World Heritage Sites of Vietnam
An 11-day tour travelling from Hanoi, via Halong Bay to Danang while taking in no less than 7 of Vietnam's World Heritage Sites
UNESCO sites of northern and central Vietnam
Our fascinating 11-day Vietnam tour, ‘World Heritage Sites of Vietnam’, explores parts of northern and central Vietnam. Formerly known as Tonkin and Annam, during the French period, they are today regions particularly rich in UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The itinerary takes in no less than 7 of Vietnam’s 8 listed sites including the bustling Hanoi street-life of the Old Quarter; an overnight stay on-board a boat amid the dramatic scenery of Halong, and lesser-known Bai Tu Long Bays; a trip up the Perfume River to visit the imperial tombs of the former emperors of Hue; a walking tour of the charming medieval port of Hoi An and an exploration of the ancient ruined Cham city of My Son.
In addition to these sites, we’ll also explore some of the equally picturesque, but lesser-known, highlights such as the spectacular jungle and limestone landscapes of Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park and the picturesque grottoes of Trang An. The itinerary ends in Danang although an afternoon flight to either Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh, depending on your onward connections, is included.
For those with a few more days to spare we offer an extended, 16-day, version of this tour, ‘Hanoi to Saigon‘, continuing to Saigon and on to the Mekong Delta with an additional option of travelling up the Mekong River by boat to Cambodia’s vibrant capital Phnom Penh. A pre-tour add-on also on offer is our 5 day, 4 night Sapa mini-tour to discover the awe-inspiring mountain scenery and traditional hill-tribe minorities of the far north.
Alternatively, a few days quality beach time are available on either the secluded, unspoilt Whale Island (near Nha Trang), Mui Ne (a short drive from Saigon) or by way of a local flight to Phu Quoc Island in the far south.
Here's an idea of what you can expect to do and see day-to-day.
Day 1 - Hanoi - arrival and time to explore
Morning check-in to a downtown hotel in the heart of Hanoi’s Old Quarter with the afternoon free to relax, explore the area or perhaps take in an optional viewing of the unique water-puppet show before a local-style welcome dinner.
Overnight: Hanoi Transport: Walk, Meals: D,
Day 2 - Hanoi - Day tour of some of the City's sights
Day tour of some of the sights of the beautiful old city including the famous Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the 11th-century University and Temple of Literature, iconic ‘Train Street’, Hoan Kiem Lake, the excellent Museum of Ethnology and a stroll through the fascinating lanes of the bustling Old Quarter.
Precise itinerary may vary according to opening days/times.
Overnight: Hanoi Transport: Minibus, Walk, Meals: B, L,
Day 3 - Halong - afternoon cruise and overnight in the Bay
Departure for Halong Port where we’ll board our boat for an afternoon cruise through the awe-inspiring limestone scenery of UNESCO-listed World Heritage Halong Bay. Explore the islands and grottoes before dinner and overnight on board. (A well-appointed craft with air-con, en-suite cabins).
Overnight: Halong Bay Transport: Minibus, Boat, Meals: B, L, D,
Day 4 - Bai Tu Long Bay and on to Ninh Binh
Early rise for dawn over Halong Bay before continuing through the myriad limestone islands and lagoons of the lesser-known, but equally, picturesque Bai Tu Long Bay. Midday return to Halong Port and an overland transfer south to the small town of Tam Coc in Ninh Binh Province.
Overnight: Tam Coc Transport: Minibus, Boat, Meals: B, L,
Day 5 - Trang An - boat trip through the grottoes
A leisurely cycle through the lush paddy fields and jagged limestone escarpments of this region, sometimes known as the ‘Halong of the Rice Fields’. Afternoon visit to the remarkable cave system at Trang An where we’ll travel by rowing boat through the delightful labyrinth of caves, tunnels and emerald lagoons. Evening drive to nearby Ninh Binh to board the night sleeper train south.*
Overnight: Night sleeper Train Transport: Minibus, Train, Boat, Bike, Meals: B, L, D,
Day 6 - Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park
Morning arrival in Dong Hoi and a drive into the hills for a day’s exploration of Phong Nha – Ke Bang, Vietnam’s largest, and now World Heritage-listed national park. We’ll discover the area’s spectacular limestone features and cave systems with an overnight stay in charming, family-run accommodation on a local farm.
Overnight: Pepper House Transport: Minibus, Boat, Walk, Meals: B, L, D,
Day 7 - Hue - across the former DMZ and on to the ancient capital
South by road through the infamous DMZ (former Demilitarized Zone) with a stop to visit the incredible Vietcong tunnels at Vinh Moc and Hien Luong Bridge on the 17th parallel – which marked the old pre-1975 border between South and North Vietnam. Afternoon arrival and time at leisure to stroll around fun and friendly Hue Town.
Overnight: Hue Transport: Minibus, Walk, Meals: B, L, D,
Day 8 - Hue - imperial tombs on the Perfume River
Check out some of the numerous sites of the UNESCO-listed historic city and former imperial capital, Hue. Morning trip by ‘dragon boat’ up the Perfume River to visit the magnificent Thien Mu Pagoda followed by the spectacular pagodas, tomb and hunting park of Emperor Tu Duc. The afternoon’s itinerary includes a stroll around Hue’s main market and the famous ancient citadel.
