All tours are not created equal. If you are searching for great value on an excellent tour that includes top rated boutique lodging, we strongly recommend that you take the time to read the detailed itinerary below.
Day 0: Depart from the United States. You can make your own International flight reservations, in which case arrival and departure transfers can be reserved with your guest relations manager, who is assigned to you after you book your tour - no surcharge applies. You can also choose to use flights booked through Easy Tours as part of your complete package.
We strongly recommend that our guests consider arriving a day earlier, as this allows you to recuperate from jetlag, and serves as insurance against international flight delays and cancellations. Even if your flight is not delayed, and jetlag does not affect you, this allows you to explore fascinating Hanoi on your own.
An additional night hotel stay at Hanoi can be added as part of the process as you reserve your tour. If you are arriving a day earlier, your airport to hotel transfer will be provided a day earlier.
Day 1: Arrive in Hanoi. You are greeted at the airport and ushered to a vehicle. You are then driven to your iconic luxury hotel where you will check-in.
Located on the banks of the Red River, Vietnam's capital is a stylish and gracious city that retains a unique old-world charm and has some of Asia’s most striking colonial architecture. Hanoi is one of the world’s most fascinating cities to explore on foot, and the street food scene is vibrant and extremely diverse.
Your historic luxury hotel is the only such lodging in this city. It has an enviable location in the iconic Old Quarter of Hanoi, and major attractions, great restaurants, cafes and bars, as well as the vibrant street scene, are just a few steps away, but not in any way intrusive. Hanoi’s Old Quarter is always abuzz with activity, and has an amazing energy that is near impossible to resist.
Day 2: Hanoi. Start your exploration of Vietnam’s capital with a visit to the Temple of Literature. Built in 1070 as a Confucian temple, this complex became Vietnam’s first university six years later. Among other things, on display are many large stones carved in the shape of a turtle bearing inscriptions of the names of all of the graduates of the university over many centuries. It is common to see local students here in school groups throughout the year, and large groups of them are here dressed in their finest during graduation periods. Walk around the complex and its gardens and explore several temples housing beautiful statues of the university’s founders and greatest scholars.
Next up is the impressive Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum complex. This site is highly revered by the North Vietnamese, and consists of several structures, including Uncle Ho’s (Ho Chi Minh) modest house on stilts, and of course the iconic mausoleum itself. This granite structure stands prominently above the parade area and grandstand at a height of 70 feet and is surrounded by meticulously maintained lawns and gardens. Please note that we do not view the preserved body of Ho Chi Minh, housed inside, as this requires a 45 minute (minimum) wait in line, and no photos are allowed. Next to the mausoleum is the breathtakingly beautiful Presidential Palace, built between 1900 and 1906 as the French Governor General of Indochina’s residence. The Palace is not open to the public, but you can stop here for a photo opportunity of the front left profile of the structure, as well as its beautiful gardens. Ho Chi Minh refused to live in the palace and had a simple home on stilts built in the gardens, which you will walk through to admire its simplicity and austerity.
Return to your boutique hotel for an afternoon at leisure.
Day 3: Hanoi. Start your day in the mid-morning and you will now see parts of Hanoi as very few others do. You will visit a real Hanoi district, seldom experienced by foreigners. You will feel like you have steeped back in time, into the 1960’s when Hanoi was a quaint capital populated mostly by modest workers. Wander around these narrow alleys covered in colorful market stalls, observe the locals as they go about their daily lives - you will experience Hanoi as only the locals do.
After lunch you will enjoy a cyclo (pedi-cab) ride around the Old Quarter. These ancient narrow streets are bustling with people and shops. Just like in ancient times, each street has its own specialty, including jewelry, shoes, clothes, leather, lacquerware, and much more.
Your ride ends at Hoan Kiem Lake in the city center. The small urban lake is also known as The Lake of the Restored Sword, and the area surrounding it is Hanoi’s cultural center. Visit Ngoc Son Temple, situated on a small island in the photogenic lake, and observe the fascinating rituals that take place here - the devout visit it throughout the day.
