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Delights of central Vietnam

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2188

An Absolute Delight

Landscapes, Caves and Beach- along with key cultural places

This unique tour discovers Hanoi capital city, along with breathtaking landscapes of Trang An, the world-renowned caves of Phong Nha, to the former wartime DMZ, and concludes with visits to Hue and the UNESCO World Heritage Centre of Hoi An, with its delightful buildings, food and stunning beaches.

At a glance...
  • 2 nights in Hanoi
  • 2 nights in Ninh Binh
  • 3 nights in Phong Nha National Park
  • 2 nights in Hue City
  • 3 nights in Hoi An

Sights you'll see

hanoi-ngoc-son-temple

Itinerary

Enjoy this tour as-is, or we'll tailor it to suit you.

Day 1Arrival in Hanoi

Your guide will meet you at the airport and private transfer to your hotel.

After your hotel check-in, you may wish to take a late afternoon or evening stroll of 2.5km around Hoan Kiem Lake. The lake is considered the center of Hanoi, not only physically but also symbolically.

Day 2Hanoi Discovery

Today, discover the highlight sites and sights iof this vibrant capital city including: Streets of the Old Quarter, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum complex, One-pillar Pagoda, Temple of Literature and museums of interest.

Day 3Hanoi to Ninh Binh

Morning drive through outstanding countryside to the picturesque Ninh Binh, which is surrounded by spectacular karst rock formations and rice paddies.

In the afternoon, discover Hoa Lu – the ancient capital of Vietnam and visit the remaining two temples of Dinh King and Le King, the site of a 10th-century capital of the ancient Vietnamese kingdom of Dai Co Viet.

Day 4Trang An UNESCO Landscapes and Phat Diem

A full day around this most stunning area of the Trang An Landscape Complex – A UNESCO World Heritage site.

Situated near the southern margin of the Red River Delta, the Trang An Landscape Complex is a spectacular landscape of limestone karst peaks permeated with valleys, many of them partly submerged and surrounded by steep, almost vertical cliffs.

This day also visits Bich Dong, which is one of the popular destinations in the province, because of its pagodas that are rich in history and culture.

Conclude the day at the stunning Phat Diem Cathedral, which was built between 1875 and 1899. With four roofs and six sets of iron wooden pillars, a network of ponds, lakes, churches, and artificial caves, this is an unmissable visit.

Day 5Ninh Binh to Phong Nha National Park

This morning take the ‘Reunification Express’ train southbound to Dong Hoi, and then private guided transfer to Phong Nha National Park. This will be your base for the next three nights.

Enjoy your first views of the beautiful national park, before resting up for the following days activities.

Day 6Phong Nha Cave

First discovered under French rule in the late 19th century and subsequently fully surveyed in 1990. Soon after cave was given the title of the world’s longest river cave with a length of almost 14km. The first 1.200 meters of the cave was opened up for public viewing. It is only accessible by boat and features an underground river.

At 400 million years of age, these are some of the oldest limestone formations in the world. The curiosities produced when water seeps slowly through limestone for eons are visible everywhere. Intricate stalactites, stalagmites and ground formations are on display everywhere — it’s truly an underground wonderland.

Day 7Paradise Cave

At 31km (19 miles) in length Paradise Cave is more than four times longer than its nearby sister and has perhaps more impressive stalactite and stalagmite formations

Take a deep breath before you go further to prepare yourself for what is ahead, or you will think you have stepped into a primitive forest that aged into stone mineral. Stalactites that look like temples, cranes with their arched necks looking up to the sky and a pine tree with hundreds of branches are dotted throughout this underground world.

The British Caving Association have stated that Thien Duong Cave is probably the longest dry cave in Asia.

After, we’ll return to your accommodation in the National Park. The remainder of the day is free for you to rest or discuss any local activities (walks / cycling etc) with your guide, who should be able to arrange for you.

Day 8Drive south across the DMZ to Hue

This drive passes through some of the most historic areas in modern Vietnam.

During the 1960’s / 70’s war, some of the most fierce fighting was in the area south of Dong Hoi at the Ben Hai River / 17th parallel division of former North and South Vietnam – ironically known as the DMZ or Demilitarized Zone.

Nowadays this peaceful area is a complete contrast the former battlegrounds. You may be able to cross the old wooden footbridge the over Ben Hai River and also visit the small war museum situated on the north side. Continuing south, pass by the totally destroyed Long Hung Church, now just a shell of the building remains. The exterior is riddled with bullet marks, giving some idea of the fighting that took place here.

Arrive into the former capital city of Hue by late afternoon and check into your hotel. Remainder of the day is free and easy for you to enjoy this charming riverside city.

Day 9Hue Discovery

Begin early to miss the crowds and see Hue Citadel in the best light. The citadel palace complex is located on the North bank of Huong River (Perfume River), inside Hue city. Even though suffering extensive damage from the war, it is still a very impressive site.

We’ll take time for a Hue coffee and also walk around the largest market in the region at Dong Ba. Continue to discover the history of the former emperors’ tombs, before a cruise back to Hue on the Perfume River and catch a sunset.

Day 10Hue, Hai Van Mountain Pass and Hoi An

Following National Highway 1 south to Hoi An is around 4 hours drive. We’ll stop at Lan Co Beach,followed by a scenic drive over the stunning Hai Van Mountain Pass. This is the highest pass in Vietnam (500m above sea level).

The rugged pass is the final section of the Truong Son Range stretching to the sea.Hai Van is translated “Sea Clouds”, since the peak of the mountain is in the clouds while its foot is close to the sea.

Decending into Da Nang City and Beach, we’ll make stops along the way for photos and refreshments as required, before continuing to the most charming and unspoiled Hoi An Old Town.

Day 11Hoi An Discovery

Begin with a few km cycle ride (or by traditional cyclo) around country lanes to Tra Que village. The locals here cultivate and grow many kinds of herbs. Enjoy a herbal foot massage and a short and fun – but instructive cooking with herbs class. Enjoy lunch here.

In the afternoon, we’ll return to the Old Town – ideal for a couple hours walking tour to understand the historical and commercial development of this former 16th century trading port.

Day 12Relax at the beach!

On tis penultimate day, you’re free to browse the tailors and other specialty vendors, before heading out to one of the local beaches at Cua Dai or An Ban, for a stylish end to your trip.

Both have beachside restaurants serving fresh seafood and of course suitable refreshments.

Day 13Departure day

Depending on your flight departure time from Da Nang, we’ll be happy to arrange some short activities or visits, before your private transfer ti the airport.

Details

Where
  • Hanoi to Hoi An / Da Nang
Duration
  • 13 days / 12 nights Private Tour
Tour Includes
  • 12 nights hotel with breakfast
  • 5 Lunches
  • 3 Evening Meals
  • Experienced Tour Guides
  • All Entrance Fees
  • All transportation and transfers
Main Exclusions
  • International flights
  • Visa / Immigration Fees
  • Any Private Expenses
  • Tips / Gratuities
Always Included
  • Expert planning
  • In-country support 24/7
  • Bottled drinking water on tour

Main places visited

More details on the towns and cities you visit