We’ve taken some of our favourite excursions, off the beaten path locales and trendiest dining and drinking spots in Ho Chi Minh City (aka Saigon) and thrown them together in a tantalizing 3-day Escape.
Day 1: Ho Chi Minh City Arrival Upon arrival your guide will greet you and transfer by private car to your hotel for check-in.
Day 2: Ho Chi Minh City This morning visit a local home to learn how to cook. Start early at a suburban Ho Chi Minh City market with your host and then head back to the house to start your cooking, which you’ll eventually devour for lunch!
After lunch you will be aboard a personally-driven Vespa scooter! Our first stop is the Reunification Palace before visiting the Post Office, followed by Cathedral of Notre Dame (“Our Lady”). Next travel down Dong Khoi Street, and pass by the Opera House, now used as a Municipal Theatre. The next stop is the monument of Thich Quang Duc, a Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist monk who burned himself to death on June 11, 1963 to protest against the persecution of Buddhists by South Vietnam’s Ngo Dinh Diem administration. Then take a quick stop at Ho Thi Ky flower market before riding to the Funeral Home to get to know about Vietnamese funeral ceremonies & customs. Roll through Chinatown to Nhi Phu temple, built in a “Khẩu” (gate) architectural style with an open yard in the centre. Continue with a short walk through the alley full of tailor’s supplies. Then back to Nhi Phu temple to return to district one by bike. On the way stop at a Chinese Medicine shops for an explanation about “Thuoc Bac – medicine from herbs” or “Thuoc tàu – medicine from China” (B, L)
Day 3: Ho Chi Minh City Departure Full day at leisure until you transfer to the airport for your next destination. (B)
Arrival and departure airport transfers.
Local English speaking guide.
Entrance fees for mentioned visits.
Meals as described in the itinerary – 2 Breakfasts / 1 Lunch.
Day 1 – Arrival into Ho Chi Minh City – Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City and transfer to hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Day 2 – Ho Chi Minh City – Depart your hotel for a full day Ho Chi Minh City tour. Head to Cholon, the Chinatown district, and the Cantonese Thien Hau Pagoda plus visit Vietnam’s first traditional medicine museum. Head back to the city centre to visit Ben Thanh Market. This afternoon visit the War Remnants or History Museum (choose which one you would most like to see) and the former Presidential Palace, Stroll (your vehicle will be available at all times) to the major sights of colonial Ho Chi Minh City: the Old Saigon Post Office, Dong Khoi Street (formerly Rue Catinat), Continental Hotel, Opera House and City Hall. At the end of the afternoon head back to your hotel. (B) Note: History Museum is closed on Mondays.
Day 3 – Ho Chi Minh City to Mekong Delta return Ho Chi Minh City – This morning, leave bustling Ho Chi Minh City for the 2 hour drive to the delta town of Cai Be. On arrival board your boat for a cruise of Cai Be floating market. After visiting the market continue to a cottage factory where ‘pop-rice’, rice paper and coconut candies are made. Return to the boat for the cruise to Dong Hoa Hiep Island. Following your cruise drive back to Ho Chi Minh City. (B, L)
Day 4 – Ho Chi Minh City fly to Danang and arrive in Hoi An – After breakfast transfer to Tan Son Nhat Airport for the short flight to the central port city of Danang and continue to Hoi An, a major Asian trading port in the 17th and 18th centuries whose architecture and relaxed lifestyle has changed little over the years. Take a walking tour of the ancient town centre to visit the former merchants’ homes, the 400 year-old Japanese Covered Bridge and the colourful market. (B)
Day 5 – Hoi An to Hue – Leave Hoi An for Hue, the former imperial capital of Vietnam. In Hue visit the Imperial Citadel where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled between 1802 and 1945. After exploring the ruins of this wonderful monument depart for Thien Mu (Celestial Lady) Pagoda overlooking the Perfume River. On the pagoda grounds is the famous Austin car a resident monk drove to Saigon in 1963 to protest against the southern regime. The photo of his self-immortalization is one of the most well-known images of the war. (B)
