Essence of Vietnam

Saigon, Mekong, Dalat, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Hue, Hanoi, Halong Bay

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This is our most popular overland tour of Vietnam, with an extended stay around Ho Cho Minh City in the country’s south, allowing us time to visit Can Tho in the Mekong Delta, as well as sites around Saigon such as the infamous Cu Chi Tunnels and the head temple of the unique Cao Dai religion.

Itinerary Summary

By Day Destinations Activities Meals
Day 1 Saigon
Day 2 Saigon Breakfast
Day 3 Mekong Delta Breakfast
Day 4 Cu Chi Tunnel - Da Lat Breakfast
Day 5 Dalat Breakfast
Day 6 Dalat Breakfast
Day 7 Nha Trang Breakfast
Day 8 Nha Trang Breakfast
Day 9 Nha Trang - Fly to Da Nang Breakfast
Day 10 Hoi An - My Son Breakfast
Day 11 Hoi An - Cycling to Tra Que Breakfast, Light Lunch
Day 12 Hoi An - Transfer to Hue - Sightseeing Breakfast, Lunch
Day 13 Hue - Fly to Hanoi Breakfast
Day 14 Hanoi - Halong Bay - Overnight on Cruise Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 15 Halong Bay - Hanoi Breakfast, Lunch
Day 16 Hanoi Sightseeing Breakfast, Lunch
Day 17 Hanoi Breakfast

Full itinerary

Day 1


Arrival at Saigon international airport. Upon arrival we will be met by our tour manager and transferred to our hotel for an overnight stay.


Day 2


Begin sightseeing today by visiting the former Presidential Palace, War Remnants Museum, the imposing Notre Dame Cathedral built between 1886-1890, and the French style central Post Of ce. We also visit Cholon, the Chinatown of Saigon, where we drive past the huge Binh Tay wholesale market and visit the beautiful Thien Hau Pagoda dedicated to the goddess of the sea. After stopping at Ben Thanh Markets for some shopping the remainder of the day is at leisure.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 3

Mekong Delta

After breakfast explore the Mekong Delta, known as the ‘Rice Basket’ of Vietnam. Take various boat trips amongst the smaller tributaries to visit local floating markets, villages, home industries and plantations.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 4

Cu Chi tunnels - Fly to Da Lat

Today we have an in depth look at the determination and ingenuity of the Vietnamese when we explore the famous Cu Chi Tunnels. After the tour, return Ho Chi Minh for flight to Da Lat. Upon arrival, check in to hotel. 

Meals: Breakfast

Day 5


This morning depart for the cooler climate of the Central Highlands and drive to Dalat, a beautiful hill station established by the French in the late 1890’s. Dalat is often referred to as the City of Eternal Spring, with its lush green forests and waterfalls.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 6


Dalat is the honeymoon capital of Vietnam with thousands of couples travelling to the city each year. This is not surprising as the entire area has a romantic avour, especially the graceful architecture of the older buildings. Today visit Lat Village, where numerous ethnic groups live in thatch roofed houses and earn their living from growing crops and producing charcoal. From here journey to the Lake of Sighs, where legend tells of a distraught girl who threw herself into the lake when she thought she had lost her love.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 7

Nha Trang

We travel by coach to Nha Trang, the capital of Khanh Hoa Province. Upon arrival check in to your hotel, rest of the day at your own leisure to relax at the sandy beach.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 8

Nha Trang

Free at leisure on beach. Overnight Nha Trang

Meals: Breakfast

Day 9

Nha Trang - Fly to Da Nang

Morning flight to Da Nang. Upon arrival, check in hotel in Hoi An 

Meals: Breakfast

Day 10

Hoi An - My Son

Departs for My Son, My Son 70 km southwest of Da Nang, was the capital of the once almighty Champa Kingdom. It boasts a complex of ancient ruins that date back 1,700 years. This is the most complete example of ancient Champa ruins that Vietnam has maintained. Transfer back to Hoi An and free visiting a lovely old house, still occupied by the descendants of the merchants who built it over 200 years ago, before seeing the elaborate Japanese Bridge, a Chinese temple, the bustling market. Overnight in Hoi An.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 11

