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Iconic Vietnam: Rice Terraces & Old Hanoi Charm

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Experience Vietnam with your family or friends via this beautifully orchestrated, best of the best itinerary.

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Vietnam: Drink It In

Steeped in a history of powerful dynasties, diverse religious traditions, and political transformations, Vietnam's transformation is dizzying. But amidst these rapid changes, there is an undercurrent of positivity. It's a thrill to immerse yourself in the ebb-and-flow of daily Vietnamese life. The chaos of honking horns, active noodle stands, modern high-rises and bustling city-centers contrast with tranquil rice fields, French-colonial remnants and peaceful countryside. The nation is racing into modernity, but ancient traditions endure. Arts are once again flourishing and the cuisine is so good, it's worth a trip just to try the banh khoai!
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Travel Curator’s Insights:

    • Overnight on a stunning junk in Halong Bay, explore breathtaking mountain towns via foot, bike or vehicle, then take a leisurely boat trip back to Hoi An, stopping on the way at historical sites.
    • Foodies will swoon over and over again at markets, cooking classes, food stalls, some of the country's best restaurants and on a food tour from the back of a vintage Vespa scooter.
    • This world class operator specializing in Asia has powerful insider access to experiences you'll remember for the rest of your life.


From $6,545 USD per person
Policies and protocols provided before you book.

Departures Year-Round
Custom Dates to Fit Your Schedule

Departures Year-Round
Custom Dates to Fit Your Schedule


Trip Sustainability Awards 



Has an Emergency Relief Fund to provide aid to local natural disasters



Provides profound support for the rehabilitation and humane treatment of Asian Elephants



Donates and implements water filtration systems in local communities across Asia.


Day 1: Hanoi

Begin your exploration of Hanoi, a serene city of lakes, shaded boulevards, verdant parks and grand French architecture. Explore the Old Quarter neighborhood around your hotel aboard bicycle trishaws exploring each colorful street devoted to a particular craft or ware. Your cyclo tour of the Old Quarter will end at historic Hoan Kiem Lake, the social center of Hanoi. Here, you'll attend a water puppet performance enacting ancient folklore and legends. This day includes breakfast.

Premium Accommodation: Hotel de L'Opera Hanoi 

Deluxe Accommodation: Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel

Hotel de L'Opera Hanoi: Located in the bustling centre of Hanoi, the Hotel de l'Opera Hanoi is in a prime location for you to soak up all of the culture the city has to offer. Inspired by 19th Century France, this stylish hotel features an indoor pool and fitness facilities. Elegant rooms are fitted with European-style designer furnishings and feature walls with artwork.

Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel: "Located in the heart of the old city, the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi is an iconic award-winning luxury hotel. Blending a heritage colonial style with neo-classical luxury and a dash of modernity, you'll find an elegance during your stay you're unlikely to experience anywhere else. Located mere steps from the Opera House in Hanoi's culturally rich French Quarter, this hotel is in one of Hanoi's prime locations for leisure and business trips.

Day 2: Hanoi

Today explore some of Hanoi's most interesting sites. Visit the mausoleum that displays Ho Chi Minh's embalmed body, then tour the modest wooden house on stilts where Ho Chi Minh lived during the last years of his life. Other sights this morning include the One Pillar Pagoda and the Temple of Literature (the site of Vietnam's first university and shrine for Confucian worship founded in AD 1066).

This afternoon visit Hoa Lo Prison Museum, otherwise known as "the Hanoi Hilton." Built by the French to house Vietnamese revolutionaries, it was later used to hold American POWs during the Vietnam War. Nearby is Craft Link, a not-for-profit organization specializing in the production of quality handicrafts from Vietnam's many ethnic groups. This day includes breakfast.

Premium Accommodation: Hotel de L'Opera Hanoi 

Deluxe Accommodation: Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel

Day 3: Hanoi / Halong Bay

This morning, you will be driven to Ha Long Bay for your two-day/one-night overnight cruise aboard your refurbished wooden sailing junk. Cruise through the limestone cliffs and emerald waters of Ha Long Bay, taking in the stunning scenery, a medley of limestone pillars, tiny islets topped by forest rising from the emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. As a World Heritage site since 1994, Ha Long Bay's spectacular scenery is a visualization of ethereal beauty. Spend the day exploring the bay, making stops for swimming and kayaking through the idyllic Karst Mountains. Enjoy a sumptuous meal followed by a good night's sleep among the hypnotic waters of Ha Long Bay, where once upon a time, dragons played with sparkling jewels. This day includes all meals.

