2018 Departure Dates:
- 12th of May
- 16th of June
- 11th of August
- 15th of September
- 20th of October
- 17th of November (surcharge of NZD $320 per person)
- Return economy class airfares departing Auckland
- Domestic flights
- Nine nights hotel accommodation
- 1 night on Halong Bay cruise
- Round trip airport and hotel transfers
- Daily meals as indicated (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
- Coach transportation and all transfers
- English speaking tour guide(s)
- $80 in prepaid tips
Day 1: Home - Hanoi
Fly to Hanoi via connecting cities. On arrival, you will be welcomed by your guide and driver who will bring you to your hotel in Hanoi City to rest up for the tour ahead. Note: some flights may depart the day before.
Day 2: Hanoi City Tour (B, L)
Drive to Ba Dinh Square, where the former President Ho Chi Minh read Viet Nam’s Declaration of Independence on 2 September 1945, and visit Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum (from outside if your visit is on Mondays & Fridays as it’s closed and from 5/9 to 5/11 for annual maintenance), and One-Pillar Pagoda, a must-see monument in Ha Noi. The pagoda resembles a lotus blossom and gets its name from its lone support pillar. Next, visit the Temple of Literature, the first University for the sons of mandarins. After lunch at a local restaurant, we visit ‘the Hanoi Hilton‘, an infamous prison during the American War. Then take a cyclo ride around Hanoi’s Old Quarter.
Optional - Hanoi Foodie tour (at your own expense): Meet your guide at the hotel, and walk through the bustling old quarter as your guide tells you about the various foods on offer – stop and try some if you like! Then we will stop at a ‘Bia hoi’ store, sit down and share a relaxing moment with locals. At night, the sidewalks are full of pop-up restaurants which offer truly local food like Banh Cuon (rice rolls with pork and herbs inside), and many kinds of noodle dish. For dinner, you will enjoy Southern beef-noodles in Hang Dieu street. End the night with a drink at a local coffee shop before heading back to your hotel
Day 3: Hanoi - Halong Bay (B, L, D)
Travel by coach to your Halong Bay Cruise around the thousands of dramatic limestone islands of one the world’s great natural wonders. The sails of junks and sampans gliding along the clear and emerald waters of the bay form a magnificent scene, and you can visit some of the hidden grottoes beneath the towering cliffs. A seafood lunch and dinner will be served on board the charming junk. Stay overnight on board.
Day 4: Halong Bay - Hanoi fly to Da Nang - Hoi An (B, L)
Enjoy the aquamarine waters of the bay at its best as the junk continues to cruise quietly through spectacular limestone formations. Disembark from the junk at noon and transfer to Hanoi airport for a short flight to Da Nang and transfer to Hoi An, the ancient town recognised as a World Cultural Heritage site by UNESCO. Check into your hotel and enjoy free time at your own leisure to discover the ancient town.
Day 5: Hoi An (B)
Discover Hoi An on a guided walking tour. This city was an influential port along the Silk Road, and for over 500 years merchants from China, Japan, France, and Portugal settled in the prosperous town resulting in a distinctive blend of culture, cuisine, religions and the most unique architecture in Southeast Asia, and the city still retains the feel of centuries past. The afternoon is free at leisure, or you may take one optional tour.
Half-day cycling tour from Hoi An to Tra Que Village (at your own expense):
Take a scenic bicycle ride through the rice paddies to Tra Que Village just outside Hoi An. This little village is well-known for supplying the many restaurants and hotels in the area with fresh herbs and vegetables. You will walk through the vegetable gardens, experience how the local farmers work the land and the importance of herbs in Vietnamese medicine and cuisine, before your relaxing pedal back to town.
