GRAND TOUR VIETNAM

Length

14 DAYS

Type of tour

CULTURE/NATURE

Type of service

PRIVATE

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TRIP OVERVIEW

  Vietnam is an extraordinary and extensive country, offering a wide variety of itineraries of different lengths to suit your needs.

Grand Tour Vietnam is a carefully designed itinerary that guarantees an authentic and comprehensive experience, covering the remote northern provinces, the most important historical sites, Halong Bay and the Mekong Delta.

Stroll through the streets of the charming Hanoi and visit the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first university, the imposing mausoleum erected in honour of Ho Chi Minh, the enchanting Old Quarter, where you can enjoy delicious street food, and the renowned water puppet show.

Discover the astonishing landscapes of Ninh Binh, and Sapa, the picturesque town at 1500 metres above sea level in the remote mountains of northwest Vietnam, famous for its rugged scenery, rich cultural diversity, rice terraces and lush vegetation.

Immerse yourself in the unique natural surroundings of Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994 and one of the Seven Wonders of the World, framed by incredible karst mountains.

Visit the ancient capital Huè, the trading city Hoi An and the cosmopolitan Ho Chi Minh City.

Experience the magic of the Mekong Delta, known as the ‘rice bowl of Vietnam’, by sailing on a traditional sampan through floating villages and colourful riverside markets.

This suggested itinerary can be customised according to your travel needs as well as combined with other routes.

Itineraries-Gran-tour-in-Uzbekistan © In Asia Travel

DOWNLOAD ITINERARY

Length : 14D 13N
From : HANOI
To : SAIGON
Destinations  : Hanoi, Ninh Binh, Sapa, Halong Bay, Huè, Danang, Hoi An, Saigon, Can Tho, Cai Rang, Saigon

ITINERARY

01. ARRIVE IN HANOI

Arrival in Hanoi, the charming capital of Vietnam.
Welcome meeting by our staff at the airport and transfer to the hotel.

Included : Tour guide, private transportation and hotel 

02. HANOI

Old HanoiOld Hanoi

After breakfast we start our tour of the capital from the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, a symbolic building that preserves the remains of the famous Vietnamese President in the centre of Ba Dinh Square where the Declaration of Independence was read in 1945.

We move on to the Presidential House, built in colonial style, and the One Pillar Pagoda, the name refers to its special structure supported by a single pillar, a symbol of the purity of the lotus flower. It was built by Emperor Ly Thai Tong as a good omen for the birth of a male son who would inherit the throne.

We then travel to the West Lake, the largest natural reservoir of 4 square kilometres in Hanoi, to Tran Quoc Pagoda, the capital’s oldest Buddhist temple built in the 6th century, and to the Temple of Literature, the nation’s first university and Imperial Academy built in 1070 in honour of Confucius.

In the afternoon, we visit the Old Quarter, “Old Hanoi“, aboard a traditional cyclò as we meander through the narrow streets that criss-cross the historic centre and take their name from the type of goods sold.

We stop at Hoan Kiem Lake, also known as the Lake of the Restored Sword, and continue over the red wooden bridge The Huc that leads to the Ngoc Son temple, or temple of the Jade Mountain. We end the day with the world-famous water puppet show.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide, tickets and private transportation 

03. NINH BINH, HOA LU AND TRANG AN

Ninh Binh - VietnamNinh Binh

In the morning we drive to Ninh Binh, about 100km south of Hanoi, in the southern part of the Red River Delta.

Famous for the hundreds of limestone cliffs that rise out of the ground in the vast rice fields, this region is aptly nicknamed “Halong Bay on land”. In addition to the incredible views, the visit is a great opportunity to experience Vietnam’s rural lifestyle.

We visit Hoa Lu, the former capital until 1010 AD, a place with a remarkable past, witness to numerous events that changed the course of the nation’s history. Afterwards we continue with a visit to the Bai Dinh and Le temples.

In the afternoon we visit Trang An Complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for its system of caves, valleys and historical relics. We cruise down the river to relax while admiring the spectacular natural park.

Once finished, transfer to Hanoi train station in time for the overnight train to Lao Cai in North Vietnam.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide, tickets, boat, private transportation, train ticket 

04. LAO CAI - BAC HA MARKET

Bac Ha market - Vietnam © Gabriele Stoia - In Asia TravelBac Ha market

Arrival in Lao Cai very early in the morning, around 5.30 am. After breakfast in a local restaurant we continue to Bac Ha, the small town in the Northeast of Vietnam particularly famous for its tribal market “Bac Ha Sunday Market” which only takes place on Sunday morning.

