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An overall plan for first time to Vietnam, this trip covers the best of its landscapes, cultures and lifestyles. Halong Bay cruise, Hanoi city with a street food discovery, Hoi An cooking class only for your group and an early morning to see floating market in the Mekong Delta. Return home and you can say you have done it all, yet authentic experience is nothing to be copied.
  • Hanoi Old Quarter street eats with a local insider
  • View Halong Bay on your private balcony of a spacious cabin
  • Boat trip to a lovely restaurant for a private cooking session operated only for you
  • Take it slow with a cyclo (rickshaw) ride in Ho Chi Minh City
  • Sight of the busiest moments of a floating market and get inside the dense mangrove swamps by a small sampan

Journey route

Vietnam tour map

What's included

  • Private transfers and English-speaking tour guide in every destination
  • All guided sightseeing as detailed in the itinerary
  • Hotel accommodation mentioned in the itinerary
  • Breakfasts at hotels and lunches for every guided day
  • Governmental taxes

Itinerary in detail

What you are reading here is just a sample itinerary. It shows what a first-time trip to Vietnam looks like, but you can always make it the way you want.

Day 1 Hanoi Arrival, Vietnam

Hanoi Pearl Hotel / Apricot Hotel Hanoi

You will meet your private tour guide upon arrival at Hanoi Noi Bai International Airport.
Transfer to your hotel. Free time to adjust yourself from jetlag or explore the city on your own.

Day 2 Hanoi | Half-Day Authentic City Tour & Water Puppet Show

The first chapter of your journey in Vietnam will begin with an introduction to the country's fascinating history and culture. We will take you to the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, Mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh, Hoa Lo Prison and the One Pillar Pagoda.
A visit to the Old Quarter to experience the daily life of the Hanoians, and where your taste buds will tingle with local cuisine - Vietnamese sandwich, egg coffee, rice cakes and of course pho!
After the authentic city tour, sit back and enjoy Vietnam’s traditional water puppet show in the evening.

Old Quarter in Hanoi Old Quarter, Hanoi

Day 3 Hanoi - Halong Bay | Overnight Cruising in Halong Bay

Jasmine Cruise / Bhaya Cruise

After a fresh coffee and breakfast, you will be on the way to Halong Bay. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the bay has all it takes for a relaxing journey: a stunning natural landscape, catering services onboard, an outlook over a waterfront lifestyle, and interesting activities, such as kayaking, swimming, and diving. Itineraries differ for each cruise, but you will probably visit: Cua Van Fishing Village, Vung Vieng Fishing Village, Me Cung Caves, Virgin Cave, and Surprise Cave, as well as passing some small islets, such as Flight Cock Islet, Human Head Islet, and Toad Islet and etc. Some cruises also include a cooking class at night and a taichi lesson in the morning.

Halong Bay cruising Relaxing time on Halong Bay

Day 4Halong Bay - Hanoi - Danang - Hoi An

Domestic flight Essence Hoi An Hotel & Spa / Almanity Hoi An Resort and Spa

Your cruising journey comes to a perfect ending and the cruise company will have a shuttle transfer taking you back to Hanoi. Meet your tour guide again and transfer to the airport. Onward flight to Danang and 40-minute car drive to Hoi An.

Day 5Hoi An | Ancient Town Walking & Pottery Village Set Just for You

Immerse yourself in the cultural ancient town of Hoi An, your tour guide will lead you to some key sites including Japanese Covered Bridge, Fujian Assembly Hall and Old House of Tan Ky.
Situated on the maritime Silk Road, some exquisite traditional skills dated between 15th and 16th century has survived in the small single-craft villages that surround present-day Hoi An. Among them there is a pottery village. Enjoy a 40-minute scenic boat ride on the Thu Bon River to the pottery village. Here you will explore its zigzagging alleyways, chat with the villagers and make your own handicraft.

