2023 Dates: 05 Nov: £1,972 pp
2024 Dates: 26 Feb & 12 Mar: £1,988 pp or 30 Mar: £2,111
incl. UK flights
This specially selected small group Vietnam tour (max 12 people) pulls together the touring highlights of this beautiful country and offers the flexibility to add extra destinations and excursions tailored to you, mixing the world famous with more personal experiences. Our small group tours are designed for those who want to enjoy the financial and social benefits of travelling with others combined with the freedom of flexibility of a private tailor made holiday.
The joy of Vietnam as a touring destination lies in its long shape stretching up from the lush, green, tropical south right through to the mountainous, more temperate north, to reveal a land of invigorating landscapes, beautiful coastlines and compelling history. We've selected 1 date in November 2023 and 3 dates in February and March 2024 when the bulk of the country should be enjoying superb weather and a range of optional extra destinations and excursions can be best enjoyed. You may want to hike the hills of the north, add a few nights on the beach at the end or adjust the tours that we've included.
Day 1: Depart on your choice of overnight flights to Hanoi
Day 2: Arrive Hanoi - 2 nights at the Flower Garden Hotel. Evening Welcome Cocktails
Day 3: Walking Hanoi City tour with Pho Experience & lunch. Afternoon Water Puppets show
Day 4: Board your overnight Halong Bay cruise exploring this UNESCO World Heritage site
Day 5: Morning cruise then transfer to the wonderful Mai Chau Valley for 3 nights in hill country
Day 6: Explore beautiful & dramatic valley on foot visiting rural minority villages, courtryside & farms
Day 7: Mai Chau Valley is the perfect place to take a break. Day free to explore a little more or relax
Day 8: Morning transfer back to Hanoi & flight to Hoi An. 2 nights at the Emm Hotel
Day 9: Morning Hoi An UNESCO Old Town Walking Tour. Afternoon free or add optional tours
Day 10: A day of experiences - cook local, explore beautiful villages & historic tunnels. Fly to Saigon for 3 nts at the Emm Hotel
Day 11: Saigon City Tour with chance to meet war photographer
Day 12: Full day Mekong Delta tour with boat ride. Farewell dinner.
Day 13: Overnight flight home
Day 14: Arrive home
Day 1: UK Airport / Hanoi
Depart on a choice of overnight flights to Hanoi.
Day 2: Arrive Hanoi - Welcome Sun Set Cocktails
On arrival you’ll be met and transferred to the city centre where you check in to the Flower Garden Hotel for 2 nights.
Hanoi offers the chance to enjoy authentic old school Far East. The hotel is in the centre and we’d recommend that you take a walk through the Old Quarter. Don’t be put off by the thousands of motor scooters, just dive in.
As the sun sets over the city join your tour leader and fellow travellers for a couple of cocktails at the hotel's rooftop bar. Evening free and recommendations can be made.
Day 3: Hanoi - Pho Experience - City Tour - Water Puppets (B / L)
The day starts with a chance to meet a local street food vendor to learn more about Pho, a soup that’s Vietnam’s most iconic dish. You'll get a chance to see how it’s prepared and cooked and have a go at helping out before trying it.
With your energy levels up it’s time to explore the city, starting at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum where you join thousands of Vietnamese as they pay their respects filing past in solemn silence. The complex is also home to his former stilt-house, Presidential Palace and One Pillar Pagoda. Next head on to the Temple of Literature, an ancient collection of courtyards, gardens and architecture built in homage to the Chinese scholar Confucius. Considered the oldest university in Vietnam, it dates back nearly one thousand years.
Time for a specialty lunch at Cha Ca, a local restaurant specialising in traditional Hanoian cuisine.
This afternoon head deeper into the ancient city following your guide as they weave through some of the Old Quarter’s 36 streets named for the products historically sold here. Along the way pass by some of the only remaining streets that continue selling the goods of their namesake, such as Tin and Bamboo Street. Head through labyrinthine back alleys well off the tourist trail and see Hanoi at its authentic best. Peer into temples and traditional houses, hear the stories of the ancient city and meet the people who call this fascinating city home.
Your final stop on the walking tour is Ngoc Son Temple, set on a tiny island on Hoan Kiem Lake. Close by enjoy a cup of egg coffee at a local café where you’ll meet the owner and see how to make this unique drink. The day ends with another icon of Vietnam, a 45 minute water puppet show that showcases Vietnam’s traditional performance art and is a surprisingly fast paced treat. Back at your hotel late afternoon.
Day 4: Hanoi - Halong Bay Overnight Cruise (B / L / D)
This morning you’ll be transferred by minibus to Halong Bay (3 hours). Meet the crew and board the L'Azalee a traditional wooden junk for 1 night, then relax and enjoy lunch while the boat heads toward the secluded islands. Visit ancient limestone caves and go sea kayaking and swimming (weather permitting). Return to the junk refreshed & invigorated to relax on deck with a drink watching the sunset and enjoy dinner looking out over the bay. This evening there’s the opportunity to try squid fishing.
