Begin your tour in Hanoi, famous for its beautiful lakes, shaded boulevards, verdant public parks and thriving Old Quarter. Embark on a full-day tour of the city, visiting the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Museum, then sit down to a traditional water puppet performance. This northern tradition, dating back nearly a thousand years, is performed alongside traditional Vietnamese music that employs drums, wooden bells, horns and bamboo flutes. Travel to the spectacular World Heritage-listed site of Halong Bay, where you will spend a peaceful night on board, beneath a sky alive with stars. Board an overnight train bound for Hue, the former imperial capital of Vietnam. As well as the Imperial Citadel, you will visit the Forbidden Purple City, which was almost totally destroyed during the American War’s Tet Offensive. The gaping holes left by bombs give an idea of the destruction wreaked upon the country during the war. Thankfully the ruins are now World Heritage protected and being restored.
Enjoy a dragon boat cruise along the Perfume River to visit the royal tomb of Emperor Tu Duc. The tomb is set amongst 12 hectares of parkland that has been carefully decorated with frangipani and pine trees, tranquil lakes and impressive architecture – much of which survived the ravages of time and war. Head south through coastal rice paddies before traversing the spectacular Hai Van Pass. You’ll all be treated to some stunning mountain scenery en route. After a brief visit to the beautiful China Beach, arrive at Hoi An. Today, parts of it look exactly as they did more than a century ago – it’s the sort of place that grows on you the more you explore it.
Spend a day at Cua Dai beach, known for its stunning palm-fringed white sand and views of the Cham islands. You might also like to participate in a cooking lesson and learn about the many layers of fresh herbs and flavours that can be found in Vietnam’s fresh and tasty cuisine. Take a short flight to Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, this bustling metropolis is full of vibrant sights and sounds; a fascinating blend of old and new. Check out Ben Thanh Market and feast on a delicious lunch of local street food, and take an orientation walk. Head down to the Mekong Delta and visit unexplored Ben Tre where coconut is everything and anything. The fertile delta is famous for its abundant harvests of tropical fruits and flowers. On arrival, board your private boat and cruise along the maze of waterways to visit some local cottage industries. This is a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at a different part of the local economy. Then head to your overnight homestay by the water. Be invited into a family home for a true local experience – a chance to see daily life from the inside. Rise early, as the locals do here on the delta. Enjoy a leisurely morning before heading back to Ho Chi Minh City for your departure.
SITES & ACTIVITES
An adventure from the towering limestone karsts of Halong Bay to the frenetic markets of Ho Chi Minh City, this tour provides all the highlights of vivacious Vietnam. Stroll the winding streets of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, laugh yourself silly at the water puppet theatre at Hoan Kiem and see ancient temples and pagodas alongside modern houses from a cyclo. Barter with stallholders at a floating market, explore the Forbidden Purple City and eat all the pho you can handle.
ELLISON TRAVEL & TOURS TOUR MANAGER
TRANSPORTATION & FLIGHTS