Japanese Covered Bridge in Hoi An Japanese Covered Bridge, Hoi An

Day 6Hoi An - Danang - Half-Day City Tour of Ho Chi Minh

Domestic flight Liberty Central Saigon City Point

Transfer to Danang for an onward flight in the morning to Ho Chi Minh City. Check-in upon arrival. Despite its modernity, Ho Chi Minh City (once known as Saigon) oozes with nostalgic charm among its colonial-era buildings, street-side cafés and shady boulevards. Take a stroll downtown, where you will see the General Post Office, Notre Dame Cathedral and the former Presidential Palace.
Continue on to the War Remnants Museum for a vivid perspective of the War through the eyes of the Vietnamese. The museum provides an audio device as your tour guide will not accompany you inside. (This part of the history may trigger some emotions due to the sensitivity and nature of that period.).
Experience Saigon’s famed coffee street culture, a brief language lesson with your guide, as well insights into the daily life of a Saigonese before returning to your hotel.

Notre Dame Cathedral in Ho Chi Minh City Notre Dame Cathedral, Ho Chi Minh City

Day 7Vinh Long - Can Tho | Charms of Vinh Long & Transfer to Can Tho

Iris Can Tho Hotel / Victoria Can Tho Resort & Spa

Depart in the morning for a two-hour drive to Vinh Long in the Mekong Delta. Visit the vibrant Vinh Long Market to see the Delta’s bounty including river fish from the waterways, the rice fields, and various produce from local farmers.
Board a local boat and cruise to a home restaurant for lunch on An Binh Island. In the afternoon, visit a local pottery kiln where clay is used for both pottery and bricks.
Explore the narrow waterways of the Delta by row boat, past traditional wooden houses with thatched palm roofs and see how locals farm and fish as they have for centuries. Transfer to Can Tho.

Boat trip in Vinh Long in Mekong Delta Boat trip in Vinh Long, Mekong Delta

Day 8Can Tho - Mekong Delta - Ho Chi Minh City | Floating Market & City Tour of Can Tho

Liberty Central Saigon City Point

Enjoy an early morning local motorboat trip to the Cai Rang floating market where dozens of boats are laden with local vegetables, fruit, and fish from all over the Delta. Some small boats sell meals and refreshments.
Return to shore for a city tour of Can Tho, beginning with a visit to the Can Tho Museum. The museum showcases the agriculture and river life of the Mekong Delta as well as how the Vietnamese, Chinese and Khmer ethnic groups came to peacefully co-exist. Afterwards drive to Binh Thuy Ancient House, originally a place to worship their ancestors.

Floating market in Mekong Delta, Vietnam Chaotic floating market of Cai Be

Day 9Ho Chi Minh City Departure

After breakfast, enjoy some free time at your leisure before your private tour guide picks you up and takes you to the airport. Have a safe flight home, and we hope to see you again soon!

Asia Highlights handpicked hotels

Asia Highlights chooses hotels with a balanced mixture of traditional style and modern comfort, easy access to everything yet quiet enough for a good night's sleep.

standard room at hanoi pearl hotel
Hanoi Hanoi Pearl Hotel
  • 4.5/5 points by over 600 travelers on TripAdvisor.
  • 10 minutes to walk to the Old Quarter, great service and breakfast.
  • Deluxe City View Room, 35sqm, extra bed available and city view.
deluxe cabin on jasmine cruise
Halong Bay Jasmine Cruise
  • Winner of Certificate of Excellence, #11/146 on TripAdvisor.
  • Cruising in less-crowded water, experienced crew and elegant deco.
  • Deluxe Cabin, upper deck, totally 20sqm with private balcony.
deluxe room of essence hoi an hotel and spa
Hoi AnEssence Hoi An Hotel and Spa
  • Winner of Certificate of Excellence on TripAdvisor, ranked 6/119.
  • 10 minutes to walk to ancient town, spa, pool and quiet rooms.
  • Deluxe Room Balcony, 30sqm with balcony, extra bed allowed.
Ho Chi Minh City, Liberty Central Saigon City Point
Ho Chi Minh City Liberty Central Saigon City Point
  • 4.5/5 points by over 2,600 travelers on TripAdvisor.
  • Nice facilities: spa, sky bar, rooftop swimming pool, and an in-house cinema.
  • Premium Room, 30sqm, 23-24 sqm, city view, mini bar.
deluxe room of iris can tho hotel
Can Tho Iris Hotel Can Tho
  • 4/5 points by reviewers on TripAdvisor, ranked 8/45.
  • Nice faclity, skybar and friendly staff for a small town stay.
  • Deluxe Room, 45sqm, balcony and allows family of 3.

