Suggested Vietnam Tour Itinerary
Day 1: Arrive Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Day 2: Ho Chi Minh City
Day 3: Ho Chi Minh City / Hanoi
Day 4: Hanoi
Day 5: Hanoi
Day 6: Hanoi / Depart
Custom Travel Options
Halong Bay (2 days)
Chinese-style junks sail among some of the thousands of towering limestone islands of this magnificent natural bay.
Hoi An and Hue (4 days)
These two UNESCO World Heritage Site cities share a wealth of historic charm. Hoi An is famous for its shops and tailors; and Hue for its Forbidden Purple City, a 19th-century copy of the much larger original in Beijing, China.
Mekong Delta (3 days)
Travel here offers views of the rural life of Vietnam today and reveals itself in the timeless scenery of farmers planting or harvesting rice.
Nha Trang (3 days)
Resorts here have some of Vietnam’s loveliest beaches and stylish resorts, where water sports, mountain trekking, river trips and cultural explorations are options.
LoCai & Sa Pa (5 days)
These quiet market towns are nestled in lush mountains. Several of the country’s prominent ethnic minority groups such as Hmong, Dao and Tay live in the region.
About Vietnam Travel
Ho Chi Minh City: Ho Chi Minh City, still popularly known as Saigon, is Vietnam’s largest city and its economic hub. More than 300 years of history and tradition thrive in pockets amid the markets, sleek bars, sidewalk cafes, and office buildings. Cholon, “Big Market,” once a separate Chinese town in the 18th century, is today an intriguing jumble of shops, offices and houses packed into one neighborhood. Notre Dame Cathedral, built between 1877 and 1883, sits in the heart of Saigon’s government quarter. Nearby, the French-style Central Post, 1886, is the country’s largest post office. Completed in 1908, City Hall resembles a French town hall. The Reunification Palace and War Remnants Museum stand witness to past troubled times. The Jade Emperor Pagoda used to be a meeting place for Chinese secret societies. Ben Thanh is the city’s central market. The 17th-century Giac Lam Pagoda is the oldest in the city.
Hanoi: Hanoi has served as a capital city for more than a thousand years, through wars, invasions and name changes, yet it still has the feel of youth with all the energy of a teenager. Perhaps part of that impression comes from the hoards of motor scooters that jam the streets every day: young women in heels on their way to work, parents with children piled on, and young men balancing impossibly cumbersome loads on their scooters. Hanoi is a fascinating blend of East and West – a strong Chinese influence mixed with French design from its colonial past. The Old Quarter’s chaotic hodgepodge of skinny lanes contrasts with the French Quarter’s wide, tree-lined boulevards. Notable sights such as One Pillar Pagoda and Temple of Literature date back nearly a millennium. Founded in 1070, the Temple of Literature became Hanoi’s first university. A visit to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is an intriguing cultural experience. Beginning early in the morning, a few Westerners intermingle with the hundreds of Vietnamese uniformed school girls, old men in caps and young soldiers in lines that snake down the street. Quietly, they file past the glass-encased body of their former leader. Nearby are two small houses where he lived and worked until his death in 1969.
Halong Bay: Halong Bay is famed for its quiet beauty. Thousands of islands and islets inhabit the bay, adjacent to the Gulf of Tonkin. Monolithic limestone islands jut skyward, topped with dense jungle that looks like skullcaps. Many islands have cave systems such as Hang Dau Go, with its huge, three-chambered cave reached via a series of 90 steps. The cave was used in the 13th century to store bamboo stakes used against Mongol invading armies.
Hoi An: Hoi An is a delight for shoppers. Rows of shops sell souvenirs, trinkets, silk pashminas, colorful prints of street scenes and more. It is famous for its tailors, who produce fine made-to-measure clothes virtually overnight, and for a fraction of the cost of upscale ready-made western clothing. Internet cafés, bars and restaurants have opened along the riverfront, with lots of spots to sit and people watch.
Hue: Hue’s Old Imperial City is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Forbidden Purple City was built early in the 19th century, modeled after the much larger original in Beijing. The central passageway, with its yellow doors, and the bridge across the lotus pond were for the exclusive use of the emperor. Thai Hoa Palace, built in 1803, has a spacious hall with an ornate roof of huge timbers supported by 80 carved, lacquered columns.
Mekong Delta & Can Tho: The Mekong River travels 2,000 miles from Tibet to the delta in southwestern Vietnam before flowing into the South China Sea. The delta is characterized by a labyrinth of waterways and channels. It is the life blood of Vietnam, producing about half of Vietnam’s total agricultural output. Here, life and culture revolve around the river, and there is a timeless quality to the scenes of farmers planting or harvesting rice. The inhabitants are largely ethnic Viet, with Khmer minorities and a large group of Hoa (ethnic Chinese). Some of the delta islands are home to villagers who create traditional handcrafts, make honey on bee farms and produce sweet coconut candy. Can Tho, river of poems, is the delta’s biggest city, a major trading center, and is noted for its floating market. The region has recently been dubbed as a ‘biological treasure trove’. Over 1,000 new species have been discovered in previously unexplored areas of the Mekong Delta.
Nha Trang: Nha Trang is a favorite vacation spot for well-heeled Vietnamese. A wide palm-lined boulevard separates elegant Mediterranean-style villas and modern hotels from one of Vietnam’s loveliest beaches. The Oceanographic Institute was founded in 1923, and has an aquarium that includes seahorses. A seawater aquarium on Mieu Island is an important fish-breeding farm where over 40 species of fish are raised. Lang Son Pagoda was founded in the late 19th century. A huge white Buddha on a lotus blossom sits on the hill behind the pagoda. At Po Nagar Cham Towers, Hindus have worshipped since the 2nd century AD.
Lao Cai & Sa Pa: People travel to this area for spectacular scenery – steeply terraced rice fields, verdant ridgelines, mud-thatched villages, raging rivers and astounding waterfalls. The French built a hill station at Sa Pa high in the Tonkinese Alps, near the Chinese border, to serve as a getaway from stifling Hanoi summers. Villagers in the area don their most colorful costumes on market day on Saturday. Thac Bac is a serene and lovely 328-foot waterfall. Many of the ethnic minorities known as the hill tribes, including Hmong, are scattered in the area.