On this family itinerary, you'll pair the diversity of Vietnam and the cultural treasures of Cambodia. Over two weeks, experience classic sites including the charming streets of Hanoi, cruising the impressive Halong Bay, strolling the markets of bustling Ho Chi Minh City, and exploring the palatial and mysterious Angkor Wat temple complex in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Your trip goes beyond guided tours allowing you many chances to get to meet locals in villages, take cycling through the countryside, and learn how to cook traditional foods.

Highlights

  • Stroll Hanoi's French colonial Old Quarter
  • Spend the night on a junk boat in Halong Bay
  • Explore the expansive Angkor Wat temple complex
  • Take a boat ride on the Mekong Delta
  • Take a cyclo (rickshaw) tour in Ho Chi Minh City

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Hanoi Hanoi
Day 2 Hanoi Cultural Tour Hanoi
Day 3 Mai Châu Cultural Tour Mai Châu, Hòa Bình
Day 4 Mai Châu - Hanoi Hanoi
Day 5 Ha Long Bay Cruise Halong Bay
Day 6 Ha Long Bay Tour and Hanoi - Siem Reap by Plane Siem Reap
Day 7 Angkor Wat Tour Siem Reap
Day 8 Kompheim Village and Phare Circus Show Siem Reap
Day 9 Tonlé Sap Tour and Siem Reap - Ho Chi Minh City by Plane Ho Chi Minh City
Day 10 Mekong Delta Tour Tien Giang
Day 11 Mekong Delta: Cai Be and Tan Phong Island Tien Giang
Day 12 Ho Chi Minh City Tour Ho Chi Minh City
Day 13 Củ Chi Tunnels and Ho Chi Minh City Walking Tour Ho Chi Minh City
Day 14 Farewell from Ho Chi Minh City  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Hanoi

Sample snacks from Hanoi's street vendors
Sample snacks from Hanoi's street vendors

Upon arrival at Hanoi's Nội Bài International Airport, you will transfer by private vehicle to your hotel for check-in. The remainder of the day is yours to rest and relax to enjoy this traditional yet modern metropolis.

Dating to 3,000 BCE, Hanoi is one of the most ancient capitals in the world where glimmering office buildings sit alongside the French colonial Old Quarter. Rarely at rest, the kinetic energy of Hanoi's motorbike-packed streets spills over into the outdoor markets, Hang Gai silk shops, electic nightlife, and curbside bún chả (a traditional noodle dish) and bánh mì (traditional baguette sandwich) vendors. 

Recover from jet lag with a walk on the streets of Old Town, where you can browse local markets and take in some local history with a stroll around Hoàn Kiếm Lake. At the north end of the lake is an arched red bridge leading to Jade Island and the Temple of the Jade Mountain. This temple was built in the 18th century to honor Tran Hung Dao, a military commander who famously repelled two Mongol invasions. Nearby, in the center of the lake, is Turtle Tower, a small stone tower built to commemorate the Golden Turtle God, Kim Qui, who, according to Vietnamese myth, reclaimed a magical sword from Emperor Lê Lợi in order to return it to the Dragon King. You should know that it's legends like these around which Vietnam's rich culture is based.

After a brief walk and taking in Hanoi's famous sights, consider dining in the Old Quarter. There is no shortage of incredible eateries in this neighborhood that run the gamut from delicious street food to fine dining to trendy fusion restaurants.

Day 2: Hanoi Cultural Tour: Duong Lam Ancient Village, Temple of Literature, and Ethnology Museum

Built in 1070 to honor Confucius, the Temple of Literature has five courtyards
Built in 1070 to honor Confucius, the Temple of Literature has five courtyards

After breakfast, you will drive an hour and 20 minutes 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. Upon arrival, visit Mr. Huyen, a villager and former editor-in-chief of the Van Nghe newspaper, who will explain the traditional architecture, and share his family history and stories of life in the village with you.

Your family will take a leisurely bike ride through the village stopping along the way to visit the Mông Phu Temple, the Mia Pagoda, and the tomb of former king Ngo Quyen, who established the Ngo Dynasty. After the bike ride, you will return to have a home-cooked traditional Vietnamese lunch with Mr. Huyen and his family. 

In the afternoon, you will be driven back to Hanoi to visit the Temple of Literature, the site of Vietnam's first university, to learn about Vietnamese philosophy and the Ethnology Museum to learn about the 54 officially recognized ethnic groups in Vietnam. 

