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From the sounds of its cities’ bustling markets to the intoxicating flavors of its renowned cuisine and its blend of French and Asian influences, Vietnam is a feast for the senses. It’s also one of Southeast Asia’s most captivating destinations, and on Boundless Journeys’ custom tours of Vietnam, you’ll experience the very best of this fascinating country in the most magical of ways.
Our journeys usually begin in the southern capital of Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, where you can visit poignant war sites from the Cu Chi Tunnels to the Reunification Palace. In the following days, you’ll explore UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as the Forbidden Purple City of Hué, the 15th century trading port of Hoi An, and the spectacular seascape of Ha Long Bay, via a deluxe Asian junk. You’ll also discover sacred caves, relax aboard longboats on scenic rivers through the Mekong Delta, and immerse yourself in Hanoi—the "Paris of the Orient." Consider these your "greatest hits" private tours of Vietnam with Boundless Journeys!
Based on our years of designing custom tours to Vietnam, we believe that the combinations below deliver the best experiences in each region. Our Boundless Journeys trip specialists can further customize these options to match the interests of your group, and can mix and match the experiences below. Don't worry: If you don't see what you are looking for, there are many more options to explore! Give us a call at 1-800-941-8010 to start the conversation.
Located in the Gulf of Tonkin, the spectacular Ha Long Bay is comprised of over 1,600 islands and islets that form a jaw-dropping seascape of limestone pillars. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, this unique landscape is a must visit for any world traveler.
During your Boundless Journeys’ Asian "junk" trip through Ha Long Bay, you’ll have a variety of excursions to choose from including visits to the floating fishing village of Cua Van and the incredible Tien Ong Cave. On board, there will also be a cooking demonstration by the ship’s chef to reveal some of the secrets of Vietnamese cuisine.
Hoi An is a picturesque town along the Thu Bon River, and an exceptionally well-preserved example of a Southeast Asian trading port, dating from the 15th century. It is renowned for its extraordinary talent in tailoring, bustling markets, and the many wonderful restaurants in the Old Quarter.
Hoi An’s charming old town features numerous historic houses, pagodas, and other structures. Its buildings and street plan reflect the varied influences, both indigenous and foreign, which have combined to produce this unique UNESCO World Heritage Site.
From 1802 to 1945, Hué was the country’s political capital under the Nguyen Dynasty’s 13 emperors. Although it was very much caught in the crossfire during the years of the Vietnam War, today you will find Hué to be a rather small and quiet town, especially in comparison to the northern and southern capitals of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
Its many fascinating sites include the Imperial City, the Perfume River, the royal tombs and elaborate grounds of the emperors Khai Dinh and Tu Duc, and the Forbidden Purple City — a 19th century network of palaces, gates and courtyards that is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Formerly known as Saigon and renamed after revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh in 1976, Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city in Vietnam and home to over 9,000,000 people. Like its Hanoi counterpart, it is a beguiling mix of East meets West, where local street vendors and high-end boutiques, and hole-in-the-wall noodle shops and fancy French restaurants vie for your attention, while an endless stream of motorbikes and scooters fly by.
Highlights include Cholon (the Chinese quarter), the Reunification Palace, Thien Hau pagoda, the immense Binh Tay Market, and the nearby Cu Chi Tunnels. Although 90 minutes outside of Ho Chi Minh City, this extensive tunnel complex that the Vietcong dug to serve as a sanctuary in the fight against American forces, is a must see and an extraordinary reminder of a turbulent past.
From the busy streets of Hanoi and old Saigon, to the historic provincial towns dotting the South China Sea coast, this active exploration reveals the natural and cultural treasures of Vietnam, on the dates the work for you.
Ho Chi Minh City | Hue | Hoi An | Hanoi | Ha Long Bay
Day 1: Arrival in Ho Chi Minh City; afternoon city walking tour, including Cholon, Reunification Palace and the French colonial districtDay 2: Explore Chu Chi Tunnels; afternoon flight to HueDay 3: Forbidden Purple City tour and exploration of various emperors' tombs; boat ride on the Perfume RiverDay 4: Transfer to Hoi An; hike Marble Mountain; afternoon walking tour of Old Hoi AnDay 5: Bicycle tour of farming communities; afternoon visit of Lifestart Foundation artisans' workshopsDay 6: Early morning excursion to My Son Cham Ruins; afternoon at your leisure with optional cooking class in a local homeDay 7: Hanoi city sites: Morning flight to Hanoi; Flight to Hanoi; Cyclo Tour of Old QuarterDay 8: Ho Chi Minh's House, One Pillar Pagoda, Temple of Literature, Old QuarterDay 9: Transfer to Ha Long Bay and overnight cruise; optional scenic seaplane flightDay 10: Ha Long Bay; Return to Hanoi for International Departure
As the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi is a captivating mix of East meets West, medieval and modern, where Asian and European influences combine to create an energetic city of wide boulevards, colorful street markets, French-inspired architecture, and ancient pagodas — all set against the right bank of the Red River.
