Exploring Vietnam's History
An insightful experience of Vietnam's past and present
Personalised journeys from start to finish
Save an acre of rainforest each time you travel
Every detail taken care of
- 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
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
Private transfer to your hotel in Hanoi
Accommodation in Hanoi
- 388 rooms and suites
- 3 resturants
- 3 bars
- Swimming pool
- Full service spa
- Fitness centre
- Boutique and gift shop
Just moments from the Opera House in the French Quarter of Hanoi, Hotel Metropole Hanoi boasts the most prestigious address in the city and ideally located for visitors to explore the charming architecture and bustling streets. The hotel has 364 rooms and 22 suites and offers the finest heritage accommodation with all the contemporary comforts and impeccable service expected in a hotel of this stature. The bars and restaurants, especially Le Beaulieu, within the hotel are celebrated with Hanoi and guests have a choice of French, Vietnamese or International cuisine. After a busy day exploring Hanoi, the tranquil pool and Le Spa du Metropole are very welcoming.
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.
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.
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.
Private transfer to Hanoi Airport
Flight from Hanoi to Hue
Private transfer to Hue
Accommodation in Hue
- 122 Rooms & suites
- Saltwater swimming pool
- Art gallery
- Bicycles hire
- 2 restaurants
It seems only fitting to see the ‘Imperial City’ from the regal splendor of Azerai La Residence Hue; once the French Colonial Governor’s residence, this 122-room boutique hotel has been immaculately restored to its former glory. Sitting on the banks of the city’s central landmark, the Perfume River, the imperial architecture of the 1930s nods to the history’s past, and many of the rooms have views across to the UNESCO-protected former Imperial Citadel, once home to Vietnam’s most powerful Emperors.
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.
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.
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.
Private transfer to Hoi An
Accommodation in Hoi An
- 93 rooms and suites
- Swimming pool
- Full-service spa
- Four restaurants and bars
Tranquil and classic French colonial style enfolds you at the Anantara for an intimate stay. Scenically positioned on the banks of the Thu Bon River and right in the heart of the city of Hoi An, you are ideally situated to explore the treasures of this charming region. 93 rooms and suites are housed in a two- and three-story white pillared building and come with river or garden views. Rooms are comfortable and gracefully furnished with a host of modern comforts and feature spacious balconies. The airy terrace of the Riverside Café is a great spot for a light lunch as you gaze out across the river, while the Heritage Bar in the courtyard is the place to grab a pre-dinner cocktail. For something really special, take advantage of their ‘dining by design’ service where you can dine al fresco with your own private chef. Pretty gardens and an outdoor pool are perfect for when you want to simply relax and unwind and there is a spa where you can create a ‘spa journey’ and indulge in a series of tailored treatments. For those who want to get out and explore, you are just a short stroll from the centre of this historic port town.
- 87 private pool suites
- Swimming pool
- Full service inclusive spa
- Restaurant and bar
- Fusion Lounge in central Hoi An
A private enclave surrounded by high granite walls with direct beach access and daily complimentary spa treatments, Fusion Maia is a sophisticated, spoiling and tranquil haven 20km outside Hoi An. The focus here is on allowing guests to completely switch off, offering a discreet but impecable service. Its pool, spa and beach villas are minimal and modern in design and feature outdoor courtyards and private plunge pools. Pool villas are perfect for couples or friends while the two-bedroom spa villas and three-bedroom beach villas are ideal for families or groups of friends. One of the real highlights of Fusion Maia is the spa, set within the lush, tropical gardens. A range of treatments are available, totally tailored to suit you, and there is an outdoor pool for relaxing in before or after. When it comes to dining, it is all about fresh, vibrant food made with the highest quality ingredients. Enjoy the fusion menu at the Fiving Dining Room as well as grilled seafood and salads at the aptly named ‘Fresh’ poolside restaurant. There is also the option to experience destination dining and enjoy a delicious meal in a special and unique location. Hoi An is one of Vietnam’s most enchanting towns and there is a shuttle bus to take you back and forth for when you want to explore. When you want to simply relax and unwind, indulge in a spa treatment or sit back with a bucket of popcorn and enjoy a film in the hotel’s very own HD cinema.
- 50 one-bed villas and 40 pool villas
- Three swimming pools
- Full service spa
- Two restaurants and one bar
- Fitness centre
Within 35 hectares of tropical gardens set on the pristine shoreline of Ha My beach, sixty one-bedroom villas and forty pool villas make up this exclusive and palatial hotel. As well as a place for indulgent relaxation, Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai is also well located for exploring the charming 15th century town of Hoi An that sits a few short miles away. While away your days here next to one of three expansive infinity pools or take a dip in the tranquil Gulf of Tonkin. Then, rejuvenate with an Oriental ritual therapy treatment before dining at one of the three varied and excellent restaurants. The Beach restaurant is particularly recommended in the evening to sample the day’s freshest catch. If you are after something extra special, the pool villas come with their own private butler. From romantic candle-lit dinners on the beach, to Hoi An’s finest tailors custom fitting your formal attire, to private Vietnamese cooking classes, your butler will ensure you experience every touch of sophisticated decadence during your stay. Hoi An and its UNESCO World Heritage Site old town are minutes away and a delight to explore the pretty streets steeped in history and culture. Those in search of gifts and souvenirs can shop quality silk, jade, pearls and quality linen from the riverside stores.
