Vietnam, the “s” shaped strip of land in the Indochina peninsula, is still seen by many westerns as a war-torn country. More than two decades have passed since the reunification of Vietnam and time has done a fantastic job healing its wounds. Today, this graceful and elegant country, with a thrilling mix of cultures and traditions, is one of the most amazing destinations on the planet! Blessed with a stunning coastline, mountains, forests, dynamic cities and outstanding cultural interest, Vietnam was the last dragon to wake up!
Its people spread smiles and hallo´s, and you’ll have countless opportunities to engage with them and hear their stories. Vietnam’s cuisine is probably one of the best that you’ll find all over the world.
Xin Chao! Welcome to Vietnam!
Your adventure starts by landing in the oldest capital of Southeast Asia. Once settled in at the hotel, you can rest from the long hours of flight or choose to take the first steps in discovering Hanoi, the “City of Meando River” or Thang Long (The Rising Dragon) as it’s known by the Vietnamese. Be careful when crossing the street!
In the morning we’ll go by motorcycle, with a driver, to the Temple of Literature (the oldest university in Vietnam). We’ll pass by the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda and we’ll finish at the Ho Tay Lake, still in time to see the Tran Quoc Pagoda.
In the afternoon, we’ll begin to explore the fascinating Old Quarter, or “36 streets”, the busiest commercial area of the city that dates back to the 13th century. Meanwhile, we’ll have time to taste Bia Hoi, the world’s cheapest craft beer and have an introduction to the Vietnamese way of toasting. We watch the ancient Water Puppet Theatre, one of the most authentic expressions of the Vietnamese culture and have dinner taking the first steps in the outstanding gastronomy of the country.
Early in the morning, we set off towards the scenic valley of Mai Chau, a journey of about 4 hours.
In an idyllic valley, Mai Chau contrasts with the bustle of Hanoi. In its vicinity, there are Thai villages surrounded by rice paddies where the soundtrack is made of bird songs. It’s around these villages that we will dedicate our time.
After a well-deserved lunch, we will discover by bike the villages and local people.
In the mid-afternoon, we head to our accommodation in Hidden Buoc village, where you can enjoy a dip in the swimming pool, take a bike ride or relax.
Accommodation: homestay (dorm)
Meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner
Today is a day of trekking about 7.5 km accompanied by a local guide along the wonderful surrounding villages and breathtaking rice paddies.
After lunch, we set out for Ninh Binh.
Accommodation: homestay (dorm)
Meals: breakfast and lunch
Good morning! We’re in Ninh Binh, a city in the countryside.
Amidst a sea of paddy fields, nón lá, water buffalos, smiles, churches and karst outcrops, we’ll go for a ride in a rowing boat and visit Buddhist temples.
After dinner, we’ll head to Hué by train where we’ll be arriving the next morning.
Accommodation: overnight sleeper train
Hué is one of the most important cultural and historical centres of Vietnam. Classified as World Heritage in 1993, it was the capital of the Nguyen Empire.
Today we will visit some of the city’s most iconic temples. The Citadel, home of the Nguyen Dynasty emperors, is a must see! Built by Emperor Gia Long in 1805, consists of three concentric enclosures: the Imperial, Civil and Purple Forbidden cities. Nowadays, much of the Citadel is destroyed by the Indochina and Vietnam wars. However, recent restoration has brought back some of the ancient greatness of this place.
After dinner, let’s go out?
After yesterday’s night, this morning is free so that you can rest.
The afternoon will be spent exploring the southern countryside of Hué, namely the tombs of the Nguyen emperors. They are the fascinating attractions in the region! Although 13 governors occupied the imperial throne, only 7 had the honour to possess their tomb or hang.
Early in the morning, we’ll go to Hoi An, the wonderland of Vietnam, in a journey of about 5 hours.
Situated in the bank of Thu Bom River, the city of Hoi An, with its impressive historical and cultural legacy, is another UNESCO World Heritage Site, classified in 1999.
After lunch, we visit the Reaching Out Vietnam project and end up drinking tea or coffee in their quiet tea house.
At night, after dinner, we will roam the streets of this magnificent city, which will stay in your heart. Do you want to know why? Let the nightfall!
Prepared to deal with traffic as drivers? In the morning, we’ll take a bike ride along the river that will take us to the Cao Dai beach. Sunbathing and many dives await us this afternoon as well as a delicious grilled fish.
We begin exploring the traditional and bustling central market, from which we’ll be wandering freely along the streets of Hoi An, enjoying its fusion of cultures. Through tubular houses, Chinese pagodas, community rooms, family altars and a Japanese Covered Bridge, we’ll have enough time to relax. How about a Cà Phê in a great terrace overlooking the river?
The afternoon is free to continue your stroll through town or go straight to the beach.
Last day in Hoi An, it’s time to do last minute shopping and feel the energy of this wonderful city.
In the early afternoon, we will go to the city of Danang, where we will catch the flight to Can Tho.
Born in the highlands of Tibet, the Mekong River extends for nearly 4500 km, dragging sediments from China, through Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia before dividing into tributaries that give the region the name of Song Cuu Lang, or “River of Nine Dragons”. These channels make southern Vietnam favourable to the cultivation of rice and fruits such as coconuts, longans and mangoes.
In Can Tho, the biggest city of the Mekong, trading takes place on the river, being a highlight in the town. By boat we’ll visit the two floating markets in Can Tho, Cai Rang and Phong Dien, stop at a noodle factory, see gardens with local fruits and flowers, rice fields, and small canals.
In the afternoon, we’ll catch the bus that will take us to Ho Chi Minh City.
Saigon, renamed as Ho Chi Minh City after the reunification of Vietnam, is a dynamic and exciting city, considered the heart of this country.
After a stop at the Ben Thanh market, we will enter the most recent and dramatic history of this country, the war with the United States of America. The War Remnants Museum is of a mandatory visit!
After having lunch in a restaurant with a particular staff, we head to the centre of the city
In a relaxed walk, we find museums, trendy shops, fine restaurants, grand hotels, cosy cafes and emblematic French colonial buildings such as the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Post Office Central
Station, where we send postcards to anyone who could not accompany us on this adventure.
At night, we’ll go to one of the best rooftops in the city to dance and drink a cocktail.
Last day in Vietnam and almost saying Tâm Biêt Viêt Nam!
It’s time to say goodbye. You’ll be transferred to the Airport of Ho Chi Minh City from where you’ll return to your city of origin.
Have a nice flight and Cám o’n!
"One of the best trips I have ever done."