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Highlights of Vietnam:...

Highlights of Vietnam: Hanoi, Hạ Long Bay & Hô Chi Minh City

12 days |  15 days with Phú Quốc Island and Hô Chi Minh City extension
12 days |  15 days with Phú Quốc Island and Hô Chi Minh City extension
Group size1222 travelers
Physical activity
OverviewItineraryDates & pricesReviewsHotels, flights & FAQ
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Savor Vietnam’s rich cultural history, lush landscapes, and electrifying flavors

See Vietnam’s unique makeup unfold before your eyes as you tour Hanoi’s prismatic French, Chinese, and Southeast Asian heritage before cruising between the colossal cliffs of Hạ Long Bay. You'll experience the timeless charm of Vietnam in Huế and Hội An, where ancient imperial grandeur meets lantern-lit streets, offering a journey through history and culture. Trace the steps of Vietnamese independence in Hô Chi Minh City—Vietnam's largest city—still known as Saigon to locals and travelers. Along the way, you’ll examine Vietnam War era sites, traverse verdant rice fields, and learn about Vietnamese traditions—like pearl farming—all while treating your taste buds to the spicy, tangy, sweet, and herbal complexity of Vietnamese cuisine. Extend your trip to tropical Phú Quốc and experience island life like no other—with flavors you won’t find anywhere else—before diving into colorful, dense coral reefs on a snorkeling cruise.

Your tour package includes

  • 9 nights in handpicked hotels
  • 1 night aboard a cruise ship
  • 10 breakfasts
  • 4 lunches
  • 4 dinners with beer or wine
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Included highlights

  • Temple of Literature
  • Hỏa Lò Prison
  • Hạ Long Bay cruise
  • Hôi An’s Japanese covered bridge
  • Rice farm visit
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Day-by-day itinerary

Print itinerary
Overnight Flight1 night
Day 1: Travel day

Board your flight to Hanoi today.

Hanoi3 nights
Day 2: Arrival in Hanoi

Welcome to Vietnam! Transfer to your hotel to settle in. If you need an invigorating pick-me-up, remember that Vietnamese coffee, or cà phê, is typically brewed strong and sweetened with condensed milk.

Day 3: Sightseeing tour of Hanoi
Included meals: Breakfast, Welcome lunch

Join your Tour Director and fellow travelers on a guided exploration of Hanoi. Vietnam’s capital city is known for its centuries-old architecture, as well as its rich, cultural heritage, which includes a mix of Southeast Asian, Chinese, and French influences.

  • Pass Ba Đình Square, where Hồ Chí Minh—the revolutionary leader and president of North Vietnam—read the Proclamation of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.
  • Wander through the 11th-century Temple of Literature, a walled complex that’s dedicated to the Chinese philosopher Confucius and site of Vietnam’s first university.
  • Visit the site of Hỏa Lò Prison—the notorious “Hanoi Hilton”—where late U.S. Senator John McCain was held as a prisoner of war (POW) for more than five years during the Vietnam War.
  • Tour the museum that occupies the remaining prison structure, and learn about POWs’ harrowing experiences in captivity.
  • Board a bicycle rickshaw and ride through the busy Old Quarter, an area that’s rich with Vietnamese architecture—picture wooden shutters and wrought-iron balconies—as well as hidden courtyards and gardens, locally owned shops, and street food vendors.
  • Pass Đồng Xuân Market (one of the largest wholesale markets in the north of Vietnam), the Hanoi Opera House (inspired by the Second Empire architecture of the Palais Garnier in Paris), and Hoàn Kiếm Lake (its name, which translates to Lake of the Restored Sword, derives from a 15th century Vietnamese legend).

Get to know your Tour Director and fellow travelers at a welcome lunch hosted by the KOTO Van Mieu, a social enterprise which helps train vulnerable youth in the culinary and food service professions.

Vietnamese culture places a strong emphasis on sharing meals with guests. Add an optional excursion to enjoy a home-hosted dinner of Vietnamese specialties with a local family. Up to exploring on your own? Use your free time today to go back to Hanoi’s French Quarter or take a cyclo—a cycle rickshaw—ride through the city’s narrow streets for the ultimate way of getting around.

