- Discover iconic palaces, temples, and street food in Hanoi and Bangkok
- Learn about Vietnamese war history with a local at the Cu Chi Tunnels
- Visit the UNESCO-listed ancient ruins of Ayutthaya in Thailand
- Boat and bike your way through Vietnam's lush Mekong Delta region
- Take an overnight cruise across the emerald waters of Ha Long Bay
|Arrive in Hanoi (Vietnam), Evening Street Food Tour
|Hanoi History Tour
|Transfer to Ha Long Bay, Board Overnight Cruise
|Ha Long Bay
|Explore Ha Long Bay, Return to Hanoi, Fly to Ho Chi Minh City
|Ho Chi Minh City
|Cu Chi Tunnels & Ho Chi Minh City Tour
|Ho Chi Minh City
|Explore the Mekong Delta by Boat & Bike
|Ho Chi Minh City
|Fly to Bangkok (Thailand), Oasis Spa Massage
|Bangkok Temples & Palaces Tour, Street Food Experience
|Ayutthaya & Bang-Pa-In Tour
Day 1: Arrive in Hanoi (Vietnam), Evening Street Food Tour
Welcome to Hanoi, Vietnam's high-energy capital and cultural heart. A private driver will take you to your hotel, navigating the motorbike-choked streets of the city, which feature a mix of temples and French colonial buildings contrasted with modern, glassy malls and office buildings. In the labyrinthine streets of the Old Quarter, shop fronts and cafés spill onto pavements scattered with tiny stools where Hanoians sip coffee and play checkers.
Meet with a Hanoi food expert for a mouthwatering tour of the capital this evening. Start with a trip to Thanh Ha Market, where you'll browse food stalls, try local delicacies, and uncover Vietnamese culinary culture. Then, 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 historic laneways. Here, you'll learn about traditional celebrations, stop at ceremonial cake stalls, and taste a French-influenced dessert. You'll also wander along Hang Cot Street, known for its preserved fruits, before ending the tour at a café to sip sweet iced coffee or a slow-dripped hot brew while watching the day-to-day street life unfold.
Day 2: Hanoi History Tour
Today's sightseeing tour of Hanoi begins with a trip to Hang Be Market in the Old Quarter. Locals have shopped here for hundreds of years, sourcing everything from fresh produce to raw meat and dry ingredients. Continue to Tran Quoc Pagoda, a Buddhist shrine set on an island in Tay Ho (West Lake), which dates back to the reign of Emperor Ly Nam De in the sixth century, making it the oldest of its kind in the city.
Next, visit the fascinating Museum of Ethnology, which houses an expansive collection of costumes and artifacts from Vietnam's 54 ethnic minority groups. Take a break for lunch and then explore the Temple of Literature, Vietnam's first national university built in the late 11th century. Lauded for its striking architecture, the temple is featured on the 100,000 Vietnamese dong banknote.
Finish the tour at the Ho Chi Minh Complex, where Vietnam's revered revolutionary leader, Ho Chi Minh, lies embalmed in a mausoleum. Amble through the peaceful grounds to see the humble wooden stilt house where he once lived and the ornate One Pillar Pagoda, which sits in the middle of a lake and resembles Vietnam's national flower, the lotus.
Day 3: Transfer to Ha Long Bay, Board Overnight Cruise
This morning, take a private 2.5-hour transfer to the northwest coast, where the land meets the Gulf of Tonkin, to begin your overnight tour of Ha Long Bay. Sail across the paper-flat waters, taking in views of over 2,000 limestone karsts steeped in Vietnamese legend. A fresh seafood lunch onboard awaits, followed by plenty of time to sit on the sun deck as you sail to the most remote corners of Ha Long Bay.
In the afternoon, stop at a secret cove where you can swim and kayak to explore hidden beaches and grottoes. Look for formations such as Kissing Rock, which appears on Vietnam's 200,000 dong note. The ship's expert chef will lead a cooking masterclass, teaching you to make specialties like nem (Vietnamese fried spring rolls) for dinner. Spend the evening relaxing or join the locals for a spot of night fishing to end the day.
Day 4: Explore Ha Long Bay, Return to Hanoi, Fly to Ho Chi Minh City
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Wake early for breakfast on the ship's deck, watching the sun rise over the emerald waters of Ha Long Bay, deemed one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature. The morning is yours to simply absorb the view or join optional activities like tai chi and kayaking past floating villages and forested islands.
Visit a limestone cave dripping in stalagmites and stalactites before sailing back to the harbor, enjoying brunch along the way. A driver will be waiting to take you back to Hanoi in time for your two-hour flight south to Ho Chi Minh City. Settle into your hotel and then explore Vietnam's largest metropolis. You'll discover a city filled with winding alleyways, sprawling markets, and soaring skyscrapers set among decorative temples and French colonial landmarks.