Day 6 – Hue to Hanoi -Start your day with a visit to the city’s vibrant Dong Ba Market to see it’s abundance of fresh produce. After exploring the market take a cyclo through the ‘Old City’ to Tinh Tam Lake where the Emperors used to relax. Continue to former emperor Minh Mang’s tomb located in a tranquil setting of gardens and ponds. Journey on to Khai Dinh’s Tomb designed in traditional Vietnamese style with a European touch making it unique from the other tombs in Hue. From here transfer 30-minutes to Hue Airport for the 1-hour flight to Hanoi. On arrival transfer to your hotel. (B)
Day 7 – Hanoi to Halong Bay -After breakfast leave Hanoi for an overnight boat trip on Halong Bay. Arrive in Halong City late morning and board your traditional wooden junk or a classic colonial era replica steamship, The Emeraude, for the overnight journey into the Bay. Lunch will be served en-route. Towards the end of the day set anchor for the night. As the sun sets over the bay dinner is served on board with fresh seafood, salads, and fruits. (B, L, D)
Day 8 – Halong Bay to Hanoi –On your return to Halong City enjoy brunch as your boat weaves through strangely shaped limestone rock formations. Upon disembarkation your driver will meet you for the transfer back to Hanoi. In Hanoi, in the afternoon, visit the fascinating Ethnology Museum (closed Mondays), or as an alternative to the Ethnology Museum, visit the highly acclaimed Vietnam Women’s Museum (closed on Mondays). Next, visit Hanoi’s Old Quarter, also known as the ‘36 streets’. Take a walking tour through charming Hang Be Market and around Hoan Kiem Lake and finish the day with a Water Puppet show. (B)
Day 9 – Hanoi –This morning depart your hotel for the Temple of Literature. Visit The One Pillar Pagoda, founded by King Ly Thai To in 1049, next. Close by is the mausoleum of the historic father figure of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh, and the former presidents house on stilts where he lived from 1958 to 1969. Continue to picturesque West Lake and the sixth century Tran Quoc Buddhist Pagoda. From here transfer (or stroll along the lakeside) to the nearby Taoist temple of Quan Thanh dedicated to Tran Vu, one of the principal deities in Taoism. At leisure for shopping until your transfer to Noi Bai Airport for onward flight. (B)
Please note domestic flights are not included in the price. Please contact your local travel agent for a price.
This 6 day tour balances cultural touring and beach time at an excellent price. You’ll spend two days in dynamic Ho Chi Minh City with an excursion to the famous Cu Chi tunnels and a city tour highlighting your stay. Then fly to Phu Quoc island for three days of beach bliss, relaxing by the sea.
Day 1 – Arrival into Ho Chi Ming City – Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City and you guide with private car will transfer you to your hotel for check-in.
Day 2 – Ho Chi Minh City City Tours & Cu Chi Tunnels
Travel northwest of Ho Chi Minh City and arrive at the Cu Chi Tunnels as your guide explains the history of the war, the ingenuity of the Cu Chi residents and the daily activities of the people. Return to Ho Chi Minh City for lunch and in the afternoon visit the historic Reunification Palace, the Old Post Office, Notre Dame Cathedral and Ben Thanh Market. (B)
Day 3 – Ho Chi Minh City to Phu Quoc – In the morning, depart for your flight to Phu Quoc. On arrival, the resort shuttle bus will welcome and transfer you to resort. The rest of day is free to relax by the pool or on the sandy beach. The island of Phu Quoc is one of Asia’s least developed beach destinations. The island’s clear waters, undiscovered beaches, forested interior and charming local character make for an ideal holiday escape. In general, dining and entertainment is confined to the resorts and while the lack of infrastructure may frustrate some travellers for most visitors this is one of Phu Quoc’s attractions. (B)
Day 4 – Phu Quoc
A full day at leisure in the resort or on the beach. (B)
Day 5 – Phu Quoc
A full day at leisure in the resort or on the beach. (B)
Day 6 – Phu Quoc to Ho Chi Minh City departure – The morning is at leisure before checking out. The resort shuttle bus will transfer you to the airport for your departure flight to Ho Chi Minh City. (B)
Please note domestic flights are not included in the costs. Please contact your local travel agent for a price.
Immersing you in a new culture from an insiders’ point of view, our Vietnam Insight tour offers discerning travellers an unforgettable journey of discovery. Beyond normal sightseeing, we showcase the country through the eyes of specialist guides, introduce you to intriguing locals and lead you off the beaten path to the heart of Vietnam.
