20 Days Vietnam Panorama Tour from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi

Day 1: Arrive Saigon – Transfer To Hotel (N/A)

Up on your arrival in Saigon, you will be met at Saigon airport in the arrivals hall by our guide Then, you will transfer (45 minutes) to your hotel and leisure time on your own to relax and recover from jet-lag. Overnight in Saigon.

Day 2: Saigon City Tour (B)


Sightseeing in downtown Saigon involves approx. 4hrs on foot over the whole day. Visit the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Central Post Office and the War Remnants Museum. Easy sightseeing and shopping time at Ben Thanh Market; watch your valuables in this area.

Note: There are graphic pictures in the War Remnants Museum that some people might find upsetting.

Day 3: Saigon To Mekong Delta – Homestay (B/L/D)

Mekong River-05

Remember to take insect repellent and sun protection for your overnight stay in the Mekong, as it is hot and humid here throughout the year. Drive 3-4hrs (150km) to Vinh Long, where we will meet our local Mekong Guide (it is a Government regulation that every foreign group be accompanied by a Mekong Guide). You will travel by a motorised, wooden boat between the islands and perhaps smaller, paddle boats in the canals. Sightseeing involves hopping on and off the boats, often on unsteady and slippery surfaces, sometimes without handrails or assistance, and up to 2 hours on foot to see sites on different islands. The cruise will finish at a local house where you will be staying tonight. You  may  have  the  opportunity  to  assist  the  family  in preparing tonight’s dinner.

Note:  The home stay includes dormitory style accommodation, with each passenger provided with a fold- up/camp bed, linen and mosquito net. Basic shower and western style toilet are available outside the house. The itinerary of this section is subject to change based on the location of the actual house used for the overnight accommodation.

Day 4: Mekong Delta To Saigon (B)

Continue sightseeing around the canals and then return to Vinh Long and drive back to Saigon by car. Overnight in Saigon.

Day 5: Saigon – Cu Chi Tunnels & Cao Dai Temple (B)

Cu Chi Tunnels-02

Remember to take insect repellent today as mosquitoes are more common in the Cu Chi district. Transfer 2 hours (70km) to Cu Chi. Sightseeing here involves 2 hours on foot on uneven mud  paths  through  the  bush  and,  if  you  choose,  crawling through some of the tunnels.
Transfer 1.5 hours to Tay Ninh to the ‘Holy See’ and watch some of the Cao Dai service. Then drive 10 minutes to a local restaurant for lunch; the meal is simple but this is the only suitable restaurant in the area. Transfer 3 hours (100km) back to Saigon. Overnight in Saigon.
Meal: Breakfast and Lunch.

Note: At the Cu Chi Tunnels you will be given the opportunity to shoot a range of guns at your own expense (example AK47, M16). If you decide to do this, please be aware that the level of noise is extremely high  and  although  ear  muffs  are  available,  they  may  not provide the level of protection required. It is recommended you bring ear plugs from home if you would like to participate.

Day 6: Saigon To Nha Trang (B)

Nha Trang-04

Transfer to the airport for your flight to Nha Trang (flight duration 1hr 10mins). Drive 25 minutes from the airport to a local restaurant for a late lunch. After lunch, transfer to your hotel for check-in. The rest of the afternoon is free at your leisure. Overnight in Nha Trang.

Day 7: Nha Trang Island Excursion (B/L)

Cruise through the islands off Nha Trang. Boarding your boat may involve navigating your  way  over  and  through other boats, moored between it and the dock, sometimes without handrails, ladders or assistance from staff. These cruise boats’ are old fishing boats which have had benches and seats fitted for tourist groups. They are quite basic but have ample room for the group to sit and relax while cruising. The deck has a roof providing shade. We will return to the hotel in the mid afternoon. Overnight in Nha Trang.

Day 8: Nha Trang To Hoi An (B)

Hoian Ancient Town-02

Transfer to the airport for your flight to Danang (flight duration 1hr 15mins); the closest airport to Hoi An.  There is easy sightseeing at  East  Beach,  formerly  known  as  China Beach. At Marble Mountains there are some uneven stone steps and it can get hot. If you are unable to complete this activity, you  will  have  to  remain  with  the  driver/coach. Watch your step inside dark and damp caves. Drive 30 minutes to our hotel in Hoi An and check-in. Overnight in Hoi An.

Day 9: Hoi An (B)

Spend at least 2 hours on foot around Hoi An Old Town. The afternoon is free at your leisure. Overnight in Hoi An.

Day 10: Hoi An – My Son Sanctuary – Hoi An (B)

Hoian Ancient Town-04

Remember to take insect repellent and sun protection this morning, as it can get hot and humid in My Son Valley. Drive approx. 1hr to the entrance of My Son Sanctuary. From here you will drive a further 10 minutes to the Cham Ruins. Sightseeing here involves 2 hours on foot on uneven mud paths through the bush. Return to Hoi An this afternoon. Overnight in Hoi An.

Day 11: Hoi An To Hue (B)


Drive for approx. 4hrs (140km) over the Hai Van (Cloudy) Pass to Hue. This is a winding and steep but scenic road along the coast. Take a cyclo to the Imperial Citadel. Each  cyclo  takes 1  passenger and  is  operated by  a  cycle driver behind the carriage. There is 2hrs of easy sightseeing at the Citadel, which is mainly in the open so remember your hat/sunscreen etc. Cruise along the Perfume River to Thien Mu Pagoda. Spend 45mins on foot at the Thien Mu Pagoda where there are steep and uneven steps without handrails. Overnight in Hue.

