Hanoi to Saigon
A fascinating 16-day Vietnam tour, travelling south from Hanoi to Saigon and the Mekong Delta by way of the World Heritage Sites of Halong Bay, Trang An, Hue and Hoi An
Vietnam tour, from north to south
A wonderful introduction to the stunning scenery and fascinating culture and history of this rapidly developing, but still often very traditional, Southeast Asian country. Our Vietnam tour, Hanoi to Saigon, combines many of the country’s essential sites and some of its hidden places with a wide variety of destinations, landscapes and activities.
Beginning in Vietnam’s elegant capital Hanoi and finishing in bustling, vibrant Ho Chi Minh City (still known as Saigon to most of its residents) our tour includes no less than 7 of the country’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park with its awe-inspiring karst scenery – including what’s claimed to be the world’s largest cave; the old imperial capital of Hue; charming Hoi An; the dramatic vistas of famous Halong Bay; Trang An’s lesser-known ‘Halong in the Rice Fields’ landscapes as well as the myriad waterways and islands of the picturesque Mekong Delta.
Discover the country’s past and present: ruined temples of the Cham Empire, glorious pagodas and royal tombs of the Nguyen Dynasty, the more recent, tragic sites of the Vietnam War and the friendly people, exotic cuisine, fantastic landscapes and exciting cities of Hanoi and Saigon.
For those with less time to spare we also offer a shorter, 11-day, version – World Heritage Sites of Vietnam – taking you by road and rail from Hanoi to finish with a return flight from Danang.
Optional extensions include a pre-tour visit to Sapa to discover the majestic mountain scenery and myriad colourful hill-tribe groups of the far north or beach and island extensions to Mui Ne or Phu Quoc.
Here's an idea of what you can expect to do and see day-to-day.
Day 1 - Hanoi - explore your surroundings
Your tour begins with a check-in to a downtown hotel close to Hanoi’s Old City. Afternoon at leisure to relax or explore the area with an optional trip to see the unique water-puppet show before a local-style, welcome dinner introduces you to the country’s sumptuous cuisine.
Overnight: Hanoi Transport: Walk, Meals: D,
Day 2 - Hanoi - Day tour of some of the City's sights
Tour of some of the sites of this beautiful old City, with its French colonial ambience, including Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum, the 11th-century University and Temple of Literature, iconic Hoan Kiem Lake, the fascinating Ethnology Museum and a stroll through the picturesque lanes of Hanoi’s Old Quarter.
Overnight: Hanoi Transport: Minibus, Walk, Meals: B, L,
Day 3 - Halong Bay - boat cruise of the World Heritage site
Departure for Halong Port for a lunchtime boarding of the Bai Tho Junk and a journey through the dramatic limestone scenery of World Heritage Halong and lesser-known Bai Tu Long Bays. (The boat is traditional wooden-style, yet well-appointed with air-con and en-suite cabins).
Overnight: On board Transport: Minibus, Boat, Meals: B, L, D,
Day 4 - Halong Bay - Bai Tu Long Bay and on to Ninh Binh
Optional early rise for dawn over Halong Bay before continuing our cruise with a late morning return to Halong Port. After lunch, an overland transfer south takes us to more spectacular limestone scenery in Ninh Binh Province and our night’s accommodation.
Overnight: Trang An Transport: Minibus, Boat, Meals: B, L, D,
Day 5 - Trang An - boat trip through the grottoes
Scenic drive through the lush paddy fields and jagged limestone escarpments of the ‘Halong of the rice fields’, Travel by rowing boat through the remarkable cave system of the Trang An Grottoes with its labyrinth of caves, tunnels and emerald streams before continuing to Ninh Binh Town to board the night sleeper train.
Overnight: Night sleeper train Transport: Minibus, Train, Walk, Meals: B, L,
Day 6 - Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park
Early morning arrival in Dong Hoi from where we’ll head into the hills for a day’s exploration of magnificent UNESCO status Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park. Discover the area’s primary forest, karst scenery and spectacular cave systems by foot and boat and stay overnight on a farm.
Overnight: Chay Lap Farmstay Transport: Minibus, Boat, Walk, Meals: B, L, D,
Day 7 - DMZ - sites of the DMZ and on to the ancient capital, Hue
Tour of the infamous DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) where we’ll 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 infamous Khe Sanh Combat Base – scene of some of the fiercest ground combat of the war. In the afternoon we’ll continue south to our day’s final destination, Hue.
Overnight: Hue Transport: Minibus, Walk, Meals: B, L, D,
Day 8 - Hue - imperial tombs on the Perfume River
Time to check out the spectacular sights of this historic, former imperial capital and now UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Morning cruise by ‘dragon boat’ along the Perfume River to visit some of the majestic tombs of the former Nguyen emperors and afternoon walk around the ancient citadel.
Overnight: Hue Transport: Boat, Walk, Meals: B, L,
Day 9 - Hoi An - scenic drive from Hue to Hoi An
Short, scenic drive to nearby Hoi An Town with a stop on the way at the beautiful and spectacular beach at Lang Co, and an afternoon tour of the old town and waterfront area. Well-preserved and charming Hoi An, was one of Southeast Asia’s most important ports during the 17th- to 19th-centuries.