Driving time: 2 hours and 40 minutes
Driving distance: 62 miles (100 km)

Day 3: Mai Châu Cultural Tour

Mai Chau is a mountain town in northwest Vietnam
Mai Chau is a mountain town in northwest Vietnam

Today, a driver will drive you to the idyllic mountain town of Mai Châu in northwest Vietnam. After passing the bucolic province of Hòa Bình, you will enter the mountainous area that is the homeland of the Muong people. You will arrive in Mai Chau around noon and check in to a beautiful eco-lodge in a magical valley that offers a great view of the surrounding rice fields and verdant hills.

In the afternoon, you will take a 90-minute walk off-the-beaten track. Along the way, you will meet with local farmers in the rice fields, who you may help in the rice paddies or in the garden, depending on the season. The day concludes with a small traditional dance performance by the villagers and adults can enjoy rượu cần (fermented rice wine).

Driving time: 3.5 hours
Driving distance: 90 miles (145 km)

Day 4: Mai Châu - Hanoi

Mai Châu affords picture-perfect views of the Vietnamese countryside
Mai Châu affords picture-perfect views of the Vietnamese countryside

In the morning you go on a one- to two-hour bike tour in Mai Châu to breath the fresh country air and take in the peace of the mountain villages and rice terraces in northwestern Vietnam. For small children, there is a child seat on the parents' bicycles. 

In the afternoon, you will return to Hanoi. After some free time, you will be taken to an open-air theater about 12 miles (20 km) to see The Quintessence of Tonkin, an hour-long cultural performance that takes place on a stage made of water.

Driving time: 3.5 hours
Driving distance: 90 miles (145 km)

Day 5: Ha Long Bay Cruise

Cruising in a traditional junk boat is a quintessential Ha Long Bay experience
Cruising in a traditional junk boat is a quintessential Ha Long Bay experience

After breakfast, your guide will transfer you to the famous Ha Long Bay where you will embark on a sailing trip around the bay on a junk, 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 will explore a beautiful grotto, such as Surprising 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 Ha Long Bay.  At the end of the day, set anchor in the bay, enjoy a freshly prepared seafood dinner, and stay overnight in your sleeping quarters on the boat. 

Driving time: 3.5 hours
Driving distance: 109 miles (176 km)

Day 6: Ha Long Bay Tour and Hanoi - Siem Reap by Plane

Partake in morning exercise or a swim at the beach in Ha Long Bay
Partake in morning exercise or a swim at the beach in Ha Long Bay

If the weather permits, you will have the opportunity to swim at the white sand beaches of Ti Top Island and kayak for 45 minutes to one hour to and from Luon Cave. After brunch aboard your junk boat, you will disembark around noon and transfer to Hanoi's Nội Bài International Airport for your short flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Upon arrival in Siem Reap, you will be picked up and taken to your hotel.

Driving time: 3 hours
Driving distance: 107 miles (173 km)
Travel time (flight): 1 hour and 50 minutes
Travel distance (flight): 553 miles (890 km)

Day 7: Angkor Wat Tour

Originally a Hindu temple, Angkor Wat was transformed into a Buddhist temple at the end of the 12th century
Originally a Hindu temple, Angkor Wat was transformed into a Buddhist temple at the end of the 12th century

Today, you will visit the largest religious monument in the world. Spread over 402 acres (162.6 hectares), the enormous Angkor Wat temple complex was built by the Khmer King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century. You will start at the south gate of Angkor Thom. You will visit the famous Bayon Temple's bas-reliefs and see the intricate carvings that cover the three-tiered Baphuon Temple where you can admire its numerous towers and meter-high, smiling stone faces, The morning tour continues to the terrace of the elephants, which once served as a royal ceremonial court, the terrace of the leper king decorated with well-preserved bas-reliefs, and the terrace of the Phimean Akas also known as the Celestial Palace.

In the afternoon, your tour of Angkor Wat temple complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site continues. Your family will enjoy walking the temple grounds and admiring the temple's sheer size like its towers, which are up to 65 meters high and designed in the shape of lotus flowers. Take a steep climb to the top to get unforgettable panoramic views of the temple complex. A highlight of the tour includes a stop at Ta Prohm, which has served as the backdrop for various Hollywood films like Tomb Raider. The day-long tour concludes with watching the sunset at Pre Rup Temple.

Day 8: Kompheim Village and Phare Circus Show

Angkor Wat is arguably the most famous temple in Cambodia
Angkor Wat is arguably the most famous temple in Cambodia

You will take a traditional tuk tuk ride to Kompheim village, which is about 30 minutes from Siem Reap. Upon arrival, you will take an easy walk accompanied by an employee of HUSK, a local NGO that seeks to provide access to safe water, healthcare, and educational opportunities, and meet villagers to learn about everyday life in Cambodia.

The afternoon is for you to rest and relax. In the evening, your family has the option to attend Phare, a Cambodian music, dance, and circus show to tell traditional Cambodian stories, eat dinner in the Old Market, and stroll through the night market.

