Experience Vietnam's most significant cities, rich cuisine, and beautiful islands on this well-balanced 12-day adventure. Start in Hanoi for a lesson in cooking and culture before escaping on a cruise along Ha Long Bay. Explore Hoi An and its key sites and venture through its rural countryside by basket boat. Feel the turbulent history of Ho Chi Minh City and float down the Mekong Delta, then escape to the island paradise of Phu Quoc to while away the time snorkeling, kayaking, or just lazing on the beach.


  • Explore Hanoi, Hoi An, and Ho Chi Minh City for their rich history and cuisine
  • Escape the crowds to cruise along Ha Long Bay and witness superb scenery
  • Float down the Mekong Delta and immerse yourself in the village lifestyle
  • Escape to the beaches of Phu Quoc for island-hopping and snorkeling

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Hanoi, Street Food Tour Hanoi
Day 2 Day Trip to Ninh Binh (Hoa Lu & Trang An) Hanoi
Day 3 Transfer to Ha Long Bay, Overnight Cruise Ha Long Bay
Day 4 Morning Cruise, Fly to Hoi An via Hanoi Hoi An
Day 5 Cam Thanh Fishing Village Tour & Basket Boat Ride Hoi An
Day 6 Hoi An City & Food Tour, Fly to Ho Chi Minh City Ho Chi Minh City
Day 7 Day Trip to Mekong Delta Ho Chi Minh City
Day 8 Fly to Phu Quoc Phu Quoc
Day 9 Free Day in Phu Quoc Phu Quoc
Day 10 Island Hopping & Snorkel Phu Quoc
Day 11 Return to Ho Chi Minh City, Street Food Tour Ho Chi Minh City
Day 12 Depart Ho Chi Minh City  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Hanoi, Street Food Tour 

Eat like the locals on Train Street
Welcome to Vietnam! Upon arrival at the airport in Hanoi, your driver will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel. Relax after the long journey, or head out to stretch your legs and get your bearings. Dating to 3000 BCE, Hanoi is one of the world's most ancient capitals. Traditional culture meets modern metropolises in busy streets filled with motorbikes, outdoor markets, and curbside banh mi (a Vietnamese sandwich) vendors. In the evening, meet your guide for a mouth-watering food tour of Hanoi. Start with a trip to Thanh Ha Market, where you'll browse food stalls, try local delicacies, and learn about Vietnamese culinary culture.
Head to Dong Xuan Market, famed for its noodle shops, and sample treats such as pho sot vang (noodle soup with pork and herbs) and bun dau (tofu served in soup with rice noodles and fermented shrimp paste). Next, move on to the Old Quarter to explore its network of labyrinthine lanes. Here, you'll learn about traditional celebrations, stop at ceremonial cake stalls, and taste a French-influenced dessert. Wander along Hang Cot Street, known for its preserved sugared or salted fruits. You'll end the tour at a café to sip slow-dripped hot coffee while watching Hanoi's street life unfold.

Day 2: Day Trip to Ninh Binh (Hoa Lu & Trang An)

Day Trip to Ninh Binh (Hoa Lu & Trang An)
Take a day trip into the lush mountains and lakes around Trang An

Prepare for an adventure today as your driver takes you 1.5 hours south to Trang An Scenic Complex in Ninh Binh, a land of several mysteriously deep lakes and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ninh Binh is famous for the temples and palaces of the ancient capital city in Hoa Lu and the beautiful landscape often dubbed "Ha Long Bay on land."  At the three-tiered Bich Dong Pagoda, wander through cave temples, gaze at Buddhist statues, and smell the calming incense, then take in the view on a drive through the countryside, passing by villages and limestone mountains.

Stop for lunch, then travel to Trang An, a scenic area with a karst system of limestone grottoes you can float through. Take a sampan (a traditional boat) tour through lush rice fields and rocky outcrops and visit Trang. See Dia Linh Mountain, which is believed to have spiritual significance. Learn about the Tran Dynasty at the Vu Lam Royal Steps and visit a temple dedicated to Thanh Cao Son, a national hero who taught farmers vital irrigation techniques. After a day of exploration, your driver will take you back to Hanoi for the night. 

