Experience all of the highlights of Vietnam on one trip with this extensive itinerary. Wander the streets of Hanoi, bike through small fishing villages and rice paddies, experience the beauty of Halong Bay,  see the hidden charm of Mekong Delta, and explore the ancient Hindu temple ruins at My Son Holy Land.

Highlights

  • Tour the land of kings in Duong Lam Ancient Village
  • Take an overnight cruise in Halong Bay
  • See a traditional Vietnamese water puppet show
  • Explore the ruins of ancient temples at My Son Holy Land
  • Visit the Forbidden Purple City

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Hanoi Hanoi
Day 2 Visit Duong Lam - Tour of Hanoi Hanoi
Day 3 Explore Mai Chau Mai Châu, Hòa Bình
Day 4 Rowing trip in Tam Coc - Ninh Binh Ninh Binh
Day 5 Overnight Cruise on Ha Long Bay Halong Bay
Day 6 Swimming in Halong Bay - Hoi An Hoi An
Day 7 Cycling Trip to Cam Thanh - Walking Tour of Hoi An Hoi An
Day 8 Day-Trip to My Son Holy Land - Hue Hue
Day 9 Forbidden Purple City - Thuy Bieu Village Hue
Day 10 Flight to Ho Chi Minh City - Tour of Cu Chi Tunnels Ho Chi Minh City
Day 11 Cruise along the Ben Tre River - Can Tho Can Tho
Day 12 Cai Rang Floating Market - Phu Quoc Island Phu Quoc
Day 13 Free Day on Phu Quoc Island Phu Quoc
Day 14 Free Day on Phu Quoc Island Phu Quoc
Day 15 Departure via Ho Chi Minh City  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Hanoi

The Old Quarter in Hanoi
The Old Quarter in Hanoi

Welcome to Vietnam! Your journey begins in the lively capital city of Hanoi. When you arrive at the Hanoi airport, you'll meet your driver, who will take you directly to your hotel. After you check in, you'll have the rest of the day free to relax and rest after your long flight. You can begin wandering around the area surrounding your hotel, and you're sure to find plenty of excellent dining options.

Day 2: Visit Duong Lam - Tour of Hanoi

Aerial view of Hanoi
Aerial view of Hanoi

After breakfast, a driver will pick you up at your hotel and transfer you the 31 miles (50 km) to Duong Lam Ancient Village, one of the oldest settlements in the country. This charming historic area is filled with 300-year-old homes, and it is the native land of two Vietnamese kings whose memorials are also here. On your tour, you will meet a local resident and former editor-in-chief of a literary journal that covers the royal history of this village. You will hear about Vietnamese culture and traditional architecture.  After lunch at a local house, your driver will transfer you back to Hanoi. 

Back in the city, you'll have a short walking tour (about an hour and a half) of the city and the Old Quarter. After your tour, you can learn about the different cultural groups in Vietnam at the Ethnology Museum, or see a water puppet show at the theater in Hoan Kiem Lake.

Day 3: Explore Mai Chau

Biking in Mai Chau
Biking in Mai Chau

Today, a driver will meet you at your hotel in Hanoi in the morning and drive you to the idyllic mountain town of Mai Chau in the northwest. After passing Hoa Binh, you will enter the mountainous area that is the homeland of the Muong people living in the delta. After you arrive in Mai Chau, you will be able to enjoy a lunch before you head out on a short walk or cycling trip to some neighboring villages to meet with some Tai Dón people. You'll have dinner in one of the villages, be able to drink some Ruou Can (a wine made from mountainous rice), and enjoy a traditional dance show before returning to your accommodation.

Day 4: Rowing trip in Tam Coc - Ninh Binh

River flowing through Tam Coc
River flowing through Tam Coc

Today, a driver will pick you up at your accommodation, and you will leave the peaceful valley of the Thai people for Ninh Binh. When you arrive at Tam Coc, the guide will take you to the dock where you will embark on a two-hour rowing trip on a flat-bottomed sampan through tunnels and past rice paddy rice fields. Next, you can take a delightful one-hour bicycle ride from Tam Coc to Hoa Lu temple  (about seven miles). Hoa Lu was the ancient capital of Vietnam in the 10th century, and you can learn more about this history by visiting the Dinh and Le temples. After you're done exploring, you can head back to your accommodation in Ninh Binh.

Day 5: Overnight Cruise on Ha Long Bay

A traditional boat sailing on Halong Bay
A traditional boat sailing on Halong Bay

After breakfast in hotel, a guide will pick you up and transfer you to the famous Ha Long Bay. On the way, you will make a stop in a traditional village to visit the wooden Keo Pagoda, a masterpiece of traditional architecture. Once you reach Halong City, you'll head to the pier and embark on a sailing trip around the bay on a traditional wooden boat. This afternoon cruise will allow you up-close views of the limestone islands that rise out of the bay's emerald waters. You'll explore a beautiful grotto such as Surprising Cave or Me Cung Cave before heading back to shore for the opportunity to climb up the 340 steps up Ti Top Mount, from which you can get a stunning panoramic view over the bay.  At the end of the day, you'll cast anchor in the bay, and stay overnight in your sleeping quarters on the boat. You'll enjoy a freshly prepared seafood dinner on board.

Day 6: Swimming in Halong Bay - Hoi An

Beach at Ti Top Island
Beach at Ti Top Island

The next day, if the weather permits, you'll have the opportunity to swim at the white sand beaches of Ti Top Island. After that, you'll take a small boat or kayak to see Luon Cave. Around noon, you'll return to the port, where you'll leave Halong Bay and take a transfer back to Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport (HAN) for your direct flight to Da Nang. A driver will pick you up from Da Nang International Airport (DAD) and transfer you to your hotel in Hoi An.

