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The Classical multi centre holiday to Vietnam with a beach stay is very similar to this...:
Hanoi - 2 nights
Halong Bay - 1 night on board cruise boat
Hoi An - 3 nights
Ho Chi Minh City - 3 nights
Phu Quoc (beach) - 4 nights
This would be a 13 night trip, or just over 2 weeks if you include flying time. It's a straightforward itinerary which will show you the best parts of Vietnam. As an alternative to the beach, or even as well as, you could fly to Siem Reap in Cambodia and stay for 3 nights which is a good duration to see the temples of Angkor Wat. Or if you had more time and a bigger budget, 7 night Mekong cruises sail from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap.
We can help advise on the best itinerary for you, with a choice of hotel grades - standard, superior, or deluxe.
Here's a brief guide on the major places to visit in Vietnam.
Hanoi - 2 nights
First, Hanoi in the north, the capital of Vietnam, and the gateway to Halong Bay cruises. At its heart are the narrow streets of the Old Quarter, with little shops, temples, food stalls, and lots of scooters! A great way to spend half an hour is to take a cycle-rickshaw ride, and afterwards walk to scenic Hoan Kiem Lake where you'll find the much photographed red Huc Bridge which connects to Jade Island and the Temple of the Jade Mountain.
Halong Bay - 1 night
A trip to Halong Bay is included on almost every Vietnam tour that visits Hanoi. However it does take a good few hours to arrive, so if the tour only includes a day cruise then it might feel like a long day with lots of travelling. A much better way to experience Halong Bay is to spend a night on board. You'll see the sunset (hopefully!) amid some of the most stunning scenery in Asia. Naturally these cost more, but the experience is definitely worth it. A few select tours even have two nights on board, which is very relaxing after the hustle and bustle of Hanoi.
Hoi An - 3 nights
Flying down to the centre of Vietnam into Da Nang, the number one place here is the ancient city of Hoi An. In fact, it has been recently voted the number one city in the world! It becomes very atmospheric at dusk. As the sun goes down the lanterns lining the little streets start to shine, and the perfect place to have a drink is on the first floor of one of the little cafes overlooking the river. There are lots of shops and it has become more touristy as travellers have discovered its delights, but you should also have a look in the silk shops as it's a wonderful place to buy quality silk products.
Ho Chi Minh City - 3 nights
Next to Hoi Chi Minh City (Saigon) which by contrast to Hanoi is a much more modern city. A highlight is the Chi Chi tunnels which is part of a network of tunnels used in the Vietnam war, and tours there will aim to show you the history and harsh realities of living in them from the sleeping quarters to the kitchens, meeting areas, hospitals and even schools. Another interesting day out is a boat trip on the Mekong Delta, watching daily rural life along the river and making stops at temples, markets and more. If you prefer an independent tour then we often include a couple of nights in one of the main towns, Can Tho from where you can visit floating markets.
Phu Quoc (beach) - 4 nights or more
There are several beach resorts you could go to relax, but perhaps the pick is Phu Quoc, an island off the coast of South Vietnam with forests and white sand beaches, temples, pagodas, and a lively market, You can go on lovely walks past caves and waterfalls. As an alternative, Nha Trang is an established resort on the mainland, while Mui Ne is perfect if you enjoy water sports due to the excellent waves. Or, you could combine Vietnam with some of Thailand's beaches and make a Vietnam tour + Thailand beach combination holiday.
We have a huge selection of escorted tours to suit all budgets. You can stay in deluxe hotels and enjoy unique experiences, often choosing where you dine or what you do. At the budget end hotels may be a little more basic, although clean, and transport may be a bit more adventurous such as overnight trains.
The best way to start the ball rolling is to give us a few details such as when you want to go, which tour operators (if any) you've been with before. Making an appointment is ideal as it gives us a chance to check a few things in advance, but you can always just pop in the shop.
And remember, you never pay a penny more when you book any tours or cruises through us - the price you pay is the advertised online price, assuming it's accurate.
Angkor Wat is Cambodia's tourist highlight, and is the largest religious monument in the world, dating back from the 9th century. You need to factor in a 3 or 4 night stay in nearby Siem Reap, and besides the temple complex there are cruises on Tonle Sap Lake and visits to floating villages. There are over 1000 temples at Angkor, and one of the best times to visit is at either sunrise or sunset.
Mekong River Cruises
An increasingly popular way to combine Siem Reap in Cambodia with Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) in Vietnam, there is now a wide choice of boats making the 7 night trip between these two cities. Cruises are sometimes included as part of a longer escorted tour, or can be added into any tailor made itinerary if you prefer a more independent trip. Please book well in advance. If the trip doesn't include a 7 night cruise then there will almost always be a day trip on the Mekong Delta from Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.
The picture shows the tradition of alms giving in Luang Prabang, when around 200 Buddhist monks arrive to gather provisions for their daily meal. This is something that tourists can be part of, and happens daily at sunrise.
There are great views of the city from Phousi Hill, Buddhist temples, and caves reached by a leisurely boat ride along the Mekong River to explore. Also nearby Luang Prabang are the turquoise waters of the Kuang Si Waterfalls. A 3 night stay is usually recommended for Luang Prabang.
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