fbpx

Best of Vietnam

Sale!

Best of Vietnam

Was From $ 3,855 AUD
Now From $ 3,470 AUD
Sale!

Description

Experience quintessential Vietnam on this comprehensive trip from south to north. Travel from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi and experience dynamic cities, tranquil backwaters, imperial ruins, faded colonial elegance and picture-perfect landscapes dotted with reminders of the past. Explore the narrow cobbled streets of Hoi An’s Old Town, encounter local tribes on a hike in the mountains of Da Bac and whizz through the back streets of Hue as you uncover the very best of Vietnam.

Trip Name
Best of Vietnam
Last Updated
2024-06-15
Days
20
Capacity
12
Highlights
  • Experience local life during homestays in the Mekong Delta and Da Bac. Get to know local families, participate in their activities and enjoy a homestyle meal.
  • Travel to both popular and lesser-known destinations in Vietnam, including tourist hotspots like Halong Bay and hidden gems such as Da Bac
  • See Vietnam through an exciting mix of transport, including motorbike, sampan, junk-style boat, bus and train
  • Visit the mind-boggling Phong Nha and Thien Duong Caves. These labyrinthine systems were used to shelter civilians during the Vietnam/American War
  • Spend a day in Hue, touring the city's sights on a motorbike and eating lunch at a serene nunnery
  • Relax in the turquoise waters at Nha Trang and discover local fisherman's life on a boat trip.

Itinerary

ITINERARY CHANGES Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It's important that you review this information prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays, political unrest or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in-country. Your group leader or local representative will keep you up to date with any such changes once your trip is underway. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance fees only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and maybe on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your group leader or local representative know you are interested at the Welcome Meeting and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high-risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and group leader or local representative are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

