Colorful Vietnam

Day 1 - Hanoi Arrival

Arrive in Hanoi, welcome by your guide and transfer to hotel. The rest of the day is at your leisure.


Overnight in Hanoi.

Day 2 - Hanoi City tour (B)

With ochre-coloured colonial buildings, tree-lined boulevards and scenic lakes, Hanoi is full of charm. Start the tour at the historic Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, an imposing monument lavishly built using marble and granite, and where the preserved body of “Uncle Ho” resides. A short walk from the mausoleum is the lotus shaped One Pillar Pagoda – resting on a single stone pillar emerging from the water. Wind your way afterwards to the Temple of Literature, the first University for the sons of mandarins, for an overview about Hanoian culture and tu quan ao gia re appreciation for ancient Vietnamese architecture. In the afternoon, visit the serene Museum of Ethnology is a 20 minute drive out of town that offers a fascinating insight into Vietnam’s 54 ethnic minority groups. Drive back to central Hanoi for a walking tour through the Old Quarter to enjoy the bustling local life, then cap off the day with a show at the water puppet theatre - a uniquely northern Vietnamese art form depicting scenes of rural life and episodes of national history.


Overnight in Hanoi.

Day 3 - Hanoi – Hoa Lu – Tam Coc – Hanoi (B, L)

Located in Ninh Binh province, 2,5-hour drive from Hanoi, Hoa Lu was the former capital of Vietnam more than one thousand years ago. Although the ancient temples have become time worn, the natural beauty of this area and some precious antiques still remain. Nearby Tam Coc is referred to as “Halong Bay on land” due to its dramatic limestone karst scenery punctuating the lush rice paddies. Here you will be rowed in a sampan along a peaceful stream while having time to admire views of majestic limestone cliffs, mysterious caves and immense rice fields. Lunch is at a local restaurant (the best available in this remote area) then return by road to Hanoi late afternoon.


Overnight in Hanoi.

Day 4 - Hanoi – Cooking Class – Lao Cai (B)

This morning join a special cooking class. Start with a visit to a local market accompanied by a chef; here you’ll get a chance to learn about Vietnamese ingredients and cuisine. A cooking demonstration follows and you’ll have the opportunity to play an active part. After the class lunch is served so you can sample thiet ke nha dep all the different dishes prepared during the demonstration.


Rest of the afternoon at leisure. This evening transfer to Hanoi Train Station for the overnight train to Lao Cai, the gateway to Sapa.


Overnight on night train.

Day 5 - Lao Cai – Sapa (B, L)

On arrival in the border town of Lao Cai transfer to the former hill station of Sapa. In the terraced hills and mountains of this area, the monotony of the expansive green landscape is enlivened by the colors of its hill tribe population - flashes of shining silver jewellery from the necks and wrists of indigo-clad H'mong and the scarlet hues of the turbans worn by the Red Dao can be seen. 


Take a morning walking tour of Sapa for a visit to the busy market where Red Dao, Black H’Mong, Tay and other ethnic minority people converge from the surrounding countryside to sell their silverware and handicrafts, and to buy provisions. Following take a light trek to discover Sapa's quaint hill tribe villages set against the stunning Hoang Lien Son Mountain Range and Indochina's highest peak, Mt. Fansipan, a picnic lunch will be had en-route. Rest of the afternoon and evening at leisure. Appropriate footwear must be worn on treks in Sapa. Note that if conditions are wet, programs may be diverted.


Overnight in Sapa.

Day 6 - Sapa – Lao Cai – Hanoi (B, L)

Have breakfast before continue your tour to have a short walk a hill-tribe village. Here you’ll have the opportunity to visit some local homes to understand more on the daily life of these tribes as well as their culture and traditions. In the late afternoon transfer back to Lao Cai before the night train back to Hanoi. In Lao Cai you’ll have use of a hotel room so you can freshen up before the overnight train trip.


Overnight on night train.

Day 7 - Hanoi – Halong Bay (B,L,D)

Arrive in the early morning, transfer to hotel for breakfast and freshen up before departing for the 3.5-hour drive to Halong Bay. Journey there through the rich farmlands of the Red River Delta, observe everyday life of Vietnamese villagers as they work the rice fields, take pigs to the market on motorbikes and plough the fields with their water buffaloes. Arrive from Hanoi late morning and welcome at the pier of your boat. Check-in procedures and transfer to your boat for the overnight journey into the Bay. Lunch is served on board as you cruise into Halong Bay. Cruise by rock formations with such names as Sail, Dog and Dinh Huong (incense pot). Towards the end of the day set anchor for the night as the sun sets followed by dinner. 


Overnight on Halong Bay.

Day 8 - Halong Bay – Noi Bai Aiport – Hue (B)

On your return to Halong City enjoy a full breakfast (or brunch) as your boat weaves its way back to the dock. Upon disembarkation your driver will meet you for the transfer to Noi Bai Airport for the flight to Danang.