Overnight: Hoi An Transport: Minibus, Walk, Meals: B, L,
Day 10 - Hoi An - morning tour to ancient My Son
Morning trip to the atmospheric ruined temples of ancient My Son – 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. Return to Hoi An and an afternoon to discover the picturesque old streets at your leisure, visit the bustling silk market or perhaps cycle down to the nearby beach for a dip or massage.
Overnight: Hoi An Transport: Minibus, Walk, Meals: B, D,
Day 11 - Danang - China Beach, Marble Mt and on to Saigon
Time to explore some of the sites of the Danang region with a visit to the famous China Beach, Marble Mountain and the fascinating Cham Museum before an afternoon departure with a short flight to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City).
Overnight: Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) Transport: Minibus, Plane, Meals: B, L, D,
Day 12 - Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) - day tour of the sights
Day tour of some of the City’s fascinating sites and bustling street life including the bustling Ben Thanh Market, the sobering War Museum, picturesque Jade Emperor Pagoda and Saigon’s own, French period, Notre Dame Cathedral.
Overnight: Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) Transport: Minibus, Walk, Meals: B, L,
Day 13 - Saigon - the Cu Chi Tunnels and on to the Delta
Departure from Saigon for a visit to the fascinating Vietcong tunnel system at Cu Chi before continuing south to the scenic Delta town of Cai Be with some free time to explore the area. Overnight in a converted colonial-period villa on one of the region’s myriad islands.
Overnight: Cai Be Transport: Minibus, Boat, Meals: B, L, D,
Day 14 - Mekong Delta - Cai Be to Can Tho
Morning visit to Cai Be’s traditional floating market from where we’ll continue by boat through the Delta’s picturesque waterways with opportunities to visit some of the region’s cottage industries and orchards. Arrival in Vinh Long and a canoe tour of the former Vietcong jungle base at Xe Quit before continuing to Can Tho with the afternoon at leisure to explore this friendly riverside town or check-out the interesting Mekong Delta Museum.
Overnight: Can Tho Transport: Minibus, Boat, Meals: B, L,
Day 15 - Can Tho - floating market and afternoon return to Saigon
Early morning boat ride to the nearby floating market, one of the busiest and most photogenic in the Delta, before an afternoon return drive to Saigon, (Ho Chi Minh City) and our farewell dinner.
Overnight: Saigon Transport: Minibus, Boat, Meals: B, L, D,
Day 16 - Saigon - morning at leisure
Morning at leisure in Saigon – improve your street photography or perhaps some last-minute market shopping an afternoon end to the tour.
Extra nights in Hanoi or Saigon or extensions to superb Phu Quoc Island or Mui Ne Beach after your tour are available on request.
Airport transfers are included if you purchase the with flights package. If you purchased your own flights, airport transfers can be arranged.
Overnight: Departure Transport: Walk, Meals: B,
The nitty-gritty, the things you need to know, the answers to your burning questions.
Just a few of the many highlights
An impressive list of 7 World Heritage Sites; Hanoi old citadel, Halong Bay, Hue, Hoi An, Trang An, Phong Nha and My Son plus Saigon and the Mekong Delta and of course loads of friendly locals and superb local cuisine!
- Take in the Old Quarter, colonial architecture, lakeside cafes, pagodas and museums of Vietnam's charming capital Hanoi
- Visit My Son, the ancient ruined city and former capital of the Cham empire that once rivalled Angkor
- Explore the picturesque Mekong Delta region: a labyrinth of waterways, islands and traditional villages
- Discover the dramatic limestone scenery and caves of Trang An in Ninh Binh Province - 'Halong on Land'
- Go underground at the famous Cu Chi Tunnels, the vast subterranean former Vietcong base
- Sample the region's awesome and highly varied cuisine with the emphasis as usual on the authentic and local food
Air Departures (UK)
- 3 August 19 2,825 GBP
- 22 August 19 2,725 GBP
- 29 September 19 2,725 GBP
- 22 October 19 2,725 GBP
- 14 November 19 2,725 GBP
- 15 December 19 2,925 GBP
- 9 January 20 2,725 GBP
- 5 February 20 2,725 GBP
- 4 March 20 2,725 GBP
- 1 April 20 2,725 GBP
- 29 April 20 2,725 GBP
- 23 May 20 2,725 GBP
- 18 June 20 2,725 GBP
- 15 July 20 2,725 GBP
- 12 August 20 2,825 GBP
- 12 September 20 2,725 GBP
- 13 October 20 2,725 GBP
- 13 November 20 2,725 GBP
- 14 December 20 2,925 GBP
- 4 August 19 1,875 GBP
- 23 August 19 1,875 GBP
- 30 September 19 1,875 GBP
- 23 October 19 1,875 GBP
- 15 November 19 1,875 GBP
- 16 December 19 1,875 GBP
- 10 January 20 1,875 GBP
- 6 February 20 1,875 GBP
- 5 March 20 1,875 GBP
- 2 April 20 1,875 GBP
- 30 April 20 1,875 GBP
- 24 May 20 1,875 GBP
- 19 June 20 1,875 GBP
- 16 July 20 1,875 GBP
- 13 August 20 1,875 GBP
- 13 September 20 1,875 GBP
- 14 October 20 1,875 GBP
- 14 November 20 1,875 GBP
- 15 December 20 1,875 GBP
Guaranteed Places Left Special Price Solo Traveller Closed
*Air departures are from the UK. Land departures start from Hanoi
*Land departure dates correspond to the FIRST day of the itinerary.
