Essential Vietnam

Essential Vietnam is a 10 day trip providing a quick glance of Vietnam highlights including Hanoi, Ha Long, Hue, Hoi An, Saigon and Mekong Delta. In this trip you will visit the 1000 year old Hanoi capital, the mystical Halong Bay, the charming and historical imperial citadel Hue, the ancient town Hoi An, and the modern Saigon, largest city of Vietnam.


Hanoi | Halong | Hue | Hoi An | Saigon | Mekong Delta

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Day 01

Hanoi Arrival

Arrival in Hanoi

Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi

Meals: Not included

Upon arriving in Hanoi, our driver will personally meet you at the airport and transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is time at leisure.
Day 02

Hanoi City Tour

Guided tour of Hanoi

Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi

Meals: Breakfast, lunch

In the morning, meet your tour guide at your hotel lobby. Visit Ho Chi Minh Complex including Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, the Presidential Palace, House-on-Stilts, Ho Chi Minh Museum and One Pillar pagoda. After that we will visit the Temple of Literature originally built as a temple to Confucius, this is the site of Vietnam’s first University dating back to 1070. The temple highlights the importance that Vietnamese society place then and now on education. 
Have a lunch in a restaurant.
Continue your guided tour with a visit of the Museum of Ethnology. This museum is widely acknowledged as the best in the country and has an extensive display dedicated to Vietnam’s 54 Ethnic minority peoples. As well as the comprehensive array of exhibits inside, there are also traditional tribal houses reconstructed within the ground. Head back to the center of Hanoi to visit Ngoc Son Temple and Hoan Kiem Lake. The Ngoc Son temple is set on a tiny island on the Hoan Kiem Lake, its history dating back to the 13th century. The temple is reached by crossing the The Huc Bridge which literally means the ‘Place Touched by Morning Sunbeams’. The Hoan Kiem Lake is the local point of the city and the source of many legends. A 45 minute Cyclo Tour take you through the Old Quarter. Also known as the 36 streets, this bustling area of narrow streets is home to literally thousands of small businesses and shopkeepers. Originally each of the 36 names was related to the products being sold there. It’s a great place to explore on foot with numerous photo opportunities. Before going back to your hotel, watch a traditional Water Puppet Show at Thang Long Theatre.
Day 03

Hanoi - Halong Bay

Enjoy a cruise in the magnificient Halong Bay

Accommodation: Halong bay cruise

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

In the morning, depart for Halong Bay through the scenic countryside. The world heritage site Halong Bay is truly one of Vietnam’s most impressive scenic sights. Heading out of the town, embark on a Chinese style junk for an exploration of the legendary Halong Bay.

A seafood lunch will be served while cruising through the bay.

The limestone karsts formations are littered with beaches. You then explore the Surprising Sung Sot Cave which reserves amazing original stalactites and stalagmites.
Day 04

Halong Bay - Hanoi - Hue

Enjoy Halong Bay cruise tour activities and transfer to the airport for a flight to Hue

Accommodation: Hotel in Hue

Meals: Breakfast, lunch

Wake up in the morning with the calming sound of the waves crashing on the nearby islands. Enjoy a cup of coffee and relax. Sitting on the upper deck, enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the rocky islands rising from the crystal-clear water of the bay. The quiet is almost eerie, you can hear birds singing, cicadas chirping ashore and the gentle lapping of the waves against our boat, the perfect soundtrack to accompany the fresh air and gentle breeze.Explore Luon cave in the morning.

The junk starts cruising back while a brunch buffet is served. 

Arrival at the harbor around noon, your tour guide will transfer you to Hanoi airport for your flight to Hue

Arrive in Hue city, meet your tour guide and transfer to your hotel for check-in and relax.
Day 05

Hue City Tour

Visit Hue highlights

Accommodation: Hotel in Hue

Meals: Breakfast, lunch

In the morning, take a boat trip along the poetic Perfume River to reach the ancient Thien Mu pagoda, a special cultural and historical site where still preserves a legendary tale about the Heaven Fairy Lady since Nguyen Dynasty. Then, head to Hue Citadel by car. Here you will walk around and take a look into the special feudal relics of immense architectural and cultural values.

An elaborately prepared vegetarian lunch will be served by the nuns of a pagoda. This gives a fascinating insight into the life of religious people in the area.

After lunch, visit the tomb and monument of King Tu Duc which is located in a very beautiful area. This is an opportunity to learn more about Nguyen Kings and to enjoy the spectacular landscape.
Day 06

Hue - Hoi An

Drive from Hue to Hoi An via Da Nang

Accommodation: Hotel in Hoi An

Meals: Breakfast, lunch

In the morning, leave Hue for Hoi An through Hai Van Pass where you will have magnificent view of the East Sea. Stop at Lang Co to have break. Pass by Da Nang city - the 4th large city of Viet Nam. Here, visit the Marble Mountains. Stop en-route at a famous beach, better known as R&R of the US army officials and soldiers during the Vietnam War.