Day 3: Transfer to Ha Long Bay, Overnight Cruise

Transfer to Ha Long Bay, Cruise Ha Long Bay
Sunset over the glassy waters of Ha Long Bay

After breakfast, your driver will pick you up for the three-hour drive to the coast and Ha Long Bay. Located on the Gulf of Tonkin, over 1,500 karst islets rise above jade waters and resemble the spine of some mythological creature ("ha long" actually translates to "descending dragon"). The unique beauty of this region is unlike anywhere else, and it's a UNESCO World Heritage site. Upon arrival at the marina, you'll board a multi-level cruise ship for an overnight tour. After settling into your cabin, head to the deck for a delicious seafood lunch.

Spend time relaxing on the sun deck as the ship sails across glassy emerald waters to the most secluded corners of the bay. Later that afternoon, you'll stop at a secret cove for a swim and a kayak trip to explore hidden beaches and grottoes. Return to the ship just in time to participate in a cooking masterclass offered by the onboard expert chef. During the workshop, you'll learn to make traditional specialties like nem (Vietnamese fried spring rolls) and enjoy them for dinner. Spend the remainder of the evening relaxing, or head out on a small boat for some night fishing with the locals.

Day 4: Morning Cruise, Fly to Hoi An via Hanoi

Hoi An riverfront 
Be sure to wake up early and head to the deck to catch the sunrise. Then sit down and enjoy breakfast in the open air as you cruise around towering islets. The rest of the morning is yours to enjoy, so relax, take in the views, or join an optional activity like kayaking around Ha Long's floating villages. After an early lunch, you'll disembark at the marina and transfer back to Hanoi. A driver will be waiting to take you to Hanoi International Airport, where you'll take a flight to Da Nang. Upon arrival at the airport, a driver will pick you up and take you to your hotel near Hoi An.

Day 5: Cam Thanh Fishing Village Tour & Basket Boat Ride

Cam Thanh Fishing Village Tour & Basket Boat Ride
Ride traditional basket boats down the river on today's excursion
Plan your trip to Vietnam
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Head just south of Hoi An today for an eco-tour of Cam Thanh Village, which is famous for its lush mangroves and 207-acre (84 ha) Bay Mau palm forest. Travel through the countryside by bicycle, passing rice paddies and tiny villages. Next, take a boat tour with fishermen demonstrating traditional net fishing techniques. Then, a peaceful trip through the mangroves awaits as you float down the waterways of a coconut palm paradise in a Vietnamese bamboo basket boat. You'll get the chance to paddle and try your hand at crab fishing along the way. The trip ends with a Vietnamese lunch.
After the tour, you'll return to Hoi An and enjoy a free afternoon. Wander on foot or rent a bike to cycle along the car and motorbike-free streets. Along the way, you'll pass shuttered wooden buildings that date back to the 16th century. Order a custom-made outfit from one of the resident tailors or try some street-food snacks. For sunset views, head to one of the city's nearby beaches, which are adored for their soft, pale sands.

Day 6: Hoi An City & Food Tour, Fly to Ho Chi Minh City

Sample street food and tour the local markets of Hanoi

This morning, you'll have the option to explore the local cuisine on a city and food tour that focuses on the breakfast street food of Hoi An and some of the typical architectural styles of this town. Take a leisurely stroll around Hoi An Old Town, passing by cultural attractions like the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge and Chinese Assembly Halls before making your way to Hoi An Center Market. By the time you finish eating at some of these hidden food treasures, you won't need lunch later. Follow this tour up with a foot massage to pamper your feet after the morning's walk.

This afternoon, a driver will be waiting to take you to the airport, where you'll catch a flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Upon arrival, another driver will take you to your hotel. You'll have the evening to discover the city. Despite a turbulent history and devastating war, this city formerly known as Saigon has retained its fascinating mix of Asian and Western traditions, with French colonial landmarks rubbing shoulders with 21st-century skyscrapers. Wander through markets, the Old Town, and the modern sector to get your bearings.

