Day 1: New Zealand –– Hanoi
Today, depart New Zealand for Hanoi, Vietnam! Upon arrival to the airport you will be met and transferred to your hotel for check-in.
Day 2: Hanoi (B, L)
This morning, take a city tour of Hanoi and will explore attractions such as the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first university, Ho Chi Minh Complex (Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda) and Tran Quoc Pagoda, one of the oldest pagodas in Vietnam. The remainder of the day is at leisure. Why not explore the Old Quarter for shopping, bars and restaurants.
Optional tour: Hanoi Street food (Dinner included) – Enjoy a walk around the Old Quarter in the afternoon and appreciate the local lifestyles as you wind through Hanoi’s streets. You will have a taste of Northern Vietnamese delicacies such as: stuffed pancake, banh my, stuffed sticky rice balls, the unique egg coffee and many more.
Day 3: Hanoi – Halong Bay (B,L,D)
Today travel by coach through the rich farm land of the Red River Delta to arrive at Halong Bay. Designated a World Heritage site in 1994, Halong Bay’s spectacular scatter of islands, dotted with wind- and wave-eroded grottoes, is a vision of ethereal beauty. Upon arrival you will board a ship to visit the thousands of limestone islands filled with caves of all shapes and sizes. The sails of junks and sampans gliding along the clear and emerald waters of the bay form a magnificent scene that blends into the sky. You will also have the opportunity to visit some of the hidden grottoes beneath the towering cliffs.
Day 4: Halong Bay – Hanoi –– Hue (B,L)
Awake early and participate in Tai Chi on the top deck or simply relax and enjoy the sunrise over the bay’s towering islands, a sight not to be missed! Enjoy a morning cup of coffee or tea, before setting out to explore nearby islands by rowboat. Return to the junk for breakfast then take advantage of the sundeck and admire the amazing rock formations of Halong Bay. Enjoy an early light lunch before heading back to the jetty to meet your driver for the journey to Hanoi Airport. From here you’ll board a short flight to Hue in the late afternoon. On arrival, you’ll be met at Hue airport and transferred to your hotel.
Day 5: Hue (B,L)
Today we visit the Imperial Citadel. This was the center of power for the Nguyen Dynasty who ruled between 1802 and 1945. Here, we will visit Flag Tower, Noon Gate, Nine Dynastic Urns, Nine Holy Cannons, Thai Hoa Palace, and the Forbidden Purple City. Later, board a boat for a wonderful trip on the Perfume River and a visit to Thien Mu pagoda where you’ll enjoy a vegetarian meal prepared by the local nuns. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
Day 6: Hue – Hoi An (B)
Today, leave Hue behind you as you make your way to Hoi An. Today’s trip takes you over the famous Hai Van Pass which crosses over a spur of the Annamite Range that emerges from the west and juts into the South China Sea, forming the Hai Van Peninsula and the adjoining Son Tra Island. The pass, which once formed the boundary between the kingdoms of Dai Viet and Champa, also forms a boundary between the climates of northern and southern Vietnam, sheltering the city of Da Nang from the “Chinese winds” that blow in from the northwest. During the winter months (November– March), for instance, weather on the north side of the pass might be wet and cold, while the south side might be warm and dry.
On the other side of the pass, you will be transferred to the UNESCO World Heritage listed town of Hoi An.
Day 7: Hoi An (B)
Today you will explore Hoi An on foot, visiting an old merchant’s home, Hoi An Market, a local Chinese temple and the Japanese Covered Bridge. The bridge was first constructed here in the 1590s by the Japanese community to link them with the Chinese quarters. Over the centuries the ornamentation has remained relatively faithful to the original Japanese design. The French flattened out the roadway for cars, but the original arched shape was restored in 1986. Enjoy the afternoon at your leisure to wander through the town or relax at one of the many cafés along the picturesque Thu Bon River.
Day 8: Hoi An (B)
Free day at leisure – continue exploring the Ancient Quarter or head to the beach/swimming pool for relaxing.
Day 9: Hoi An – Danang –– Nha Trang (B)
Today you will take a short flight to Nha Trang, a famous beach city of Vietnam. On arrival in Nha Trang, you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure to explore this bustling seaside favourite.
Day 10: Nha Trang – Islands and Snorkelling Tour (B,L)
Today you’ll enjoy a day island hopping around Nha Trangs stunning islands and beaches. First stop is Tri Nguyen Aquarium on Mieu Island, home to many sea species of Nha Trang/Khanh Hoa province. Mun Island is the best island for snorkelling where you can see lots of colorful coral and fish. You will also be able to see caves in which the sea swallows make their nests from the boat. Then you have the opportunity to relax, swim or do some water sports at Mot Island, Tranh Beach Island or on a small island called “Mini beach”. Lunch is enjoyed on this island. On the way back you’ll visit a fishing village before arriving to the shore and transferred back to your hotel.
Day 11: Nha Trang –– Ho Chi Minh City (B)
Today is free at leisure before your transfer for your flight to Ho Chi Minh City. On arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
Day 12: Ho Chi Minh City Tour – Cu Chi Tunnels (B, L)
After breakfast, you will have a half day tour of Ho Chi Minh City with highlights such as, Notre Dame Cathedral, Post Office, War Remnant Museum and soaking up the atmosphere at Ben Thanh market, one of Ho Chi Minh’s liveliest areas.
In the afternoon we continue on to Cu Chi Tunnels. During the Vietnam War, guerrilla fighters built a labyrinth of narrow tunnels, using them to hide in during bombing raids and to stage surprise attacks. Today, the remaining tunnels have become a major tourist attraction, giving visitors a unique understanding of what life was like during the Vietnam War.
Day 13: Ho Chi Minh City – Mekong Delta (Cai Be – Vinh Long) (B,L,D)
After breakfast, you will be picked up at your hotel and get transferred to Cai Be by road. Upon arrival embark on the cruise and enjoy a welcome drink. During the cruise, you will stop along the way to visit the artisanal villages where rice and coconut products are produced. You will also have the opportunity to walk through verdant orchards and taste tropical fruits. Lunch is served on board while cruising towards Can Tho.
In the afternoon, we go onshore and discover the local villages on foot or by bike and make contact with the local inhabitants. Later, return to your cruise for dinner and enjoy your overnight stay on board.
Day 14: Mekong Delta – Ho Chi Minh City (B)
Wake early to enjoy dawn on the Mekong River. After disembarking your cruise you will be transferred by small boat to Cai Rang floating market, one of the most bustling floating markets in Mekong Delta then return to Saigon by bus.
Day 15: Ho Chi Minh City –– New Zealand (B)
Today you are free at leisure before your transfer to the airport for your flight home.
Day 16: New Zealand
Arrive home today.