Few countries have as much variety as Vietnam. Let yourself loose in hectic Hanoi and enjoy the sumptuous cuisine full of fresh vegetables, fish and herbs. Visit a quiet temple away from the bustle of Ho Chi Minh City and relax on the beaches along the far stretching coastline. Vietnam is a charming, stylish country where there is much to discover in a historical, cultural and culinary sense.
Day 1: Ho Chi Minh City
Day 2: Ho Chi Minh City
Day 3: Ho Chi Minh City – Nha Trang
Day 4: Nha Trang
Day 5: Nha Trang – Whale Island
Day 6: Whale Island
Day 7: Whale Island – Sa Huynh
Day 8: Sa Huynh – Hoi An
Day 9: Hoi An
Day 10: Hoi An – Da Nang – Marble Mountains – Hue
Day 11: Hue – Hanoi
Day 12: Hanoi
Day 13: Hanoi
DAY 1: HO CHI MINH CITY
Welcome to Vietnam! Your tour starts in Ho Chi Minh City, where you can check in to your hotel room from check in time 12 pm at noon on Day 1. Your travel companions will also arrive this first day, the exact time will be depending on their flight schedule. You will meet your English speaking tour leader at 12 pm noon on Day 1 in the lobby of your hotel in Ho Chi Minh City. Wander the busy streets of this metropolis for hours and you will still hardly scratch the surface as there is just so much to see. Ho Chi Minh City is steeped in history and offers an array of museums, temples, pagodas, colonial buildings and churches. The museums of note include the unique War Memorial Museum and the Vietnamese History Museum, both well worth a visit. The city’s oldest pagoda Giac Lam is a must-see and the bustling Chinese district of Cholon, the cities’ main trading center is brilliant for trying a range of different foods at low prices.
DAY 3: HO CHI MINH CITY – NHA TRANG
Today you have a free day in HCMC. On right time, you will board the night train to Nha Trang (second class soft sleeper). Meals are available on the train and refreshments are also for sale at stations along the way. And, if light allows, you can enjoy the beautiful landscape.
DAY 5: NHA TRANG – WHALE ISLAND
In the morning you will be picked up from the hotel and driven to Van Ninh, 60 km north of Nha Trang, where the boat leaves to Whale Island. After a short boat trip of ten minutes you reach the idyllic Whale Island, like a fairy tale hideaway. Here you will spend two wonderful days. You will spend two nights in simple bamboo huts with private bathroom and fan on this dream island with swaying palm trees, pristine coral reefs and a relaxed atmosphere. You will feel just like Robinson Crusoe!
DAY 7: WHALE ISLAND – SA HUYNH
Take the boat back to the mainland and wave goodbye to your dream island. The bus waits for a beautiful ride along the coast to Sa Huynh. When you arrive in this seaside village you will find a lovely semicircular beach where you can enjoy a dip in the sea.
DAY 9: HOI AN
You have a day at leisure. You can take a short boat trip on the river or go independently to one of the quiet beaches of Hoi An. You can also choose a tour in the beautiful surrounding area. It is also possible to visit the 7th century Cham ruins of My Son, another important cultural and historical part of the heritage of the country.
DAY 11: HUE – HANOI
Around the city of Hue, in the undulating landscape, are the imperial mausoleums. One of the most pleasant ways to visit mausoleums is by boat. You can take an optional boat trip on the Perfume River to the imperial tombs and pagodas just outside the city. The 21 meter high Thien Mu pagoda is located on the north bank of the river and has seven floors. It was built in 1844 and has long been the symbol of Vietnam. On each floor is another Buddha statue. Behind the pagoda tower is a beautiful temple. At the end of the afternoon before departing by night train to Hanoi (soft sleeper second class, scheduled departure time is 4:50 pm, subject to change). The train carries the name ‘reunification express’, as Northern and Southern Vietnam are brought together.
DAY 12: HANOI
In the morning we arrive in the capital city of Hanoi for a one night stay. Filled with small shops, lively markets, lakes and cafes, Hanoi still retains some of its village atmosphere, despite having a population of millions. The avenues and streets lined by French villas still have a charming and unspoilt air and the residents of Hanoi are famed for their hospitality. Although Hanoi is the oldest capital city in South-East Asia, the buildings are relatively new. However, there are still some flashes of the past with attractive temples and pagodas and the market which offers wonderful local produce such as different types of tropical fruits, rice, flowers, herbs, vegetables, live animals and craftwork. You can also take a morning walk around Hoan Kiem Lake, visit the park where the locals gather to practice badminton or tai chi, pay a visit to the One Pillar Pagoda and the Temple of Literature or watch a performance by the Water Puppeteers.
