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Travel the length of the country from Saigon to Hanoi on this Classic trip of Vietnam. Starting in the bustling metropolis of Saigon, explore the Cu Chi Tunnels, visit a Wildlife Rescue Centre and journey through the fascinating waterways of the tropical Mekong Delta. Then on to the magical merchant town and ancient trading port of Hoi An, with ample time to stroll the charming laneways or relax on Cua Dai beach. Discover the citadel and tombs of Hue, the former royal capital and seat of the Nguyen Dynasty, and visit an ancient village, providing a glimpse into this area’s royal past. Travel to Hanoi with its French colonial architecture and tree lined boulevards. End your trip with a two day cruise on the emerald waters of Halong Bay, where thousands of limestone rock sculptures jut dramatically from the sea.
Our Classic itineraries cover the key attractions with carefully selected experiences to ensure you get the most out of your holiday. Classic itineraries include time for relaxation or for adding extra activities. Discuss itinerary options and extensions with our Asia Travel Experts.
You will meet your guide on arrival, transfer and check-in to your hotel. During the drive your guide will provide an introduction to Saigon, answer any questions you have, and make arrangements for the following day. Enjoy free time for the remainder of the first day.
Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) in southern Vietnam is a sprawling metropolis of ten million people. Formally renamed Ho Chi Minh City in 1975 at the end of the Vietnam-American war, locals still refer to Saigon. With thousands of motorbikes zipping past luxury cars, French colonial buildings dwarfed by modern skyscrapers and traditionally dressed school girls riding bicycles past trendy city workers, Saigon is an exciting city of contrasts.
Saigon is a city that never sleeps and offers a plethora of great restaurants and bars catering to all tastes, from street food vendors to the rooftop bar at the Rex Hotel, where international correspondents covered the Vietnam War and where the U.S. military attaché’s press briefing was held daily and dubbed the “Five O’clock Follies”. Whatever your interests, be sure to ask your guide for personal recommendations.
Itinerary Option: If you’re arriving to Saigon in the morning, discuss additional day 1 activities with our staff.
Tour Saigon's historic landmarks with your guide. Visit the Notre Dame Cathedral, a red brick building with twin spires based on the original construction from Paris, then head across the square to the Central Post Office designed by the French architect Gustav Eiffel. Next stop is the former Presidential Palace, headquarters to the Saigon Government during the Vietnam-American war. You may also like to visit the War Remnants Museum for a vivid insight into the Vietnam-American war from a Vietnamese perspective.
In the afternoon, enjoy free time to continue your exploration of Saigon.
Depart your hotel this morning for a 1.5 hour drive heading south to Ben Tre, known to be one of the biggest coconut orchards in Vietnam. Take in the lush surroundings of rice paddies and fruit farms alongside the highway as you leave behind the busy city.
Arrive at the waterfront pier and embark on an enjoyable motor boat excursion, take a glimpse at the Delta scenery, houses built on stilts and local fish farms along the way. Cruising among islands with names such as Dragon, Unicorn, Turtle and Phoenix. You will stop along the way to discover how Vietnamese farmers work their rice fields and observe the daily life of the villagers in the Mekong Delta.
Take a short horse cart (or moto-cart) ride along country roads to a tropical orchard for a tasting session of local honey and some exotic fruits. Engage in a casual chat with your host and stroll through the garden to get an insight into daily farming life. Take some time to enjoy a leisurely walk through the village observing tropical gardens along the way. Continue discovering the Mekong by cruising the small canals lined with palm and coconut trees.
Stop at Vinh Trang pagoda, which was built in 1849 and is one of the first pagodas to incorporate a mixture of Asian and European architectural features. Lunch will be served at My Tho, taste some local delicacies before returning to Saigon mid afternoon.
The Cu Chi Tunnels are an immense network of interconnected tunnels near Saigon that are part of a much larger network lying below much of the country. A guided visit to these tunnels provides a better understanding of their history, the hardship of life underground and the resilience of the Vietnamese during combat.
The tunnels were built and used initially by the Viet Cong guerrillas as hiding spots to protect them from the French air and ground sweeps. They later served as communication routes, storage facilities, hospitals and living quarters for the guerrilla fighters throughout the Vietnam-American war.
