Vivid Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Hoi An, Danang, Hue, Hanoi, and Halong Bay
Overview

overview

First-time travelers to Vietnam will find this to be the perfect trip. Starting in Saigon (now known as Ho Chi Minh City) with its bustling streets to Hoi An, a favorite of every traveler, then on to the ancient city of Hanoi and ending in spectacular Halong Bay. You’ll find the land beautiful and the people charming. Each day will bring a new and different experience that will leave you wanting to return to this vibrant land again and again.

itinerary

itinerary

  • Day 1: arrive saigon
    Arrive in vibrant Saigon, Vietnam's largest city

    Arrive in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), where you will be met and transferred to your centrally-located hotel for check in. The balance of the day is free to relax after a long flight.

    Meals
    None
    Lodging
    Grand Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 2: cu chi tunnels & historical sites
    Explore the extensive tunnel network of Cu Chi

    Head out of town today to visit the Cu Chi Tunnels. Cu Chi is actually the name of the district that covers an extensive underground network (approx. 200 km/125 mi) of tunnels dug initially by the Viet Minh, and later expanded by the Viet Cong. The tunnels contained hospitals, accommodations, and schools. They were used extensively for refuge and storage, and also as a military base for the Viet Cong close to Saigon. The 1968 Tet Offensive was launched from Cu Chi with surprising effect. A section of the tunnels has been widened to allow tourists to get a feel for what life underground must have been like. Your afternoon city tour takes you to Saigon’s historic landmarks, including the Reunification Palace and its striking modern architecture, the War Remnants Museum, and Notre Dame Cathedral. This visit allows you to admire many French colonial buildings such as the main post office and the former Hotel de Ville (city hall). Return to your hotel in the late afternoon.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Grand Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 3: mekong delta cultures
    Observe village life on a Mekong river boat cruise

    Today you travel to Ben Tre in the Mekong Delta (80 mi/2.5-3 hour drive). Stop at the Phong Nam brick kiln, where bricks are still painstakingly made by hand. From here, you board a boat for a cruise along the Chet Say River (a branch of the Mekong), stopping off at various local workshops for insight into the local economy including visits to a coconut activated charcoal factory where coconut shells are put into a high heat kiln to produce coconut charcoal and 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. The boat continues cruising through a small canal where you will see the local river life. The boat will then stop at a quiet village where you can take a short walk through the village and experience the real Delta village life. Here you'll visit a mat-weaving house to see how straw mats are woven using a hand loom – you can even have a try at weaving yourself before hopping aboard your xe loi (a kind of motorized rickshaw) or bike into the village to see the farms, rice fields and vegetable plots. You'll also have the opportunity to stop at a local house for a delicious and filling lunch, featuring such local specialties as elephant- ear fish and river shrimp, washed down with some cold drinks or beers. Afterwards, board a sampan for a relaxing ride along narrow canals followed by a boat ride back to the pier. Return to the main road and transfer to Cai Be (45 mi/1 hr drive) where you check into your room for the night. 

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Mekong Riverside Resort & Spa or similar
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  • Day 4: exploring the mekong
    Visit a floating market on the Mekong

    After breakfast, check out of the hotel and board the a sampan boat to the Cai Be floating market, the region's busiest and most lively markets. Check out hundreds of boats laden with fruit, vegetables, and fish, all jostling for trading space and advertising their wares by crying out across the waters. You'll have the opportunity to bargain with the merchants. Also visit the local candy and cake-making factories or continue on with a boat ride through the canals to see the local homes, orchards, and ship-building yards. Arrive at the pier and return to Ho Chi Minh City with a stop for lunch at a local restaurant. In HCMC, immediately transfer to the airport for your flight to Da Nang. On arrival in Da Nang, you will be met and driven to your hotel in Hoi An.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Boutique Hoi An Resort or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 5: charming hoi an
    Wander the atmospheric streets of Hoi An

    Hoi An was originally a Cham port town, but has since been influenced throughout the centuries by myriad traders from various cultures. It has is a distinctly Chinese appearance, with pagodas and assembly halls scattered along the small streets. The tranquility and charm of this town, with its low tile-roofed houses, makes it one of the most delightful places to visit in Vietnam and an enduring favorite of our travelers and staff. Spend the morning strolling the ancient town center and taking in the former merchants’ houses, the 400-year-old Japanese covered bridge, and the colorful market stalls brimming with tropical specialties. Optionally, in the afternoon, spend more time exploring Hoi An with a boat ride to the mouth of the Thu Bon River to a fishing village where you will watch the daily activities of the fishermen. From here, change to a smaller bamboo boat, called a "coracle" through the mangrove forest and perhaps try your hand a crab fishing. Enjoy a delicious homemade seafood lunch at the home of a local.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Boutique Hoi An Resort or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 6: scenic drive and panoramas
    View of Hoi An from above

