The fascinating history, colorful cultures and flavorful cuisines along the South China Sea are worthy of years of exploration. But if you can’t dedicate your life to exploring the intricacies of Vietnamese culture, this sprawling, Saigon-to-Hanoi tour comes as close to an epic crash-course as one can hope for.
On a full-day city tour of Saigon (aka Ho Chi Minh City) you’ll get a good dose of history and culture at produce markets, Taoist pagodas, history museums and a leisurely stroll past some of the city’s most iconic colonial buildings. Then, discover the floating markets of the Mekong Delta at Cai Be, a riverine town surrounded by lush rice paddies.
In Hoi An and Hue, beautifully preserved architecture and monumental ruins of ancient dynasties will transport you to centuries past when Hue was an imperial seat and Hoi An was a vibrant merchant stop on the South China Sea trade route. From there, you’ll indulge in an overnight cruise in Halong Bay, where 2,000 limestone islets jut out from turquoise waters in an oceanic dreamscape.
Finally, in Hanoi, you’ll live the life of a sophisticate, touring the shores of Hoan Kiem Lake and window shopping down the narrow alleys of the “Old Quarter.” Stops for delicious Vietnamese coffee are of course always on the agenda. Before your scheduled transfer to Noi Bai Airport, you’ll have visited all the highlights of Vietnam.