Travel the length and breadth of Vietnam taking in natural and cultural wonders including UNESCO-listed World Heritage Sites, ancient capitals and seaports, a colonial-era hill station, and one of the world’s best food cities.
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Journey name : Ultimate Vietnam Experience
Destinations : Hanoi, Sapa, Halong Bay, Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh City, Can Tho, Chau Doc, Nui Sam
Journey duration: 14 days - 13 nights
Price: from $2,599
Arrive at Noi Bai International Airport and transfer to your hotel in the Old Quarter. Our partner hotels are centrally located, boutique and cozy for your comfortable stay and easy to explore the neighborhood
After breakfast, strike out on a full-day tour of some of Hanoi’s fascinating sights showcasing the more than 1,000-year-old history of this graceful capital city.
Highlights include: the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s oldest university, with its ancient collection of peaceful courtyards and gardens built in homage to the Chinese scholar Confucius; a walking tour through some of the Old Quarter’s 36 streets named after the original craft guilds making products of tin, silver, bamboo and more.
Stroll through the labyrinthine back alleys for an authentic look at local life amongst temples and traditional houses as your guide makes Hanoi’s history come alive with stories of this ancient capital. Visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, an imposing structure that houses the preserved remains of the country’s former president revered for leading the fight for Vietnam’s independence from colonial French rule. Nothing is quite as representative of Hanoi as the iconic Ngoc Son Temple (also known as the Temple of the Jade Mountain) situated on a tiny island on fabled Hoan Kiem Lake. Also take in a traditional water puppet show, an age-old art form which originated in the Red River Delta as a way to fuse puppetry and music to tell fables and folk stories.
Enjoy refreshment stops during the day including a velvety smooth Vietnamese coffee at a café overlooking Hoan Kiem Lake and a traditional Vietnamese lunch with a contemporary twist at Home Restaurant, a vintage-chic eatery housed in a beautifully restored 1930’s French-era villa with views over tranquil Truc Bach Lake. Return to your hotel in the late afternoon and prepare for check-out.
Evening transfer to the train station where you will board the Victoria Express Train to Lao Cai, gateway to fabulous Sapa. Check in to your Cabin and perhaps send off a few emails or surf the net with our complimentary Wi-Fi before settling in for the comfortable overnight journey with the gentle swaying of the vintage Pullman carriages to rock you to sleep.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Awaken at dawn, refreshed and ready for your first day in the former French hill station of Sapa, known for its cool temperatures and delightful mix of Nature and Culture in its postcard-pretty terraced rice fields and colourful ethnic minority groups.
Transfer 1 hr from the Lao Cai Train Station, just minutes from the Chinese border, to the stylish Victoria Sapa Resort & Spa where a beautiful buffet breakfast awaits. Sip a velvety smooth Vietnamese drip coffee as you look out over Mount Fansipan, Indochina’s highest peak.
In the afternoon, get your first taste of Sapa with a half-day excursion to Suoi Ho - Ma Tra Village. Take a walk around the village populated by ethnic minorities for a little insight into the villagers' way of life. Your driver will pick you up around 17h30 to bring you up to the town.
In the evening, sit down to a lovely dinner at Ta Van Restaurant, with a seat by its large central fireplace or on the outdoor terrace with views over the nearby mountain range. The restaurant also features traditional performances by H’mong and Thai minority dancers on select evenings (Saturday).
Overnight at Victoria Sapa Resort & Spa, a 77-room boutique property designed to embody the spirit of Sapa, from its stone and wood buildings that evoke the feel of an exclusive Alpine lodge to the wooden floors and locally-woven textiles in each stylish guest room. Relax and enjoy our swimming pool and hotel facilities: massage, sauna, fitness center, tennis court...
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
After a hearty buffet breakfast, the day is yours to enjoy as you like. Walk down to the nearby central square dominated by the colonial-era Stone Church and people-watch as locals come out to play volleyball or sit and talk over snacks sold by vendors.
The town of Sapa is compact and pedestrian-friendly with scores of quaint boutiques and homey cafes. You’ll also want to take advantage of the many complimentary services from Victoria Sapa Resort & Spa including one-way transfers to the Sapa Market where handicrafts, ethnic-style clothing and all sorts of dried local fruit are for sale, or to the Fansipan Station for a trip to the “Rooftop of Indochina” on the highest and longest cable car ride of its type in the world.
After a full day of exploring, book yourself for a joyful massage (15% discount) at the Victoria Spa, with time to enjoy its heated pool and outdoor tennis courts. In the evening transfer to the Lao Cai Train Station for your return journey to Hanoi aboard the Victoria Express Train.
Early wake up at 5.30am and have a light croissant and a cup of tea on board. Arrive in Hanoi at approximately 6.00am, meet your driver and take a transfer to Halong Bay on a 180km journey.
[Optional] From the Tuan Chau Island Marina, take an unforgettable 25-minute scenic sightseeing flight for bird’s eye views of the highlights of this UNESCO-listed World Heritage Centre.
