My husband & I are considering a tour of Vietnam in November. The trip is offered by the alumni association of our university, so there is a faculty lecturer accompanying the tour. On first glance to us it sounds quite interesting, & we've heard good things from people who have done similar trips with the alumni group (but not specifically a Vietnam trip). I'm getting several guidebooks out to read more about Vietnam, but in the meantime I would love to hear feedback from experienced travellers to the region about the itinerary.
We prefer not to be rushed through sights, so I'm a bit afraid of that (although encouraged by the occasional half day breaks to explore areas on our own). We like to get a taste for the (genuine) culture of a region, a sense for history, & to do some active travel & see the natural beauty of new areas, too. If this itinerary isn't ideal for us, I'd love to know so we can try to plan something else instead!
I have edited the detailed descriptions provided for brevity. If you have questions about anything listed here (or can think of questions I should be asking the tour operator) please let me know! Oh, there is an optional extension for 4 days in Cambodia--but I thought we'd decide whether the basic trip was right for us first, and then see if we want to add that.
I've really come to rely on TA in planning trips, & this is the first time I've ever considered a tour group for my travel, so even if I can't tailor the journey exactly based on TA recommendations I'd love to get some feedback here! Thanks everyone.
Days 1-2: Depart U.S. for Hanoi, Vietnam
Day 3: Arrive Hanoi, then transfer to our hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
Day 4: Hanoi This morning we take a walking tour of Ba Dinh Square. Following lunch on our own we embark on an orientation tour of this French accented city. Later we walk the Ancient Quarter then enjoy a traditional cyclo ride followed by a traditional
Water Puppet show.
Day 5: Hanoi/Ha Long Bay Early this morning we depart on a full-day excursion to Ha Long Bay, including a boat trip.
Day 6: Hanoi/Da Nang We fly this morning to Da Nang. Upon arrival, we tour the acclaimed Cham Museum. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
Day 7: Da Nang/Hoi An This morning we visit nearby Hoi An. This afternoon is at leisure to either remain in Hoi An on your own
or return to our beachside resort for a relaxing interlude.
Day 8: Da Nang A morning walking tour of a nearby farming settlement reveals the daily life of a local community up close.
Day 9: Da Nang/Hue We depart this morning by coach for the ancient imperial city of Hue. We explore the Imperial City. We also visit the Central Market. Tonight we enjoy a special Hue buffet, accompanied by a performance of traditional music.
Day 10: Hue This morning we cruise along Hue’s Perfume River to peaceful Thien Mu Pagoda. Later we visit the palatial Tomb of Ming Mang. This afternoon we see the tombs of Tu Doc, a gem of
royal architecture; and Khai Dinh, an elaborate mix of ancient and modern, European and Asian.
Day 11: Hue/Mekong Delta/Can Tho We board an early morning flight to Saigon. Upon arrival we transfer to a motorcoach for the three hour drive south to the Mekong River town of Cai Be. From there we travel by coach and ferry to the busy river port and provincial capital of Can Tho.
Day 12: Can Tho/Mekong Delta We rise early for today’s journey by boat to the bustling floating market at Cai Rang on the Mekong’s lower reaches. The remainder of the afternoon and evening is at leisure.
Day 13: Mekong Delta/Saigon This morning we reach the upper reaches of the storied Mekong. Here we board motorized sampans for an up-close look at river life. After lunch at a local
restaurant we continue on by coach to Saigon.
Day 14: Saigon
A morning tour includes the former Presidential Palace. We also tour the History Museum with its excellent display on the indigenous peoples of Vietnam.
Day 15: Saigon This morning we visit the Cu Chi Tunnels. This afternoon is at leisure; tonight we enjoy a farewell dinner.
Day 16: Depart for U.S. Today we depart Saigon for our connecting flights to the U.S.