Optional activities include everything from a street food tour of the Old Quarter of Hanoi and enjoying a cup of coffee at a traditional Vietnamese coffee house, to watching a Vietnamese water puppet show at the Thang Long Opera and visiting the city’s many historic and cultural sites, such as the One Pillar Pagoda, the Temple of Literature, and the Presidential Palace, where Ho Chi Minh lived and worked.
Situated in Southern Vietnam, and just west of Ho Chi Minh City, the 15,000-square-mile Mekong River Delta produces approximately half of all of the country’s agricultural products. As such, this vast maze of canals, rivers, islands, and swamps is interspersed with exotic fruit and vegetable farms, tropical gardens, floating markets, and fishing villages surrounded by rice paddies.
No trip to Vietnam is complete without a riverboat ride through the Mekong Delta, as it is a fascinating look at look at local life, done at a leisurely pace.
From the floating markets of the Mekong Delta in the south and the historic provincial towns dotting the central coast, to the street life of the bustling northern city of Hanoi and the natural wonder of Halong Bay, this ultimate journey shows you the cultural and natural highlights of such a diverse country.
Ho Chi Minh City | Mekong Delta | Hue | Hoi An | Hanoi | Ha Long Bay
Day 1: Arrival in Ho Chi Minh City; afternoon city walking tour, including Cholon, Reunification Palace and the French colonial districtDay 2: Visit Chu Chi TunnelsDay 3: Mekong Delta excursion; traditional riverboat ride and floating marketDay 4: Fly to Hue; Forbidden Purple City tour and exploration of various emperors' tombs; boat ride on the Perfume RiverDay 5: Transfer to Hoi An; hike Marble Mountain; afternoon walking tour of Old Hoi AnDay 6: Bicycle tour of farming communities; afternoon visit of Lifestart Foundation artisans' workshopsDay 7: Early morning excursion to My Son Cham Ruins; afternoon at your leisure with optional cooking class in a local homeDay 8: Flight to Hanoi; Cyclo Tour of Old QuarterDay 9: Ho Chi Minh's House, One Pillar Pagoda, Temple of Literature, Old QuarterDay 10: Transfer to Ha Long Bay and overnight cruise; optional scenic seaplane flightDay 11: Ha Long Bay; Return to Hanoi for International Departure
During your Boundless Journeys' Asian "junk" trip through Ha Long Bay, you'll have a variety of excursions to choose from including visits to the floating fishing village of Cua Van and the incredible Tien Ong Cave. On board, there will also be a cooking demonstration by the ship's chef to reveal some of the secrets of Vietnamese cuisine.
Halong Bay, Vietnam
This traditionally rigged Asian sailing vessel offers the highest standard of service and amenities on Ha Long Bay. This junk has 24 cabins, stylishly decorated with an antique Asian motif. There is also a restaurant, lounge, and sundeck offering uninterrupted views of the bay. Excursions such as walks and kayaking amidst the limestone cliffs of offered by the boats professional and friendly staff.
As the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi is a captivating mix of East meets West, medieval and modern, where Asian and European influences combine to create an energetic city of wide boulevards, colorful street markets, French-inspired architecture, and ancient pagodas -- all set against the right bank of the Red River.
Optional activities include everything from a street food tour of the Old Quarter of Hanoi and enjoying a cup of coffee at a traditional Vietnamese coffee house, to watching a Vietnamese water puppet show at the Thang Long Opera and visiting the city's many historic and cultural sites, such as the One Pillar Pagoda, the Temple of Literature, and the Presidential Palace, where Ho Chi Minh lived and worked.
This award-winning French colonial-style hotel has stood proudly in the heart of Hanoi since 1901. Once a gathering point for diplomats and high class society, the hotel has a rich history and lovely rooms, a recently built spa, and swimming pool. Within walking distance of Hoan Kiem Lake and the magnificent Opera House, the hotel is one of the few remaining hotels of its era.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Experience the essence of the modern Vietnamese lifestyle at the five-star, centrally-located Park Hyatt Saigon. This grand hotel rises majestically nine stories above District 1, steps from the elegant Opera House, Notre Dame Cathedral, and other Saigon attractions. Its 244 luxurious and newly-renovated rooms and suites blend sophisticated design and décor with the latest modern comforts. The Park Hyatt also offers world-class restaurants and bars, a tranquil spa, and an outdoor pool.
Offering modern luxury in the heart of downtown Saigon, the Rex is a heritage hotel dating to early 20th century. For over 80 years, the Rex has been a landmark in the city, with 286 individually designed rooms, a world-class spa and four in-house restaurants. The rooftop bar is a must, as guests can look over the bustling nightlife while they unwind over a cocktail.
