Saigon to Hanoi holiday in Vietnam
Description of Saigon to Hanoi holiday in Vietnam
Discover Vietnam at your own pace, starting with a guided tour of Saigon, then stay with a local family in the Mekong Delta, enjoy a fun boat trip in Nha Trang and explore hidden caves and limestone karsts in Ha Long Bay.
This two-week tour of Vietnam explores this exciting country from Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) to Hanoi, created with all ages in mind. Learn about the country's rich culture and history, try fragrant Vietnamese cuisine, immerse yourself in natural beauty and have outdoor adventures in epic landscapes.
You'll start in the south of the country, in bustling Ho Chi Minh City, where youíll get the chance to see sites such as the Reunification Palace and Notre Dame Cathedral with a local guide, before navigating the fascinating Cu Chi Tunnels. Next, enjoy the lush green rice fields, tropical fruit orchards, colourful floating markets and flowing waterways of the Mekong Delta. Then, head north to Vietnamís most popular beach destination, Nha Trang, where youíll enjoy a boat cruise around stunning coastal islands. From Nha Trang youíll visit the historic port city of Hoi An and stop at Da Nang before boarding a train to the capital city of Hanoi. Youíll spend the final days of your Vietnam family adventure exploring Hanoi and enjoying an overnight cruise around the incredible Ha Long Bay.
|Day 1:||Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City - Upon arrival at Tan Son Nhat International Airport your family will be met by a representative and transferred to your accommodation. Your guide will meet you at your hotel in the evening to brief you about your itinerary.|
|Day 2:||Ho Chi Minh City Guided Tour - Enjoy a private, guided tour of Ho Chi Minh City with your family and see the major sites, including the Reunification Palace (formerly South Vietnamís presidential palace and preserved as a time capsule from when Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese army on April 30th 1975). You'll also see some of the colonial-era landmarks, such as Notre Dame Cathedral and the Saigon Central Post Office.|
|Day 3:||Mekong Delta Cruise - After breakfast this morning, head south into the lush Mekong Delta with your family. The mighty Mekong River begins its journey in the plateau of eastern Tibet and, after winding its way more than 4,000 kilometres through China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, it reaches Vietnam and divides into nine channels (the Vietnamese refer to the Mekong Delta as "cuu long" which means "nine dragons") and hundreds of tributaries before emptying into the South China Sea. The Mekong Delta is the most fertile region in Vietnam and is home to approximately 20 million people. The best way to explore the Delta is by boat and today youíll board a river boat at the small market town of Cai Be. As you cruise down the canals, rivers and backwaters, youíll discover how the locals live. Navigate your way through a congested flotilla of boats selling fruit and vegetables at Cai Beís floating market. Visit local, family-run industries involved in producing rice paper and coconut candies. Your accommodation tonight is a simple homestay situated on an island in the middle of the Mekong River. Enjoy the Mekong Deltaís famous elephant ear fish for dinner along and learn about local life from your friendly hosts.|
|Day 4:||Return to Ho Chi Minh City - Walk along the islandís trails and enjoy a sampan ride through some of its small creeks and canals in the morning. Your riverboat will transfer you back to Cai Be later. From here, youíll be transferred back to your hotel in Ho Chi Minh City.|
|Day 5:||Cu Chi Tunnels & Transfer to Nha Trang - Discover the tunnels of Cu Chi in the morning. See the extraordinary network of underground tunnels built by the Viet Cong in the 1940s as protection from French air raids during the Indochina conflict. These tunnels offer visitors a poignant reminder of the hardships of war and an insight into the underground life of Vietnamese soldiers in the late 1940's. You can crawl through a 100-metre section of the tunnels if you wish to. Transfer back to the airport and board a short flight to Nha Trang located on the south central coast of Vietnam. With a spectacular mountain backdrop, a palm-fringed sandy beach and a beautiful bay dotted with tropical islands, itís easy to see why Nha Trang is Vietnamís most popular beach resort. Depending on your arrival time, this afternoon you may have a chance to discover the six-kilometre long beach or explore the town where youíll find Cham ruins, Buddhist temples and gothic-style Catholic churches. You can also travel to the Long Son Pagoda (also known as the White Buddha Temple) to see a 14-metre-high Buddha sitting on a lotus blossom.|
|Day 6:||Nha Trang Boat Trip - Enjoy a boat cruise around Nha Trangís coastal islands with your family and explore the islands of Hon Mieu, Hon Mun, and Hon Mot. Swim in the crystal clear waters if you want to. You might even want to snorkel in the colourful coral reefs. A delicious Vietnamese seafood lunch will be served on board the boat. Return to Nha Trang late in the afternoon.|
|Day 7:||Explore Nha Trang & Overnight Train to Da Nang - You have free time to explore Nha Trang today. You might like to take an optional excursion to visit the Po Nagar Cham Towers or the serene hot springs of Thap Ba. Alternatively, your family may wish to head to Vinpearl Amusement Park, a theme park situated on an island across the bay from Nha Trang Beach. This evening, youíll board an overnight sleeper train and head north to Da Nang.|
|Day 8:||Transfer to Hoi An - There is no rail link to Hoi An. So youíll have to disembark in Da Nang and cover the remaining distance by road. Hoi An was once one of the most important ports in Central Vietnam, visited by ships from all over the world seeking to trade in silk, ceramics and spices. This former trading port is famous for its historic and picturesque Old Town. Today, you and your family will get the chance to learn more about this town during a private, guided walking tour.|