You're invited to enter a section of the tunnels to witness the secrets of the tunnels firsthand. Your guide will also show you various mantraps employed from this period, the remains of an American tank and numerous B52 bomb craters. There is also the opportunity to fire an M60, M16 or AK47 rifle at the range next to the tunnel complex.
Optionally visit the Cu Chi Wildlife Rescue Station to understand the risk to wildlife in this area of the world and what this non-government organisation is doing to assist. The Animal Rescue Station is operated by Wildlife at Risk (WAR) which is dedicated to protecting the biodiversity of Vietnam by combating illegal wildlife trade, raising environmental awareness and by promoting the conservation of endangered species and their habitats. The Rescue Centre located near to the Cu Chi Tunnels rescues wild animals and returns them to their natural environment.
In the afternoon, return to Saigon and enjoy free time to continue your exploration of the city.
Fly to Danang where you will meet your new guide on arrival at the airport. First stop en route to Hoi An is the Marble Mountains, a cluster of five limestone and marble peaks that rise dramatically from the surrounding flat land. The local Vietnamese believe that the five peaks represent the five elements of fire, water, earth, wood and metal. Previously celebrated in the religion of the Cham people, the mountains were later used by the Viet Cong in the Vietnam-American war to monitor the US air base at Danang.
The mountains contain many caves and tunnels. Climb the cut stone steps or take the elevator up to the top of one of the peaks, and explore the caves, temples and pagodas. There are panoramic views of Danang and the coast from the many lookout points.
Continue on to the beautiful old merchant town of Hoi An. Built on the site of an ancient Cham village. Hoi An was a prosperous port from the 16th to 19th centuries trading with merchants from China, Japan, India, Indonesia and Europe who came to buy silk, spices and porcelain. Hoi An’s UNESCO World Heritage Old Quarter is beautifully preserved with ornate pagodas, antique trading houses and old tile-roofed shops. It is a rich architectural fusion of Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and European styles. Many of the historic buildings lining the canals and pedestrian streets have been converted into art galleries, boutique restaurants, bars and cafes. Hoi An is surrounded by attractive countryside with traditional farming and fishing, and by sandy beaches with modern seaside resorts.
Experience the charm of Hoi An on a walking tour with your guide. Wander along the narrow lanes and gain an insight into Hoi An’s illustrious past as you explore this heritage listed town. Take in the old merchant houses with influences from Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese architecture. See the 400 year old Japanese Bridge, a unique covered structure built by the Japanese, and the only known covered bridge with a Buddhist pagoda attached to the side. Visit the Assembly Hall of the Chaozhou Chinese Congregation with its outstanding wood carvings and explore the colourful market with stalls brimming with local specialties including silk which can be turned into fashionable garments within one or two days.
Enjoy free time for the remainder of the day. There is plenty to see and do in Hoi An, but many visitors find themselves relaxing by the beach, browsing the markets and boutique shops, or visiting one of the many tailors in town.
Leisurely cycling through the scenic countryside. Spend a half day leisurely cycling though the scenic countryside of Vietnam far from the traffic of motor scooters and the noises of the city. You will cross the islands on the Song Thu river delta using local transportation including ferries and floating bridges. This tour will take you on a visit to artisans making bricks according to age old traditions. You will discover how wooden river boats are made and learn the secret of weaving the colourful straw “Hoi An” sleeping mats. You will spend the day in first-hand contact with the rural inhabitants of the region far from the usual tourist circuits. You will be invited into the home of a local Vietnamese family to learn their customs and traditions. After you have relaxed for a while under the shade of a mango tree you will begin your return to Hoi An.
Today is at leisure for shopping and exploring this charming town, a protected UNESCO site. Hoi An is noted for its hand sewn, tailored clothing and beautiful white sand beaches so today is an ideal day to simply enjoy the environment, relax by the pool, or people watch to your heart’s content.
Today you will depart Hoi An for Hue. Travel over the beautiful Hai Van Pass, Vietnam's geographical and psychological boundary between north and south, the peak of the pass perpetually shrouded in clouds. Arrive into Hue in the afternoon and check in to your hotel.
This afternoon enjoy a classic Hue light lunch with bún bò Huế, a popular Vietnamese soup containing rice vermicelli (bún) and beef (bò), before embarking on our tour of the city’s imperial monuments such as the Khai Dinh and Tu Duc Royal Tombs.
Enjoy the rest of the evening at leisure.