Day 9: Tonlé Sap Tour and Siem Reap - Ho Chi Minh City by Plane

The Reunification Palace is an important place in Vietnam's history
The Reunification Palace is an important place in Vietnam's history

In the morning, you will depart for Kompong Phluk, a village on the banks of the Tonlé Sap Lake. Along the way, you will stop at a local market and for photos. Your family will enjoy a boat ride on the Tonlé Sap Lake and have time to explore the village built on stilts before heading back to Siem Reap for your flight to Ho Chi Minh City.

Upon arrival in Ho Chi Minh City (also known as Saigon), you will be picked up and taken to your hotel, where the rest of the day is for you to rest, relax, and explore.

Driving time: 1.5 hours
Driving distance: 19 miles (30 km)
Travel time (flight): 1 hour and 20 minutes
Travel distance: 262 miles (422 km)

Day 10: Mekong Delta Tour

See the Cai Be floating market at Tan Phong island
See the Cai Be floating market at Tan Phong island

Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city in Vietnam and a real treasure trove of unique cafes, architectural masterpieces, and culinary highlights. After breakfast, you will be driven to a charming eco-resort on the banks of the Mekong Delta, the "rice bowl" of Vietnam. In the afternoon, you will take a leisurely 30- to 60-minute walk to explore the area and visit a handicraft business, meet locals, and taste honey with a local tea. 

In the evening, your family will enjoy a cooking demonstration at your hotel where you will learn how to prepare typical Vietnamese dishes.

Traveling time: 2.5 hours
Travel distance: 62 miles (100 km)

Day 11: Mekong Delta: Cai Be and Tan Phong Island

Cai Be is a local floating market
Cai Be is a local floating market

After breakfast, take a 20-minute boat trip to visit the local floating market, Cai Be. You will experience the floating market where you can admire and purchase the tropical fruits, vegetables, and regional handicraft products laid out on the boats.

Afterward, you will embark on a leisurely two-hour bike tour through the tropical orchards of Binh Hoa Phuoc Village on Tan Phong Island. The island is famous for its ecotourism attractions in Tien Giang Province. You also have the chance to use the ferry, a very special means of transport in the Mekong Delta, before heading back to the lodge for the rest of the day to enjoy on your own.

Day 12: Ho Chi Minh City Tour

Make time to stroll Saigon’s hẻm (alleyways)
Make time to stroll Saigon’s hẻm (alleyways)

After breakfast and free time at the lodge, you will drive back to Ho Chi Minh City to take a city tour. You will visit the most important highlights of the city, including the famous French colonial Central Post Office. the bustling Cho Lon, the city's Chinatown, the Thien Tau Temple, which is dedicated to Mazu, the goddess of fisherman, and the Binh Tay Market, where you can shop for souvenirs like ao dai (traditional tailored Vietnamese dresses) to your heart's content. You can also take a tour on a cyclo, a pedaled rickshaw,

Traveling time: 2.5 hours
Travel distance: 62 miles (100 km)

Day 13: Củ Chi Tunnels and Ho Chi Minh City Walking Tour

The Củ Chi Tunnels are 75 miles (121 km) long
The Củ Chi Tunnels are 75 miles (121 km) long

After breakfast, you will leave Ho Chi Minh in a private car for the drive north to Củ Chi. This area is home to a massive tunnel network made famous during the Vietnam War as the Viet Cong's base of operations, particularly during the Tết Offensive of 1968.

This 155-mile- (250 km) tunnel network once sheltered over 16,000 Việt Cộng. First constructed in 1948 to guard against French air and ground sweeps, the tunnels then served as supply routes, storage facilities, hospitals, and living quarters for Vietnamese fighters throughout the Vietnam War. You will have the option to go into the tunnels and get a glimpse of the harsh conditions faced by the Viet Cong, who lived here, plus see the innovative booby traps they left for unlucky enemy soldiers.

You will return to Ho Chi Minh City in the afternoon and take a leisurely walking tour through the city's narrow hẻm (alleyways) where you can immerse yourself in the traditional everyday life of locals.

Driving time: 3 hours
Driving distance: 62 miles (100 km)

Day 14: Farewell from Ho Chi Minh City

Vietnam's rice paddies make for stunning country scenery
Vietnam's rice paddies make for stunning country scenery

Take the morning to enjoy one last stroll around Ho Chi Minh City. Then, you will be picked up from your hotel in Ho Chi Minh City and transferred to the airport for your departure home or to your next destination. 

Map

Map of Family-Friendly Vietnam & Cambodia - 14 Days
Map of Family-Friendly Vietnam & Cambodia - 14 Days