Grand Tour of Vietnam 18 Days DRAFT

$2,799.00

Sapa, Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hoi An, Hue, Ho Chi Minh City, Mekong Delta, Phu Quoc Island

Tour Highlights:

  • Explore ethnic minority villages in the depths of northern Vietnam's stunning mountains, in Sapa
  • Experience a full-day guided tour of Hanoi City, including Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum and the 'Hanoi Hilton'
  • Take an overnight traditional junk cruise through Halong Bay
  • Stroll through the peaceful ancient streets of Hoi An
  • Tour Hue City, the former capital of Vietnam and location of the impressive Imperial City
  • Immerse yourself in the vibrant city life of Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon
  • Savour the rural delights and local lifestyles of the Mekong Delta
  • Discover the charms of the white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters of Phu Quoc Island
  • Enjoy activities such as snorkelling or diving, night-time squid fishing, amusement parks, or an island tour
  • Enjoy ample free time at leisure for relaxing at your hotel/resort or on the beach

Vietnam is filled with stunning natural beauty and deep culture. Its mountains, jungles, and coastlines range from virtually untouched to well-groomed. Rural communities remain authentic and hospitable, and major cities are cosmopolitan but retain much of the old-world charm of the colonial and precolonial eras.

This medium-paced tour covers some of the best historical and cultural sights Vietnam has to offer, while also providing plenty of free time for you to relax or explore further. From the peaceful mountain villages of Sapa to the capital city of Hanoi; from the stunning natural beauty and emerald waters of Halong Bay to the ancient streets of Hoi An; from the to the rural charm of the Mekong Delta to the vibrant city life of Ho Chi Minh City, there’s so much to explore and discover!

Phu Quoc Island is emerging as a beloved destination for travellers to Vietnam. Renowned for its beautiful white sand beaches and attractive resorts, the laid back atmosphere of Phu Quoc makes this the perfect place to relax following you tour of Vietnam (and perhaps Angkor too!). Enjoy some fishing, swimming, and snorkelling, or take a hike through the tropical jungle and spot some unique wildlife.

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Departure Dates (min. 10 passengers)

2019 Price Per Person Single Supplement
06 Mar 12 Jun 18 Sep* From
$2,799
Limited time!
$1000
20 Mar 26 Jun** 02 Oct
03 Apr 10 Jul* 16 Oct
17 Apr* 24 July 30 Oct
01 May 07 Aug 13 Nov
15 May 21 Aug 27 Nov*
29 May 04 Sep 04 Dec**
* = Shoulder season surcharge: $200
** = Peak season surcharge: $400

Package Inclusions:

  • Vietnam Airlines return economy class airfares departing Sydney or Melbourne (or if unavailable, China Southern Airlines, China Airlines or Thai Airways)
  • Vietnam internal airfares
  • 15 nights accommodation (twin/double) plus 1 night on board during your Halong Bay cruise
  • Round trip airport & hotel transfers
  • Entrance fees to attractions in program
  • Daily meals as indicated (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
  • Private coach transportation
  • English speaking tour guide/s (except Phu Quoc = only hotel/airport transfer)
  • Government taxes and service charges

Package Exclusions:

  • Prepaid tipping: $150
  • Vietnam visa
  • Travel insurance (strongly recommended)
  • Personal expenses & anything optional

Optional Activities Optional Extension

  • Water Puppet Show and Hanoi Foodie Tour: Includes English-speaking guide, transportation, sample food, Southern-style beef noodle dinner, local beer, drinks at Bia Hoi and coffee – $65pp (min. 2 people)
  • Cycling Tour from Hoi An to Tra Que Village: Includes private tour, English-speaking guide, bicycle rental – $45pp (min. 2 people)
  • Tour from Hoi An to Fishing Village and Waterways: English-speaking guide, tour activities as mentioned in itinerary – $110pp (min. 2 people)
  • Lune Performing Center Hoi An: English-speaking guide, admission to show, light dinner – $105pp (min. 2 people)
  • Half Day Danang City Tour (with lunch): Includes private tour, lunch, English-speaking guide, transfers – $95pp (min. 2 people)
  • Royal Dinner in Hue: Includes English-speaking guide and transfer, dinner – $95pp (min. 2 people)
  • Dinner Cruise on Saigon River: – $60pp (min. 2 people)
  • Phu Quoc Sunset Barbecue & Squid Fishing Cruise: Includes transfers, boat trip, dinner on board – $80pp (min. 2 people)
  • Full Day Tour East and South Phu Quoc Island (with lunch): Includes transportation, all entrance fees, lunch – $120pp (min. 2 people)
  • Vinpearl Land Amusement Park: Includes transportation, entrance fee – $85pp (min. 2 people)
  • Vinpearl Safari Phu Quoc: Includes transportation, entrance fee – $90pp (min. 2 people)

