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VIETNAM: Essence of Vietnam – 8 days
Available: Enquiries Welcome

Destinations: Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Hoi An, Mekong Delta & Ho Chi Min City

Tour Grading EASY; suitable for travellers with an average fitness and mobility

Tour Commences In: Hanoi

Number of Days: 8 days / 7 nights

Accommodation: 5, 4 & 3/4 Star Modern & Boutique Hotels

Leaders: Expert Local Guides

Tour Concludes In: Ho Chi Min City

Tour Style: Luxury / Deluxe Small Group Tour

Meals: Breakfasts; 7: Lunches; 4: Dinners; 1:

Transportation: Luxury chauffeur driven air-conditioned private vehicles

Tour Summary

In a little more than a week you can witness Vietnam with your own eyes by joining our Essence of Vietnam Tour. It seems impossible to take in the most important places in Vietnam in a week. But our experienced and friendly local guides will help you do so. Your places to visit include the Old Quarter of a capital, the ancient town of a country, the modern life of a large city while admiring the beauty of nature in Ha Long Bay (the World Wonder of Nature) and Mekong Delta (a peaceful and healthy way of living). But the golden thread which goes through all of these must be the people you will meet on the way and their daily lives representing the different cultures in the areas which they live.

Tour Highlights

  • Step inside Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, house on stilts. One Pillar Pagoda; full of history
  • Visit Van Mieu- Quoc Tu Giam (Temple of Literature & Vietnam’s first university). Constructed in 11th century,
  • Take a cyclo or electric car around the Old Quarter streets of Hanoi
  • Stop at Hoan Kiem Lake to learn about legend of the lake and visit Ngoc Son Temple,
  • Be fascinated at Ha Long Bay, one of the World Natural Heritages recognized by UNESCO
  • Visit a floating fishing village by rowing boat
  • Be captivated UNESCO Listed charming township of Hoi An
  • Be overwhelmed as you walk on a 400 year old Japanese Bridge
  • Visit a 300 year old Chinese temple, and a 200 year old Vietnamese former merchants' house.
  • the Water Puppet show- a uniquely Northern Vietnamese art form depicting scenes from rural life and episodes of national history
  • Visit the War Museum, Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Centre Old Post Office in HCMC

Tour Inclusions

  • Private international & domestic airport arrival and departure transfers for all guests
  • Domestic Flights -economy class: Beijing – Shanghai (price and availability for upgrade available on request)
  • 5 & 4 star modern & boutique accommodation as per your choice twin sharing basis for 6 nights with daily breakfast.
  • Chauffeur driven luxury air- conditioned private vehicles for all transfers & sightseeing
  • Fully escorted by our experienced professional tour guide
  • Meals as indicated in Itinerary; B = Breakfast: L=Lunch: D=Dinner:
  • Admission fees at monuments and shows as per the program
  • Private services of expert local English speaking guide
  • Hotel porterage (1 bag per person)
  • Bottled water included
  • An exclusive information travel package

Brief Itinerary

  • Day 1:   Monday:   Arrive Hanoi:
  • Day 2:   Tuesday:   Hanoi:
  • Day 3:   Wednesday:   Hanoi- Ha Long Bay:
  • Day 4:   Thursday:   Ha Long Bay- Hanoi – Danang – Hoi An:
  • Day 5:   Friday:   Hoi An – Optional Cooking Class at Red Bridge:
  • Day 6:   Saturday:   Hoi An – Danang – Ho Chi Minh City:
  • Day 7:   Sunday:   Ho Chi Minh City – My Tho – Ho Chi Minh City
  • Day 8:   Monday:   Depart Ho Chi Minh City:

Country Information


Our hotels in Vietnam are excellent four and five star boutique hotels. We highly recommend these hotel as they have excellent services and facilities. All rooms have modern facilities, private bathrooms with double & two twin beds. Triple share accommodation may also be available and consists of two single beds plus a rollaway/fold-up bed.

Climate & Clothing:

The climate in Vietnam is tropical and is warm to hot all year around. The rainy season is June till October. The general rule is to bring comfortable clothing including lightweight cottons. Comfortable walking shoes are essential as is a light waterproof jacket. We provide a detailed packing list to all our guests prior to departure.

Currency & Money Matters:

Dông (VND; symbol ₫) is the official currency of Vietnam. We recommend that you take a combination of cash and credit cards including a ‘Travel Card’. (From your bank or post office) Only a limited number of places take major foreign credit cards.


