Vietnam

Highlights of Vietnam

This example 2-week holiday starts in Hanoi and finishes in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), taking you to all the highlights along the way. There are plenty of activities for children of all ages (kayaking, hiking, cookery class, cycle rickshaw rides, bike rides etc) and we can suggest accommodation to suit your family. In each different place visited you will be accompanied by an English speaking guide who will help introduce the children to the culture of the country.

Highlights

  Full Day City Tour Hanoi
  Visit to Pu Luong Nature Reserve
  Sailing trip Halong Bay on a Junk
  Bike ride to Tombs of the Emperors
  Explore Cu Chi tunnels
  Tour of Ho Chi Minh City

15 days from £1,500 pp

Plus international flights from £600 if ‘open jaw’

A privately guided 2-week holiday in Vietnam for a family of four usually costs from £6,000 based on mid range hotels plus flights

View pricing guide

Highlights of Vietnam day-by-day itinerary

Day 1 Hanoi
Upon arrival at the airport you will be met by one of our representatives and accompanied to your hotel in the heart of Hanoi.

Hanoi is a lovely city that will completely entrance; wander through the parks in the early morning or at sunset and you will see people doing Tai Chi and ballroom dancing. There are wide boulevards with imposing colonial buildings which you can admire from the comfort of a tiny noodle shop, gleaming office buildings, trendy boutiques and exquisite restaurants. There are also endless narrow streets full of children playing games and old men playing chess that just beg to be explored.


Day 2 Hanoi
You have a full day tour of the city today. The guide will tailor the itinerary depending on the ages of your children but will usually include Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum where you can see the revered leader lying in state in a glass coffin and the graceful Temple of Literature, set in peaceful gardens.

The highlight for the children will undoubtedly be the afternoon cyclo (cycle rickshaw) tour through the chaotic streets of the Old Quarter. With two people to a cyclo, your rickshaw driver will navigate slowly through the narrow streets, past vendors pulling wooden carts laden with goods and shops spilling over with colourful handicrafts. The streets of Hanoi are completely manic (with a never ending stream of motorbikes) so this is the ideal (and most relaxing) way to take in the mayhem.


Day 3 Hanoi
This morning you will head off-the-beaten-track, heading to a suburb on the banks of the Red River that escaped much of the bombing during the war and which is home to many old houses and temples. You will take a gentle bike ride through back streets, stopping to visit a charming small temple, and getting an insight into a very different side of the city. You will finish at a traditional courtyard house where you will join the host family for lunch, helping to make spring rolls.

The afternoon is free for you to relax.


Day 4 Pu Luong Nature Reserve
Today you leave Hanoi to head west into the remote Pu Luong Nature Reserve. The drive takes around 4.5 hours and as the journey progresses you head deeper into the hills and the views are absolutely stunning. Here the sides of the mountains are carved into steep rice terraces and small traditional villages dot the landscape.

This afternoon you will visit a local family who live in the village at the base of the valley.

You can either stay the night with a local family in a traditional stilt house or you can stay in a new eco-lodge situated in a magnificent location with beautiful views.


Day 5 Pu Luong Nature Reserve
This morning take a walk through the local area, passing through friendly villages and enjoying the views. This can be tailored to your fitness levels but could take anything from 1-5 hours depending on what will suit.

In the afternoon head to the river that runs through the base of the valley for a canoe ride past the traditional water wheels. These are still used to get water into a network of bamboo irrigation canals that lead to the fields dotted around the hills.

As an alternative you could go mountain biking, heading off on quiet trails with breath-taking views.

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Day 6 Ninh Binh
After breakfast you will drive to Ninh Binh, a beautiful area to the south of Hanoi, and home to one of its earliest capitals, Hoa Lu. The drive takes around 2.5-3 hours.

When you arrive you will visit the remains at Hoa Lu. Although there is not a huge amount to see you can visit the temple that has been built on the site on the ancient palace and wander through the nearby village.

Later take a boat ride in Trang An. Here the rivers have carved a route through ancient limestone cliffs and your boat will follow the course of the river through caves up to 300m long. The tunnels are very narrow and low in areas, and the precision with which the boat ‘rower’ navigates the route is remarkable – you will need to duck frequently as you pass under low stalactites.


