Vietnam's Greatest Hits
If you want to see Vietnam’s best-loved destinations at a lively but comfortable pace, this itinerary is the place to start.
Balancing tumultuous cities and historical towns with blissful relaxation on two very different (but equally scenic) cruises, this itinerary is packed full of Vietnam’s greatest hits. But don’t stop there – let us customise your trip with destinations and experiences tailored just for you.
Most journeys will be by private car, with the exception of two internal flights (Hanoi to Danang, and Hue to Ho Chi Minh City).
This is a fantastic itinerary for first-timers to Vietnam: sweeping from north to south to take in the country’s absolute highlights.
Instead of Halong Bay, we’ve included the lesser-known (but no less beautiful) Lan Ha Bay. It’s the same incredible scenery without the crowds.
With at least two nights in each destination, you’ll have plenty of time to explore each location thoroughly.
We’ve included lots of time with local guides to give you first-hand insight into life and customs in different regions of the country.
It’s easy to extend your trip with some beach relaxation or a few days in Cambodia.
Things to consider
Be prepared for all weathers on this trip – Vietnam’s size and varied topography means it’s likely to be rainy somewhere!
Though you’ll have some chances to see the countryside, this trip is primarily about experiencing life in big cities and historic towns.
Vietnam's Greatest Hits focusses on popular destinations (they’re the classics!) so it’s not for those who want to get off the beaten track.
Welcome to Hanoi, the capital and cultural heartland of Vietnam for over a thousand years. This will be a visit of two themes, on two contrasting guided tours. In the morning, you’ll walk through Vietnam’s storied history, visiting an 11th-century university, one of Vietnam’s most iconic temples, and dropping in on “Uncle Ho” at his imposing, brutalist mausoleum. In the afternoon, you’ll turn to modern life as you get a locals-eye view of the city watching t’ai chi sessions around Hoan Kiem Lake and visiting a family at the colonial-era home they’ve lived in for generations. Balancing out past and present, it’s a fantastic introduction to a city layered with history and tradition.
See how Ho Chi Minh lived in the modest stilt house as the father of modern Vietnam
Share a frosty Bia Hanoi with the locals in the lanes and alleys of the Old Quarter
Mingle with commuters on a slow train ride through the capital
Lan Ha Bay
Travelling north, it’s time to slow the pace and soak up one of the natural wonders of the world. In terms dramatic karst scenery, Lan Ha Bay is identical to its more famous neighbour, Halong Bay, and yet it sees a fraction of the tourist traffic, making for a far more isolated experience. When it's clear, sheer-sided limestone pinnacles stretch out as far as the eye can see. When it’s overcast, densely forested islands loom atmospherically out of the mist, with their heads lost in the clouds. It’s a truly incredible landscape, and the best way to experience it is on an overnight cruise – eating your meals on deck, kayaking to secret beaches, and visiting floating villages and pearl farms.
Feel dwarfed by the jagged karst pinnacles of Lan Ha Bay
Watch the sun go down from the deck of your overnight cruise boat
The finer detail
Breakfast every day
Three lunches: one on board the Lan Ha Bay cruise; one in Hoi An; one on board the Mekong Delta cruise
Two dinners: one on board the Lan Ha Bay cruise; one on board the Mekong Delta cruise
Three full-day experiences: Going Green in Hoi An; Hue City Tour; Hanoi City Tour
Two half-day experiences: Ho Chi Minh City Tour; Cu Chi Tunnels
Overnight cruise on Lan Ha Bay with activities
Overnight cruise on the Mekong Delta with activities
All entrance fees to sites included in guided experiences
All domestic transfers and transport
Logistics and journey times
Car transfer from Hanoi to Lan Ha Bay (2 hours)
Car transfer to Hanoi Airport (2 hours)
Flight from Hanoi to Danang (1.5 hours)
Car transfer from Danang to Hoi An (45 mins)
Scenic car transfer from Hoi An to Hue (2.5 hours)
Car transfer to Hue airport
Flight from Hue to Ho Chi Minh City (30 mins)
Car transfer from Ho Chi Minh City to hotel (30 mins)
Car transfer from Ho Chi Minh City to Cai Be (Mekong Delta) (2 hours)
Car transfer from Can Tho (Mekong Delta) to Ho Chi Minh City (4 hours)
What's not included
Any necessary visas
Any lunches or dinners unless stated
Entrance fees to any sites not included in guided experiences
Tipping and personal expenses