17 Nights / 18 Days
CLASSIC TOUR ¦ 18 DAYS ¦ PHYSICAL LEVEL 1
SAIGON – MEKONG DELTA – DELTA – NHA TRANG– QUI NHON – HOI AN– HUE– HALONG BAY
This all-encompassing tour not only showcases Vietnam’s highlights but fully absorbs you in the rich history and culture too. Spend more time interacting with locals and visiting lesser-known places alongside the usual highlights.
● Visit Cai Rang floating market
● Unwind in stunning Nha Trang
● Discover the past of Qui Nhon
● Wander charming Hoi An
● Marvel at Hue’s Imperial Citadel
● Wake to sunrise on Halong Bay
● Enjoy the Quintessence of Tonkin show
Vietnam Panorama tour inclusions:
All sightseeing and entrance fees
All transportation and transfers
English speaking National Escort (if your group is 10 or more passengers) or Local Guides
Visa fees for UK and EU passport holders
Specialist advice from our experienced travel consultants
Comprehensive travel guides
Safe and secure with ABTA, ATOL and IATA
Please ask our sales agent to price the International Flights
The only thing you may have to pay for are personal expenditure e.g. drinks, optional excursions or shows, insurance of any kind, early check in or late checkout and other items not specified on the itinerary.
Itinerary – Vietnam Panorama
Day 1-2 Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City)
Fly to Saigon, where you will be met at the by your Local Guide or National Escort. Together with all other group members who may be arriving at a similar time, you will transfer 45 minutes to your hotel and check into your room or store any luggage if your room is not ready yet. There is no sightseeing today.
Saigon – Officially renamed Ho Chi Minh City, the city is typically still called Saigon by its inhabitants. Saigon is driving Vietnam forward into the modern world, but is also a treasure trove of fascinating heritage. During the 1960s and early 1970s, Saigon was a tale of two cities under the American occupation, and was the capital of South Vietnam until the events that led to the reunification of north and south. Today, the old mixes seamlessly with the new and you can wander through timeless alleys to incense-infused temples before catching up with the present in designer malls beneath sleek skyscrapers.
Day 3 Cu Chi Tunnels
Confront the reality of guerrilla warfare at the Cu Chi Tunnels. The cramped tunnels were central to a few of the war’s strategic operations, including the famous 1968 Tet Offensive, and they did not escape damage. American B52 bombers dropped hundreds of missiles leaving huge tell-tale craters behind. The Cu Chi experience can be emotional for some visitors, but it offers a fascinating window into the hardship and traumas of war. This afternoon, explore modern day Saigon with its heady mix of local culture and colonial influences. You’ll pass the Notre Dame Cathedral, visit the Central Post Office, the Reunification Palace and the chilling War Remnants Museum.
Please note: The Notre Dame Cathedral will be under renovation until 2023. During this time, we are unable to enter the Cathedral; however we can view it from the outside.
● The tunnels of Cu Chi are an immense network of connecting underground tunnels located in the Cu Chi district of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam, and are part of a much larger network of tunnels that underlie much of the country. The Cu Chi tunnels were the location of several military campaigns during the Vietnam War, and were the Viet Cong's base of operations for the Tet Offensive in 1968. The tunnels were used by Viet Cong soldiers as hiding spots during combat, as well as serving as communication and supply routes, hospitals, food and weapon caches and living quarters for numerous North Vietnamese fighters. The tunnel systems were of great importance to the Viet Cong in their resistance to American forces, and helped to counter the growing American military effort.
Central Post Office
● Located next to the Notre-Dame Cathedral. The Central Post Office building was constructed in the late 19th century. It counts Gothic, Renaissance and French influences and was designed by Auguste Henri Vildieu and Alfred Foulhoux, but is often erroneously credited as being the work of Gustave Eiffel.
● Built on the site of the former Norodom Palace, is a landmark in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. It was designed by architect Ngô Vi?t Th? and was the home and workplace of the President of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. It was the site of the end of the Vietnam War during the Fall of Saigon on 30th April 1975, when a North Vietnamese Army tank crashed through its gates.
War Remnants Museum
● Comprised of numerous buildings displaying military equipment, photographs and artefacts relating to the Vietnam War from 1961-1975. This museum illustrates a harrowing period in this nation’s history.