The electrical current in Vietnam 220/110 volts AC, 50Hz; two-pin flat plugs are in use.


You must obtain Comprehensive Travel Insurance as a condition of travelling with Boutique Tours & Travel. We recommend that you purchase insurance at the time of Booking.


Vietnamese is the official language.


Our hotels offer a wonderful selection of dishes at their buffet breakfasts with a wide variety of both menu and venue for lunches and evening meals.

Medical Services & Facilities:

Our hotels have access to a doctor if required. They can also assist guests with purchasing of medicine. The international hospitals in Cambodia are very good and have western trained medical and surgical specialists. Dental care is also available.

Passports & Visas:

To enter Vietnam you require a passport valid for at least six months beyond the date of entry and with at least two blank pages. A visa is required for most guests and will be organised prior to departure.

Pre & Post Tour Accommodation:

Boutique Tours & Travel suggests that you may like to arrive a day before the start of your tour to allow time to relax and refresh. You are also very welcome to linger longer after the tour is completed. We have negotiated special overnight rates at this hotel for both pre and post tour accommodation. Please ask for details at time of booking. Local tour guides are also available on request.

Solo Traveller:

We welcome single travellers and we are able to arrange single accommodation. We negotiate strongly to keep single supplements at a reasonable cost. If you wish to share a room, we will endeavour to match you with another single guest and adjust the costs accordingly and refund any costs after you return home. We accept no responsibility for the suitability of a room partner.

Special Requests:

Specific requests such as adjacent or connecting rooms, bedding requests, smoking or non-smoking rooms and special dietary needs or any other arrangement should be advised at time of booking. Please note that every effort will be made to secure your special request; however, they cannot always be guaranteed.

Time Zone:

Vietnam standard time is GMT +7.

Tour Group:

Our small group tours provide you with a good balance of group activity and personal discovery.


We generally use modern deluxe minibuses for tours. We also walk where and when it’s suitable.

Vietnam Weather:

Overall, * South = Always warm

* North typically cooler!

Water & Beverages:

Our hotel offers bottled water, and soft drinks and bottled water are provided throughout the day. Alcoholic beverages are not included in the cost of this tour except for ‘welcome cocktails’ on the first evening.


  • Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long - Hanoi (2010)
  • Ha Long Bay (1994)
  • Hoi An Ancient Town (1999)

Full Itinerary

Day 1:   Monday:   Arrive Hanoi:   (D)

Welcome to Vietnam. You will be meet at Noi Bai international airport in Hanoi by our guide and driver and transferred to our hotel in the city centre to check in. This afternoon is at your leisure. This evening attend a welcome dinner and meet your guide and fellow travellers.

Day 2:   Tuesday:   Hanoi:   (B/L)

The day starts with visit to the complex dedicated to Ho Chi Minh- the nation’s founder, containing Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, and his house on stilts. This complex also comprises the One Pillar Pagoda, whose origins date back to the foundation of city. After lunch, we visit Van Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam - The Temple of Literature & Vietnam’s first university. Constructed in 11th century, the gardens and well-preserved architecture offer a relaxing glimpse into Vietnam's past. Take a cyclo ride/electric car around the Old Quarter streets which were named after the specific goods once offered for sale at these places. Stop at Hoan Kiem Lake to learn about legend of the lake and visit Ngoc Son Temple, followed by the Water Puppet show - a uniquely Northern Vietnamese art form depicting scenes from rural life and episodes of national history.

Day 3:   Wednesday:   Hanoi - Ha Long Bay:   (B/L/D)

Early this morning (08.00hrs) we depart from our hotel in Hanoi and drive to Ha Long Bay, (3.5hrs) a World Natural Heritage site recognized by UNESCO with over 3,000 spectacular limestone islands rising from the clear, emerald sea in the Gulf of Tonkin. Upon arrival, we transfer to our 'junk boat'. Enjoy a welcome drink before checking in to your cabin. While cruising on our 'junk boat we pass many rocky islets, caves, floating villages and beaches. Lunch will be served on board. In the afternoon we visit a floating fishing village by rowing boat and perhaps meet some village people and take photos. Later enjoy free time for swimming or relaxing on the sundeck. This evening, the junk moves a quiet area to dock for overnight stay. Enjoy a delicious BBQ Diiner cooked by the chef

Note: The cruise itinerary is subject to change according to weather condition and depends on the boat.