Please note: In the event KOTO Van Mieu is unavailable, travelers will visit a similar vocational restaurant.

Vietnamese Home-Hosted Dinner

From $75 per person

Day 4: Free day in Hanoi
Included meal: Breakfast

Experience the dramatic emerald valleys and towering seaside cliffs of Vietnam on an optional excursion. Bask in these views from a row boat on an optional excursion to Ninh Bình’s Tam Cốc village where you'll sail past rice paddies and limestone mountains.

Not joining the excursion? Use your free day in Hanoi to take in a traditional water puppet performance showcasing Vietnamese folklore and culture, visit the Vietnam Fine Art Museum or sit down with locals at one of Hanoi’s atmospheric cafes.

A Day in Ninh Bình

From $115 per person

Hạ Long Bay1 night
Day 5: Hạ Long Bay cruise
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Transfer to Hạ Long Bay and embark on a luxurious, overnight cruise. As you explore the emerald waters of this striking setting and UNESCO World Heritage Site by boat, you’ll pass by many of its nearly 2,000 limestone islands and islets, most of which are uninhabited and unaffected by human presence.

  • Once on board the ship, enjoy a welcome drink, followed by an included lunch served with beer or wine.
  • Cruise past notable natural features, including Fighting Cocks Islet’s pair of limestone islets—shaped like a rooster and a hen—as well as Thien Cung Cave, and Dau Go Cave.
  • Climb aboard a small tender with a guide from your ship and motor across the water to Sung Sot Cave—the largest and, according to many, most beautiful cave in the bay. Discovered in 1901, the cave’s stalagmites and stalactites are lit by multicolored lights.
  • Get back on board your tender for a ride to your next stop, Tung San Pearl Farm—pearl farming is an important source of livelihood for local communities—where you’ll learn how pearls are grown using traditional Vietnamese methods and new Japanese technology.
  • Paddle a kayak along the waters of Hạ Long Bay to enjoy up-close views of the deep green waters and stunning limestone karsts. Keep an eye out for colorful fish, jellyfish, and even monkeys on some of the islands.
  • Return to your ship to enjoy a Vietnamese cooking demonstration, then sit down for an included dinner served with beer or wine.
Hội An2 nights
Day 6: Ti Top Island & flight to Hội An
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Join a sunrise lesson in Tai Chi—a gentle form of exercise that originated in China as a martial art—on the ship this morning, if you’re up for it. Then, hop into a small boat and make your way to Ti Top Island for time spent swimming or hiking to the top of the island—summit height is about 360 feet or 110 meters—to enjoy panoramic views of Hạ Long Bay’s island-dotted waters.

After enjoying an included lunch, disembark your cruise ship and board a flight to Da Nang. Then, transfer to your hotel in Hội An.

Freshen up at your hotel and gather with your fellow travelers this evening for an included dinner served with beer or wine.

Day 7: Sightseeing tour of Hội An & rice farm visit
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Tasting

Explore Hội An on a guided tour to shop its markets where you’ll be sure to find the perfect Vietnamese keepsake to bring home.

  • Discover the city’s landmarks, including the ornate Japanese covered bridge and Old Town, which has retained its charm as a major trading port and is now a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.
  • Pass by the quaint Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai pedestrian shopping street and its colorful, eye-catching stalls.
  • Walk the town’s cobblestone streets to see the 18th century Quan Thang Ancient House with its majestic wooden carvings and silk lantern shop.

This afternoon, pay a visit to Cẩm Thanh village, known as the Coconut Village, located in the Bay Mau coconut forest.

  • Visit a farm to learn how Vietnamese farmers grow rice in the fields.
  • Sit down for a family-style lunch at the farm.
  • Interact with a rice farmer and watch water buffalo plow the fields while enjoying a tea tasting.