Day 5: Halong Bay Cruise - Transfer to Stunning Mai Chau Valley (B / L / D)
Early risers can take an informal Tai Chi lesson on deck before enjoying breakfast as the boat continues to cruise through the bay to Ti Tov Island. Time to explore, hiking up to the scenic viewpoint or swimming off of the beach. On the final leg of your cruise pass by well-known karsts of Thumb Island, Fighting Cocks, the Incense Karst which is featured on the 200,000 dong note. Enjoy your last glimpses of Halong Bay over an early light lunch / brunch. Back at the dock meet your tour guide for the 5 hour transfer west up into the beautiful hill country that surrounds Mai Chau. On arrival check-in to the Mai Chau Lodge for 3 nights in rural Vietnam. This evening we've included a welcome dinner at the lodge.
Day 6: Morning Tour of Idyllic Hill Country - Rural Villages, Rice Farms & Beautiful Countryside (B / L)
Today’s adventure will introduce you to the local ethnic communities known as the Tai Don. Your walking tour will take you through the picturesque villages surrounding Mai Chau, some of the Vietnam’s most beautiful and authentic countryside. You'll have chance to engage with the local families and learn a little more about their lifestyle and traditions. The local Tai Don houses are built as traditional stilt houses and are a fascinating part of the Tai Don tradition. Whilst you are there you will learn a little about rice farming firsthand whilst walking amongst the rice paddies. Lunch is included back at the Lodge and afternoon is free or extra tours can be added.
Day 7: Mai Chau (B) - A Free Day Or Add Optional Extra Tours
The Mai Chau Valley is the perfect place to experience rural Vietnam in a relatively remote setting and it's easy to explore yourself by bike, on foot or even by kayak. Alternatively you might like to take a break from touring to just relax and enjoy the lodge's beautiful setting, swimming pool and sun beds.
Day 8: Mai Chau (B) - Fly Hanoi / Hoi An
Morning transfer back to Hanoi Airport for the early afternoon flight to Hoi An. On arrival met and transferred to the Emm Hotel 2 nights in the Old Town. The evenings are the perfect time to explore the Old Town as it's largely pedestrianised and lantern lit.
Day 9: Hoi An (B) - Morning Old Town Walking Tour - Beach, Old Town & Excursions
This morning you’ll be collected by your private guide for a walking tour of Hoi An’s Old Town. Beautifully preserved, you can leisurely explore the historic streets, watching local artisans at work with silk, ceramics, paint and wood. Hoi An is also famous for its tailoring heritage. Historical highlights include the Chua Ong Pagoda dating back to 1653, the Jinshang Temple that is dedicated to the goddess of the sea and the protector of sailors, Tam Ky House a 200 year old ancestral home and the 17th century covered bridge built by Japanese craftsmen, Hoi An's most famous landmark. The historic streets also house some beautifully atmospheric restaurants and this evening we recommend that you come back for dinner, when the town is lit by lantern light. End your morning with a short boat trip along Thu Bon River.
This afternoon you may be happy just exploring the Old Town under your own steam or perhaps heading down to the beach, but the town is surrounded by beautiful countryside and below are a selection of excursions that can be added.
- Countryside Cyling
- Farmer & Fisherman Tour
- Evening Kayak
Day 10: Hoi An - Cooking class in ancient Loc Yen Village & Visit to Tam Thanh and Ky Anh Tunnels (B / L) - Fly to Saigon
This will be a day full of new experiences as you get a little off the main tourist trail, south of Hoi An. First stop is ancient Loc Yen Village for an immersive cookery experience. Vietnam is developing fast and so it’s a real treat to find a village that remains largely untouched by modernity. Your morning starts with a walking tour around this beautifully preserved yet still vibrant village. It’s made unique by its stone alleyways, canals and terraces that reveal ancient houses that show off rich traditional Vietnamese architecture surrounded by lush gardens. After exploring the village you’ll meet a local family in their ancient house to start your very informal cooking class. You’ll be introduced to the family master chef, learn to cook three wonderful, traditional dishes and then be invited to sit down to enjoy a shared meal.
This afternoon continue your journey to Tam Thanh Village, where a mural project has transformed this remote fishing village into a fascinating artwork gallery, where more than 100 houses have been painted to reflect the local culture, people and nature.
Your final stop are the Ky Anh Tunnels from the Vietnam War where you're invited to follow in the footsteps of Mr. Ta, who experienced them during this period (Those who'd rather not experience them can follow overground). The incredible and little visited Ky Anh Tunnel network sits beneath the village of Thach Tan and while there are numerous entrances to the network scattered throughout local villages, the main access is found here. In the past, there were as many as 32 kms of tunnels, but now the restored sections are much shorter, totalling a few hundred metres. There are a couple of entrances to the tunnel network in Thach Tan, one at the local communal house or Dinh, and another in the backyard of a local house. After exploring the village and tunnels you will head back via the Heroic Mother Thu statue. She stands 18.6m high and 120m wide, and was designed to resemble Mrs. Nguyen Thi Thu, who sadly lost 12 children and grandchildren during the Vietnam War.
