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Essence of Vietnam




Date: Choose your dates! (8 Days/7 Nights)
Host: Locally guided
Cost: please inquire. Cost is dependent on your Custom adjustments and group size.
Trip Type: Custom Civilized Adventure 

Visiting bustling cities, the ever charming Halong Bay, timeless UNESCO Heritage Sites as well as the picturesque scenes of the Mekong Delta. The journey also includes experiences with the people, their cultures, visits to must-see attractions as well as less-visited sites.


  • Visit the Temple of Literature, built in 1076 and used as a University for 700 years
  • Explore the '36 streets' (Hanoi's Old Quarter), walking through bustling streets, visiting thousands of shops
  • Take in a traditional water puppet show depicting scenes from rural life and events of national history
  • Enjoy dinner on a cruise anchored among the karst formations
  • Take a walking tour to the ancient town centre of Hoi An, visiting the 400 year old Japanese Covered Bridge and colorful market
  • Visit the floating market, vast emerald rice fields and lush back waterways


Photos courtesy of EXO travel

Brief Itinerary

Brief Itinerary

Day 1 Hanoi Arrival

Arrive in Hanoi and transfer to hotel.

Rest of day is at leisure.

Overnight in Hanoi.

Day 2 Hanoi

Depart the hotel for the Temple of Literature. In 1076, Vietnam's first university Quoc Tu Giam was established within a temple to educate Vietnam's royalty, mandarins and members of the elite. The university functioned for an incredible 700 years and its gardens and well-preserved architecture offer a fascinating glimpse into Vietnam’s past.

Visit The One Pillar Pagoda, founded by King Ly Thai To in 1049, next. This structure is one of Vietnam’s most iconic temples. Close by is the mausoleum of the historic father figure of modern Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh, and the former presidents house on stilts where he lived from 1958 to 1969. His former home illustrates the modesty of this Vietnamese revolutionary. (Viewed from outside; closed Mon and Fri and from Oct-Nov)

Continue to picturesque West Lake and the sixth century Tran Quoc Buddhist Pagoda. From here transfer (or stroll along the lakeside) 700 meters to the nearby Taoist temple of Quan Thanh dedicated to Tran Vu, one of the principal deities in Taoism.

In the afternoon, visit the fascinating Ethnology Museum (closed Mondays), a research centre and public museum exhibiting the ethnic groups of Vietnam. As an alternative to the Ethnology Museum, visit the highly acclaimed Vietnam Women’s Museum. The museum is located near Hoan Kiem Lake and offers wonderful insight into the lives of Vietnamese women.  Displays highlight Vietnam’s vast cultural diversity and educate on the significant role Vietnamese women play in Vietnamese society.  Learn historic and modern-day traditions centered around births, weddings, motherhood, spirituality and more.

Next, visit Hanoi’s Old Quarter, also known as the ‘36 streets’. Take a walking tour through charming Hang Be Market and around Hoan Kiem Lake. This bustling area of narrow streets and alleys is home to literally thousands of small businesses and shopkeepers. It's a great place to explore with plenty of photo opportunities all around.

Finish the day with a Water Puppet show. This is a uniquely North Vietnamese art form depicting scenes from rural life and episodes of national history.  

Overnight in Hanoi.

Day 3 Hanoi - Halong Bay

Following breakfast leave Hanoi for a 3hr30mins drive to Halong Bay including a 20-minutes stop on the way. Arrive at your jetty in Halong City towards noon and proceed with check-in formalities. After your welcome onboard, a lunch will be served while cruising towards the bay itself. In the afternoon, enjoy some visits and/or activities (depending on each boat’s itinerary) or just spend some time relaxing on board. Towards the end of the day the boat sets anchor for the night among the karst formations. Dinner is served on board.

Overnight on Halong Bay.

Day 4 Halong Bay - Hanoi - Hoi An

Enjoy your fresh morning in the middle of the bay, the sun rises on Halong in the morning and breakfast is served (brunch on some boats) while the vessels cruises slowly through the magnificent rock formations and back towards port. Disembark and transfer to Hanoi for a flight onward to Danang International airport.

On arrival in Danang transfer to Hoi An, a major Asian trading port in the 17th and 18th centuries whose architecture and relaxed lifestyle has changed little over the years. Time permitting, visit the classic and informative Cham Museum in Danang en route.

End of the afternoon at leisure.

Overnight in Hoi An.

Day 5 Hoi An

Take a walking tour of the ancient town centre to visit the former merchants’ homes, the 400 year-old Japanese Covered Bridge and the colourful market.

Rest of the day at leisure.

Overnight in Hoi An.

Day 6 Hoi An - Ho Chi Minh City

After breakfast transfer to Danang Airport for the short flight to Ho Chi Minh City and transfer to hotel.

In the afternoon, choose to visit the War Remnants Museum, History Museum (closed Mondays) or the former Presidential Palace.  Stroll to the major sights of colonial Ho Chi Minh City: the Old Saigon Post Office, Dong Khoi Street (formerly Rue Catinat), Continental Hotel, Opera House and City Hall (a vehicle will be available at all times.). At the end of the afternoon head back to the hotel.

Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.

Day 7 Ho Chi Minh City - Mekong Delta - Ho Chi Minh City

The colorful floating market, vast emerald rice fields and lush back waterways; these are the things that make Cai Be such a desired destination. This morning, leave bustling Ho Chi Minh for the 2 hour drive to the delta town of Cai Be.

On arrival board your boat for cruise in the Delta’s waterways. Start your journey by passing by Cai Be’s floating market, once a busy place to trade fruits and vegetables and nowadays a more quiet market.

Then, continue to a cottage factory where ‘pop-rice’, rice paper and coconut candies are made. Return to the boat for the cruise to Dong Hoa Hiep Island; along the way admire the scenery and the daily life of the local villagers. Lunch will be local Mekong style serving specialties of the area. Return to Ho Chi Minh City late afternoon. 

Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.

Day 8 Ho Chi Minh City

Depart hotel for a half-day Ho Chi Minh City tour. Head to Cholon, the Chinatown district, to discover the area’s markets, shops, and the Cantonese Thien Hau Pagoda - dedicated to the goddess of the Sea. Visit Vietnam's first traditional medicine museum, the FITO Museum, with an amazing collection of 3,000 items relevant to the development of traditional Vietnamese medicine. Implements used to prepare indigenous herbs, and objects commonly found in traditional pharmacies can be seen in the galleries as well as ancient books and documents on traditional Vietnamese medicine.

Head back to the city centre to visit Ben Thanh Market where an incredible display of fresh produce is offered. Simply stroll through the market exploring the variety of goods for sale.

At leisure for shopping until transferring to Tan Son Nhat Airport for onward flight.




Starting Hanoi, ending Ho Chi Minh City:

Please inquire. This is only a suggested trip plan, and we invite you to bring your own special interests to us so we can customize your special trip.




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