Explore Vietnam’s cities, history, and art scene on this luxury Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh tour, which includes a sea cruise through Lan Ha Bay on a deluxe Indochine junk, and a fabulous French Colonial riverboat cruise through the Mekong Delta and across the Cambodian border to Phnom Penh.
Tour Vietnam’s charming capital of Hanoi and visit the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, where beneath the ancient gates lies a secret underground bunker used by North Vietnamese generals during the American War. Continue to the Temple of Literature, and glimpse local life in the backstreets of the French Quarter. Later, explore the Hanoi art scene and galleries in the company of an art curator, visit the Fine Arts Museum and meet a traditional Hang Trong woodcut artist. Watch the Quintessence of Tonkin, a live stage show that will introduce you to Vietnamese customs and culture. Wander through narrow, zigzagging terracotta alleyways past the century-old houses of Tho Ha village in the Red River Delta and observe traditional country life and craft making.
Lan Ha Bay cruise
Kick back on a two-day-cruise of the quiet Lan Ha Bay area of the Halong Bay archipelago aboard a sumptuous Indochine-Vietnamese junk boat. Relax, or participate in activities on board, visit Cat Ba Island and meet the villagers. Enjoy a refreshing swim or try paddle-boarding off a secluded beach on Frog Lake.
Saigon and the Cu Chi Tunnels
After completing your Hanoi and Halong Bay tour, embark on an excursion through Saigon in the company of a knowledgeable guide, check out all the major sights including Notre Dame Cathedral, the General Post Office, the War Remnants Museum, and the Reunification Palace, which served as the home and office of South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu during the Vietnam War. Conclude your day at an art exhibition, where you will meet and dine with the curator and artist. The next day, you’ll hear more stories of the American-Vietnam war as you discover the maze-like Cu Chi Tunnels in the company of a Viet Cong veteran who once lived there. Step back in time as you peek into the old storage areas, poke your head through camouflaged trapdoors, and crawl through military supply tunnels. In the evening, dine on home-cooked food with a local family.
Mekong Delta & cruise to Cambodia
The Mekong Delta is a sprawling region of intensively cultivated land, where the lives of the locals are dependent on the Mekong River and its myriad of tributaries and canals. In a specially arranged ceremony, you can donate a sampan to a family in need before boarding a luxurious French Colonial riverboat and discovering the charms of the Mekong River with its remote villages, historic cities, and ancient temples. See the sights at the old town of Sa Dec, visit the Chau Doc floating market and the Long Son Pagoda. Meet Buddhist monks and local villagers, go on a bike ride or ride in a rickshaw. Cross the border into Cambodia, where you will observe Khymer artisans dyeing and weaving textiles, visit a traditional village and enjoy a tuk-tuk tour of Phnom Penh.
Please note all of the featured excursions, activities, and accommodations can be tailored to suit your taste, budget, and time availability in accordance with your personal wishes. All are private tours and transport with a private guide, with the exception of the two cruise portions, which are on a shared basis with other passengers.
Itinerary & Prices
- Vietnam Mekong
- Halong Bay
- Breathtaking Natural Scenery
- Colonial Era History
- Cultural Performances
- Experience Village Life
- High-End City Experiences
- History of Vietnam War
- Practice Tai Chi
- Ride Traditional Ox Carts
- Sustainability Practices
- UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- Unique Photo Opportunities
This customizable tour can start on any date, subject to availability.
Welcome to Hanoi!
Welcome to Hanoi – the capital of Vietnam, often referred to as the ‘Paris of the East’, with its yellow ochre colonial buildings, tree-lined boulevards, and scenic lakes. As soon as you deplane, the designated Immigration Officer and a guide will meet you at the end of the jet bridge or the entrance of the terminal. The officer will assist you with immigration procedures to make sure that the process is as quick as possible. From the airport, you will be driven to your hotel in the city center. Enjoy the ride through the busy streets. After check-in, take the rest of the day to rest and prepare for your exciting adventure in Vietnam.
