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About your trip
Savour traditional street food, immerse yourself in rural village life and marvel at diverse tropical scenery on this action-packed journey through Vietnam. Starting in the capital, Hanoi, you’ll make the unforgettable trip to Mai Chau – a rural valley lined with paddies between forested mountains. After cruising through the dreamlike seascapes of Halong Bay on a luxury cruise ship, continue south by overnight train to Hue, where the Imperial City offers a fascinating window into the country’s past. Wrap up your trip in Hoi An, soaking up the atmosphere of its lantern-lit streets and charming canals. All of our trips are flightless in destination, with 100% of all carbon emissions offset. It's just part of how we see the world while being good to it.
- Enjoy Vietnamese street food at a night market in Hanoi
- Visit the picturesque Mai Chau Valley and experience the local culture
- Sail through Halong Bay on a luxury cruise ship
- Swim, hike and take a tai chi class among spectacular seascapes
- Discover the Imperial City of Hue and cruise along the Perfume River
- Explore the eclectic architecture and canals of Hoi An
Upon arrival in Hanoi airport (HAN), you’ll be transferred to the hotel where our Local Insider will help you check in. They will accompany the group throughout the trip. Feel free to explore the area or grab a drink at the bar before meeting your fellow travellers at 5.15pm. Kick off the evening by heading out to a local night market for your first taste of Vietnamese street food. Try delicacies such as bun cha (meatballs with noodles and herbs), pho (noodle soup) or goi cuon (fresh spring rolls), washed down with a cold Hanoi beer.
After breakfast, set out on a walking tour of Hanoi. You’ll start at Ba Dinh Square, where president Ho Chi Minh read the Independence Declaration on 2 September 1945. Take time to appreciate the imposing marble mausoleum built in his honour. Next, stop by the Temple of Literature, a picturesque complex housing the oldest university in Vietnam, dedicated to the ancient Chinese scholar, Confucius. In the afternoon you’ll be able to explore Hanoi at your own leisure, perhaps by strolling through the lively Old Quarter and finding a cafe to try a creamy egg coffee – a Hanoi speciality.
Today, you’ll swap the bustle of Hanoi for the tranquility of the Mai Chau, a lush valley 140km (87mi) southwest of the capital, inhabited by several ethnic minority groups in the mountains of Hoa Binh province. Following a lunch of local delicacies, you’ll cycle through rice fields to a White Thai village and experience farm life – including collecting food for buffalos and feeding them. Enjoy fresh fruit and honey tea with the indigenous people while embracing their slower pace of life. Come nightfall, you’ll dine at a homestay.
This morning, you’ll take a short transfer to Bao La commune and continue from there to reach Na Chao village. Get a deeper feel for the Mai Chau countryside by following a short hiking trail and glimpse inside the traditional stilt houses built and lived in by local families. You’ll learn all about the history and culture of the White Thai ethnic group, who live in the area, and attend a class on weaving bamboo baskets at a White Thai house before returning to Hanoi in the afternoon.
After breakfast at your hotel, you’ll transfer to Tuan Chau Island, on the fringes of Halong Bay, where you’ll set sail for tiny Ti Top Island. With its white beach and verdant, sail-shaped karst peak, this tiny islet is one of the bay’s top stops. Before you get there, you’ll enjoy lunch on board your cruiser and stop enroute at Tung Sau pearl farm, to see how these natural gems are cultivated. You’ll drop anchor overnight at Ti Top Island, where you can hit the beach for a swim or trek up to the mountain overlook – just make sure you’re back on board in time for happy hour and canapés on the boat’s sundeck. After watching the sun set, relax with a spot of squid fishing off the back of the boat.
Start the day by focusing the mind and body with a tai chi class on deck. After, you’ll tuck into a light breakfast before sailing on to Sung Sot cave – the largest and most beautiful cave in Halong Bay, festooned in delicate stalactites. After the cave visit, you’ll be treated to a final full breakfast on board as you cruise past Thien Cung and Dao Go Cave, and the Fighting Cock islet. After a little more time to relax and take in those Halong Bay views, you’ll disembark back at Tuan Chai Island. It’s time to bid farewell to the crew and return to Hanoi to board an overnight train to Hue. Be prepared – there are no showers on sleeper trains in Vietnam.
Wake up in Hue, the capital between 1802 and 1945. After arriving at the station, check into the hotel and spend the afternoon at leisure. In the evening, you’ll join a street food tour by cyclo – a rickshaw-style form of transport, popular in Vietnam – and get an authentic feel for the city, stopping at a number of restaurants, markets and hidden eateries to sample a variety of Hue specialities – noticeably distinct from typical Vietnamese cuisine. Bun ho hue (spicy beef noodle soup), nem lui (pork and lemongrass skewers) and banh beo (steamed rice cakes with shrimps) are among the local favourites.
Now you’re familiar with Hue’s food scene, it’s time to learn about the flavours and techniques behind the local delicacies by visiting a market and attending a cooking masterclass with gastronomy artisan, Ms Huy. After enjoying the fruits of your labour, head to the ancient Hue Citadel, where you can admire the lavish architecture of the royal palaces in the Imperial City. You’ll then sail along the Perfume River to the Thien Mu Pagoda and experience a royal tea ceremony in the style of the Nguyen Dynasty, finally stopping at the XQ Hand Embroidery Art Museum on your way back to the hotel.
After a healthy Vietnamese breakfast and a gentle start to the day we’ll continue on to the final stop of your trip, Hoi An, an atmospheric coastal town featuring a colourful mix of Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and French-colonial architecture, intersected by canals. The signature local dish, cao lau (spicy braised pork with rice noodles, bean sprouts and greens), is worth seeking out. There’s no shortage of excellent restaurants here.
