The Best Luxury Small Group Tour of Vietnam


Private Tours

Day 1: Arrive in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Arrival Details. Your arrival and departure transfers can be reserved with your guest relations manager, who is assigned to you after you book your tour. You will be met by an Easy Tours Travel Facilitator or your Accompanying Vietnam Tour Director Guide. You are then driven to your top-ranked boutique hotel and assisted with your check-in - available starting 3 PM. The Peridot Grand Hotel is located in the heart of the iconic Old Quarter, and offers a unique blend of artistic design and contemporary comfort. The small hotel’s beautiful décor, exceptional service, and comfortable, well-appointed rooms, combined with its enviable location near major attractions, great restaurants, cafes and bars, as well as the vibrant street scene, make for a great introduction to Hanoi.

Sunset in Hanoi

Sunset in Hanoi

Early Arrivals. 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. An additional night’s lodging can be added as part of the process as you reserve your tour. If you are arriving a day earlier, your private airport to hotel transfer will be provided a day earlier.

About Hanoi’s Old Quarter. Hanoi is one of the world’s most fascinating cities to explore on foot, with an exceptionally vibrant street food scene, and its Old Quarter is always abuzz with activity and has an amazing energy that is near impossible to resist. Located on the banks of the Red River, Vietnam's capital retains a unique old-world charm and has some of Asia’s most striking colonial architecture.
(Overnight – Peridot Grand Hotel)

Day 2: Hanoi. (Breakfast, Lunch & Welcome Dinner)

Temple of Literature. Start your exploration of Vietnam’s capital with a visit to the Temple of Literature. Built in 1070 as a Confucian temple and school, this complex became Vietnam’s first university six years later. Multiple courtyards, water tanks, temples, and unique architecture are what you will notice first. A unique sight here is 82 large stone slabs (with large tortoise shaped bases of stone) that have the names and other details of doctoral laureates of the university from 1442 to 1779. It is common to see local students at the temple 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.

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. 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 recommend viewing the preserved body of Ho Chi Minh, housed inside, as this requires a 45 minute (minimum) wait in line, and no photos are allowed.

Presidential Palace Hanoi

Presidential Palace Hanoi

Presidential Palace. Next to the mausoleum is the 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.

Old Quarter Walk. Return to the old quarter and break for lunch. After lunch you will experience a guided walk through the fascinating historic enclave. When Hanoi was much smaller, this area was the residential, commercial, and manufacturing hub. Each street was dedicated to locals practicing a particular trade, and this practice has continued until today, except the fact that there are far more street food outlets and cafes, adding even more color to an already fascinating sight. Your Tour Director Guide will walk you through streets such as Hand Dong Street (copper wares street) Hang Tre Street (bamboo wares street), and so on. Many of the streets still have temples, pagodas, and communal structures from old times.

Hoan Kiem Lake Bridge to Ngoc Sun Temple

Hoan Kiem Lake Bridge to Ngoc Sun Temple

Welcome Dinner with Vietnam Orientation and Cocktails Event: This evening you will enjoy a short walk through a different part of the fascinating Old Quarter to one of Hanoi’s top-ranked boutique hotels. The elevators will take you to the rooftop bar area from where there is a charming view of Hani and Hoan Kiem Lake. While you enjoy a cocktail, your expert Vietnam Connoisseur Guide will give you an orientation of Vietnam and its culture, and things that you will experience during your exploration. Next you will be escorted to the excellent restaurant on the floor below you (also with a great view) and here you will enjoy a delicious dinner. As with most of your meals while you are in Southeast Asia with us, delicious options between local specialties and western cuisine are available.
(Overnight – Peridot Grand Hotel)

Day 3: Hanoi. (Breakfast and Lunch)

Museum of Ethnology. You'll be driven to West Hanoi to visit the Museum of Ethnology, a remarkable institution dedicated to the diverse ethnic cultures of Vietnam. This unique museum features expansive indoor and outdoor spaces, curated to offer a comprehensive exploration of the country's cultural tapestry. Inside, you'll find an extensive collection of artifacts, including traditional clothing, tools, musical instruments, and household items, each telling the story of the various ethnic groups that call Vietnam home. The outdoor area showcases full-scale replicas of traditional dwellings, including stilt houses and communal halls, providing an immersive experience into the architectural styles and living conditions of these communities.

