This is an ambitious itinerary aimed at covering the main highlights of Vietnam in a short time. Be sure to book additional days in Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi if you want more time to explore these cities While the pace is generally easy, there is some walking involved on this trip, with walking tours in the downtown areas of each city, as well as a walk in the caves at Halong Bay Depending on where you come from, the weather in Vietnam might be hotter and more humid than what you are used to. We recommend checking online for what the typical temperatures will be at the time of the year you are looking to travel to see what to expect – this page might be useful: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/vietnam/weather-in-vietnam We include a trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels – an incredible insight into life during the war. Going inside the tunnels is optional as it can be a little claustrophobic for those who don’t like small spaces If you are after a more in-depth exploration of Vietnam or a trip with a little more free time, but still in Comfort style, see our Classic Vietnam (TVKT) itinerary You may also want to check out our Cambodia & Vietnam Discover (TKKCC) or our Explore Cambodia & Vietnam (TKKVC) if you have longer time to explore in the region.
Day 1: Ho Chi Minh City
Xin chao! Welcome to Ho Chi Minh City, a French-infused city with a dynamic atmosphere. If you arrive early, perhaps head to Pham Ngu Lao Street to see the local open-aired market or visit Vinh Nghiem Pagoda. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm where you will meet your tour leader and fellow travellers.
Day 2: Ho Chi Minh City
Start your tour of Ho Chi Minh City with a visit to the Reunification Palace. Formerly known as the Presidential Palace, it was the site of South Vietnam’s surrender at the end of the war. Next, head over to the War Remnants Museum where you’ll see old military equipment including an F5A fighter and a UH1-Huey helicopter. Finally, you’ll tour the famous Cu Chi Tunnels. This former Viet Cong stronghold provides an insight into the resourcefulness and tenacity of the Vietnamese people, as well as underground life during the Vietnam War.
Day 3: Hoi An
Say goodbye to Ho Chi Minh City and fly to Danang (1 hour 30 minutes). From here you’ll make your way to My Khe Beach, a beautiful spot which lies against a backdrop of the Marble Mountains. This location was significant for both the Americans and the Vietnamese during the war. Enjoy a visit to the Marble Mountains to explore its caves and pagodas. Access is via rock hewn staircases or for a fee of VND40,000 you can use the elevator. After your visit continue to Hoi An where you’ll stay for the night (approximately 30 minutes by private minibus).
Day 4: Hoi An
Your leader will take you on a walk around Hoi An’s Old Town today. The city was a major trading port from the 17th century onwards, and has various architectural influences from Europe, China and Vietnam. Today the city is being restored and looks exactly like it did over a century ago. The tour will take you to a historic house, the Japanese Covered Bridge, a Chinese assembly hall and a museum. The rest of the day is free for you to do some optional activities or soak up the ambience of the place. You may like to wander the street stalls selling paintings, woodwork, ceramics, lanterns and much more. Hoi An is also famous for its talented tailors who can make beautiful items to order within a few hours.
Day 5: Hanoi
This morning, transfer to the airport and fly to Vietnam’s charming capital of Hanoi (1 hour 30 minutes). You’ll be taken on a guided half-day tour of Hanoi, visiting major sites such as the Temple of Literature, One Pillar Pagoda and the former residence of Vietnam’s most famous revolutionary, Ho Chi Minh. The tour will also include lunch at the KOTO cafe, an amazing project which provides vocational training for disadvantaged young people. You’ll have some free time this afternoon. Hanoi is a strangely quiet city compared to its southern counterpart. Escape from the noise by visiting the various parks and lakes, or hire a bike and cycle around town for the best view of the city.
Day 6: Halong Bay
Travel by private minibus to the famous Halong Bay (approximately 4 hours), one of Vietnam’s most spectacular natural wonders. Once you arrive at the bay, you’ll take a long, slow cruise through the area, exploring the beautiful green waters and amazing Surprise Cave. Access to Surprise Cave is via staircases. Once inside the cave the pathways are a little uneven and slippery. You may also have the opportunity to go swimming from Ti Top Island beach. You’ll spend the night on the boat. The traditional junk-style boat has twin-share cabins with air-conditioning and private facilities. There’s also a dining room and bar where you’ll enjoy all of your meals, including fresh seafood for lunch and dinner.
Day 7: Hanoi
Head back to Hanoi by private minibus (approximately 4 hours). This afternoon take in a unique water puppet performance. This evening is free for you to explore this delightful city. Why not relax at a cafe or stop for a bia hoi (freshly brewed draught beer) at one of the microbars in the Old Quarter?
Day 8: Hanoi
After breakfast, you are free to leave at any time, as there are no activities planned today. If you would like to spend some more time in Hanoi, we’ll be happy to organise some additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).