Explore the best Vietnam has to offer during this 11-day tour. You will visit the highlights at an easy-going pace on an individual basis. You will experience the fascinating metropolises of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh as a true local, spend the night on a luxury boat in the Halong Bay and uncover the imperial past of Hue & Hoi An. Thanks to the insiders knowledge of your local guides, Vietnam will expose many a secret.
Day 1 & 2 - Hanoi (Day 2: B+L)
Welcome to Vietnam! Your driver and guide welcome you at the airport and take you to your hotel. The rest of the day at leisure. Tomorrow, on day 2, the Ngoc Son Temple located in the middle of Hoan Kiem Lake is on your programme. But before you get into your car, you will witness the daily tai chi and aerobics morning exercise associated with this culture. During your short morning walk through the Old Quarters of Hanoi you can taste a typical cup of Vietnamese ice coffee and a baguette style sandwich at a street stall. The area’s main attractions include the Saint Joseph Cathedral in French Gothic style and the Hoa Lo prison, where both Vietnamese, French and American prisoner of war were held captive. Then, you continue to Lake B-52, named after a U.S. bomber wreck.
After a local lunch, you pop in at the Temple of Literature from 1706, the birthplace of Hanoi's University and the spot where Vietnam's royal family, mandarins and elite were educated. The site and gardens offer a magnificent insight into Hanoi’s glorious past. You walk on the picture-perfect railroad tracks just yards away from the houses. To wash down all first impressions your guide takes you to a Bia Hoi, where local brews are served. The ideal way to round-off your day as a local!
Day 3 - Hanoi > Halong Bay (B+L+D)
Today you re-join Tuan Chau Island and embark on a cruise in Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As the vessel sets sail all you really need to do is sit back and enjoy the comfort of the ship and the exceptional nature scenes that glide by. Along the way you visit the area of Tung Sau known for its karstic formations the cultivation, harvest and sculpturing of pearls. If you feel like it, you can also go on a kayak trip.
Next you head to Titop Island where you can participate in captivating activities and gaze in awe at the beautiful scenery. Back on the boat, it's time to relax on the deck or to learn how to prepare true Vietnamese spring rolls during the organized cookery class. The evening meal consists of local specialties. Want to learn how to fish for squid? Done. Overnight on board of the ship.
Day 4 - Halong Bay > Hanoi > Da Nang > Hoi An (B+L)
Early birds can attend a tai chi session on the sundeck at the crack of dawn. Next you visit the famous Sung Sot Cave, hiking 600 steps up and down to the stunning limestone formations of what is said to be the largest and most beautiful cave in Halong Bay. Back on board a brunch is dished up while you sail back to your starting point, the marina of Tuan Chau. You drive to Hanoi Airport for your flight to Da Nang (not-included). At arrival your driver/guides awaits you and transfers you to your next hotel in the charming Hoi An. Evening at leisure.
Day 5 - Hoi An (B+L)
This day is dedicated to a close-up perception of local farming and fishing communities. Accompanied by your guide you bike along country alleys towards an organic fruit farm where you can get to work. You plant and water plants, you hoe the soil and ride a water buffalo in a rice paddy. Keep those cameras and mobile phones at hand! This is unique! Next you board an eco-cruise to enjoy an hands-on experience of traditional net fishing and paddle to your heart’s content in a bamboo basket boat in-between coconut palms. Another memorable day!
Day 6 - Hoi An > Da Nang > Hue (B)
In Da Nang you visit of Cham Sculpture Museum which opened in 1915! In the small villages of the Marble Mountains you can observe the skilful marble / granite artisans and even buy a piece of art as a souvenir. En-route towards Hue you can enjoy some major highlights including the awesome Hai Van Pass, the highest and longest pass in Vietnam and was once the border between two kingdoms. Today the 20-km spectacularly winding road still forms the boundary between Vietnam's northern and southern climates. Spectacular and picturesque! Upon arrival at Hoi An you can enjoy an evening at leisure
Day 7 - Hue (B+L)
Thuy Bieu and its citadel is an ancient village and symbol of transition and harmony. Besides the many preserved communal houses, the nostalgic beauty of the garden houses and Feng Shui gardens are the living witnesses of its rustic and royal past. Many monuments here are directly related to the rise and fall of the Nguyen dynasties. The Roman Colosseum, the unique temple cemetery dedicated to the faithful elephants of the king and the long-established bronze foundry.