En route visit Thanh Chuong Palace, the home and studio of Thanh Chuong who is one of the most celebrated painters in Vietnam today is an architectural gem showcasing Vietnamese traditional cultural objects and structures. A living space rather than a museum which showcases Vietnamese archaeology, art, history and other culture values.


After the visit it’s a quick transfer to the airport for the short flight to the central port city of Hue. On arrival in Hue transfer to hotel for check in.


Overnight in Hue.

Day 9 - Hue City tour (B, L)

Hue served as an imperial capital to the Nguyen Lords, a feudal dynasty which reigned from the 17th to the 19th century. With splendid emperors’ tombs, ancient pagodas and the remains of the Citadel, the city retains its royal charm. Start from your hotel with a 10 minute cyclo ride from your hotel to the Imperial Citadel, a UNESCO listed site. Enter through the towering main gate and you will appreciate the magnificent architecture and gardens while your guide explains about the events and the intrigue of the former royal court. Despite being bombed heavily, there are some incredibly well preserved sections still intact and others which are being lovingly restored. From there, a 20 minute cyclo ride will take you to a pier where you will embark on a half-hour boat trip on the picturesque Perfume River to visit Thien Mu pagoda, Hue’s best-preserved religious monument. Standing on the riverbank with its seven-storey tower, the pagoda is a sight to behold. Afternoon, drive out 30 minutes to the elaborate Khai Dinh Royal Tomb. Its architecture and atmosphere showcase elements of eastern art and western designs. Transfer back to your hotel with an optional stop en route at an incense stick making house.


Overnight in Hue.

Day 10 - Hue – Hoi An (B)

Check out hotel before dropping down to the wonderfully photogenic fishing village of Lang Co and climbing over the Pass of Ocean Clouds. Arrive in Danang and visit the Cham Museum, which contains the finest collection of Cham sculptures in the world. Then drive to Hoi An Ancient Town.


In the afternoon return to Hoi An, a destination with two faces – the charming, old-world trading port of narrow streets and traditional houses, and the beach with its new resorts and long stretch of clean white sand. In keeping with Hoi An’s heritage as a trading port, the town’s tiny shophouses now host a range of craft shops and artisans including some of Asia’s best bespoke tailors. Despite the passing of 200 years and the ravages of weather and war, the centre of Hoi An remains much the same as it was in its heyday. Take a walking tour of the ancient town centre to visit former merchants’ houses, the 400 year-old Japanese Covered Bridge, a Chinese communal hall and the colorful market.


Overnight in Hoi An.

Day 11 - Hoi An – Tra kieu (B, L)

Breakfast at hotel, ride a bicycle to a local farm in Tra Que village. Introduction to the history of the village, the cultivation of the vegetables as well as discovering about the use of vegetables in traditional Vietnamese medicine. You will take a trip around the vegetable garden and join the farmers in preparing the land and fertilizing it with seaweed from the local lake. Continuing doing some next steps such as: raking the ground, sowing, watering greens, picking greens and many more gardening activities. Then spend the rest of the morning working the land in the time honored way, before breaking to prepare lunch with a local family. Your lunch will consist of many local delicacies including ‘tam huu’ spring roll, Banh xeo or local pancake of people's middle region. After your lunch and the exertions of the morning, take an even more traditional Vietnamese post-prandial nap before learning how to harvest and wrap the vegetables. 


The rest of day is free  at leisure.


Overnight in Hoi An.

Day 12 - Hoi An – Danang – Nha Trang (B)

in Cam Ranh Airport, guide will meet you and transfer to Nha Trang for check in hotel.


Nha Trang simply has every single activity that a sun worshipper may want. Besides the pre-requisite golden stretches of land and crystal clear waters, the coast is dotted with many islands each with their own distinct character. The turquoise waters play host to a variety of marine life, and snorkeling and scuba diving are perennial favorites. In the afternoon take a city tour of Nha Trang to visit the Po Nagar Cham Towers, the Alexander Yersin Museum, Long Son Pagoda, with its enormous white Buddha statue and the lively and highly colorful Dam Market.


Overnight in Nha Trang.

Day 13 - Nha Trang with Islands (B, L)

A morning boat trip on Nha Trang Bay visits some of the nearby islands and where you can swim and snorkel in the clear warm waters.  Along the way, visit nearby islands and villages or simply relax on the boat’s deck and ‘people watch’ as Vietnamese villagers, whose descendants have lived on these islands for generations, go about their daily lives. After a fresh seafood lunch return to Nha Trang City.


Your afternoon is at leisure to explore Nha Trang at your own pace. 


Overnight in Nha Trang.

Day 14 - Nha Trang – Dalat (B)

Leaving for the coastal city of Nha Trang after breakfast, drive up to the highland crops of coffee, tea and vegetables.


