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Vietnam Mosaic

By Siobhan Henderson
Product & Sales Manager for Alfred&

Explore Vietnam’s diverse landscapes on this comprehensive tour, which takes you from the forested mountains and ethnic villages of the north to vast central highland lakes and the southern sights of Ho Chi Minh City. Along the way, you’ll trek through jungles, uncover street food delights and cycle through Vietnam’s fertile rice paddies.

Places

Length
16 days
Best months to go
February to April
Guide price range
£3,875 - £3,959pp
excluding international flights.

Top Experiences
Itinerary Highlights

Puluong_retreat_Vietnam_landscape17
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The ethical Lak Lake village tour

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Ho Chi Minh City

The HCMC Vespa food tour

I had no idea what to expect from a Vespa food tour in HCMC but our guide introduced us to amazing eateries that you’d never find on foot...

Day by day
Itinerary in details

1

Arrive in Hanoi

You’ll be greeted at the airport in Hanoi and transferred directly to your hotel in Vietnam’s busy capital. Settle in before having a stroll around the 36 streets of the Old Quarter, which feature ancient tubular houses, food stalls and vendors wheeling bicycles of flowers. Stop at a local coffee shop where you can sample a glass of Bia Hoi, the regional draft beer, or a strong Vietnamese coffee while watching street life whirl around you. Overnight at La Siesta Trendy.

Things to do:

2

Hanoi

Today, you’ll embark on a city tour of Hanoi, exploring its cultural treasures. You’ll learn all about Vietnam’s revered revolutionary leader, Uncle Ho, at the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum and his former stilt house at the palace. Other stops include the 11th century Temple of Literature and Ethnology Museum. There’s a chance to relax on an hour-long cyclo tour in the afternoon, before visiting Ngoc Son Temple and Hoan Kiem Lake. The evening will be spent at a cultural show titled ‘My Village’, which combines dance, theatre, visual art and circus skills. Overnight at La Siesta Trendy.

Things to do:

3

Pu Luong

Head three hours from Hanoi to Pu Luong, a pristine nature reserve established in 1999 to protect the region’s biodiversity. You’ll be greeted by a local guide at Hang Village, who’ll take you on a trek through Pu Luong’s beautiful rice fields surrounded by forested mountains. The landscape here is dotted with Thai and Muong ethnic villages, which are filled with traditional wooden, stilt-house homes. Upon arriving at Pu Luong Retreat, you’ll have time to relax and soak in the peaceful surroundings.

Things to do:

4

Pu Luong

Enjoy a free day in Pu Luong to explore or simply decompress at the lodge, which has an infinity pool and small spa. Activities in the area range from swimming in waterfalls to cycling trips and rafting experiences. There are a variety of trekking routes to take with a local guide, which lead through vibrant paddy fields to some of the area’s hamlets. You can even tackle Pu Luong’s highest peak for panoramic views of the reserve. As you head through the countryside, look out for Pu Luong’s bamboo waterwheels and spot famers tending the fields in conical hats.

Things to do:

5

Mai Chau

After breakfast at the Retreat, you’ll take a short transfer to an ecolodge in Mai Chau, a lush valley surrounded by limestone peaks. This area is also home to Thai minority people who live in bamboo stilt houses and cultivate vast fields of rice. Mai Chau is the perfect place to take a hike or cycle through Vietnam’s signature fields of swaying rice. In the evening, there’s a traditional dinner and cultural show, which involves Thai and H’mong dance and music performances, followed by an opportunity to try some local rice wine.

Things to do:

6

Hue

After breakfast, you’ll make the three-hour journey back to Hanoi and fly to Hue. This historic city was home to the powerful Nguyen Dynasty between 1802 and 1945 and is renowned for its UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Imperial Citadel. Settle into your hotel before embarking on a foodie tour by Vietnamese cyclo, where you’ll taste Hue’s world-famous cuisine, derived from its former royal feasts. Try everything from Banh Beo, steamed rice dumplings, to Bun Bo Hue, a delicious, herby beef vermicelli soup. Overnight at the Pilgrimage Village.

Things to do:

7

Hue

Explore Hue’s wonders today by bike, or cyclo if you prefer. Discover the nearby village of Thuy Bieu, which is filled with wooden architecture typical of the region, built with Feng Shui principles. You’ll have lunch at a village home and visit Nguyen Dynasty landmarks like a Colosseum-style arena, as well as learn about rural crafts and enjoy a soothing herbal footbath. The trip ends with a dragon boat cruise to Hue on the Perfume River, stopping along the way to admire iconic Thien Mu Pagoda and to see the grand Imperial Citadel. Overnight at the Pilgrimage Village.

Things to do:

8

Hue & Hoi An

Before leaving Hue, you’ll visit the decorative tomb of former emperor Khai Dinh, which boasts a fusion of European and Asian architecture. On the drive up the coast to Hoi An, you’ll traverse Hai Van, known as the Pass of the Ocean Clouds, which is one of Vietnam’s most scenic stretches of road, offering sweeping views of the coastline. The rest of the day is yours to wander UNESCO-listed Hoi An, a port town with a blend of French colonial buildings, Chinese temples and Vietnamese tubular houses which date back to the 16th century. Overnight at La Siesta Hoi An Resort & Spa.

