Hanoi to Hoian Expedition (11D)
A fascinating journey exploring Northern and Central Vietnam – areas particularly rich in World Heritage Sites: dramatic Halong Bay, fabulous former imperial capital of Hue, the charming old port town of Hoi An and the ancient ruined city of My Son, but as usual we’ll explore some of the lesser known highlights such as the picturesque Pu Luong National Park, the ethnic Thai village of Mai Chau and the spectacular caves of Trang An. A stay on a secluded, unspoilt island in the South China Sea is also available should you wish to extend your tour.
HIGHLIGHTS & INCLUDE
- Discover the old city, the colonial architecture, lakeside cafes, pagodas and museums of Vietnam's charming capital Hanoi
- Explore the awesome scenery of Pu Luong National Park in the Annamite Mountains near the border with Laos
- Stay in the ethnic Thai village of Mai Chau
- The dramatic limestone scenery and caves of Trang An in Hoa Binh Province - 'Halong on land'
- Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Royal tombs of Hue by boat along the Perfume River
- Explore the charming old port town and also UNESCO site of Hoi An
- Tour the famous DMZ, (De-militarised zone), to learn first hand about Vietnam's recent history
- Visit My Son, the ancient ruined city and former capital of the Cham empire that once rivalled Angkor
Arrival in Hanoi, check-in to a downtown hotel and afternoon free to relax or explore the area before an evening trip to see the City’s unique water-puppet show.
Recommended Hanoi Hotels:
- Essence d’Orient Hotel & Spa
- Oriental Suites Hotel
Day tour of this beautiful old city with its French colonial architecture: lakes, parks and temples and a stroll through the bustling backstreets of the old quarter. Hanoi is the country’s cultural heart, bearing traces of centuries of changing dynasties. You will visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Presidential Palace and the historic complex including Ho Chi Minh's stilt house, One Pillar Pagoda, dating back to the first Vietnamese empire independent from China. Also visit the infamous “Hanoi Hilton” prison, where American prisoners of war were once confined; the Temple of Literature and the Vietnam National Museum of Fine Arts or History Museum at your choice. Break time for lunch at a local restaurant and then later, travel by cyclo as a local would through the Old Quarter.
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Temple of Literature, Hanoi Old Quarter, Presidential Palace, "Hanoi Hilton" Prison
Explore the incredible scenery of World Heritage Halong Bay by boat on a day cruise through the dramatic limestone scenery. Return to Hanoi then free at leisure.
Recommended Halong Bay Cruise
- Dragon Legend Cruise
Leaving the capital we’ll head into the scenic mountainous region of Hoa Binh Province where we’ll continue along forest trails by 4WD to Pu Luong – one of Vietnam’s remotest and most spectacular national parks. Afternoon jungle hike to discover the regions amazing flora and fauna. We then proceed and spend overnight in the ethnic White Thai village of Mai Chau.
Where to stay in Mai Chau:
- Mai Chau Eco Lodge
- Mai Chau Lodge
Leave Mai Chau then take a scenic drive to Ninh Binh through the lush paddy fields and jagged limestone escarpments of this region, sometimes known as the ‘Halong of the rice fields’, to the remarkable cave system of the Trang An Grottoes. Rowing boats will take us through the labyrinth of caves, tunnels and emerald streams for a fascinating visit before continuing to Ninh Binh Town to board the overnight sleeper train.
Morning arrival at Dong Ha and a chance to discover the country’s more recent history with a day trip to the infamous DMZ (demilitarized zone), to visit some of the key sites of the Vietnam War, including the Vietcong tunnels at Vinh Moc, Hien Luong Bridge on the 17th parallel, which marked the border between former South and North Vietnam, and Khe Sanh Combat Base – scene of some of the most intense fighting of the war. Overnight in Hue.
Recommended Hotels in Hue:
- Moonlight Hotel Hue
- Romance Hue Hotel
Time to check out the numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites of this historic city and former imperial capital: morning cruise by ‘dragon boat’ along the Perfume River to visit some of the majestic tombs of the former emperors and afternoon walk around the ancient Citadel.
Ancient Royal Palace, Perfume River
Short, scenic drive to nearby Hoi An Town with stop-offs on the way at mountainous Bach Ma National Park and the beautiful and spectacular beach at Lang Co.
