Day 1: Australia –– Hanoi
Fly out of Australia towards Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. Flights land at Noi Bai International Airport and you will be welcomed by your guide and driver upon arrival. Take the rest of the day to relax at the hotel.
Note: Some flights may depart one day before
Day 2: Hanoi City Tour (B, L)
Step out into bustling Hanoi on a city tour. Some of the sights you can expect to take in include Hoa Lo Prison, the Temple of Literature, West Lake, Tran Quoc Pagoda and Ba Dinh Square. You will also see the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and his former residence. There is opportunity to explore parts of Hanoi’s Old Quarter this afternoon.
Optional: Water Puppet Theatre and Hanoi Foodie Tour
Appreciate traditional water puppet theatre – an art form that is more than 1000 years old – on this excursion. Then sink your teeth into the tastes of Hanoi on a gourmet adventure through the city’s Old Quarter, where you can sample delicacies and bites from street vendors and local restaurants. Additional cost applies.
Note: Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum is only viewable from outside if your visit is on a Monday or Friday, and from 5 Sep. to 5 Nov. due to annual maintenance. Rules regarding dress and behaviour are strictly enforced by staff and guards. Legs must be covered (no shorts or miniskirts).
Day 3: Hanoi – Halong Bay (B,L,D)
A coach takes the group out of Hanoi and towards Halong Bay, one of Vietnam’s most recognisable UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Here, board a traditional Vietnamese junk boat for an overnight cruise in the bay. This experience gets you up close to some of the bay’s smaller islands, caves and grottoes.
Day 4: Halong Bay – Hanoi –– Da Nang – Hoi An (B,L)
Enjoy the morning spent in Halong Bay and disembark the junk at noon. A driver will meet you at the jetty and transfer the group to Hanoi airport for the flight to Da Nang. From Da Nang, there is a transfer to nearby Hoi An.
Note: In the event that sufficient seats are not available for the Hanoi to Da Nang flight, the group will instead fly from Hai Phong.
Day 5: Hoi An (B)
Explore Hoi An on a walking tour this morning to see the pretty streets of this French-influenced town, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Learn about traditional Vietnamese clothing at a local tailor and then enjoy the afternoon as free time.
Optional: Half-Day Cycling Tour to Tra Que Village
Use pedal power to travel through rice paddies and countryside to Tra Que village, located just outside of Hoi An. Many of the herbs and vegetables used by restaurants in Hoi An are sourced from this village, and you’ll have the chance to see the gardens, meet the farmers and learn more about the history of the village. Additional cost applies.
Optional: Fishing Village and Waterway Eco-Tour
Gain insight into the social ways and culture of local life on this experience. You will travel to a local farming village and meet local farmers and fishermen. You’ll also have the opportunity to try your hand at round net and cast net fishing before you learn how to paddle a bamboo basket boat. Additional cost applies.
Day 6: Hoi An (B)
Visit Precious Heritage Art Gallery Museum, a collection of work by French photographer Rehahn that showcases the endangered cultural heritage of ethnic minority groups within Vietnam. There is free time afterwards.
Optional: Half-Day Da Nang Tour
Head to the Ba Na Hills to take in the panoramas of the Quang Nam province. See the famous Golden Bridge, Nine Floor Goddess Shrine, Tombstone Temple, Linh Phong Monastery, and more. Includes lunch. Additional cost applies.
Optional: Evening Cultural Stage Show
Head to the Lune Performing Center Hoi An to see a performance depicting local life. Shows vary depending on time of year. An alternate excursion (determined by day of arrival in Hoi An) is the Hoi An Memories Show. Additional cost applies.
Day 7: Hoi An – Hue (B)
Leave Hoi An today and begin the drive to Hue, stopping off at Lang Co Beach along the way. There is a boat trip to Thien Mu Pagoda, located on the banks of the Perfume River, upon arrival in Hue. Head back into the city to see Kinh Thanh Citadel, a sprawling complex that houses the ruins of this former imperial city.
Optional: Royal Dinner
Dress in traditional Vietnamese garb and feast on dishes previously enjoyed by the royal family. Live music is performed throughout dinner. Additional cost applies.
Day 8: Hue –– Ho Chi Minh City (B)
A transfer takes you to the airport and you board a flight to Ho Chi Minh City. A transfer greets you upon arrival and then the group is whisked into the heart of the city to see its most recognisable landmarks, include Notre Dame Cathedral, Saigon Central Post Office, Reunification Palace and the War Remnants Museum. A trip to bustling Ben Thanh Market caps off the city tour and the rest of the day is at your leisure.
