15 Days, from £3,085 per person, including flights from the UK Visit the lesser travelled areas of stunning Vietnam as well as some old favourites
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This unforgettable 14-night tour takes you to the ‘must see’ places of Hanoi, Halong Bay and Hoi An as well as Vietnam's stunning interior. Visit the vast emerald green rice paddy fields surrounded by towering limestone karsts, wander through the narrow alleyways of ancient villages and spend time with local people learning about their traditions, customs and food. You'll spend two nights on board a luxurious ship as you sail the highlights of Halong Bay and learn to prepare traditional dishes during a cooking class in Hoi An.
Day 1: Departure
Fly from London Heathrow on the overnight flight to Hanoi.
Day 2: Arrive Hanoi (D)
On arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The remainder of the day is at your leisure to unwind from your flight.
Day 3: Hanoi (B/L/-)
You will set out on a tour of the city this morning, visiting the monumental Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, where you can join or simply watch the silent queue of visitors to see the embalmed body of this former leader. You will also visit the Temple of Literature and wonderful example of traditional Vietnamese architecture and home to the country’s first university, founded in 1070. After lunch at a local restaurant you will head to the Museum of Ethnology before taking a breezy cyclo ride through the Old Quarters 36 streets, each named after the goods they sell. Finally, you will visit Ngoc Son Temple set on a tiny island on the picturesque Hoan Kiem Lake and ending with a traditional water puppet show.
Day 4: Night train to Sapa (B/L/-)
Start the day with an early morning drive into the countryside to visit the ancient village of Duong Lam. Surrounded by paddy fields, the village preserves all the characteristics of a traditional rural village and you can meander through the alleyways and visit one of the ancient houses and enjoy a simple lunch with a local family. You have the option to explore further on foot or by bike, before being driven back to Ha Noi. The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure until 20:30 when you will be transferred to the train station to catch the night train to Sapa.
Day 5: Lao Cai Village (B/L/-)
You will arrive in Lao Cai early this morning (06:30 hours - subject to change) where you will meet your guide and drive to the small village of Ta Van in the breathtaking Muong Hoa Valley. Enjoy a scenic walk through the rice paddies and take in the beautiful views before heading to the home of Ms Moo, a local Black H’mong lady who will teach you about the traditional life and culture of the Black H’mong people. You will then learn about the art of Batik painting with a hands-on class before heading to the former French hill station of Sapa.
Day 6: H’mong Valley Trail (B/L/-)
A short way north of Sapa you’ll find quiet valleys and gorges surrounding the village of O Quy Ho. Enjoy a trek through the shallow winding valley, taking in views of Indochina’s highest peak, Fangxipan Mountain, oolong tea farms, rice terraces, grazing buffalo and working famers. As you follow the ancient stone paths, you will learn more about the culture, lifestyle and language that makes northwest Vietnam so fascinating. In the afternoon you will return to Sapa to enjoy a lunch of traditional mountain dishes before catching the overnight train to Ha Noi.
Day 7: Ninh Binh (B/L/-)
Today you will head to Ninh Bonh Province, known as “Halong Bay on land”. Boasting similar limestone karsts which rise from emerald rice paddy fields and winding rivers. Enjoy a cycle through these fields before learning about how the rice is cultivated and heading to a local family home for a cooking demonstration. After lunch, you will set out on a short boat trip in the Van Long Nature Reserve, the largest wetland in Vietnam.
Day 8: Ninh Binh (B,L/-)
This morning you will head to the ruins of the ancient capital of Hoa Lu. These dilapidated ruins have nearly been absorbed back into nature creating an enchanting atmosphere. After lunch you will visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Trang An, known for its scenic beauty and you’ll enjoy a lazy meander down the river passing through a series of caves while enjoying the sounds of soaring birds overhead and the jagged limestone hills jutting skyward out of electric green rice paddies. In the afternoon you will visit the Endangered Primate Rescue Centre, a non-profit site dedicated to rehabilitating animals that were rescued from Southeast Asia’s illegal wildlife trade. “Residents” include rare langurs, monkeys and gibbons, many of them seized from the illegal trade by Vietnamese customs officials.
Day 9: Halong Bay (B, L,D)
Your wonderful journey across Halong Bay starts around noon. Board your luxurious boat where you will spend the next two nights, and meet the crew who will be helping to make your journey unforgettable. Discover some of the bay’s highlights including the Bay of the Descending Dragon, fascinating caves, pristine beaches, picturesque floating villages and fantastic rock formations rising up out of emerald water.
Day 10: Halong Bay (B, L, D)
Early birds can attend a Tai Chi demonstration on the sundeck at the break of dawn. Continue exploring Ha Long Bay sailing across its 2,000 islets and visiting some of its major highlights.
Day 11: Hoi An (B)
This morning you will visit Surprise Cave, the biggest in Halong Bay. A tender will take you through the deceptively narrow entrance which opens up into a huge chamber with impressive limestone formations. The boat will then take you to Halong Port where you will continue onto Hanoi to check into your lovely beachfront hotel. The rest of the day is at your leisure.
Day 12: Cooking Class in Hoi An (B/L/-)
Start your day with a visit to a local market to purchase the ingredients you will need for your cooking lesson later today. You will then enjoy a leisurely cruise down the Hoi An river to a local restaurant, before learning about some of Vietnam’s most popular dishes. You will then have a chance to cook and eat these delicious dishes. After lunch, take a tour of Hoi An to see its wonderfully restored architecture, relaxed vibe and pedestrian streets. You’ll visit famous landmarks like the Chua Ong Pagoda, dating back to 1653 and the Phuc Kien Assembly Hall and a 17th century covered bridge. End your afternoon with a boat trip along Thu Bon river.
Day 13: Hoi An’s countryside (B)
This morning, enjoy a tour by bicycle (or walk) into the very heart of rural Hoi An for a special insight into the everyday life of a local village community. The short bicycle ride through the deepest countryside of the village will be one of the highlights of your time in Vietnam – this unique glimpse into the rural lives of the villagers is a sight that very few other visitors will see – and in turn you will delight the local people with your presence on their most favoured form of transportation – the humble bicycle!
The rest of day is at leisure for you to relax on beach or further explore the historic town at your own pace.
Day 14: Departure
Spend the day at leisure before transferring to Da Nang Airport for your departure flight to Hanoi and onwards to London Heathrow.
Our Price Includes:
- International flights and taxes
- Private round trip transfer Airport/Hotel/Airport
- Accommodation as mentioned above inclusive tax and service charges
- Tours as stated with english speaking guide and private transport
- Meals as specified (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
- Government Tax and service charge
- Services of Odyssey World's local agents in Vietnam
Our Price Excludes:
- meals other than those specified
- Anything not stated above
- Travel insurance
- Early check-in/late check-out charges unless otherwise stated
- Items of a personal nature such as laundry, drinks, tip etc.