8D7N Vietnam Classic Wonder North to South
In this itinerary, explore the best of Vietnam on this relaxing luxury trip from the rugged north down to its bustling south, with plenty of history, culture, cuisine and incredible scenery on the way.
- Explore Hanoi's hidden alleys, and get to know the city's best delicacies on a Secret Food Walking tour
- Mingle with the locals and visit the Local rural homes of the region
- Hop onto a private long-tailed boat to cruise around the floating market, where you’ll find villagers exchanging goods and produce from their canoes
- Learn about the history and culture of Vietnam and visit one of the most interesting pagodas in the country
- Go onboard a luxury five-star overnight cruise to explore Halong Bay
Day 1: SINGAPORE - HANOI (-/-)
Welcome to Hanoi – Vietnam!
Upon arrival to Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport you will be welcomed by your local guide and driver holding a sign with your name on it. Your guide will lead you through fast-track security services and after you have collected your luggage, will lead the way to your awaiting guide and vehicle. You will be privately transferred between your accommodations and Hanoi Airport by a professional driver and an English-speaking guide.
Hanoi is a bustling and fascinating place – a whirlwind of colours, smells and sounds and a wonderful place to get a real flavour of life in Vietnam.
This afternoon, explore Hanoi's hidden alleys, and get to know the city's best delicacies on a Secret Food Walking tour! Discover traditional Vietnamese food, experience the local’s way of life, inspired by stories of the city's culture and cuisine. Hanoi's cuisine has been known to captivate thousands of foodies around the world.
Step off the beaten track and travel through the maze of Hanoi to seek real authentic food. Your local guide will introduce you to the local food scene over a light and refreshing appetizer, nom bo kho — green papaya salad with beef. Then, to understand the background of Vietnamese cooking ingredients, your guide will take you to visit Hang Be Market, where you'll find all kinds of goods ranging from meat, and tropical fruits to dried food items for worshipping.
Watch how locals make your steamed meat and mushroom pancake and enjoy it while it's hot and fresh. A Vietnamese food tour would be incomplete without slurping a bowl of phò.
Then, on the way to Old Quarter, don’t forget to explore the winding lanes and discovering your own favourite hidden corners. The hustle and bustle of Hanoi is contagious and it is also one of the best places to sample the mouth-watering array of street food that Vietnam is famous for.
Follow in President Obama's footsteps and enjoy bun cha — rice noodles topped with grilled pork. After which, enjoy a nice stroll along Hanoi's 1,000 year old streets while sipping on sugar cane juice with cumquat, which are popular drinks for locals. After your stroll, indulge in a bánh mì. Enjoy the crisp baguette and colourful combination of cheese, pickled vegetables, sausage, fried egg, chicken, or beef.
Then, at our last stop for the day, take a break in a cozy café to enjoy some regional rice wine alongside sausage and cashews, just like the locals do and unwind.
Return to your accommodation to rest for the night.
Accommodation: 5* Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi
Day 2: HANOI (B/L/D)
This morning after breakfast, start your day on the outskirts of the city with your private driver and English-speaking guide by visiting the Museum of Ethnology.
The museum provides an insightful glimpse into the country’s lengthy history, with more than 15,000 photos and 10,000 objects and artefacts depicting a historical perspective of the lives, activities, customs, and habits of the 54 recognized ethnic groups of Vietnam.
Drive back into central Hanoi, stopping at the Temple of Literature, built in 1070 and dedicated to Confucius. Enjoy a local Vietnamese lunch at Banh Tom Ho Tay, a restaurant famous for its shrimp cakes in the West Lake area.
After lunch, visit Truc Bach Lake, featuring a monument to the late US Senator John McCain, commemorating the spot where he parachuted to safety after his plane was shot down over the lakes. At the nearby Huu Tiep Lake, the wreckage of an American B-52 bomber lies as a memorial to the war. From here, visit Hoa Lo Prison, constructed in 1896 by the French to house Vietnamese political prisoners. Under the French regime, it was known as the Maison Centrale and was an important symbol of colonialist exploitation of the era. Continue to Ngoc Son Temple, a pagoda situated on a small island in Hoan Kiem Lake accessible by a classically painted wooden bridge. The view of the city from the pagoda is particularly popular.
This evening, visit the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre for a traditional theatrical performance, followed by a delicious dinner at La Verticale, a restaurant specializing in French-Indochina cuisine. If La Verticale is extremely busy or not available, another restaurant of the same quality will be offered.
At night, head to the train station to board your overnight luxury train to Sapa. This luxury train – harkening back to the romantic, golden age of travel in Indochina with its dark wooden fixtures, cosy sleeping cabins, and spacious lounge – departs six days a week from Hanoi at 10pm and arrives in Lao Cai at 6:10am, allowing travellers to have a restful night before embarking on the day’s adventure.
Accommodation: Overnight in Express Luxury Train to Sapa
Day 3: HANOI – HAI PHONG - HALONG BAY - LAN HA BAY
Today, enjoy a luxury five-star cruise with a readiness to bring you to unique areas of Ha Long Bay, the wonderland on earth, recognized as one of the new 7 world wonders in 2011.
Start with a luxury limousine transfer pick-up from your hotel in the morning and head to to the pier in Hai Phong city for the cruise.
Then, embark onboard the cruise. The cruise will sail whilst you have lunch in the luxury restaurant, enjoying the beauty of the canals on the way to Halong Bay. You will be served a welcome drink and provided with a cold towel. This will be followed by a cruise briefing where you will also be given safety instructions before checking in to your cabin.