Day 4 Saigon to Can Tho
Drive 2 and a half hours down to the picturesque province of Ben Tre, situated along the mighty Mekong. This area is known as the ‘Rice Basket of Vietnam’, because its rich and fertile lands produce large amounts of rice, coconuts, vegetables and tropical fruit. Spend the day cruising and exploring these waterways before travelling to Can Tho for an overnight stay. You will travel by motorised, wooden boats between the islands and then change to smaller, paddleboats in the palm fringed canals; sightseeing involves hopping on and off these boats, often on unsteady and slippery surfaces, sometimes without handrails or assistance. Remember to take insect repellent and sun protection for your overnight trip to Can Tho, as it can get very hot and humid in the Mekong. You will need to pack a smaller overnight bag for your trip to Can Tho. Main luggage will be left in safe storage at the hotel in Saigon and picked up your return.
● Although primarily rural, the Mekong Delta is a densely populated area where life progresses around its fertile banks. The Mekong Delta is the 13th longest, and the 10th largest, by volume alone and people live, trade, travel and even go to school on the riverbanks. The rice which is cultivated in the many farming lands is said to be enough to supply the entire country with a little extra.
Day 5 Can tho to Saigon
Can Tho is the largest city along the Mekong Delta and central for trade, continue sightseeing around the canals and in the city of Can Tho, stepping in and out of boats again today. Stop at the Cai Rang floating markets and soak up its vibrant atmosphere. Later, visit a local rice husking mill and a factory that produces vermicelli rice noodles before returning to Saigon, stopping for lunch en route.
Cai Rang Floating Markets
● The largest markets along the Mekong Delta, witness the grand scale of produce on sale and the local lives of the Vietnamese along these teeming waterways.
Day 6 Saigon to Dalat
Depart the bustling city of Saigon for the cooler climate and picturesque scenery of Dalat. Stop en route to sample some locally grown tea from one of the many plantations in the region of Bao Loc. The journey is around 6 to 7 hours. Arrive into Dalat in the late afternoon.
Dalat – Once known as “Le Petit Paris”, a French physician by the name of Alexandre Yersin promoted the charming town of Dalat to French colonials, recommending the mountain air. Nestled in amongst the green, rolling hills of central-southern Vietnam, temperatures sit between 15 to 25 degrees offering visitors a cool break from the baking plains of the Mekong Delta to the south. The beautiful greenery, the romantic atmosphere and the graceful architecture of the buildings add to Dalat’s charm.
Day 7 Dalat, The City of Flowers
A full day of sightseeing in Dalat today, beginning with a visit to Domain de Marie Church (built in 1943) and followed by a visit to Dalat’s Flower Gardens. Next stop is an embroidery workshop. Here, you will gain an understanding of this special handicraft, kept alive for generations in Dalat. After lunch, visit the former railway station, where you will enjoy an open-air train ride to Trai Mat hamlet (one way only). Disembark the train and drive to the colourful Dalat market, where you can stroll through and witness the daily life of the locals. End your day at a local coffee shop overlooking Xuan Huong Lake; the perfect position from which to watch the world go by.
*Please note the train only operates with 20 passengers or more. If the train is not operating on the day of your visit, alternative transport will be arranged*.
Domain de Marie Church – Located on a hill with sweeping views of Dalat, this church is admired for its beautiful French colonial architecture. Flower Gardens – Overlooking Xuan Huong Lake, there are over 300 varieties of plants and flowers on display in these beautiful gardens. Open Air Train Ride to Trai Hamlet
● Witness serene views of the Dalat plateau, with its clusters of multicoloured housing, ravines, valleys, greenhouses and outdoor farms from the carriage of your open-air train.
Day 8 Dalat to Nah Trang
This morning, leave the highlands of Dalat behind and drive 3 hoursto the coastal city of Nha Trang. Upon arrival at the port, board a boat for an afternoon cruise on the turquoise waters. Boarding your boat may involve navigating your way over and through other boats, moored between it and the dock, sometimes without handrails, ladders or assistance from staff. These are ex fishing boats which have had benches and seats fitted for groups. They are quite basic but have ample room for the group to sit and relax while cruising. The deck has a roof providing shade. You will have the opportunity to stop at one of the many islands, where you can enjoy a swim in the balmy waters before returning to Nha Trang.
*Today’s boat trip is weather dependent. Your national escort or local guide will do their best to inform the group of any changes to the itinerary as early as possible*.
Nha Trang – The high-energy resort town of Nha Trang offers one of the nicest beaches in Vietnam boasting turquoise waters, excellent fishing, snorkelling and scuba diving.
Day 9 Nah Trang to Qui Nhon
Today drive 5 to 6 hours to the coastal city of Qui Nhon. Along the way visit the Dam Market and the Po Nagar Cham Towers, a complex of granite temples. There will also be time to stop for lunch, rest and photo opportunities along the way.