Overnight: Hue Transport: Minibus, Boat, Walk, Meals: B,
Day 9 - Hoi An - scenic drive south from Hue
Short, scenic drive over the spectacular Hai Van Pass to Danang and a visit to the picturesque cave temples of Marble Mountain. After lunch, we’ll continue to Hoi An for an afternoon walking tour of the old town and waterfront. Well-preserved and charming, UNESCO-listed Hoi An was one of Southeast Asia’s most important ports during the 16th to 19th-centuries.
Overnight: Hoi An Transport: Minibus, Walk, Meals: B, L,
Day 10 - My Son - The World Heritage ancient Cham capital
Early morning visit to the atmospheric ruined temples of ancient My Son, ceremonial centre of the Cham Empire. The site is thought to have been occupied from the 4th up to the 13th centuries. Return to Hoi An with an afternoon at leisure to explore the quaint old streets, visit the bustling 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 - Hoi An - transfer to Danang and departure
Morning at leisure in Hoi An before a transfer to Danang Airport with a stop at the fascinating and nearby Cham Museum. A choice of flights to either Hanoi or Saigon is included while Danang International Airport also serves numerous other regional destinations including Singapore, KL, Phnom Penh and Bangkok.
*Please note, private accommodation is not available on the sleeper train and therefore accommodation will be on a shared basis.
Extra accommodation in Hanoi or Saigon before or after your tour is available if required.
Airport transfers are included if you purchase the with flights package.
Overnight: Departure Transport: Minibus, Meals: B,
The nitty-gritty, the things you need to know, the answers to your burning questions.
Just a few of the many highlights
Halong Bay, Trang An landscapes, Hanoi, Hue, Hoi An, the ruins of My Son and Phong Nha, Ke Bang National Park. Our Vietnam itinerary includes no less than 7 fabulous World Heritage Sites in 11 days!
- An overnight cruise through the magical landscapes of Halong and Bai Tu Long Bays
- Discover the Old Quarter, colonial architecture, lakeside cafes, pagodas and museums of Vietnam's charming capital Hanoi
- Discover the dramatic limestone scenery and caves of Trang An at Ninh Binh - 'Halong in the Rice Fields'
- Visit the sumptuous ancient imperial tombs an pagodas by boat along Hue's Perfume River
- Visit My Son, the ancient ruined city and former capital of the Cham empire that once rivalled Angkor
- Sample the region's awesome and highly varied cuisine with the emphasis as usual on the authentic and local food
Air Departures (UK)
- 15 December 19 2,200 GBP
- 9 January 20 2,000 GBP
- 5 February 20 2,000 GBP
- 4 March 20 2,000 GBP
- 1 April 20 2,000 GBP
- 29 April 20 2,000 GBP
- 23 May 20 2,000 GBP
- 18 June 20 2,000 GBP
- 15 July 20 2,100 GBP
- 12 August 20 2,100 GBP
- 12 September 20 2,000 GBP
- 13 October 20 2,000 GBP
- 13 November 20 2,000 GBP
- 14 December 20 2,200 GBP
- 16 December 19 1,150 GBP
- 10 January 20 1,150 GBP
- 6 February 20 1,150 GBP
- 5 March 20 1,150 GBP
- 2 April 20 1,150 GBP
- 30 April 20 1,150 GBP
- 24 May 20 1,150 GBP
- 19 June 20 1,150 GBP
- 16 July 20 1,150 GBP
- 13 August 20 1,150 GBP
- 13 September 20 1,150 GBP
- 14 October 20 1,150 GBP
- 14 November 20 1,150 GBP
- 15 December 20 1,150 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
- Located right in the heart of Hanoi's picturesque old town
- Great staff, coffee shop, rooftop bar and cracking breakfast
- Handy for exploring or just relax in their street-side cafe
Victory Star Halong Bay view
- Overnight on a boat in UNESCO Halong Bay
- Excellently appointed and comfortable private cabins
- 1 day, 1 night cruise of this fabulous World Heritage Site
Pepper House, Phong Nha view
- Hald a dozen rooms set on a farm amid the emerald paddies
- Charming, friendly, family-run - you won't want to leave
- Well-appointed rooms, pool & cafe with homegrown produce
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
Gem Riverside, Hoi An view
- Well-appointed rooms with pool, restaurant, bar and gym
- Excellent location; quiet yet a short walk from the Old Town
- Free bicycles available to explore the area
Whale Island Resort, Nha Trang view
- Unwind by the South China Sea before your return home?
- The charming Whale Island Resort near Nha Trang
- Beachside chalets on a pristine island
*This list should be considered a guide only, hotels/rooms may change (without notice) depending on availability.
Visa Info & Notes
Visas: 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 $20-$25 total per person for the 11-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 lefthand 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 of ‘Hanoi to Saigon‘
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...
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 gain 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. "