    A two and a half hour drive to Hue will take you over the scenic Hai Van Pass where you witness one of the most beautiful panoramas in Vietnam as you look out over the central coastline. You also pass through the quiet, white sandy beach of Lang Coo. Upon arrival in Hue, you will visit the Citadel and the Dong Ba Market.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Imperial Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 7: river cruise & flight to hanoi
    Admire Phuoc Duyen tower at Thien Mu pagoda

    After breakfast, visit the elaborate Tu Duc Royal Tomb, which was designed to blend in with the natural setting of the landscape. Continue on to Phu Mong village, an ancient village not far from the Citadel. This 19th century village is located in a quiet and peaceful area of Hue. Wealthy Mandarins and other Imperial officials built their houses here and today, many are still occupied to this day. The guide will briefly explain to you about the history of the village and the design of the houses. Enjoy a home-cooked lunch of Hue specialties, prepared by your host before heading to the Airport for the flight to Hanoi. On arrival, meet your local guide and transfer to your hotel.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Hanoi La Siesta or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 8: mausoleums, pagodas, & temples
    While in Hanoi, attend a traditional water puppet show

    Hanoi is Vietnam's capital and second largest city that is best explored on foot or by bicycle. Your guided tour begins with a stop at Ho Chi Minh mausoleum (closed on Mon & Fri and Sep-Nov), an imposing monument built from a lavish amount of marble and granite. This is where the preserved body of “Uncle Ho” lies in state for public viewing. On exiting the mausoleum, walk to the One Pillar Pagoda, fashioned in the form of a lotus flower on its stalk, emerging from the water and resting on a single stone pillar. Inside there is a statue of the Goddess of Mercy with its legendary “thousand arms and thousand eyes”. You then visit the Temple of Literature for an overview of Hanoi culture and history. In the afternoon, visit the beautiful Museum of Ethnology to enhance your understanding of Vietnam’s diverse culture through its unique presentation of objects and dress from a variety of Vietnam’s 54 ethnic groups. Experience another cultural aspect of Vietnam, its art, at Art Vietnam gallery, owned by an American art consultant. This evening, attend a traditional water puppet show, a uniquely northern Vietnamese art form that depicts scenes of rural life and national history. Overnight in Hanoi at a centrally-located hotel.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Hanoi La Siesta Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 9: halong bay cruise
    Float among limestone islands in beautiful Halong Bay

    You'll pack an overnight bag for a 3.5-hour drive, sometimes on bumpy roads, to Halong Bay, one Vietnam’s most impressive scenic sights. Views of rocky outcrops in the bay and sailing junks navigating past 3,000 limestone islands are nothing short of spectacular. Arrive around noon at the quay side and board your private junk for a four-hour cruise through the bay, stopping along the way to explore limestone caves or just relaxing on the deck. While on board, indulge in a delicious seafood lunch and dinner. You'll have the option to participate in the activities offered on the boat including swimming (weather permitting), kayaking (own expense) and cave exploration. Overnight on the boat.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Indochina Sails Junk Boat or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 10: halong bay & departure
    Bid farewell to your boat, then head back home via Hanoi

    You will need to get up early in the morning in order to catch sunrise on the bay. After breakfast, explore and cruise around the bay for fabulous photo opportunities. You will have brunch on the boat before returning to port and driving back to Hanoi with a stop en route in the ceramic making village of Phu Lang to observe a century-old method of ceramic production or But Thap Pagoda, one of the finest and largest Buddhist temples in Northern Vietnam. Return to Hanoi and immediately transfer to the airport in time for your late afternoon or early evening flight (your driver will have your luggage waiting for you in the vehicle.)  Or, if your schedule permits, consider lingering longer in Hanoi.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    None
    Show on a map
Price and Date Details

