Experience the very best of Vietnam in 10 days on this classic tour from north to south. Visit bustling cities, tranquil backwaters, imperial ruins, faded colonial architecture and scenic landscapes dotted with reminders of the past. From charming Hanoi to the villages of the agriculturally rich Red River Delta, to a wonderful two-day cruise through the spectacular panorama of Halong Bay, followed by exploration of the enchanting riverside town of Hội An, the imperial capital of Hue, bustling Saigon and the famous Cu Chi Tunnels, Vietnam is as colorful as it is diverse.
In the ancient capital of Hanoi, you’ll find an enchanting city where a rich history melds with a complicated modernity. From faded French colonial architecture to ancient temples to Communist landmarks, Hanoi has it all wrapped up in a package of sensory overload. Visit national monuments, Ho Chi Minh’s house, pagodas and temples, ride on a cyclo rickshaw through the backstreets of the French Quarter and glimpse daily local life. At the end of the day, watch the legends of Vietnam play out in a Water Puppet theatre.
Red River Delta
Visit Tho Ha village in the Red River Delta and observe traditional country life and craft making. Wander through narrow, zigzagging terracotta alleyways past century-old houses. A former ceramic center, Tho Ha is now known for its rice paper production. Meet one of the local residents and visit the 17th century pagoda.
Cruise of Halong Bay
Weave between limestone islets in the UNESCO-listed bay on a two-day cruise aboard a deluxe junk boat. Explore the natural beauty of Tien Ong cave with its remnants of prehistoric life; kayak through a floating fishing village, where the residents have lived for generations drifting on the sea; swim and enjoy glorious views from Ti Top Island.
Hội An and Hue
Enjoy some relaxed exploration of the enchanting riverside town of Hoi An, with its narrow cobbled streets, merchant houses, market stalls, colorful lanterns and iconic Japanese Bridge. Later, appreciate the scenery of the Hai Van pass on the drive to the ancient imperial city of Hue, which is famous for its citadel, pagodas, and royal tombs. Visit the impressive seven-story Thien Mu Pagoda and the tomb of Emperor Khai Dinh.
Saigon and the Cu Chi Tunnels
Discover the ‘Pearl of the Orient’ on a tour of Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) and indulge in the famous Vietnamese cuisine on an evening food adventure. Make a day trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels, which are a feat of wartime ingenuity that proved to be a way to transport supplies in secret, a place to store guns and ammunition, and a planning headquarters for major operations. Small, removable panels, carefully covered with leaves, mask entrance and exit holes and you can examine the types of crude booby traps used to fend off enemy soldiers.
Please note this classic ‘North to South Vietnam in 10 days’ tour is just a sample itinerary. The featured excursions, activities, and accommodations can be tailored to suit your taste, budget, and time availability in accordance with your personal wishes. All excursions and transfers are on a private basis (private transport with a private guide), with the exception of the cruise portion, which is on a shared basis with other passengers.
Itinerary & Prices
Welcome to Hanoi!
Welcome to Hanoi – the capital of Vietnam, often referred to as the ‘Paris of the East’, with its yellow ochre colonial buildings, tree-lined boulevards, and scenic lakes.
As soon as you deplane, the designated Immigration Officer and a guide will meet you at the end of the jet bridge or the entrance of the terminal. The officer will assist you with immigration procedures to make sure that the process is as quick as possible.
From the airport, you will be driven to your hotel in the city center. Enjoy the ride through the busy streets. After check-in at your hotel, take the rest of the day to relax, sleep in, and prepare for your exciting adventure in Vietnam.
Hanoi City Tour
Your private guide will pick you up from the hotel right after breakfast.
Start by visiting Ho Chi Minh’s House, a simple wooden structure in a tranquil setting where famous country leader lived and worked.
Continue to the 6th century Tran Quoc Pagoda, the oldest pagoda in Hanoi, on a small island in West Lake.
Tour the 11th century Taoist Quan Thanh Temple highlighted by a large yard with giant banyan tree and a shrine of the principal deities in Taoism.
In the afternoon, visit the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first national university built in the late 11th century.
Back to central Hanoi for a 1hr cyclo tour through the famed Old Quarter known for its ‘36 streets of 36 wares’ named after the original 36 artisan guilds that date as far back as the 13th century. Explore the fascinating maze of back streets, fronted by narrow houses, a wonderfully eclectic glimpse into Hanoi street life.
Conclude the day by watching an entertaining water puppet performance, a uniquely northern Vietnamese art form said to have originated in the flooded rice fields of the Red River Delta. The show uses colorful wooden puppets to depict scenes of rural life and episodes of national history set to music. Back to the hotel in the late afternoon.
Villages of Red River Delta
Travel to the photogenic Red River Delta village of Tho Ha via a 45min drive from Hanoi and a short ferry across the Cau River.
The Red River Delta is an agriculturally rich area producing 20% of Vietnam’s rice crop. Despite the increasing industrialization of the area, the village of Tho Ha has remained mostly unaffected by modern development.
Walk through the village’s narrow terracotta-tiled alleyways, a reminder of its history as one of Vietnam’s three oldest ceramic centers. Notice the many bamboo racks filled with drying rice paper, speaking to the current occupation of many of its inhabitants after the pottery industry faded. A visit here presents an authentic portrait of a typical Vietnamese village with some of the homes dating back more than a century.