Fishing Village & Waterway Eco-tour (at own expense):
Enjoy an authentic social and cultural insight into the local Vietnamese way of life. Drive to a local farming village traveling along picturesque country roads. Explore the now tranquil coconut-palm flanked waterways of a past war and hear of the extreme conditions endured by soldiers on both sides. You will take a wooden boat to a ‘water coconut forest’, and join local fishermen on the river to experience round net and cast net fishing. Learn to paddle bamboo basket boats and join in a basket boat race.You’ll also learn how to use reeds or palm leaves to make grasshoppers, birds, rings, sunglasses, etc. Return to the boat to enjoy lunch and a cold beer or soft drink and then return the hotel by car.
Day 6: Hoi An - Da Nang (B)
Today you are free to explore Hoi An until your coach transfer to Da Nang. On arrival, check in to your hotel and enjoy the rest of the day free at leisure.
Day 7: Da Nang - Hue (B)
Drive to Hue City, stopping en route to take pictures at Lang Co Beach. On arrival, check in to your hotel. Hue City was the political, economic and cultural capital of Vietnam during the Nguyen Dynasty (1802 – 1945), and was recognised as a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1993. On arrival, you will take a boat trip to Thien Mu Pagoda – A historic pagoda on the banks of the Perfume River in Hue, Vietnam. Apart from their scenic setting, Thien Mu Pagoda and its environs stand witness to almost four hundred years of Vietnam’s tumultuous history. Back in the centre of town, we visit the massive Kinh Thanh Citadel, the most iconic site in Hue and a sprawling complex comprised of the Imperial City, several museums, lakes, and lovely gardens, all laid out in a series of concentric circles. We also visit Hue Royal Antiques Museum. Finally, we visit Khai Dinh Tomb before returning to your hotel. Enjoy an optional Royal Dinner (at your own expense, four people minimum). Dress in traditional clothes and be served dishes which used to be made for the King and his family.
Day 8: Hue fly to Ho Chi Minh City (B)
Transfer to Hue Airport for a morning flight to Ho Chi Minh City. On arrival, you will visit the imposing Dong Khoi Street before going to Notre Dame Cathedral, the most famous landmark in Vietnam. In the same square is the famous Saigon Post Office, the country’s largest functioning post office. Next up is Reunification Palace, and the War Remains Museum, where you can learn about the Vietnam War. Finally, visit the Ben Thanh Market before returning to your hotel, where you are free at leisure, or you may join an optional (at your own expense) Dinner Cruise on Saigon River.
Day 9: Ho Chi Minh City - Mekong Delta (B, L)
Take a scenic drive through the Mekong Delta, home to the richest agricultural lands in Vietnam. On arrival at My Tho City, take a boat trip to fishing villages and Dragon, Unicorn, Turtle and Phoenix Islands. Crossing the Mekong River, you’ll cruise along a small canal to see the daily life of locals in Bến Tre province, visiting Quới An bee farm and handicraft workshop to enjoy some honey-tea and see how people make things from coconut wood. Take a horse-cart along country roads to visit fruit orchards, enjoy tropical fruit and listen to traditional music. Then, take small sampans back to your cruise to ‘coconut village’ for a coconut candy workshop and tasting. Visit Phoenix Island for a rice-paper workshop, then return by boat to My Tho by road back to Ho Chi Minh City. Enjoy the rest of the day free at leisure.
Day 10: Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi Tunnels (B)
After breakfast, we visit the amazing Cu Chi Tunnels, a well-known relic of the Vietnamese revolution. This cobweb-like tunnel complex is a network of underground dug-outs over 200 km long, consisting of many layers and turnings with meeting, living and fighting quarters where we learn firsthand how the Viet Cong survived their extraordinary underground existence during the Vietnam War.
Day 11: Ho Chi Minh City - Home (B)
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for your return flight home.
Day 12: Arrive Home
Hotel Accommodation is 3-Star or Similar:
- Hanoi - La Dolce Vita or similar
- Halong Cruise - Bhaya Cruise or similar
- Hoi An - Hoian Silk Boutique or similar
- Danang - Song Cong or similar
- Hue - Romance or similar
- Ho Chi Minh City - Le Duy Grand or similar