Po Nagar Cham Towers
● Ruins from the Hindu Kingdom of Champa, which ruled this region of Vietnam from the late 2nd century through to 1471. Qui Nhon – Surrounded by green mountains on three sides and the ocean on the forth, the city of Qui Nhon is known for its beautiful surroundings, Cham temples and nearby beaches.
Day 10 Qui Nhon to Hoi An
Leave Qui Nhon and travel approximately 4 hours to Son My, where you can pay homage to the victims of the My Lai massacre, known for the most notorious massacre during the Vietnam/American conflict. The memorial and museum are simple; most people find this quite confronting and emotional so you will be given time to explore on your own. In the afternoon, drive a further 4 hours arriving into Hoi An, where the remainder of the evening is at leisure.
Destination Information Son My – This memorial and museum are a poignant reminder of this pivotal moment during the Vietnam/American conflict. Hoi An
● Perhaps more than any other place in Vietnam, Hoi An retains the feel of centuries past. Once known as Faifo, Hoi An was an influential port along the Silk Road. For over 500 years merchants from China, Japan, France and Portugal settled in the prosperous town resulting in a distinctive blend of culture, cuisine, religion and architecture.
Day 11 Hoi An
Enjoy a morning walking tour of this laid back and wilfully traditional town to see the elaborate Japanese Covered Bridge, Chinese temple, and a traditional house occupied by the same family for over 200 years. Stop to visit the Reaching Out Arts and Crafts Workshop, a social enterprise providing employment and training to local people with disabilities. After lunch, the rest of the day is at leisure to explore Hoi An’s ancient, lantern-lined streets, or perhaps head to the beach independently.
Japanese Covered Bridge
● First constructed in the 1590s to link the Japanese and Chinese quarters of the town. This iconic pink hued bridge has been restored to its former splendour.
Reaching Out – Provides opportunities for people with disabilities to learn skills and gain meaningful employment. The arts and crafts workshop provides a platform for local people to showcase their talents.
Day 12 Hoi An to Hue
This morning, drive approximately 4 hours to Hue, this journey will take you over the scenic Hai Van Pass. Hue is the epitome of Vietnam’s dynamic past, and considered a scholarly city. Upon arrival, explore the Royal Tomb of Minh Mang. The complex comprises of almost 40 monuments and is surrounded by gardens and pools, making it one of the more beautiful tombs.
● Having been the imperial capital from 1802 until the abdication of the country’s last emperor in 1945, Hue is still regarded as the centre of Vietnam’s culture and religion. The city is dominated by the Imperial Citadel, reminiscent of the Forbidden City in China. There are many wonderful pagodas and temples of high significance, and it contains the Grand Tombs of the Nguyen Emperors.
Royal Tomb of Minh Mang
● Emperor Minh Mang reigned in the Nguyen Dynasty, the last of the Vietnamese dynasties, from 1820-1840. The construction of his tomb was completed after his death and is said to have taken approximately 10,000 workers to complete. The complex comprises of almost 40 monuments and is surrounded by gardens and pools, making it one of the more beautiful tombs in Vietnam.
Day 13 Hue
After breakfast, visit the Imperial Citadel and the Forbidden Purple City which is still being restored many years after the destruction caused by street fighting and bombing during the American War in Vietnam. Afterwards, drive to the outskirts of Hue to visit An Hien House, the original residence of Emperor Tu Duc’s 18th daughter. This afternoon, enjoy an hour-long cruise along the Perfume River to Hue's oldest and most beautiful pagoda, Thien Mu, built on a hillock overlooking the river. Boarding your cruise could involve navigating your way over other boats, moored between it and the dock, sometimes without handrails, ladders or assistance from staff.
● A walled fortress accompanied by cannons, artilleries and surrounded by a moat for protection. Inside the Citadel are numerous gates, courtyards and the Forbidden Purple City.
Forbidden Purple City
● Constructed for personal use by the Imperial family, their concubines and eunuchs. This royal structure is still being restored many years after the destruction caused by street fighting and bombing during the American war in Vietnam. Wander the grounds and foundations whilst viewing the remaining woodwork and architecture.
An Hien House
● This house is an excellent example of traditional Vietnamese architecture. Massive pillars support a large tiled roof, with the family altar in the middle.
Thien Mu Pagoda
● This seven-storey octagonal tower built on a hillock, overlooking the Perfume River is Hue's oldest and most beautiful pagoda. Wander the grounds where bonsai, ponds and the smell of incense set a peaceful backdrop.
