12 Day Vietnam Tour of Hanoi, Hoi An, Hue & Ho Chi Minh City

Float on the sparkling emerald waters of Halong Bay on a traditional Vietnamese Junk. Glide past hidden islets, giant limestone karsts and colorful fishing villages, stopping only to gain insight into the lives of the local fishermen at Cua Van and to practice T’ai Chi in exquisite surroundings.

Travel: 12 days, 1 country and 7 cities
Accommodations: 11 nights

Meals: 11 Breakfasts, 1 Be My Guest, 4 Lunches, 2 Dinners, 1 Farewell Dinner

Sightseeing highlights

  • Explore Hanoi, Hoi An, Hue and Ho Chi Minh City
  • Visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the Temple of Literature in Hanoi, the Imperial Citadel in Hue, the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City and the Cu Chi Tunnels

Travel highlights

  • An expert Travel Director and professional Driver
  • Cherry-picked hotels, all tried and trusted
  • All porterage and restaurant gratuities
  • All hotel tips, charges and local taxes
  • Breakfast daily and up to half of your evening meals
  • Must-see sightseeing and surprise extras
  • Audio headsets for flexible sightseeing
  • Luxury air-conditioned coach with Wi-Fi in most countries or alternative transportation (such as rail journeys)
  • Optional Experiences and free time
  • On occasion, hotels of similar standard and location may be utilized.
  • Flights from Hanoi to Danang and Hue to Ho Chi Minh City.


Day 1

Welcome to Hanoi

Relish the warm embrace of Vietnam and her welcoming people, who will touch you with their humility and entrepreneurial spirit throughout your journey across this intoxicating land. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel before meeting your Travel Director and fellow travelers for a Welcome Dinner at a local restaurant

Accommodation: Meliá Hanoi

Included Meals: Dinner

Day 2

A Day to Discover Hanoi

This morning is dedicated to the revolutionary leader who fanned the flames of Vietnam’s independence. We begin our day with a visit to the final resting place of “Uncle Ho”, the imposing Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. A short walk from here, we’ll find Ho Chi Minh’s house on stilts, where we’ll Dive Into Culture exploring the grounds surrounding the humble abode of Vietnam’s most famous son. We’ll continue to the Temple of Literature, the first university for the sons of Mandarins, to gain insights into Hanoian culture. This afternoon, we’ll embark on a cyclo tour, weaving through the lively Old Quarter past colorful shopfronts and street food vendors. Enjoy an evening at leisure or consider joining one of our recommended Optional Experiences to watch a show that uses the ancient art of water puppetry to story-tell the daily lives of Vietnamese people.

Accommodation: Meliá Hanoi

Included Meals: Breakfast

Day 3

Set Sail for Halong Bay

We leave the busy streets of Hanoi behind, bound for the serenity of Halong Bay where we’ll board a traditional-style Vietnamese Junk boat. The limestone karsts and tropical islets rising up from the emerald waters provide an ethereal backdrop for our leisurely cruise. Once welcomed aboard, enjoy lunch whilst cruising one of the New Seven Natural Wonders. Visit Trung Trang cave on Cat Ba Island, the cave is 300m long through the mountains, possessing a mysterious beauty due to the geological tectonics in million years along with many historical vestiges and stalactites. Followed if weather permitting a stop at the quiet Tra Bau beach in Lan Ha Bay with its smooth white sand. You may choose to relax or take a nice swim in the green, emerald waters. We return to our Junk boat for a cooking class with the chef and enjoy a mesmerizing sunset on the top deck before dinner and a peaceful overnight stay in this UNESCO-listed natural wonder.

Accommodation: Orchid Cruise

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4

Onwards to Danang and Hoi An

It is a perfect time to refresh and indulge yourself in the peaceful beauty of the bay with a Tai Chi session. After breakfast discover the hidden charm of  the Ao Ech area by kayak. There will be time to relax on the sundeck and take in the last views of the bays landscape, whilst cruising back to the Wharf before your drive to Hanoi Airport to catch your flight to Danang. On arrival, transfer to your hotel in Hoi An where you have the evening at leisure.

Accommodation: Orchid Cruise

Included Meals: Breakfast

Included Experiences

Day 5

Uncover Historic Hoi An

Dive Into Culture this morning, embarking on a walking tour around the ancient town of Hoi An. Embrace its charm of yesteryear – the narrow lanes, colorful marketplaces and ancient temples providing insights into the Vietnam of old. See the old merchant houses and 400-year-old Japanese Covered Bridge, before visiting Thanh Dong Organic Village where you’ll spend some time helping local farmers and learning about their daily working routines. Kick back and enjoy a relaxing foot massage that will set the pace for the rest of the day and evening at leisure.

