8 day Classic Vietnam Tour
per person sharing
plus taxes of R 6130 pp *
Day 01: Arrival Hanoi Upon arrival at the airport and after clearing the immigrations and customs, meet with your guide and embark on your comfortable vehicle for transferring to your hotel for check in. (Early check-in is not included)
Accommodation: in Hanoi (The regular check-in time for all hotels is 2.00pm. Early check-in is subject to availability)
Day 02: Hanoi - Halong bay (160km - approx 3,5 hours driving)
***Note: All Museums close on Mondays & Fridays, all afternoons from 10 September until 10 December for annual maintenance (some years to be closed earlier) With ochre-colored colonial buildings, tree-lined boulevards and scenic lakes, Hanoi is full of charm.
Start the tour at the historic Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (closed on Mons & Fris, all afternoons and from Sep 10 until Dec 10 for annual maintenance, some years to be closed earlier); his stilt house. A short walk from the mausoleum is the lotus-like shaped One Pillar Pagoda - resting on a single stone pillar emerging from the water. Check out of the hotel and enjoy a cyclo ride through the old quarter past the Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son temple to a local restaurant for lunch. Visit the History Museum and drive to Halong Bay (165 km east of Hanoi). Halong Bay is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Area of outstanding natural beauty. "Dragon descending to the sea" as it is known in Vietnamese, picturesque Halong Bay has more than 1,500 limestone islets rising from the sea, many of them containing beautiful grottoes.
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch
Accommodation: in Halong Bay
Day 03: Halong - Hanoi (by road) Enjoy a relaxing 4 hours boat trip through Halong Bay with a fresh seafood lunch prepared and served on board (please let us know if you do not eat seafood) Cruise around the islands, relaxing and swimming before returning to Hanoi. In the evening we attend a performance of water puppetry, a traditional art form dating back to the 11th century and have some free time to explore Hanoi.
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch
Accommodation: in Hanoi
Day 04: Hanoi - Da Nang on VN309 @ 12:15/13:30 (Economy class - TOI book) After breakfast, free at transfer to the airport for flight to Da Nang. Upon arrival, meet guide and visit Marble Mountain. Then drive to Hoi An and enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, afterward you will check in to your hotel. The rest of the day is leisure
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch
Accommodation: in Hoi An
Day 05: Hoi An / Da Nang - Hue Between 17th and 19th centuries, Hoi An was a prosperous trading port. Today, this World Heritage-listed ancient town boasts well-preserved buildings, pedestrianized streets and unique cuisine, allowing visitors a glimpse of its illustrious past. The narrow lanes are ideal for a walking tour to visit the old merchant's house with influences from Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese architecture; the 400-year-old Japanese Covered Bridge; the Assembly Hall of the Chaozhou Chinese Congregation with outstanding wood carvings; and the colorful market with stalls brimming with tropical specialties including silk, which can beturned into fashionable garments within a day. An optional stop, subject to availability, is the private home of Diep Dong Nguyen with a stunning collection of artifacts ranging from pottery, seals, paintings, money to old Hoi An's photos. You can explore the rest of the ancient city by yourself for the remainder of the day. Drive back to your hotel for check-out at 12:00 noon and have lunch at a local restaurant. Then, we will continue to depart Da Nang for Hue via the Cloudy Pass Hai Van cloudy pass where a spectacular panorama of the central coastline can be viewed from the summit. We stop en route at the wonderfully photogenic fishing village of Lang Co located on a sand dune line for photo opportunity. Arrive in Hue, check in hotel and leisure.