Price and Date Details

Nov 30-Dec 9, 2015
Jan 26-Feb 4, 2016
Nov 29-Dec 8, 2016
Or Privately on Request
Land Cost:
$2,650
- $2,950
Group size 2-3 cost: $2,950 Group size 4+ cost: $2,650 Flights within Vietnam add $250 (estimated)
Single Supplement:
$650
The single supplement is applicable if a roommate is not available or if single accommodation is specifically requested. While single accommodation is not available on all trips, we will try and honor this request whenever possible.
Need to Know

Need to Know

Duration:
10 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost.
Comfort Level:
3
Charming 4 * boutique hotels & superior junk boat
Group Size:
2-12
The stated range indicates minimum required for guaranteed departure and maximum accepted on the scheduled dates. Exceptions can often be made for private departures.
Activity Level:
1
Easy walking; some long driving days

Terms & Conditions: 

Standard

Included in costs: Meals as noted, each night in double occupancy accommodations, land transfers between components, English speaking guides, park or site entry fees, surface transport, equipment other than personal gear, government tax, airport transfer assistance, in-country ticket reconfirmation and check-in assistance (where permitted), complete pre-departure packet, toll-free pre-departure phone assistance.

Not included in costs: Meals not noted as included, gratuities, beverages (except tea or coffee at meals), international or domestic airfare unless specified, airport departure taxes not included with air tickets, visas, itinerary changes after confirmation, any services not included in itinerary, any costs incurred due to canceled or delayed flights, acts of nature or other happenings beyond our control, or other costs as are more fully described in Journeys Terms & Conditions.

Deposit and payment schedule: $500 per person per trip or the applicable amount based on the trip and the proximity of the departure date. Custom trips and private departures require $800 per person deposit. A second deposit of $800 per person is due four months prior to departure, and final payment for land arrangements is due 60 days prior to departure.  Any applicable permit fees required in advance are non-refundable as well.  Airlines require full payment when tickets are issued. The deposit may be made by Visa, Master Card, American Express, or check, and the Reservation Form may be submitted by fax, mail, or via our website. Full payment schedule and cancellation penalties are described in our Terms and Conditions as noted in our Global Expedition Catalog, on our website, and elsewhere. Please request these if you do not have them before advancing a deposit.

Air fares: Journeys can make complete air arrangements applicable to your trip as noted in this itinerary. If you wish to redeem frequent flyer mileage or arrange flights directly with the airline, you may do so on your own at no penalty. If you do, please consult with us on exact arrival and departure dates and times before having your tickets issued to avoid errors.

Insurance: When you make your application, we strongly recommend the purchase of comprehensive travel insurance in case of emergency situations. Please contact us for a recommended policy.

Itinerary Change Fee: There will be a $40 fee for changes once an itinerary has been confirmed and approved. Additional cancellation penalties or change fees may apply as per our terms and conditions. The passenger is responsible for such fees.

Trip Extensions

Trip Extensions

Bangkok Hospitality

Duration: 3 days

If you are passing through Bangkok and want more than a transit stop, ask for our three day/two night Bangkok Hospitality Extension. We meet you at the airport and transfer you to an attractive centrally located hotel. This extension also includes yo... read more

Phuket

Duration: 4 days

Phuket is the largest of Thailand's islands. It is incredibly varied with rocky beaches, long broad sandy beaches, forested hills, and clear waters great for snorkeling and relaxing. There is no better way to end a trip!

Angkor Wat 3-Day Odyssey

Duration: 3 days

This excursion focuses on the amazing ruins of Angkor in Siem Reap. Angkor Wat, a spectacular architectural legacy of a period of bizarre regimes, is the most famous and confusing of the ruins in southeast Asia. This makes a perfect extension to any ... read more

Angkor Wat 5-Day Odyssey

Duration: 5 days

This excursion takes you to Siem Reap where you explore the magnificent Angkor sites followed by a ride on the Tonle Sap to see the local fishing villages. Then a short flight to Phnom Penh where you visit interesting museums, including Toul Sleng, a... read more

River Kwai & Erawan National Park

Duration: 4 days

This extension gives you a mixed variety of history and nature. You begin by exploring along the River Kwai stopping at important historical sites. You then travel to Erawan National Park, a unique and rugged landscape of high elevation plateau and s... read more

Ko Samui

Duration: 4 days

Relax and explore the beautiful island of Ko Samui. A perfect extension to any Asia tour.

Vietnam: Sapa Excursion

Duration: 4 days

Extend your visit to Vietnam with this delightful visit to Sapa, for a unique cultural interaction with the local tribes.

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