The day will begin with a guided walking tour of Hoi An. Soak up the ambience of the old centre as you meander the lantern-lit streets, passing striking historical landmarks such as the Chua Ong Pagoda, Phuc Kien Assembly Hall and Japanese Covered Bridge. The latter was built to connect the Japanese and Chinese districts back when Hoi An was a major trading port between the 15th and 19th centuries. Spend the rest of the afternoon exploring as you wish – our Local Insider is always on hand with a flurry of recommendations.
Fancy taking it easy on your last full day? Feel free to do so. But if you’re keen for an adventure, take a private speedboat to the Cham Islands, an archipelago consisting of eight granite outcrops 15km (9mi) off the Hoi An coast. A local fisherman, Mr Lau, will greet you on the main island (Hon Lao) and guide you around the biosphere reserve where you can snorkel and swim among flourishing coral reefs and marine life. Enjoy a seafood lunch and take a stroll through Bai Huong village before returning to the mainland via private speed boat. Then it’s time to learn about restorative Yin yoga – a soothing session before heading for one last group dinner at a local restaurant.
After one last breakfast, it’s time to pack your bags and checkout of the hotel. Bid farewell to your fellow travellers at midday and make your way to Da Nang International Airport (DAD) via an included transfer to catch your flight home – or extend your stay in Vietnam.
- Nine nights premium hotel accommodation
- One night luxury cruise ship cabin
- One night on a sleeper train
- Private and local transport (including airport transfers)
- 11 breakfasts, five lunches, four dinners
- Local Insider
- Return airport transfers
- Hanoi street food tour
- Hanoi walking tour
- Mai Chau farm tour experience
- Mai Chau walking tour
- White Thai village visit
- Bamboo weaving class
- Halong and Ti Top Island cruise
- Visit to Tung Sau pearl farm
- Sung Sot cave visit
- Tai chi class
- Hue cyclo food tour
- Hue market visit and cooking masterclass
- Hue Citadel visit
- Perfume River boat transfer
- Royal tea ceremony
- XQ Hand Embroidery Art Museum visit
- Hoi An walking tour and sightseeing
- Restorative Yin yoga session
- Airport transfers from HAN, to DAD
What's Not Included
- Travel insurance
- Flights to and from the destination
La Siesta Classic Ma May
This luxury boutique hotel offers spacious, air-conditioned rooms in the heart of Hanoi’s lively Old Quarter. Sip a cold beer at the rooftop Moonlight Sky Bar and watch the sun go down with spectacular views of the city.
Mai Chau Ecolodge
Sustainability is central to this rural hideaway surrounded by paddies, mountains and tropical forests. All 43 rooms were built using naturally sourced materials and are powered by renewable energy. Unwind by the pool or treat yourself to a massage at the spa.
This modern cruise boat is basically a floating boutique hotel. The cabins are vast, with full double beds, rich wood floors and balconies overlooking the water. There’s a rooftop sundeck with a plunge pool, a wood-panelled spa room, and a sumptuous piano lounge and bar.
See a different side to Vietnam as you pass along the rugged coastline on this 700km (435mi) southward journey by train. The sleeper cabins may not be the height of luxury (there are no showers), but it’s all part of the experience.
French colonial-style decor characterises this elegant boutique hotel in Hue. Inside, you’ll find lavish rooms, a large indoor swimming pool and a rooftop bar with panoramic city views. Enjoy a nightcap in the piano bar under glittering chandeliers.
La Siesta Hoi An Resort and Spa
Two palm tree-flanked pools (one freshwater, one saltwater) are a highlight at this tranquil resort in Hoi An. Sunbathe on a private section of An Nang beach, before tucking into sizzling street food at the on-site Red Bean restaurant.
Your safety and wellbeing are our top priority, so we’ve put the following measures in place on all our TRIPS:
- Our average group size is 10 people (max 18), which gives you all the security of being in a group whilst avoiding a crowd.
- Where possible, we use small/ boutique accommodation – this means fewer guests and reduced exposure to other travellers.
- We require all accommodation providers to share protocols around the extra health and hygiene measures they are taking.
- Included activities are exclusive to our group wherever possible, to minimise contact with others.
- Covid-19 negative test results or vaccine certificates may be required. Please check the entry requirements for the destination you are travelling to. Our travel experts can assist you in finding this information.
- We recommend you confirm all guidance on official government sites and check that you are able to travel with your travel insurance issuer. Your travel insurance may be invalidated if you travel against government advice. Our travel experts can assist you in finding this information.
- You must be aged 25 years or over to join this trip.
- Please be sure to check whether or not you need a visa to enter the country you're travelling to. Please refer to our Booking Terms & Conditions for further information.
- If you have any pre-existing medical conditions or accessibility requirements, please notify our Customer Support team as soon as possible.
- We won't charge you extra if you travel alone – you'll be allocated a twin room with another traveller of the same gender.
- To upgrade to a private room, share a room with a friend, or book pre- and post-trip accommodation and/or airport transfers, please contact our Customer Support team.
- Please be aware that travel insurance is compulsory for all travellers.
- Please be aware that the itinerary, activities and hotels are subject to change. While unlikely, these changes can happen due to circumstances beyond our control. We will always do our best to ensure minimal impact on your experience.
- Please be aware images on this page are for illustrative purposes and may not reflect your itinerary exactly.
The world of travel is changing – and that's why we’re offering flexible booking conditions, to take the stress out of booking in times of uncertainty.
You can get a full refund should you need to postpone or cancel your trip up to 56 days prior to departure.
Read our Booking Guarantee to find out more about how our Support Team can help you.
For the full details and cancellation charges, see our Booking Terms & Conditions.
Terms & Conditions
Please refer to our Booking Terms & Conditions.