Day 1 – Arrival in Ho Chi Minh City – Upon arrival your guide will greet you and transfer by private car to your hotel for check-in. This afternoon wind down and indulge in a chic city spa followed by a Vietnamese dinner in one of Ho Chi Minh City’s best restaurants. (D)
Day 2 – Ho Chi Minh City – This half-day tour on a vintage Vespa will give you a unique look at familiar and not-so-familiar landmarks in modern-day Ho Chi Minh City. The tour begins in the early morning with a pickup at your hotel, our first stop is Tao Dan Park to catch the bird lovers club, the next stop is the monument of Thich Quang Duc , then take a quick stop at the colourful Ho Thi Ky flower market before riding to the Funeral Home to get to know about Vietnamese funeral ceremonies. Roll through Chinatown to Nhi Phu temple, continue through the alley full of tailor’s supplies then back to Nhi Phu temple to return to district one by bike. Visiting a local market before heading back to District 1 visit the Post Office, followed by Cathedral of Notre Dame (“Our Lady”). Moving then to the Reunification Palace and the historic Opera House (now the Municipal Theatre). The final stop is an outside view of HCM City People’s Committee (formerly Hôtel de Ville) which is one of the most photographed buildings in Vietnam before ending the tour at your hotel. This evening enjoy a private home dinner in Ho Chi Minh City. (B, L, D)
Day 3 – Ho Chi Minh City to Mekong Delta – After breakfast, depart for the Mekong Delta, upon arrival in the Delta board the private ‘Song Xanh’, modelled after a traditional sampan. The boat’s small size allows you to discover the smaller canals and tributaries of this region. Continue to Can Tho stopping en-route at a Cao Dai Temple. Before sunset, the last stop is at a splendid 19th century house where an unforgettable dinner will be served. After dinner, proceed for one hour to Can Tho where your sampan will be moored for the night. (B, L, D)
Day 4 – Mekong Delta return to Ho Chi Minh fly to Danang and drive to Hoi An – cross the Mekong this morning on the way to Cai Rang Floating Market. After visiting the colourful floating market, you will return to Ho Chi Minh City’s airport for the flight to central Vietnam. From the Danang airport, it’s a 30-minute drive to the ancient port town of Hoi An. Enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure. (B)
Day 5 – Hoi An – Pick up from hotel and from here ride a bicycle to a local farm in Tra Que Village. Take a trip around the vegetable garden and join the farmers in preparing the land and fertilising it with seaweed. Continue gardening activities such as raking, sowing, watering greens, picking greens etc. A walking tour is the best way to see Hoi An and you will visit the former merchants’ homes, the 400 year-old Japanese Covered Bridge and market. Sample the town’s delicate cuisine with lunch at the famed Brother’s Cafe. Dinner will at one of Hoi An’s best restaurants which serves original and creative cuisine that can only be described as Vietnam-Latin American-Japanese fusion. (B, L, D)
Day 6 – Hoi to Hue via Danang – Morning at leisure before leaving Hoi An for Hue for the 3-hour drive to Hue. Later today enjoy a vegetarian lunch at a Buddhist pagoda with monks. This intimate experience will allow you to gain knowledge on Buddhism in Vietnam. Dine tonight at the private ‘garden house’ This traditional style house, which is set in a large and attractive formal garden has connections with the ancient Hue Royal Imperial Court. (B, L, D)
Day 7 – Hue – Rise for an early breakfast followed by a visit to the city’s vibrant Dong Ba Market, then continue to the Imperial Citadel where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled between 1802 and 1945. Depart to the Hue Royal Fine Arts Museum before enjoying lunch at the boutique Pilgrimage Village Resort. Following your meal continue to the Mausoleum of Tu Duc and at
the end of the day visit the tomb of Khai Dinh. (B, L)
Day 8 – Hue to Hanoi –After a morning at your leisure, transfer to the airport for a short flight to Hanoi. Upon arrival, your guide and private car will meet you and transfer you to your hotel for check-in. This afternoon, visit Temple of Literature, next stop at picturesque West Lake and the sixth century Tran Quoc Buddhist Pagoda, and visit Hanoi’s Old Quarter. (B, L, D)
Day 9 – Hanoi – Hit the streets of Hanoi for a full day street food tour and cooking class. Continue to a local market within the city to learn about and taste some of the ingredients used in the local cuisine and to watch the buying and selling rituals of a Vietnamese market. Lunch at one of Hanoi’s best bún chả establishments, Bún Chả Chanh. A final stop at one of Hanoi’s renowned Bia Hoi. (B, L)
Day 10 – Hanoi to Halong Bay – After breakfast leave Hanoi for an overnight boat trip on Halong Bay and on arrival in Halong City late morning and board your traditional wooden junk for the overnight journey into the Bay. Towards the end of the day set anchor for the night. As the sun sets over the bay dinner is served on board with fresh seafood, salads, and fruits. (B, L, D)
Day 11 – Halong Bay to Hanoi – On your return to Halong City disembark and your driver will meet you for the transfer back to Hanoi. (B)
Day 12 – Hanoi to Duong Lam return to Hanoi – Depart your hotel at 0830 and travel west of Hanoi to Duong Lam village, a purely agricultural village of the northern Red River Delta which still preserves many hundred-year-old houses. For lunch enjoy a local style meal in a 100-year old house. After your meal, continue driving to Mia Pagoda (another hamlet of Duong Lam), built in the 15th century. On the way back to Hanoi stop at Tay Phuong Pagoda, one of the 1st pagoda’s built in Vietnam. Your farewell dinner will be held in the heart of Hanoi’s Old Quarter. (B, L, D)
Day 13 – Hanoi and tour departure – You’re private car and guide will be at your disposal before your transfer to Hanoi’s Noi Bai Airport. (B)
Please note – domestic Vietnam airfares are not included in the price. Please contact your travel agent to obtain a price.
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