Travel the length of Vietnam on this nine-day highlights tour. Take in the bright lights of Ho Chi Minh City and sail through the Mekong Delta before heading north to the lantern-lined streets of Hoi An. Here, you'll explore UNESCO-listed architecture and journey to dunes, countryside villages, and the ancient Champa kingdom of My Son. Enjoy a traditional cooking class in the capital, Hanoi, then finish with an overnight cruise of UNESCO-listed Ha Long Bay.


  • Sail through the lush Mekong Delta
  • Learn about Vietnam's war history at the Cu Chi Tunnels
  • Explore UNESCO-listed Hoi An
  • Take a cooking class in historic Hanoi
  • Cruise the emerald waters of Ha Long Bay

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City, Half-Day Tour Ho Chi Minh City
Day 2 Ben Tre Tour Ho Chi Minh City
Day 3 Cu Chi Tunnels Tour & Fly to Hoi An Hoi An
Day 4 Tra Que Village & Hoi An Tour Hoi An
Day 5 My Son Tour & Fly to Hanoi Hanoi
Day 6 Hanoi Cooking Class & City Tour Hanoi
Day 7 Transfer to Ha Long Bay & Overnight Cruise Ha Long Bay
Day 8 Cruise Ha Long Bay & Return to Hanoi Hanoi
Day 9 Depart Hanoi  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City, Half-Day Tour

Saigon Notre-Dame Cathedral
Visit landmarks like the Notre Dame Cathedral replica

Xin chao! Welcome to Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon). Your driver will be waiting at the airport to take you to your hotel in the city's heart. Settle in and then head out to explore Vietnam's largest metropolis on a half-day tour. You'll discover a city filled with winding alleyways, sprawling markets, and soaring skyscrapers set among decorative temples and colonial architecture.

Visit French colonial landmarks like the grand Central Post Office and the replica of Notre Dame Cathedral, which features spike-topped towers and stained-glass windows imported from France. Continue to Cho Lon (Chinatown), where you'll explore Thien Hau Pagoda, an 18th-century temple dedicated to the Chinese sea goddess Mazu. Browse Binh Tay Market's produce, handicrafts, fabrics, and food stalls. Spend the rest of the day relaxing and sampling some Vietnamese street food.

Day 2: Ben Tre Tour

Cycle through Mekong Delta villages

This morning you'll drive south to the Mekong Delta. Known as Vietnam's rice bowl, this region is full of mangroves, sugar cane plantations, and water-logged paddies. Board a boat to sail the Ben Tre River, one of the tributaries of the Mekong. You'll visit local businesses like a brick workshop and honey farm along the way. Tour one of the coconut candy workshops Ben Tre is famous for to sample 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 tropical 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 relaxed evening.

Day 3: Cu Chi Tunnels Tour, Fly to Hoi An

Learn about Vietnam's war history at the Cu Chi Tunnels

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 learn how the Viet Cong used these tunnels to fight and get the chance to crawl through a section to experience their narrow dimensions.

The trip finishes at noon when your driver will take you back to Ho Chi Minh City for your onward flight to Hoi An. This historic port town lies on the Tho Bon River and is fringed by tranquil rice paddies and beaches lapped by the South China Sea. Visitors are drawn to Hoi An for its ancient architecture, lantern-lined streets, and skilled tailors who can whip up a custom-made outfit in as little as 24 hours.

Day 4: Tra Que Village & Hoi An Tour

Plan your trip to Vietnam
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Explore Hoi An's waterways and UNESCO architecture

Discover Hoi An and its surrounding countryside on a full-day tour. Start with a bike ride to the wharf, where you'll take a boat to the Cua Dai sand dunes, learning how to cast a net with fishermen on the way. After taking in views of the towering dunes, continue to Cam Thanh Village, which is known for its 84-hectare Bay Mau palm forest. Take a peaceful trip on a Vietnamese bamboo basket boat through the mangroves.

Next, sail to Cam An Wharf, where you'll cycle to Tra Que to meet farmers and get involved in village life. You'll get to try local cuisine, from tam huu (three friends) spring rolls to fried fish, at the Tra Que Herb Village. Cycle back to Hoi An afterward for a walking tour of this ancient port town. Soak up its UNESCO-listed fusion of architecture, which includes wooden merchant houses, an ornate Japanese bridge, and the Phuc Kien Chinese Temple.

Day 5: My Son Tour & Fly to Hanoi

Tour the Champa kingdom's ancient capital, My Son

This morning you'll take a half-day trip to My Son, the Champa kingdom's capital between the 4th and 12th centuries. Take a guided tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, which boasts an extensive complex of interconnecting red-brick temples and towers. Built by former kings, many temples are dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva.

After lunch, you'll head to the airport and fly north to Hanoi, Vietnam's high-energy capital and cultural heart. A driver will take you to your hotel, navigating the motorbike-choked streets of the city. Settle in and head out to explore the historic Old Quarter. Here, shop fronts and cafés spill onto pavements scattered with tiny stools where Hanoians sip coffee and play checkers.

Day 6: Hanoi Cooking Class & City Tour

Watch local life around Hanoi's Hoan Kiem Lake

Start the day with a cooking class to sample Hanoi's traditional cuisine. Begin with a guided trip to a colorful market, where your chef will teach you the essential herbs, vegetables, and spices used in Vietnamese food. Using these ingredients, learn how to cook three typical Hanoian dishes and feast on your creations for lunch.

In the afternoon, delve into Hanoi's history with a city tour. Head to Hoan Kiem Lake, where locals come to socialize, practice Tai Chi, and pray at Ngoc Son Temple. Stroll through the 36 streets of the Old Quarter and visit the 11th-century Temple of Literature. The day ends with a water puppet show, a Vietnamese art form that emerged in the Red River Delta region in the 11th century.

Day 7: Transfer to Ha Long Bay & Overnight Cruise

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Cruise Ha Long Bay's paper-flat, emerald waters

Today, head to Thuan Chau Harbor for your overnight cruise of Ha Long Bay. Sail across the emerald waters of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, scattered with over 2,000 limestone karsts steeped in Vietnamese legend. A delicious seafood lunch onboard awaits, followed by plenty of time to enjoy views on the sundeck as you sail to Lom Bo Island. Here, you'll visit Me Cung, one of the most striking caves in Ha Long Bay, with a maze-like network of caverns filled with stalagmites and stalactites.

Afterward, trek up to a panoramic viewpoint on Lom Bo for sweeping views across Ha Long Bay. Return to the boat, where you can swim or take a kayak out to explore the bay's grottoes, then watch the sunset from the upper deck. After dinner, spend the evening relaxing or try a spot of squid fishing.

Day 8: Cruise Ha Long Bay & Return to Hanoi

Cruise Ha Long Bay & Return to Hanoi
Wake up on UNESCO-listed Ha Long Bay and watch the sunrise
Wake early for breakfast on the ship's deck, watching the sun rise over the still waters of Ha Long Bay, deemed one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature. You'll stop at tranquil islands to lounge on sandy beaches and swim, then cruise to Man's Head Island and Tortoise Island. Enjoy a final brunch onboard before disembarking for the journey back to Hanoi, where you'll arrive mid-afternoon.

Day 9: Depart Hanoi

Say goodbye to Hanoi before you fly home
Today your Vietnam adventure comes to an end. You'll be picked up from your hotel and transferred to Noi Bai Airport for your onward flight. Safe travels!

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Map of Explore Vietnam's History & Culture - 9 Days
Map of Explore Vietnam's History & Culture - 9 Days