Essential Vietnam (13 days)

13 days from just £1,960 pp
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flag Hanoi - Halong Bay - Hue - Hoi An - Saigon - Can Tho
What's included?
+ included - not included
  • International Flight
  • Accommodation
  • Water
  • Meals
  • Escorted Tour
  • Domestic Flights
  • Airport Taxes Charges
  • Visa
  • Insurance
  • Tipping

Discover Vietnam’s fascinating culture in one complete package. Fine weather, spectacular natural scenery and historical sites are just some of the memories you will keep with you from this tour.


Day 1 UK Departure

Depart London Heathrow for international economy flight to Hanoi. We can also arrange departures from your local airport at no extra cost.

Meals Included

  • Dinner
Day 2 Arrival in Hanoi

We’ll be greeted upon arrival and transferred to the hotel for check-in and tour briefing. We’ll take an orientation tour and a chance to acclimatise ourselves if time permits. A welcome dinner awaits us tonight.

Meals Included

  • Brunch
  • Lunch
Day 3 Hanoi

Today we’ll be touring the most outstanding attractions of Hanoi. First, we pay a visit to the complex of memorials to Ho Chi Minh to know the amazing life of the founder of modern Vietnam. Continue to the Temple of Literature to gain an understanding of one of the driving forces in Vietnam culture. Our next stop is the Museum of Ethnology which exhibits a large collection of artefacts about the 54 ethnic groups in the country. Enjoy a rickshaw ride through the lively Old Quarter, a series of 36 ancient streets where peddlers still trade the way they have done for centuries. The rickshaw tour ends up at an old house on Ma May Street, an example of dwellings in the 19 century. Enjoy a performance of the water puppetry, the famed traditional art form created by village farmers around the Red River Delta region – unique but widely known.

Meals Included

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Day 4 Hanoi / Halong Bay

Today we journey east to Halong Bay, the greatest natural wonder of Vietnam, through the Red River Delta, where we see daily Vietnamese village life. On arrival, we board a beautiful traditional junk and spend a full day and night cruising the bay’s 3000 magnificent limestone islets. In the evening when the boat is anchored in the middle of the stunning lagoon, we enjoy a wonderful seafood meal and later there is the opportunity for an evening swim from the side of the boat. Spend the night on our luxurious boat.

NOTE: Kayaks are available if specified at time of booking.

Meals Included

  • Brunch
Day 5 Halong / Hanoi to Hue

Wake up to fresh coffee then further cruising and sightseeing. En route the junk weaves through more rock formations that invite comparisons from fighting cocks to dragons and even further! Disembark after lunch and return to Hanoi for a late afternoon/early evening flight to Hue in Middle Vietnam. Meet up with our local guide at Hue airport and drive to the hotel.

Meals Included

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Day 6 Hue

After breakfast we set out on a full day tour to look into the beauties of Vietnam’s former capital city. We first take a tour of the Imperial Citadel, workplace and home of the Nguyen Emperors, a complex of palaces and temples built in the early 19th century and a recognised UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. Next site is the beautiful Thien Mu pagoda on the bank of the Perfume River. After lunch, we visit a typical garden house of Hue city, which was built according to precise rules of geomancy. Experience the serene and pleasant feelings it might bring. Continue to the grand mausoleum of Emperor Tu Duc on a serene hill, which nicely reflects Vietnamese thinking about life after death. It is also an opportunity to learn about the history of Nguyen dynasty and the French colonial invasion. Later, we visit the nearby villages crafting incenses and conical hats. A wonderful photograph opportunity!

Meals Included

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Day 7 Hue to Hoian

This morning we journey in the direction of Phuoc Tich – a 500 years old village which is known for its dozens of wooden houses beautifully decorated with flowers, bonsai gardens and lush orchards. Surviving the savages of time, these old houses of the village are almost intact until this moment. Enjoy lunch of rural fares then depart Phuoc Tich for Hoian. We will be passing through the quiet, white sandy beach of Lang Co, climbing over the scenic Hai Van Pass to enjoy one of the most beautiful panoramas in Vietnam as we look out over the central coastline. Upon arrival in Danang, make a short stop to visit Cham Museum and its well-preserved collection of statues.

Meals Included

  • Breakfast
Day 8 Hoian

This morning we’ll be on foot exploring the ancient quarter of Hoian, recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage site because of its historic role in international trade, unusually well-preserved ancient streets and homes. Sites include the Japanese Bridge, a Sino-Vietnamese merchant house, a Chinese Temple, the Central Market, and the Culture Museum. There’ll be time for independent exploration and shopping opportunities.