The bazaar is undoubtedly the most exciting visit of the trip as it enables us to dip into the colourful traditions of the Nung, Mong Flower and Black Dzao ethnic minorities, as they meet at the market to barter for goods.

In the afternoon, we enjoy a boat trip on the scenic Chay River surrounded by sheer mountain scenery.

We continue with a short trek to Ban Pho village to admire the amazing rice terraces from above and to meet the friendly H’Mong tribe.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide, tickets, boat and private transportation 

05. TREKKING LAO CHAI, TA VAN, SAPA

Sapa © Gabriele Stoia - In Asia TravelRice terrace at Sapa

We spend the day exploring the surroundings of SaPa on foot, crossing rice fields and stopping at the most breath-taking lookout points.

After breakfast we continue through the Muong Valley, the most scenic valley in the area, towards the Muong Hoà River. Along the small paths we stop at some local dwellings to watch the authentic daily lifestyle of the local tribes known for their great hospitality.

Passing by Lao Chai, inhabited by the Black H’Mong tribe, we reach Ta Van, the picturesque village of about 1000 inhabitants of different ethnic groups including Zday and Red Dao.

In the afternoon we return to SaPa and continue with the transfer to Hanoi.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide and private transportation 

06. HALONG CRUISE

Halong Bay © Gabriele StoiaHalong Bay

Early morning transfer to Ha Long port (approx. 4h). Upon arrival board the junk for an unforgettable cruise in Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994 and considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World since 2008.

Stretching over an area of more than 1500 square kilometres, it is home to thousands of small monolithic limestone islands, fantastic caves and a marine biodiversity and biosystem with a wide variety of flora and fauna.

During the navigation in the beautiful naturalistic scenery of the bay you can practice some activities foreseen by the program established by the navigation company such as swimming, snorkelling, kayaking, visiting a limestone cave and a fishing village, or simply relax surrounded by the extraordinary landscape.

Both lunch and dinner are served on board and include a tasting of seafood. Overnight stay in an air-conditioned private cabin.

Included : Junk in Halong, breakfast, lunch, dinner, tour guide 

07. HALONG CRUISE - HUE

Halong Bay - Vietnam © Gabriele StoiaHalong Bay

The cruise offers the privilege of watching the spectacular sunrise over Halong Bay. If you wish, you can take part in a Tai Chi class on the deck of the junk at 6am.

After breakfast, further activities are planned on board, depending on the cruise programme.

On the way back to Ha Long port, lunch will be served on board to conclude this unique experience.

Pick up at the port and transfer to Hanoi International Airport in time for the domestic flight to Huè. Upon arrival transfer to the hotel.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, lunch, tour guide, domestic flight and private transportation 

08. HUÈ

Citadel of HueCitadel of Hue

We spend the day visiting Hué, the former capital of South Vietnam in 1744 and from 1802 to 1945 during the reign of the Nguyen Dynasty.

It was founded in 1687, initially under the name Phu Xuan, along the banks of the Perfume River, which divides the city into two parts: on the left bank the Old City with the Citadel and the imperial residences, and on the right bank the New City, once inhabited by Europeans.

In 1802 it was renamed to its present name by Emperor Nguyen Anh. Hué is also known for its spectacular imperial tombs, ancient pagodas, temples and of course its fine cuisine.

We embark on a boat trip on the Huong River, better known as the Perfume River for the poetic view and fragrant aroma of the orchids that fall into the river in autumn. We visit the Thien Mu Pagoda, or “Pagoda of the Celestial Lady“, a symbol of Hué, built in the 17th century during the Le Dynasty.

We then continue to the Imperial City, the fortified palace built inside the Citadel in 1623.

In the afternoon we visit the tomb of Emperor Minh Mang, the second of the Nguyen Dynasty, and the Tu Hieu Pagoda, considered to be one of the most fascinating places of worship.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide, boat, tickets and private transportation 

09. HOI AN

Hoi AnHoi An

After breakfast transfer to Hoi An, the ancient mercantile hub surrounded by a variety of spectacular landscapes, featuring a range of buildings built with Chinese and Japanese artistic influences, evidence of a vibrant commercial past in the 2nd century AD.

