Tour Route: Hanoi – Cat Ba Island – Hue – Hoi An – Phan Rang – Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
Duration: 11 Days/ 10 Nights
Departure Date: Any Time You Wish
Start/ End: Hanoi/ Saigon
Day 1: Hanoi Arrival
Day 2: Cat Ba Island
Day 3: Hanoi – Night Train
Day 4: Hue Exploration
Day 5: Hoi An
Day 6: Free in Hoi An
Day 7: Hoi An Ancient Town – Night Train
Day 8, 9: Phan Rang – Night Train
Day 10, 11: Saigon Departure
Day 1: Hanoi Arrival (D)
Welcome to Hanoi, Vietnam! The adventure kicks off with a group right after the meeting our guide and driver. Check out the reflection in the stunning Hoan Kiem Lake and wander along the shaded boulevards, feel the change of Hanoi through time. Visit the Dong Xuan Market nearby Hoan Kiem Lake, explore the Old Quarter by a cyclo tour. That’s easy to catch the soul of Hanoi!
We leave Hanoi Old Quarter and visit the serene Temple of Literature, the first university in Vietnam. And right after the sun slowly falls down, we grab a streetside stall and a fresh Beer (Bia Hoi) and watch the motorbikes zoom by with the new mates. Overnight at the hotel in Hanoi.
Day 2: Cat Ba Island (B, L, D)
Start your day by a 3.5-hour journey by bus and ferry to Cat Ba Island, the largest island in the UNESCO listed in Halong Bay. Thousands of little limestone islands scattered around make this area become one of the quintessential scenes of Vietnam in which bright green water is dotted with the traditional junk boats and limestone karsts.
Enjoy a cruise around Lan Ha Bay with lunch on the boat, then explore the other-worldly landscape by kayaking. Stay overnight on Cat Ba Island and relish in a dip in the beach and cold beer.
Day 3: Hanoi – Cat Ba Island – Night Train (B, L, D)
Wake up early in the morning and savor the perfect scenes of Cat Ba Island and enjoy your time on the beach. Go for a swim, kick back with a book or take a romantic stroll along the sand which will be neither long nor romantic. In the afternoon, we head back to Hanoi and jump on the night train to Hue (about 12 hours). Perhaps it’s the first time you’re on an overnight train in Asia and trust us, it’s definitely an interesting experience.
Day 4: Hue Exploration (B, L, D)
Upon arrival Hue, the former imperial capital of Ancient Vietnam. You have a free day to relax and explore this place. It’s easy to spend a couple of hours exploring the massive citadel, the Forbidden Purple Palace that’s enclosed within it. Perhaps jump on a Dragon Boat and enjoy a cruise up the Perfume River (Huong River), visit Thien Mu Pagoda.
After that, you could also check out Dong Ba Market, offering locally made goods, fresh produce, and some tasty street foods. It is definitely a good place to try the grub that Emperor Nguyen used to feast on. If you like to experience on two wheels, you can cycle out to one of the royal tombs such as the tomb of Tu Duc Emperor, or set off on an optional motorcycle tour of the scenery in Hue and some surrounding villages. Overnight in Hue.
Day 5: Hoi An (B, D, L)
Continue along the coast to get Hoi An Ancient Town by the 3-hour drive. When in Hoi An, the guide will take you on a walking tour of this unique town which has been influenced over the years by Vietnam, China, Japan, and Europe. This antique town was a major trading port from the 17th century onwards. These small towns in Hoi An are pretty lively in places. In others, it is chilled out. Down the street that is being restored and look like they did 100 years ago or even more.
Day 6: Free Day in Hoi An (B)
Enjoy your free day in Hoi An. You can wander along the Central Market, browse the paintings, woodwork, ceramics, and lanterns.
Hoi An is well-known for its talented tailors, so you can get yourself something new and special in this place. Or, if you like adventurous experience, hire a bicycle and ride around the countryside (This is a great idea for the best experience rural Vietnam). Turn back to the hotel to stay overnight.
Day 7: Hoi An Ancient Town – Night Train (B, L, D)
It’s the second free day in Hoi An paradise. You could take a trip to My Son Temple (it’s the World Heritage-listed beauties reflecting the rich cultural traditions of the Chan civilization), take a cruise along Thu Bon River or get beachy with the trip to Cua Dai Beach. After that, board your next overnight train. This 8-hour train is to Phan Rang, a great beach town on the central coast.
Day 8, 9: Phan Rang – Night Train (B, L, D)
Reach Phan Rang town in the early morning and ready for the two days of relaxation. Phan Rang has the best weather in Vietnam, it is a low-key coastal city where swimming, snorkeling, or seafood take priority. Feel the vibe when face with the beauty, slow down and take it easy because the trip is worth the best, right? Swap the deck chair for a chunk bed and buckle up for the 7-hour journey to Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 10, 11: Ho Chi Minh City Departure (B, L, D)
Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City in the early morning and then transfer to the hotel. Take a rest and savor breakfast. Ho Chi Minh City formerly known as Saigon is a whirl of sights and sounds. The city is actually a blend of old and new things, between the East and West cultures. You can still witness the French influence in the top-notch baguettes and coffee on offer. In comparison with food in the North, Ho Chi Minh food is spicier, sweeter, and more varied. There are myriad of daily activity takes place in the streets, lined with shops, stores, and vendors whose wares are spread on the footpath – everything from soup to sophisticated electronics. The local guide will take you on a walk through the city to point out the best sites.
It’s worth to visit the Reunification Palace and War Remnants Museum, Cu Chi Tunnels, and delve into the floating world in the Mekong Delta. Chill out in the evening with a drink on Pham Ngu Lao Street. Your Vietnam Tour ends.