Highlights of Vietnam

10 Days, from AU $1,816

Hoi An

Thien Mu Pagoda, Hue

Tomb of Khai Dinh, Hue

Mekong river sunset

Experience the Highlights of Vietnam as you travel the length of the country from Saigon to Hanoi. Starting in the bustling metropolis of Saigon, explore the Cu Chi Tunnels and the fascinating waterways of the tropical Mekong Delta. Then on to the magical merchant town and ancient trading port of Hoi An. Discover the citadel and tombs of Hue, the former royal capital and seat of the Nguyen Dynasty, before travelling to Hanoi with its French colonial architecture and tree lined boulevards. End your trip with a cruise on the emerald waters of Halong Bay, where thousands of limestone rock sculptures jut dramatically from the sea.

Our Highlight itineraries cover the key attractions at a relatively quick pace. Enjoy them as they are or extend them to create your perfect holiday. Discuss itinerary options and extensions with our Asia Travel Experts.

Suggested Itinerary

Day 1: Saigon

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.

Day 2: Saigon

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.

After returning to Saigon, learn about the historic landmarks as you tour the city 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.

Day 3: Mekong Delta

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.

Day 4: Saigon to Hoi An

Fly to Danang where you will meet your new guide on arrival at the airport. First stop 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.

Day 5: Hoi An

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.

GetAboutAsia Favourite: Our customers rave about Hoi An, so check out our suggestions on personalising your trip to get the most out of your visit.

Day 6: Hue

This morning you will be driven to Hue which served as an imperial capital to the Nguyen Lords, a feudal dynasty which reigned from the 17th to the 19th century. Despite heavy bombing during the Vietnam-American war, many historic monuments from this period remain, and even though Imperial rule ended more than six decades ago, Hue still bears the marks of its royal past. The city retains its royal charm with its emperors’ tombs, ancient pagodas and the remains of the Citadel

A short cyclo ride takes you to the towering main gate of the UNESCO World Heritage Imperial Citadel. As you explore the grounds your guide will talk through the history of Hue, and you will be able to wander amongst the beautiful and ornate red lacquered pavilions of the Citadel, gaining an insight into the luxurious and secretive world of the court.

Next stop is Thien Mu pagoda, Hue’s best-preserved religious monument, which stands on the riverbank with its impressive seven storey tower.

The afternoon includes visits to Khai Dinh and Tu Duc Royal Tombs, and there is also the opportunity to visit an incense stick making house.

Day 7: Hue to Hanoi

Visit Ming Mang Royal Tomb near Hue before transferring to the airport for your flight to Hanoi.

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.

You will meet your guide on arrival in Hanoi. During the drive your guide will provide an introduction to Hanoi, answer any questions you have, and make arrangements for the following day. Enjoy free time for the remainder of the first day.

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.

Day 8: Hanoi

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 offering a fascinating insight into Vietnam’s 54 ethnic minority groups. Enjoy a walking tour through the bustling Old Quarter before ending the day with a show at the water puppet theatre – a uniquely northern Vietnamese art form depicting scenes of rural life and episodes of national history.

Itinerary Option: Your Guided tour can include alternate attractions like the Hoa Lo Prison (Hanoi Hilton) and/or the Fine Arts Museum. Our staff can provide advice based upon your interests.

Day 9: Halong Bay

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.

Day 10: Halong Bay to Hanoi

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 onward flight.

Personalise Your Trip

Phone now to discuss options to personalise your itinerary.

Ideas to upgrade or extend your itinerary:

  • Cu Chi Tunnels: Learn about life in the tunnels from a Viet Cong war veteran who lived here during the war.
  • Saigon: Squeeze in a Vespa motor scooter tour. Options include street food tours, a wartime landmarks tour, an art and architecture tour, and a locals insider tour.
  • Saigon: Add a cooking class to spice up your itinerary, either at the renowned Saigon Culinary Arts Centre, or an exclusive class at an historic villa.
  • Saigon: War history tours, including itineraries that focus on Vung Tau and Nui Dat for Australian war veterans.
  • Mekong Delta: Consider adding a night in the Mekong Delta to spend more time getting to know this fascinating area of Vietnam.
  • Hoi An: For those not inclined to relaxing, Hoi An has the most exciting array of activities in Vietnam, from cooking classes, culinary tours, cycling trips, fishing or farm visits, to island snorkelling and lantern making lessons.
  • Hue: Enjoy a royal elephant ride at the Imperial Citadel.
  • Hue: Kayak down the Perfume River at sunset.
  • Hue: Explore the countryside via a driving or cycling tour, learn about Hue royal cuisine in a cooking class or culinary tour, or discover the Vietnam-American war DMZ.
  • Hanoi: Tour the countryside with options to visit ancient villages, local artisans and/or Mai Chau hill tribes.
  • Hanoi: Other options include cycling tours, Van Long nature reserve including a boat trip (recommended), Perfume Pagoda and grotto tour, wildlife tours, cooking classes, culinary tour and art tours.
  • Halong Bay: Why not spend one or two nights on a traditional junk boat to take in the charm of Halong Bay. Check out the Simply Halong Bay Junk Cruise itinerary for details.

Halong Bay Cruise Ships

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

Travel Styles

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 $1,816
Superior:from AU $1,998
Deluxe:from AU $2,547

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!

Important Information

Accommodation:

Hotels each night of the itinerary (excluding your departure day). All GetAboutAsia accommodation is handpicked by us. Upgrades are available for this itinerary.

Inclusions:
  • All breakfasts at your hotel each morning.
  • All airport transfers.
  • All internal airfares and transport on tour.
  • All itinerary attractions including fees or permits.
  • Professional tour guides for all airport pickups, day tours and activities.
  • Lunch and dinner as indicated on trip notes. We do not include lunch or dinner where it is practical for you to make your own choices, as we find that GetAboutAsia customers prefer the freedom of eating what they want, which is one the of joys of travelling.
Notes:

This trip package includes 2 internal flights (Saigon-Danang, 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.

Price Dependent:

Availability of accommodation and season.

Trip Information

Ask Us a Question


 

"Vietnam!! What a trip!! What a country!! The whole thing was perfect other than our flight delay. Anyway, it all ended well. Thank you so much for contacting the Vietnamese operators for us on your day off to reorganise our pickup. Much appreciated. Our guides were great also. They really gave us a good insight into Vietnamese culture and history, much more than we would have ever understood if we had done our own thing. I can't really rate any place in Vietnam higher than others since they were all so different. We also enjoyed Cambodia as well! Thanks very much for your organising of our trip" — Mr and Mrs Martin, Sydney, January 2018

" 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

"We had an amazing trip and our tour guides were great. We were met personally by Mr Hue in Ho Chi Minh City where his daughter gave our grand daughter a personal gift, which was really appreciated. Mr Hue also assisted when we needed a doctor for our grand daughter in Hanoi. Our accommodation was excellent and we ended up with a Presential Suite and Suite for two of our rooms for the Halong Bay Cruise. A great holiday! " — Mrs Daley and family, Picton NSW, May 2017

"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

"The trip was well planned and an absolute eye opener. The Vietnamese people do so much with so little. My sister and I had a great time, learnt such a lot and enjoyed everything on the itinerary. We made the most of every single day - we went flat chat and came home happy and exhausted! All of the guides and drivers were very good, hotels clean & comfortable with a good choice of breakfast dishes and very central for looking around, markets and restaurants We could do it again with a few changes here and there with longer in places like Halong Bay and the Mekong! Thanks to Get About Asia for organising the trip. " — Anne Johnson, Davidson, NSW, September, 2014

"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

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