Day 1: HO CHI MINH ARRIVAL
Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City, where your tour guide will accompany you from the airport to your hotel. The rest of the day you are free to enjoy at your leisure. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 2: HO CHI MINH CITY TOUR (B)
A full day tour of the city begins with a visit to the Thien Hau Temple before continuing to the lively Binh Tay Market. See the incredible display of fresh produce on offer and enjoy the eclectic array of goods that are on sale. Tour the FITO museum to learn more about traditional Vietnamese medicine and fascinating treatments used by generations of locals.
After lunch, visit the War Remnants or History Museum and the former Presidential Palace. From there, the Notre Dame Cathedral, Old Saigon Post Office, Dong Khoi Street (formerly Rue Catinat), Continental Hotel, Opera House and City Hall are all a short walk away.
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 3: CAO DAI TEMPLE – CU CHI TUNNELS (B,L)
Enjoy a morning drive through typical southern Vietnamese countryside to Tay Ninh Province in the west of Vietnam to visit the Cao Dai Great Temple.
After lunch in a local restaurant, visit the famous Cu Chi Tunnels, an incredible underground tunnel network constructed by Vietnamese resistance fighters during the struggle for independence. You will return to Ho Chi Minh City later in the afternoon.
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 4 : HO CHI MINH- CAI BE FLOATING MARKET (B,L)
After 2.5 hour drive, set off by motorboat to visit the Cai Be floating market, a typical and cultural lifestyle of Southern region, watch the locals trading fruit and many other commodities on board their vessels. Next a rowing boat rides on the maze of shady canals to arrive at a local orchard to enjoy the local tropical fruits and visit the daily activities the handicraft villages of local people. Break time for lunch at the orchard fruit garden. You have a pleasant time riding bicycles to the villages, sightseeing or relaxing on the hammock.
Then continue on boat to Vinh Long city for a land market, the bus will take you back to Sai Gon with a stop at a Bonsai garden in My Tho.
Day 5: HO CHI MINH- DA LAT (B)
Transfer to Ho Chi Minh City's domestic airport for your flight to Dalat. Established as a hill station at the beginning of the century, Dalat's French chalets and pine forests are more reminiscent of an alpine village than a town in Southeast Asia. An afternoon of sightseeing in Dalat takes in the art deco former summer residence of Emperor Bao Dai, the old Dalat Railway Station, Xuan Huong Lake, the Central Market and Lam Ty Ni Pagoda where a Buddhist monk, Vien Thuc, produces abstract paintings and writes poetry.Overnight in Dalat.
Day 6: DA LAT – PHAN RANG- NHA TRANG (B)
Leaving for Nha Trang after breakfast, travel through vivid green rice fields and salt ponds to Nha Trang, where an afternoon tour of the city includes the Po Nagar Cham Towers and Long Son Pagoda with its enormous white Buddha statue.
Overnight in Nha Trang.
Day 7: NHA TRANG (B)
A morning boat trip on Nha Trang Bay visits some of the nearby islands where you will have the opportunity to swim and snorkel in the clear warm waters. After a fresh seafood lunch, return to shore. In the afternoon, explore Nha Trang at your own pace.
Overnight in Nha Trang.
Day 8: NHA TRANG – DA NANG- HOI AN (B)
Transfer to Nha Trang's domestic airport for your flight to Danang. From here transfer to Hoi An, a major Asian trading port in the 17th and 18th centuries with a relaxed lifestyle that has changed little over the years.
In the afternoon, take a tour of the ancient town centre to visit the homes of former merchants, the 400 year-old Japanese Covered Bridge and the exotic local market.
Overnight in Hoi An.
Day 9:HOI AN – MY SON –TRA KIEU – HOI AN (B)
Today there is a half day trip to the capital and religious centre of the former Champa Kingdom, My Son. Set in a lush green valley, dozens of red brick towers and sanctuaries dating from between the 7th and 13th centuries provide a breathtaking site.
On the way back to Hoi An stop to visit Tra Kieu, formerly known as Simhapura or the Lion Citadel, that once stood as the capital of Champa between the 4th and 8th centuries. On returning to Hoi An, the afternoon is free to relax, browse for souvenirs in art galleries and silk shops, or maybe cycle to the nearby Cua Dai Beach. Overnight in Hoi An.
Day 10: HOI AN – DA NANG- HUE (B)
Leave Hoi An for Hue by road, passing through Danang where you will visit the Cham museum, which holds the finest collection of Cham artwork in the country. After your visit, drive over the Pass of Ocean Clouds before dropping down to the wonderfully photogenic fishing village of Lang Co. Then, you will reach Hue, the former imperial capital of Vietnam, to visit the ancient Forbidden City from where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled between 1802 and 1945.
Overnight in Hue.
Day 11: HUE CITADEL (B)
After breakfast, visit the Imperial Citadel where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled between 1802 and 1945. After exploring the ruins of this wonderful monument take a cyclo through the 'Old City' to Tinh Tam Lake. Drive onto Thien Mu Pagoda, constructed in 1601, and observe the 21-meter tall tower, the centrepiece of the pagoda.
In the afternoon depart for the Mausoleum of Tu Duc, finish up the day at Khai Dinh's Tomb which is traditional Vietnamese in design with a European touch making it unique from the other tombs in Hue.