Visit the 17th century Tho Ha Pagoda with its triple gate, belfry, and forecourt carved with dragons, clouds, and flowers. Enjoy a conversation with one of the residents to gain insights into life in the village before returning to Hanoi.
UNESCO Heritage Site and Natural Treasure
Early morning, your driver will bring you to the Violet meeting point, from where you will transfer by road to Halong Bay. Embark Violet before noon and get acquainted with the facilities on board as the ship sets sail for your Halong Bay experience.
We arrive at Cua Van, one of the last remaining floating fishing villages in Halong Bay, and which some fishermen still use as a base for their fishing and aquacultural activities. With a small bamboo boat rowed by locals, we have a look at the floating structures in this calm and secluded area to gain some insight into village life (optionally, kayak through the village).
Transfer to the nearby Tien Ong cave with the evidence of human civilization dating back to 10,000 – 8,000 BC.
Back on board and before dinner, join a cooking class with the Violet’s chef. After dinner, watch an intriguing presentation about the bay’s unique insights. Enjoy the quiet night in the middle of the world-famous bay.
Beautiful Hoi An and Beach Resort
For early risers, tea, coffee, and pastries are available in the dining room. A Tai Chi class is offered on the sun deck to awaken your mind and muscles. In the morning, Violet will set sail to the small Ti Top Island. Here, you can go for a refreshing morning swim on a sandy beach beneath towering rock formations or climb 400 stone steps to the island’s top and be rewarded with stunning, panoramic views over the bay.
Violet heads back to the harbor while breakfast is served. Return to Hanoi and transfer with a private driver to the airport, for your connection to Da Nang, where a local driver will escort you to the charming town of Hoi An. Settle in your beach resort and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.
Ancient Town Discoveries
Enjoy a leisurely morning on the beach and meet your guide after lunch for a walking tour around the charming town of Hoi An.
Between the 15th and 19th centuries, Hoi An known then as ‘Faifo’, was a prosperous trading port, attracting Chinese, Japanese, Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish ships amongst others. Today, this World Heritage ancient town is recognized for its well-preserved architecture, pedestrian-only streets, and distinctive local cuisine, allowing visitors a glimpse of its illustrious past.
Hoi An’s narrow lanes are ideal for a guided walking tour of its many atmospheric sights including the old merchant houses with influences from Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese architecture; the 400-year-old Japanese Covered Bridge; the Assembly Hall of the Chaozhou Chinese Congregation with its intricate woodcarvings; and the colorful market with stalls brimming with local specialties including silk, which can be turned into fashionable garments within a day or two.
Make sure to stay in the old town for dinner and enjoy the beauty of the colorful lanterns decorating all Hoi An streets.
Royal Hue and Its Citadel
In the morning, depart Hoi An for a 3.5hr drive to Hue over scenic Hai Van Pass crossing over a spur of the Truong Son mountain range jutting into the sea.
Once the imperial capital of the Nguyen emperors from the 17th to the 19th centuries, Hue is home to splendid emperors’ tombs, ancient pagodas, and the remains of the Citadel which contribute to its undeniable royal charm.
Explore the Imperial Citadel at the center of the Complex of Hue Monuments inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage site.
In the afternoon, drive to the Thien Mu Pagoda, Hue’s best-preserved religious monument. Built in 1601, the seven-story pagoda is situated on a hilltop overlooking the Perfume River and is one of Vietnam’s most recognizable icons.
Conclude your day of exploration at the Royal Tomb of Emperor Khai Dinh with a remarkable blackened concrete exterior and colorful mosaic interior. Drive back to Hoi An via the Hai Van Tunnel in the late afternoon.
Flight to Saigon and Evening Vespa Food Adventure
Meet your driver after breakfast for a ride back to Da Nang and your flight to bustling Saigon.
Upon arrival, you will be met by your driver for a transfer to the hotel in the city center. Settle in and let yourself explore the neighborhood a bit before we see you in the early evening for the Vespa food adventure.
The darker the night gets, the more vivid Saigon becomes! Discover the life of the city after sunset, and listen to the stories of Saigon from its golden days of the 1960s to its modern days.
Stop at some of the street food stalls, restaurants, and bars. Uniquely customized for curious minds who love to get their footprints off the beaten track, the flexible menu introduces you to different courses including the most popular local delicacies, coffee, and signature cocktails tasting.
Let us know your special interest and we can customize a unique route to fulfill your appetite.
Visit Cu Chi Tunnels
Your guide will meet you right after breakfast for a 2hr drive to the famous Cu Chi Tunnels, an immense network of connecting underground tunnels started in 1948 to protect the Viet Cong guerrillas from the French air and ground sweeps.
The tunnels also served as living quarters, communication and supply routes, and housed hospitals, food, and weapons caches.
Touring the underground compounds will provide a better understanding of the history of the tunnels, the hardship of life in the tunnels, and the Vietnamese resilience during combat.
Return to Saigon in time for late lunch. We recommend exploring Saigon’s downtown and discovering its
At the right time, the driver will meet you for the last time, for your 30-min drive to the Saigon International Airport. Farewell!