Day 1 - Ho Chi Minh City
Xin chao! Welcome to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm today, where you'll get to know your fellow travellers and meet your legendary group leader. If you arrive early before the meeting, perhaps head to Pham Ngu Lao Street to see the local open-aired market, visit Vinh Nghiem Pagoda or one of the amusements parks. Ho Chi Minh City has a dynamic atmosphere and a French influence. After the welcome meeting, you may like to join your group for an optional meal at one of the city's fantastic eating spots. Because this trip doesn’t spend much time in Ho Chi Minh City, you might even choose to spend an extra day or two here to see the sights.
Day 2 - Ho Chi Minh City
After breakfast today, you’ll visit one of the most important sites in Ho Chi Minh City, the famous Cu Chi Tunnels. These complex tunnels were used by the Viet Cong in the long war against the Americans and were instrumental to the Vietnamese victory. You'll be amazed by the ingenuity of these dangerous tunnels. Later in the day, take a tour of the city, passing the Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Opera House. Head to the War Remnants Museum for a sobering yet informative lesson on the Vietnam War. Here you’ll see things like old military equipment, an F5A fighter and a UH1-Huey helicopter.
Day 3 - Mekong Delta Homestay
Today you'll travel south by private minibus to Cai Be. When you arrive, you’ll board a boat and explore the intricate waterways of the Mekong Delta. Often referred to as ‘the rice bowl’ of Vietnam, the fertile delta is where rice, tropical fruit and flowers are grown for the whole country. You'll get a chance to get off the boat to visit an orchard and sample some tropical fruit. You’ll then continue on the cruise and visit a selection of local cottage industries along the way where you'll experience local life and the industries surrounding the river up close. For sunset today, you’ll make your way up one of the many canals to your homestay where you’ll tuck into a wonderful meal of local specialities. Your guesthouse accommodation tonight will be simple, but the experience will be rewarding.
Day 4 - Ho Chi Minh City
Travel back to Ho Chi Minh City today and enjoy some free time to do a bit of sightseeing at your leisure. We recommend exploring the city’s restaurants and trying Ho Chi Minh City’s distinctive fresh and flavoursome food. In contrast to the north of Vietnam, the cuisine here is spicier, sweeter and more varied. There are also plenty of street food stalls if you’d like to take a few bites of the local fare.
Day 5 - Dalat
After exploring Ho Chi Minh City, take a bus transfer to Dalat. Temperate and cool compared to the rest of the country, Dalat has gained the name “City of Eternal Spring” due to the mists that cover its nearby valleys nearly all year around. This fairytale nickname spreads to its amazing architecture – the Hang Na guesthouse, an expressionist masterpiece, stands as a towering, melted stone obelisk over the lush garden below. There’s also plenty of charming Art Deco-influenced structures and gardens littering the area as well. This afternoon, perhaps go for a wander through the streets for a better feel of the city or find a café for a cup of artichoke tea, a regional specialty.
Day 6 - Dalat
Dalat’s soothing climate isn’t just a great reprieve from the heat of Vietnam's coast, it also creates the perfect environment to grow a wide selection of fruits, vegetables and herbs. Take a full day to stroll through the tranquil gardens of this city, darting past plantations full of plump vegetables, dazzling flowers, medicinal herbs, aromatic lavender and juicy strawberries. You'll enjoy a guided garden visit to learn more about this fruitful area.
Day 7 - Nha Trang
After breakfast this morning travel by minibus to the coastal town of Nha Trang. On arrival, stretch your legs with a leader-led orientation walk. Then, enjoy free time in the afternoon and evening in this stunning coastal city -you might like to make a beeline straight to the beach or try a mud bath. Be sure to find a beach side bar for a cocktail at sunset and then tuck into some of this town's epic seafood - your leader knows all the good spots, so be sure to ask them for their top tips.
Day 8 - Nha Trang / Overnight train
After breakfast this morning, enjoy a leisurely boat trip in Nha Trang Bay. You'll stop at Mieu Island to learn about local fishermen's life here, and even get a chance to give it a go yourself with the rowing bamboo basket boat. Then you'll hop to Tam Island and enjoy swimming and snorkelling in the turquoise water amongst the stunning corals. Head back to Nha Trang in the early afternoon. This evening, board an overnight train to Da Nang. Conditions are basic on these trains and hygiene standards may be lower than what you’re used to at home, however overnight trains are the best way to brush shoulders with the locals and make the best use of your time. Most trains have a dining carriage serving simple food, but we recommend stocking up on snacks before you board.
Day 9 - Hoi An
You'll arrive in Hoi An early today. Recently declared a World Heritage site, Hoi An was a major trading port with the West from the 15th to the 19th century. Today it has been restored to look exactly as it did more than a century ago, giving it an old-world feel full of nooks and crannies for you to explore. You’ll have some free time to wonder the city and adventure at your own leisure this afternoon. Hoi An is very much a shopping mecca. Why not browse the paintings, woodwork, ceramics, embroidery all made by the locals? The city is also famous for its talented tailors who work with beautiful fabrics for a good price.
Day 10 - Hoi An
Enjoy another free day in the town of Hoi An. You’ll have time to see the beautiful Chinese shophouses, enjoy the busy market, visit Cua Dai Beach, cycle to the rice fields or browse the array of art galleries. With plenty of options to keep you busy in this quaint city, you can build the day into whatever you wish.
Day 11 - Hue
This morning, wave goodbye to Hoi An as we make tracks to the white sand and blue sea of My Khe Beach. Continue on the journey and cross the dramatic Hai Van Pass and make a quick stop at the fishing village of Lang Co before making your way to Hue. The former imperial capital of Vietnan, Hue contains the treasures of Vietnam’s royal history, and has a curious blend of bustling streets and tranquil settings. You'll explore the Imperial Citadel this afternoon - this fortress houses the Imperial City and the citadel-within-a-citadel, the Forbidden Purple City. This icon was almost completely destroyed during the Vietnam War, and the ruins and holes left by bombs are a reminder of the destruction caused by the war. In your free time here you might like to visit to Dong Ba Market which offers locally made goods, fresh produce and tantalising street food. This is a good place to try the specialties enjoyed by Emperor Nguyen such as the banh khoai royal rice cake.
Day 12 - Hue