On the way we pass through Danang, Vietnam’s third largest city, Hai Van Pass, better known as the ” Ocean Cloud pass ” for its incredible view of the China Sea, Lang Co, a place of beautiful paddy fields and gorgeous beaches.

Further south we come across the ‘Marble Mountains‘, a cluster of five hills named after the five elements and where several Buddhist and Hindu sanctuaries can be found within the mountains.

In the afternoon we visit the ancient city of Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999, with its buildings that still retain the classic style and characteristics of the merchant cities of the 15th-19th centuries with Chinese, Japanese and European architectural influences.

We visit the Japanese Bridge and the adjoining Cau Chua Pagoda built at the end of the 16th century by the Japanese community.

We continue to the old Phung Hung House built in 1780, one of the finest examples of architecture in Hoi An.

We conclude the day with a visit to the Fukien Temple built at the end of the 17th century by the Fujian Chinese congregation.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide, tickets and private transportation 

10. HOI AN

Free day in Hoi An to stroll through Hoi An’s charming alleys or relax on the beach.

Included : Hotel, breakfast 

11. Flight TO SAIGON

Free morning in Hoi An. 

Later we continue to Danang airport in time for the domestic flight to Saigon. Upon arrival transfer to the hotel.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, domestic flight, private transportations 

12. VISIT CU CHI TUNNEL AND SAIGON

Notre Dame CathedralNotre Dame Cathedral

After breakfast transfer to Cu Chi, the most devastated district, bombed and poisoned by Napalm during the Vietnam War.

We visit Cu Chi tunnels, the famous underground network of tunnels that has played a crucial role in the survival of many people. The first works date back to the 1940s, when the Vietnamese began digging tunnels to escape compulsory conscription, French attacks and to keep in touch between villages. In the 1960s, the Viet Cong extended the tunnels to over 250km and since then they have become legendary during the Vietnam War.

In the afternoon we visit Saigon, the former Royal Prey Nokor capital at the time of the Khmer Kingdom, later capital of the French Colony, or Cochinchina, as well as of the Independent Republic of South Vietnam until 1976 when it was renamed Ho Chi Minh City by the homonymous leader.

Among the main highlights we visit the Post Office, built in the 19th century with Renaissance and Gothic influences, Notre Dame Cathedral built during the French colony, and the Thien Hau Pagoda, an excellent example of the Chinese architecture dedicated to the Goddess of the Sea.

We end the day with a visit to the War Museum, a permanent exhibition of the atrocities of the Vietnam War.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide, tickets and private transportation 

13. MEKONG DELTA - BEN TRE

Delta MekongDelta Mekong

Our journey moves on to Vietnam’s southern provinces to the Mekong Delta. For thousands of years, it has played an important role, initially in trade due to its advantageous geographical position on the sea route between India and China, and today above all in the economic field, to the point that it has been named the “rice bowl of Vietnam“.

Upon arrival in Ben Tre, we visit the rural areas to learn about the daily activities that are still carried out following ancient traditions. Fishing and agriculture are without doubt the key sectors in this area. Along the way, we stop to observe some production processes that give us an insight into the lifestyle of the Mekong people.

We also stop to see a kiln used for traditional brick firing, a workshop for processing coconut and other derivative products and a weaving house where straw mats are still made by hand.

We board a sampan, the traditional wooden boat, through the narrow inlets of the Delta and dock in a village to visit a local house and taste the delicious South Vietnamese cuisine.

In the afternoon we continue cruising the canals for a special visit to the home of Mr. Khanh, a passionate collector of antiques and very special artefacts relating to the history of Vietnam, as well as original family photos from the French colonial period.

Afterwards transfer to Can Tho.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide, tickets, boats, lunch and private transportation 

14. CAI RANG FLOATING MARKET - DEPARTURE

floating marketFloating Market

Early in the morning we visit the famous Cai Rang floating market, one of the most picturesque in the Mekong Delta. The local markets are traditionally held at dawn and are a must to admire in amazement the hard work of Vietnamese traders.

We embark at the Can Tho jetty and cruise through the crowded water bazaar, surrounded by boats of different sizes used by local traders.

Exotic fruits, vegetables and flowers in huge quantities contribute to enhance this vibrant colourful scenery. Afterwards we visit some local houses.

Following this, transfer to Saigon airport in time for your departure flight.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide, boat and private transportation 

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