Trip Inspiration

12 Days in Vietnam

Five Cities, Countless Discoveries

Celebrate the varied paces of Vietnam, from bustling Saigon to relaxed Hoi An, and everything in between! Stroll through charming Hanoi, dive into Vietnamese culture with privately guided tours of local markets and museums, and cruise along rivers, bays and lagoons to see local life from a unique vantage point.

Trip Highlights

Locations

  • 2 nights in enchanting Hanoi
  • 1 night cruise on Halong Bay
  • 3 nights on the beach in Hoi An
  • 2 nights in riverside Hue
  • 3 nights in bustling Saigon

Activities

  • Photograph ancient temples and UNESCO World Heritage sites
  • Enjoy performances of water puppetry and folk music
  • Experience daily life and scenic views along the Mekong River, the Perfume River, Tam Giang Lagoon and Halong Bay
  • Relax and rejuvenate at a gorgeous beach resort
  • Participate in a local cooking class, engage with local people and wander through bustling street markets with a famous chef
What does “Trip Inspiration” mean?

At Travel Beyond, we believe your trip should be designed just for you, not for the masses. Our travel consultants create a custom itinerary for each client, offering recommendations for places and experiences that best fit your style. The itinerary below was planned for a past client, but we’re sharing it for travel inspiration and as an example of what a trip to Vietnam might look like. Let us know when we can design a trip just for you!

Day 1

Arrive in Hanoi, Vietnam

Welcome to Vietnam! Upon arrival, you will be met by a Travel Beyond representative for your transfer to the Sofitel Metropole Hotel, where you will stay for two nights.

This afternoon, enjoy a private tour of Hanoi, taking in French colonial architecture, the recently restored Opera House and Hoan Kiem Lake. Stroll through Hanoi’s Old Quarter, observing the hustle and bustle of daily life.

This evening, you will be transferred to the theatre for a performance of water puppetry, an ancient and unique art form in which puppeteers stand waist deep in a pool, hidden by a screen from behind which they skillfully maneuver lacquered wooden puppets. Following the performance, enjoy dinner at a local Vietnamese restaurant situated within a former French residence.

Sofitel Metropole Hotel Dinner

Day 2

The Temple Of Literature in Hanoi

Hanoi

Following breakfast, you will be met at the hotel for a morning market visit and street food tour with a famous expatriate chef and cookbook author living in Hanoi. Although this tour focuses on food, it also provides a glimpse into the culture and people of Vietnam.

This afternoon, enjoy a private city cultural tour of Hanoi, encompassing many areas, sights and experiences in Hanoi, including a visit to the Museum of Ethnology. Following the tour, enjoy a performance of “My Village” at the Hanoi Opera House. More than any other Vietnamese cultural show, My Village highlights the music of Vietnam and features twenty different exotic folk instruments.

Tonight, enjoy dinner at a restaurant in Old Quarter whose chef has appeared on the country’s “Top Chef” and “Iron Chef” competitions and whose cuisine mixes Vietnamese with French fusion.

Sofitel Metropole Hotel Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 3

Hanoi to Halong Bay

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for a memorable seaplane flight to Halong Bay, enjoying a unique perspective of this historic UNESCO site en-route. After landing at Tuan Chau Marina in Halong Bay, an electric car will transfer you to board your one-night cruise.

There will be opportunities to stop at some of the numerous grottoes and caves on the islands and explore on foot. Ascending one of the surrounding hills will afford memorable panoramic views of the verdant islands and shimmering waters below. One of the most beautiful places on earth, this magnificent feat of nature rarely fails to impress. Breathtaking beyond words, and often compared with the limestone mountains around Guilin in China, Halong Bay is justifiably one of the world’s natural wonders and more than deserves its UNESCO World Heritage status. Lunch and dinner will be served onboard.

Paradise Peak Cruise Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 4

Halong Bay to Hoi An

Following breakfast, you will disembark the cruise and proceed to Tuan Chau Marina for your seaplane flight back to Hanoi. Upon arrival in Hanoi, you will board your flight to Danang. On arrival in Danang, you will be met by your guide and transferred you to the beachfront Four Seasons Resort, The Nam Hai. Enjoy dinner in downtown Hoi An and spend the remainder of the evening at your leisure.

Four Seasons Resort, The Nam Hai Breakfast / Dinner

Day 5

Hoi An

This morning after breakfast, you will be met by your guide and transferred to a cooking class in Hoi An.

Experience the cacophony of sights and sounds at Hoi An’s vibrant marketplace where you will have the chance to interact with the local vendors and also purchase the necessary ingredients to be used in your cooking lesson later this morning. Enjoy a leisurely cruise along the Thu Bon River to the cooking school. Learn about the region’s best-known dishes and tour the school’s vegetable and herb garden before learning how to prepare some of the dishes yourself. The class finishes with lunch and a demonstration of Vietnamese vegetable carving and plate decoration.