Citadel of Thang Long (UWHS). Explore the Citadel and the historic colonial administration district. The Citadel of Thang Long, Hanoi's former name, offers a journey through 13 centuries of history. Already a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in 2002 an extensive excavation unveiled relics and cultural layers that you will also enjoy today. Begin at the iconic Flagpole, proceed through the central Kinh Thien Palace, and continue to the Revolutionary House D67, which served as the meeting room for the Politburo and Central Military Commission during the resistance against the US.

Hanoi’s Most Beautiful Avenue. Enjoy lunch at a charming restaurant nestled deep in a narrow alley of this old colonial district. After lunch, take a short walk along Hanoi's most beautiful avenue, Phan Dinh Phung, passing the Cua Bac Church and along the walls and gates of the Thang Long Citadel. The walk concludes at the Dong Xuan Market, the largest in the old quarter.

Electric Buggy Ride. Take an electric buggy ride around the Old Quarter and the iconic Hoan Kiem Lake. Your ride ends at your hotel, where you can take a break.

Lake of The Restored Sword. In the afternoon, you'll visit Hoan Kiem Lake, also known as The Lake of the Restored Sword, and the Ngoc Son Temple, perched on a small island within this picturesque lake. As you cross the iconic red wooden bridge to the temple, you'll observe the fascinating rituals performed by the devout locals. They visit throughout the day to pay respects, offer incense, and make prayers. You might see people lighting candles, burning joss sticks, and presenting offerings of fruit and flowers. The air is filled with the scent of incense and the soft murmur of prayers, creating a serene and spiritual atmosphere. The temple itself, dedicated to General Tran Hung Dao, a national hero, is adorned with intricate carvings and statues, reflecting Vietnam's rich cultural heritage.

Water Puppetry. 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.

Old Quarter Night Walk. After the performance, you will enjoy a short walk to your hotel by the charming lake, walking past the locals as they dine on street food, an activity that is omnipresent at night all over the Old Quarter. By now you will start realizing that the Vietnamese take street food to a whole new level, even by Southeast Asia standards – people eating are everywhere, occupying sections of the pedestrian walkways, parks, sometimes taking over parts of the roads after sunset, enjoying the wares of scores of small street stalls.
(Overnight – Peridot Grand Hotel)

Day 4: Hanoi – HaLong Bay. (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)

Drive to Ha Long - Start Cruise. Check-out from your hotel in the morning, and then you are driven to an island off the coast of Ha Long. 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 top-ranked luxury vessel. This is one of the newer cruisers on the bay and you will be in a beautiful balcony cabin on the upper deck with wonderful views.

Halong Bay Arial View

Halong Bay Arial View

HaLong Bay. The entire bay on this coast of Vietnam is one of the world’s most spectacular seascapes, resulting in it being listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The water is very calm on the bay, and the scenic beauty is characterized by a vast area that is full of lush limestone (karst) hills jutting out of the ocean. Your cruise will cover parts of Ha Long Bay and Lan Ha Bay and you will visit some of the main attractions, but you 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.

Excursions and Activities. You will have various excursions available during your cruise, including options to kayak, swim, visit floating villages, and a lot more, and there will also be a full schedule of activities on the ship that you can participate in. Excellent Vietnamese and western cuisine options will be served throughout your cruise. Lunch is served shortly after the cruise begins.
(Overnight - Paradise Grand Cruise)

Day 5: Ha Long Bay – Hue. (Breakfast and Lunch)
Cruise, Excursion, & Disembark
Wake up a little early to stunning views and then enjoy breakfast, after which you have the option to experience this 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 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 chauffeur at the dock.

