VIETNAM INSIGHT TOUR

VIETNAM INSIGHT TOUR

Spend 19 days in Vietnam on a tour design to give you enough time discovering the highlights and traditions of this colourful country. Starting in the North, discover the country’s bustling capital and its historic monuments before heading south for a visit to Central and Southern Vietnam and all its tropical delights. This adventure samples the Old World charm in this pocket of Asia. It’s not hard to see why Vietnam is such a popular travel destination. This quick trip travels from exciting, full-on Ho Chi Minh City to the historical treasure-trove of Hoi An, then on to enchanting Hanoi and the thrilling natural wonders of Halong Bay. In between, there is still much to discover – this trip distils the country’s finest moments, with plenty of time for hidden treats and quiet surprises.

Destination included: Hanoi - Halong Bay - Hue - Hoi An - Nha Trang - Dalat - Ho Chi Minh City - Mekong Delta

Duration: 19 Days

Why you will love this trip?

  • Soaking up the hustle and bustle of Hanoi’s Old Quarter
  • Cruising through scenic world heritage Halong Bay
  • Visiting the imperial city of Hue and enjoying a cruise along the Perfume River
  • Strolling through the lantern-filled streets and riverside promenade of Hoi An Ancient Town
  • Enjoying the idyllic scenery of Vietnam's beach paradise, Nha Trang
  • Taking in the fresh mountain air of Dalat, the “City of Eternal Spring”
  • Feeling the metropolitan pulse of Ho Chi Minh City and experiencing its highlights

DETAILS ITINERARY

Day 1: Hanoi - Evening street food tour (D)

Welcome to Vietnam! Upon arrival, your guide will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel. After freshening up you’ll meet with your guide in the hotel lobby.

Tonight, your guide will take you on a culinary adventure, sampling street food in the Old Quarter. This food on foot tour will give you an unique experience to try all those weird and wonderful foods you see but just aren’t sure what they are! Start your Hanoi Street Eats tour at Bia Hoi corner to try the local brew, a draft beer that traces its roots to Eastern Europe.

Continue through the old quarter’s narrow streets as your guide points out a range of tasty noodles, breads and snacks. At night the sidewalks are packed with locals perched on stools, amongst sizzling woks and bubbling pots. These small pop up restaurants are a nightly feature that all but disappear during the day. Sit down and enjoy a flame grilled Vietnamese barbecue of beef, chicken, tofu and vegetables on skewers. End the night with dessert from Hanoi’s best-known ice-cream parlour before getting a good night’s rest.

Overnight: Hanoi
Meals: dinner

Day 2: Hanoi city tour(B,L)

Start your morning with a visit to Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the resting place of President Ho Chi Minh who led Vietnam to independence from French colonial rule. His preserved body has been an important landmark in the capital city since 1975, and a perfect place to learn more about Vietnam’s history. From there, wander through the beautiful surrounding gardens toward the One Pillar Pagoda and Presidential Palace, where a replica of Ho Chi Minh’s simple working space is on display.

Afterward, set off through central Hanoi toward the Temple of Literature, the oldest university in Hanoi and a perfect example of ancient architecture built in homage to the Chinese scholar Confucius. Then tend to your rumbling stomach with a traditional Vietnamese lunch with a chance to get a bit more “hands on” during a cooking demonstration! The tour ends at Porte D’Annam Restaurant. From there either return back to your hotel for some rest or explore Hanoi’s burgeoning nightlife scene.

Overnight: Hanoi
Meals: breakfast, lunch

Day 3: Essence of Hanoi (B,L)

Beginning in the afternoon, start your city excursion by “cyclo”. Equal parts transportation and travel experience, these traditional bicycle rickshaws move at a leisurely pace that’s perfect for photos and slow-moving sightseeing. Sit back and relax while your driver weaves through some of the Old Quarter’s busiest streets, dodging speeding motorbikes and rolling past French colonial houses on the way to your next destination.
 
Next, hop off your cyclo at the Northern Gate of the Ancient Citadel, a gargantuan fortress in the heart of the city. Learn a bit about the history of the imposing structure and the nearby Cua Bac Church, a beautiful example of French and catholic influence in the city.

From there, set off to your meet at the front of Quan Thanh Temple. The 11th Century Taoist temple is one of the oldest and most culturally significant in the city, and about a ten minute walk from the citadel. Head off along a quieter back road, and stop next at historic Pho Cuon Restaurant for a quick snack.

Set off again to Chau Long Market for a closer look at Hanoian culture in the flurry of a local market. After exploring the street stalls here, set off along Nguyen Truong To Street - famous for its desserts -- toward Hang Than Street, the epicentre of Hanoi’s thriving wedding cake stores. Learn a bit about Vietnam’s unique wedding culture while sampling some wedding cakes. Shake off your sugar rush on a stroll to nearby Hang Cot Street for a look at Hanoi’s mat weaving borough before stopping off along Hang Ga Street for a local coffee shop. End your walking tour with a traditional Vietnamese coffee, and head back to your hotel. Enjoy the rest of your evening at your leisure.