Day 7 Halong Bay
This morning drive approximately 3.5 hours to Halong Bay where you will board a traditional junk (sailing boat) for a 2-night cruise.

Halong Bay is spectacularly beautiful, with thousands of towering pillars of sea and wind-carved limestone karsts soaring out of the water. This afternoon the junk will stop at one of the small islands in the bay to give you the chance to try your hand at kayaking. You can paddle around the limestone cliffs and stop on a shallow sandy spit of land to swim.

You will use two person kayaks (with life jackets provided) so this is suitable even for younger children.


Day 8 Halong Bay
A full day to continue with your exploration of the bay. You will stop at a small beach where you can swim, kayak or relax and will also continue cruising through the spectacular scenery. Depending on which boat you are on you might either have dinner by candlelight in a cave or perhaps a barbeque on the beach.

Note: If you would prefer just one night on the boat we can amend this and add an extra day in elsewhere.


Day 9 Halong Bay – Overnight Train
Perhaps rise early for a tai chi class on deck as the boat continues its picturesque route through the bay. After stopping for a quick visit to Vong Vieng fishing village you will disembark and head back to Hanoi for the overnight train to Hue. You will be accommodated in 4-person cabins, each with four individual comfortable bunks. Additional berths can be purchased if necessary (so a family of five, for example, can arrange to take two private cabins).


Day 10 Hue
After arriving at the train station in Hue you will explore the city. First stop is the former Imperial Citadel, home to the emperors of the Nyguyen Dynasty which ruled Vietnam from 1802 – 1945. You will then walk to the boat dock for a boat trip up the Perfume River with lovely views over the rural villages that dot the riverbank. The cruise takes you to the beautiful Thien Mu pagoda and, time permitting, the lively Dong Ba market. Later return to your hotel.


Day 11 Hue – Hoi An
This morning head out of town by bike to the picturesque Tombs of the Emperors, a lovely bike ride through a peaceful rural landscape.

Later head south along the spectacularly beautiful coastal road to Hoi An. This takes around 3-4 hours although there is a quick route on a highway if you don’t mind missing the views.

Hoi An is one of the loveliest towns in Vietnam, a small port that has traditionally been home to a thriving merchant community of foreign traders. There are lively markets and quaint narrow streets lined with old buildings that have been converted into tailors, cafes and boutiques. This is one of the best places in Vietnam to shop for souvenirs, especially in the evening when the streets are lit by traditional Chinese lanterns. The tailors here are excellent so you could consider getting some clothes made up.

You can either stay in Hoi An itself or alternatively at one of the beach resorts just outside the town.


Day 12 Hoi An
A full free day to enjoy Hoi An. Many people like to just wander around and soak up the ambience of the town, perhaps visiting a couple of the old Chinese mansions. Others shop till they drop, spend time at the tailors or head to the sandy beaches just outside the town.

There are also a wide range of activities that can be arranged here; one of our favourites includes taking a basket boat along the narrow waterways around the town. This is a small round rowing boat made of woven palm thatch and you can stop in the water bamboo to try to catch purple crabs before enjoying a fresh fruit snack at a simple local café. You then continue by bike, following quiet trails along the edge of the river through a bucolic landscape of meandering waterways, paddy fields and small villages.

Note that Hoi An is a great place to extend your trip if you would like some beach time.


Day 13 Hoi An – Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City)
A morning cookery class in which you will try your hand at preparing some of the delicious dishes that you will have been tasting during your holiday. Spring rolls anyone?

In the late afternoon take a flight south to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City).


Day 14 Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City)
After breakfast take a tour of this lively and exciting city. You will visit a beautiful old Chinese temple heady with the smell of incense from its hundreds of incense coils, a buzzing local market, the War Remnants museum (which is both fascinating and horrifying) and a number of other sights.

This afternoon head to the Cu Chi tunnels, just west of Saigon. These tunnels were used as a means of underground communication during the war against the French and then later against the Americans and are a highlight for children. You can follow a small section of the tunnels although parents may get stuck and have to leave the children and guide to continue when it gets too narrow!


Day 15 Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City)
Transfer to the airport for your flight home. If you have time today, you could consider a trip to the Dam Sen Waterpark, one of Asia’s largest and an absolute hit with the children.

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Call us and we will be happy to provide you with a free-of-charge no obligation itinerary and quotation designed for you.

01728 752751

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