You cruise the Perfume River and visit the Thien Mu Pagoda and the Forbidden Purple City, Hue. The latter was the former capital of united Vietnam from 1802 to 1945. In 1993, Hue was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Day 8 - Hue > Ho Chi Minh (B+D)
Today you fly to Ho Chi Minh City where you head to the infamous Cu Chi tunnels, 75 km from the city centre. Here you will walk through a part of the more than 200 km long web of tunnels built by the Vietnamese guerrillas. You explore the bedrooms, meeting rooms, shelters, smokeless kitchens and experience life underground tunnel in this extraordinary tunnel complex. Next you head back to your hotel and enjoy a free afternoon. In the evening you can experience life-in-the-city as locals do. After a short briefing, you jump on the back to the bike and whiz you through the traffic towards the narrow alleys of the city. Here you can taste local delicacies while you learn about the history and cultural significance of each dish. To help digestion you go on a walk to enjoy the night sights and sounds Saigon like a true local! Then you taste the most popular food tradition of the country, the street BBQ, made up of tasty authentic local food and local beer. And then there are sweet desserts. Wow!
Day 9 - Ho Chi Minh > Cu Chi Tunnels > Ho Chi Minh (B+L)
Ho Chi Minh is certainly one of the most dynamic cities of Vietnam. The city seems to be the reconciliation between US and Chinese influences without sacrificing Vietnamese authenticity. Here you will find modern skyscrapers amidst Chinese pagodas and food stalls. You start your day with a walking tour through the Tao Dan Park where you will be amazed by the number of sports practiced here each morning: tai-chi, badminton, yoga ...
Then you head to Cho Lon, the Chinatown of Saigon. You witness colourful pagodas, parks, local crafts and meet young students on their way to school. Tasting sugar cane juice is the ideal way to rehydrate yourself. After lunch you visit some of the unusual places and round off the whole with a traditional tea tasting. Rest of the day at leisure. Fancy a drink on a terrace? Want to explore Saigon some more or just relax in the hotel? The choice is yours.
Day 10 - Ho Chi Minh > Mekong River cruise > Ho Chi Minh (B+L)
Another day of pure nostalgia and action has been carefully planned for you. You start off with a cruise from Ben Tre and sail a tributary of the Mekong River. But before you board the boat you visit a brick kiln, fruit orchards, a coconut candy factory and other local craft industries. During your cruise you stop at a quiet village where you attend a session mat weaving and can have a go at weaving yourself. With a xe loi (a sort of motorized rickshaw) you reach a restaurant in time for lunch. Next you board a sampan for a relaxing ride along narrow canals and cycle through the orchards to the house of Mr. Khanh, a passionate antique collector. His house is packed with fascinating artefacts from Vietnam and a multitude of Asian countries. He also loves to display his fascinating family albums dating back to the French colonial period. You return by boat to your starting point and head back to Ho Chi Minh.
Day 11 - Ho Chi Minh
Hotels & Meals
In Laos, sticky rice (khao niao) is very popular. Laotians have traditionally eat with their (right) hand (s). If there is cutlery on the table, it is usually only a spoon and a fork. With the fork, slide your food unto the spoon. Then put the spoon in your mouth (never the fork). Chop sticks are used for eating feu or any other noodle soup. There is no fixed order in serving dishes.
Bia hoi: pavement pubs where fresh beer is produced daily and served cold in small, local bars. Not particularly alcoholic but very refreshing.
Banh mi: baguette style sandwich with meat, veggies and herbs (sometimes sambal), a remnant of French colonial times.