Flight to Hue. You are then driven to Hanoi airport to board your flight to Hue, The City of Mist. From Hue Airport you are driven to your art deco historic riverfront resort for check-in. By far Hue’s best lodging option, it was the residence of the French Resident Superieure (Governor) in times past. Time Magazine listed this hotel in its best hotels in the world in 2019, and the resort has received countless other awards. We use the larger Deluxe Rooms as the standard Superior Rooms are a little small.

Perfume River

Perfume River

The City of Mist. Hue is 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. Unlike Hanoi and Saigon, the city has a relaxed vibe, and evening walks by the Perfume River, and the delightful cafes that are found here, are highly recommended. The monuments that you will visit here make up one of Vietnam’s eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This honor was bestowed on the city in 1993 since it is such a fine example of an eastern feudal capital.
(Overnight – Azerai La Residence)

Day 6: Hue. (Breakfast and Lunch)
Royal Mausoleums.
Your day will start in the morning with a visit to the impressive mausoleum of King Tu Duc (ruled 1848 - 1883). Close by is the next attraction, the unique mausoleum of King Khai Dinh (ruled 1916 - 1925). These ornate and colorful monuments, designed by the kings themselves, were also used as holiday retreats during their lifetimes.

Mausoleum of King Tu Duc's

A Courtyard at King Tu Duc's Mausoleum

Old Town Walk. Next you will enjoy a guided walk-through older part of Hue, including a busy market located next to the river. The market is teeming with local vendors selling a variety of goods, from fresh produce to handmade crafts. The air is filled with the aroma of exotic spices and the sounds of lively bargaining. People are bustling about, some buying, some selling, and some just enjoying the lively atmosphere. There are also local artisans displaying their crafts, including the traditional Hue hats. The river provides a serene backdrop to this lively scene, with small boats gliding gently along the water.

Imperial City. After a lunch break you will continue your exploration with a visit to the Royal Citadel. The sprawling complex of palaces, fortifications and pagodas was, in its day, virtually impenetrable. The tour of this 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.
(Overnight – Azerai La Residence)

Day 7: Hue – Hoi An. (Breakfast and Lunch)

Scenic Drive to Hoi An. Embark on a scenic 3.5-hour (approximately) drive to Hoi An. Some of this drive is through coastal fishing villages, and much of it is on 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. At the highest point of the journey, you will have a breathtaking view of the Pacific, and on the other side a 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.

Inland to Hoi An. Arrive near historic and charming Hoi An in the early afternoon, in time for a slightly late lunch at a very nice beachfront restaurant. After lunch, you will be driven inland for about 15 minutes and assisted with your check-in at your top-ranked boutique resort. Although the Heritage town of Hoi An is an ancient seaport, it is now about 3 miles from the coastline as the crow flies. Easy Tours uses the highest rated and top-ranked lodging in Hoi An, and the boutique lodge is located within Hoi An and is a very short walk or drive from the UNESCO Site.

Location and Comfort. You will be staying in a beautiful Verandah Suite in the more exclusive and relatively new Club Section of the lodge, and the services and cuisine are among the best you will experience anywhere in Southeast Asia. A leisurely 10-to-15-minute walk, 3-minute taxi ride, or a 5-minute bike ride (complimentary at your resort) can bring you to the ancient town in case you want to return there at any time during your stay. Although the food at your lodge is excellent, we also recommend the extremely charming French inspired riverfront restaurants and cafes in the ancient town for dinner this evening.

