Journey back in time to this rich exotic land!
Vietnam is an incredibly beautiful country with a unique civilization and a highly cultured people. Perhaps most remarkable of all is to see that Vietnam's rich, ancient culture survived colonial rule and civil war virtually intact. From bustling Ho Chi Minh City (old Saigon), we fly to Da Nang, where we visit the famous French-built Cham Museum and China Beach. We’ll then explore the karst formations of the Marble Mountains and stroll in the well preserved 17th-century trading port of Hoi An, much of which looks just as it did 150 years ago. We continue our odyssey with a visit to Hue, the old imperial city on the banks of the Perfume River. We end our adventure in Hanoi, the up-and-coming capital of the new Vietnam, with its sycamore-lined boulevards and ambience of decaying colonial grandeur.
Always wanted to explore Southeast Asia? And visit more than one country? If our group trips don't fit your schedule or style, then you'll love our Private Adventure modules where you can create your own unforgettable journey in Southeast Asia!
Easy touring, cultural journey
- Discover Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City, Hoi An, My Son, Hue and and Hanoi
- Learn about the rich culture and profound history of the land and its resilient people
- Experience everything from the peace of the Marble Mountains to the bustle of Hanoi
Duration: 8 days Start Location: Ho Chi Minh City End Location: HanoiDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Ho Chi Minh City
Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon) in the morning. Transfer to hotel. Afternoon city tour, including a visit to the old Saigon Post Office, Notre Dame cathedral, the Reunification Palace, and Chinatown. Lunch and dinner on your own.
Day 2 : Hoi An
After breakfast, we fly to Da Nang, the administrative center for Central Vietnam and a busy port city. In March 1965, the first battalion of American Marines landed along the coast of Da Nang. This area is also home of famed China Beach, made famous by the television series of the same name. We visit the Cham Museum, containing statuary and bas-relief sections of thousand-year-old Hindu temples (the Cham empire once stretched from China to Thailand). We then drive to the karst formations of the Marble Mountains to explore some of the hidden caves housing Buddhist shrines. (These caves were used by Communist forces in their fight against the American presence in Da Nang.)
We continue to Hoi An, once the wealthy trading port of Faifo. Chinese and Japanese architecture, temples and bridges abound from its glory days. Nowadays, Hoi An is a small traditional village noted for its artist colony. After a short walking tour, the time is yours to explore and shop.
Day 3 : My Son
Today we drive westward toward the foothills of the mountain spine of Indochina. From here we’ll hike into the sacred valley of Vietnam’s most spectacular historic and religious site, My Son. Dating back to the fourth century, My Son was the holiest site of the Champa kingdom where over a period of 900 years, 68 significant Hindu temples—most dedicated to Shiva—were built. The towers are built of a combination of perfectly fitted, mortarless, fired brick and elaborately carved sandstone bas-relief panels. Only 25 survived the centuries of pillaging by Chinese and Khmer invaders as well as U.S. bombing raids. Return to Hoi An, where you'll have the remainder of the afternoon free.
Day 4 : Hue
We embark on a morning boat trip to craft villages specializing in pottery, then indulge in a lunch of Hoi An’s special noodles—cao lau. After lunch we’ll drive 3½ hours over Cloudy Pass and along the spectacular tropical coastline to the ancient imperial capital of Hue, situated along the Perfume River. As Kyoto is to Japan, Hue is to Vietnam: an intellectual center with twelve educational academies and home to the fascinating 19th century Imperial ruins. Many of these remain damaged and serve as reminders of the Tet Offensive of 1968. Along the banks of the famed Perfume River we find magnificent Nguyen architecture: citadels, palaces, royal tombs, pagodas, and temples. The old moss and rust-stained buildings give the city an atmosphere that seems frozen in time.
Day 5 : Hue
In the morning we visit the unusual royal tombs of Emperors Tu Duc and Khai Dinh, monarchs during the last dynasty of Vietnam: the Nguyen. We'll also explore the town's market and view its colonial architecture. After lunch, we travel by dragon boat up the Perfume River to visit the Thien Mu pagoda and Ming Mahn tombs. We then continue to the ruins of the Imperial Palace (the Citadel), located right on the banks of the Perfume River.
Day 6 : Hanoi
This morning, we fly to Hanoi. Upon arrival, we'll be immersed in this great governmental center of almost three million people. Founded in 1010 AD as Thang Long, Hanoi's narrow tree-shaded streets are filled with lovely examples of French colonial architecture. We’ll spend the day exploring the old town on foot, visiting streets that specialize in hardware, funerary items, carpentry, and textiles. If you wish, a folk performance of traditional water puppets is available.
Day 7 : Hanoi
This morning we continue touring Hanoi, visiting Ho Chi Minh's tomb (closed in October and November) and the one-pillar pagoda, symbol of Hanoi. We’ll also visit the Lake of the Restored Sword, the "Hanoi Hilton" Prison, and walk through the Old Quarter. We continue to the Temple of Literature and the Fine Arts Museum, where we can see displays of tools and costumes of the ethnic minorities of Vietnam, plus some classical and modern art.
Day 8 : Hanoi - Depart for Home
Transfer to airport for departure on homeward-bound flight. Or extend your stay in this rich, exotic land by taking one of our Southeast Asia extensions, including the Angkor ruins of Cambodia, an exploration of Laos, or a visit to Myanmar's Inle Lake. Call and speak to a Regional Specialist for details on all our Southeast Asia extensions.
DATES: Best time to go: January - April, October - December Departures: Private departures are available on the dates of your choice, pending availability. Call us for details.
$260 internal air
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way.