In the early evening comes a fascinating performance of Water Puppetry, where Easy Tours guests will enjoy preferred seating. The Thang Long Puppet Theatre is Hanoi’s most famous because of the quality of the performers, and it is located on the banks of Hoan Kiem Lake, across from Ngoc Son Temple. This art form, which is unique to North Vietnam, originated in the 11th century. The combination of indigenous music, small fireworks and the colorful wooden performers, as well as the accomplished musicians visible in the gallery, makes this spectacle a great introduction to North Vietnamese culture.
After the performance, you will enjoy a short walk by the charming lake to your hotel, walking around the locals as they dine on street food, an activity that is omnipresent at night all over the Old Quarter. The Vietnamese take street food to a whole new level, even by Southeast Asia standards. - locals are everywhere, in Hanoi and in Saigon, occupying sections of the pedestrian walkways, parks, and all other areas, enjoying the wares of small street stalls - it has to be experienced to be believed.
Day 4: Hanoi - Haiphong - Ha long Bay Orchid Cruise. Check-out from your hotel in the morning, and then you are driven 1.5 to 2 hours to Haiphong, a significantly shorter drive than to Ha Long. If you so desire, you can leave your baggage with the bell desk at your hotel, and carry an overnighter for your cruise. Upon your arrival you will join your fellow cruise travelers in a reception area where refreshments will be served. After a while you will be assisted in boarding your small luxury cruise ship.
The entire bay is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the world’s most spectacular seascapes. The water is relatively calm on the bay, and the scenic beauty is characterized by a vast area that is full of lush hills jutting out of the ocean.
Once aboard, you will check in and get settled into your ocean view balcony cabin. Begin enjoying the amazing views from the upper decks as you cruise toward the center of the bay. A buffet lunch is served shortly after the cruise begins.
Your cruise will visit some of the main attractions of Ha Long Bay that are also visited by all other boats, but it will also spend quite a bit of time where most other cruises don’t go, in stunning locations that are a little off the beaten track. You will have various excursions available during your cruise, including options to canoe, swim, explore amazing caves, and there will be a full schedule of activities on the ship that you can participate in. Excellent Vietnamese and western cuisine options will be served throughout the cruise.
Day 5: HaLong Bay - Hue. Wake up to stunning views and then proceed for a light breakfast, after which you have the option to enjoy the morning’s scheduled excursion. Return after the scheduled morning excursion, and a full brunch will be waiting for you. The boat now begins its leisurely cruise back to the dock, giving you plenty of time for more relaxation and photography.
Check out of your cabin and you are met by your guide and driver at the dock. You are then driven to Hanoi airport to board your flight to Hue, The City of Mist. Easy Tours is at a loss about the fact that tour operators actually fly guests to Da Nang, which is about 2.5 hours away from Hue, as opposed to being able to fly directly to Hue on Vietnam’s best, and only full service, airline. They then repeat 80% of the same drive as they head to Hoi An next.
You are greeted at Hue airport and you are driven to your art deco historic riverfront resort for check-in. Your resort was the residence of the French Resident Superieure in times past, and your room has a view of the Perfume River.
Hue is widely known for its magnificent monuments built under the Nguyen Dynasty (1802 - 1945), and also famous for its amazing food, as well as its unique conical hats. The monuments that you will visit here, collectively, make up one of Vietnam’s eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This honor was bestowed on the city in 1993 due its reputation as such a fine example of an eastern feudal capital.
Day 6: Hue. You day will start in the late morning with a visit to the mausoleums of King Tu Duc (ruled 1848 - 1883) and King Khai Dinh (ruled 1916 - 1925). The monuments, designed by the kings themselves, were also used as holiday retreats during their lifetime.
After this visit, continue your tour with a visit to the Royal Citadel. The sprawling complex of palaces, fortifications and pagodas was, in its day, virtually impenetrable. The tour of the Imperial City features monuments such as the Flag Tower, Noon Gate, Nine Dynastic Urns, Nine Holy Cannons, Thai Hoa Palace (Palace of Supreme Harmony), and the Forbidden Purple City.