In the afternoon, arrive at Light and Dark Cave, where you can do kayaking or bamboo boat rowed by local people. Then return to Mon Chéri Cruises, followed by swimming near the ship. Return to Mon Chéri Cruises, where you can admire the magnificent sunset over the Gulf of Tonkin and enjoy a complimentary sunset party.
Take part in cooking demonstration to learn about our Vietnamese cuisine of traditional spring rolls. You can also enjoy the massage service, which is available on board. (Please book directly with the Cruise Manager on the boat)
In the evening, have dinner on board and a great dining experience awaits you. After finishing dinner, you can enjoy the landscape of the bay at night up on the top deck, relax with romantic ballad music, enjoy drinks from the bar try your luck at squid fishing, watch a movie or relax in your room.
Accommodation: Overnight on the cruise
Day 4: LAN HA BAY - BIKING IN VIET HAI VILLAGE - VAN BOI BAY - LAN HA BAY
Start your day in the early morning to admire the marvellous sunrise or attend the Tai Chi class on the top deck. Have a fragrant cup of coffee made from a special blend which was created just for Mon Chéri, or a refreshing cup of tea.
Enjoy your buffet breakfast is served. Then, transfer to a Day Boat to head to Viet Hai Village in Cat Ba Island. You will take the bicycle trip along the village, admiring stunning scenery of the rice fields on the way. Then you will have some time for trekking into the forest and explore a hidden cave.
Return to the boat, where a BBQ lunch is served on the day boat. Go kayaking to explore Van Boi Bay and visiting the local people who live in the floating village, followed by swimming at a pristine beach.
Then, return back on board the cruise. You are free to take a shower before enjoying the sunset party with a new group of guests and have dinner.
After dinner, you can enjoy the landscape of the bay at night up on the top deck, relax with lovely music, enjoy drinks from the bar, try your luck again at squid fishing, watch a movie or retire to your room.
Accommodation: Overnight on the board.
Day 5: CAT BA ISLAND – HANOI
This morning, wake up early and start your perfect day with Tai Chi class or watch the sunrise on the top deck. Then have a light breakfast is served in the restaurant.
Make a visit Cat Ba Island. You are taken by bus to visit Trung Trang Cave, the most beautiful stalagmite and stalactite cave, located in Cat Ba National Park. Return the boat and check out the cabin. Then have brunch in the restaurant while the boat sails back to the pier.
At noon, disembark the boat and return to port, you will be transferred to Hanoi Airport for a flight from Hanoi with direct service to Ho Chi Minh. You will be privately transferred between your accommodations and Ho Chi Minh Airport by a professional driver and an English-speaking guide.
Accommodation: 5* Park Hyatt Saigon
Day 6: HO CHI MINH (B/L/D)
Start your visit today by exploring Cholon, the city’s Chinatown and widely regarded as the largest one in the world by area. The city used to be known as Saigon-Cholon until Vietnam’s independence from France in 1955. From here continue to the Jade Emperor Pagoda, also known as Phuoc Hai and regarded as one of the most interesting pagodas in the country. Built by the Cantonese community around the turn of the 20th century, it is still busy with worshipers. Filled with smoky incense, the pagoda with its elaborately carved figurines and decorated panels of carved gilt woodwork is dedicated to Buddhist and Taoist deities. If you only visit one pagoda in the city, this should be the one.
Finally, head over to Dong Khoi Area in the centre of the city where the French colonial presence can be felt at the Notre Dame Cathedral, a Catholic Basilica commissioned entirely of imported French building materials. End with a visit to the Saigon Central Post Office, a stunning architectural marvel with rich Gothic, Renaissance and French influences.
Accommodation: 5* Park Hyatt Saigon
Day 7: HO CHI MINH - MEKONG DELTA (B/L/D)
The mighty Mekong River is the lifeblood of Vietnam and its neighbours. Originating high up in the Tibetan plateau in China, it winds across Southeast Asia for over 2700 miles and reaches its Delta on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City. The Mekong Delta is a veritable biological treasure trove of unique species found nowhere else; the area is also integral to agricultural production in southern Vietnam. This morning, head into the countryside for 62 miles to Cai Be floating market on a scenic journey with your private driver and English-speaking guide. Here you’ll hop in a private long-tailed boat to cruise around the floating market, where you’ll find villagers exchanging goods and produce from their canoes. The Catholic cathedral in the background of the floating market makes for a dramatic photo opportunity. Head to the opposite side of the Mekong River to Hoa Binh Phuoc islet, a fascinating maze of shady creeks that are best explored from the comfort of your boat.
Stop for a typical Vietnamese lunch at a small local restaurant. After lunch, mingle with the local people and visit a Bonsai garden, where you can learn a few tips on caring for these delicate miniature trees. Visit the Local rural homes of the region, where families still produce traditional tiles and ceramics and check out the home industries at a rice paper kiln and coconut candy kiln. At the end of the day, settle in for the two-hour transfer back to the city.
Accommodation: 5* Park Hyatt Saigon
Day 8: HO CHI MINH - SINGAPORE (B)
Today marks the end of your tour. Transfer to the airport by private car for your flight back home. We hope you've enjoyed your trip to Vietnam and return home with lifelong memories and unforgettable impressions. We wish you a safe flight and hope to work on your future trips!
Please note: This itinerary is designed to give you an idea of what to expect on the tour but is not set in stone. What we actually do on a given day is flexible and can be tailored based on the interests of the group.
This itinerary and its package inclusions might be changed later in time, subject to availability.