Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer is included.
Travel to the verdant Mai Chau Valley, a patchwork of rice paddies, emerald hills, and charming traditional villages. Opt to take a kayak out on the scenic Hoa Binh reservoir, the largest reservoir in Vietnam, or pedal through the countryside on a bike, enjoying the lush scenery and getting a glimpse of local life.
Spend the day exploring the picturesque valley. Set out on a walk through the peaceful countryside, learning about the local tribes and customs, and visit a rural market for a fruit tasting. Choose to enjoy an authentic country lunch at a village home.
Return to Hanoi and discover the bustling Vietnamese capital on a guided tour. Visit the mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh, one of Vietnam's most influential political leaders, and learn more about his life at the Presidential Palace, a French colonial-style building that was designed to be his official residence. Gain insights into the Vietnam War at the Hoa Lo Prison, known by American POWs as the Hanoi Hilton; then jump on a cyclo, a three-wheel bicycle taxi, for a fun-filled ride through Hanoi's colourful Old Quarter.
Begin the day with breakfast at Hoa Sua, a non-profit training restaurant for underprivileged Hanoi youth. Afterward, transfer to Ha Long Bay, where thousands of sculpted limestone islands rise from serene, turquoise waters. Settle into your cabin on a traditional-style wooden junk boat, where we'll spend the night, and embark on a cruise of Bai Tu Long Bay, a more secluded section of this UNESCO World Heritage site. Glide around the bay's stunning karst formations, and explore the fascinating Me Cung cave with our local guide. This traditional wooden sailing boat offers a unique way of navigating the lime karsts of Ha Long Bay with all the comforts of a motorized, floating hotel. The boat crew will prepare an included seafood lunch and dinner. All cabins are twin share and have an en-suite bathroom. The boat features an enclosed dining and sitting area and of course plenty of outside deck space to enjoy your beautiful surroundings.
Enjoy an early lunch on board before returning to land and heading back to Hanoi to catch a short flight to Hue. A former imperial capital of Vietnam, this World Heritage-listed city boasts many architectural treasures; it was also the site of one of the Vietnam War's most dramatic battles.
Set out on a guided tour of Hue's imposing walled citadel, discovering lavish palaces, gardens, and courtyards. Visit the Forbidden Purple City, which served as the private quarters of the imperial family; then venture into the countryside to the magnificent tombs of Vietnam's emperors, located along the banks of the Perfume River. Visit a Buddhist nunnery and enjoy a leisurely lunch following the traditions of vegetarian cuisine. Hue is the gateway to the treasures of Vietnam's royal past and remains one of Vietnam's major tourist attractions. This quiet city is widely known for the magnificent architecture of its citadel, royal tombs, pagodas, and temples built under the Nguyen dynasty on the lush banks of the Perfume River.
Drive to Hoi An this morning, a remarkably well-preserved river port and UNESCO World Heritage site. Stroll the narrow, winding streets of the atmospheric old town, lined with quaint merchants' homes and decorated with colourful silk lanterns. Then try your hand at crafting a lantern of your own??a symbol of luck, wealth, and happiness??and leave with a beautiful souvenir. This afternoon, opt to visit a local tailor and be fitted for a custom-made shirt. The journey to Hoi An, via the Hai Van Pass, is an incredibly scenic and mountainous stretch of highway with spectacular views of Lang Co Beach.
Delve into a local market this morning with guides from Oodles of Noodles, a G Adventures–supported program that trains local youth in the culinary arts. Taste dozens of varieties of noodles and pick out fresh ingredients at the market; then take your groceries to the Oodles of Noodles training kitchen, where you'll learn to prepare mouthwatering noodle dishes and enjoy your creations for lunch.
The day is yours to explore enchanting Hoi An and its environs. Choose to take a day trip to World Heritage-listed My Son, a cluster of moss-covered Hindu temples dating between the 4th and 13th centuries. Alternatively, head to the nearby Cua Dai beach, or relax at your hotel by the pool.
Fly to Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon. Immerse yourself in this vibrant metropolis??Vietnam's economic hub??on a variety of optional activities. Discover the city on a cyclo tour, taking in iconic sites like the Notre Dame Cathedral and the ornate Central Post Office and City Hall. Visit the War Remnants Museum, a powerful reminder of the atrocities committed during the Vietnam War; or take a tour of the Reunification Palace, the site which marked the end of the war.
Venture to the legendary Cu Chi tunnels, a network of underground passageways that provided a base for Viet Cong soldiers during the Vietnam War. Visit subterranean hospitals and ammunition stores, and learn about the vital role that the tunnels played in the eventual victory of the North.