After this you will enjoy a short guided walk through older parts of Hue, including a busy market located next to the river. Unlike Hanoi and Saigon, Hue’s lifestyle is much more relaxed, and your experience this late afternoon will be evidence of that.
You are driven back to your boutique hotel after the tour.
Day 7: Hue - Hoi An. You will check-out and depart at 11 am for the scenic 3.5-hour (approximately) drive to Hoi An. Some of this drive is through coastal fishing villages, and much of it is one of Southeast Asia’s most spectacular roads, where you straddle the Pacific Ocean with amazing views on one side, and lush green hills on the other.
Your lunch will be a ocean front restaurant at a fishing village called Lang Co, which is also home to a spectacular beach.
At the highest point of the journey after lunch you will have a breathtaking view of the Pacific, and on the other side a gorgeous view of the modern city of Da Nang and its bay. You will drive through the outskirts of Da Nang as you head towards Hoi An, and a brief photo opportunity stop will be at the beach zone that was a favorite for American soldiers during the Vietnam war, immortalized in the television series China Beach.
Arrive in Hoi An in the early afternoon and you will check-in at your top-rated boutique hotel. Please note that the Hoi An hotels located anywhere near the ancient seaport do not match the luxury of the big cities, but your hotel and your rooms are upscale enough, and you are located a short walk from the ancient town, so that you can choose to walk there in the evenings and experience the lights and activity on your own. We are perplexed by tour operators who lodge their guests at ocean front resorts far away from Hoi An - the small ancient seaport is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its reputation as the best-preserved ancient seaport in Southeast Asia. Our resorts location allows you to walk back to the UNESCO seaport at any time that you want, including to dine in one of the boutique riverfront restaurants, bars, and café’s. For those wanting the highest level of luxury in their lodging, we can quote an upgrade to the Four Season’s Nam Hai, an ultra-luxury ocean front resort that is a 10 to 15 minute drive to the ancient seaport.
Unlike other tour operators, Easy Tours does not like to have its guests in the ancient town during the late morning and early afternoon as it gets really crowded and noisy due to a large influx of tourist bus groups from Da Nang during this time.
In the late afternoon you will begin your discovery of the ancient seaport with a guided walk through the Japanese and Chinese Quarters of the tiny town. One of the highlights is the much adorned and photographed Japanese Bridge, after which you will visit a number of temples, pagodas, communal houses, traditional shops and other places of interest in the small town. You will be escorted to your nearby hotel after this exploration. Those who want to continue exploring the ancient town Hoi An on their own this evening can choose to stay in the town. You can also return to the ancient town to dine there after freshening up; it is an enjoyable the short walk through the interesting Vietnamese town that surrounds Hoi An.
Day 8: Hoi An. My Son Sanctuary Excursion OR Jack Tran Farming & Fishing Tour. You have three options for the first part of this day.
Option 1: Stay in Hoi An. You can enjoy your lodging and return to charming Hoi An town with your guide at a time of your choosing.
Option 2: My Son Excursion. Join your guide for an excursion to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of My Son Sanctuary. These remarkable structures lie about an hour away from Hoi An, and the structures go back as far as the 4th Century. It is one of the most important examples of Hindu influence in Southeast Asia. Although largely in a state of ruin today, My Son is often compared with other historical temple complexes in Southeast Asia, such as Angkor Wat of Cambodia or Ayutthaya of Thailand. You'll be given a brief introduction to Cham history and culture, and its Hindu influence, and then will visit the remains of the carefully-crafted red brick temples replete with beautiful monuments and epitaphs.
Return to the Hoi An area and you will enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, after which you are at leisure for a couple of hours at your resort.
Option 3. Jack Tran's Ecotours / Farming & Fishing Life.
