Day 1 UK - Hanoi
Today we'll fly to Hanoi.
Day 2 Hanoi
On arrival in Hanoi, we'll transfer to our hotel. This evening you will experience a welcome dinner like no other at the Koto Restaurant, a social enterprise that provides training to disadvantaged and street children. KOTO has trained over 700 students in Hanoi and Saigon, with 200 of them currently enrolled. Come on a culinary journey and enjoy the aroma and the flavours of Vietnamese and South-East Asian specialities, before sitting down to enjoy a three course meal where you will have the opportunity to try a selection of traditional dishes.
Day 3 Hanoi
Hanoi is Vietnam's vibrant capital, and this morning we include a tour here. See the restored Opera House, the One Pillar Pagoda and Ba Dinh Square, where silent sentries guard the marble and granite mausoleum where Ho Chi Minh lies in state. A great way to experience this lively city is aboard cyclos – Vietnam's answer to the rickshaw. Step aboard your cyclo in the afternoon for a tour of the ancient quarter, or 36 Streets district as it is also known. This is a souvenir hunters' paradise, where old homes and temples vie for attention alongside shops selling silk clothing, silver products and more. The rest of the day is at leisure for you to sample local eateries and try the local Vietnamese cuisine. Alternatively join us to see the Hanoi Water Puppet Show.
Begin your evening with a trip to Hanoi’s famous Water Puppetry Show, a stunning showcase of the traditional Vietnamese performing art at Thang Long theatre, just beside Hoan Kiem Lake. Originating from northern Vietnamese villages as long ago as the 11th century, each performance tells stories of village living, history and folk tales, accompanied by traditional Vietnamese music and dance.
After the show, enjoy your dinner in a restaurant specialising in traditional Ha Noi delicacies.
Day 4 Hanoi - Halong Bay
UNESCO-listed Halong Bay is truly beautiful and today we’re going to explore it in style. We’ll board a traditional boat for an overnight cruise amongst its idyllic waters. As we sail, we’ll admire the dramatic limestone peaks rising out of the sea, and we’ll even enter one of the vast caves. On the boat we’ll enjoy a lovely seafood lunch, and this evening, dinner is also served on board before you retire to your cabin in this unique overnight accommodation.Meals included: B,L,D
Day 5 Halong Bay - Hue
You'll wake to stunning views of Halong Bay, and you can enjoy a morning at leisure. You could take part in a Tai Chi session on deck, or maybe you'll just choose to sit and take in the gorgeous scenery with a coffee.
We'll then transfer to the airport and fly to Hue.
Day 6 Hue - Hoi An
We'll explore Hue this morning on an included tour of its main highlights. We'll take in the beauty of the Thien Mu Pagoda, which overlooks the Perfume River. We'll also see the royal tombs of Tu Duc and Khai Dinh, which sits on the side of a mountain.
Later, rest your legs as we take a scenic journey by road to Danang and on to Hoi An.
Day 7 Hoi An
Discover beautiful Hoi An on a walking tour of this ancient riverside town, which is quite simply the most enchanting place on the Vietnamese coast. We will wander among its quaint streets, where we'll see highlights including the Japanese Covered Bridge, a 200-year-old merchant's house and the 15th century Chuc Thanh Pagoda. If you'd like to explore further, why not join an optional bicycle ride past homes, vegetable gardens and fruit orchards before we reach a quaint village where the locals will offer us a warm welcome.
Later today, enjoy a visit to STREETS International's Oodles of Noodles project, a scheme which supports street kids and disadvantaged young people by providing them with training for a career in the hospitality industry. You'll meet some of the students, learn about different types of noodles and then have a go at making some yourself. Afterwards, a delicious meal of Mi Quang noodles will be served.
Day 8 Hoi An - at Leisure
During a free day you could spend time enjoying the facilities at your hotel or exploring the town and its vibrant temples and markets in the company of your fellow travellers.
Alternatively, if you'd like to discover more we offer a fabulous optional excursion to My Son. This is a major religious centre in the Champa Kingdom, and the cluster of ruined Hindu temples you will see were constructed between the 4th and the 14th century AD and are dedicated to the god Shiva.
Day 9 Hoi An - Ho Chi Minh City
Today we'll fly to Ho Chi Minh City. Better known as Saigon, it is a city of contrasts, where evidence of former French colonisation sits alongside the fascinating culture of a predominantly Buddhist population.
Day 10 Ho Chi Minh City
The Cu Chi Tunnels are an amazing series of underground passages first constructed in the late 1940s by the peasant army fighting the French and later extended by the Viet Cong rebels. You can see them today on our optional excursion. Alternatively, explore Ho Chi Minh City at leisure before joining our afternoon tour of the city's highlights. We will visit the former Presidential Palace, the War Museum and the famous shopping street formerly known as Rue Catinat, we will also make a stop at the market if time permits. We end our tour with a tasting at East West Brewing, the city's first craft beer brewery.
We'll gather tonight for a farewell dinner in a local restaurant.
Day 11 Mekong Delta
The River Mekong descends for 3,000 miles from the Tibetan Plateau to the South China Sea and is constantly busy with sampans, barges and houseboats. As we journey into the depths of the Mekong Delta, our first stop will be at Cai Be, where we will board a boat to cross the water before cruising through lush forest, narrow inlets and canals to a local restaurant for lunch. We will also visit local workshops along the way. Very little has changed over the centuries in this part of Vietnam, and everything and everybody has to travel by boat. Those choosing to extend their holiday with the Cambodia add-on will continue to Can Tho for an overnight stay. The rest of the group will return to Ho Chi Minh City. Meals included: B,L
Day 12 Ho Chi Minh City - UK
We'll transfer to the airport for our return flight to the UK.Meals included: B
Day 13 UK
Today you will arrive back in the UK.