Overnight: Hanoi
Meals: breakfast, lunch

Day 4: Hanoi –  Cruising in Halong Bay (B,L,D)

Following breakfast, depart from the hotel in Hanoi for the 4hour drive to Halong Bay. Arrive around noon and proceed with check-in formalities. After a welcome on board, lunch will be served while cruising towards the bay. In the afternoon, enjoy some sightseeing, on-board activities or just spend some time relaxing. Towards the end of the day, the boat sets anchor for the night among the karst formations. Dinner is served on board.

Overnight: on board
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 5: Halong Bay – Hanoi (B,L)

Enjoy a memorable morning in the middle of Halong Bay. Early risers can catch a stunning sunrise and breakfast will be served while the vessels cruises slowly back towards port. Disembark and transfer to Hanoi.

Overnight: Hanoi
Meals: breakfast, brunch

Day 6: Fly to Hue (B)

After breakfast, your guide will meet you at your hotel and transfer you to the airport for your flight to Hue. Upon arrival, a guide will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel. The rest of the day is spent at your leisure.

Overnight: Hanoi
Meals: breakfast

Day 7: Hue city tour (B,L)

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before exploring Hue’s famous royal tombs and the illustrious examples of grand dynasties past, the garden houses.

Begin your day by a boat trip down the peaceful Perfume River, taking in the endless surrounding greenery. Hop off at the pier and transfer to the tomb of Emperor Khai Dinh. Admire the unusual combination of architecture that blends a traditional Chinese past with a modern Western future and built on principles of feng-shui. Then, continue to Minh Mang Tomb to explore the opulent and exotic resting place laid out in formal Chinese style.

For lunch, feast on a vegetarian meal prepared by nuns at Dong Thuyen Pagoda, a temple located on the top of a hill with a fantastic view. Time seems to be much slower here with its overwhelming atmosphere of peace. Visit the kitchen to see how your meal is prepared in a wood burning stove, then dig into your food in the company of the nuns who made it. Take the opportunity to learn about Buddhism or just get to know your friendly hosts.

Next, make your way to Thanh Tien Village, well-known for over 300 years of crafting paper flowers. The people in Hue pay much attention to the rite of worshipping their ancestors and for them flowers are one of the four most important and indispensable things including incense, flowers, lamps and a bunch of bananas. However, fresh flower is difficult to grow in harsh weather with much rainfall and sunlight so the locals must use papers flowers to replace. Meet one of the local villagers and learn how to make your own paper flower.

Finally, visit An Hien Garden House, architecture and nature harmoniously blending together have given An Hien Garden House a unique expression of the cultural values of Vietnam’s former imperial city. Explore the traditional 19th century Hue residence before returning to your hotel.

Overnight: Hue
Meals: breakfast, lunch

Day 8: Essence of Hue (B,L)

In the morning, enjoy a 40km drive out of the city centre and into the scenic countryside. Arrive at Phuoc Tich Village, an untouched residential area dotted with 27 ‘Nha Ruong’ - Hue’s traditional houses - and unique gardens. Take a walk through the peaceful streets, admiring the historical sites nestled within the scenery, and pay a visit to one of the traditional homes. Try making ‘banh gai it’, one of the most famous traditional cakes in Hue, with your welcoming host. Part of your tour fee will be directly contributed towards the host, helping them to earn an income as a home-based chef.

After trying your hand at baking, hop on a bicycle and take a 30km ride from Thanh Toan to Tam Giang lagoon. Wind through the countryside, watching the daily life of the local people and the peaceful atmosphere of the ancient villages. On your way, stop at Quang Cong Village, known locally as the ‘City of Ghosts’, and behold the increasingly lavish and elaborate tombs that the villagers build for their ancestors.

Upon arrival at Tam Giang lagoon, enjoy a lunch of fresh seafood and take a boat trip on the lagoon. Float past local families living on the riverbank, stopping to meet some of them on your way. Finally, transfer back to your hotel in the late afternoon with plenty of time to enjoy your evening as you please.

Overnight: Hue
Meals: breakfast, lunch

Nha Ruong’ - Hue’s

Day 9:  Hoi An street food tour (B,L)

Depart from the hotel in Hue in the morning and drive to Hoi An by Hai Van Pass (“Pass of the Clouds”), is the longest and highest mountain pass road in Viet Nam with a length of 21km. Stop by Hai Van Quan, which sits at the top of its namesake mountain pass in central Vietnam separating Da Nang City and Thua Thien-Hue Province, has been recognized as a national relic.