Accommodation: Hotel Royal Hoi An

Included Meals: Breakfast

Day 6

Local Life in Hoi An

Enjoy some free time this morning to explore Hoi An further or simply relax at your hotel. Your choice of activities this afternoon could see you learn how to craft your own colorful lantern or gain insights into life as a local fisherman (subject to weather conditions). Create a work of art to bring your home luck and happiness, or cast your net wide for the catch of the day – the choice is yours.

Accommodation: Hotel Royal Hoi An

Included Meals: Breakfast

Day 7

Head to Hue via Red Beach

The healthy flavors of Vietnamese cuisine take center stage as we travel by boat to the Red Bridge Cooking School to learn about the traditional ways of preparing and cooking Vietnamese food. We’ll have an opportunity to savor the dishes we’ve prepared for lunch before returning to Hoi An. This afternoon, our journey takes us over Hai Van Pass en route to Red Beach, where the American Marines first landed in Vietnam during the decades-long war. We continue to Danang for a visit to the Cham Museum before arriving in Hue, the former imperial capital of Vietnam, for our overnight stay.

Accommodation: Imperial Hotel Hue

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8

See the Sights of Hue

We’ll navigate the busy streets of Hue on the back of a cyclo en route to the UNESCO-listed Imperial Citadel, once home to Nguyen emperors. From here, we drive to Thien Mu Pagoda, Hue’s best-preserved religious monument. Boarding a local dragon boat next, we cruise along the Perfume River to the house of the former Princess Ngoc Son where we’ll Connect With Locals and meet a family member for a Be My Guest lunch to gain a glimpse of their life in this historic house. The afternoon is ours to enjoy at leisure or consider joining one of our Optional Experiences.

Accommodation: Imperial Hotel Hue

Included Meals: Breakfast, Be My Guest

Day 9

Journey to Ho Chi Minh City

A short flight this morning brings you to Ho Chi Minh City, where you’ll enjoy some time at leisure before lunch at Mai Sen restaurant. Your MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience visit supports those affected by poverty to provide opportunities and a vocational education in the hospitality sector.

The iconic sights of Ho Chi Minh are revealed on a walking tour of Dong Khoi Street next. See the Opera House and the former Hotel de Ville. Then, wander up to Notre Dame Cathedral and the Central Post Office, designed by the renowned Gustave Eiffel. Continue to the War Remnants Museum where you’ll have a vivid glimpse of the war through the eyes of the locals.

Your final stop today is Ben Thanh market, one of the earliest surviving structures in old Saigon, before arriving at your hotel.

Accommodation: Sofitel Saigon Plaza Ho Chi Minh City

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 10

Meander Along the Mekong Delta

The mighty Mekong beckons today, as we take a day trip to Cai Be town, in the heart of the Mekong Delta with the first stop today being at an ancient house dating back to the 19th century beautifully preserved and passed down through many generations of the family. We’ll transfer to a traditional sampan boat and navigate the maze of small canals to the unique Cai Be floating market where stall holders show their goods by hanging them on bamboo poles, stopping for a home hosted lunch of delicious Mekong Delta specialties. Before returning to Ho Chi Minh City for an evening at leisure.

Accommodation: Sofitel Saigon Plaza Ho Chi Minh City

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 11

Visit the Cu Chi Tunnels

We’ll delve into Vietnam’s turbulent history from the previous century with a visit to the Cu Chi Tunnels, an immense network of connecting underground tunnels built to protect the Viet Cong guerrillas from the French air and ground sweeps. We’ll explore the underground compounds with a VC veteran and gain an understanding of the history of the tunnel, which once served as living quarters and housed hospitals, food and weapons caches. Returning to Ho Chi Minh City by private speedboat, we’ll enjoy some free time this afternoon.

Later, we’ll Dive Into Culture during a visit to the home of the former American Ambassador to South Vietnam in the 1960s, Mr. Henry Cabot Lodge, followed by a Farewell Dinner.

Accommodation: Sofitel Saigon Plaza Ho Chi Minh City

Included Meals: Breakfast, Farewell Dinner

Day 12

Farewell to Ho Chi Minh City

Our discovery of the iconic and unexpected highlights of Vietnam at its end, take a transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

Included Meals: Breakfast