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Vietnam is an extraordinarily diverse and simply beautiful country, bursting at the seams with cultural treasures, captivating cities, limestone bays, lush rice paddies and endless stretches of white sand. Experience an authentic side to this dreamy destination with an array of experiences on this tailor-made tour – from visiting traditional Vietnamese paper workshops, to observing the way that local hilltribes live.
Head away from the tourist hotspots of Hanoi with a glorious guided tour, incorporating creative workshops that preserve the traditional crafts of Vietnam
Cycle through the Mai Chau valley, visiting several tiny Thai villages, where locals reside in traditional stilt houses
Visit the UNESCO recognised Trang An Landscape Complex, marvelling at the magnificent limestone scenery and exploring the ancient capital of Hoa Lu
End your adventures amid the Con Dao National Park, characterised by sandy beaches, thriving coral reefs and dreamy dive sites
Spend two nights on the luxurious Orchid Cruise for an exploration of World Heritage Halong Bay's scenic wonders, as well as visiting the lesser known but equally impressive Lan Ha Bay and Cat Ba Island. Take to the water with snorkelling and kayaking, while Vietnamese cooking lessons and sunrise Tai Chi can be enjoyed on board.
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Experience a day in the life of a Hanoian with a guided tour away from the tourist hotspots. Sip traditional Vietnamese coffee in the enchanting Old Quarter, before exploring bustling Gioi Market. Your tour ends at the Zo Paper Project, an initiative that aims to preserve Vietnam’s traditional "Dó paper", while sending profits back to ethnic minority craftspeople in the north of the country. Then, head out by Jeep for a foodie tour around the city. Drive to Bun Cha Huong Lien, famously visited by Barack Obama, to enjoy Hanoi’s signature dish of grilled pork and rice noodles, before sampling traditional stuffed pancakes at the 35-year-old Banh Cuon shop.
Take a private car transfer to Hai Phong and board the Orchid Cruise.
Spend two nights of your tailor-made tour aboard the luxurious Orchid Cruise, gliding through enchanting Halong Bay, before reaching the lesser visited Lan Ha Bay, home to around 400 islands - great for swimming, snorkelling or kayaking. Back onboard, join a traditional Vietnamese cooking class with an expert chef and watch the magnificent sunset over the Gulf of Tonkin. Start the next day with sunrise Tai Chi, before boarding the day boat to Viet Hai Village, observing rural life here. Why not spend your final evening onboard trying your hand at night squid fishing?
Disembark the boat and take a private car transfer to Emeralda Resort, Ninh Binh.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site Trang An is an impressive inland landscape of limestone karst peaks, in which lies the ancient Vietnamese capital of Hoa Lu, where the temples of the Dinh and Le dynasties still stand surrounded by rice paddies. After a local lunch, visit the expansive Van Long Nature Reserve, the largest in the Red River Delta. Hop aboard a boat for a seriously scenic cruise past local villages and limestone caves, keeping your eyes peeled for rare monkeys and birds.
Take a private car transfer to Mai Chau Ecolodge, Mai Chau.
Famed for its mountains, lush valleys and the local people that inhabit traditional stilt houses, your next stop is the district of Mai Chau. After a home-cooked Vietnamese lunch in a local hamlet, head out on a cycling tour into the valley, during which your guide will introduce you to local Thai hill tribe people, sharing information on their fascinating culture. You will also visit the villages of Xa Linh and Sam Khoe, meeting the residents and getting a feel for local life.
Take a private car transfer to Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel, Hanoi.
Spend one more night in Hanoi before heading south to the beach.
Take a private car transfer Hanoi Airport for your flight to Saigon. From here, fly to Con Dao and take a shared transfer to Six Senses Con Dao.
Your final stop is the stunning Six Senses Con Dao, located in a national marine park and with a design based on a traditional fishing village - with a luxury twist. As well as the beautiful beach, cultural tours can be arranged for those curious to explore the island, while the Six Senses Spa offers a true holistic retreat backed by the Lo Voi Mountains.
Take a private car transfer to Can Dao airport for your flight to the UK.
Experience life like a local in Hanoi as you explore the city with a guide. Visit a charming traditional coffee shop and watch the world go by in the Old Quarter, before heading on to Gioi Market and browsing the vast variety of goods on offer here. Take a car to the rail station in a Hanoi suburb, before returning back to the city centre, passing over the first French bridge built on the Red River. Follow your guide as you stroll along ‘Cuisine Street’, sampling local dishes, before ending your tour at the ‘Zo Paper Project’. This initiative aims to preserve Vietnam’s traditional paper craft, while sending profits back to ethnic minority craftspeople in the north of the country.
Tour Hanoi’s foodie spots that have been frequented by famous people, beginning with a stop at a coffee shop on a busy corner of the Old Quarter, where HRH Prince William once enjoyed a cup of coffee during a visit to Vietnam. Then, ride in your Jeep to Bun Cha Huong Lien, where Barack Obama once enjoyed dinner. After trying both the coffee and Hanoi’s signature dish, continue on to the little 35-year-old Banh Cuon shop which appeared in the TV programme 'Parts Unknown', presented by Anthony Bourdain. Here, enjoy authentic Vietnamese rice pancakes stuffed with pork and mushrooms. Before returning to your hotel, stop at a local bar, where each creative cocktail is inspired by local food. Prepare yourself for an unforgettable culinary odyssey and remember to bring your appetite!
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Trang An is famed for its spectacular landscape of limestone karst peaks, some of which are submerged and surrounded by vertical cliffs. Within the complex, visit Vietnam’s ancient capital of Hoa Lu, the country’s first centralized feudal state from the end of the 10th century. While the ancient citadel has largely disappeared, the temples of the Dinh and Le dynasties still stand surrounded by rice paddies. After lunch at a local restaurant, head to the Van Long Nature Reserve, the largest wetland natural reserve in the Red River Delta. Enjoy a scenic boat trip, passing local villages dotted among the limestone karsts and caves, as well as rare langurs (monkeys) and a variety of birds.
Alongside a knowledgeable guide, depart Mai Chau Ecolodge either on foot or bicycle, heading to the hamlet of Lac for a traditional, home-cooked Vietnamese lunch. Continue cycling for a couple more hours through the magnificent Mai Chau valley, during which time your guide will stop and chat with local hilltribe people, allowing you to learn more about their daily lives in the hills – from planting rice to herding buffalo to building their traditional houses.
From your base in the Mai Chau valley, take the short drive to the traditional village of Xa Linh which is inhabited by the H’mong hill tribe. Here, enjoy a two-hour, easy-grade walk along the scenic mountain trails, stopping to observe local traditions and meet the villagers. There is an option to visit Pa Co Primary School (closed on weekends, public holidays and in summer) or the Pa Co Market (only on Sundays).
The Mai Chau valley is ideally located for visiting the traditional village of Sam Khoe, just a 30-minute drive away. Spend the morning here walking through the remote scenery against the backdrop of the Tonkinese Alps, while meeting local villagers and observing their way of life – whether watching the ladies as they work on their embroidery, or spotting children playing in the yard.
November to April is when these areas experience the least amount of rain and pleasant temperatures, making it a wonderful time to visit.
16 NIGHTS FROM £5,350 per person
Price based upon economy flights from London, transfers, UK airport lounge passes and meals and excursions as specified.
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