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An insightful experience of Vietnam's past and present

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What's Included

  • Luxury accommodation throughout
  • Private transfers and internal flights
  • Private culture and history focused tours
  • Full support from your Travel Concierge before, during and after your trip
Use this itinerary to inspire your bespoke journey

At a glance

Uncover Vietnam’s fascinating history, with a focus on the American conflict, and experience the country’s emergence into the 21st century on this 12-night luxury tour.

Begin in bustling Hanoi, learning about its journey from being the capital of an independent North Vietnam to the unification in 1975. Meet a local veteran for a first hand insight into life in Hanoi during the war, visit the infamous ‘Hanoi Hilton’ and wander the extensive Army Museum. You’ll also spend a day out of the city boating down the incredible rivers of Trang An.

Venture south to Hue, an ancient imperial capital that saw some of the most intense fighting of the Vietnam War. Tour the sight of famous battles near the DMZ such as Hamburger Hill and Khe Sanh. Follow the coast down to the beautiful old town Hoi An close a stretch of sand known as China Beach to Americans sent here on R&R.

End with three nights in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, contrasting the remnants of the Vietnam War such as the Cu Chi Tunnel System and Reunification Palace with ancient pagodas, French colonial architecture and gleaming skyscrapers on in depth private tours.

Example Trip Itinerary

Days 1-4

Hanoi

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to your hotel in Hanoi

Accommodation in Hanoi

tran-quoc-pagoda-hanoi
Three nights in Hanoi Three nights in Hanoi

Hanoi is a bustling and fascinating place – a whirlwind of colours, smells and sounds and a wonderful place to get a real flavour of life in Vietnam.

It is unmissable in terms of its pretty pagodas, ancient temples, enchanting French colonial quarter and cultural institutions. Just as fun, however, is darting down its winding lanes and discovering your own favourite hidden corners. The hustle and bustle of Hanoi is contagious and it is also one of the best place to sample the mouthwatering array of streetfood that Vietnam is famous for.

A Veteran's Insight into Hanoi A Veteran's Insight into Hanoi

Today, you will explore the traces of the Indochina Wars, and meet a veteran who used to be soldier during the American war from 1970-1975 who will give you a unique insight into his experience. Start with Hanoi Hilton where American POWs were kept. Then head to Huu Tiep Lake where part of the wreckage of a downed B52 bomber still sits in the water. Afterwards drive to Thang Long Royal Citadel and visit the underground command bunker in the compound. Finish the trip with a visit to the extensive Army Museum (closed on Mondays and Fridays), a repository of Vietnam's military history which includes rooms full of war propaganda, photographs and documents from the wars with China, France, and the US.

Trang An Landscape Complex and Van Long Nature Reserve Tour Trang An Landscape Complex and Van Long Nature Reserve Tour

Depart Hanoi for a two-hour drive to the Trang An Landscape Complex in Ninh Binh Province. Inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014, Trang An is famed for its spectacular landscape of limestone karst peaks, some of which are submerged, and surrounded by vertical cliffs. Within the complex, visit Vietnam’s ancient capital of Hoa Lu, the country’s first centralised feudal state from the end of the 10th century. While the ancient citadel has largely disappeared, the temples of the Dinh and Le dynasties still stand surrounded by rice paddies. After lunch at a local restaurant in Ninh Binh, continue to the 3,500ha (13.5 sq mi) Van Long Nature Reserve, the largest wetland natural reserve in the Red River Delta. Enjoy a boat trip taking in stunning scenes of local villages dotted among the limestone karsts and caves, perhaps encountering rare langur and birds on the way.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to Hanoi Airport

Flight

Flight from Hanoi to Hue

Transfer

Private transfer to Hue

Days 4-7

Hue

Accommodation in Hue

hue-building-citadel
Three nights in Hue Three nights in Hue

Hue sits on the banks of the Perfume River and is another of Vietnam’s safeguarded heritage sites under UNESCO and an interesting blend of old and new. This was the Imperial City created under the Nguyen Dynasty, and the old citadel, royal tombs, working temples and exquisite pagodas sit right alongside a contrasting present of sleek hotels and modern houses. It was the site of some of the most fierce fighting during the Vietnam war, scars of which can still be seen to this day around the historic complex.

Post-War Ethnic Culture Post-War Ethnic Culture

Depart Hue for the rural A Luoi District on the Laotian border, enjoying the fantastic mountain scenery along the way. A Luoi is blessed with beautiful landscapes, rich wildlife preserves and diverse cultures of various ethnic groups. It is also well-known as the site of fierce battles during the Vietnam War. Upon arrival at A Luoi, meet up with your local guide and continue driving to 937m (3,074ft) high Ap Bia Mountain. Dubbed by American GI’s as Hamburger Hill during an infamous battle here in 1969, it marked one of the last major engagements of the US Army in Vietnam and is considered a watershed event in the crystallizing negative public opinion toward war in the States. From the top of the hill, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the airport and the combat base. Drive back to visit the site of the of Battle of A Shau, for which Bennie G. Adkins was awarded a Medal of Honor by President Barack Obama in 2014.

Then head to A Roang Village for lunch with a Ta Oi ethnic family, one of just 35,000 or so belonging to this minority group in all of Vietnam. Listen to stories of how the villagers served during the war but now live on handicraft making. After lunch, take a short walk to a nearby rice field where you can observe a demonstration of agricultural activities, as well as cloth and rattan weaving. Then relax at a hot spring before transferring back to Hue in the late afternoon.

