If you have a tight schedule but don’t want to miss the opportunity to visit all Viet Nam highlights, this is your tour! The tour starts in Ha Noi, the heart of the nation, continued by Ha Long Bay and its stunning natural sceneries, cataloged by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site; Hue (Imperial City) and its fascinating history. Then you will head to Hoi An, a charming place where you can contemplate and admire traditional Vietnamese architecture. The tour finishes with a short but intense visit to Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Sai Gon, and the nearby Mekong Delta. Are you ready for “Viet Nam at a Glance”?
|DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION||Hanoi/Ho Chi Minh City|
Day 1: Arrive in Hanoi, Vietnam
CHÀO MỪNG! Welcome to Viet Nam! We will meet you upon your arrival at Noi Bai airport and drive you to your hotel. The rest of the day you are free for leisure to explore this beautiful and historic city.
Overnight in Ha Noi.
Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 2: Hanoi full day sightseeing (B)
Blending the modern with the mystery and charm of the past centuries, Ha Noi offers an air of elegance that harmonizes with nature.
Your sightseeing tour in the morning begins with a visit to Van Mieu (or also known as Temple of Literature). The temple dates back to 1070, and is dedicated to the cult of Confucius. Note the peaceful series of walled courtyards and graceful gateways; this is one of the best examples of traditional Vietnamese architecture. Next, you will continue the tour by going to Ho Chi Minh Memorial Complex1 – containing a museum and Ho Chi Minh’s final resting place and Ho Chi Minh’s Stilt House – a simple two-room dwelling where he lived from 1958 until his final days in 1969. You can also see One Pillar Pagoda, or Chua Mot Cot nearby, which was made from a single large tree trunk and originally constructed in 1040, then later rebuilt after being destroyed by the French in 1954. Then drive to West Lake located in the center of the city to see the beautiful 6th century’s Tran Quoc Temple and the National Military Museum with as well as 19th century’s Ha Noi Flag Tower.
In the afternoon, we will pay a visit to the infamous Hoa Lo prison, built by the French colonists to house Vietnamese political prisoners. During the Viet Nam War, it was used by northern Viet Nam, and dubbed “Ha Noi Hilton” by American prisoners of war. Today, only part of the prison still exists as a history museum. Next, we will have a tour through Ha Noi’s Old Quarter – the oldest inhabited area of Viet Nam featuring more than 1000 years of history. Explore the network of narrow alleyways known as “The 36 Streets.” This is a wonderful place to watch the local life, and peruse items from fabrics to crafts to exotic medicines. Each street was named to reflect a specialized trade in the old time such as silk, jewelry, etc. Take a break at a local coffee shop to experience Ha Noi in the past time while sipping your coffee and watching life in the neighborhood. Your tour ends with a visit to the charming Buddhist NgocSon Temple, or Temple of the Jade Mountain. Walk across the painted redwood bridge to explore this peaceful area.
In the evening, you will have a chance to watch one of the delightful water puppet shows.This unique art form was created in the 10th century and came from the Red River Delta region of northern Viet Nam. Using water’s surface as the stage, puppeteers stand behind a curtain and control the puppets using long bamboo rods and a string mechanism hidden beneath the water surface. A “Cheo” (a form of opera) is sung at the same time as the puppets are controlled to tell stories to the audience.
Overnight in Ha Noi.
1 This site is closed on Mondays.
Day 3: Hanoi to Halong (BL)
Drive to Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO Heritage Site that is located in the Gulf of Tonkin and covers an area of 1500 square km. With more than a thousand limestone peaks soaring from its crystalline emerald water, this area is one of the natural wonders of Viet Nam and now one of four World Heritage sites in Viet Nam. The tiny islands are dotted with innumerable beaches and grottoes created by the wind and the waves that make an excellent backdrop for swimming or just lazing about on the boat deck. Start the day by enjoying a relaxing full-day private boat excursion aboard a traditional Chinese-style wooden junk. Sail by rock islets such as Stone Dog and Incense Burner (Dinh Huong), and stop to explore Thien Cung or Sung Sot Caves to view the beauty of the surreal and subterranean world of stalagmites and stalactites. Anchor at Titop Beach and relax in the sun or enjoy a swim. A wonderful seafood lunch is included and will be served during your trip in this mystical bay.
Overnight in Ha Long.
Day 4: Halong to Hue (B)
This afternoon, visit the Imperial Citadel, a vast 400-hectare complex built in 1800’s, modeled after the Forbidden City in Beijing, with a 9.6 km wall and surrounding moat. Though it was partly destroyed through wars, today you can still see the monuments of the 19th century Nguyen Dynasty. See the Flag Tower and the imposing Ngo Mon Gate, one of the ten entrances to the complex. In the spacious courtyard area, see the Dien Tho Palace (the Palace of Supreme Harmony) and Thai Hoa Palace (throne hall) where the Emperor would meet foreign ambassadors and officers. Explore the heart of the Imperial City, the ‘Tu Cam Thanh’ (Forbidden Purple City). Only members of the royal family, the Emperor’s concubines, and trusted senior mandarins were allowed inside the area, which consists of various palaces and the Emperor’s private apartments. You should also visit the Thai Hoa Palace, Hall of Mandarins and see the original Nine Dynastic Urns. Your sightseeing tour ends with a visit to the large and popular local Dong Ba market, in which you will find local food dishes and the symbolic Vietnamese bamboo Phu Cam iconic hats, “Nón”.
Overnight in Hue.
Day 5: Hue-Hoian (BL)
Overnight in Hoi An.
Day 6: Hoian at leisure (B)
Overnight in Hoian.
Day 7: Hoian to Ho Chi Minh City, Mekong Delta (B)
Back to Ho Chi Minh City. Take a brief sightseeing tour to discover the city where colonial buildings and traditional temples stand beside the emerging modern skyline. See Chinatown and the Thien Hau Pagoda, dedicated to the sea goddess, and the 19th century Emperor of Jade (Taoist) Pagoda with full of elaborate deity carvings. Study Vietnam’s recent history at Reunification Palace, formerly the South Vietnam’s Independence Palace, until stormed by tanks on April 30, 1975. Drive along Dong Khoi Street (formerly Rue Catinat), into the heart of old colonial Saigon to reach the colorful Ben Thanh Market where you have time to explore the hundreds of stalls teeming with silks, spices, and assorted souvenirs.
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.