From here transfer direct to airport for short evening flight to Saigon and 3 nights at the Emm Hotel. Late evening, time to get your first taste of this vibrant city.
Day 11: Saigon - City Tour with chance to meet war photographer & lunch (B / L)
This morning your guide will collect you for a morning city tour mixing formal touring with more personal insights and experiences. You start at the War Remnants Museum where Vietnam’s government has assembled presentations - some of them graphic - of wartime hardships and atrocities. It's worth visiting to gain more on an insight into Vietnam's view of the war. The tour continues with a stop at the Reunification Palace, where a North Vietnamese tank crashed through the gates in 1975 to end a war that killed an estimated 58,000 Americans and three million Vietnamese.
Next meet with a renowned United Press International (UPI) photographer who was an active photographer during the Vietnam War. See images taken by him at his own art gallery and museum. It also houses his collection of beautiful antiques. Enjoy the opportunity to chat privately with him and gain a deeper understanding of his life and experiences during the Vietnam war. The tour ends with lunch at a local restaurant. Afternoon free to explore the city, relax or add extra tours.
Day 12: Saigon - Mekong Delta Tour with Boat Ride (B / L / D)
This morning your guide will collect you from the hotel lobby for the 2 hour drive to Cai Be in the Mekong Delta. Board the Cai Be Princess and meet the crew whilst enjoying cold towels and a refreshing drink. Then the private sampan will set off for a leisurely cruise on the busy waterways of the Mekong Delta.
On the river all sorts of boats ply the water, from small fishing boats to cargo barges loaded with fruit and vegetables. Observe a little of river life as it plays out on the banks, noting the people and the stunning landscapes, while you’re served tea and seasonal fruits. At Tan Phong Inlet board a smaller boat to explore the canal’s hidden mangroves. Return to your sampan to visit an ancient house built in the 19th century. Make stops along the way to provide glimpses of local cottage industries, including factories for the production of coconut candy and puffed rice (the local equivalent of popcorn), products that provide a living for the river people. Your cruise ends at Le Longanier restaurant. Lunch is served in this exquisite colonial-style villa set in a lush tropical garden by the river, surrounded by fruit trees, giving you a sense of life during the Indochina of yesteryear. After lunch take a short walk along a small canal towards the Ba Bon Bridge where your vehicle awaits to drive you back to Saigon for a final night
Tonight enjoy a delicious farewell dinner at Spice Viet restaurant to complete the final day of the tour.
Day 13: Saigon (B) / UK Airport
Day free until your airport transfer a flight home. Arrive back in UK the following morning.
Alternatively why not add a few nights on the beach in Nha Trang, Phu Quoc, Con Dao, Mui Ne or Phan Thiet.
This specially selected small group (maximum 12 people) Vietnam tour pulls together the touring highlights of this beautiful country and offers the flexibility to add extra destinations and excursions tailored to you.
Our small group tours are designed for those who want to enjoy the financial and social benefits of travelling with others combined with the freedom of flexibility of a private tailor made holiday.
- Maximum of 12 people in each group
- Full ATOL Protection
- Scheduled international flights from Heathrow (other airports available)
- English speaking, local guide & driver
- 11 nights central medium class hotel accommodation
- Overnight Halong Bay cruise
- Transport in private air-conditioned vehicles
- Domestic flights detailed in itinerary
- Admission fees to all attractions, temples and activities as mentioned in the itinerary
- 11 breakfasts, 7 lunches & 3 dinners - as detailed (B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner)
- Emergency contacts in Vietnam and UK throughout stay
- Flexibility to add extra destinations and excursions
Comprehensive Package of Excursions Included:
- Hanoi City Tour with Pho Experience & lunch
- Halong Bay Overnight Cruise with all Excursions & Meals Included
- 2 day overland tour to northern hills of Mai Chau with some meals
- Hoi An Morning Walking Tour of UNESCO Old Town
- Hoi An - Tour to Historic Village & War Tunnels with lunch
- Saigon - City Tour with lunch
- Saigon - Mekong Delta day tour including boat ride and lunch
- Optional Tours / Excursions
- Optional additional destinations
- Any meals not listed in the itinerary
- Personal expenses
- Tips for Guides / Drivers (discretionary)
- Travel insurance
Please see below for more details on each hotel
Flower Garden Hotel in Hanoi
The Flower Garden Hotel, right in the heart of the Old Town, perfect for the full Hanoi experience
Mai Chau Lodge
Mai Chau & is a land of dramatic limestone hills, countless rice fields and beautful rural scenes
Halong Bay Cruise Boats
An overnight cruise on Halong Bay is often seen as an essential part of a Vietnam holiday
Hotels in Hoi An
Hoi An is a stunningly atmospheric UNESCO town that doubles as a beach resort
Hotels in Saigon
A mix of grand colonial buildings and modern luxuries make Saigon a fantastic place to stay