Recommended Hoian Hotels:
- Vinh Hung Emerald Resort
- Ancient House Hoi An
Well-preserved and charming, World Heritage site Hoi An was one of SE Asia’s most important ports during the 17th – 19th centuries. A half-day tour of Hoi An old town and waterfront area and a free afternoon to discover the picturesque old streets at your leisure or bicycle down to the nearby beach for a dip or massage.
Recommended Hoi An Restaurants:
- Ancient Faifo
- Mango Mango Restaurant
Morning relaxing or a visit to the bustling silk market with an afternoon trip to the atmospheric ruined temples of ancient My Son Sanctuary – Vietnam’s most important site of the former Cham Empire. The city was occupied from the 4th to 13th centuries before succumbing to its powerful Khmer and Vietnamese neighbours. Venture around the paths, visiting the numerous ruins and soaking in the atmosphere of this historic site.
After lunch in a local restaurant, then leave My Son Sanctuary for a short visit to the Thanh Ha Pottery village before we take a motorized boat excursion to visit Kim Bong carpentry village, 3km west of Hoi An. Return to Hoi An by boat.
Ancient My Son Sanctuary, Thanh Ha Pottery Village, Kim Bong carpentry village
Time to explore some of the sites of the Danang region with a visit to the famous My Khe Beach, Marble Mountain and the fascinating Cham Museum before boarding the onward flight to HCMC or Hanoi for the flight home.
MORE TOURS HERE
- Prices are in USD, per person, based on two people traveling together and sharing a room. At Vietnam Senses Travel, we carefully select all hotels to ensure that your accommodations match our standards of trip and service excellence.
- Prices include the following:
. All hotel accommodation including all taxes and breakfast
. Internal economy flights as stated with airport taxes
. All transfers & sightseeing transportation in private vehicle
. Private services of local guides
. All special events & private tours, guest experts
. All entrance fees into historical sights & museums
. Drinking water and refreshing towels for touring
. 24/7 support from the Vietnam Senses Travel Team
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- Accommodation is contemporary in style with dark wood furniture and white walls complemented with a ‘natural’ colour scheme of brown and greens, in-keeping with the hotels' eco-friendly philosophy.
- Interconnecting rooms are available for families and some of the rooms feature a private balcony with city views.
- Despite being a first class hotel, service levels are more akin to an upgraded property and there are appealing extra touches such as a laptop with free wifi in each room for guests to use and, for Suite guests, a complimentary minibar and laundry service.
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- Style: Traditionally decorated.
- Newly born.
- Unique itinerary.
- Dinner in Thien Canh Son Cave makes visitors have a wonderful experience.
- A cruise with a high quality service.
- Traditional decoration, suitable for visitor who love traditional culture.
- Very Special & Unique Swimming Pool on board.
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- The lodge offers a good standard of facilities, including a pool and sauna (very welcome after a day’s walking or cycling!) as well as a lakeside restaurant serving up some excellent Vietnamese food.
- Guest rooms are a very good size, most with lake or rice paddy views, and are furnished using local fabrics.
- The lodge offers a number of activities to fill your day if the view isn’t captivating enough.
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- Accommodation is well proportioned and nicely presented in a regal style, with a classic Indochinese aesthetic infusing its contemporary decor and furniture. Colour schemes are rich - dark polished wooden floors, deep mahogany and gold textiles, painted baroque furniture, and cream or marble walls.
- All rooms benefit from floor to ceiling windows, and many boast good views from their balconies - one suite even has its own private garden overlooking the river. Bathrooms are spacious, typically decorated in calm neutrals and well-equipped with the latest fixtures.
- The restaurant offers pretty river views to enjoy along with its international menu, while a number of private dining rooms accommodate more intimate meals. Both bars also serve light snacks along with signature cocktails and a decent selection of wine.
- For any leisure time not spent exploring the city, the mildly kitsch but thoroughly enjoyable pool area boasts further views of Hue’s skyline and the river, there’s a small fitness room, and the hotel’s welcoming spa contains a jacuzzi and sauna.
HOI AN DA NANG
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- The hotel is named for the ancient (well - 200 years old) Vietnamese house located to the rear of the property. This traditional building is now home to five generations of noodle-makers, who you can watch in action before strolling off to enjoy views of the nearby De Vong River.
- There’s a sweet, peaceful spa, specialising in natural beauty treatments, and a restaurant which offers Asian, Western and barbecue menus, and even cookery classes to anyone willing to get up early enough to visit the market for ingredients first! Our preferred poolside rooms are all well-sized and the attentive staff always work hard to ensure a pleasant stay.