Day 7: Day Trip to Mekong Delta

Mekong Delta Group Tour (My Tho) - Joint in tour
Explore the Mekong Delta like a local today

Meet your guide at the hotel lobby this morning and set out on a day trip to the town of My Tho on the left side of the Mekong River. Upon arrival, board a sampan rowboat and cruise down the river around four beautiful islands known as Dragon, Unicorn, Phoenix, and Tortoise. Make stops to stroll the country lanes and see the orchards, visit fruit plantations and enjoy tropical fruits, and hear folk music performed by the local people.

Next, float through the Thoi Son Canal and immerse yourself in the lush countryside. Visit family workshops and a honey bee farm, where you can try some honey tea with coconut candies. Refuel with a traditional Vietnamese lunch before pedaling around the Tan Thach Village. Alternatively, enjoy the cool breeze and relax in a hammock as you take it all in. 

Day 8: Fly to Phu Quoc

One of Phu Quoc's pristine beaches

It's time for a change of scenery as you pull out your bathing suit to head south to the islands. A driver will take you to the airport this morning for a domestic flight to Phu Quoc. Upon arrival, your driver and tour guide will meet you and transfer you to your hotel to get settled. Located off the southwest coast, Phu Quoc is Vietnam's finest tropical getaway. Palm-fringed beaches ring the island, while large swaths of rainforest cover the interior. Spend the remainder of your day relaxing on the white sands or taking in the pagodas, fishing villages, and other sites scattered around the island. 

Day 9: Free Day in Phu Quoc 

Snorkeling on Phu Quoc Island
Snorkel in the clear waters of Phu Quoc 
Today is free for you to settle into island life however you please. You won't want to miss the white sands and clear waters of Sao Beach, located on the southeast side of the island. From here, you can rent kayaks for leisurely paddles along the shore. Farther south, you can ride a cable car across to the island of Hon Thom, which has even more beautiful beaches and a popular water park. Phu Quoc has some of Vietnam's best snorkeling and diving, and you can see various marine life, including reef fish and hard and soft corals, at warm, relatively shallow dive sites.
If you can drag yourself from the beach, you can learn about the island's famous produce at the Khai Hoan Fish Sauce Factory. Here, you can see the giant vats where the fragrant sauce is made and browse the shop for edible souvenirs. Climb the steps to the top of Ho Quoc Pagoda on the southeastern side of Phu Quoc for one of the best views over the island. And don't miss sampling some of South Vietnam's best street food at the Bach Dang Night Market in the village of Duong Dong.

Day 10: Island Hopping & Snorkel off Phu Quoc

Island hop the day away!

Spend the day island hopping and snorkeling as you sail to two nearby islands for spectacular sea and land scenery. Meet your guide at the hotel and make your way to the boat. The first stop is Mong Tày or Gam Ghi Island for snorkeling and swimming. After indulging in a delicious lunch on board, it's time to head to May Rut for more exploring by snorkel and swimming around the lagoons.

Enjoy the surrounding activities offered on the island. Stroll along the beaches and bridges and relax under the shaded coconut trees. At the end of the day, head back to An Thoi Harbor, where you can savor a final sunset on the beach over drinks.

Day 11: Return to Ho Chi Minh City, Street Food Tour

An aerial view of Ho Chi Minh City's Notre Dame Cathedral
Take those last few breaths of salty sea air before your driver picks you up and transfers you to Phu Quoc International Airport to take a one-hour domestic flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Later, you'll have the option to discover the many flavors of Ho Chi Minh in different neighborhoods with a local food expert who will explain the city's culinary traditions. Start with a trip to Ben Thanh Market, browsing food stalls and trying local dishes such as banh xeo (pancakes) and banh mi sandwiches.
In District 1, amid handbags, clothes, and other goods, find popular noodle shops to try bun bo hue (beef noodle soup) and bun dau (tofu noodle soup). In District 5, see ceremonial cake stalls and stop to taste a special French-influenced dessert while learning how cakes and sweets are prepared for special occasions. To end the tour, take a seat in a small, busy coffee shop to try a sweet iced coffee or slow-drip hot brew. Savor your last evening while people-watching.

Day 12: Depart Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City
Farewell Vietnam!
After breakfast, spend a few hours soaking up the atmosphere in Ho Chi Minh City, perhaps shopping for souvenirs in the markets before your flight home. When the time comes, a driver will take you to the airport to catch your departing flight. Safe travels!

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