DMZ Tour DMZ Tour

Established after the first Indochina War and functioning as the division line between North and South Vietnam during the Vietnam War, the demilitarized zone (DMZ) was the scene of some of the bloodiest battles during the American War.

Tour the area with an expert guide, visiting places of military significance such as the former American military base of Khe Sanh, the Rockpile, Dakrong suspension bridge, Lang Vei Special Forces Camp, Hien Luong Bridge at the 17th Parallel, the Ho Chi Minh Trail and more. Visit the old citadel of Quang Tri, the site of a bloody battle during the Easter Offensive in 1972 and the Vinh Moc Tunnels where a village was constructed underground to avoid bombing.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to Hoi An

Days 7-10

Hoi An

Accommodation in Hoi An

japanese-bridge-hoi-an-vietnam
Three nights in Hoi An Three nights in Hoi An

With its pretty architecture and beguiling riverside setting packed into its neat size, Hoi An is small enough to stroll around and soak up its rich wealth of heritage.

Once an important port and trading town, Hoi An is one of Vietnam’s greatest cultural relics and a melting pot of Chinese, Japanese and French influences. Visit the atmospheric Old Town to see the Japanese Merchant Houses, the famed Japanese bridge, the Chinese temples, old tea warehouses, temples and traditional pagodas. Motorised traffic is banned from the town centre which has cemented Hoi An’s status as one of Vietnam’s most prized and pleasant towns. It’s especially romantic in the evening when lanterns light up the paved streets.

My Son and My Lai excursion My Son and My Lai excursion

Today will give insight into Vietnam’s early and more recent history. Your day starts at UNESCO protected My Son, the former capital of the ancient Cham civilisation that ruled Vietnam from the 2nd to 13th century, is the best preserved Cham centres in Vietnam. Set in a verdant valley surrounded by hills and overlooked by Cat’s Tooth Mountain, twenty monuments are still standing today. Learn about the culture, architecture and civilisation of this time. Next visit My Lai for a memorial and remnants of the American war. See how My Lai has changed and is moving on from its past.

Day at leisure in Hoi An Day at leisure in Hoi An

Spend today at leisure. Relax on the beach or stroll through the narrow lanes of Hoi An and soak up the heritage of this old-world town. There is plenty to visit, including the old merchant’s houses with influences from Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese architecture; the 400-year-old Japanese Covered Bridge; the Assembly Hall of the Chaozhou Chinese Congregation with outstanding wood carvings; and the colourful market with stalls brimming with local specialties including silk, which can be turned into fashionable garments within a day or two.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to Danang airport

Flight

Flight from Danang to Saigon

Transfer

Private transfer to your hotel in Ho Chi Minh

Days 10-13

Ho Chi Minh

Accommodation in Ho Chi Minh

Three nights in Ho Chi Minh Three nights in Ho Chi Minh

A booming economy has given Ho Chi Minh city (often still referred to as Saigon) a new energy and lease of life. Socially the city is flourishing with a sophisticated café culture, an exciting dining scene and burgeoning interest in eclectic art.

Ho Chi Minh also has the largest remaining assortment of French architecture, most famously the Notre Dame cathedral, which lends the city’s sprawl a unique elegance. Wide boulevards turn to narrow streets and timeless alleys are a delight to explore along with its ancient pagodas and thriving street markets.

Private tour to Cu Chi Tunnels via speedboat Private tour to Cu Chi Tunnels via speedboat

Board a speedboat and head to the Cu Chi tunnels. The river journey will provide a glimpse of the changing faces of Vietnam – from the glittering skyscrapers and busy commercial centres to green paddy fields and pottery villages dotted along the Saigon River. On arrival you’ll visit the underground Cu Chi tunnels and villages that were constructed in 1948 for guerrillas to hide from the French air and ground sweeps. Learn about their use as communication routes and food and weapon caches, as well as hospitals and living quarters during the American war. Return by private speedboat to Saigon with a stop en route for lunch at a local restaurant.

Vietnam War City Tour Vietnam War City Tour

Start your tour into historical wartime Saigon sights with a visit to the shrine outside of the US Consulate followed by the former CIA building, where helicopters evacuated remaining US citizens in 1975. Then head to the rooftop café of the iconic Rex Hotel, for a drink and a spectacular view of downtown Saigon as your guide explains the hotel’s place in history. Visit the Reunification Palace for a guided tour of the former headquarters of the South Vietnamese Government and presidential residence then drive to the former residence of the US Ambassador of South Vietnam in the early 1960s, Mr. Henry C. Lodge Jr., who supported the overthrowing of the South Vietnamese Government. Next on the tour is a secret weapons chamber used by the Viet Cong before pho (noodle soup) at the historic Pho Binh Restaurant, the wartime headquarters where Viet Cong commanders gathered to plan the 1968 Tet Offensive.

Saigon architecture tour Saigon architecture tour

Once known as the ‘Pearl of Indochina’, Saigon has a valuable collection of architectural complexes which represent its long history. Today take a unique excursion around Saigon and admire the colourful architecture from ancient era to modern city. Start with an centuries old pagoda to have an insight into traditional Vietnamese architecture. Then transfer to the Archbishop's Palace, a symbol of Saigon early colonial style. You will also visit a famous building constructed during the French colonial period - the Fine Art Museum. It was owned by one of the city’s wealthy Chinese families during colonial time and after. It a pleasing mix of French and Chinese influences. Later pass by some high schools, also built in the colonial time before stopping at the Indochine bank by the Saigon riverside – an icon of Saigon High Modern style. Your last destination will be at the Bitexco Tower – a new image of the modern and fast-developing Saigon city. Head up to the sky deck to observe the city from above.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to Saigon Airport

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