Day 14 Hue to Hanoi
This morning, fly 1 hour and 20 minutes to Hanoi. Upon arrival, you will visit the Fine Arts Museum for an overview of art and its development in Vietnam. After lunch, experience an exhilarating cyclo ride through Hanoi’s Old Quarter. Each cyclo takes one passenger and is operated by a cycle driver behind the carriage. Wrap up your cyclo ride with a strong Vietnamese coffee at a café overlooking Hoan Kiem Lake
● an important site in Vietnamese folklore.
● With a population of approximately four million, Hanoi is a charming and richly historic city of lakes, shaded boulevards and leafy open parks. The centre is an architectural museum piece housing groups of ochre coloured buildings holding the air of provincial French towns of the 1930s, a “Paris of the Orient” as people have called it.
Fine Arts Museum
● Housed in what was once the French Ministry of Information with a classical colonial structure. The artefacts on display range from ancient to contemporary.
Hanoi Old Quarter
● A maze of streets weaving through Hanoi and dating back to the 13th century. Each street specialises in merchants and artisans selling their wares of silk, silver, wood and more.
Day 15 Hanoi
Discover the sights of Hanoi today. First stop will be the Ho Chi Minh Quarter and pass Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, followed by the Humble House on Stilts and the One Pillar Pagoda. Next, drive to the serene Temple of Literature, Hanoi’s first university. Your afternoon is at leisure.
Ho Chi Minh Quarter
● Dedicated to the father of modern Vietnam and where Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum stands in Ba Dinh Square. Ho Chi Minh first declared independence from French rule in 1945.
One Pillar Pagoda
● Rebuilt in 1955 after damage during the French evacuation, the pagoda is made of wood and sits on a single pillar. Designed to reflect the shape of a lotus flower emerging from the water, it has become a popular spot for locals to enjoy the tranquil surroundings.
Humble House on Stilts
● In the grounds of the Presidential Palace sits the 2 storey wooden home of Ho Chi Minh who ruled Vietnam from here until his death in 1969.
Temple of Literature
● Hanoi's first university dating back to 1070 and a historical centre of learning, now dedicated to Confucian worship.
Day 16 Hanoi to Halong Bay
here you will take an overnight cruise to the far-most corners of the bay by boat. Boarding your boat could involve navigating your way over and through other boats, moored between it and the dock, sometimes without handrails, ladders or assistance from staff.
Enjoy lunch onboard as you cruise out into the bay, stopping to anchor for an afternoon of activities (which are subject to change due to cruise selection and weather conditions). Sightseeing includes visiting underground caves on the islands, which require climbing up and down steps inside and outside of the caves. End the day on deck with a drink in hand to watch the sunset over the bay followed by a freshly prepared dinner, before retiring to your cabin for the night.
You will need to pack a smaller overnight bag for your trip to Halong Bay. Main luggage will be left in safe storage at the hotel in Hanoi and picked up your return.
*Please note: Weather conditions such as mist, fog, wind, rain and storms may delay the departure time of your cruise, or in some cases your cruise may be cancelled. Notifications of any delays or cancellations may not be known until your group’s arrival in Halong Bay. If your cruise is cancelled after your arrival in Halong Bay, you will have lunch in Halong City and return to Hanoi. If notification of the cruise cancellation is given prior to your departure for Halong Bay an alternative day trip will be arranged to Hoa Lu and Tam Coc or ‘Halong Bay on Land’, an area located approximately 2 hours from Hanoi. Our guides will make every effort to inform the group at the earliest possible moment should there be any itinerary changes.*
● Compared to the landscape of the limestone islets of Guilin in China and Krabi in southern Thailand, Halong Bay shares a common border with China in the north and harbours some of the most stunning scenery in Vietnam. Unique rock sculptures jut out dramatically from the clear emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin and numerous grottoes have created an enchanting, timeless world, looking out onto the horizon with the sails of the junks and sampans completing the picture.
Day 17 Halong Bay to Hanoi
Spend the morning sailing through Halong Bay. After an early lunch (or brunch meal), disembark your cruise and return to Hanoi. This evening, attend The Quintessence of Tonkin show, an artistic open-air performance celebrating the rich history of northern Vietnam
Day 18 Depart Hanoi
*Please note: Only breakfast is provided on the group’s day of departure*
13/02/23 & 20/02/23 & 06/03/23 & 13/03/23 & 27/03/23 & 01/05/23 & 18/09/23 & 02/10/23 and many more