Summer Vietnam Explorer
12 NIGHTS GUIDE PRICE £3,300
A whistle stop tour of Vietnam, starting in the north and finishing with a flourish in the south! And in between you’ll discover magnificent cities, enjoy adventures on water, discover ancient temples and recover from all the excitement on pristine white beaches in Central Vietnam that happily are basking in sunshine during the UK summer months.
Guide Price & Inclusions
12 nights Hanoi, 2 nights Ninh Binh, 1 night Ha Long Bay Cruise, 4 nights Hoi An and 3 nights Ho Chi Minh City £3,300 per adult and £1,350 per child under 12 sharing including flights, transfers, excursions and accommodation.
Rates subject to travel dates and accommodation selection.
Why not add a few nights in Singapore on the way to Vietnam or stop off on your way home. Alternatively travel on to Siem Reap in Cambodia, although please note temperatures are hot and humidity high at this time of year!
Best Time to Travel
For optimal beach weather in Hoi An in Central Vietnam, where you’ll also have the chance to relax, we suggest this itinerary for February though to August. However, please note in the UK Summer Holidays there is a typhoon risk in the North which can disrupt Ha Long cruise departures.
Tips for Families
While we offer some great excursions, we always build in time by the pool or beach each day to soothe tired toes. Hanoi especially can be very hot at this time of year.
- Marvel at the Temple of Literature in Hanoi before enjoying a traditional Water Puppet Performance
- Spend a couple of nights amongst the soaring limestone casts of Lan Ha Bay
- Lose yourself amongst the magical lanterns of Hoian
- Steady your nerve climbing into the Chu Chi tunnels
- Taste delicious fresh produce at the floating markets of Ben Tre
Day 1 | Overnight flight to Hanoi
Depart London overnight to Hanoi (approx 11 hrs on a direct flight with Vietnam Airlines)
Day 2 | Arrival in Hanoi
Upon arrival, meet with your guide and transfer to your hotel (approx. 45 minutes). The remainder of the day is at leisure.
Day 3 | Hanoi Half Day City Tour
After spending a leisurely morning by the pool, today’s tour will begin at 13:30. Begin with a visit to the Temple of Literature and wander around the incredible compound which was constructed in 1076. Hear stories of the buildings’ history, enjoying a glimpse into the past when it served as a university and temple.
Continue to another ancient site, the One Pillar Pagoda. Built in 1049 this stilted structure is one of Vietnam’s most iconic temples. Snap some photos here then move on to the nearby mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh (viewed from outside). See locals paying homage to this historic figure and ‘father’ of modern Vietnam. Take a short walk to his house on stilts, where he lived from 1958 to 1969. Walk around the tranquil grounds, learning about Ho Chi Minh’s life and legacy. The Hanoi adventure continues with a visit to West Lake to admire the sixth-century Tran Quoc Buddhist Pagoda.
This evening, take a look behind the scenes of one of Vietnam’s most beloved art forms: Water puppetry. Meet with a puppet maker in his workshop, paint a personalised puppet and learn the secrets of the performers, gaining deep insight into local craft and rural traditions.
Day 4 | Ninh Binh and Galaxy Cave
Check-out this morning and transfer to Ninh Binh (Approx. 2.5 hrs).
Join the guide for an in-depth exploration of the ruins of Vietnam’s first capital. Learn about the Dinh (968-980) and Le (980-1009) Dynasties and about the history of the site. Marvel at the ancient tombs and the ruins of the once-imposing Citadel. Continue to Dong Tam Hamlet for a traditional Vietnamese lunch, stopping enroute to take photographs of local villages and the stunning landscape. After lunch embark on a leisurely biking trip passing through peaceful villages and enjoying the beautiful countryside landscapes.
Then transfer to Nha Le pier and enjoy a boat trip to Galaxy Cave, take a walk to Thien Thai Cave and But Hien cave, to view the magical sparkling and colourful stalactites.
Following the tour, head back to your hotel and enjoy some time by the pool.
