl. flights
14 days Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Hue, Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh City, Can Tho
14 days Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Hue, Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh City, Can Tho
Traverse from north to south on this luxury Vietnam tour, starting in the bustle of capital city Hanoi and ending in cosmopolitan Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), with stops including a magical cruise around ethereal Ha Long Bay, visits to the historic cities of Hue and Hoi An, as well as the floating markets of the canal city of Can Tho. This cultural Vietnam holiday is a great introduction to the country and its diverse people, offering an insight into the Vietnam of the past and of the future.
In Hanoi, you can pay your respects to "Uncle Ho" at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, where the preserved body of the Vietnamese leader is on display. Next, you'll take a two-night cruise around the Gulf of Tonkin, taking in the domineering limestone karsts of Ha Long Bay, rising from brilliant green waters.
In the UNESCO World Heritage city of Hue, you'll navigate the walled citadel also known as the Forbidden Purple City and the Imperial City. Then, you'll climb the scenic Hai Van Pass to your next destination, the historic port city of Hoi An.
Arriving in the south, you'll spend time in the modern and constantly evolving Ho Chi Minh City. The European-inspired architecture of the city's old post office and Notre Dam cathedral show the city's colonial past, whilst the War Remnants Museum, Cu Chi Tunnels and Independence Palace provide important lessons in modern history and the effects of the Vietnam War.
Offering an exciting mix of Vietnamese culture and history, this Amazing Vietnam Tour is ideal for those looking to get under the skin of the country and an authentic travel experience in one of Southeast Asia's most loved destinations.
We'll meet you on arrival at Hanoi (HAN) Airport, where you will be greeted by a Wayfairer representative with a welcome sign. You'll take a private transfer to your hotel, located in the city centre. Depending on your arrival time, your local guide can meet you later at your hotel to start your exploration of Vietnam's capital or recommend local restaurants and bars for your first taste of fragrant Vietnamese cuisine.
This morning your local guide will take you on a private tour of the city. You'll begin at the historic Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, an imposing monument lavishly built using marble and granite, where the preserved body of "Uncle Ho" resides and visitors are permitted pay their respects.
A short walk from the mausoleum is the lotus-shaped One Pillar Pagoda, resting on a single stone pillar emerging from the water. Next, you'll visit the Temple of Literature, the first university in Vietnam. Created for the sons of mandarins, this is the ideal place for an overview of Hanoi's history and culture.
After lunch (we recommend a classic banh mi baguette), you'll visit the Museum of Ethnology, which offers a fascinating insight into Vietnam’s natural and cultural history, as well as its 54 ethnic minority groups. The evening is left free you to enjoy some of Hanoi’s wonderful food and drink options, or catch a traditional water puppet show at the local theatre.
Today, you'll leave the frenetic city of Hanoi behind and head east to UNESCO listed Ha Long Bay. Upon arrival, you'll be met by your crew and board the traditional-style junk that will be home for the next two nights. Aboard this stylish boat you will be well looked after; the cosy cabins have en suite facilities, sumptuous fresh seafood meals will be prepared with freshly caught fish and there is a well stocked bar.
Set out into the emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin to explore the hundreds of limestone islands and islets. You’ll also stop to visit some of the floating communities in the bay and take a short tour while the crew fishes for dinner! As the day draws to an end, a sundowner on the top deck is the perfect way to watch the sunset fade into a night under the stars.
Rise early to catch a stunning sunrise amongst the limestone karsts, which rise from the waves like dragons’ teeth. Today, you'll explore deeper and escape the tourist spots, allowing you to enjoy a more unique cruise experience. You may like to take the option for some sea kayaking or swimming from the beach on one of the remote islands. A last night dinner is served and then there is time for a final reflection on the wonders of the bay beneath the stars.
After breakfast, there is a last opportunity for a swim or simply relax on deck and soak up the final views of magical Ha Long Bay. Upon your return to the port, you can say your farewells to the crew.
The next stop on your Vietnam holiday takes you to the charming village of Yen Duc. Limestone mountains, palm trees, rice fields and the Kinh Thay River form the backdrop for Yen Duc village. Here, it really is as though life has stood still for locals who follow an agricultural way of life.
You’ll have some time to get to know your hosts and share some tea, or you may like to try your hand at fishing and help with the gardening. Your coming to this village helps to promote and preserve local tradition and culture in Yen Duc village, an ideal model for a community-based project. When your time here is finished, we make our way back to Hanoi.
After breakfast, you'll take a short flight down to Hue, the capital of a unified Vietnam during the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945). The walled citadel is now a UNESCO listed World Heritage site and the pace of life here is decidedly slower than most other Vietnamese cities; the people are laid back, the architecture is atmospheric and the historical monuments are abundant.
Hue also has its own sophisticated and refined "royal cuisine," which is popular all over Vietnam. Be sure to squeeze an imperial banquet into your itinerary, featuring peppery dishes served in an elegant, eye-catching way.
After lunch, you'll take a dragon boat trip on the Perfume River to visit the iconic Thien Mu Pagoda, known for its wedding-cake tiers and as a symbol for the city. Next, you'll visit the majestic Tomb of Emperor Ming Mang. This is a truly tranquil place; the manicured gardens are dotted with water features and the tomb is protected by fierce stone guardians.
