Essence of Vietnam 16 days

Outlined Itinerary 

Day 1. Arrive in Hanoi (D) 

Day 2. Hanoi City Tour – Lao Cai (B/L) 

Day 3. Arrive Lao Cai – Sapa (B/L) 

Day 4. Sapa (B/L) 

Day 5. Sapa – Lao Cai -Train back to Hanoi (B/L) 

Day 6. Lao Cai – Hanoi (B/-/D) 

Day 7. Halong Bay Excursion (B/L) 

Day 8. Hanoi – Danang – Hoi An (B/L) 

Day 9. Hoi An (B) 

Day 10. Hoi An (B) 

Day 11. Hoi An – Nha Trang (B) 

Day 12. Nha Trang (B) 

Day 13. Nha Trang (B) 

Day 14. Nha Trang – HCMC (B) 

Day 15. Optional trip (B/L) 

Day 16 Departure (B)

Overview

Hanoi – Sapa – Hoi An – Nha Trang – HCMC

  • Private tour with English speaking guide
    • You choose the date of departure
    • Starting from Hanoi & end in HCMC or vice versa

Mountainous northern Vietnam is one of the best places in Asia to visit hill tribe villages and see dramatic mountains covered with terraced rice fields. This tour combines this rural idyll with Vietnam’s best urban and small-town experiences. Start in the charming capital of Hanoi, Vietnam’s artistic and intellectual capital. Explore the fascinating Old Quarter and its hundreds of specialty shops selling silk clothing, lacquerware, embroidered linens, furniture, bamboo, cooking utensils, ceremonial objects, and more. Walk around Hoan Kiem Lake, ride a cyclo to dinner, and watch a performance at the famed Thang Long Water Puppet Theater. 

Next, board the luxury Victoria Express train bound for remote Sapa, a mountain village near the Chinese border. Visit local markets where hill tribe minorities (including Hmong, Red Dao, Tay, Xa Pho, and Giay) trade their goods. View spectacular waterfalls and drive through mountain valleys. Explore the hill station town of Sapa, and visit several villages where the tribes live. During your free time, enjoy your mountain chalet hotel, where you can enjoy fondue by the fire, swim, play tennis, and take mountain walks. 

Return to Hanoi for two more nights. Tour a food market with a renowned chef, followed by a cooking class. Dine in French colonial villas converted into gourmet restaurants. Enjoy people-watching at stylish cafes. Shop for impressive modern art in the city’s many galleries. Also visit Hanoi’s main cultural attractions, including the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, his House on Stilts, the One Pillar Pagoda, the Fine Arts Museum, and the Temple of Literature. 

Next, fly to Danang and stay several days at the luxurious beachfront Furama Resort. Nearby, see the ancient sculptures in the Cham Museum or My Son, and tour Buddhist cave temples on Marble Mountain. Visit atmospheric Hoi An, a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site and riverfront port town crammed with historic homes, tiny museums, cafes, and bustling silk and fish markets. 

Fly to the resort town of Nha Trang to spend several days in a secluded private villa overlooking beautiful Ninh Van Bay at the Evason Hideaway Resort at Ana Mandara. Snorkel or dive among the coral reefs in crystal blue waters, hike nature trails, cool off in your private plunge pool, indulge in spa treatments, or just relax on the white sand beach and admire the unspoiled mountain and sea views. 

Continue to dynamic Ho Chi Minh City, the country’s commercial center and home to a growing number of upscale restaurants and shops. Visit Chinatown, the Thien Hau Pagoda, the Reunification Palace, the Opera House, and Hotel de Ville. If so desired, also visit the powerful War Remnants Museum. Explore colorful outdoor markets and Dong Khoi Street, the city’s main shopping boulevard with shops selling clothes and accessories by new Vietnamese designers, hill tribe crafts, high-quality linens, and housewares. Try the southerners’ strong Vietnamese iced coffee and a banh mi (baguette sandwich). Take a day trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels and watch an unusual, eclectic religious ceremony at the main temple of Cao Daism, a unique fusion of world religions Alternatively, spend the day cruising the narrow canals of the Mekong Delta. 

Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive Hanoi (D)

Warmly welcome on arrival at Hanoi airport. Transfer to hotel. At leisure. Afternoon private walking city tour to visit the local market. Evening enjoys the water puppet show. Welcome dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight in Hanoi.

Day 2
Hanoi City Tour - Lao Cai (B/L)

Full Day City Tour in Hanoi – Vietnam’s artistic and intellectual capital. Explore the fascinating Old Quarter and its hundreds of specialty shops selling silk clothing, lacquerware, embroidered linens, furniture, bamboo, cooking utensils, ceremonial objects, and more.
Enjoy people-watching at stylish cafes. Shop for impressive modern art in the city’s many galleries. Also visit Hanoi’s main cultural attractions, including the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, his House on Stilts, the One Pillar Pagoda, the Fine Arts Museum, and the Temple of Literature. Your adventure trip to Sapa begins with an overnight train from Vietnam’s capital city to the border town of Lao Cai. Overnight on train.

Day 3
Arrive Lao Cai - Sapa (B/L)

Early arrives at Lao Cai station at approximately 6:00 am. There will be a vehicle waiting to transfer us to Sapa. The drive to Sapa is only 33 km but it takes around 1.5 hours.
Once at Sapa, we will check in at the hotel (Early check-in is subject to availability). Have breakfast at the hotel restaurant then enjoy some free time to explore around town. At 10 a.m. from the hotel, there will be a walking tour to the hill tribe villages of Cat Cat, home to the Hmong hill tribes’ minority peoples. As we walk to the villages nestled in the valley below Sapa, we will meet some of the local minority people on their way to and from Sapa. Here we have the opportunity to share cultural experiences with the families that live in the area. Overnight in Sapa.