After sampling Vietnamese delicacies, how about trying your hand at preparing them yourself? Add an optional excursion to take a hands-on cooking class or return to Hội An and enjoy a free evening in the city perusing a night market or relaxing by the river.

Hôi An Vietnamese Cooking Class & Dinner

From $65 per person

Huế1 night
Day 8: Transfer to Huế & sightseeing tour
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Travel through the Hài Vân Pass as you make your way to Huế, famous for imperial and colonial history, all set along the peaceful “Perfume River”.

  • Explore the Thiên Mụ Pagoda, Vietnam’s tallest religious building. Built in 1601, it’s been preserved, expanded, and enhanced for generations to become the unofficial symbol of Huế.
  • Visit the fortress and palace known as the Imperial City, surrounded by massive stone walls that stretch for 1.5 miles and punctuated with large gateways and protective moats.
  • Head to the RENEW Mine Action Visitor Center where you’ll meet up with a center guide to learn about the ramifications of the Vietnam War that are still felt today, as well as the center’s efforts to remove landmines and other unexploded ordinance from the Vietnamese countryside.

Enjoy an included dinner with beer or wine this evening with your group.

Hô Chi Minh City3 nights
Day 9: Free day in Huế & evening flight to Hô Chi Minh City
Included meal: Breakfast

With your free day in Huế today, add an optional excursion that further delves into Nguyễn dynasty emperors and their impressive tombs. If you’re heading off on your own, ask your Tour Director for a recommendation. We suggest continuing to explore the traditional houses in the city center, checking out the treasures in the Huế Royal Antiquities Museum, and of course, try local specialties like Huế-style crepes and sweet dessert soups.

Later, board your flight to Hô Chi Minh City. Hô Chi Minh City was officially renamed from Saigon on April 30, 1975, the same day Saigon fell to North Vietnamese forces, leading to the reunification of North and South Vietnam. Many locals, especially older residents, still refer to the city as Saigon.

Tu Dúc & Khài Dinh Tombs

From $55 per person

Day 10: Sightseeing tour of Hô Chi Minh City, War Remnants Museum & Cù Chi tunnels
Included meal: Breakfast

Take in the sights of Vietnam’s dynamic, vibrant metropolis—and largest city—on a guided tour. Hô Chi Minh City, or Saigon, was crucial as the political, economic, and military hub of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War.

  • Witness Vietnam’s progression from French colony to unified, independent nation as you enter the Reunification Palace, whose architecture draws heavily on Brutalism and modernist design.
  • See the General Post Office, City Hall, and Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon—whose building materials were imported from France in the late 1800s.
  • Visit Bến Thành Market and stroll along Lê Công Kiều, a street known for its treasure trove of antiques.

Spend the afternoon learning more about the history and impact of the Vietnam War.

  • Take a self-guided tour of the War Remnants Museum to get a local perspective on the lingering effects of the Vietnam War.
  • Visit the vast underground network of narrow, winding tunnels at Cù Chi, which were built during Vietnam’s war of independence from French colonial authority in the 1940s, and expanded during the Vietnam War in the 1960s.
  • Learn how the North Vietnamese waged guerrilla warfare against the South.
  • See secret trapdoors, underground kitchens, living areas, and meeting rooms.

Please note: Your guide will advise you of the length and level of difficulty of each tunnel before entering. Those preferring to remain above ground will have ample opportunity to view excavated areas. Good walking shoes and sun protection are recommended, as are clothes that can get slightly dirty.

Day 11: Free day in Hô Chi Minh City
Included meals: Breakfast, Farewell dinner

Retrace yesterday’s steps through Hô Chi Minh City and linger at the market and street food stalls, or add an optional excursion to visit community artisans, farmers, and businesses as you learn more about life along the Mekong River Delta.

Tonight, rejoin your fellow travelers at a local restaurant for a celebratory farewell dinner served with beer or wine.

Traditions of the Mekong River Delta

From $85 per person

Flight Home
Day 12: Departure
Included meal: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport to board your early morning flight home or extend your trip to explore an environmental and cultural jewel, the island of Phú Quốc, for a special side of Vietnam you—and your five senses—will never forget.