This afternoon, enjoy a walking tour through Hoi An. Devoid of most forms of motorized transportation, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Town of this ancient port is ideal for exploring on foot. Discover beautifully preserved old merchant houses, atmospheric temples and lively markets as you stroll through the back streets of this enchanting destination. Visit the iconic 400-year-old Japanese Bridge and the busy waterfront, where colourful fishing boats bob up and down on the Thu Bon River. During the walk you will visit a local house, located in a hidden alleyway, where you will have chance to try one of best known cakes in Hoi An.

Four Seasons Resort, The Nam Hai Breakfast / Lunch

Day 6

Hoi An

Enjoy a day at your leisure to relax on the beach and explore the resort facilities!

Four Seasons Resort, The Nam Hai Breakfast

Day 7

Hoi An to Hue

Enjoy the morning at your leisure before being transferred to Hue, a 3.5 hour drive. Upon arrival in Hue, you will check into La Residence Hue Hotel and Spa, where you will spend two nights.

This evening you will be greeted at your hotel and transferred to the Perfume River, where you will board a private dragon boat for a relaxing river voyage. Enjoy dinner of renowned Hue cuisine while listening to a performance of traditional live folk music.

La Residence Hue Hotel and Spa Breakfast / Dinner

Day 8

Hue

Hue

Wake up early this morning for a sunrise cruise on Tam Giang Lagoon. Enjoy breakfast aboard a small motorised sampan and cruise the lagoon, stopping at stilt houses here and there to meet with local families and learn about their daily lives.

Upon return to the city, continue with a river cruise to the seven story Thien Mu Pagoda, the location in which a Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc demonstrated against the South Vietnamese government during the Vietnam War. Continue to the Imperial Citadel before moving on to Long An Palace, home to the Royal Fine Arts Museum. Inside this highly rated museum are several thousand antiquities including porcelain, silverware and paintings, many of which belonged to the emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty. Enjoy both lunch and dinner at local restaurants

La Residence Hue Hotel and Spa Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 9

Hue to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

After breakfast, you will be transferred to the Hue airport for the mid-morning flight to Ho Chi Minh City. On arrival you will be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel, The Park Hyatt Saigon, where you will spend three nights.

Your guide will escort you to lunch before you embark on a tour of Saigon. Visit the Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral, the city’s striking French colonial-era post office, Hotel de Ville de Saigon (officially Ho Chi Minh City Hall) and the Museum of Vietnamese History before concluding at the unforgettable Jade Emperor Pagoda. After the tour, consider visiting Ben Thanh market for some personal exploration and a spot of souvenir hunting.

This evening, discover Saigon night-life on the back of a vintage Vespa scooter. Part night excursion, part street food adventure, this after-dark tour of Saigon’s hectic downtown allows you to observe the hustle and the bustle of the city from a unique vantage point. Sample the city’s authentic street food and visit a Vietnamese coffee shop for contemporary live music. Finish the evening at a local bar, where the new generation of Saigonese un-wind after their busy day in the city, before riding back to your hotel.

The Park Hyatt Saigon Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 10

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

This morning after breakfast, you’ll be met by your guide to see a different aspect of Saigon – District 4. Once home to hoodlums and gangsters, this triangular district is much friendlier today and a superb place to witness regular Saigonese going about their daily business. You will almost immediately be in the heart of the community’s street market. This is real Saigon, where few tourists care to venture, so expect a few curious stares and a bit of friendly banter with the locals along the way! Conclude your excursion with a well-earned Vietnamese coffee or the like at a local cafe, before being driven back to your hotel.

This afternoon, you’ll visit Cu Chi Tunnels. Synonymous with the Vietnam War and a testament to the determined spirit of the Vietnamese, the underground network of passages at Cu Chi is a fascinating trip out of the city. Visiting this area at Ben Dinh, there is an option to go below the surface and visit sections of the tunnels first hand.

This evening, enjoy “The Mist Show – The Stories of Rice” at the Saigon Opera House. The Mist utilizes minimum props and costumes, but they are all symbolic daily working tools, designs and colors of the countryside where this performance is set. Following the show you will be transferred for dinner.

The Part Hyatt Saigon Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 11

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

After breakfast this morning, you will meet your guide for a full day cruise exploring life along the Mekong River.

Visit the Cai Be colorful floating market before visiting local home factories to watch workers make rice paste, rice popcorn, coco candies and more. Your trip continues along the Mekong canals to Dong Hoa Hiep Island, discovering beautiful landscapes along the river and observe the typical Mekong delta rural life.

Watch as the city transforms as the sun goes down and the city lights come up, enjoying breathtaking views of Saigon’s most famous central landmarks and an unspoiled view of the Saigon skyline. Enjoy a dinner of traditional Northern Vietnamese cuisine at a local home.

The Part Hyatt Saigon Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 12

Depart Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

On your final morning in Saigon, you will meet your guide after breakfast for your transfer to Saigon airport for your departing flight.

Overnight Flight Breakfast