Make the time to delve deeper into Vietnam and get off the beaten path to reveal the hidden treasures of this beguiling destination. Unforgettable holiday moments happen where and when you least expect them. This journey explores highlights such as antique Hanoi, energetic Saigon and charming Hoi An, but also ventures into lesser-visited areas such as the demilitarized zone and the Ho Chi Minh trail through the remote Central Highlands, as well as the delightful hilltribe villages around Sapa.
DAYS 1-6 – HANOI & SAPA
Take a stroll around tranquil Hoan Kiem Lake and explore the surrounding area before enjoying an interactive cooking class then board the overnight train on your way to the stunning vistas of Northern Vietnam. Arrive in Sapa and wander through a delightful local market. Witness the spectacular views across the stepped ricefields of the Ta Van valley. Unveil the regional lifestyle of the mountain dwelling locals, before heading for Topas Ecolodge perched high above the lush valley. In the minority villages, gain an understanding of the unique way of life, high in the mountains before an overnight train journey back to Hanoi.
Hotels: Tirant, Overnight train, Bamboo Sapa, Topas Ecolodge
DAYS 7-10 – HANOI & HALONG BAY
On arrival in Hanoi, transfer to your hotel. Learn about Ho Chi Minh, affectionately known as Uncle Ho, at his former home and mausoleum, and then retreat to the ancient Temple of Literature and fascinating Hanoi Hilton prison. Relax on the picturesque drive to enchanting Halong Bay. Enjoy the freshest seafood while you cruise amongst the thousands of limestone islands, sleeping in-board as you float on the moonlit bay. On your return to Hanoi, an entertaining water puppet performance awaits.
Hotels: Anise, Overnight boat
DAYS 11-13 – MAI CHAU, NINH BINH & VINH
On a scenic drive to the mountains west of Hanoi, stop at the informative Ho Chi Minh Trail and Ethnology Museums. In the beautiful upland valley of Mai Chau, a home-stay in a Tai family house gives an insight into daily life here. With dramatic karst mountains rising from the rice paddies, the landscapes around Ninh Binh are renowned for their timeless beauty. A plush stay at the Anamandara soothes the soul, before you venture into the region’s caves and waterways by boat, then travel along the Ho Chi Minh Trail to Vinh.
Hotels: Home-stay, Ana Mandara, Kim Lien
DAYS 14-16 – DONG HOI & HUE
Discover Hoang Tru, the birthplace of Ho Chi Minh, and then spend an indulgent night at a luxurious beachside resort in Dong Hoi. A glimpse into life here during the war, cross the demilitarized zone which separated north from south and visit the Vinh Moc Tunnels. Explore the historic sites of the former imperial capital, Hue, including the Citadel, elaborate emperors’ tombs and the Thien Mu Pagoda. Give back, when you join the deaf and mute workers at the Spiral Foundation and make your own souvenir.
Hotels: Sun Spa, Saigon Morin
DAYS 17-18 – HOI AN
Charming Hoi An is reached by a spectacular drive, stopping at the famous Cham Museum in Danang and witnessing sacred Marble Mountain along the way. A gorgeous walk immerses you in the charming streets of Hoi An, where you discover traditional houses and temples and the iconic Japanese Bridge. Enjoy a market tour with the kids from the Streets Foundation, before a full day at leisure to get to know this lovely town better, perhaps stopping by one of the many master tailors in the region to treat yourself to a new wardrobe.
Hotel: Ancient House River
DAYS 19-21 – PLEIKU, KONTUM & BUON MA THUOT
A dazzling drive through terraced rice paddies and cotton, rubber and cassava plantations leads to the remote Central Highlands, revealing verdant tea and coffee plantations, glimmering waterfalls and colourful minority villages as you experience local life in a region rarely visited by tourists.
Hotels: Indochine, Hoang Anh Gia Lai, Dakruco
DAYS 22-23 – DALAT
In the former French hill station of Dalat, delight in the sweeping mountain vistas during a cable car ride, admire the faded Art Deco charm of the last emperor’s summer residence and rummage through the town’s vibrant market.
Hotel: Saigon Dalat
DAYS 24-26 – SAIGON
Wonder at the energy of Saigon as you walk amongst the excitement along historic Dong Khoi Street, the former Rue Catinat, and learn about Vietnam’s fascinating recent history at the Reunification Palace and War Remnants Museum. Uncover the resilience of the Vietnamese people at the incredible Cu Chi tunnels, and meander along the canals and shady lanes of the Mekong Delta, stopping to sample fruit at local orchards. On your last day, enjoy free time until your departure transfer.