Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description.
HANOI, VIETNAM. Welcome to Vietnam’s capital city, an attractive, laidback city with charming French-Colonial-style buildings. Hotel rooms are available for a mid-afternoon check-in.
HANOI–SAPA. Today, transfer to the hill-station town of Sapa known for its mountain scenery, rice fields, and colourful ethnic minorities. This afternoon, join a walking tour of this small town and visit the LOCAL MARKET.
SAPA. Your day starts with a visit to TA VAN and LAO CHAI villages, to see the traditional way of life of the Zay and Black Hmong ethnic groups. These ethnic groups live together here under the watch of Fansipan Mountain. The Zay live a sedentary lifestyle and choose land near the valley's bottom for growing wet rice. The Hmong have historically preferred higher elevations for corn farming but recently they've started gradually moving to lower land and learning from others like the Zay. After lunch, visit the beautiful SILVER WATERFALL and ascend the highest road in Vietnam to HEAVEN GATE for stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valley. (B,L)
SAPA. This morning, visit one of the famous WEEKLY MARKETS. Here, the local ethnic minority groups wear their most beautiful costumes as they sell and trade their homemade products. The Flower Hmong group is most recognisable with their colourful dress. After a quick photo stop at the China border, visit Taphin village, home of the RED DAO people who migrated from China starting in the 12th century. The Dao women are recognisable by the bright red turban they wear and, in some cases, shaved eyebrows. Tonight, consider exploring Sapa and stop at the famous "Love Market," where local Hmong and Dao come from their villages for the chance to see one another and perhaps go on a date! (B,L)
SAPA–HANOI. Return to Hanoi today. The remainder of the day is at your leisure.
HANOI. Today’s included sightseeing tour takes you to many of the city’s highlights, including the TEMPLE OF LITERATURE, a peaceful series of walled courtyards and gateways, and ONE PILLAR PAGODA, designed to resemble a lotus blossom. You 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. This evening, enjoy a performance of Hanoi’s famed WATER PUPPETS.
HANOI-HA LONG BAY. Drive to Ha Long Bay, one of Vietnam’s favorite destinations, and board your DAY CRUISE through the stunning bay. Enjoy lunch on board as you sail through the dramatic limestone islands, then explore the Sung Sot (Surprising Cave) and visit Titov Island. (B,L)
HA LONG BAY–HANOI–PHONG NHA-KE BANG NATIONAL PARK. Return to Hanoi this morning and fly to Dong Hoi. From here, journey inland to remarkable PHONG NHA-KE BANG NATIONAL PARK, a UNESCO park littered with beautiful jungles, caves, and underground rivers. Your lodging tonight is a charming farmstay at the base of park.
PHONG NHA-KE BANG NATIONAL PARK. This morning, take a BOAT RIDE on the Son River to PHONG NHA CAVE, famous for its rock formations with names like the “Lion” and the “Buddha.” The afternoon is at your leisure to enjoy the activities and serene views at your hotel. (B,L,D)
PHONG NHA-KE BANG NATIONAL PARK–HUE. Drive to Hue, stopping at the DMZ bridge en route. Upon arrival in the imperial walled city of Hue, 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.
HUE–HOI AN. Begin today with a visit to pretty THIEN MU PAGODA, made up of seven tiers, each dedicated to a step assumed by Buddha to reach enlightenment. Continue up the river to the IMPERIAL TOMB OF MINH MANG, a majestic complex of courtyards, pavilions, and temples in a beautiful setting. Head south through spectacular Hai Van Pass (weather permitting) and visit the CHAM MUSEUM, then continue to the charming town of Hoi An. (B,L)
HOI AN. Start today with a CRUISE on the Thu Bon River, passing unspoiled countryside. Then, a leisurely WALKING TOUR through Hoi An Ancient Town brings you to the Japanese Covered Bridge. The remainder of the day is at your leisure.
HOI AN–HO CHI MINH CITY. Enjoy your morning at leisure. This afternoon, fly to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s largest and most vibrant city, packed with timeless traditions.
HO CHI MINH CITY. 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 Chinese district.
HO CHI MINH CITY. CU CHI TUNNELS EXCURSION. Today, 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.
HO CHI MINH. Your tour ends with breakfast this morning.