Location: Local Farming & Fishing Villages
Departure Time: 8:00am
Duration: 6 hours - bicycle (or scooter "XE OM") and Jack Tran's boat
This is a join-up tour that provides you with a close-up and intimate exposure to both the local farming and fishing communities. Accompanied by a Jack Tran tour guide, you commence the day leisurely cycling along country roads witnessing local Vietnamese rural life first hand, discovering all manner of photo opportunities - coming and visiting a beautiful organic vegetable village, watering and planting vegetable, hoeing a soil with local farmer, riding a water buffalo in a rice paddy field; seeing ducks swimming along the rice farm or farmers tending their crops. The photo opportunities are endless. As well you will experience the friendliness of the local people greeting you along the way. Later you will board our Jack Tran's boat for a river cruise to meet and engage with local fishermen and enjoy a hands-on experience of traditional net fishing. You will also experience paddling the unique Vietnamese bamboo basket boat while the waterways of coconut palm paradise. This tour provides you with a cultural window into the ways of life of both our farming and fishing communities.
- You will be picked up at hotel by Jack Tran's guide and Jack Tran's driver on a mini-van and then you will be transferred to Jack Tran's bike station in the countryside to start your biking route
- Cycle to a local farming village traveling along picturesque country roads. If you don't wish to ride bicycles, please use our scooter "XE OM"services (a chauffeur driven scooter!) for an extra $6, payable on the spot
- Share in the daily work life of local farmers - hoeing and a soil, watering veggie at an organic herb garden, riding water buffalo in the field and enjoy the freshest air of the countryside beauty.
- Board the Jack Tran's boat and cruise to the mouth of the river where it meets the Cua Dai Sea
- Learn and try your hand at local traditional fishing techniques using round and cast nets
- Learn to paddle the strange and unique Vietnamese bamboo basket boats.
- Explore the now tranquil coconut-palm flanked waterways of a past war and hear of the extreme conditions endured by soldiers on both sides
- Back on-board our Jack Tran's boat, enjoy lunch and a cold beer or soft drink
Return to hotel by Jack Tran's mini-van
Bamboo Platform Dining Experience: At 4:30 PM your guide will escort you to the banks of the river. You will be assisted in boarding the Hoi An regions iconic basket boats for a short cruise. After a few minutes you will arrive at your destination - a large floating bamboo raft, situated on a beautiful secluded part of the river, far from the crowds of the historic city, and surrounded by tropical nature. Butlers and other staff will feed you unique local cuisine and fresh vegetables. At the end of the evening, you will return to your hotel, at about 8 PM.
Day 9: Hoi An - Da Nang - Saigon. Check-out of your resort in the mid-morning and you are driven to Da Nang airport where you will board the noon flight to Saigon. Upon arrival, there is a break for a late lunch, after which you will proceed directly into the countryside, north of the city toward your destination; Cu Chi. This area is famed for its elaborate network of over 200 kilometers of three-story underground tunnels hand-dug by local people during the Vietnam War. You have the option to experience climbing down into a tunnel and crawling around to get a taste of how the North Vietnamese lived during the latter part of the war. This excursion is a unique opportunity to see one of the most amazing aspects of the Vietnam War as you imagine years of people’s lives being lived underground. There are displays of weaponry that was used, as well life size statues of the North Vietnamese soldiers depicting the lives they lived.
You are driven back to Saigon where you are assisted with check-in at Vietnam’s most luxurious hotel, the Reverie, ranked as Saigon’s top hotel. You are in the heart of Saigon’s downtown, and restaurants, bars, shopping are right at your doorstep, as are historical structures such as the Opera House.
Located near the mouth of the Mekong, this city was once nothing more than swampland inhabited by a few Khmer people. Today it is Vietnam’s largest and most metropolitan city, with its new official name - Ho Chi Minh City. The city of over 9 million people is a prototypical large Asian city with an impressive modern skyline overlooking busy streets filled with motorbikes, culture and street food.
Day 10: Saigon. You will start your day in the mid-morning with a visit to the Reunification Palace. This was the headquarters of the United States supported South Vietnamese government, and has been left largely as it appeared on the day the Viet Cong’s tanks crashed through the gate and claimed victory for the North. The original furniture, equipment rooms, and war rooms remain untouched, all the way down to the rotary phones on the desks and strategic maps on the walls. The large structure and it grounds, surrounded by the city, serve as a fascinating time warp back to the early 1970’s. Next, enjoy a visit to the beautiful colonial building housing the Central Post Office, with its amazing collection of almost a century old western telegraph, and other, machines. This is an active place of business, and the gorgeous antique interior includes wooden phone booths and counters that the locals will be standing at while buying services.