As you pass through the city of Danang, stop at the Cham Museum. The Cham civilization ruled central Vietnam from the 2nd - 13th centuries and was considered extremely important for religion and learning.

Afterwards, set off on a culinary adventure in Hoi An to discover the flavours and dishes that make this coastal town and its cuisine so unique. Alongside an expert local guide, your journey introduces you to the stories behind Hoi An’s most iconic dishes at the town’s most famous eateries.

Start your tour at a local restaurant famous for white rose dumplings, found exclusively in Hoi An. Sit back and enjoy the wonder of the locals working here, who churn out up to 6000 of these dumplings every day! Your visit here includes a chance to try making a few of your own dumplings before sampling a few.

In a nearby try another local specialty: banh can crackers. Served with quail eggs, pork and a tasty salad, this dish is a highlight of Hoi An street food culture and a must-try for every visitor. Pull up a small street-side stool and enjoy it with your guide.

Continue onward to sample grilled pork satay and spring rolls at a local restaurant. Next up is fried wonton - lovingly referred to as a “Hoi An pizza” - and finally try the famous Cao Lau noodle or chicken rice. Wrap up the tour with a stop at Sky Coffee Bar, a local favourite within the Hoi An Museum. Chat with your guide over a beverage here before heading back to your hotel for a restful evening.

Overnight: Hoi An
Meals: breakfast, lunch

hai-van

Day 10: Hoi An city tour (B,L)

After breakfast, meet with your guide for an interesting and insightful tour of Hoi An’s highlights and learn about its history.

Hoi An is a former trading port that welcomed Chinese, Dutch, French, Japanese, Portuguese and Arab merchants between the 16th to 18th centuries. Today Hoi An is famous for its restored architecture, homemade silk, expert tailors and delicious noodles and seafood. Its relaxed vibe and pedestrian streets make this town a pleasure to walk around and discover new things.

The first stop is Chua Ong Pagoda, dating back to 1653 and built in honour of the Chinese general Quan Cong, who is worshipped by many as a symbol of loyalty and justice.

Next, pop into Phuc Kien Assembly Hall, to see the Jinshang Temple which is dedicated to the goddess of the sea and the protector of sailors. From there it’s a short walk to Tan Ky House, a 200 years old ancestral house and finally, stroll across the often photographed 17th century covered bridge built by Japanese craftsmen. The beautifully built bridge doubles as a temple and is a major landmark of Hoi An. End your afternoon with a boat trip along Thu Bon river before returning back to your hotel. Tuck in early for the evening or head out to the riverside promenade to explore its lantern-lit charm under cover of night.

Overnight: Hoi An
Meals: breakfast, lunch

hoi-an

Day 11: Essence of Hoi An (B,L)

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel. Then, hop on a bicycle for a picturesque half-day tour of the countryside surrounding Hoi An. Pass rows of serene rice paddy fields en-route to Cam Thanh Village where you’ll get a taste of local life. Once a shelter for locals and soldiers during the war, the village is now famous for its thatched roof cottages, woven from water coconut leaves of the region. Spend some time with a local family and learn about the villagers’ way of life.

Then, board a bamboo basket boat and learn how to catch crabs alongside local experts. Take a well-earned rest and savour the refreshing flavour of fresh coconut water before cycling on to Ha Linh for a lantern workshop. There, you’ll learn how to make these delicate creations in a hands-on master class. With your hand-made lantern in hand, enjoy the charming scenery as you cycle back to Hoi An and return back to your hotel. Enjoy your last evening in Hoi An with a stroll along the river, being sure to float a lantern for good luck.

Overnight: Hoi An
Meals: breakfast, lunch

Day 12: Fly to Nha Trang (B)

After breakfast, your guide will meet you to the airport for your flight to Nha Trang. Upon arrival, your guide will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel. After freshening up, take a stroll to the beach where you can enjoy a bit of sand and sun before tucking in for the evening. 

Overnight: Nha Trang
Meals: breakfast

nha-trang

Day 13: Free day in Nha Trang (B)

After breakfast today, enjoy the tropical delights of Nha Trang at your leisure.

Overnight: Nha Trang
Meals: breakfast

Day 14: Transfer to Dalat (B)

Your guide will meet you at your hotel after breakfast and transfer you to Dalat, a scenic drive of about four hours. After arriving at your hotel, head out for a leisurely stroll around the town and discover why it’s known as the “City of Eternal Spring,” or simply relax and enjoy the view from the comfort of your hotel. 

Overnight: Da Lat
Meals: breakfast

Day 15: Free day in Dalat (B)

Famous for its charming mountainous scenery, pine forests, lakes and waterfalls, Dalat is the perfect place to unwind. It is for this reason that the French developed the area as a retreat during the early 1900’s. Spend today at your leisure as you discover why the area has been known for over a century as a refreshing respite from the rest of Vietnam.