Banh Xeo: filled pancakes
Chà Cá: White fish noodles
Com hen: rice served with clams. Popular in Hue.
Goi Cuon : translucent spring rolls
Nuoc Mam: fermented fish sauce, widely used
Nom Hua Chuoi: Banana flower salad
Pho: an omnipresent noodle soup usually with beef
Saigon Beer & rice wine
- All Belgian nationals travelling on a Belgian passport (children and babies included) must be in possession of an international e-passport (electronic) containing min. 2 blank pages, valid for at least 1 month at the date of your arrival.All Belgian travellers need a visa for Vietnam !
Please be informed that customers who book a Connections day-by-day tour receive an invitation letter with which they can apply and pay for the visa-upon-arrival in Vietnam. Travellers who book flights only will not receive the former mentioned letter. As such the acquisition of an online visa is mandatory for them. In case a (typing )mistake has been made in any of the personal details filled out on the visa application form, you must re-apply for a visa via the official site. The Immigration Authorities in Vietnam are very strict on this matter. Please note it usually takes up to 3 days to acquire this visa!
Belgian citizens who book flights only can apply for an e-visa via the official website of the government. Please access this link for the list of countries and this link for the list of ports that allow e-visa. The online e-visum a well as the visum upon-arrival cost 25USD/person (subject to change). No refund is given should access to the country be refused.. Please kindly note the e-visa is applied for 1-month single-entry visa only.
- Travelers with a non-Belgian nationality and/or travelers travelling on a foreign passport are invited to spontaneously reported this matter to the Connections travel consultant and shall contact their respective embassy (s) or Consulate (ate) to obtain the latest updates concerning all current travel requirements and documents.
Have a safe and carefree trip: travel fully insured with our Protections travel insurance! Our Protections insurance policies offer various formulas in order to offer you the widest possible cover (with even a fly-on-time, natural catastrophes and epidemics) for both single journeys or for the entire year. We guarantee you the best protection at the best price.
The tours in our brochures are just a few examples of travel itineraries possible. Our trips can be tailored to suit your specific needs. If you want to book a specific destination or combine it with a mini-tour then we will gladly make you a tailor-made offer. For a personalised day-by-day program please contact our destination experts.
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+5 h (summer); +6 h (winter)
Vietnamese Dong (VND) 100.000 VND = 3.94 EUR & 1 EUR = 25372 VND (01/05/2020)
There are no coins in circulation. Credit cards are mainly accepted in top hotels and restaurants in Vientiane and Luang Prabang. In these cities you can also pin. The north and the Laos' countryside have hardly any,if any, ATMS. It is good to carry cash euros, and even better US dollars or Thai baht. Dollar bills must be new and non-creased. The latest series (old dollar bills, or folded / crooked bills cannot be exchanged). You get a better exchange rates for 50 and 100 dollar bills. Smaller dollar bills are useful for souvenirs.
In modest restaurants a tip is uncommon. You do give a tip to the bell man and room personnel at hotels. Local guides and drivers appreciate a tip too.
The Laos rainy season lasts from May to October with occasional heavy showers. The countryside is very green then and the rice paddies look fabulous. The dry season falls between November and the end of April. March and April are the warmest months of the year with temperatures well above 30 ° C. At high altitudes, however, it may still freeze at night.
Average Temperature (°C):
- 10 nights accommodation in listed accommodations or equivalent
- All transfers with car and driver as mentioned in programme
- Shared return transfers by bus between Hanoï et Halong
- All entry fees to excursions accompanied by an English speaking guide
- Vietnam Letter of invitation for the acquisition of your visa (for holders of Belgian passports - Check the travel documents section)
- All scheduled meals ( B= breakfast - L= Lunch - D= dinner)
What's not included?
Your visa, international flights, tipping, non-listed meals and beverages with meals, personal expenses and the possibly mandatory surcharge for mandatory dinners at Christmas and New Year's Eve (known at the time of confirmation).
Standard Price per person