Day 12: Hue To Hanoi (B)


Sightseeing around the Royal Tomb of Minh Mang this morning involves approx. 1hr on foot. Spend 45 minutes on foot at the Thien Mu Pagoda; there are no handrails at this destination. Transfer to Hue airport for your flight to Hanoi (flight duration 1hr). Transfer (1hr drive) to the hotel and check-in. Overnight in Hanoi.

Day 13: Hanoi City Tour (B)


Both men and women must dress respectfully for the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, with covered shoulders and knees. When visiting the Mausoleum you must be quiet and show respect. Cameras and mobile phones are  not  allowed. The Mausoleum is closed for entry every Monday and also from September to December. If you  are  travelling during this time you will view the Mausoleum from the outside. End the day with a performance of the famous Water Puppets. Overnight in Hanoi.

Day 14: Hanoi – Duong Lam Village (B/L)


After breakfast, drive approx. 1 hour to Duong Lam Village. Wander around the village which involves 1 hour on foot, including Mong Phu Temple and lunch in an ancient village house. Afterwards visit Mia Pagoda, Ngo Quyen Temple and Phung Hung Temple before driving back to Hanoi. Overnight in Hanoi.
Meals: Breakfast.

Notes: Your Local Guide will confirm the menu for tomorrow’s seafood lunch on board the junk boat tonight, so please mention any food allergies or dislikes to them again before the end of today.

Day 15: Hanoi To Halong Bay – Overnight On Boat (B/L/D)

Halong Bay-02

Drive 3.5 hours (170km) to Halong City and port, including a 20 minute rest stop. There is usually a crowd of boats at the docks; however the cruise itself will be scenic and relaxing. Boarding your junk boat could involve navigating your way over and through other boats, moored between it and the dock, sometimes without  handrails, ladders  or  assistance from staff. The junk boats have been modelled on the traditional ‘junk’ which was both home and working vessel for fishermen for centuries.  They usually hold about  20 dining passengers (or 18 maximum overnight), have an enclosed dining area and an open deck on the upper deck. We have lunch on board and cruise around the bay before anchoring for the night. Sightseeing includes visiting underground caves on the islands which require climbing up and down steps inside and outside of the caves. A torch is optional as the caves have been lit in colourful lighting. Overnight on boat in Halong Bay.

Day 16: Halong Bay To Hanoi & Overnight Train To Sapa (B/L)

Halong Bay-01

After breakfast, continue cruising the bay before an early lunch. Return to the docks before midday and drive back to Hanoi, from where you will transfer to the station to board your overnight train to Lao Cai station. This journey usually takes 8 hours (over 340km). Wear comfortable clothes on board to sleep on the train and take snacks as none are readily available. The trip can be quite bumpy.

Note: You may find yourself carrying your luggage over numerous train tracks to reach your platform and carriage because of the layout of Hanoi station.

Day 17: Arrive Sapa & Visit Hill Tribe Villages (B/L)

Lao Cai (Sapa)-05

Arrive into Lao Cai station about 05:30am and drive 1 hour (34km) on a winding, mountainous road up to Sapa and check into your hotel or to store your luggage if you room is not available.

Note: Check-out time in Vietnam is midday so your rooms may not be ready when you arrive. This morning you will commence sightseeing and check-in at the hotel later.

Over the next two days you will have the opportunity to visit some of the small villages around Sapa to see different ethnic hill tribes. Your Local Guide/National Escort will adjust your itinerary and length of the hikes according to your group’s fitness, interest and physical abilities. The sightseeing involves hiking in occasionally muddy, slippery and steep terrain and driving over rough, unsealed and winding roads.
After breakfast you will drive 45 minutes to Hang Da. If your visit is between May and October, it will coincide with the local planting and harvest time, a chance to see the local farmers in action. You will walk for approximately an hour on uneven terrain, up and down terrace fields to Hau Thao village, a Black H’mong village. Continue the trek for another hour and 30 minutes, hiking down the Ham Rong Mountainside, stopping for lunch en route. Hike towards Sa Seng village. You will then be transferred back to Sapa. Overnight in Sapa.

Day 18: Sapa (B)

Take a light hike to Cat Cat village and the surrounding areas including the hydraulic power station. You will spend approximately 2 hours on foot, which includes climbing steps without handrails which may become slippery after rain. Overnight in Sapa.

Day 19: Sapa To Hanoi (B/L)

Lao Cai (Sapa)-01

Sightseeing involves a light hike over 4 hours to some of Sapa’s hill tribe villages. You will drive for 20 minutes to Suoi Ho village. From there you will follow the buffalo trails to visit Black H’mong people in Ma Tra village. Hike for another hour to Ta Phin village to visit the Red Dao People. Later you will be transferred (1 hour) to Lao Cai railway station where you will have dinner nearby, before boarding an overnight soft sleeper train back to Hanoi.

Day 20: Hanoi – Departure (B)


Arrive at Hanoi station early this morning around 5am and transfer to a dayuse hotel to have breakfast and freshen up. Any time before your flight is free at your leisure. You will be transferred from the hotel to the airport, according to the departure time of your international flight. End of the 20 Day Vietnam Tour.