Hanoi Highlights and Thang Long Citadel
After a leisurely morning you will be picked up from your hotel in the early afternoon.
Explore the charming city of Hanoi, often referred to as the ‘Paris of the East, with its yellow ochre colonial buildings, tree-lined boulevards, and scenic lakes. Start your city tour at the Thang Long Citadel. Built in the 11th century by the Ly Viet Dynasty to mark the independence of the Dai Viet and named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010, the Citadel was a political centre of the country for 13 consecutive centuries and served as the capital of Vietnam for eight centuries. Visit the secret underground war bunker which played an important role in the American War, especially during the 12 days and nights of the Ha Noi – Dien Bien Phu air battle of 1972.
Continue to the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first national university built in the late 11th century. The picturesque temple is an example of well-preserved traditional Vietnamese architecture and is featured on the back of the 100,000 Vietnamese Dong banknote. Drive back to central Hanoi for a walking tour through the famed Old Quarter known for its ‘36 streets of 36 wares’ named after the original 36 artisan guilds that date as far back as the 13th century.
Tho Ha Village in the Red River Delta
Travel to the photogenic Red River Delta village of Tho Ha via a 45min drive from Hanoi and a short ferry across the Cau River.
Despite the increasing industrialization of the area, the village of Tho Ha has remained mostly unaffected by modern development. Walkthrough the village’s narrow terracotta-tiled alleyways, a reminder of its history as one of Vietnam’s three oldest ceramic centers. Notice the many bamboo racks filled with drying rice paper, speaking to the current occupation of many of its inhabitants after the pottery industry faded. Visit here presents an authentic portrait of a typical Vietnamese village with some of the homes dating back more than a century.
Visit the 17th century Tho Ha Pagoda with its triple gate, belfry, and forecourt carved with dragons, clouds, and flowers. Enjoy a conversation with one of the residents to gain insights into life in the village before returning to Hanoi
Art in Hanoi and an Evening Show
This morning, we will take you on a unique tour of the modern and traditional arts of North Vietnam. Known as the cultural center of Vietnam, Hanoi is home to more than 250 art galleries. Led by an art curator, your introduction to Hanoi’s art scene begins at the Fine Arts Museum, housed in two colonial-era buildings.
Learn about the Hang Trong Art paintings – a traditional genre of Vietnamese woodcut painting, seen in the temples and shrines. It originated from the area of Hàng Trống and Hàng Nón streets in the Old Quarter, where we will drive to meet one of the very few remaining artists proficient in this type of art. With the passion and love for art painting, at the age of 66 years old, he still devotes his energy to preserve the traditional craft.
Conclude your art experience at Manzi café Art Space. Tucked in a colonial villa inside the Heart of Old Quarter, Manzi is an art place of contemporary Hanoian artists, hosting diverse exhibitions of painting, sculpture, and photography.
Return to your hotel at lunchtime and meet your guide again in the evening for a traditional dinner and a spectacular show.
The venue of The Quintessence of Tonkin is in Sai Son Village, Quoc Oai District, 20km outside of Hanoi. It is performed by nearly 200 farmers from the village. Set in the open-air large amphitheater, the show draws inspiration from the spiritual history of the nearby Thay Pagoda by telling the story of the pagoda’s founding by venerable monk Tu Dao Hanh and explains the ancient union between religion and the monarchy. The show blends different aspects of the cultural Quintessence of Tonkin: Poetry, Buddhism, Nostalgia, Music & Painting, Joy & Festivities. The 1000 years old art of water puppetry will bring you vivid images of daily rural life in Vietnam.
Right before the show, you will have a chance to try some local dishes from the outdoor food village right at the venue.
Meals (B, D)
Cruises & Lodges
This sumptuous Indochine-Vietnamese junk offers relaxing culinary-themed journeys to Lan Ha Bay.
A river expedition vessel with modern state-of-the-art design and the highest levels of luxury.