Things to do:

9

Hoi An

Head 40 kilometres from Hoi An to visit the Champa Kingdom’s capital, My Son. Set in a green valley, this settlement was inhabited by the Champa people from the 7th to 13th centuries and is filled with temples and red-brick towers. Back in Hoi An, you’ll spend the afternoon wandering this prosperous former seaport, which is famed for its skilled local tailors who can sew you a custom-made outfit. Top sites include the 400-year-old Japanese bridge and Fukien Assembly Hall. There’s even a chance to visit a family-run shop, where you can make your own lantern. Overnight at La Siesta Hoi An Resort & Spa.

Things to do:

10

Kon Tum

Drive the Ho Chi Minh road into Vietnam’s cool central highlands, stopping for lunch at a local restaurant. Your final destination is the charming capital of this remote province, Kon Tum, where the last, bitter battles of the American War were held. Today, visitors use Kon Tum as a base for trekking and excursions to nearby villages belonging to communities like the Bahnar, Sedang and Gieh Trieng. Visit the town’s museum and French colonial buildings, which include Catholic churches established by 19th-century missionaries, who sought to convert the local people to Roman Catholicism.

11

Kon Tum

You’ll delve deeper into Kon Tum’s fascinating, diverse culture today, learning about the area’s two most important ethnic groups: the Bahnar (Mon-Khmer) and Jarai (Malayo-Polynesian people). After breakfast, drive to a Jarai village in Yachim, where you’ll meet local famers, visit a coffee and rubber plantation and experience real village life. Lunch in Kon Tum is followed by a visit to the town’s Wooden Church and Catholic Seminary. End the day at Konkotu village, which is home to the Bahnar people.

12

Buon Ma Thuot & Lak Lake

Make the six-hour journey to Buon Ma That, Vietnam’s sprawling coffee capital, stopping for lunch at a local restaurant en-route. From here, your final destination is Lak Tented Camp, which sits on the banks of the country’s largest lake and is surrounded by thick forests. This area is home to M’nong villagers who live in longhouses and make a living fishing and farming crops like rice, coffee and avocados. Explore the camp independently and watch a M’nong gong performance followed by dinner at Y Lak restaurant.

Things to do:

13

Lak Lake

Spend the day experiencing Lak Lake’s natural beauty with a trek to a hidden waterfall. Accompanied by a local M’nong guide, you’ll learn all about life in this unspoiled region, passing thriving plantations and dense forests. Cool off in the clear waters of Bim Bip while your guide prepares a lunch of BBQ pork and rice cooked in bamboo shoots. In the afternoon, you’ll spend some time at Yangtao Village, where you’ll meet an elderly artisan who creates pottery from dark river clay and a matriarch who runs a cacao and avocado farm.

Things to do:

14

Lak Lake & Ho Chi MInh City

Wake early to watch the magical sunrise over Lak Lake, where fishermen trawl the waters in dugout canoes. After breakfast, there’s time to take a guided tour of a M’nong village before lunch. The afternoon will be spent driving back to Buon Ma Thuot, where you can take in the cultural displays at Daklak Museum. Continue to Akothon, the first Ede Village, en-route to the airport for your flight to Ho Chi Minh City, where you’ll head straight to the Fusion Suites.

Things to do:

15

Ho Chi Minh City

Uncover some of Vietnam’s war history at Cu Chi, home to an infamous, 120-kilometre network of claustrophobic tunnels used by Viet Cong soldiers in the American War. The history theme continues back in HCMC after lunch, with a visit to the harrowing War Remnants Museum and Independence Palace. On a lighter night, spend the evening on a Vespa food tour with a local guide. You’ll get to visit local areas of the city and taste HCMC’s top dishes, from BBQ seafood to spring rolls and a Banh Mi sandwich. Overnight at the Fusion Suites.

Things to do:

16

Ho Chi Minh City & Departure

Your Vietnam tour comes to an end this morning. After breakfast, you’ll have some final leisure time before the transfer to HCMC airport.

Holiday Budget
Guide price information

Low Season (land only)*

1st May to 30th September

£3,875

High Season (land only)*

1st January to 30th April & 1st to 31st October

£3,959

Alfred & Siobhan Henderson

Siobhan has been with Kuoni for over 11 years and is passionate about all things travel, particularly when it comes to South East Asia. Having travelled the region extensively, from Cambodia  to Japan, Vietnam and many countries in between, Siobhan now shares her expert knowledge of the region as the Alfred& Product and Sales Manager. One of Siobhan’s most memorable travel moments was reaching the top of Heaven’s Gate while leading a charity trek to the Great Wall of China in aid of Cancer Research UK.
Siobhan Henderson

Alfred & our Vietnam holiday experts

Freephone an expert

01306 744 656