Today’s adventure will be taken on the back of a motorbike. You’ll have your own driver who will take you first on a drive around the Imperial Citadel, including the Forbidden Purple City. The latter was almost completely destroyed during the Tet Offensive in the Vietnam War, but its humble, foliage-covered ruins remain a testament to its proud history. Here you'll gain some insight into the horrific damage endured during the war. Next, you'll ride to a special lunch spot at a convent or Buddhist monastery for a delicious home-cooked vegetarian feast. After lunch, drive to the royal tomb of Emperor Tu Duc, set amid a lake, frangipani bushes and pine trees. This evening, perhaps ask your leader for the best place to try imperial street specialties.
Day 13 - Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park
Today, we'll take a minibus to the Vinh Moc Tunnels. These were used during the Vietnam War as shelter for the villagers who were escaping intense bombing. Incredibly, the locals here lived in the underground system that went over three levels. You’ll get a chance to enter the tunnels which remain in their original form. This afternoon, continue on to your home stay tonight located at the center of Phong Nha. Your host is a family of 3 generations and you'll be able to experience how the locals go about their daily routines while staying here.
Day 14 - Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park / Overnight train
After breakfast today, visit the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage site contains the oldest known karst mountains in Asia. The area is also known for its enormous cave system. You’ll visit the Thien Duong Cave (Paradise Cave), then take a cruise up the Son River towards the Phong Cave - the scale of the place is truly astounding. In the late afternoon, travel to Dong Hoi and catch an overnight sleeper train to Hanoi.
Day 15 - Hanoi
Arrive in Hanoi early in the morning and transfer to your hotel. Vietnam’s capital is famous for its beautiful lakes, shaded boulevards, public parks and French-style Old Quarter. As an emerging city in South East Asia, Hanoi has an attractive contrast of modern office buildings, old Buddhist temples and a labyrinth of ancient streets. Later in the day, you’ll visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum complex, including One Pillar Pagoda and the Ho Chi Minh Museum.
Day 16 - Da Bac
This morning, visit Vun Art center first, a social enterprise that employs people with disabilities to make art pieces with recycled silk scraps. Hear from them about the great things that they do and then make the drive to Sung village. There are around 70 families living at Sung Village and the majority are Dzao ‘Tien’ people. Farming and forest plantation are their main source of income. You'll enjoy a traditional lunch at your homestay then take an introductory walk around the village. After getting to know the village better, take a short trek (2 kilometres) to the alluring Sung Cave and visit a 100-year-old tea plantation. The trek has some steep and slippery sections so please ensure you have suitable footwear for this activity. After a handicraft workshop, return to your homestay accommodation for a nice hot shower and a delicious dinner.
Day 17 - Hanoi
This morning, you'll get the opportunity to take in more of the Vietnamese highlands on a 10 kilometre (6.2 mi) trek from Sung Village to Da Bia. The first 8km of the trek is mostly flat ground along well-worn buffalo tracks. The final 2km gradually inclines and for a period of approximately 300m there are some steps to climb, however the walk will be a steady relaxed pace. Keep an eye peeled for the monumental stone at the peak of Da Bia Mountain during the hike that takes us through the local villages, meeting people from the ethnic Muong tribe along the way. Stop for lunch at Da Bia before enjoying a scenic 1.5 hour boat cruise on Hoa Binh hydropower reservoir. Arrive at Thung Nai then board a bus transfer to Hanoi, where you'll arrive at around 6 pm. Enjoy a water puppetry performance later on - a unique and traditional Vietnamese art form.
Day 18 - Halong Bay
After breakfast today, drive to Bai Chay Harbour towards the famous world heritage site of Halong Bay. A blue-green bay studded with limestone outcrops, this area is full of beaches and natural grottos. You’ll take a boat through the limestone peaks and caves filled with stalactites and stalagmites and have the chance to go for a swim or perhaps take a kayak out on the bay. Spend the night on board the boat beneath a sky alive with starlight. The boat has twin-share cabins with air-conditioning and private facilities. There’s also a dining room and bar where you can enjoy the day’s meals.
Day 19 - Hanoi
After breakfast today you'll return to Hanoi, arriving mid afternoon and enjoy some well deserved free time. Why not relax with a bia hoi (freshly brewed draught beer) at one of the microbars in the Old Quarter? or perhaps mark the end of your trip with an optional farewell dinner. 
Day 20 - Hanoi
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. There’s so much to see and do in Hanoi, why not stay a day or two longer? We’ll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you have extra time, you may like to do an Urban Adventure tour. Your leader will be able to assist you in booking the tour of your choice. See urbanadventures.com/destination/hanoi-tours.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
07-07-202426-07-2024AUD $ 3,470-
01-09-202420-09-2024AUD $ 3,780-
22-09-202411-10-2024AUD $ 3,780-
06-10-202425-10-2024AUD $ 3,930-
20-10-202408-11-2024AUD $ 3,970-
03-11-202422-11-2024AUD $ 4,080-
17-11-202406-12-2024AUD $ 4,080-
08-12-202427-12-2024AUD $ 4,080-
22-12-202410-01-2025AUD $ 4,080-
05-01-202524-01-2025AUD $ 4,285-
19-01-202507-02-2025AUD $ 4,125-
02-02-202521-02-2025AUD $ 3,965-
16-02-202507-03-2025AUD $ 3,965-
02-03-202521-03-2025AUD $ 4,125-
09-03-202528-03-2025AUD $ 4,125-
23-03-202511-04-2025AUD $ 4,285-
06-04-202525-04-2025AUD $ 4,285-
20-04-202509-05-2025AUD $ 4,125-
04-05-202523-05-2025AUD $ 3,965-
13-07-202501-08-2025AUD $ 3,965-
17-08-202505-09-2025AUD $ 3,965-
21-09-202510-10-2025AUD $ 3,965-
19-10-202507-11-2025AUD $ 4,125-
09-11-202528-11-2025AUD $ 4,125-
23-11-202512-12-2025AUD $ 4,285-
07-12-202526-12-2025AUD $ 4,285-
28-12-202516-01-2026AUD $ 4,285-
04-01-202623-01-2026AUD $ 3,760-
18-01-202606-02-2026AUD $ 3,760-
01-02-202620-02-2026AUD $ 3,760-
15-02-202606-03-2026AUD $ 3,760-
01-03-202620-03-2026AUD $ 3,760-
08-03-202627-03-2026AUD $ 3,760-
22-03-202610-04-2026AUD $ 3,760-
05-04-202624-04-2026AUD $ 3,760-
19-04-202608-05-2026AUD $ 3,760-
03-05-202622-05-2026AUD $ 3,760-
12-07-202631-07-2026AUD $ 3,760-
16-08-202604-09-2026AUD $ 3,760-
20-09-202609-10-2026AUD $ 3,760-
18-10-202606-11-2026AUD $ 3,760-
08-11-202627-11-2026AUD $ 3,760-
22-11-202611-12-2026AUD $ 3,760-
06-12-202625-12-2026AUD $ 3,760-
27-12-202615-01-2027AUD $ 3,760-

Accommodation

Homestay (3 nights),Hotel (13 nights),Overnight boat (1 night),Overnight sleeper train (2 night)

Transport

Boat,Overnight sleeper train,Private minibus,Taxi,Train

Map