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch
Accommodation: in Hue
Day 06: Hue - Saigon on VN257 @ 19:10/20:30 (Economy class - TOI book) Hue served as an imperial capital to the Nguyen Lords, a feudal dynasty which reigned from the 17th to 19th century. With splendid emperors' tombs, ancient pagodas and the remains of the Citadel, the city retains its Royal charm. Start the cultural integration with your guide from your hotel to the Imperial Citadel. Take a stroll to explore the history and architecture around the Capital Citadel (the bastion), Royal Citadel (the sanctum), and the Forbidden Citadel (the royal family's residence). From there, drive to the boat docking station, where you will embark on a half-hour boat trip on the picturesque Perfume River to visit Thien Mu pagoda, Hue's best-preserved religious monument. Standing on the riverbank with its seven-storey tower, the pagoda is a sight to behold. Drive back to your hotel for check-out at 12:00 noon. After enjoying Lunch at a local Restaurant, drive out 30 minutes to the serene Tu Duc Royal Tomb, designed to blend in with the natural surroundings. An incense stick making house makes for an interesting stop before heading to the elaborate Khai Dinh Royal Tomb, architecture and atmosphere showcase elements of eastern art and western designs. Then transfer to the airport for flight to Saigon. Upon arrival, meet guide and transfer to your hotel. Late check out is not included
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch
Accommodation: in Saigon
Day 07: Saigon Enjoy a 2-hour-drive north west of Saigon to Cu Chi tunnels, through urbanized areas and a typically lush southern Vietnamese countryside. The tunnel complex was dug in 1948 for the guerrillas to hide from French air and ground sweeps. It was also served as communication routes and food and weapon caches as well as hospitals and living quarters for guerrilla fighters throughout the American war. Visit the underground villages to better understand the tunnels' history, life in the tunnels and the Vietnamese's resilience during the combats. Return to Saigon. Have lunch at a local restaurant Continue to visit Saigon, with more than 8 million inhabitants, is the country's commercial centre. Despite the well-documented hustle and bustle, the city retains its connections to the past. Embark on a walking tour to admire Saigon's historic landmarks including a stroll down Rue Catinat of Graham Greene's ' The Quiet American' will reveal more colonial classics; the Opera House, a three-story classical theatre built to entertain the French colonists (outside visit); the former Hotel de Ville constructed for the French bureaucrats of Indochina in 1901, now The People's Committee building with no public access; the Notre Dame Cathedral, a stunningly massive red-brick edifice with twin spires, a clear reminder that French once ruled this city (open only 3-4pm everyday ot herwise just outside visit); the Central Post Office influenced by Renaissance architecture; and the former Presidential Palace, headquarters of the Saigon Government during the American war.
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch
Accommodation: in Saigon
Day 08: Saigon - Departure After breakfast, free at leisure until check out hotel at 12:00 noon and transfer to the airport for your onward flight.
End of service! (The regular check-out time for all hotels is 12.00pm. Late check out is subject to availability)
- Return flights from Johannesburg
- Travel Bag
- 3* Vietnam Classic Tour 7 nights/ 8 Days
- Accommodation with daily breakfast
- 4 Hour cruise (Join-in, not private)
- Private Transfers and transportation on tour
- Sightseeing with local English speaking guides (one guide in each city)
- Entrance fees and private boat rides
- Water puppet show (1st class ticket)
- Meals as specified (meals only, no drinks/water) Airfares: HAN-DAD, HUE-SGN (Economy class with airport tax) Cold towels and water on sightseeing days.
- Airport taxes of approximately R 6130 per person (subject to daily change)
- Airport assistance service
- Drinks / water at included lunches and dinners
- Other flights
- Hotel early check-in / late check-out
- Overweight luggage
- Seperate luggage truck
- Personal expenses
- Port charges
- Fuel supplements
- Gratuities and tips
- Shore excursions
- Laundry or Valet services
- Items of a personal nature
- Travel and medical insurance
- Visas where applicable
- Meals not mentioned
- Other services not listed
- Prices per person are from a starting price, based on a minimum of 4 persons sharing
- Prices are subject to change due to airfare increases, currency fluctuations and availability.
- Valid for dates specified.
- Please note that airport taxes, fuel levies & surcharges are approximate and subject to change, the exact amount will be confirmed at time of booking.
- Operator terms & conditions apply. E & OE.
Vivid colours, bolder landscapes, dramatic coastlines, compellint history, life in the fast lane...welcome to Vietnam, the latest Asian dragon to wake from its slumber. Vietnam has been blessed with a bountiful harvest of soaring mountains, a killer coastline and radiant rice fields. Inland, peasant women in conical hats still tend to their fields, children ride buffalos along country paths and minority people scratch out a living from impossible gradients.
It is a nation of determined optimists who have weathered war after war, survived colonialism and communism, and are now getting to grips with the wheeler-dealer world of capitalism. Fiercely protective of their independence and sovereignty, the Vietnamese are graciously welcoming of foreigners who come as guests not conquerors.
The richness of Vietnam's origins is evident throughout its culture. Spiritual life in Vietnam is a grand panoply of belief systems, including Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Tam Giao (literally 'triple religion'), which is a blend of Taoism, popular Chinese beliefs, and ancient Vietnamese animism.
The most important festival of the year is Tet, a week-long event in late January or early February that heralds the new lunar year and the advent of spring. Celebration consists of both raucous festivity (fireworks, drums, gongs) and quiet meditation. In addition to Tet, there are about twenty other traditional and religious festivals each year.