Hotel Accommodation Optional Extension

Location Accommodation Local Rating
Hanoi Hotel Le Carnot or similar
Sapa Sapa Charm Hotel or similar
Halong Cruise Bellezza Cruise, Bai Tho Cruise, or similar 3-4 star
Hoi An CoCo River Resort or similar 3-4 star
Hue Park View Hotel Hue or similar
Ho Chi Minh City Silverland Centre or similar
Phu Quoc Mercury Phu quoc Resort & Villas or similar

Fly to Hanoi via connecting cities. On arrival at Noi Bai International Airport, you will be welcomed by your guide and driver who will bring you to your hotel in Hanoi City to rest up for the tour ahead. Hanoi is over 1000 years old and is currently the capital of Vietnam, as well the commercial, political, and cultural heart of the country.
Hanoi
Early transfer by bus to Sapa. Arriving around lunchtime, you’ll check in to your hotel. In the afternoon, visit Cat Cat village (light trekking required), where you may wish to try the local apple wine or purchase a hand-woven blanket, and Sapa town.
Sapa Trek
Leave Sapa after breakfast, and drive southwards and up Den Thang Mountain. Take an easy walk to explore Hang Da, a Black Hmong village, which displays the age-old lifestyle of the Hmong. We then follow the village path downhill through the stunning valley of Sa Seng. Along the way, we pass several hamlets which are organised in the typical Hmong style. The walk ends after paying a visit to Sa Pa, another hamlet of the Hmong which is located near the former Sapa traditional market.
Sapa
After breakfast, depart for Hanoi. On arrival, check in to your hotel and enjoy free time at leisure.
Hanoi Street
Our guide and driver will pick you up for your Hanoi city tour: Visit the infamous Hoa Lo Prison – known as ‘the Hanoi Hilton‘ during the American War. Those incarcerated at Hoa Lo included Pete Peterson, who became the first US Ambassador to a unified Vietnam in 1995, and the late Senator John McCain, the Republican nominee for the US presidency in 2008. Next, visit the Temple of Literature, the first university in Vietnam, built for the sons of mandarins (high government officials). Then it’s on to West Lake and Tran Quoc Temple, the oldest Buddhist temple in Hanoi, which is located on a small island near the southeastern shore of the lake. After lunch, visit Ba Dinh Square, where Ho Chi Minh read Viet Nam’s Declaration of Independence on 2 September 1945. Visit Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum (reminiscent of Lenin’s Mausoleum in Moscow), and Ho Chi Minh’s House, a modest residence from which he led the country until his death in 1969. Then, transfer by bus to the ancient ’36 Meandering Streets’ of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, which you can explore before before returning to the hotel.

Optional Activity (at your own expense); Hanoi Foodie tour: Meet your guide at the hotel, and walk through the bustling old quarter as your guide tells you about the various foods on offer – stop and try some if you like! Then we will stop at a ‘Bia Hoi’ store, sit down and share a relaxing moment with locals. At night, the sidewalks are full of pop-up restaurants which offer truly local food like Banh Cuon (rice rolls with pork and herbs inside), and many kinds of noodle dish. For dinner, you will enjoy southern-style beef noodles in Hang Dieu street. End the night with a drink at a local coffee shop, talking about life in Vietnam, before heading back to your hotel.

NOTE: Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum is only viewable from outside if your visit is on a Monday or Friday, and from 5 Sep. to 5 Nov. due to annual maintenance. Rules regarding dress and behaviour are strictly enforced by staff and guards. Legs must be covered (no shorts or miniskirts).