DAY 2: HO CHI MINH CITY
Today you have a free day in HCMC. Overnight in HO CHI MINH CITY. Hotel Accommodation is included in this package.
DAY 4: NHA TRANG
After the train journey you can relax on the fine sandy beach of Nha Trang. Nha Trang is Vietnam’s largest resort, with good restaurants. If you like your seafood, then you can feast on prawns and exotic fish in the restaurants here. Nha Trang is located near a natural harbor where you can also swim in addition to snorkeling and diving. Fans of amusement parks can take an optional excursion to the Vinpearlland Amusement Park where you will find, among other rides, a carousel, bumper cars and 4D movies for your viewing pleasure.
DAY 6: WHALE ISLAND
A free day in paradise! Why not take a dip in the sea after you wake up? Today you can do what you want to. Snorkeling and diving are highly advised as the underwater seascape and variety of submarine life is astonishing. Surfing, sailing and kayaking are all possibilities too. Or if you prefer, you can read a good book in your hammock, relaxing at your own hut- the choice is yours.
DAY 8: SA HUYNH – HOI AN
Today you travel along the scenic coast towards Hoi An, formerly known as Faifo. Estimated travel time is 3-4 hours (170 km). Here we will stay for 2 nights. Hoi An is a town with traditional houses and is considered by many travelers as one of the most attractive and one of the most fun places to experience Vietnam. Visit the quaint market there, with baskets full of colorful fish, shrimp, fruit or vegetables. Many old wooden houses and historic buildings bear witness of bygone times. Some of the old Chinese houses are even open to visitors. The interior of these houses appear exactly the same as they did centuries ago. Even some old Chinese temples are still in use.
DAY 10: HOI AN – DA NANG – MARBLE MOUNTAINS – HUE
You drive northwards today but not for very long (only 130 km, travel time approximately three hours), but we will go via a few stops. You first go to Da Nang, where you can choose to visit the Cham Museum. The museum has the largest collection of Cham sculptures in the world with more than 300 images of sandstone. The images date from the 7th to the 15th century. The images from the period until the 10th century reveal influences from mainly Hindu India and Indonesia. In the period between the 10th and 15th century Khmer influences prevailed in Cambodia. You can also visit the famous Marble Mountains and China Beach. The beautiful Marble Mountains (Ngu Hanh Son) are five hills with caves. During the Vietnam War it was a refuge for the Vietcong. Now it is a Buddhist shrine. The many caves displaying their different images bear witness to this. Please be aware that entrance fees at today’s various sites are not included in the fare. After a spectacular drive along the coast, you arrive in the ancient imperial city of Hue. The spatially designed French town with its buildings, broad avenues and the Perfume River is very atmospheric. The main landmark of this city, which has more than 200,000 inhabitants, is the Huong Giang, which translates quite literally as the “nice-smelling river”. In the afternoon you can have a look at the vast Forbidden Purple City. The Forbidden City is not that old, the oldest part dates from the early 19th century from the time of the Nguyen emperors. It is one of the few grand buildings of Vietnam history.
DAY 13: HANOI
Your tour ends today and your check out time will usually be 12 pm noon. The international airport of Hanoi is 45 km away and can be easily reached by bus or taxi. We wish you a comfortable journey home and are sure you will take with you some wonderful memories of Vietnam.
Transportation in air-conditioned (mini) bus
Train Ho Chi Minh City-Nha Trang / Hue-Hanoi
Whale Island boat transfers
Hotel accommodation with breakfast
Whale Island accommodation with 2x lunch and 2x dinner
Short orientation tours in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi
Visit Marble Mountains en route to / Cham Museum
English speaking tour leader
Other meals than mentioned
Personal expenses (drinks, laundry, telephone, tips etc.)
Gratitude to guide and driver
Other services not clearly indicated in the package inclusions above
All entrance fees
Visa Fees, airport taxes or any other government fees or additional surcharges
``The tour is very intense pachs in a lot which can be abit tunning especeally for the children. Extending the say in both Hue + Hoian for a day in each may help to provide some relaxing time.``