Hoi An's charming old town features numerous historic houses, pagodas, and other structures. Its buildings and street plan reflect the varied influences, both indigenous and foreign, which have combined to produce this unique UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Hoi An, Vietnam
Located in the French colonial quarter of Hoi An, this tranquil property has landscaped gardens and is situated on the riverbank, just a short walk from the center of town. The hotels design embodies Hoi Ans cultural diversity, with each of the resorts 93 spacious rooms overlooking either the river or garden courtyard. Guests may sip on a cappuccino at the French-style bistro, or unwind with a cocktail overlooking the Tu Bon River.
This boutique hotel’s ideal location on the north bank of the Thu Bon River provides peace and tranquility while still being walking distance to the local shops, restaurants, and the lively Hoi An market.
From 1802 to 1945, Hué was the country's political capital under the Nguyen Dynasty's 13 emperors. Although it was very much caught in the crossfire during the years of the Vietnam War, today you will find Hué to be a rather small and quiet town, especially in comparison to the northern and southern capitals of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
Its many fascinating sites include the Imperial City, the Perfume River, the royal tombs and elaborate grounds of the emperors Khai Dinh and Tu Duc, and the Forbidden Purple City -- a 19th century network of palaces, gates and courtyards that is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
La Résidence Hôtel and Spa in Hué, Vietnam is an enchanting boutique hotel on the banks of the Perfume River, overlooking the former Imperial Citadel. This elegant property, the former residence of the French Colonial Governor, was redesigned in 2005 while harkening back to this time of opulence, with touches of warmth and elaborate design. Its 122 rooms maintain the character of a colonial-style villa, full of character and charm.
This boutique resort and spa is located in the lush countryside of Hue. Enjoy tranquil gardens, modern and traditional Vietnamese decor, and an onsite pool, bar, and restaurant.
Located in the heart of Hue, the Hotel Saigon Morin was originally built in 1901, and it is now one of the oldest hotels in Vietnam with views of the Perfume River.
From providing accommodation options based on your budget, to recommendations on pre- or post-tour travels, to assisting you with booking regional air, to meeting you at the airport when you arrive: Boundless Journeys can help you with each step in planning your custom tour. We will seamlessly guide you, so that you can simply relax and enjoy the adventure of a lifetime in Vietnam.
During our trip, you will likely experience a range of weather conditions, as various locations fall within different climate zones. While Hanoi will be relatively cool, Ho Chi Minh City will be warmer.
You can obtain more detailed weather information at www.weatherbase.com.
Ho Chi Minh City
The cooler dry season lasts from October to March. In October and November, arriving just after the rainy season, you'll have the benefit of being there for the newly greened trees and rice paddies, as well as the much clearer air quality that can be expected at this time of year. December through March remain much drier and a bit cooler than during the summer months. However, it is possible to have some rain at any time of year.
The ingredients and flavors of cuisine in Vietnam are complex and vary, as everything else does, according to its region of northern, central, or southern Vietnam. In Hanoi you may notice a bit of Chinese influence in the food, along with the inevitable French offerings. A bowl of pho in the Old Quarter is a must; this hot soup is hearty, with noodles and bean sprouts, chicken, pork, or beef, and fresh herbs and spices for flavoring. In central Vietnam, on the coast, seafood is abundant and the food tends to have a bit more chili-derived heat. To a large extent, you have the opportunity to dictate the flavors of your food, as dipping sauces and condiments are yours for the taking. Please note that everywhere we travel, you are likely to find some Western dishes that are familiar should you need a bit of comfort food. Vegetarians can be accommodated.
Laki was born in southern Vietnam's Mekong Delta and pursued a career in guiding because he loves sharing and teaching about his homeland. Laki's deep knowledge of the various histories of South, Central, and North Vietnam, a keen sense of humor, and a love of adventure, have made him one of the most sought-out and highly-respected guides in the region for nearly a decade. In addition to leading active tours, Laki enjoys cycling and a good book.
Guests love his friendly demeanor and ability to make each day of the tour unforgettable!
Hoi's love of sharing his homeland with others and his passion for travel led him to a career in guiding. He came to Hanoi initially to study sustainable tourism and has stayed for over 15 years building on his guiding experience and connecting with thousands of travelers.
Along with his deep knowledge of the various histories and cultures of all the regions of Vietnam, his light-hearted attitude and spontaneous spirit make him a joy to travel with. We love having him as a trusted partner in Vietnam!
With a Boundless Journeys guide, your experience is that of friend and local adventurer. We believe strongly in working with local guides, experts in the areas to which we travel, and they hold the keys to unlocking the hidden delights of your chosen destination. Although you will never know they are at work—the mark of a truly great leader—our guides make magical things happen and add a dimension to your trip that you could not experience on your own. Over the years we have forged bonds with some of the best guides in the world, and we typically work with a small team of guides in each region. You will be informed of the guide for your trip one month prior to your departure.
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