Beef Noodle Soup
Travel by coach to Halong Bay and take a boat trip to explore one of the world’s great natural wonders, cruising the thousands of limestone islands filled with caves of all shapes and sizes. The sails of junks and sampans gliding along the clear and emerald waters of the bay form a magnificent picturesque scene that blends with the sky. You also get a chance to visit some of the hidden grottoes beneath the towering cliffs. A seafood lunch and dinner will be served on board the charming junk. Stay overnight on board.
Enjoy the aquamarine waters of the bay at its best as the junk continues to cruise quietly through spectacular limestone formations. Disembark from the junk at noon and transfer to Hanoi airport for a short flight to Da Nang. On arrival, you will be picked up and transferred to Hoi An, an ancient town recognised as a World Cultural Heritage site by UNESCO. Check into your hotel.
You will be escorted by our local guide to discover Hoi An by walking tour through the narrow streets of this charming town. Perhaps more than any other place in Vietnam, Hoi An retains the feel of centuries past. Once known as Faifo, Hoi An was an influential port along the Silk Road. For over 500 years merchants from China, Japan, France, and Portugal settled in the prosperous town, resulting in a distinctive blend of culture, cuisine, religions and architecture. In 1999, the town was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The afternoon is free at your own leisure. You may also join our optional cycling tour (at your own expense).

Optional Activity – Half-day cycling tour from Hoi An to Tra Que Village:Take a scenic bicycle ride through the rice paddies to Tra Que Village just outside Hoi An. This little village is well-known for supplying the many restaurants and hotels in the area with fresh herbs and vegetables. You will walk through the vegetable gardens, experience how the local farmers work the land and learn more about the history of the village and the importance of herbs in Vietnamese medicine and cuisine, before your relaxing pedal back to town.

This morning, you will visit the Réhahn Museum, to view the ‘Precious Heritage Collection’, by French Photographer Réhahn. This work focuses on the endangered cultural heritage of Vietnam’s 54 ethnic minority groups, attempting to document their rapidly-changing ways of life. Then, visit the highly-regarded Bebe Tailor Shop to discover the story behind Vietnam’s traditional outfits. Afterwards, you may enjoy the following optional activities (at your own expense):

Optional Activity 1 – Fishing Village & Waterway Eco-tour: Enjoy an authentic social and cultural insight into the local Vietnamese way of life. Drive to a local farming village traveling along picturesque country roads. Explore the now tranquil coconut-palm flanked waterways of a past war and hear of the extreme conditions endured by soldiers on both sides. Meet local fishermen and experience their daily life. You will take a wooden boat to a ‘water coconut forest’, and join local fishermen on the river to experience round net and cast net fishing. Learn to paddle bamboo basket boats and join in a basket boat race. You’ll also learn how to use reeds or palm leaves to make grasshoppers, birds, rings, sunglasses, etc. Return to the boat to enjoy lunch and a cold beer or soft drink and then return the hotel by car.

Optional Activity 2 – Lune Performing Center Hoi An: The Centre, with it’s graceful bamboo dome architecture, is known for such performances as My Village, Teh Dar, and The Mist. The shows portray the daily lives of farmers, minority tribes, and urban and rural dwellers, and carry Lune Production’s vision of upholding Vietnam’s culture and heritage, creating a whole new destination where heritage and art converge.

Today, drive to Hue City stopping along the way to take pictures at Lang Co Beach. On arrival, check into your hotel and enjoy free time at leisure. Hue City, during the Nguyen Dynasty (1802 – 1945), was the political, economic and cultural capital of Vietnam and its historical monuments were recognised as a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1993. One of the largest battles of the Vietnamese revolutionary war was fought in Hue, as part of the 1968 ‘Tet Offensive’ that turned the tide of the war against the US-backed Republic of Vietnam. On arrival, you will take a boat trip to Thien Mu Pagoda – an historic pagoda on the banks of the Perfume River. Apart from the scenic riverside and hilltop location, the Thien Mu Pagoda and its environs are rich in history, standing witness to almost four hundred years of tumultuous nation-building in Vietnam. Transfer back to the centre of Hue city to visit the massive Kinh Thanh Citadel, the most well-known and iconic site in Hue, a sprawling complex within 2.5 km of walls, comprised of the Imperial City, several museums, lakes, and lovely gardens, all laid out in a series of concentric circles. Return to the hotel.

Optional Activity; Enjoy a sumptuous Royal Dinner (at your own expense, four people minimum). Dress in beautiful traditional clothes (provided by the restaurant) and be served dishes which used to be made for the royal family. Enjoy live music during dinner.