This morning take a cyclo ride around the city of Hue. Visit the UNESCO listed Imperial Citadel where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled between 1802 and 1945. Enter through the towering main gate and you will appreciate the magnificent architecture and gardens while your guide explains about the events and the intrigue of the former royal court. Despite being bombed heavily, there are some incredibly well preserved sections still intact and others which are being restored. The visit also includes the Hue Royal Fine Art Museum which is housed within the former Dien Long An Royal Palace.
Continue to visit one of the famous, traditional garden houses of Hue. These houses are privately owned and set in large and attractive formal gardens. Some have connections with the old Royal Imperial Court and the house’s traditional architecture has long been associated with the natural environment and the ancient belief of ‘feng-shui’.
Visit Ming Mang Royal Tomb near Hue. Minh Mang was the second Nguyen Emperor whose interest in architecture brought major new construction to the Imperial City of Hue. His tomb is set in a large garden on the west bank of the Perfume River, with lakes and pavilions built in the old Chinese traditional style.
The next stop is Thien Mu pagoda, Hue’s best-preserved religious monument, which stands on the riverbank with its impressive seven storey tower. Later, take a boat trip along the romantically named Perfume River as it carries you through tranquil settings of gardens and lakes on the way back to town.
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Hanoi where you will meet your guide on arrival. During the drive your guide will provide an introduction to Hanoi, answer any questions you have, and make arrangements for the following day.
Depart in the early evening to the famous Theatre for a Water Puppet performance. This is a uniquely northern Vietnamese art form depicting scenes from rural life and episodes of national history. Continue to one of the finest Vietnamese restaurants for an included dinner.
Hanoi is Vietnam’s capital city and home to seven million people. Traditional and refined, with French colonial architecture, tree-lined boulevards, scenic lakes and a bustling Old Quarter, Hanoi has a sophisticated charm. Observe elderly people practicing Tai Chi by the lake, with barbers and food vendors plying their sidewalk trade.
Hanoi has many great restaurants with French, Vietnamese and international cuisines available. Ask your guide for personal recommendations.
Accompanied by your guide, the day starts with a visit to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, an imposing monument lavishly built using marble and granite, where the preserved body of “Uncle Ho” resides. See the lotus shaped One Pillar Pagoda which rests on a single stone pillar emerging from the water, and then explore the Temple of Literature, the first University for the sons of mandarins, to gain an overview of Hanoi culture and ancient Vietnamese architecture.
In the afternoon, visit the Museum of Ethnology which offers a fascinating insight into Vietnam’s 54 ethnic minority groups.
Continue on to the Buddhist Tran Quoc Pagoda, the oldest of all the pagodas in Hanoi, located beside the dazzling West Lake. Visit Quan Thanh Temple with its spacious and charming landscape that helps highlight the ancient and romantic beauty of this area. Quan Thanh Temple is dedicated to Saint Huyen Thien Tran Vu who guarded and administered the north of the country.
Drive back to central Hanoi for a walking tour through the Old Quarter to enjoy the bustling local life. This bustling area of narrow streets and alleys is home to literally thousands of small businesses and shopkeepers. It's a great place to explore with plenty of photo opportunities all around you.
Itinerary Option: Your guided tour can include alternate attractions like the Hoa Lo Prison (Hanoi Hilton), the Fine Arts Museum or the KOTO restaurant - an organisation that is supporting street kids with a career in the hospitality industry. Our staff can provide advice based upon your interests.
Travel to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Halong Bay and board your deluxe junk for your overnight cruise. Marvel at the dramatic vista and relax onboard, as you sail amongst the thousands of limestone islands that rise from the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. Rock sculptures jut dramatically from the sea and the numerous caves and grottoes have created an enchanting, timeless world.
Set sail through Bai Tu Long Bay whilst a seafood lunch is served, then sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery as you cruise past various islands en route to Cua Van fishing village. Explore the floating village by bamboo rowing boat. Visit Tien Ong Cave before returning to the junk for sunset cocktails and canapés, followed by dinner served on the deck or in the restaurant.
Why not begin the day with a Tai Chi class on the top deck? Or just admire the beautiful scenery as the sun rises over the azure waters. Choose between an excursion to a secluded island with a sandy beach for a morning swim, or join the chef for a cooking demonstration to learn more about Vietnamese cuisine. Enjoy a buffet brunch as your junk cruises Halong Bay, passing islets and caves as you make your way back to the dock.