Meals Included

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Day 9 Hoian to Saigon

Today we fly to Saigon in the morning and enjoy a tasty lunch of “Pho” noodle soup in restaurant “Pho 24”. Afternoon, we’ll be visiting the best known sites in the very centre of Saigon, taking in the Reunification Palace, the War Museum, the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Post Office, the Opera House, Ben Thanh Market, etc.

Meals Included

  • Breakfast
Day 10 Saigon / Cu Chi Tunnels

This morning we travel to Cu Chi to explore the legendary network of underground combat tunnels. This incredible system, covering almost 250  km in length, served as communication routes, storage facilities, hospitals and living quarters for Vietnamese fighters throughout the wartime. Known as the “Iron Triangle” during the war of the 60’s, the story of Cu Chi is one of struggle, determination against all odds, and eventual victory. Now the tunnels are a major site of interest for tourists and historians, and those interested in Vietnam’s military history. After the tunnels we return to town and enjoy the balance of the day at own leisure.

Meals Included

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Day 11 Saigon / Mekong Delta

We leave Saigon behind and journey into the Mekong Delta, a world that lives and works on the waters. After an 80 km drive, we arrive in My Tho town and take a boat to an insular village to visit family workshops producing handicrafts and candy from coconut. Tasting seasonal tropical fruits in an exuberant orchard, we ride a horse cart to a typical Delta house and enjoy folk music by amateurs. Ride a local sampan through the small canals and side arms of the river to further experience river life. For lunch we’ll sample regional specialities such as Elephant Ear Fish, Rice Ball, etc. After a pleasant break we travel to Can Tho, the largest city in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam, for the night.

Meals Included

  • Breakfast
Day 12 Mekong Delta / Saigon

This morning we take a boat to visit the extraordinary market of Cai Rang. Being the largest market on the complex of waterways that comprise the Mekong Delta, Cai Rang receives hundreds of boats packed with local produces gather every morning. Boats come from all sides, offering fruits, vegetables, plants, foods, etc. Sellers advertise their wares by hanging samples high atop bamboo poles so that their customers can find from afar. The boat tour ends up at an orchard where we’ll see and taste tropical fruits. We then drive back to Saigon for the night. A visit to the Chinese quarter of Saigon, noted for the ornate Thien Hau temple and the bustling Binh Tay Market, can be arranged upon request.

Meals Included

  • Breakfast
Day 13 Saigon departure

Free before transfer to the airport for your departure flight.

Meals Included

  • Breakfast
Deluxe (5*)

Hanoi – 5* Sheraton Hotel (for information click here)

Halong Bay – 5* Victory Star (for information click here)

Hoi An – 5* Palm Garden Resort (for information click here)

Hue – 5* Imperial Hotel (for information click here)

Saigon – 5* Fusion Suite (for more information click here)

First Class (4*)

Hanoi – 4* The Ann Hotel (for information click here)

Halong Bay – 4* Syrena Cruise (for information click here)

Hoi An – 4* Hoian Trails Resort (for information click here)

Hue – 4* Eldora Hotel (for information click here)

Saigon – 4* Grand Silverland Hotel (for more information click here)

Tour Price includes:

  • International economy flights;
  • Vietnam visa (whilst current offer valid);
  • Hotel accommodation as shown (based on twin occupancy);
  • Meals as described (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner);
  • Meeting and assistance on arrivals and departures;
  • Sightseeing excursions with English speaking guides;
  • All transfers and road transportation in air-conditioned vehicles;
  • Entrance fees for visits mentioned in program;
  • Train/Boat journeys where mentioned in program;
  • Domestic flights where mentioned in program;
  • Daily supply of bottled water;
  • All currently applicable taxes.

Tour Price excludes:

  • Drinks during meals;
  • Personal expenses such as laundry, souvenirs etc;
  • Travel insurance (can be arranged, please ask for details);
  • Tips to guides and drivers;
  • Optional tours;
  • Early check-in or late check-out;
  • Flight and accommodation upgrades.


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N.B. There is an additional surcharge for single supplement applied for travellers occupying a room on their own. Please select below if this applies.

We used Emperor for a group trip to India. they were fantastic with their choice of hotels (some truly incredible) their tour guide, the whole programme and their choice of airlines for the trip. We made things quite tough for them with different members of the group travelling for different periods and arriving in and out of different airports. We specifically had some issues with one of the airlines on the return leg of our trip, through no fault of Emperor, but they did their utmost to put things right and made the journey home as pleasant as possible by meeting the cost of a lounge at the airport for us do to the shortcomings of one of the airlines checking in procedures. The pre holiday package of information was very comprehensive and we were presented with very durable luggage tags. We would have no hesitation in recommending Richard and his team in tailoring a package for a trip to India. We had an amazing culturally stimulating trip and will certainly go back to India in the future.

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