Extension to Phú Quốc Island and Hô Chi Minh City
Did we save the best for last? For your stay in Phú Quốc, we’re taking you on a joyous journey through the island’s local specialties, including pungent, umami-rich fish sauce, rose myrtle fruit wine, and fiery peppercorns, before cooling off with a dreamy snorkeling cruise. Unwind on this tropical island off the southern coast of Vietnam before returning to Hô Chi Minh City.
Phú Quốc2 nights
Day 12: Flight to Phú Quốc & sightseeing tour
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Wine tasting, Tasting

Board a flight to Phú Quốc, the picturesque island known as the Pearl Island due to its environmental conservation efforts. Upon arrival, sit down for an included lunch at a local restaurant before heading out to get to know this laid-back paradise with your local guide.

  • Learn about Vietnam's ubiquitous condiment, fish sauce—famous for its savory, salty-sweet flavor.
  • Stop by a sim wine factory, an island speciality traditionally concocted by fermenting rose myrtle fruit (sim), resulting in a delicious wine with a unique flavor and smell.
  • Enjoy a tasting of a variety of sim products like wine, alcohol, candy, and honey at the factory.
  • Head to a local farm specializing in the cultivation and harvesting of peppercorn off the vine.
  • After learning about the production cycle of the peppercorn, take part in a tasting of different peppercorn products.
  • Visit Ho Quoc Temple, a majestic pagoda, where you’ll soak in panoramic sea and mountain views.
Day 13: Free day in Phú Quốc
Included meal: Breakfast

Sure, you could spend your full free day relaxing on one of the island’s pristine beaches or checking out the waterfalls at Suoi Tranh, but the optional excursion to cruise and snorkel the surrounding islands will reward you with eye-popping sights of incredible marine life in these Maldives-like waters.

Phú Quốc Snorkeling Cruise & Lunch

From $109 per person

Hô Chi Minh City1 night
Day 14: Flight to Hô Chi Minh City
Included meal: Breakfast

Spend one last free morning on Phú Quốc—lounging by the resort pool is always a good idea—before flying back to Hô Chi Minh City.  

This evening, join your group for a farewell dinner served with beer or wine.  

Flight Home
Day 15: Departure
Included meal: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport to board your early morning flight home and stash a bánh mì sandwich in your day pack for a timely snack later. Tạm biệt—goodbye! 


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Hotels, flights & FAQ

Here's the nitty-gritty—where you’ll stay, how you’ll get there, and what to know about your destination before you go.


We handpick every hotel to strike the balance of comfort, location, and local charm. Specific accommodations will vary based on your departure date, but these are frequently used hotels for this tour and we're confident you'll be satisfied.
Mercure Hanoi la Gare
Mercure Hanoi la Gare

This convenient located hotel sits in the heart of Hanoi. Guests enjoy the fitness center, sun terrace, and spacious rooms. Nearby you'll find the Imp...

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Paradise Cruise
Paradise Cruise

This tasteful hotel is located in Halong Bay. Guests enjoy internet access, a spa, and a sundeck.

La Siesta Hoi An Resort & Spa
La Siesta Hoi An Resort & Spa

This luxury boutique resort is located amongst the peaceful rice fields of Hoi An. Guests enjoy the outdoor infinity pool, a number of on-site restaur...

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White Lotus Resort
White Lotus Resort

This new luxury hotel is located in the city center of Hue, Vietnam. Guests enjoy the rooftop pool, the Lotus Spa, and several on-site food offerings....

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Paragon Saigon Hotel
Paragon Saigon Hotel

This modern hotel is located in the center of Hô Chi Minh City. Guests enjoy the outdoor rooftop pool, fitness center, and on-site restaurant that ble...

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Dusit Princess Moonrise Beach Resort
Dusit Princess Moonrise Beach Resort

This charming hotel is located on the west coast of Phú Quốc. Guests enjoy the outdoor pools, private beach area, and fitness center. Nearby you’ll fi...

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