|Day 9:||Explore Hoi An - Enjoy a free day with your family in Hoi An. Explore the town's narrow, cobblestone streets with your family. You may wish to head to Cua Dai Beach, five kilometres from the Old Town (10 minutes by taxi). Here, your family can relax on a white sandy beach and take a dip in the South China Sea. You have the options to enjoy water sports such as kayaking and jet skiing, or you can take a boat trip to the nearby Cham Islands. Please be advised that due to the monsoon, coastal swimming is safest from April to October, however it is not advised at other times of the year. Excursions to the Cham Islands are seasonal and tourist boats donít visit the islands during the rainy season when the seas are rough.|
|Day 10:||Da Nang & Transfer to Hanoi - Transfer to Da Nang in the morning (approximately 45 minutes). Da Nang is known for its sandy beaches and was once a French colonial port. Youíll have time to explore Non Nuoc Beach (also known as China Beach), located along a stretch of stunning coastline that extends from Da Nang to Hoi An. With a stunning mountain backdrop, powdery white sands and crystal clear waters, this five-kilometre-long beach is considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Southeast Asia. Youíll also have the opportunity to discover the Marble Mountains, a rocky outcrop comprising marbles and limestone. Here you can explore networks of caves and tunnels, plus various 17th century Buddhist temples and pagodas. If youíre feeling energetic, you can climb the 150 stone steps from the foot of Thuy Son (Water Mountain) to the Riverview Tower where you can enjoy breathtaking views. Transfer to Da Nang Airport in time to catch a flight to Hanoi. Upon arrival in Hanoi, your family will be met by a representative and transferred to your accommodation. Enjoy a performance of Hanoi's famous water puppets performance in the evening.|
|Day 11:||Guided Tour of Hanoi - Explore Hanoi on a private, guided tour. Start with a visit to the historic Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, an imposing monument lavishly built using marble and granite, where the preserved body of Uncle Ho resides. Visitors are permitted to pay their respects to this revered man himself. A short walk from the mausoleum is the lotus-shaped, One Pillar Pagoda, resting on a single stone pillar emerging from the water. Youíll then visit the Temple of Literature, the first university in Vietnam that was created for the sons of mandarins. Visit the Museum of Ethnology in the afternoon. This museum offers a fascinating insight into Vietnamís natural and cultural history, as well as its 54 ethnic minority groups. You are free to discover more of Hanoi in the evening.|
|Day 12:||Ha Long Bay Cruise - Head east from Hanoi to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Ha Long Bay, famous for its serene, emerald waters and towering limestone islands topped with green. Meet your crew members and board a traditional-style junk, which will be home for the next two nights. This stylish, authentic boat has cosy cabins with en suite facilities and youíll receive attentive service from a friendly crew. Plus youíll enjoy delicious, fresh seafood meals. Once all the passengers are on board youíll set out into the emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin to explore the hundreds of limestone islands and islets. Youíll also stop to visit some of the floating communities and you can take a short tour while the crew pick up some fresh fish for tonightís dinner. As the day draws to an end, the top deck is the perfect place to enjoy a drink and watch the sunset in this magical location.|
|Day 13:||Return to Hanoi - We recommend that you wake up early this morning to catch a stunning sunrise amid the limestone islands of Ha Long Bay. After breakfast, you may have the opportunity to go out for a swim, or even kayak, on the calm waters before you return to the port and disembark your boat. Youíll then return to Hanoi for your final night.|
|Day 14:||Depart from Hanoi - Your Vietnam family holiday tour comes to an end today. We will drive you to the airport for your flight home.|
PlanetAll our adventures are privately guided. By travelling in small numbers, we can limit the potential for impact on ancient trails and age-old temples alike. In Ha Long Bay, our traditional boat is also more mindful of the environment than some modern counterparts, whilst its emphasis on taking you to visit out-of-the-way, secluded beaches, has the additional benefit of reducing over-tourism to certain popular parts of the archipelago.
Our offices in the UK and in Bangkok take a leading role in setting the standard for an environmentally friendly work environment. Alongside ensuring that our waste is appropriately recycled, we have instituted a paperless work system, in which paper usage is kept to a bare minimum. We have also implemented a plastic ban in our offices, starting with coffee cups and single-use plastic drinks bottles, and expanding to encompass food packaging as far as possible. Each office has a designated Ďsustainability officerí, who helps to implement programmes and answer questions, whilst all team members are able to set the environmental agenda by highlighting their ideas on a specific sustainability channel in our internal communications network.
PeopleIn the Mekong Delta you will stay with a local Vietnamese family in their homestay accommodation. This is a fantastic learning experience and children and adults alike often mention it as one of the first things when talking to us about their trip. Using local homestays is also a great way to involve the community in tourism and to pass on the economic benefits of travel at a grassroots level.
We employ local guides and support staff who we pay fair wages, often exceeding government standards which we still consider too low, and thereby remove the reliance on tipping from travellers for livelihoods.
Our accommodation choices make use of locally owned properties where possible and often include adventurous, authentic choices such as local homestays which therefore involve local people and their communities in the very fabric of our holidays.
We encourage all our travellers to research local customs and read your trip notes before you depart to ensure you are conscientious and respectful in a different culture.
In most cases we strongly recommend that you do not give money to children beggars. If begging is a successful enterprise, parents are encouraged to forsake their childrenís education in pursuit of this opportunity.
Talk to us about packing for a purpose and see if you can get involved by making a small material contribution to the communities you are visiting. We have developed partnerships with charities and accommodations throughout Vietnam and are constantly working to extend our reach with the help of our travellers.