Note: Program might change due to the availability of boat suppliers or bad weather

Day 7: Cycling Trip to Cam Thanh - Walking Tour of Hoi An

Hoi An's Ancient Town
Hoi An's Ancient Town

Today will be an active day with about two hours of cycling, an hour or so of walking, and multiple boat rides. After you have breakfast in your hotel this morning, you will cycle to a dock and take a boat to the Cua Dai sand dune where you can explore before watching local fishermen cast their nets. Continue to Cam Thanh Village where you'll have a brief introduction to the village's history before taking a basket boat along the river of water coconuts. At the Cam An wharf, you can enjoy local specialties for lunch. After your meal, you'll cycle back to Hoi An and take a walking tour of the oldest part of town where you'll spot the traditional homes of historical merchants and traders, the 400-year-old Japanese Covered Bridge, Phuc Kien Chinese Temple, and more.

Day 8: Day-Trip to My Son Holy Land - Hue

My Son Holy Land
My Son Holy Land

After breakfast, you'll depart for a trip to My Son Holy Land, which was the capital city of the Champa Kingdom between the 4th and 12th centuries. My Son is a large complex of religious relics that is comprised of more than 70 architectural works including temples and towers that are connected with complicated red brick designs. After you find a place to grab lunch, you'll take a private transfer to Hue and enjoy the scenery along one of the most beautiful roads in Vietnam, the Mandarin Road. Passing through Hai Van Pass (Ocean Cloud Pass), you'll drive over a mountainous highway that offers splendid views over the South China Sea outside of HueOnce you get to your hotel, you'll have the rest of the evening free to have dinner and explore.

Day 9: Forbidden Purple City - Thuy Bieu Village

The entrance to the Forbidden Purple City
The entrance to the Forbidden Purple City

Today, you'll start your exploration of Hue by visiting the Forbidden Purple City, a moated and walled citadel that was constructed during the early 19th century. Within these walls lies the former home of Vietnam's royal family. You'll then take a 4-mile (8 km) bicycle ride to Tu Duc Tomb and Thuy Bieu Village, a traditional village in the countryside of Hue with garden homes. You'll have the opportunity to admire the rice fields, fruit trees, and vegetable gardens between the communal homes. If you'd like to see how incense is made and learn about the working life of the farmers here, you can take an additional outing before you continue on to Thuy Bieu.

In Thuy Bieu, you'll be able to take a cooking class where you will prepare lunch with a chef. After you eat, you can relax and digest while soaking your feet in water infused with medicinal herbs—a traditional therapeutic practice here in Vietnam. In the afternoon, you can take a cruise on the Perfume River and visit the Thien Mu Pagoda (also known as the Pagoda of the celestial Lady), which was built in 1610. After your boat ride, you'll be transferred back to your hotel in Hue where you can spend the evening as you wish.

Day 10: Flight to Ho Chi Minh City - Tour of Cu Chi Tunnels

View of Ho Chi Minh City
View of Ho Chi Minh City

After breakfast, a driver will pick you up at your hotel and transfer you to the airport for your flight to Ho Chi Minh City. When you arrive in Ho Chi Minh City, you will be welcomed by a local guide and driver who will transfer you to your hotel where you'll check in and leave your luggage. You can head to Cu Chi to explore the Cu Chi Tunnels, a complex system of underground tunnels stretching over more than 150 miles (250 km) that were used by Viet Cong soldiers during the war. You'll learn how these cleverly constructed tunnels were key in achieving victory and what Viet Cong life looked like during these times. 

After this tour, you'll return to your hotel, and you'll have the rest of the evening free.

Day 11: Cruise along the Ben Tre River - Can Tho

Ben Tre River
Ben Tre River

After your breakfast this morning, a driver will pick you up at your hotel and take you on a three-hour drive to Ben Tre. Upon arrival at Hung Vuong Pier, you will embark on a boat cruise along the Ben Tre River, one of the tributaries of the Mekong River.

You'll stop off at various local workplaces to give you a picture of how the local economy works: See a brickworks, where bricks are still painstakingly made by hand; a coconut processing workshop, where you can sample fresh coconut; and a mat-weaving house, where straw mats are woven using a handloom. The boat will then make a longer stop in a quiet village where you can take a nice walk around and experience real Delta village life. In the afternoon, you will then take a final transfer to your hotel in Can Tho. You'll have the opportunity to spend the rest of the night in Can Tho as you wish.

Day 12: Cai Rang Floating Market - Phu Quoc Island

Cai Rang floating market
Cai Rang floating market

Early in the morning, you'll visit Cai Rang Floating Market, one of the most bustling floating markets in the Mekong Delta where hundreds of small boats jostle for space as owners attempt to sell their goods. Pick up some souvenirs before you continue on to Rach Gia Pier for your speedboat cruise to Phu Quoc Island. Upon arrival in Phu Quoc, you'll be transferred to your hotel via shuttle, and you'll have the evening free.

Day 13: Free Day on Phu Quoc Island

Snorkeling on Phu Quoc Island
Snorkeling on Phu Quoc Island

You are free to enjoy the beach on your own today, and you can book activities like snorkeling, kayaking, and more.

Day 14: Free Day on Phu Quoc Island

Phu Quoc Island
Phu Quoc Island

You are free to enjoy the beach on your own today, and you can book activities like snorkeling, kayaking, and more.

Day 15: Departure via Ho Chi Minh City

A busy street in Ho Chi Minh City
A busy street in Ho Chi Minh City

It's time to say goodbye to Vietnam! After your last morning relaxing on the beach, you'll transfer to Phu Quoc International Airport (PQC) for your flight back home.