Overnight: Da Lat
Meals: breakfast

Day 16: Fly to Ho Chi Minh city - Evening street food tour (B,D)

After a rejuvenating time in Dalat, your guide will meet you at your hotel and transfer you to the airport for your flight to Ho Chi Minh City – formerly known as Saigon.  Upon arrival, your guide will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel.

In the evening, taste the culture of Saigon. Set off on a culinary adventure in the heart of the city where locals eat. Walk along small alleys, and see the streets come alive at night. With the help of our guide, try all those weird and wonderful foods and see how they’re made. Pull up a stool and taste a selection of different Vietnamese favourites. Begin with a unique rice paper pizza, then enjoy some banh beo or water from cakes, try some fresh snail dishes, and savour a Vietnamese pancake known as banh xeo. End the night with dessert from one of Saigon’s little sweet soup places. Then head back to your hotel for some rest or head out and explore some of the city’s vibrant nightlife.

Overnight: Ho Chi Minh
Meals: breakfast, dinner

Day 17: Ho Chi Minh city tour (B,L)

In the morning, get off of the tourist track to experience the local life of bustling Ho Chi Minh City. Learn about Vietnamese and Chinese communities as you travel to Cho Lon, one of the world’s largest and oldest Chinatowns. Start with a visit to the iconic Binh Tay Market, famed for its warren of food stands and grand Sino-French architecture. Learn about the everyday life of the fruit and vegetable sellers here before stopping for a glass of traditional Café Sua Da - Vietnamese iced coffee, and the chance to try some of Vietnam’s exotic fruits.

Afterwards, hop on a cyclo and pass through the chaotic backstreets where everything from spare motorbike parts to religious artefacts are frantically traded! Stop at historic Cha Tam church, where President Diem was seized during the 1963 coup and hear about the city’s turbulent past before walking through the oldest streets of Cho Lon. Visit a traditional Chinese medicine shop and see how herbal tea is prepared before arriving at the Minh Huong communal house - home to one of Cho Lon’s oldest Chinese communities. Hear the stories of the families that moved from China over 3 centuries ago and learn how Vietnamese and Chinese culture has blended over the years.

Finish your morning with a special and tasty Vegetarian Vietnamese lunch at Hum restaurant, transfer back to your hotel for an early rest.

Overnight: Ho Chi Minh city
Meals: breakfast, lunch

cyclo

Day 18: Authentic Mekong Delta (B,L)

Depart from your hotel in the morning and drive approximately two hours to Ben Tre, and the gateway to the delta. Here, you will board a small boat to start your sightseeing around the waterways of Mekong Delta. Known also as the rice bowl of Vietnam because of its large rice production, the area has also diversified into activities related to aquaculture, rearing of animals, cash crops and fruit trees.

Visit a brick factory and board a small boat to meander through the canals and waterways in the area. Then, stop at a small homemade coconut processing plant to see how coconuts have been turned into oil, candy and woven mats that are later sold in the market. After the boat trip you will have a short walk to a local village to see mat weavers at work, before jumping on the Delta’s version of a tuk tuk ( xe-lôi ) and travelling down country roads to reach a nice local riverside restaurant for lunch. After lunch, take a short cycling tour to explore the surrounding fields before boarding a sampan for a tranquil trip along the picturesque canals. Come back to the port and continue to visit Ben Tre Local Market before heading back to Ho Chi Minh City, arriving late in the afternoon. Enjoy one last night out on the town exploring the famous nightlife of Saigon and your final taste of Vietnam.

Overnight: Ho Chi Minh city
Meals: breakfast, lunch

Day 19: Depart Ho Chi Minh city (B)

Your guide will meet you at your hotel in the morning and transfer you to the airport for your onward flight.


Price is included:

  • Accommodation as mentioned in the program based on twin/double share. In case of unavailability another equivalent option will be replaced.
  • Ground transportation in private air condition vehicle.
  • Meals as mentioned in the program  (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner).
  • English speaking guide at each destination except contrary indications
  • All admissions fees according to itinerary.
  • All logistical services necessary for the organization of the program
  • Taxes

Price is not included:

  • Meals or any other item not described in the itinerary
  • Drinks during meals, and expenses of personal nature
  • Tips & gratuities ( Tips is recommended around 3 USD/person/day and a half for driver if you satisfy with their services )

Ginkgo Voyage’s plus:

  • 1 complimentary minelral water and 1 cold towel per person per day tour
  • 24/24 service hotline, from office in Ho Chi Minh city
  • Live Chat on website
Price from
Tour code GPK001
Duration 13 days +
Departure Vietnam
Travel styles CLASSIC JOURNEYS

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