Lunch is served at a local restaurant

In the afternoon, enjoy a walking tour in Hoi An town, recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage site because of its unusually well-preserved ancient streets and homes. Set out to explore the quaint cobblestone streets of the town with more than two-century-old Chinese houses. Sites including Chua Ong Pagoda, Chinese Assembly Halls, the 200- year old Tan Ky ancestral house and the Japanese Bridge.
Day 07

Hoi An - Cam Thanh Coconut Village - Tra Que Herb Village

Bike to Cam Thanh coconut village and have a cooking class in Tra Que herb village

Accommodation: Hotel in Hoi An

Meals: Breakfast, lunch

In the mornig, your driver collects from your hotel. A short bicycle competency test will be given. For those uncomfortable with a pushbike, then other methods of transport can be arranged. The tour starts by cycling along level ground to the Thu Bon River to visit a local fishing village. Ride along country lanes at a peaceful pace viewing local life and pause to see farmers toiling in their rice fields using centuries of farming practices. Peddle your way through palm forests, across bridges, fields of water buffalo, etc.

Take a short break in a local family at Cam Thanh Village before enjoying 1.5 hours ride on a Traditional Basket Boat (round boat) in the Water Coconut Palm Forest. Learn how to sail the basket boat and try to catch fishes and “purple crabs” in the Canal.
Continue to drive to Tra Que Organic Vegetable Village where a large variety of vegetable are produced for the local community. At the village, you will be shown the environmentally sustainable practices which the local villagers have used for centuries and is still being used extensively today.
Meet a local family and after a short, informative and fun cooking lesson,  sit down for a delicious lunch.

After lunch, come back to your hotel. The rest of day is your free time at leisure.
Day 08

Hoi An - Danang - Ho Chi Minh City

Take a flight to Ho Chi Minh and visit the biggest city of Vietnam

Accommodation: Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City

Meals: Breakfast, lunch

Breakfast is served at your hotel. In the morning, your driver will transfer you to Da Nang airport for the flight to Ho Chi Minh city. Upon arrival, your tour guide will pick you up and transfer you to your hotel in Ho Chi Minh City. Check in and relax.
Start your half day city tour by looking at the Notre Dame Cathedral built between 1877 and 1883. This is one of the best examples of classical French colonial architecture. Nearby is the Old Post Office that is another example of French colonial architecture and is also the country’s largest post office. Move on to see the Reunification Palace. This is one of the most important buildings in the city. Here on April 30th 1975 the ‘American War’ officially ended when tank number 843 of the North Vietnamese Army crashed through the gates of what was, at the time the residence of the President of the Republic of Vietnam. Continue with a visit of War Remnants Museum - Formerly known as the Museum of American War Crimes, this is a poignant display of the futility of war.
Day 09

Ho Chi Minh - Ben Tre - Ho Chi Minh

Leave Ho Chi Minh city to Ben Tre Coconut Land

Accommodation: Hotel in Ho Chi Minh

Meals: Breakfast, lunch

Meet your tour guide in your hotel lobby and transfer through the Mekong Delta to Ben Tre. The boat will cruise along the Ham Luong river (a branch of the Mekong) and stop off at various local workplaces to give you a picture of how the local economy works, including a brickworks, where bricks are still painstakingly made by hand; a coconut processing workshop, where you can sample fresh coconut and see how every single part of this versatile nut is turned into food and other products; and a mat weaving house, where straw mats are woven using a hand loom – you can even have a go at weaving yourself! The boat will then stop at a quiet village where you can have a short walk to experience real Delta village life, before boarding your xe loi (a kind of motorized rickshaw) and traveling into the forest where you can visit fruit orchards.

Stop at a riverside restaurant for a delicious lunch, featuring local specialties such as elephant-ear fish and river shrimp, washed down with some cold drinks or beers.

It’s time to board a sampan for a relaxing trip along narrow canals. Take the boat back to the pier and go ahead to your hotel in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 10

Ho Chi Minh City - Departure

Say goodbye to our team in Ho Chi Minh City!

Accommodation: Not included

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

After a breakfast at the hotel, free time at your own leisure until the transfer to the airport for your departure flight .


The itinerary of the cruise in Halong Bay can be changed depending on your preferences for the company and program.


For your peace of mind, our tours are designed to include as much as possible in the price, but also to
give you the freedom to find a special place to eat or to seek out an independent adventure that especially appeals to you.
Trip Inclusions
  • Full transportation by private car or bus as tour program indicates
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • English speaking guide
  • Entrance fees
  • Sharing boat trip in Halong
  • Private boat trip in Hue and Mekong Delta
  • Accommodation with daily breakfast
  • Domestic flight tickets
Trip Exclusions
  • Airport taxes
  • Internal and external flight tickets
  • Travel insurance
  • Tips, all beverages and personal expenses
  • Other services not mentioned above

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