Premium Accommodation: Dragon Legend (Junior Suite Cabin) 

Deluxe Accommodation: Violet Junk (Junior Suite Cabin)

Dragon Legend: From the moment you first step onboard the Dragon Legend to check into your cabin, experience outdoor activities, or relax on the sundeck, you are served by attentive staff treating you as close friends visiting home. We are always there with a smile and helping hand.

Violet Junk: Violet is a coquettish French-Indochinese designed luxury vessel. Gleaming wooden floorings, opulent silks and velvets, selected artifacts and ornaments are distinct characteristics of this Art-Deco ship. Being ‘one-of-a-kind’ sailing the famed Halong Bay in the Gulf of Tonkin she grants the highest level of privacy for their residents.

Day 4: Halong Bay / Hanoi / Overnight Train Sapa 

Awake to the sounds of the ocean. Enjoy some early morning tai chi on the deck or perhaps do a bit more kayaking and exploration before breakfast and sailing back to port, arriving in the early afternoon. Upon disembarking, you'll be met and driven back to Hanoi, arriving in the late afternoon where you can enjoy a bit more exploration.

This evening enjoy a specially designed "foodie walking tour" of Hanoi's old quarter. You will be able to sample some of Vietnam's most traditional dishes including nom bo kho (papaya salad with beef), chim cau nuong (grilled squab), nem cua be (crab spring rolls), mien luon (vermicelli with eel) and ca phe trung (coffee with egg and condensed milk) to name a few. Late this evening with a full belly, board the overnight train to Lao Cai and the hill tribe area of Sapa, located high in the Hoang Lein Mountains on the Vietnam-China border. This day includes all meals.

Premium & Deluxe Accommodation: Fansipan Train (Private Deluxe Cabin)

Fansipan Train: Fully decorated carriages with high standard soft sleepers with air conditioning wooden cabins.

Day 5: Sapa

Arrive in Lao Cai early this morning. This part of Vietnam is high in the mountains near the Chinese border. In addition to the cool air and stunning mountain scenery, this area is best known for its colorful minority tribal peoples and fantastic weekend markets, where locals congregate to trade their wares. Spend the day exploring the many ethnic villages in the region by foot, bike or by vehicle. Drink in the scenery filled with beautiful gardens, lush pine forests, quaint villages and lush rice paddy fields. Visit a local school, local houses and caves and walk amongst the locals. This day includes breakfast and lunch.

Premium Accommodation: Aira Boutique Hotel & Spa 

Deluxe Accommodation: Hotel de La Coupole MGallery by Sofitel

Aira Boutique Hotel & Spa: Set on the edge of a mountain, far enough away from Sapa’s busy town center, yet only a 5-minute walk from the central Catholic stone church, the 4+ star Aira Boutique Hotel & Spa is the perfect haven for relaxation and a gourmet’s delight. With panoramic views of Fansipan mountain & the picturesque Muong Hoa valley, our hotel offers something for everyone.

Hotel de La Coupole MGallery by Sofitel: With an air of nostalgia of the French Indochine era, Hotel de la Coupole fuses high-fashion glamour with colourful, hill tribe style. Featuring 249 luxurious rooms and suites, signature restaurants and a rooftop bar. Hotel de la Coupole is an ideal hideaway for romantic breaks, family vacations, and inspiring events.


Day 6: Sapa / Hanoi

Today head north of Sapa, admiring the majestic Fansipan Mountain and the beautiful valley, also famous for farming vegetables and flowers. Stop for an easy walk to visit a village of Red Dao at Ban Khoang. The Red Dao women are very skilled in embroidery. Their traditional costume is quite elaborate and very beautiful. 

Also visit Ta Giang Phinh village, where there is a large beautiful valley with a stream running through it. This is the home of the Black H'mong ethnic minority group known for making their clothes from hemp and using the indigo plants to dye the clothing. You might see some free-range animals running around or people working in their fields planting or harvesting rice. After spending the morning and the afternoon here, as per your desires, you will be driven back to Hanoi—a journey of approximately four-to-five hours. This day includes breakfast and lunch.

Premium Accommodation: Hotel de L'Opera

Deluxe Accommodation: Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel

Day 7:Hanoi / Hué

This morning you will be met and privately transferred to the airport in time for your flight to Hué, the capital of Vietnam until the early 20th century. In Hué, board a boat for a leisurely cruise on the Perfume River, sailing through the dreamy countryside and charming scenes of Vietnamese life to Thien Mu Pagoda, one of Vietnam's oldest and most beautiful Buddhist temples.

Next, visit the Tombs of the Nguyen emperors, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With their vast, well-tended botanical gardens, beautiful open-air pavilions and numerous shrines, the Royal Tombs provided seven Nguyen emperors with noble burials and comfortable afterlives.Continue to the ancient Citadel, known as the Forbidden Purple City. This was also the sight of some of the most brutal fighting during the infamous Tet Offensive. Finish the day with a visit to the Dong Ba Market, surely one of the most colorful markets in Asia. This day includes breakfast.