Your exploration of Hue continues today with a visit to the Forbidden Purple City. You’ll also take some time to look around the citadel, a wonderful residential area of historical buildings, gardens and rice fields. The people are very friendly and the area receives surprisingly few tourists.
On the way back, you’ll make a stop at Dong Ba market. This is a great example of a local Vietnamese market and the instantly recognisable Hue conical hats are said to be the best in all of Vietnam. In the evening, you'll pay a visit to a private home in the citadel, where you can sample some of the dishes from the Emperor's Court whilst listening to musicians playing music from a bygone era.
This morning, you'll have an early start and drive down the most scenic stretch of Highway 1. You'll climb up to the Hai Van Pass, the "Pass of the Ocean Clouds," noted for its incredible scenic views of Vietnamese countryside.
You'll continue with a stop in Da Nang to visit the Cham Museum. Housed in a beautiful colonial villa, this is the best collection of sculpture from the Cham Empire anywhere in the world.
Later, you'll stop just outside of Da Nang at Marble Mountain, which is a very auspicious place for the Vietnamese. The five limestone peaks here are said to represent the five elements. There are also many caves to explore in the region, an ancient pagoda and numerous Buddha statues and carvings. You then journey on to Hoi An and arrive in the late afternoon.
Between the 17th and 19th centuries, Hoi An was a prosperous trading port. Today, this UNESCO World Heritage listed ancient town boasts well-preserved buildings, pedestrianised streets and unique cuisine, allowing visitors a glimpse into its illustrious past. The pretty narrow lanes are lined with the historic buildings, pagodas and old merchant houses, perfect for getting lost in.
This morning, your local guide will take you on a private walking tour of the Old Quarter, taking in all the highlights and character of this bustling little town. Your afternoon is free for relaxation or souvenir hunting, as Hoi An is a shopping paradise with all kinds of wonderful items on offer.
If you're craving ocean views, Cua Dai Beach is just a few miles away and can be reaching via a pleasant cycle ride, or your local guide can help you make other arrangements.
Today, you have a number of options to choose from: visit the ruins of My Son, the ancient Cham Kingdom. These brick built temples were built between the 4th and 13th centuries during the time that the Champa Empire ruled all of southern and central Vietnam.
Alternatively, you may like to try your hand at Vietnamese cooking. This world-famous cuisine is surprisingly simple to recreate, using fresh and fragrant ingredients. Your teacher will take you to a local market, where various ingredients and produce are explained, and bought for the lesson. Get hands on with your purchases, then test the fruits of your labour at lunch or dinner.
A third option is to take a lifestyle tour around the surrounds of Hoi An, visiting the fish market early in the morning, then investigating some of the many cottage industries in the area. This tour provides a fascinating insight into daily life in the countryside - a side to Vietnam that not many travellers encounter during their trip here.
After breakfast, you'll leave Hoi An behind and fly to the bustling metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon). Although still obviously Vietnamese, the atmosphere of this city is entirely different and a stark contrast to Hanoi, Hue and Hoi An.
HCM City a one of contrasts: skyscrapers soar into the clouds, dwarfing the colonial buildings on the ground; whilst old ladies chew beetle nut and sell coconut juice to sophisticated young couples riding on modern Japanese motorbikes.
In the afternoon, you'll take a private walking tour of the major sights, including the sobering War Remnants Museum, the Independence Palace (formerly the presidential palace before the Fall of Saigon), as well as colonial-era landmarks such as the Notre Dam Cathedral, the post office and The Continental Hotel.
This morning, you'll leave the bustling streets of the city behind and make your way to Tay Ninh, the headquarters for the Cao Dai religion. You'll visit the main cathedral, which looks like something out of a fantasy film, in time for the 12 o’clock service.
After a local lunch, you'll continue to the Cu Chi Tunnels, an underground network used to escape American bombing. Entire villages were forced underground for their survival. There were around 250 kilometres of tunnels housing to up to 16,000 people at any one time. The tunnels were also used for strategic military purposes and the Viet Cong were able to launch attacks on American bases overhead, then quickly disappear underground.
Today, you'll have an early start and head south to the Mekong Delta. This is a incredible part of the country, so different to anywhere else you'll visit in Vietnam. Lusciously green and fertile, this is the "Land of the Nine Dragons," a name that refers to the nine rivers that form the delta.
It’s also known as the rice bowl of the country and produces enough rice annually to feed the entire nation. Fruits, vegetable and fish are all major produce here as well.
On your way to Can Tho, the economic capital of the Delta, you’ll stop at vibrant floating markets, visit the local cottage industries and take a trip on a sampan through some of the narrower canals, stopping for a local speciality lunch of Elephant Ear fish, springs rolls and fresh fruits.
You'll rise early this morning and board a boat, which takes you on the river to the region's largest floating market. Hundreds of vessels advertise their wares by attaching them to long poles that everyone can see. People come here to buy in bulk and we can observe not only the hustle and bustle of typical market barter and exchange, but also entire boatloads of fresh produce are transferred from one boat to another. It’s a blur of boats, conical hats and human activity.
Later, you'll return to Ho Chi Minh City in plenty of time for your departure, with a private transfer to the airport (SGN). Your Amazing Vietnam Tour comes to an end, though you'll leave with fond memories, plenty of photos and an insight into the rich culture and fascinating history of beautiful Vietnam.
Find below a collection of our favourite accommodation options in Vietnam.