We choose our hotels based on a combination of location, comfort and convenience. Here is a *selection of the types of hotel/rooms you can expect to stay at on this tour...
MK Premier Boutique Hotel, Hanoi view
- Not sure about the name but the hotel's great
- Located in the heart of Hanoi's picturesque old town
- Handy for exploring or just relax in their street-side cafe
Bai Tho Junk, Halong Bay view
- Overnight on a junk in UNESCO Halong Bay
- Excellently appointed and comfortable private cabins
- 2 day, 1 night cruise of this World Heritage Site
Rosaleen Hotel, Hue
- In the heart of Hue, a short walk from the waterfront
- Friendly staff, pool and great rooftop
- Excellent in-house bar and restaurant
Vinh Hung (Library) Hotel, Hoi An view
- Funky decor at the Vinh Lung or Library, Hotel
- Covenient central location in UNESCO Hoi An
- Great cafe/bar area and spectacular roof-top pool
Sonnet Hotel, Saigon, (Ho Chi Minh City) view
- Smart, new and comfortable the friendly Sonnet Hotel
- Great location in the heart of Saigon City
- Convenient for our city tour as well as leisure time
Ba Duc Ancient House, Cai Be view
- Our night's accommodation on a Mekong Delta island
- A delightful old, converted French period villa
- Comfortable rooms and superb local cuisine
*This list should be considered a guide only, hotels/rooms may change (without notice) depending on availability.
Visa Info & Notes
Visas are no longer required for citizens of some countries including France, Spain, Italy, Germany and the UK for single-entry visits of up to 15 days. For longer visits, and for visitors from some countries, a visa must be obtained before arrival in Vietnam. They are available from your nearest Vietnamese embassy at a cost of about £40 (c. $60). Further information, as well as e-visas on arrival, are available on the internet, for example, www.vietnam-visa.com or www.vietnam-immigration.org
Tipping: we recommend a kitty system for smaller, daily tips such as hotel/restaurant staff and local drivers but which could also include minor expenses such as group tea/coffee breaks etc. Amounts inevitably vary with group size but would generally be in the region of $2 per day or $30-$35 total per person for the 16-day tour. For your guide/tour-leader tip, who will accompany you for the duration of your tour, we’d recommend approximately $15-$20 per person total though of course, this is always discretionary and performance related.
Meals: breakfasts are generally hotel buffets with lunch and dinners based on local food. Vietnamese food obviously is based around rice and noodles, is generally mild and both vegetarians and vegans are very easily catered for. For any other likes and dislikes please remind your tour-leader at the start of the tour. A number of meals are not included, which allows you to ‘do your own thing’ or take a break if you’re feeling ‘riced out’.
Accommodation: all choices fall into the comfortable 3* range and are en-suite and air-conditioned. We have posted a selection of sample accommodation on the left-hand hotel tab but please note that as we try and avoid the larger hotels, availability, in high season particularly, means we use several options in each destination.
Activities: note that no activities are compulsory and that any offered can be tailored for various fitness levels or alternatives suggested.
Further info: more details and photos check our ‘Hanoi to Saigon‘ category on our All Points East travel blog.
Holidays should never end, stay a little longer. These extensions go well with this tour...
Here is what out guest have to say about their experience on this tour...
" Overall this was a well-planned trip with no hitches, glitches or problems. The itinerary was fast-paced, and full of content, allowing me to see the best of Vietnam. Hotels, food, transport and drivers were all very good. My guide was professional, knowledgeable, considerate, polite and kind at all times. "
Dale and Cathy
" The Vietnam tour was awesome. We saw so much it is difficult to remember it all. Mr Bac taught us how to eat local food and not get sick. (We now have a new appreciation for noodle soup.) The trip went off without a hitch. It started in Hanoi and ended in the Mekong Delta, I am sure that we used all modes of transportation to complete the trip. The accommodation was all very good and enough cannot be said about the Vietnamese people and the sights we saw, oh and the food! So Lesley thanks for all your help and assistance that made our trip such a good time. We will be in touch on our return to Southeast Asia. "
Greg and Caroline
" Back in cold UK and wanted to just send a quick “BIG THANKS” for an amazing holiday in Vietnam. The food was wonderful and I have gained half a stone in weight!!! Our tour guide was amazing and such a sweetheart. He really looked after us and genuinely wanted to make sure every day was a perfect day. I will be back again for sure….. Thank you once again.
" I thought the tour and the contents were better than expected. It was a great mix of history, scenery and culture.
The hotels were all really good and the cruise boat was especially nice. The transport and the drivers were very good and drove very responsibly considering the swarm of constant mopeds everywhere.
The restaurants that we were taken to were very well chosen and again, a great mix. "