Vietnam – Local treasures tour
15 days from £1,507* per person Saving you £304 per person*
This itinerary isn’t set in stone. Pick, mix, swap however you like – your trip will be totally tailor made for you.
Day 1 Arrive in Hanoi
Meet your guide at the airport and transfer to your hotel for a two-night stay in Vietnam’s frenetic and fascinating capital.
Day 2 Hanoi city tour
Tour the city’s main sights and hidden gems with your local guide, stopping at the Museum of Ethnology, the Temple of Literature, and Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum and former residence. Take a cyclo tour around the city’s scenic lakes before following your guide on foot through the little lanes of the old quarter to visit a local market and an ancient tube house. Finish your tour with traditional egg coffee at one of the oldest coffee shops in town. See a water puppet show in the evening before heading back to your Hanoi hotel.
Day 3 Sapa
You’ll be driven out of Hanoi and into the lush green hills of Sapa where you can check into your hotel at midday before hiking to a beautiful local waterfall. Explore the main town, which is a popular base for hiking in the area, and visit a local market. Stay overnight in Sapa.
Day 4 Ethnic markets and villages
Take an excursion to an ethnic market where you will see different hill tribes in colourful dress selling handicrafts and local produce. Take a short journey on foot to the village of Ban Pho and learn more about daily life here before taking a cruise along the Chay River, water level permitting. Head back to your hotel for another relaxing evening in Sapa.
Day 5 Sapa Valley, hill tribes and back to Hanoi
Spend the day discovering the vibrant cultures of the hill tribe villages in the Sapa Valley, as well as appreciating the region’s verdant natural beauty. Drive to Lao Chai and hike through rice fields to traditional Black Hmong houses before continuing to traditional villages. You’ll be picked up and driven back to Hanoi for an overnight stay.
Day 6 Local tour of Hoa Lu
Your guide will take you from Hanoi to Hoa Lu, the ancient royal capital of Vietnam that now sits in a peaceful rural area. Once there, you’ll go on a bicycle tour, meet villagers and learn about their daily activities, such as catching crabs and tending rice paddies. Stay and prepare lunch with a local family and then cycle to Nha Le for a river cruise passing through picturesque caves. Stay the night in nearby Ninh Binh.
Day 7 Halong Bay cruise
Drive to the world heritage-listed Halong Bay, famous for its extraordinary jade waters and picturesque limestone karst islands. Board a traditional junk boat for a cruise of the bay, a dip in the water and an overnight stay.
Day 8 Halong Bay to Hoi An
Enjoy a fresh morning on the bay before driving to Hanoi airport for a flight south to Danang. Stop en route to visit a typical northern Vietnamese cemetery. You’ll be picked up at Danang airport and taken to your hotel in Hoi An.
Day 9 Hoi An and My Son
Head off on a half-day trip to My Son, once the capital of the ancient Champa kingdom. Its thousand-year-old towers and sanctuaries now sit in a peaceful tropical valley. On the way back to Hoi An visit an even earlier Champa city before taking a guided tour of Hoi An’s old town. End the day with a visit to a lantern-making cottage before retiring to a local hotel for the night.
Day 10 Hue via the Hai Van Pass
Drive from Hoi An to Hue via the dramatic Hai Van Pass. On the road, visit the Cham Museum full of artefacts and exhibits covering the ancient Champa kingdom. Once in Hue your guide will show you around the Imperial Citadel, Emperor Tu Duc’s Mausoleum and Dong Ba market. You’ll then be whisked off on an evening rickshaw tour to experience Hue’s delicious slow food and local life away from the tourist centre before retiring to your hotel for the night.
Day 11 Thuy Bieu village and fly to Ho Chi Minh City
Take a rickshaw to the ancient manicured village of Thuy Bieu to see its well-preserved communal wooden houses and Fengshui-based gardens. Stay a while to enjoy the nostalgic atmosphere and help a local family prepare a meal from garden-sourced ingredients. Take a boat cruise on the Perfume River back to Hue city, stopping along the way to visit Thien Mu Pagoda. Transfer to Danang airport and fly to Ho Chi Minh City where you will spend the next couple of nights in a comfortable hotel.
Day 12 Ho Chi Minh City tour
Head out early to visit the morning wet market before continuing to Binh Tay market for a traditional local breakfast bowl of noodle soup. Stop to visit Thien Hau temple and China Town’s Medicine Road, and see some of the city’s main sights including the Notre Dame Cathedral and the central historical district with its well-preserved colonial Hotel de Ville and Opera House. Visit the art deco Catinat building, which has become a funky modern city hub with boutiques, galleries and vintage stores, and stop off for a drink at one of the coffee shops. Stay overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 13 Mekong Delta
Leave behind the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City and travel to the sylvan waterways of the Mekong Delta for a cruise around Cai Be floating market. Your guide will take you to the town’s craft workshops, you’ll have lunch at the local Le Longanier restaurant and enjoy a short sampan ride before continuing upstream to Vinh Long. Along the way, visit a tropical orchard and listen to traditional Vietnamese Vong Co music. Stay the night in nearby Can Tho.
Day 14 Floating markets, My Tho and back to Ho Chi Minh City
Board a sampan to visit the Cai Rang floating market, a local fruit plantation and an old colonial house. Explore Can Tho’s local market before tucking into a vegetarian lunch prepared by monks at the Phuoc Long pagoda in the centre of My Tho. Head back to Ho Chi Minh City to stay over in a hotel.
Day 15 Cu Chi Tunnels and fly home
Your local guide will take you to the famous Cu Chi tunnels on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City. The immense network of tunnels was the Viet Cong’s underground base during the Vietnam War. Travel back into the city before departing for Ho Chi Minh City’s international airport and your flight home.
*Prices are based on private arrangements (not lower priced escorted tours with set dates). Quality three star accommodation is quoted here (unless mentioned otherwise), with breakfast included and other meals where mentioned. Mostly private transfers with an English speaking driver/guide and all activities mentioned, with top guides, are included. Domestic flights and transport all included from Day 1 to end point. Can be tailored to your needs, so prices could be lower for budget arrangements or higher for luxury.
International flight is not included