You have the option to visit a pottery workshop on the trip back to Hanoi. On return from Halong Bay you are transferred to the airport for your onwards flight.
Phone now to discuss options to personalise your itinerary.
Ideas to upgrade or extend your itinerary:
Note that the schedule above refers to the Image Legend Cruise, Victory Cruise & Paradise Luxury Cruise. All our GetAboutAsia cruise itineraries adhere to the highest standards of safety whilst providing our guests with an outstanding level of comfort and quality.
Image Legend Cruise, Victory Cruise & Paradise Cruise Photos
All Get About Asia trips have been designed to make sure you have an unforgettable travel experience. We have developed several trip styles to cater for our diverse range of travellers. Read what your ideal Get About Asia experience might look like here.
|Standard:||from AU $2,271|
|Superior:||from AU $2,783|
|Deluxe:||from AU $3,434|
All GetAboutAsia prices are based on twin share and depend on availability and season. All our itineraries can be customised including international flights and extra nights. For questions or further information, Enquire Now!
Hotels or Halong Bay Junk each night of the itinerary (excluding your departure day). All GetAboutAsia accommodation is handpicked by us. Upgrades are available for this itinerary.
This trip package includes 2 internal flights (Saigon-Danang and Hue to Hanoi) which retail at about 200 AUD per flight.
Visa for Vietnam
When obtaining your visa you should allow 2-3 weeks for processing, the cost is approximately US$60 to US$100. Check with your embassy or consulate for further details. The Vietnamese Embassy in Edgecliff, Sydney has been known to issue a visa in 4 working days if all the correct documents are submitted at the time of application.
Availability of accommodation and season.
" We thoroughly enjoyed our trip and thank you for helping us when Hue was flooding. The first evening in Ho Chi Minh was a baptism of fire on managing the Vietnam traffic but we managed and it put us in good stead for the rest of the trip. Liz managed the Tunnels. The delta was an overcast day but good to see it again for me …… We both loved Hoi An.Hanoi centre was nice, slightly different to Ho Chi Minh centre and we met up with a friend of Liz’s who had been up to Sapa. Then of course we headed to Ha Long Bay, an amazing landscape!Overall a busy trip but a good look at the country and if we go back we would tend to go inland ……Thank you Getaboutasia for arranging! " — Alister and Liz, Sydney, November 2017
"Firstly, thank you so much for helping to organise our trip to Vietnam. It has been perfect and we will be recommending GetAboutAsia to everyone we know! The guides that have been arranged for us are fantastic and the additional knowledge that we have learned about Vietnam is invaluable. " — Mr and Mrs Butcher, Melton VIC , October 2016
"So as far as Vietnam goes it was an amazing place, the people friendly and obliging, the food amazing and scenery spectacular. All in all we could not recommend a trip to Vietnam more highly and if you want a great hassle free time make sure you contact Nicole at GetAboutAsia she will look after you." — Don Cocking and party, Kingelsey WA , September 2016
"We had such a wonderful time. Everything from booking the trip, through to the transportation and the guides was all exceptional. The sites were amazing, we learnt so much and thoroughly enjoyed learning so much about Vietnam. This trip had been on our bucket list for a long time and we are so glad that we were able to full fill this dream and with so much ease. Thank you so much for making the trip so enjoyable." — Mr and Mrs Buswell, South Bunbury WA, March 2016
"We loved the TOTAL Vietnam experience - its people, food culture and spectacular diverse scenery making each destination very different and unique. We loved Halong Bay in particular. We would not have experienced its full magnificent spender without traveling and seeing the entire country; thanks to the assistance and advice from GetAboutAsia we were able to do just that." — Interno & Gallace Family, Victoria, September 2015
"This holiday would have to have been the best holiday we have ever had. We would definitely recommend it to our friends. We could not fault the organisation and the standard of accommodation and the friendliness of the Vietnamese people. Thank you for planning such a fantastic holiday. We had a wonderful time." — Mr and Mrs Healey, Loch Victoria , July 2015
"We loved Hanoi for the traditional culture, Halong bay for the serenity and tranquillity; HCMC for the hustle and bustle of a city filled with people and scooters!, Cu Chi tunnels for a deeper insight into the Vietnam War and the Mekong Delta for the truly local Vietnamese farmer experience." — Jessykah Dang, Sydney, NSW, February 2014