Premium Accommodation: Pilgrimage Village Boutique Resort & Spa 

Deluxe Accommodation: Azerai La Residence Hue

Pilgrimage Village Boutique Resort & Spa: Pilgrimage Village boutique resort & spa is ideally located in the quiet countryside in rustic village setting surrounding by lush tranquil gardens, yet near to famous historical landmarks and the city of Hue. The resort offers the harmony of a soothing natural environment. Delicious meals, sound sleep, and the peaceful life of our quiet countryside combine to refresh your spirits and make you feel rejuvenated.

Azerai La Residence Hue: Azerai La Residence, Hue is an enchanting luxury resort situated on the fabled Perfume River, facing the Citadel – once home to emperors and now a UNESCO World Heritage site.The resort provides a total of 122 rooms and suites, ten of which are located in the historic building with the remaining wings enjoying river and garden views.

Day 8: Hué / Hoi An

This morning, depart Hue on the drive to Hoi An taking the scenic route over the 1,500-foot Hai Van Pass where the mountains meet the South China Sea and the views are spectacular. Arriving in Hoi An, set out on foot to explore one of Vietnam's great artistic gems. The old French Quarter is a delight to roam with many cafes, art galleries and handicraft shops. Walk along the pretty streets of Hoi An's Ancient Town, declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999. The city is a haven for local artists, and numerous galleries display a range of artistic interpretations as well as tailor made clothing, with over 60 shops providing this service in town. If you'd like to get something made, today would be the day to do it! This day includes breakfast.

Premium Accommodation: Anantara Resort & Spa 

Deluxe Accommodation: Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai

Anantara Resort & Spa: Four hours east of Ho Chi Minh City, a 10 km stretch of golden beach invites unwinding. Pool villas and tropical gardens surround the resort's lagoon. Dine on fresh seafood overlooking the ocean while staying at this resort in Mui Ne. Join in the famous kitesurfing scene. Explore Cham ruins, or hot air balloon over the rolling red and white sand dunes which Mui Ne is known for.

Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai: With an idyllic location on Vietnam’s culturally rich central coast, The Nam Hai offers a portal to three extraordinary UNESCO World Heritage sites and a breezy respite on the country’s most celebrated beach. You’ll have a chance to reconnect with your loved ones – whether you take to the East Sea by kayak, explore the glory of imperial Hue or simply savour quiet moments in your own tranquil villa.

Day 9: Hoi An

This morning head out for a leisurely bicycle tour through the countryside around Hoi An. Visit Thanh Ha pottery village,where artisans use age-old techniques and Tra Que, a vegetable and herb-growing village. At Tra Que you'll pick some fresh vegetables and herbs to be used in your upcoming cooking lesson. Make your way to a family house in Tra Que for your private cooking class. Working together with the family chef, you'll learn the traditional ways of preparing and cooking Vietnamese food from scratch. Afterward, you'll have a chance to dine on your own creations.

In the afternoon, bid farewell to your host family and take a leisurely boat trip back to Hoi An, stopping on the way at Nhat Tomb and Ba Le well. Breakfast and lunch are included this day.

Premium Accommodation: Anantara Resort & Spa 

Deluxe Accommodation: Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai

Day 10: Hoi An

Get an early start this morning to beat the heat and the crowds for a visit to the 4th-century Cham religious sanctuary of My Son. My Son, recently classified as a World Heritage site by UNESCO, is located in a beautiful, green valley surrounded by impressive mountains. While a small site, the ruins at My Son are the largest and most intact remaining in Vietnam. Return to Hoi An with a much deserved free afternoon to enjoy exploring this wonderful city on your own. This day includes breakfast.

Premium Accommodation: Anantara Resort & Spa 

Deluxe Accommodation: Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai


Day 11: Hoi An / Da Nang / Ho Chi Minh City 

Transfer to the airport in time for your flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon as it is still commonly referred to, is the economic powerhouse of this rapidly developing country. Though you can still experience some of old Asia, Saigon is a new Asian boomtown and its inhabitants are poised to embrace the modern advances of the 21st century.

Visit the Reunification Palace, South Vietnam's former Independence Palace along with the War Remnants Museum, featuring a detailed photographic exhibition and vast collection of planes, tanks, weapons, and propaganda. Also visit Saigon's Cao Dai Temple, a temple for Caodaism, Vietnam's most fascinating indigenous religion. Finally, visit the Emperor Jade Pagoda. A mixture of Taoist, Buddhist and local myths provides the sources for the pagoda's multitude of statues and carvings.