After lunch you will enjoy a walk-through Saigon, including the famous shopping street of Dong Khoi. The walk starts at Notre Dame Cathedral and leads you to the Municipal Theater, after which you are driven to your spectacular hotel to enjoy the facilities for a few hours.
Brewery and Local Dining Experience: In the evening you will join your guide for a short walk to Pasteur Street, to the most famous craft beer taproom in Vietnam. Meet the brewer, learn about the marriage between this western practice and local ingredients, and sample several brews. You will then walk a little further to a nice outdoor restaurant located on the rooftop of an old apartments block. Dinner will be a diverse assortment of delicious Vietnamese home cooking favorites, and your hosts and guide will answer any questions that you may have about the ingredients and flavors of the dishes being offered.
Day 11: Saigon - Siem Reap. You are at leisure in the first part of the morning to explore the fascinating area around your hotel on your own. This part of Saigon is a visual and sensory delight throughout the day. You are assisted with check-out just before noon and taken to the highest rated upscale Vietnamese restaurant in Saigon, Vietnam House. After lunch you are driven to the airport to board your flight to Siem Reap.
Arrive in Siem Reap. You are greeted at the airport by a Travel Facilitator and ushered to a chauffeur driven vehicle. You are then driven to your beautiful resort and assisted with your check-in. Your resort is located within a short and easy walk to the old market, as well as popular Pub Street with its many food outlets. Inexpensive tuk-tuks are also easily available.
Day 12: Siem Reap . Rising before dawn, proceed for your exploration of the Mother of all temples, Angkor Wat. Believed to be the world's largest religious building, this temple is the perfect fusion of symbolism and symmetry and a source of pride and strength to all Khmers. Built in the 12th century by King Suryavarman II, this is most famous temple at Angkor. Arrive at the monument as the sun rises and then proceed into the great structure to discover its intricacies, as described by your guide. This is the best time to visit Angkor Wat because it is the least crowded during the early morning, and watching the sunrise over the awe-inspiring complex is an experience not to be missed.
After exploring Angkor Wat you are driven back to the hotel for breakfast and some time to freshen up.
In the late morning you will explore the immense walled city of Angkor Thom ,which was the masterpiece of King Jayavarman VII. Following the occupation of Angkor by the Chams from 1177 to 1181, the new king decided to build an impregnable fortress at the heart of his empire. The scale is simply staggering, and you will be awed by the achievement of King Jayavarman as you enter the city’s gates. The causeway is lined by an intricate bridge depicting the Churning of the Ocean of Milk from Hindu mythology in which the Devas (gods) and Asuras (devils) are engaged in tug of war with a Naga (seven-headed serpent) to obtain the elixir of immortality. Begin your visit at the Terrace of the Leper King. This intricately carved platform was the royal crematorium and the statue that was originally thought to be the leper king is now believed to be Yama, the god of death.
We continue along the Terrace of Elephants, originally used as a viewing gallery for the king to preside over parades, performances and traditional sports. At the southern end lies the Baphuon, once of the most beautiful temples at Angkor, dating from the reign of Uditayavarman 1 in the 11th century. It has undergone a massive renovation by the French and is now once again open for viewing.
Then proceed to the enigmatic and enchanting temple of the Bayon. At the exact center of Angkor Thom, this is an eccentric expression of the creative genius and inflated ego of Cambodia’s most celebrated king. Its 54 towers are each topped off with the four faces of Avalokiteshvara (Buddha of Compassion), all of which bear more than a passing resemblance to the king himself.
After lunch you will visit mystical Ta Prohm, which has been abandoned to the elements, a reminder that while empires rise and fall, the riotous power of nature marches on, oblivious to the dramas of human history. Left as it was ‘discovered’ by French explorer Henri Mouhout in 1860, the tentacle-like tree roots here are slowly strangling the surviving stones, man first conquering nature to create, nature later conquering man to destroy. This was one of the settings for Lara Croft’s adventures in “Tomb Raider”.
