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Getting inside the Forbidden City with VIP access, meet cute pandas, hike on the Great Wall, cruise in Halong Bay, try out Vietnamese traditional dress Ao Dai in Hoi An and explore real life of the Mekong. Without a doubt, these two amazing countries will enrich your experience, not only as a traveler, also as an insider.
  • VIP access to the Forbidden City with an expert and enjoy sunset view of it.
  • Meet cute pandas and learn about their daily routine
  • Enjoy a smooth and fast bullet train ride from Beijing to Shanghai
  • Learn to make lanterns with a local artist in Hoi An
  • Pace out with some free days in Nha Trang

Journey route

What's included

  • Private transfers and English-speaking tour guides
  • 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

This tour demonstrates an extended trip to Vietnam with all its highlights after a China exploration. It is entirely up to you to made discovery in your own way.

Day 1 Beijing, China

Sunworld Hotel / Crowne Plaza Hotel Beijing Chaoyang U Town

Nihao!
When you flight lands in Beijing Capital International Airport, your private tour guide and driver will be waiting for you. It won’t be hard for you to spot your tour guide as he/she will be holding a sign with your name on. Transfer to your hotel and relax for the rest of today.

Day 2 Beijing | Forbidden City Exploration with VIP Access

Embrace a brand new day with a fresh coffee and breakfast. Later we will take a walking tour at the Forbidden City with a Forbidden City expert. Skip the waiting line at the entrance, you will be taken straight into the imperial palace where you can see the real scene of the movie The Last Emperor and learn the stories behind every building.
You will also have a nice sunset view of the Forbidden City at Jingshan Park.
Enjoy your exploration with VIP access at the imperial palace. Walking tour in the Forbidden City is one of our best-selling trips of Beijing and it offers a deeper insight into the history without wasting time in the waiting line and getting shoved by the crowds. Your tour guide is actually a nerd of the Forbidden City and for certain he/she will tell you only the things you are interested in.

Scupltures of secrad animals on the roof of the Forbidden City

Day 3 Beijing | Great Wall Wonder

After breakfast, we will see off to Mutianyu Section of the Great Wall.
How long is the Great Wall? Well, there is no simple answer to this question. Take a round-way cable car up the mountain range and you will have a soft hike for about half an hour. This section is more favored by westerners for stunning vistas and less crowded. Have a simple lunch after the trip and we will get back to the city in about 2 hours.
For a relaxing afternoon, we will take a visit at the Summer Palace, where the royal court used for leisure. Take a boat ride over the Kunming Lake, walk inside the Garden of Virtuous Harmony and visit Suzhou Street, which is a mini-scale replica of the city Suzhou.

The Great Wall at Mutianyu Section under clear sky

Day 4Beijing - Shanghai | Hi, Panda!

The Bund Hotel Shanghai / Les Suites Orient Bund Shanghai

Meet some cute friends! Pay a visit to the Giant Pandas at Beijing Zoo. You have seen them on TV, magazine and internet, but today you will see them in person. At around 10am, the Giant Pandas at Beijing Zoo are just up for a brunch. Learn about these cute animals and visit their nursery room.
Take a high speed bullet train to Shanghai in the afternoon.
The train ride will be smooth and fast. Upon arrival in Shanghai, you will meet your private tour guide. Transfer to hotel and free at leisure.

Two naughty pandas at Beijing Zoo

Day 5Shanghai | The Future of China

Before a city tour in Shanghai, you will firstly visit the Yuyuan Garden before the crowds get in. And then learn about how the city was built up at Urban Planning Exhibition Hall. Have lunch and take a leisure walk along The Bund. In the afternoon, visit French Concession and your private driver will drop you off at Nanjing Road where you may go for free exploration. (Or any other places you wish)

Beautiful night view of the Bund in Shanghai

Day 6Shanghai - Hanoi, Vietnam

International flight Hanoi Pearl Hotel / Apricot Hotel Hanoi

Have a free morning in Shanghai. After lunch on your own, you will fly to Hanoi. Meet up with your private tour guide and transfer and get to your hotel for relaxing time.
Vietnam is one hour late than China. For example, 3pm in China is 2pm in Vietnam.