If time permits pass by the city's vibrant Dong Ba Market.
Overnight in Hue.
Day 12:HUE – HA NOI (B)
Absolute Vietnam - 20 Days / 19 Nights - itineraryTransfer to Hue's airport for the short flight to Hanoi. Explore Vietnam's capital by an escorted, full-day city tour. Tree-lined boulevards, French colonial architecture, peaceful lakes and oriental temples make for a unique blend of east and west in this beautiful city. The tour includes such sites as Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum, the One Pillar Pagoda, the Fine Arts Museum and the Temple of Literature.
In the early afternoon, visit the Lake of the Restored Sword and the Old Quarter by bicycle, enabling you to witness and discover Hanoi's eclectic and mesmerising streets. In the evening, enjoy a traditional Vietnamese water puppet show with traditional music. (subject to availability). Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 13: HA NOI- HOA LU -TAM COC- HA NOI(B,L)
Leave Hanoi for rural northern Vietnam and the site of the county's first capital, Hoa Lu. After visiting the two remaining sanctuaries of the ancient citadel, take a sampan (traditional boat) on the river through rice paddies to the grottoes of the sacred Tam Coc Caves. Enormous limestone karsts jut out from the green rice fields giving rise to this place's other name, 'Halong on Land'. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 14: HA NOI- DUONG LAM ANCIENT VILLAGE (B,L)
Today immerse yourself in ancient Vietnamese culture with an excursion to Duong Lam, one of the country's few remaining ancient villages. Explore houses over 400 years old, wander the village's narrow alleyways, visit local temples, and most interesting of all, chat with friendly locals.
Enjoy a local style meal for lunch in a 100-year old house.
After your lunch, continue driving to Mia Pagoda (another hamlet of Duong Lam), built in the 15th century, then, visit Ngo Quyen temple and Phung Hung temple, places dedicated to two national heroes - Ngo Quyen and Phung Hung. in the afternoon return to Hanoi.Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 15: HA NOI- CRAFT VILLAGE- NIGHT TRAIN TO SAPA (B)
A special cooking class is prepared for you in the morning. Start with a visit to a local market accompanied by a chef to learn about Vietnamese ingredients and cuisine, followed by a cooking demonstration. After the class lunch is served so you can sample 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 the train.
You will arrive at Lao Cai train station in the early morning. From Lao Cai the road winds up the terraced hillsides to Sapa, a former French hill resort and home to some of Vietnam's most diverse ethnic groups.
On arrival in Sapa, you will be transferred to your hotel for breakfast and the chance to freshen up. A morning walking tour of Sapa visits the busy market, whilst the afternoon visit features some nearby hill tribe villages. Overnight in Sapa.
Day 17: SAPA – NIGHT TRAIN TO HA NOI (B)
In the morning enjoy a light trek to discover Sapa's lesser-known areas. Have the chance to enjoy the breathtaking scenery of mountain rice terraces, waterfalls and buffalo at work. Crossing rivers by suspended bridges you will witness people toiling the fields in Vietnam's traditional way before a free afternoon discover Sapa by yourself. Return to Lao Cai for the onward journey back to Hanoi by overnight train.Overnight on the train.
Day 18: HA NOI- HA LONG BAY (B,L,D)
On arrival at Hanoi train station, you will be served breakfast before heading to Halong Bay. Enjoy the great scenery of the surrounding farmlands of the Red River Delta including rice fields, water buffalo and everyday Vietnamese village life.
On arrival in Halong, you will board the luxury Emeraude, a fantastic replica of a steamer that navigated Halong Bay's shallow waters a century ago. Halong Bay covers an area of 1,500 km over which thousands of limestone islands and grottoes rise from the clear emerald waters of the Gulf of Bac Bo.
Climbing the steps up to the top of Titop islet will enable you to see breathtaking views over the entire bay. If you prefer kayaking, bathing or simply soaking in the sun then feel free to do so with a massage service and bar available on board. At night, the boat anchors away from the crowds at the Bay, enabling you to enjoy the quietness and romance of the region under the stars! Overnight onboard a junk boat
Day 19: HA LONG BAY- HA NOI(B)
After a night on board the Emeraude, wake up early and see daylight filtering through the mist and towering rock formations, leaving you with a dream-like memory of your visit to Halong Bay. Enjoy a breakfast and perhaps join a Tai Chi class on the boat's deck before disembarking and heading back to Hanoi in the early afternoon. Finally, visit Tran Quoc pagoda and Quan Thanh temple, two famous Hanoi landmarks. A car will be available in the afternoon if you wish to take in some of Hanoi's boutique shops. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 20: HA NOI- DEPARTURE (B)
Today is departure day. Enjoy some free time for last purchases or simply relax before the transfer to Hanoi's Noi Bai Airport and your onward flight.
Hotel accommodation with daily breakfast
All meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B: Breakfast, L: lunch, D: Dinner)
Land transportation by private air-conditioned vehicles
English speaking local guide
Entrance fees for all visits as mentioned in the program
Boat trips as mentioned in the itinerary
Train tickets ( 4 berth cabin, soft sleeper)
Any kind of drinks
International airport departure taxes
Personal expenses (laundry, telephone, drinks, tip...)