Fly over the spectacular seascape of some 1,600 islands and islets, most untouched by humans and marked by towering limestone pillars rising out of the emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. For more information, visit Hai Au Aviation's website.
At noon, check in to your cabin aboard the Emeraude, a boutique sailing vessel modelled after a turn-of-the-century paddle steamer.
Enjoy a superb buffet lunch in the stylish restaurant that recalls the Golden Age of Travel with dark woods, vintage photographs and elegant table settings.
The rest of the day is a pleasing mix of relaxation and exploration with shore excursions to visit Surprise Cave, the largest and most spectacular in the bay, and Titov Island where you can climb the hill for 360-degree views or swim off the golden sand beach.
The afternoon’s activities also include crepes on the sundeck, a cooking demonstration and time to watch the ever-changing scenery of glorious Halong Bay glide on by. A delicious BBQ dinner is served in the restaurant, followed by a movie.
Meals: Lunch, Dinner
You are invited to wake up with the sun and participate in one of the most scenic Tai Chi sessions you’ll ever encounter on the sundeck of the Emeraude.
Enjoy pastries and a morning cup of coffee or tea with the glittering islands of Halong Bay as a backdrop before visiting a pearl farm or kayaking around the islands. After checking out of your cabin, sit down to a final brunch at the restaurant as the ship cruises through the bay.
Disembark at the Emeraude Cafe just before noon with private transfer back to Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport in time for your late afternoon flight to Danang International Airport.
Transfer approximately 30 km to Victoria Hoi An Beach Resort & Spa, an elegant 109-room boutique hotel situated directly on Cua Dai Beach and backed by the river.
After breakfast, set off on a morning cruise on the De Vong River to the Bay Mau Water Coconut Forest. This “green lung” of Hoi An features tranquil waterways flanked by water coconut palms and rustic villages.
Gain insight into the lives of the local fishermen as you watch them manipulate the large “ro” nets from your vantage point on a traditional circular basket boat.
Back on board the ship, observe the mesmerizing riverscapes glide on by as you feast on tasty tapas freshly prepared by our chef and enjoy a blissful foot massage by therapists from the Victoria Spa. The afternoon is at your leisure.
Take advantage of the many complimentary services from Victoria Hoi An Resort & Spa, a Tai Chi session (reservation required), or perhaps a set of tennis.
We also highly recommend taking the complimentary shuttle into the pedestrian-friendly Ancient Town and strolling among its historic shop houses-turned-boutiques, visiting the many atmospheric Chinese temples or Hoi An’s iconic Japanese covered bridge.
Hoi An is also famed for its high-quality, custom-made clothing and leather goods, many of which can be tailored in as little as 24 hours.
Enjoy a lovely buffet breakfast spread, including Hoi An’s famed noodle soup, at L’Annam Restaurant overlooking the resort’s beachside infinity pool.
Spend the morning exploring the picturesque countryside of Hoi An by vintage sidecar, providing a unique perspective from which to photograph the area’s lush rice fields and single-craft villages that grew from when Hoi An was a prosperous port city in the Middle Ages.
Choose from one of two 2-hour routes: Route 1 explores the nearby countryside with its organic gardens, quiet fish and shrimp ponds, and gentle water buffalo working the rice fields.
Also visit the Thanh Ha Pottery Village on the banks of the Thu Bon River where multi-generational families still hand-make ceramics from local clay using a foot-powered potter’s wheel.
Route 2 explores life lived on and by the water at the Cam Thanh Coconut Village where fishermen can be seen casting their circular nets on the river bordered by coconut palms.
Stop at the Kim Bong Carpentry Village to see artisans hand-crafting everything from intricate sculptures with mother-of-pearl inlay to large river and seagoing vessels out of wood.
Spend a lazy afternoon by the resort’s private stretch of golden sand beach or on a sun lounger by the palm-fringed infinity pool or perhaps return to the Ancient Town for some last-minute souvenirs.
After a leisurely buffet breakfast featuring French pastries, freshly squeezed juices and iced Vietnamese coffee, transfer to the Danang International Airport for the short flight to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s vibrant economic and entertainment hub.
Check in to your hotel in Ho Chi Minh city. Our partner hotel is situated in a prime location of Ho Chi Minh City, and offers easy access to famous city attractions, shopping centers, and commercial buildings. In the late afternoon, explore Saigon’s amazing street food scene on a culinary walking tour.
As Vietnam’s largest city, Saigon draws residents from all over the country who bring with them their favorite regional specialties, making Saigon one of the world’s best foodie destinations.
Come with an empty stomach and an adventurous spirit as you sample some of Vietnam’s best street foods including stuffed “banh mi” baguettes, flame-grilled barbecue skewers, tasty noodle dishes, Vietnamese sweet puddings and perhaps even a grilled rice paper “pizza” served at streetside stalls which pop up just in the evenings.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner (Street Food)
Bustling Saigon with its 8 million residents and 8 million motorbikes retains a charm all its own through its carefully choreographed chaos, tree-lined boulevards, and pale yellow colonial-era buildings next to modern skyscrapers.