Day 4:   Thursday:   Ha Long Bay - Hanoi – Danang – Hoi An:   (Brunch)

Greet the day with an early morning Tai Chi class and view the wonderful sunrise over the bay. Coffee or tea is served. Visit the beautiful limestone Sung Sot grotto. A buffet brunch is served as we cruise towards the wharf ready to disembark. We then drive to the airport in Hanoi for our flight to Danang. Upon arrival, we will be welcomed by our guide and transferred to Hoi An. This afternoon is at your leisure.

Hoi An has now achieved UN World Heritage status and its profusion of old houses, quiet streets and covered bridge are being preserved and restored. These days Hoi An is renowned for its diverse architectural heritage, masterful tailors, abundant silks and superb cuisine. Hoi An is also the ultimate place to have affordable clothes made to order. While in Hoi An you will have free time to relax at the beach, shop, or dine at your choice of the town’s riverside cafés.

Day 5:   Friday:   Tour Hoi An:  (Optional Cooking Class at Red Bridge)    (B/L)

After breakfast, we tour the tiny town of Hoi An: 400 years old Japanese Bridge, 300 years old Chinese temple, 200 years old Vietnamese former merchants' house. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant. Free afternoon to continue exploring and or shopping at your leisure.

Optional: This afternoon, rendezvous at a local restaurant to meet the Chef. Together shop for the ingredients to be used in the cooking lesson later. After the market visit, board a Red Bridge boat for a leisurely cruise (25 minutes) along the Thu Bon River to the Red Bridge Cooking School. On arrival, explore the school’s herb and vegetable garden, before learning about some of Hoi An’s and Vietnam’s well-known dishes which are a mix of Vietnamese and Chinese cuisine. The cooking lesson lasts about 2 hours – each dish is first demonstrated by the Red Bridge chefs, before you prepare the same dish by yourself. The class also contains a brief introduction to Vietnamese food carving (plate decoration). After the lesson, we sit down and enjoy what we have cooked. After, return to Hoi An Town.

Day 6:   Saturday:   Hoi An – Da Nang – Ho Chi Minh City:   (B)

Later this morning we transfer to the airport for our domestic flight to Ho Chi Minh City.  We are welcomed by our guide at Tan Son Nhat Airport and depart for our city tour including a visit the War Museum, Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral, Old Centre Post Office and Ben Thanh Market for shopping.

Day 7:   Sunday:   Ho Chi Minh City – My Tho – Ho Chi Minh City:   (B/L)

This morning we drive for about 2 hour southwest of Ho Chi Minh City to the Mekong Delta which is known as the 'rice bowl' of Vietnam. Upon arrival, we take a boat cruise around islets and tropical orchards through the canal of Vam Xep to reach a small islet, followed by a gentle walk along shady and palm fringed trails passing by local villages where you can see their peaceful daily life. Stop en route to visit a bee farm, sip special tea with honey and sample fruits with a local family and share their stories of life in the Mekong Delta. Visit a small coconut workshop, just to get a glimpse of typical family run business in this area. Walk to a lane where a horse-drawn cart awaits you to transfer to visit handicraft village, a coconut candy factory, enjoy tropical fruit, traditional music and then relaxation with rowing boat through the narrow under shade palm, tree-lined canals of Mekong River before returning to My Tho by motorized boat. Enjoy lunch at local restaurant on the islet before heading back Saigon.

Day 8:   Monday:   Depart Ho Chi Minh City:   (B)

Our tour concludes after breakfast. At your leisure before transferring to the airport for your onward or homebound journey.

Depending on your departure itinerary, you may have time for some last-minute sightseeing and shopping. We are able to organise our private guide to accompany you.

Some guests may wish to stay longer in this amazing country; please don’t hesitate to contact Boutique Tours & Travel for further travel arrangements.

Tour Hotels

Hanoi: Sofitel Metropole Hanoi Hilton Opera Sunway Hotel
Ha Lon Bay: Jasmine Cruise Jasmine Cruise Jasmine Cruise
Hoi An: Life Resort Sunrise Resort Vinh Hung Resort
Ho Chi Ming City: Intercontinental Asiana Majestic Saigon Royal Lotus Hotel


You may choose to mix your hotels; if so please contact us for a new quote.


Salary Packaging:

If you have Salary Packaging at your workplace, you may be entitled to claim for accommodation and or meals.

Contact us to discuss this further.

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