Day 7Hanoi | Culture, History and Lifestyle of Hanoi

Hanoi flashes you back to the early 20th century. Get to know the city with a peek into interesting ethnic minorities' lifestyles at Vietnam Museum of Ethnology. Pay a visit ath Unclo Ho's last resting place Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum. After lunch, you will stop by Temple of Literature. One of the best things of Hanoi is that you can be a part of the local life. With your insightful tour guide, you will explore the Old Quarter with chances to get great bargains and eats.

A local vendor selling exotic fruits in the Old Quarter

Day 8Hanoi - Halong Bay | Oceanic Breeze in Halong Bay

Jasmine Cruise / Bhaya Classic Cruise

After a fresh coffee and breakfast, you will be on the way to Halong Bay. No rip to Vietnam is complete until you cruise Halong Bay. An overnight is indispensable as the bay itself is boundless and needs at least one day and one night to take in as much as possible.

View of Halong Bay

Day 9Halong Bay - Hanoi - Danang - Hoi An

Domestic flight Essence Hoi An Hotel & Spa / Hotel Royal Hoi An - by MGallery

Take the shuttle transfer back to Hanoi when your cruise reaches the shore at 11am.
Fly to Danang where you meet up another friendly tour guide and transfer to your hotel in Hoi An.

Day 10Hoi An | Ancient Town with Lazy Easy Vibe

As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hoi An Ancient Town is just the right definition of Vietnam’s timeless charm. This morning, you will have some insightful visits at of this town’s essence: the Japanese Covered Bridge, Fukian Assembly Hall and the Old House of Tan Ky.
After lunch, a class will be taken on how to make lanterns at a workshop run by a NGO. Lifestart Foundation is an Australia-based team that focuses on helping those in need through proven working programs and initiatives which are designed to effect a generational change.

Lantern-making is an old traditional art in Hoi An

Day 11Hoi An - Danang - Nha Trang

Domestic flight Havana Nha Trang / InterContinental Nha Trang

Transfer to Danang and fly to Nha Trang.

Day 12 - 13Nha Trang | Beach Free Days

Enjoy your time on Nha Trang's beach.

A bamboo basket boat by the shore of beach in Nha Trang

Day 14Nha Trang - Ho Chi Minh City - Can Tho

Domestic flight Iris Hotel Can Tho / Victoria Can Tho Resort & Spa

Enjoy your free time in Nha Trang. Take the onward flight to Ho Chi Minh City.
Hit the road to Can Tho and you will arrive by the evening.

Day 15Mekong Delta - Ho Chi Minh City | Mekong Morning

Renaissance Riverside Hotel Saigon / InterContinental Saigon Hotel

Unlike the overland markets, Cai Rang Floating Market in Can Tho opens at 5am, or even earlier. All boats will hang up a piece of merchandises on a pole at the front of the boat, as an ad sign. Farm workers will be busy loading the goods while the orchard owners are calculating numbers with their retailers. This wholesale market presents its best before 8am. And later, we will have boat trip to some small islands and visit a local orchard for lunch.
Transfer to Ho Chi Minh City in the afternoon.

Boat vendors at Cai Rang Floating Market

Day 16Ho Chi Minh City | Cu Chi Tunnels Adventure

Cu Chi Tunnels is one of the most interesting attractions in Ho Chi Minh City for its mind-provoking historic background and chance for some close-up experience. After breakfast, you will hit the road to this site with a preface by your tour guide. The underground system provided the Viet Cong with space to live, shelter, and battle base during the war with the US. Duck in one of the tunnels to get a hint.
Get back to the city and free at leisure.

Trying to get into a tunnel

Day 17Ho Chi Minh City

Embrace a fresh morning of Saigon. This southern city oozes with nostalgic charm among its colonial-era buildings, street side Cafés and shady boulevards. Take an easy walk to the downtown, where you will see General Post Office, Notre Dame Cathedral and Reunification Palace.
For history buffs or children, they must love what the War Remnants Museum has to offer: mind-provoking history and great exhibition dating back to last century during wartime, including F5A fighter and a UH1-Huey helicopter are their most interesting collection. However, please be noted that your guide might not accompany you inside the museum because the content triggers sad memories for many Vietnamese.
Later, hop on a cyclo (local name for rickshaw) that is pedaled by a local. Enjoy the ride to feel the easy-lazy vibe of Ho Chi Minh City.

