Our Best of Vietnam tour will be half in big cities and half in villages and towns where we can better meet the local people and experience their culture.
The Best of Vietnam Itinerary
52Best Annual Trips: For 18 years we have emailed a weekly story to friends which readership has grown to 18,500 people in 78 countries. Once a year we create a fun-filled and well-priced tour for our Readers and Friends. To date we have completed 20 trips from Russia, to China, to Argentina and many countries in between. We go because we want to see the places and people and we end up making many lifelong friends along the way.
The Best of Vietnam 2018 Tour: With its extensive history, charming and warm culture, and gorgeous scenery, Vietnam offers many pleasing and exciting adventures. On our Vietnam tour, we’ll overnight in Hanoi, Hoi An, Hue, and Ho Chi Minh City in 4 1/2 and 5 Star hotels as well as overnight on a private cruise ship in Ha Long Bay. Sightseeing tours in the cities feature the must-see historic sites, including the One Pillar Pagoda, built in 1049; Hoi An’s Japanese Covered Bridge; and Hue’s Forbidden Purple City which was the emperor’s residence constructed in 1804. As important as is the history and palaces, are the warm sharing people that extend their hand of friendship to Americans. In addition, the quality and taste of the local Vietnamese cuisine is as reasonably priced as it is good. Shopping is totally worthwhile and productive as are the wonderful ventures to explore and experience the cities and parks either alone or with our fellow travelers.
12-Day Itinerary – Day 1-12 is Day of the Week, Date, City we Sleep in, and Paid for Meals
Day 1: Friday, September 7th, 2018 – Pacific Ocean – Our Best of Vietnam trip begins September 7th leaving the United States on an afternoon flight and arriving in Hanoi the evening of the 8th. The Hanoi International Airport is one of the most important and busy airports in Asia.
Day 2: Saturday, September 8th, 2018 – Hanoi – We are met at the airport and taken by our Private Coach to our 4 1/2 Star Hanoi Moevenpick Hotel for a late evening check-in. Here we meet our Tour Director for the trip who is scheduled to be Hung Nguyen, who graduated from Hanoi National University in 1998 and has over a decade of experience leading tours through Vietnam. “I love my job and the sharing of experiences. I look forward to meeting you and introducing you to the sights and smells of my beautiful country and its people.”
Day 3: Sunday, September 9th, 2018 – Hanoi (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) – Today our sightseeing tour takes us to many of the city’s highlights, including the Temple of Literature which is a peaceful series of walled courtyards and gateways as well as the One Pillar Pagoda which resembles a beautiful giant lotus blossom. We will also see Ho Chi Minh’s stilt house, Hoan Kiem Lake, and the fascinating network of alleyways and shop houses that make up the Old Quarter. We will be able to return here later for an exciting shopping venture.
Day 4: Monday, September 10th, 2018 – Hanoi – (Breakfast, Lunch) – We have a full-day excursion which begins with a drive through the tranquil countryside to the Chua Thay Pagoda which is home to an ancient stage that is believed to be where the first water puppet show was performed. Later we admire the carved wooden roof and unique architectural shape of Tay Phuong, one of Vietnam’s first pagodas. This evening we enjoy a performance of Hanoi’s famed Water Puppets.
Day 5: Tuesday, September 11th, 2018 – Ha Long Bay overnight on Cruise Ship – (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) – In the morning we take our coach to Ha Long Bay which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Vietnam’s most beautiful destination. Here we board our La Vela Classic Cruiser for one night and two days. After lunch, we set sail through the dramatic limestone islands continuing to explore the Sung Sot (Surprising Cave) grotto before visiting Luon Cave by bamboo boat. We anchor in a secluded lagoon where we have dinner onboard and sleep overnight.
Day 6: Wednesday, September 12th, 2018 – Hoi An – (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) – We start our day after breakfast aboard our ship with a cruise to Titop Island. Here we can climb 400 steps to be rewarded with a breathtaking panoramic view. Later this morning we disembark and journey back to Hanoi where we board our flight to Danang, Vietnam’s fourth-largest city. Upon arrival, we take our coach to the charming town of Hoi An. Here we check in to our 4 1/2 Star La Siesta Resort & Spa “A boutique retreat a stone’s throw from the old town of Hoi An” where we ” will experience the cultural art of luxury hospitality.”
Day 7: Thursday, September 13th, 2018 – Hoi An – (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) – We start our day after breakfast aboard ship with a cruise on the Thu Bon River, passing unspoiled countryside before visiting pottery and wood carving villages. Definitely tourist traps but well worth the visit and the opportunity to both purchase and see quality local handicrafts being made. Then, we take a leisurely walking through Hoi An Ancient Town brings us to the Japanese Covered Bridge and the Sa Huynh Museum with its early Hoi An history. The remainder of our day is at our leisure.
Day 8: Friday, September 14th, 2018 – Hue – (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) – We now journey back to Danang and visit the Cham Museum and continue through to the spectacular Hai Van Pass (weather permitting) which is the imperial walled city of Hue. Here, visit the Forbidden Purple City, modeled after Beijing’s famed Forbidden City. During your visit, you will see Thai Hoa Palace, the Halls of the Mandarins, and the Nine Dynastic Urns. As we finish our most elegant and busy day we now check into our 5 Star Indochine Palace Hotel which is “surrounded by a lush exotic garden and has set an outstanding landmark in Hue with new standards of excellence.”
Day 9: Saturday, September 15th, 2018 – Ho Chi Minh City aka Saigon – (Breakfast, Lunch) – We begin the day in Hue with a cruise on the Perfume River to the pretty Thien Mu Pagoda, made up of seven tiers, each dedicated to a step assumed by Buddha to reach enlightenment. We then continue up the river to the Imperial Tomb of Minh Mang, a majestic complex of courtyards, pavilions, and temples in a beautiful setting. Later, we fly to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s largest and most vibrant city, packed with timeless traditions. For our four day stay in Saigon we check into our 4 Star Hotel Pullman Saigon Centre which is centrally located close to Ben Thanh market with signature rooms as well as free WIFI, swimming pool, fitness center and luxury spa.
Day 10: Sunday, September 16th, 2018 – Ho Chi Minh City – (Breakfast, Lunch) – Today’s sightseeing tour takes in Dong Khoi Street, the main shopping thoroughfare, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Central Post Office. Afterward, visit the Reunification Palace and the War Remnants Museum as well as the colorful and most worthwhile Chinese district.
Day 11: Monday, September 17th, 2018 – Ho Chi Minh City (Breakfast) – We can explore on our own today or have the opportunity today to play gopher and visit the Cu Chi Tunnels, an extraordinary network of tunnels more than 120 miles long that was used by the Viet Cong as a hideout and secret village during the war. See secret trapdoors, underground kitchens, living areas, and meeting rooms. If you are feeling adventurous, you may enter and explore the deep, narrow tunnels. Actually, I hear it is quite interesting.
Day 12: Tuesday, September 18th, 2018 – Ho Chi Minh City (Breakfast) – Our vacation ends with breakfast this morning. For those that have purchased transfers, we will be boarding the coach to the airport and flying to Dallas arriving late afternoon the same day.