This evening experience a private foodie tour of Saigon the way locals do, from the back of a vintage Vespa scooter, riding pillion-style behind your expert drivers. Throughout the night, try a variety of food and drinks at two local restaurants and sample Saigon's best authentic street food. This day includes breakfast and dinner.

Premium Accommodation: The Myst Hotel Dong Khoi 

Deluxe Accommodation: Park Hyatt

The Myst Hotel Dong Khoi: Walking through the doors of The Myst Dong Khoi, you enter a timeless space. One where ylang ylang-scented air cools your skin and genuine smiles make you feel at home. Where hushed modern spaces and singular design harbour relics of Saigon’s storied past – stained-glass details, wrought iron roses and cherished local artefacts. At The Myst, you feel the heartbeat of this charismatic city.

Park Hyatt: Discover urban luxury with a combination of sophisticated design, handcrafted details, and modern-day comforts at Park Hyatt Saigon. Enjoy the world-class restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City and a tranquil spa. Park Hyatt Saigon looks forward to welcoming you with warm and dignified service for the ultimate personalised luxury experience.

Day 12: Ho Chi Minh City

Depart the city on a drive through the countryside to the Cao Dai temple at Tay Ninh. At Tay Ninh, learn about a religion that is a combination of Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism and is unique to this area. Observe the colorful twelve noon service at the temple, and then continue to the infamous Viet Cong stronghold at Cu Chi. The hundreds of miles of tunnels here often confounded American troops, fighting in a very foreign land. End the day with a visit the hectic Ben Thanh Market, perhaps the symbol of Saigon and a quintessential Vietnam experience. Meals provided: breakfast and dinner.

Premium Accommodation: The Myst Hotel Dong Khoi 

Deluxe Accommodation: Park Hyatt

Day 13: Ho Chi Minh City

Today will be a long, but rewarding day on the Mekong Delta, located around 2.5 hours south of Saigon. Spend the day cruising through beautiful landscapes along the river and observing the typical Mekong Delta rural life while sipping coconut juice. You will visit the Cai Be floating market, a rice paper making facility and see locals making popped rice and coconut candies. You will have the opportunity to disembark the boat several times throughout the day and travel either by foot or bicycle through villages where the locals are hard at work making various products such as reed hats, coconut leaf roofing and souvenirs made from hyacinth. This day includes breakfast and lunch. Return to Ho Chi Minh City late in the afternoon.

Premium Accommodation: The Myst Hotel Dong Khoi 

Deluxe Accommodation: Park Hyatt

Day 14: Ho Chi Minh City / Home

Today your Iconic Vietnam Journey comes to an end as you are transferred to the airport for your flights home. This day does not include meals.

Please Note: The itinerary above and rates below are estimates only. Actual availability and pricing have not yet been confirmed. Confirmation of arrangements will begin upon receipt of deposit. The deposit is applied toward your final balance due and is non-refundable unless we are unable to confirm your arrangements as outlined or confirm acceptable alternatives. The sooner we receive your deposit, the better your chances that we will be able to accommodate you on the above program at the estimated price.




Image by David Maunsell


May 1-Sept 30. Based on two people sharing a room. Solo Supplement: $2125

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Image by David Maunsell


May 1-Sept 30. Based on two people sharing a room. Solo Supplement: $4,035

From in USD:


Image by David Maunsell


This rate is for flights between destinations included in your adventure.

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Image by David Maunsell


Oct 1 – April 30 (except peak). Based on two people sharing. Solo Supplement: $2,415

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Image by David Maunsell


Oct 1 – April 30 (except peak) Based on two people sharing. Solo Supplement: $4,825

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Image by David Maunsell


Dec 20 – Jan 10. Based on two people sharing a room. Solo Supplement: On Request

From in USD:


Image by David Maunsell


Dec 20 – Jan 10. Based on two people sharing a room. Solo Supplement: On Request

From in USD:


The experiences included here are lush and unforgettable. This operator is profoundly expert in this region and their service for the travelers in their care is outstanding.

Joy Martinello, Founder



What’s Included & Cancellation Policy:

All meals as designated in the itinerary, hotels as shown based on double occupancy in specified room category: private airport transfers as indicated in itinerary: Sightseeing via private guide, car and driver unless otherwise specified in itinerary; all transfers to and from hotels as indicated for planned activities and sightseeing tours-entrance fees, domestic permits; all applicable service charges and taxes (excluding some international or domestic airport departure taxes); pre departure materials including a customized Travel Guide containing destination information, travel tips, and cultural primer; limited travel insurance coverage including emergency medical evacuation coverage up to $200,000 per person, and in-country emergency medical expenses up to $5,000 per person.


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