Day 5 | Ninh Binh
Enjoy a day of leisure today with a quiet kayak or slow cycle through the beautiful countryside.
Day 6 | Ninh Binh to Ha Long Bay
Check-out this morning and leave Ninh Binh for the drive to Halong (approx. 3.5 hrs).
Arrive at your jetty in Halong City towards noon and take short transfer by speedboat to your cruise for check-in formalities. Your luxurious floating home sets sail around noontime. You will be greeted with a refreshing welcome drink upon boarding.
As your unique journey begins, lunch is served in the gorgeous dining room on the terrace deck offering panoramic views of the passing scenery. You’ll pass an ancient lighthouse built by the French more than a century ago. While heading deeper and further south into the maze of Lan Ha Bay, you can enjoy the activities offered onboard – take a plunge in the pool or enjoy a drink at the bar. There may also be activities you can join on land, dependent on your itinerary and boat choice eg Cat Ba Island which is the entry point for a visit to a charming village named “Viet Hai”. Hop on bicycles (or electric cars) for a scenic exploration along small paved pathways, which meander through the lush tropical forest towards the village nestled in the valley.
Back on board, you will arrive at a tranquil place for overnight mooring before your multi-course dinner.
Day 7 | Ha Long to Hoi An
Enjoy a tasty traditional Vietnamese coffee and pastries before joining an open air session of Tai Chi or take part in some Yoga depending on your cruise offering. The boat will likely moor this morning, offering guests some time to kayak or a refreshing early morning swim from the ship’s convenient platform. Whilst the cruise passes back through Lan Hay Bay towards the pier, you will be served a hearty breakfast and leave you time to relax before arriving back to the dock.
On arrival your guide and driver will meet you for the transfer back to Hanoi Airport for the flight to Danang. Upon arrival in Danang, meet with your guide and transfer to your hotel in Hoi An (approx. 45 minutes).
Day 8 | Explore Hoi An
The morning is spent exploring Hoi An’s old town with a guided walking tour. Despite the passing of 200 years, the centre of Hoi An remains much the same as it was in its heyday. This walking tour is the best way to see the lantern-adorned wooden-fronted houses that once belonged to the town’s prosperous merchants, the Japanese-covered Bridge and the wonderful market as well as the many silk, handicrafts, antique shops and galleries. Explore these sites and many quiet laneways on this insightful excursion.
The afternoon is at leisure.
Day 9 | Hoi An Cycling Tour
Today’s tour begins with a 15 minutes’ drive from Hoi An Ancient Town to Cua Dai Estuary. Upon arrival at Duy Hai Fishing Village, enjoy the hustle of morning fish market and then visit a family-run fish sauce workshop to learn about this essential ingredient in Vietnamese cuisine. Board a boat and head upstream to Duy Vinh village, well-known for traditional weaving sedge mats.
You should see golden paddy fields during harvest season or green groves of jute along the banks of the Thu Bon River. Upon arrival at Ban Thach Mat Village, hop on a bicycle to explore the beauty of a typical village in the centre of Vietnam. Learn the full process of sedge mat weaving from cutting sedge on the field to a finished mat following traditional methods and even join in to create your own pattern. End the trip sharing a simple and friendly home-hosted lunch and return to Hoian by bike across Cam Kim Bridge.
Day 10 | At Leisure in Hoi An
Enjoy a day at Leisure today!
Day 11 Hoi An to Ho Chi Minh City
Check-out hotel and meet with your guide for the private transfer to the airport to take the flight to Ho Chi Minh. Upon arrival, meet with your guide and transfer to your hotel to drop off the luggage (approx. 30 minutes).
This afternoon, meet with a local guide and set off on a half day tour in Ho Chi Minh City. Start with a visit to the War Remnants Museum for an insightful, yet sombre, look into Vietnam’s military history. See exhibitions displaying imagery from the French and American wars, learning more about the country’s struggle for independence and hearing tales of the resilience of the Vietnamese people. Then head to the city’s most iconic building: Reunification Hall. Formerly called the Presidential Palace, images of the building were seen around the world on 30 April 1975 when tanks stormed the gates as Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese. Hear the echoes of time while walking through this historic downtown site.