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.
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.
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.
Private transfer to Danang airport
Flight from Danang to Saigon
Private transfer to your hotel in Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh
Accommodation in Ho Chi Minh
- 168 rooms and suites
- Two restaurants
- Rooftop bar and infinity pool
A stylish new addition to Ho Chi Minh’s luxury hotel scene, the Hotel Des Arts Saigon is well located a little outside District 1 and within walking distance of the city’s best attractions and buzzing nightlife. Hotel Des Arts is as much an art museum as it is a top-end boutique hotel and guests can peruse the owner’s personal collection of paintings and antiques that adorn the walls and hallways. 168 rooms and suites all feature chic details, crisp white linen, elegant bathrooms and floor-to-ceiling windows and spectacular city views, but the real gem is the Social Club up on the roof – a buzzy bar and trendy restaurant by the city’s highest infinity pool – exclusive to hotel guests. Sit back and relax at the sophisticated Cafe des Beaux Arts which evokes plenty of old-world charm and enjoy afternoon tea and cocktails, pluck a book from the shelves, or simply enjoy the live music as the resident pianist tickles the ivories. Vietnamese and Western dishes are prepared in the open kitchen at the Saigon Kitchen Restaurant, where one wall is covered in French Provencal tiles and the others in works of art that represent the harmonious blend of cultures in Vietnam. There is also a modern gym and sumptuous spa with hammam, Jacuzzi and a solarium for some relaxation after a day exploring the city.
- 245 rooms and suites
- Swimming pool
- Two restaurants
- Bar and lounge
- 24-hour butler service
With its French, colonial style and wonderful location overlooking the Saigon Opera House, the Park Hyatt is one of the city’s most iconic and elegant hotels. Its 245 rooms and suites are sophisticated in design with plenty of handcrafted details such as custom designed rugs, fine linens and huge windows with white wooden shutters that fill the space with natural light. Many rooms come with private terraces that look out over the lush gardens and outdoor pool and they all feature mini iPads and Nespresso coffee machines for added comfort. Square One offers authentic Vietnamese cuisine which you can see being cooking in the integrated show kitchens. On balmy evenings, guests can choose to dine on the terrace surrounded by twinkling lights. Opera is a more casual trattoria-style restaurant serving a range of mouthwatering pasta dishes and pizza fresh from the wood-fired oven. There is a also a pastry boutique offering delicious home-made delicacies and a bar and lounge serving some of the best cocktails in Ho Chi Minh. With some of the city’s landmark sights such as the Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica and the Reunification Palace just a short stroll away, you’re ideally situated to explore this buzzing capital. Alternatively, relaxing and unwinding has never been easier with a fantastic pool and tranquil spa offering treatments inspired by the herbs, grains and fruits of the Mekong Delta.
- 62 rooms and 224 suites
- Four restaurants and one bar
- Luxury spa, swimming pool and fitness centre
Step into complete decadence at this soaring hotel where luxury becomes an art form. The Reverie Saigon commands the top floors of the multi-purpose Times Square Building in the heart of the central business district, with sweeping views of Ho Chi Minh wherever you look. Crafted to absolute indulgence by Italian interior designers, the style here is more Venetian than Vietnamese. Opulence drips from every corner, from the gilt mirrors and velvet curtains of the rooms and the elaborate chandeliers in the fine dining restaurants, to the heli-pad and fleet of Rolls Royces awaiting your arrival. Sophisticated but fun is what guests can expect from this very unique hotel, with design touches and an attention to detail that cannot fail to impress. The Royal Pavilion with its jade, vermilion and gold colour scheme is an elegant restaurant serving mouthwatering Cantonese cuisine. R&J, named after Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, features wall-to-wall mosaics and offers a tempting array of Italian dishes. Heading up the kitchen in The Long Bar is a pizza chef from Napoli who works to family recipes passed down through the generations. There is also a gelato bar offering over 30 flavours including Asian specialties such as soursop, purple sticky rice and salted caramel cashew. When you’re not out exploring the city, relax and unwind at The Reverie’s spa, spread over two floors and featuring treatment rooms, a 24-hour fitness centre and outdoor pool.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Private transfer to Saigon Airport
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Exploring Vietnam's History
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