Day 1 Your Journey Begins
Board your overnight flight (not included).
Day 2 Dynamic Ho Chi Minh City
On arrival at the airport, you will be greeted and transferred to the hotel. At 19:00, join your Travelling Concierge for a cocktail reception with traditional dance performances at the Art Salon Saigon, followed by your Welcome Dinner, enjoy a sophisticated atmosphere with live music for a night to remember!(WD)
Day 4 The best of Saigon
(Relaxed Start) Start the day sightseeing at high speed in our private chartered speedboat. See the changing faces of Vietnam from the glittering skyscrapers to the green paddy fields along the Saigon River. Your destination is the Cu Chi tunnels dug in 1948 for guerrillas to hide from French air and ground sweeps. Visit the underground villages with a VC veteran who used to live there. Back in the city, a leisurely walking tour takes in all of the highlights including Notre Dame Cathedral, and Gusatve Eiffel's Central Post Office, and over a cup of Vietnamese coffee, gain an appreciation for the street-side cafe culture.
Day 5 Cruise the Mekong Delta
Cruise the Mekong Delta to see coconut production and processing and enjoy a taste of the freshest juice possible. See locals creaking bricks as they have for centuries with their small brick kiln. Take a tri-motor cycle along the village roads and stop at a rice noodle factory to see the most popular breakfast in the region being produced. Cruise on to Mango Home, and meet Mr Sau Tuong, a former soldier who fought the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. Enjoy crispy rice paper made by his wife and chat about life in Vietnam today and throughout his lifetime.(BB / L)
Day 6 Hue in royal splendour
(Relaxed Start) In the morning, board your flight to Hue for an unforgettable journey. Enjoy a cyclo ride through the rice fields to Thanh Toan village to the agriculture museum for an insight into rice production. At night, enjoy the royal treatment at Ancient Hue Restaurant. Dress in traditional costume and savour an unforgettable dinner with typical dishes served to royalty.(BB / HD)
Day 7 Hue
Rise early to visit the UNESCO Heritage Listed Imperial Citadel in a private session before it opens to the public. A renowned local historian will take you through the towering main gates to hear about the intrigue of the former royal court. After breakfast, visit the royal tomb of Minh Mang. Later, meet the headmaster of the Vietnamese Royal Martial Arts at an ancient temple and learn about the training activities of the practitioners. Attend a performance of different martial arts techniques. At Dong Thuyen pagoda, relax in the peaceful precinct, before enjoying a vegetarian lunch prepared by the nuns. Chat with the Buddhists and gain a better understanding of their beliefs.(BB / L)
Day 8 Romantic Hoi An
Enjoy a scenic drive to Hoi An over the spectacular Hai Van Mountain pass. During your walking tour of Hoi An, visit the old merchant's houses, the Japanese Covered Bridge and Assembly Hall. Finally, visit the market with stalls brimming with local specialities. Enjoy time at leisure in the afternoon. Perhaps admire the spectacular sunset on a kayak trip along the poetic Thu Bon River, or board a local river boat to the Cua Dai Sea if you prefer a more gentle pace. In the evening, you can choose from a selection of fine restaurants for your Dine-Around evening.(BB / DA)
Day 9 Learn from the locals in Hoi An
(Relaxed Start) Visit Cam Thanh Village, once a shelter for local people and soldiers during the Vietnam War, and now a village supplying seafood, vegetables and rice to the area. Board a bamboo basket-boat to ride to the Thanh Dong village and learn from the villagers how they cultivate and harvest vegetables. Join in a hands-on cooking class with a local chef and try the local delicacies that you make for lunch.(BB / HL)
Day 10 Cruise Halong Bay
Journey to Halong Bay to board your deluxe junk by lunchtime. Visit the mysterious Tien Ong Cave, and the Cua Van area. In the evening the choice is yours; participate in a cooking demonstration with the on-board chef, or relax on the top deck to watch the sunset.(BB / L / D)
Day 11 Halong to Hanoi
Greet the day with Tai Chi on the upper deck or take an early morning swim in the Bay before returning to Hanoi. Stop at Dao Thuc village to meet a traditional artisan puppet maker and see a water puppet performance in a lotus pond. The art dates back to the 10th c with a live orchestra playing the accompanying music.(BB)
Day 12 Hanoi street-food tasting tour
Board a morning flight to Hanoi where in the afternoon you will enjoy an electric cart ride, seeing the Opera house, French Avenues, Sword Lake and the Jade Mountain temple. Then, join a local foodie for a taste of the street-food culture. On your guided walk, learn about what locals love and try tastes of the very best including rice paper rolls, crab spring rolls, beef noodle soup, com cake and other delights. The rest of your day is at leisure.(BB)
Day 13 Exclusive Dinner at the History Museum
(Relaxed Start) Start the day with a visit to the Temple of Literature, where you will meet a renowned scholar to hear about this institution - the first University for the sons of mandarins. Learn about Hanoian culture and Vietnamese architecture before you tour the temple grounds. At night, join your travel companions for a truly special evening. Your Celebration Dinner will take place at the History Museum after it closes to the public, with a cocktail reception in the museum itself, before heading to the elegant courtyard to toast your newfound friends and enjoy dinner.
Day 14 Farewell Vietnam Welcome to Laos
Your tour comes to an end after breakfast with a transfer to the airport for your onward flight. Transfer to the airport for your included flight to Laos. On arrival you are transferred to your hotel where the afternoon is at leisure. In the evening enjoy a light meal with your fellow travelling companions and Travel Concierge.(BB / DW)
Day 15 UNESCO Heritage and Sunset Cruise
Start the day with a walk to the top of Mount Phousi to admire spectacular views across the Mekong and Khan rivers. Then, enjoy a UNESCO walk of the Heritage site, with plenty of time for you to see the sites as you want to. Your Travelling Concierge will take you through small streets and alleys to see the local rural lifestyle, and on to visit the famous Wat Xiengthong or 'Temple of the Golden City'. In the late afternoon, relax with a cool drink on a sunset cruise on the Mekong.(BB / L)
Day 16 Natural beauty and local way of life
For the early risers, this a real treat! Embrace the opportunity to offer alms to the hundreds of saffron-robed monks - a truly awe-inspiring sight! Afterwards, see the town come to life during a visit to the bustling morning market. Following breakfast, head to Kuang Si waterfall to enjoy a leisurely walk through the national park. Stop at the Kuang Si Bear Rescue Centre for a behind-the-scenes, private guided tour with one of the carers. Savour your lunch at Ock Pop Tock, famous for helping preserve unique hand-loomed textile methods, and enjoy beautiful views of the Mekong river from its restaurant. In the evening, enjoy an exclusive Q&A session with Mr Francis Engelmann, a UNESCO consultant who has worked at the Luang Prabang Conservation Authority and who will be able to answer your questions about Lao culture, history, customs and the natural environment.
Day 17 Depart Luang Prabang
Your tour draws to a close after breakfast, with private airport transfers timed to meet your onward flight.