An afternoon of sightseeing in Dalat takes in Bao Dai's Summer Palace that sits on a hill just outside the main centre. Bao Dai was the Last Emperor of Vietnam and the Palace has been preserved exactly as he left it in 1954. It is a classic example of art deco that is a tourist attraction in itself. Continue the tour with the former Railway Station (in use only for an optional steam train ride) which is remarkable with its architecture and its old steam locomotive, Xuan Huong Lake and Lam Ty Ni Pagoda where a Buddhist monk, Vien Thuc, known also as the ‘mad monk’ for being eccentric produces his abstract paintings and writes poetry. Your will end the tour at the town's bustling central market, renowned for its fresh vegetables and fruit that is rarely found in a tropical country.


Overnight in Dalat.

Day 15 - Dalat – Ho Chi Minh City (B, L)

After breakfast, take short flight to next stop – Ho Chi Minh City. Arrive in Ho Chi Minh city, guide pick up and drive to restaurant for lunch.


Afternoon, visit the Reunification Palace - the former residence of the President of South Vietnam until April 30, 1975 when the North Vietnamese tanks came crashing through the front gates, bringing the U.S.-Vietnam War to a dramatic end. Close to the Palace some of the best examples of French colonial architecture are represented in the forms of Notre Dame Cathedral and the Central Post Office. Notre Dame Cathedral was built between 1877 and 1883, and the stones used to create it were exported in its entirety from France. Next to the cathedral stands the Central Post Office, finished in 1891. Then, visiting the bustling Ben Thanh Market - a fantastic place for bargains of every kind! There are several interesting sights in Saigon. Following your tour head to your hotel for check in.


Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.

Day 16 - Ho Chi Minh City – Cu Chi – Tay Ninh – Ho Chi Minh (B, L)

Start your journey with a three hour drive northwest of Saigon to the Cao Dai Great Temple. Indigenous to Vietnam and founded in the early 20th century, Cao Dai is a fusion of the best from Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism, with Christianity and Islam thrown in for good measure. The elaborate temple’s architecture reflects the combination of religions. Visitors are welcomed inside the temple to observe the colourful service at midday. There is a viewing balcony which affords excellent views and photography is permitted. A Vietnamese lunch is served at a simple, local restaurant followed by a 1.5 hour drive to the Cu Chi tunnels. The tunnel complex was initially started in 1948 to protect the Viet Cong guerrillas from the French air and ground sweeps. The tunnels also served as communication routes, storage facilities for food and weapon caches as well as hospitals and living quarters for guerrilla fighters throughout the American war. A visit to the underground villages will provide a better understanding of the tunnels’ history, the hardship of life underground and the Vietnamese resilience during combat. Transfer back to Saigon.


Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.

Day 17 - Ho Chi Minh City – Mekong Delta – Can Tho (B, L)

The colorful floating market, vast emerald rice fields and lush back waterways; these are the things that make Cai Be such a desired destination. This morning, leave bustling Ho Chi Minh for the 2.5-hour drive to the delta town of Cai Be. On arrival board your boat for a cruise of Cai Be floating market. Traders work the river and some have been living on these waters for generations. Produce at the market are hung on a pole in front of boats to attract customers and make it easier for people to see from afar what is on offer. After visiting the market continue to a cottage factory where ‘pop-rice’, rice paper and coconut candies are made. Return to the boat for the cruise to Dong Hoa Hiep Island, along the way admire the scenery and the daily life of the local villagers. Lunch will be local Mekong style serving specialties of the area. Following your cruise drive to Can Tho where you will spend the night. The rest of the day and evening at leisure. 


Overnight in Can Tho.

Day 18 - Can Tho – Ho Chi Minh (B)

Wake up early for a breakfast cruise to the colorful Cai Rang floating market which bustles with wholesalers on big boats. Here, during the early morning market hours, larger sized boats anchor and create lanes that smaller boats weave in and out of. The main items sold here are fruit and vegetables and every boat has a long upright pole at its bow from which samples of the goods for sale are hung. The waterway becomes a maze of hundreds of boats packed with mango, bananas, papaya, pineapple, and even floating pho vendors. Lunch at leisure. Following your visit to Cai Rang and Can Tho drive back to Ho Chi Minh. Dinner and the rest of the evening at leisure. 


Overnight in Ho Chi Minh.

Day 19 - Ho Chi Minh City Departure (B)

Departure day. At leisure until transfer to Tan Son Nhat Airport for onward flight.

Tour Duration: 19 Days / 18 Nights
Tour Destination: Vietnam


Our Services Include:

  • Hotel accommodation in half-twin/double room with daily breakfast.
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner).
  • Tours and transfers by private air-conditioned vehicles.
  • English/French speaking local guide (for other languages supplements apply)
  • All entrance fees as indicated in itinerary.
  • Boat trips as mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Night trains as mentioned in the itinerary.


Our Services do not Include:

  • Vietnam visa arrangements (a visa to Vietnam is compulsory for most nationalities).
  • International and domestic flights (quoted separately).
  • Meals other than mentioned above.
  • Camera/video entrance fees.
  • Personal expenses (drinks, laundry, telephone, tips etc).
  • Travel insurance (please see below).
  • Other services not clearly indicated in the package inclusions above.

Colorful Vietnam Tour Map

Untitled Document

twitter feed