We transfer to Hue Airport to catch a morning flight to Ho Chi Minh City. On arrival at Tan Son Nhat Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, you are picked up for transfer to the city centre to visit to imposing Dong Khoi Street (formerly Catinat street) before going to the Notre Dame Cathedral. This is the most famous landmark in Vietnam, as the twin bell towers can be seen from a great distance. In the same square is the famous Saigon Post Office, the largest functioning post office in Vietnam. Continue on to visit Reunification Palace, the palace of the presidents of South Vietnam before 1975, and the War Remains Museum, where you can learn about the Vietnam War. At the end of the day, visit Ben Thanh Market before returning to your hotel, after which you are free at leisure.
HCMC
Depart with our guide and driver for a scenic drive through the Mekong Delta, home to the richest agricultural lands in Vietnam. On arrival at My Tho City, take a boat trip on the Mekong River to fishing villages and Dragon, Unicorn, Turtle and Phoenix Islands. Crossing the Mekong River, you’ll cruise along a small canal to see the daily life of locals in Bến Tre Province, visiting Quới An bee farm and handicraft workshop to enjoy some honey-tea and see how people make things from coconut wood. Take a horse-cart along country roads to visit fruit orchards, enjoy tropical fruit and listen to traditional music. Then, take small sampans back to your cruise to ‘Coconut Village’ for a coconut candy workshop and tasting. Visit Phoenix Island for a rice-paper workshop, then return by boat to My Tho by road back to Ho Chi Minh City. Enjoy the rest of the day free at leisure.
After breakfast, we visit the amazing Cu Chi Tunnels, a well-known historical vestige of the Vietnamese revolution. This cobweb-like tunnel complex is a network of underground dug-outs over 200 km long, consisting of many layers and turnings with meeting, living, and fighting quarters where we learn firsthand how the Viet Cong survived their extraordinary underground existence during the Vietnam War. Visit a lacquerware factory on the way back, and then enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure. You may also join an optional dinner cruise on Saigon River.

Optional Activity: Join (at your own expense) a Dinner Cruise on Saigon River.

Take a short flight to Phu Quoc Island. Located in the Gulf of Thailand just off the coast of Cambodia & Vietnam, the heart-shaped island of Phu Quoc is rapidly becoming one of Vietnam’s premier tour destinations as visitors discover the charms of its white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. On arrival, you’ll be picked up and transferred to your hotel by the driver to check in. The rest of the day is free at leisure. In the evening you may wish to join our optional sunset cruise and barbeque.

Optional Activity: Sunset Barbecue & Squid Fishing Cruise. Watch a beautiful sunset over Phu Quoc as you sail out on a fishing boat. A barbecue dinner is provided – if you can hook a squid, you get to eat it!

Phu Quoc Island
Today you’re free to explore the island’s rugged jungle, striking white sand, and sparkling cobalt waters. Phu Quoc also offers varied options for you to explore, or take our wide-ranging and fascinating full day island tour.

Optional Activity: Full Day Tour, East and South Phu Quoc Island. Head south to visit a pearl farm, An Thoi Port, a dried sea food market, and Phu Quoc Prison Museum. Built in 1967-68 by the U. S. Army to detain captured Viet Cong and North Vietnamese soldiers, many of the high ranking leaders of Vietnam were detained in Phu Quoc Prison. At Sao Beach – one of the most beautiful beaches of the Island, we enjoy a simple lunch (included in package). Continue on visit Cau Temple, a traditional fish sauce factory, a pepper garden, Su Muon Pagoda & Ham Ninh fishing village.

Phu Quoc Sea
Enjoy the whole day at leisure for relaxing at your hotel/resort or on the beach, or join our optional excursions to Vinpearl Land Amusement Park and Vinpearl Safari Park.

Optional Activity: Discover Vinpearl Land Amusement Park. Vinpearl Land Phu Quoc offers exciting activities & games such as the Compact Coaster, Swing Carousel, Evolution, Merry-go-round, 4D Movies, Bumpers Cars, Crazy Bull riding, 3D & Video games are available, and much more. Vinpearl Land will definitely not disappoint!

Optional Activity: Vinpearl Safari Phu Quoc. Vinpearl Safari Park is Vietnam’s largest wildlife conservation park. Nestled in Bai Dai, on the Northwest coast of Phu Quoc Island, Vinpearl Safari Park, conserves abundant indigenous and exotic flora and fauna. This is a unique opportunity to see wildlife that can’t be seen anywere else!

NOTE: Today’s two optional activities may be combined.

Phu Quoc Beach
Enjoy the morning at leisure before checking out and transferring to the airport for your onward flight to Saigon then connecting with your flight home.
Arrive back in Australia.