Day 5: Cu Chi Tunnels & Ho Chi Minh City Tour
Today, you'll learn about Vietnam's war history with a trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels, where the Viet Cong fought American soldiers in the 1960s. Located just northwest of Ho Chi Minh City, this complex of underground tunnels stretches over 155 miles (250 km) and was a bitter battleground during the war. You'll hear how the Viet Cong used these tunnels as communication routes, storage facilities, hospitals, and living areas for fighters. You'll even get to crawl through a section to experience the tunnels' narrow dimensions.
Return to Ho Chi Minh City this afternoon, where you'll visit the Independence Palace, also known as the Reunification Palace, a symbol of the end of the American War when Ho Chi Minh's tanks stormed the complex in 1975. Continue with a tour of the city's French colonial landmarks, such as Notre Dame Cathedral and the Central Post Office. You'll also tour Ben Thanh, one of the biggest markets in the city.
Day 6: Explore the Mekong Delta by Boat & Bike
This morning, you'll drive south to the lush Mekong Delta. Known as Vietnam's rice bowl, this region contains mangroves, sugar cane plantations, and waterlogged paddies. Board a boat to sail the Ben Tre River, one of the tributaries of the mighty Mekong. Along the way, you'll visit local businesses like a brick workshop and honey farm. Tour one of the coconut candy workshops Ben Tre is famous for to try these tasty treats and learn how they're made.
Next, you'll stop at a small riverside village for tea with a family that makes hand-woven rush mats. Explore the village by bike or xe loi (motor cart) to observe daily life. You'll pass lime-green rice fields, vegetable farms, and exotic fruit orchards. Have lunch at Green Coconut Restaurant on the banks of the river before trying your hand at rowing along a creek. Afterward, head back to Ho Chi Minh City for a laid-back evening.
Day 7: Fly to Bangkok (Thailand), Oasis Spa Massage
Say goodbye to Vietnam this morning and catch a 1.5-hour flight to Thailand. Touch down in Bangkok, where your driver will be waiting to take you to your hotel in the city's heart. Thailand's capital is beloved for its chaotic energy, delicious street food, buzzing nightlife, and Buddhist sights.
Spend today exploring independently. Perhaps visit Chinatown—a city within a city—which is the best place to begin a street-food tour. For souvenir shopping, visit Siam Paragon, one of Bangkok's most popular shopping malls. If you're visiting during the weekend, don't miss Chatuchak Market. With more than 15,000 stalls, it's one of the world's largest outdoor markets, selling everything from clothes and pets to flowers and antiques.
Head to the renowned Oasis Spa this evening for a decadent two-hour massage. Enjoy a combination of Thai massage and aromatherapy techniques, complete with a herbal hot compress. The session ends with a hot oil massage, leaving you in a state of serene bliss.
Day 8: Bangkok Temples & Palaces Tour, Street Food Experience
This morning, you'll visit some of Bangkok's most sacred temples. Start at Wat Traimit, which features one of the country's largest solid gold Buddha statues, weighing 5.5 tons (4,990 kg). Continue to one of Bangkok's oldest temples, Wat Pho, known for its 150-foot (46 m) reclining Buddha, whose feet are inlaid with mother of pearl, and its Thai massage school.
After lunch, tour the Grand Palace, a complex of intricate temples and palaces built in 1782, which served as the royal family's home for 150 years. Today, the palace is used for royal ceremonies such as weddings, funerals, and state banquets. Highlights include the Reception Hall, Coronation Hall, and Wat Phra Kaew, which houses the Emerald Buddha statue.
Tonight, travel with your guide to Chinatown for an evening food tour. Explore the area's beloved street food, such as kai satay (barbecue chicken with sweet and sour peanut sauce), pad thai (stir-fried rice noodles), and ba mee mhoo daeng (crispy noodles with pork). Top off your feast with some Thai desserts and Chinese herbal drinks. The tour ends with an exhilarating tuk-tuk tour of Bangkok on the way back to your hotel.
Day 9: Ayutthaya & Bang-Pa-In Tour
The day begins with a 90-minute drive from Bangkok to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed city of Ayutthaya, passing through verdant countryside and paddy fields. This 14th-century archaeological site was once the capital of the Siam Kingdom, and today, you can stroll among the ruins of its palaces, temples, and monasteries.
With the help of a private guide, you'll explore highlights such as Wat Phra Si Sanphet, a 15th-century temple complex with three impressive bell-shaped pagodas, and Wat Mahathat, which is famed for its colossal banyan tree entwined with a statue of a Buddha. Your next stop is Wat Yai Chaimongkol, one of the largest chedis in Ayutthaya, backed by tropical gardens.
End your tour with a boat trip to Bang-Pa-In, once the grand mansion of Thailand's royal family, built by Rama IV. Take in views of Ayutthaya as you float on a long-tail boat, then return to Bangkok for a final free evening in the capital.
Day 10: Depart Bangkok
Today, your Vietnam and Thailand adventure ends, and you'll be transferred to the airport in Bangkok for your onward flight. Safe travels!
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