See some of the highlights of this metropolis once known as the “Pearl of the Far East” on a full-day tour. In the morning, visit some of the city’s downtown sights by private car, including the graceful Central Post Office and the Opera House, both reflecting French-Vietnamese architectural elements from the late 19th century.
Also experience Ben Thanh Market with its iconic clock tower, the Reunification Palace with its stately meeting rooms and beautifully landscaped gardens, and the War Remnants Museum for a sobering look into the American War through the eyes of the Vietnamese people.
Enjoy a cooking demonstration and lunch at the elegant Mandarine Restaurant featuring traditional Vietnamese cuisine with touches of French influence.
In the afternoon, swap car for cyclo, a traditional pedal-powered form of transportation that’s ideal for exploring the alleyways of Saigon’s Chinatown, also known as Cho Lon.
Originally a separate city established by Chinese immigrants in the late 19th century, Chinatown provides a fascinating look back in time with its incense-filled pagodas, traditional herbal medicine shops and colourful neighbourhoods.
In the late afternoon, head up to one of Saigon’s highest buildings, the 68-storey Bitexco Tower, for sweeping views of the Saigon skyline including the Saigon River as it winds its way past skyscrapers and rice fields. Enjoy a leisurely cocktail at Café EON on the 50th floor as the sun begins to set over Saigon. Transfer by car back to your hotel with the evening at your leisure.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Morning departure from Saigon by private car for a 2 hr drive southwest to Cai Be, gateway to the Mekong Delta. The friendly crew of the Cai Be Princess welcomes you on board the luxury sampan with a chilled towel and refreshing drink as you begin cruising the local waterways.
Observe as life unfolds on the river banks, an ever-changing kaleidoscope of peaceful landscapes and industrious river folk, while enjoying a cup of hot tea and fresh fruit from the Delta, Vietnam’s “Rice Bowl”.
The morning’s shore excursions include a row boat trip at Tan Phong Islet to explore its narrow canals and hidden mangroves, a visit to a 19th-century home to admire Indochinese architecture and stops at local workshops turning out treats like coconut candy and puffed rice (the local equivalent of popcorn).
Disembark at Le Longanier Restaurant for lunch at this exquisite colonial-style villa set in a lush tropical garden by the river, an elegant throwback to life during Indochinese times. The beautifully presented set lunch showcases some of the wonderfully unique products of the Mekong Delta.
After lunch, drive 1.5 hrs to Can Tho, the largest city in the Delta. Overnight at Victoria Can Tho Resort, a graceful, colonial-inspired hotel set on the banks of the Hau River, a tributary of the mighty Mekong.
You have the late afternoon and evening free to book yourself a spa treatment at the resort, lounge about the two swimming pools, walk the riverside gardens or take a complimentary shuttle boat to explore the nearby city centre.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Begin the day with a scenic early morning breakfast cruise to the famed Cai Rang Floating Market. Arriving at the market’s peak, you will see dozens of colourful boats laden with fresh produce from all over the Delta. Note the long poles with produce hung on top advertising the products on offer.
After some time to view the market from several different vantage points, you will slowly cruise back to the resort taking in scenes of stilt homes, women doing laundry in the river and children playing on its banks. Go ashore for a closer view of rural life, including stops at a small noodle workshop and a tropical fruit orchard.
After lunch, drive 3 hrs to Victoria Chau Doc Hotel, just minutes from the Cambodian border. Set next to Chau Doc’s river walk, a pedestrian-only area where families come out to watch the river and where children play pick-up football games, the Victoria Chau Doc Hotel features 92 wood-floored rooms, most offering spectacular views of the Hau River.
Each room combines the elegance of traditional Vietnamese handicrafts and colonial Old World charm, accented with bright, locally-produced textiles. Enjoy the late afternoon and evening at your leisure, perhaps walking to the busy Chau Doc Market to see the many products from the Delta on display.
After breakfast at the hotel featuring several specialties of the Mekong Delta including “bun ca”, a rice noodle soup made with local fish, the morning is yours to relax or to explore Chau Doc.
This fascinating multi-cultural border town is home to colourful temples and mosques reflecting the area’s Vietnamese, Chinese, Cham and Khmer communities. At noon, make the short drive to Victoria Nui Sam Lodge for a private lunch in the gazebo overlooking the plains below with spectacular, uninterrupted views stretching into neighbouring Cambodia.
Nui Sam (Sam Mountain) is a famous pilgrimage site known for its many hilltop pagodas and temples. In the afternoon, visit an ethnic Khmer village to learn about the role of Buddhism in the community with the opportunity to speak with monks at the local monastery.
Continue 20 km to the enchanted Tra Su Forest, an 850 ha eco-reserve which is home to more than 100 species of water birds. Traveling by sampan along the picturesque waterways is truly an unforgettable experience as you cruise by submerged forests on a living carpet of water plants.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
After a hearty buffet breakfast, prepare for your onward travels, either continuing to Phnom Penh, Cambodia by Victoria Speed Boat or arranging transportation back through the Delta to Ho Chi Minh City.
*Note: the price is based on minimum of 2 persons travelling
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