Hoi An - Cycling to Tra Que

9.00 Cycling into the countryside to the small farming community of Tra Que Vegetable Village. Here you can enjoy the lush green countryside and see the farmers at work, later learn to make Vietnamese spring roll and free on foot massage by herbs. Enjoy a free afternoon back in Hoi An, it is time for you to explore art and handicraft galleries, try on clothes tailor-made, relax at the riverside restaurants or take the short journey to the nearby beach. Overnight in Hoi An

Meals: Breakfast, Light Lunch

Day 12

Hoi An - Transfer to Hue - Sightseeing

Leaving Hoi An visit Marble Mountains and China Beach before continuing over the Hai Van Pass to Hue. Hue was Vietnam’s ‘Imperial Capital’, the former home to the Nguyen Dynasty that ruled over the country from 1802 until the last emperor abdicated in 1945. A visit to Hue wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Imperial Citadel which was modelled on the Forbidden City in Beijing. The Citadel was the centre piece of the royal empire, a massive moated palace that was extensively damaged during the Vietnam War. This afternoon take a cyclo ride to the Imperial Citadel, continue by coach to Thien Mu pagoda and enjoy a relaxing boat trip on the Perfume River. This evening partake in a cooking class focusing on select local dishes and cuisine originally designed for the Royal Courts of Hue.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 13

Hue - Fly to Hanoi

After breakfast, boarding our Vietnam Airlines flight to Hanoi. Arrive and check in and have free time on your own.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 14

Hanoi - Halong Bay - Overnight on Cruise

Today travel to the area that is regarded as the ‘Jewel in the Crown’ of Vietnam – Halong Bay. Cruise through spectacular scenery whilst enjoying our seafood meal onboard. We spend the night on board the cruise, various programs such as kayaking, visit different caves and swimming in the Bay will be arranged by the cruise company. The next day and after the cruise travel back to Hanoi through the striking rural countryside of the Red River Delta.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15

Halong Bay - Hanoi

Rise early for a lesson in Tai Chi or just to enjoy a hearty breakfast. The boat will make its way back to the port stopping at the Cave of Surprises, full of stalagmites and stalactites. From here, it’s clear sailing back to the main harbour and the return drive to Hanoi. Overnight in Hanoi

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 16

Hanoi Sightseeing

Hanoi is a charming and richly historic city of lakes, shaded boulevards and public parks. It is the capital of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and some have called it the ‘Paris of the Orient’. Its centre is an architectural museum piece, with its blocks of ochre buildings retaining the air of a provincial French town of the 1930s. Our city tour today includes visits to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (closed Sep-Dec), Stilt House and Museum, One Pillar Pagoda, Temple of Literature, drive around Hoan Kiem Lake and enjoy a walking tour of the Old Quarter and its markets.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 17

Hanoi departure

End of the trip, transfer to the airport for departure flight.

Meals: Breakfast

Trip Notes


  • Accommodation with daily breakfast
  • English speaking guide [Other languages are available as well]
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary
  • All transfers / Transportation
  • Daily bottle water on coach
  • Kayaking 
  • Cycling 
  • Boat Trip 


  • Visa
  • International or Domestic flights
  • Tips or anything not mentioned in the itinerary


Destinations 3 star 4 star 5 star

La Beaute De Hotel

Tirant Hotel

Sofitel Metropole Hanoi

Halong Bay

Swan Cruise

Huong Hai Sealife Cruise

Dragon Legend Cruise

Hoi An

Calla Villa

Vinh Hung Riverside Resort

Palm Garden Resort


Serene Palace Hotel

Eldora Hotel

La Residence Hue

Nha Trang

Gosia Hotel

Dendro Gold Hotel

Intercontinental Nha Trang

Ho Chi Minh

GK Central Hotel

Grand Silverland Hotel

Rex Hotel

Da Lat

Iris Hotel Dalat

TTC Hotel Premum Da Lat

Ana Mandara Villas Dalat


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