Hoi An

Hoi An

Hoi An (UWHS). Hoi An is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as the best-preserved ancient seaport in Southeast Asia. Easy Tours prefers not to take our guests to the ancient town during the late morning and early afternoon as, during those hours, it gets really crowded and noisy due to a large influx of tourist bus groups from the large Da Nang casino resorts. We begin your discovery of the ancient seaport in the late afternoon with a guided walk through the Japanese and Chinese Quarters of the tiny ancient town. One of the highlights is the beautifully crafted and much-photographed Japanese Bridge. You will also visit a number of temples, pagodas, communal houses, traditional shops, and other places of interest in the small town.

Evening in Hoi An. You can either head back to your resort in the early evening, or, those who want to continue experiencing the ancient town this evening can then have dinner at one of the delightful cafes and restaurants located on the river – the better restaurants have a distinctly French ambiance.
(Overnight – La Siesta Resort & Spa)

Day 8: Hoi An. (Breakfast and Lunch)
My Son Sanctuary Excursion.
Join your Tour Director 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 you will visit the remains of the carefully crafted red brick temples replete with beautiful monuments and epitaphs.

My Son

My Son

After an introduction of Cham history and culture (and its Hindu influence) during your drive, you will arrive at the ancient site. My Son served as the capital of the Champa Kingdom and the site contains over 70 temples and structures built from the 4th to the 14th century. These temples were constructed using fired brick and stone, showcasing sophisticated Cham engineering and artistry. The temples are adorned with intricate sandstone bas-reliefs depicting scenes from Hindu mythology and Cham history​. The temples are noted for their unique construction technique, which involves using a plant-based resin as mortar, making the structures remarkably durable and weather-resistant.

Return to Hoi An and break for a late lunch in the wonderful ancient town of Hoi An. After lunch you are driven to your nearby resort for leisure until the evening entertainment. Guests who want to explore more of the ancient town can choose to return on their own during the afternoon.
 
Hoi An Memories Show. A little after 7 PM you are escorted to the ancient city for a wonderful outdoor cultural performance, held on an island on the Thu Bon River. You have upgraded seating at the show which covers 400 years of Hoi An's history through five distinct acts performed by over 500 actors. It takes place on a 270,000 square foot stage designed to resemble the ancient town of Hoi An, complete with elaborate sets, merchant ships, and even a rolling elephant. Visitors are taken on a journey through time, witnessing Hoi An's transformation from a rural village to a vibrant trading port. The narrative is driven by the visual and emotional impact of the performances rather than dialogue, making it accessible to all audiences.
(Overnight – La Siesta Resort & Spa)

Day 9: Hoi An – Da Nang – Saigon. (Breakfast, and Lunch on Flight)

Fly to Saigon. Check-out of your resort in the morning and you are driven to Da Nang airport, crossing the charming Dragon Bridge on the way. You are assisted in boarding the noon flight to Saigon. Upon arrival at Saigon Airport, you are driven to Cu Chi, located in the countryside north of Saigon. 

Cu Chi Tunnels. 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 soldiers (Viet Cong) lived during the latter part of the war. There are displays of weaponry that was used, as well as life-sized mud likenesses of the North Vietnamese soldiers depicting the lives they lived.

District 1. After this experience you are driven to Saigon where you are assisted with check-in at your hotel in the heart of Saigon’s downtown (District 1). The Lotte Saigon is a highly rated contemporary luxury hotel, and your rooms have a great view of the Saigon River. Restaurants, bars, and shopping are right at your doorstep, as are historical structures such as the Opera House.

Saigon. For those interested, dinner and/or a drink is recommended at the Saigon Saigon Rooftop Bar at the nearby upscale Caravelle Hotel – this is the spot where American correspondents such as Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw and Peter Jennings received their daily war briefing and it was their favorite watering hole during that time. Both the food and the drinks are very good.

Nursery on Canal

Nursery on Canal

Ho Chi Minh City. 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 official name, but most everyone still calls it Saigon. The city of over 9 million people is a prototypical large Asian city with an impressive modern skyline overlooking busy streets overflowing with, for western visitors, chaotic scooter, motorcycle and other traffic.
(Overnight – Lotte Hotel Saigon)

Day 10: Saigon. (Breakfast and Lunch)
Reunification Palace.
You will start your day in the 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.