Taking a cyclo ride to see another side of Ho Chi Minh City

Day 18Ho Chi Minh City Departure

After breakfast, get to the airport for homebound flight. 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.

deluxe room at beijing sunworld hotel
BeijingSunworld Hotel
  • 4/5 points on TripAdvisor, ranked 87/5,618 hotels in Beijing.
  • the Hutong area and walking distance to major sites.
  • Deluxe Room is 30sqm, decent and soft beds.
superior room at the bund hotel shanghai
ShanghaiFamiana Resort & Spa
  • 80% reviewers rated "Very good" on TripAdvisor.
  • Close to the Bund, People's Square and Nanjing Road, near subway.
  • Superior Room, 30sqm and newly decorated.
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.
deluxe room with sea view at havana nha trang
Nha TrangHavana Nha Trang
  • 10/215 of hotels in Nha Trang on TripAdvisor.
  • 2 minutes to walk to the beach, great breakfast.
  • Deluxe Room with Sea View, 40sqm on higher floor.
deluxe room iris hotel can tho
Can ThoIris 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.
deluxe city view room at renaissance riverside hotel saigon
Ho Chi Minh City Renaissance Riverside Hotel Saigon
  • Winner of Certificate of Excellence on TripAdvisor, ranked 32/466.
  • Centrally located, by the Saigon River and great breakfast.
  • Deluxe City View Room, 34sqm, soft beds and great view.

Journey information

  • Seasonal information: Designed for all year round, however, this tour still has its favorite traveling time. Traveling during late September to early December, as well as late March to early May, gets you to less-touched places where you see more landscape than tourist crowds. Weather is lovely, too.
    Biggest rush-in of tourists comes from mid Decemeber till the end of January, followed by national break of the Tet Festival, when streets will be deserted. While in China, public transportation before the Spring Festival in February can be chaotic and tight, which means you better plan at least 3 months ahead if you would like a taste of traditional Chinese New Year.
    However, consider yourself brilliant if you decide to make the trip in other time spans, as you will great great deals of hotels, flights and cruises. Occasional rainfalls and possiblity of typhoon will be in your consideration.
    Not matter when your honeymoon falls, we will suggest a 4-month window for planning and reservation.
  • China visa: Make sure you can get a visa for China at least one month ahead of your travel time. Usually most foreigners traveling to mainland China, whether for business or pleasure, require a visa. Tourists holding ordinary passports of Singapore, Brunei and Japan are allowed to enter China for up to 15 days without visas for tourism or family/friend visits.
    For a China-Vietnam journey with Asia Highlights, we will help you with the invitation letter and the visa process. For more information, please refer to China Visas - How to Apply for a China Visa?.
  • 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.
  • Meals:Daily breakfast at hotels and a lunch for days with sightseeing are included, so are some dinners as mentioned in the itinerary. For meals that are not included, your tour guides will be happy to offer suggestions.
    If you have any special dietary requirements, please let us know when making your inquiry. We will do our best to accommodation and we appreciate your understanding at some places that are not within our control.
  • 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.
    Shanghai - Hanoi airfare is included in this trip, operated by China Eastern Airlines or similar class.
    Internal flights that are detailed in this very tour are operated by Vietnam Airlines, a national-run and trustworthy company runs on good punctuality and safety.
    During your visit to Phong Nha Ke-Bang and the Mekong Delta, you will use local boats. We will have life jacket for every traveler and the boatmen will proceed with caution.
  • Tour arrangements: Sightseeing, activities and accommodations that are mentioned in this tour you are looking at are just for your inspiration.
    If you would like walking to find street food in Hanoi, instead of cyclo, change it; if you would like a junior suite in Ho Chi Minh City, change it; if you want to spend more time in Hoi An, change it; it is always up to you to make the trip just the right way you want. If you are looking for experiences that are not done by others, Discovery your way, Asia Highlights' motto suites you the best.
    Also, as for an exploration tour, it is designed with some mildly intense physical activities such as trekking. However, we encourage you to talk with our travel advisor and set your own pace.
  • 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.
18 Days from $4,508p/p (Based on a 2-people private group)

Local guide

Asia Highlights chooses tour guides in China and Vietnam based on their knowledgeable and experiences. They receive proper training that enables them with important guiding skills. Enjoy your time with them!

Mini van

All of vehicles are in good maintanence and 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

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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