Complete your exploration of this section of Angkor’s wealth of monuments with a visit to another temple that makes you feel like you have traveled back in time - Preah Khan. This large temple is left unrestored for the most part and is a fascinating maze of narrow passageways and windows that each offers their own unique view into the past.
Day 13: Siem Reap. You can enjoy your beautiful resort this morning, or you can join your guide for a scenic 1.5-hour drive through the Cambodian countryside to the amazing temple complex of Beng Mealea. If you choose not to make the journey to Beng Mealea, you will leave your resort after an early lunch (or you can leave just before noon and dine outside the hotel), and head directly to Banteay Srei.
Guests who prefer not to climb a little over uneven terrain, and step over fairly large fallen artifacts, may want to forego the morning visit to Beng Mealea. Although recent improvements have made getting around the Beng Mealea structures easier, this complex does require some physical effort, mainly due to the thousands of fallen pillars and other structures that are strewn all over the complex, and have to be climbed over.
Arrive and start your guided exploration of this massive early 12th century complex. Although much of the area is in ruins, there is a lot that is still in good condition, and some of the trees and vegetation have intermingled with the structure to create a sight that is unmatched by other similar monuments in Southeast Asia. Due to its distance from Siem Reap, this surreal complex attracts significantly less tourists than Angkor Wat and the temples in the city of Angkor Thom.
From Beng Mealea you will head to the Banteay Srei Temple Complex, another one of the more amazing temple complexes in all of Cambodia. Although it attracts more visitors than Beng Mealea, it is still uncrowded when compared to the main complexes in the Siem Reap Region. Banteay Srei is another Cambodian temple dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva, and, at more than a thousand years of age, it is older than almost all of the more significant in the Siem Reap Region. Constructed from hard Red Sandstone, this complex is a study in detail – it is small when compared to the main complex’s structures in Siem Reap, or even the Beng Mealea Complex, but its intricacy of amazing original sculpture, especially the detailed figures of Hindi Gods and Goddesses, including voluptuous and beautiful Apsaras, has to be viewed so as to appreciate talent of the ancient artists that created this masterpiece. Some parts of this temple, more so than in other Angkor Region monuments, are replicas due to theft over the last few decades, before adequate protection was added.
From Banteay Srei you will head back to your resort in Siem Reap.
Day 14: Siem Reap - International Flight. You are at leisure in the morning to enjoy the facilities at your resort or explore Siem Reap on your own. You are assisted with check-out at noon, and after breaking for lunch you are driven to the airport to board your international flight. Your departure for your international flight can be facilitated based on your international flights timing, but your check-out is required by noon. Those with flights departing in the late evening or very early morning of the next day can ask us to add an additional night’s hotel stay. If your departure is in the middle of the evening, you can leave your bags at the bell desk and enjoy the old market or Pub Street until it is time for you to return to your hotel, from where you will be picked up for your airport transfer at a pre-arranged time. If you used Easy Tours services for your international flights, we will factor the above when recommending flights to you.
Our services end at the Siem Reap airport.
* Breakfast daily
* Lunch on Day 9
* All meals on HaLong Bay
* Unique Floating Dinner on Bamboo Platforms on the river in Hoi An
* Gourmet Brewery Visit in Saigon
* Vietnamese Delicacy Sampling Dinner in Saigon
* Flexible Activity Choices in Hoi An
* Top Rated water Puppet Show in Hanoi
* Ground transportation via upscale private vehicles
* Representative for assistance on departure / arrival transfers per the itinerary
* Services of the best guides as per the itinerary
* Applicable monument entrance fees as per the itinerary
* Bottled water during sightseeing
* Hotel accommodation as listed above
* All Boat Fees/Fares per the itinerary
* International travel unless you opt for the flight as part of your tour
* Any expenses of a personal nature, such as tips, laundry, phone calls, drinks etc.
* Meals other than those specified on itinerary
* Travel insurance, visas, etc.