Travel Back Half a Century. In the middle of the crowded city, this large structure and its vast grounds are a fascinating time warp taking you 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 century old western telegraphs 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.

Central Post Office. After lunch you will enjoy a walk-through Saigon, including the famous shopping street of Dong Khoi. Your guided walk will begin at the Saigon Central Post Office, a stunning example of colonial architecture with its ornate facade and grand interior. This post office is not just a place for mail services; it's a historical landmark, showcasing French colonial influences and featuring a large portrait of Ho Chi Minh.

Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame Cathedral. From the post office, you'll stroll next door to Notre Dame Cathedral, another architectural marvel. This Romanesque cathedral, with its twin bell towers and red brick facade, is a serene oasis amidst the bustling city. It's a revered place for local worshippers but is currently under multi-year renovation and entry is not permitted.

Dong Khoi Street. A leisurely walk leads you down Dong Khoi Street, a vibrant and bustling thoroughfare in the heart of Saigon. This street is a mix of old and new, with luxury shops, charming boutiques, and historic sites. Along Dong Khoi Street, you'd experience the dynamic pulse of the city, with the blend of colonial-era buildings and modern establishments. This street has a lively atmosphere and is a great place to absorb the local culture. Throughout the walk, you'd witness the blending of historic and modern elements, showcasing Saigon's rich history and its rapid development. It's a journey that offers insights into the city's past and present, making it an unforgettable experience.
(Overnight – Lotte Hotel Saigon)

Day 11: Saigon – International Flight. (Breakfast and Lunch)

War Remnants Museum. You are assisted with your check-out in the morning and a short drive will bring you to the War Remnants Museum. We do not recommend this museum to guests who might get upset by gruesome war photos, descriptions, and exhibits. Also, please bear in mind that the atrocities exhibited are those attributed to American soldiers, during what Vietnam calls the American War. For those that want to forego the museum, you can enjoy your spectacular hotel until the mid-morning or explore surrounding District 1 on your own.

Ten Thousand Buddha Temple. In the mid-morning you will be driven to this unique Temple in District 5 of Saigon. Although Vietnam is not a Buddhist nation, this unique temple draws locals for prayer and tourism. The temple features beautifully carved wooden altars, granite staircases, and detailed reliefs that depict various Buddhist tales and figures. The decorations include golden gilt carvings and vibrant paintings of Guanyin and other deities​. The central attraction on the fourth floor is a large Buddha statue surrounded by 10,000 smaller Buddha statues creating a mesmerizing visual experience for visitors. This main hall is a sight to behold with its intricate decorations and serene atmosphere.

After lunch you are driven to the airport where your Vietnamese Tour Director Guide will bid you farewell after assisting you with your check-in. Additional Services such as lodging extensions, and/or transfers, can be arranged with your U.S. based Guest Care Specialist after tour reservation.
Our services end at Ho Chi Minh Airport.



 

Lodging

Hanoi Peridot Grand Hotel – Junior Suite
HaLong Bay Paradise Grand Cruise – Executive Grand Balcony Cabin
Hue Azerai La Residence - Deluxe Room
Hoi An La Siesta Resort – Verandah Suite Club Wing
Saigon Lotte Hotel Saigon – Deluxe River View Room

Inclusions

Accompanying Country Connoisseur Guide for Airport Assistance on all in-country flights
Breakfast and Lunch Daily except for arrival day
All meals on HaLong Bay
Ground transportation via upscale vehicles
Representative for assistance on departure / arrival transfers per the itinerary
Services of the best English-speaking Accompanying Country Connoisseur Guides
Applicable monument entrance fees as per the itinerary
Bottled water during sightseeing
Hotel accommodation as listed above
All Boat Fees/Fares per the itinerary

Not Included

International travel except countries on your Easy Tours Journey
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.

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