Journey information

  • Seasonal information: This tour is designed for all-time, with late September to November and late December to next January being the most ideal period. During such span, it is less likely to be jammed up with big tourist buses and crowds and the weather is perfect. Some shops and attractions are closed for the Tet Festival(specific dates change every year), although Feburary has the best possibly weather.
    However, everything can be tailor-made, remeber? If your plan doesn't fall in the "best time to Vietnam", our travel advisors can still make it possible by adjusting activities, destinations and etc. Specify your travel time and let us work the magic.
    For more Vietnam weather information, please refer to Vietnam Climate and Weather.
  • Vietnam visa: Most nationalities are required to obtain tourist visa for Vietnam ahead of the travel time. Holders of British, German, French, Spanish and Italian passports are exempt from visas for a stay of a maximum of 15 days for all purposes. Instead of applying for Visa-on-Arrival (VOA), we would suggest you get your Vietnam visa at least one month ahead of your travel, which can be done either by application at your nearest embassy or online. For more information, please refer to How to Get a Vietnam Visa.
  • Transportation: You will have a private car in each destination; our cars are within 5 years of usage and your private drivers will be polite and drive with strong regard for safety. As for your Halong Bay cruise, a shuttle bus from the cruise company will take you to the certain port for boarding. Of course, private transfer between Hanoi and Halong Bay is also available upon request.
    Internal flights are operated by Vietnam Airlines, a memeber of SkyTeam and flag carrier of Vietnam. Safe, punctual and good service, make it our go-to choice for your trip, although airfares might look slightly higher compared to other airlines such as JetStar and VietJet Air. All flights include 20kg of check-in luggage plus a 7kg carry-on for each adlut passenger.
  • Responsible travel: Travel avails you with special experiences. Somehow its impact on the local community can be more beyond imagination and what Asia Highlights wishes to do is lead the impact onto a good path, a path that helps the local people (not only your tour guides) boarden their outlook and the local communities develop. During your trip, you will eat at a training restaurant where underprivileged youngsters get trained as a chef, ride on local cyclo to reduce your carbon footprints and most commonly learn about the country's cultures with respect. Taking baby steps one at a time, we highly appreciate you would like to be part of it.
    With that being said, detours to so-called factories or specialty workshops are strictly prohibited. We make sure your tour guides earn enough to support their families without squeezing commissions out of you.
9 Days from $2,102p/p (Based on a 2-people private group)

Local guide

Vietnam tour guide photo
Asia Highlights chooses tour guides in Vietnam based on their knowledgeable and experiences. Comparatively, they don't speak English as well as tour guides do in China, yet they serve with full heart and always eager to help.

Mini van

Vietnam private car photo
All of vehicles are in good maintenance with A/C. Experienced, polit and professional drivers take the wheel, they will ensure you have a safe and smooth ride. We have bottled water, wet tissues, first-aid kit and baby car seat equipped with our vehicles.

What our clients say about us

Asia Highlights customer photo
My wife and I booked a private tour with Asian Highlights and they arranged a phenomenal vacation for us. Albee Ning was our Travel Agent and she took care of everything for us and did a phenomenal job... It was the perfect vacation and they handled every detail for us from meet and greet services at each airport, baggage handling, private tour guides and drivers at each location, good restaurants, and fantastic hotels throughout... Read more
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