Then take a stroll to Ho Chi Minh City’s colonial quarter, walking past scenes of everyday life on the way. Admire the beautiful architecture of the Opera House, City Hall, the old Saigon Post Office, Hear about the glory days of French Indochina and how that era continues to influence aspects of modern Vietnamese culture.
Step off the tourist trail for one last visit at a Vietnamese coffee shop, sit down and taste the coffee like locals. After this insightful visit, return to the hotel and free time at leisure.
Day 12 | Cu Chi Tunnels
Depart early this morning to avoid the crowds at Cu Chi. Drive away from Ho Chi Minh City, watching the city skyline fade into the distance as the road winds through rice paddies, villages and other scenes typical to southern Vietnam.
Spend a couple of hours walking around Cu Chi’s rugged grounds with a local guide. Hear how the residents constructed an intricate, underground network of tunnels during the French and American Wars. Crawl underground and have a look at the tiny chambers, imagining what life was like for those who lived there. Hear incredible tales of perseverance- from the unusual foods the residents ate to survive to the story of a baby being born in the tunnels. Once above ground, see other ingenious items used by the residents to defend themselves such as bamboo traps and camouflaged pits. Throughout the tour, the guide will explain the impact of war on the local community and the country as a whole. Following this insightful visit, journey back to Ho Chi Minh City.
Afternoon at leisure.
Day 13 | Daytrip to Ben Tre in the Mekong Delta
Today leave the buzz of Ho Chi Minh City behind and drive through the countryside for this tour to Ben Tre, located on the edge of the Mekong Delta, a 3 hour drive away. The adventure begins with a ride on the back of a xe loi, a local motorized cart. Bounce along back paths through coconut groves, lush rice paddies and fruit farms along a picturesque canal. Step aboard the ‘Mango Cruise’ and cast off for a glimpse of Delta scenery. Sip a freshly picked coconut as the boat winds through the maze of canals.
Stop at a small brick workshop where locals still use centuries-old traditional methods to make the bricks by hand. Observe this labour-intensive process, then return to the boat and cross the An Hoa River. Hop onto a bike for a short ride through Phong Nam, a typical delta village. Visit a local house to see coconut processing by hand and learn how every part of the coconut is used. Continue cycling through gardens and stop to visit a ruou dua factory, to watch the process of making coconut spirits.
Then enjoy a closer look at delta life with a visit to a family home. Enjoy the tropical fruits and honey tea in the garden and hear how the family relies on fishing and farming to make a living. After this unique immersive visit, climb into a sampan boat and row through a hidden maze of small, sun-dappled canals gaining an insider’s perspective on daily river life.
Having worked up an appetite during the morning’s touring, take a break at Mango Home Stay restaurant to enjoy a delicious Vietnamese lunch. Afterwards, take leisurely walk past green gardens to a local house. Have a chat the family members and watch them how to make crispy rice paper, the most famous specialty of this village.
Armed with a camera-full of amazing images and unforgettable memories, return to Ho Chi Minh City by car, what an amazing day to end your Vietnamese adventure!
Day 14 | Departure Day
Free time at leisure until it’s time to transfer back to the Airport for your flight home.
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In our Client's Words...
We all wanted to thank you so much for organising the most fantastic family holiday. Vietnam is the most amazing country with the most beautiful kind people. It surpassed all our expectations, and we have all fallen in love with the mad, fun, unexpected delight which is Asia. We have never experienced such a wonderfully organised, relaxed holiday. All the hotels we stayed in were stunning and we had the most amazing service. Our guides were outstanding and really made our holiday very, very special. We have millions of photos and have made such great memories, thank you so much. The holiday more than fulfilled our brief.
Tanya and Family, Vietnam
100% of our clients leaving feedback on AITO.com (the Trip Advisor of Tour Operators) have rated us 'excellent'
Hanoi, Hoàn Kiếm, Hanoi, Vietnam
Lan Ha Bay, Vietnam
Hội An, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
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