Vietnamese architecture expresses a graceful aesthetic of natural balance and harmony that is evident in any of the country's vast numbers of historic temples and monasteries. The pre-eminent architectural form is the pagoda, a tower comprised of a series of stepped pyramidal structures and frequently adorned with lavish carvings and painted ornamentation. Generally speaking, the pagoda form symbolizes the human desire to bridge the gap between the constraints of earthly existence and the perfection of heavenly forces. Pagodas are found in every province of Vietnam. One of the most treasured is the Thien Mu Pagoda in Hue, founded in 1601 and completed more than two hundred years later. In North Vietnam, the pagodas that serve as the shrines and temples of the Son La mountains are especially worth visiting. In South Vietnam, the Giac Lam Pagoda of Ho Chi Minh City is considered to be the city's oldest and is notable as well for its many richly-carved jackwood statues.
As a language, Vietnamese is exceptionally flexible and lyrical, and poetry plays a strong role in both literature and the performing arts. Folk art, which flourished before French colonization, has experienced a resurgence in beautiful woodcuts, village painting, and block printing. Vietnamese lacquer art, another traditional medium, is commonly held to be the most original and sophisticated in the world. Music, dance, and puppetry, including the uniquely Vietnamese water puppetry, are also mainstays of the country's culture.
Shopping in Vietnam is a fun and interesting experience, and guarantees good bargains to those who know what to look for. It is true to say that you can find nearly anything in Vietnam. Markets vary from high class shopping malls, supermarkets to bustling open market, galleries, boutiques and street stalls.
It is not recommended that you buy imported, famous branded products such as clothing, perfume or electronics in Vietnam as tax makes these items more costly than neighboring countries. In terms of shopping for tourists, Vietnam is most famous for its handicrafts, war souvenirs, authentic clothing, art, antiques and gems.
Vietnamese dong (VND) is the official currency in Vietnam.
Notes: 500d, 1000d, 2000d, 5000d, 10,000d, 20,000d, 50,000d, 100,000d, 200,000d and 500,000d. Now that Ho Chi Minh has been canonised (against his wishes), his picture is on every banknote.
Coins: 500d, 1000d and 5000d. The second currency is the US dollar and that needs no introduction.
Credit Cards: Visa, MasterCard and JCB cards are now widely accepted in all major cities and many tourist centres. However, a 3% commission charge on every transaction is pretty common; check first, as some charge higher commissions than others.
Car & motorbike - The relative affordability of vehicle hire makes the latter a popular option. Having your own set of wheels gives you maximum flexibility to visit remote regions and stop when and where you please.
Bus and Tram - there are regular bus service that connects even the remotest areas of the country.It is very cheap but the emphasis is on economy not comfort
Train - these modes of transport offer a more relaxing way to get around and more room than the jam-packed buses. The trains are also considered safer than the country’s kamikaze bus fleet.
Taxis - In the major cities the easiest method of transport are taxis. Most are relatively new models of car and are air-conditioned
Vaccinations: The only vaccine required by international regulations is yellow fever.
Nationality Requires Visa
European Union Yes
South African Yes
When it comes to weather, it’s a tough call, as Vietnam’s climate is so diverse. Think frosts and occasional snow in the mountains of the north, and temperatures soaring to 40°C in the south during the dry season.
Vietnam’s weather is dictated by two monsoons, meaning double trouble on the rain front. The winter monsoon comes from the northeast between October and March, bringing damp and chilly winters to all areas north of Nha Trang, and dry and warm temperatures to the south. From April or May to October, the summer monsoon brings hot, humid weather to the whole country except for those areas sheltered by mountains. For the best balance, we’d vote for the months of April, May or October. For those sticking to the south, November to February is dry and a touch cooler. From July to November, violent and unpredictable typhoons hit central and northern Vietnam, which can dampen the spirits of even the most enthusiastic traveller.
It gets pretty crowded from November to March and in July and August during high season. Domestic tourists are a major force now and they tend to travel in numbers during July and August as well. Prices peak over the Christmas and New Year period, and if you don’t fancy sharing the sites with the masses, try to avoid this busy time. May, June and September are usually the quietest months.
Some travellers like to time a visit with Tet (Vietnamese New Year), the biggest festival in the calendar, which falls in late January or early February. It’s a nice idea in principle, but not in practice, as the whole country is on the move and prices rise dramatically. Transport is crammed in the runup and aftermath, the Reunification Express shuts down during festivities, and most shops and businesses are closed for the best part of a week.
Best time to visit:
September to December or from March to April.