Day 4
Sapa (B/L)

Following breakfast, we explore the Sapa daily market and then set out on our 3-4 hour trek that will take us along buffalo paths and trails and through several hill-tribe villages of Lao Chai and Tavan, home to Hmong, and Dzay people. This is an absolutely spectacular walk through stunning scenery inhabited by some of the friendliest people you can meet. Picnic lunch on the way at a family in Ta Van village. Overnight in Sapa.

Day 5
Sapa - Lao Cai -Train back to Hanoi (B/L)

Following breakfast, we drive to explore the Bac Ha Sunday market – the most interesting hill tribe market in Asia. Visit some villages of H’Mong people before we transfer back to Lao Cai for the train journey back to Hanoi. Overnight on train.

Day 6
Lao Cai - Hanoi - Cooking Class (B/D)

Early arrive Hanoi. Pick up and transfer to hotel. Free. At leisure.
In the afternoon take part in a cooking class and enjoy dinner prepared by you. Overnight in Hanoi.

Day 7
Halong Bay Excursion (B/L)

In the morning you will drive to Halong Bay City, approximately 3 hours away. Once at Halong Bay City, you are welcome on board for a four-hour cruise on the stunning bay, stopping along the way to visit one of the limestone caves in the area. As you are cruising, the boat crew will serve you a sumptuous local seafood lunch. After 4 hours of navigation, you sail back to the harbor and rejoin the car back to your hotel in Hanoi. Overnight in Hanoi.

Day 8
Hanoi - Danang - Hoi An (B)

Free until transfer to airport for flight to Danang. Pick up and Hoi An. Afternoon tour of Marble Mountains and Cham Museum or ruins in My Son. Overnight in Hoi An.

Day 9
Hoi An (B)

Enjoy a free day at leisure in Hoian. Overnight in Hoi An.

Day 10
Hoi An (B)

Enjoy a free day at leisure in Hoi An. Overnight in Hoi An.

Day 11
Hoi An - Nha Trang (B)

Transfer and flight to Nha Trang for a three-night stay. Overnight in Nha Trang.

Day 12
Nha Trang (B)

Free at leisure. Overnight in Nha Trang.

Day 13
Nha Trang (B)

Free at leisure. Overnight in Nha Trang.

Day 14
Nha Trang - HCMC (B)

Transfer and flight to HCMC for a two-night stay. Afternoon private city tour by cyclo. Overnight in HCMC.

Day 15
Optional trip (B/L)

Option 1: Mekong Delta on Cai Be Princess
Our one-day cruise excursion starts at 8:00 from the lobby of your hotel in Saigon with a drive to Cai Be – Phu An where we will board the Cai Be Princess at around 11.00 am. The tour will start with a visit to Cai Be colorful floating market. We will proceed by the visit of some local home factories such as rice paste making, rice pop corn, coco candies, and longans drying processing.

The trip continues along the Mekong canals to Dong Hoa Hiep Island located between Vinh Long and Cai Be. During this 40 minutes cruise, you will discover beautiful landscapes along the river and observe the typical Mekong delta rural life. Stops on the way can be made upon request for particular visits or photo making. These evergreen islands among the Mekong River still remain unknown to many people.

Lunch awaits you at Le Longanier restaurant at La Residence de Phu An resort, a superb Indochine-style resort. After a short walk along a narrow canal, the excursion will end at around 3.30 pm where the vehicle will await you for your transfer back to Saigon.

Option 2: Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Underground tunnels
This morning we drive to Cao Dai Temples in Tay Ninh. Cao Dai Holysee Temple is the cathedral of the Cao Daism religion with the Divine Eye – the official symbol of Caodaism. Cao Dai followers worship Jesus Christ, Confucius, Taoism, and Buddha. Time to observe the midday service.
Following lunch we will drive to the Cu Chi Tunnels – Cu Chi Tunnels consist of more than 200km of underground tunnels. This main axis system has many branches connecting to underground hideouts, shelters, and entrances to other tunnels. The network included innumerable trap doors, specially constructed living areas, storage facilities, weapons factories, field hospitals, command centers, and kitchens. Today the remaining tunnels have become a major tourist attraction giving the visitor a unique experience and a feel of what underground life during the U.S.-Vietnam War. Afternoon free at leisure. Overnight in HCMC.

Day 16
Departure (B)

There is no activity planned for today. Enjoy your free time for souvenir shopping until transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

INCLUDES/EXCLUDES

Tour Price Includes

  • Private door-to-door pick-up & drop-off services.
  • All private transportation.
  • Accommodation shared in Double/Twin room with daily breakfast
  • All domestic flights.
  • Experienced English speaking guide.
  • Halong Bay cruise program
  • Train ticket Hanoi-LaoCai-Hanoi, shared in 4-berth cabin
  • Private boat trip as per tour
  • Meals as stated in the itinerary (B: Breakfast; L: Lunch ; D: Dinner)
  • All sightseeing tickets.
  • Tissues and water on coach.
  • Services charges and government tax.
  • Exclusive and personalized single agent/single customer service.
  • No extra charge after services confirmation
  • 24/7 hotline support guaranteed

Tour Price Excludes

  • International flights & Departure taxes if any
  • Personal expenses, tips, and gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Beverage
  • Peak season or Public holidays surcharge if any
  • Compulsory Gala dinner on X-Mas or New Year if any
  • Vietnam visa
  • Other services not mentioned above.

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