Day 9: Ho Chi Minh City – Mekong Delta (B,L)
Today, enjoy a day trip out of the city and into the Mekong Delta. The first stop is My Tho, where you will jump into a boat and travel along the river to fishing villages and various islands. Visit a working bee farm and local workshops before travelling by horse cart to fruit orchards. Taste coconut candy and see how rice paper is made. Return to Ho Chi Minh City and have the remainder of the day as free time.
Day 10: Ho Chi Minh City – Cu Chi Tunnels (B)
Take breakfast at the hotel before the drive to Cu Chi Tunnels, the most frequented visitor site in Vietnam. This eye-opening excursion offers a look at the history behind this tunnel network and how it was used by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. The group visits a lacquerware factory on the way back to the city, and then enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure in Ho Chi Minh City.
Optional: Hoi An Sense
Enjoy a meal at Hoi An Sense restaurant, a diner that blends cuisine and architecture. Additional cost applies.
Optional: Saigon River Cruise
Board a boat for a scenic cruise along Saigon River as you sample local dishes. Additional cost applies.
Day 11: Ho Chi Minh City –– Beijing
Say goodbye Vietnam and hello China as you fly out of Ho Chi Minh City via connecting city to Beijing. A transfer takes you to your hotel.
Day 12: Beijing (B)
Your introduction to China’s capital city begins in Tiananmen Square. This grand public plaza is named after the gates that stand to the north of the square; the border between it and the Forbidden City. Tiananmen Square is home to the Monument to the People’s Heroes, the National Museum of China and the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong.
Optional: Forbidden City Tour
Cross into the Forbidden City and delve into the history of this mystical site – once only accessible to Emperors and their imperial courts. Additional cost applies.
Optional: Peking Duck Dinner
Feast on a Beijing specialty, Peking duck, for dinner tonight at a local restaurant. Additional cost applies.
Day 13: Beijing (B)
Travel out to the Juyong Pass section of the Great Wall of China. Climb up the Wall’s steep steps and learn about its construction. Continue on to the largest jade exhibition in Asia and look in on artisans working at a cloisonné factory.
Optional: The Golden Mask Dynasty
Catch a performance of the Golden Mask Dynasty, a show that incorporates acrobatics, exquisite costumes and a few surprises. Additional cost applies.
Day 14: Beijing (B)
Tour the Summer Palace today. This site is the largest preserved ancient garden in China and was the former summer resort of emperors. The tour is followed by a visit to a Chinese herbal medicine institute where you can enjoy a relaxing foot massage.
Optional: Hutong Life and Panda House Tour
Clamber into a rickshaw for an excursion around Beijing’s winding hutongs (alleyways). Visit a local family and then continue to the Panda House at Beijing Zoo to see China’s adorable national treasure, the giant panda. Additional cost applies.
Optional: Chinese Kung Fu Show
Enjoy an evening performance that is a mix of Chinese martial arts, dance and high-flying acrobatics. Additional cost applies.
Day 15: Beijing –– Wuxi (B)
Board one of China’s high-speed trains for the journey to Wuxi. Pass by Lake Tai, the third-largest freshwater lake in China, and Nanchang Street, a strip that represents the ultimate juxtaposition of Wuxi’s ancient and modern architecture.
Optional: Jiangnan Dumpling Lunch
Tuck into a traditional lunch that includes xiao long bao, a steamed dumpling filled with soup. Additional cost applies.
Day 16: Wuxi – Suzhou (B)
Visit one of the largest freshwater pearl exhibitions in China before travelling by coach to Suzhou. This elegant city comprises canals, stone bridges and impeccably-maintained gardens. Thanks to its myriad waterways, Suzhou is often called the ‘Venice of the East’. You will visit the city’s Lingering Garden while here.
Optional: Grand Canal Cruise
Voyage along Suzhou’s UNESCO World Heritage Site-listed Grand Canal to take in the surrounding landscape. Additional cost applies.
Optional: Western Buffet Dinner
Finish today with a sumptuous feast of Western fare and cuisine. The buffet is taken at your hotel. Additional cost applies.
Day 17: Suzhou – Hangzhou (B)
Stop off at a working silk-spinning mill to learn how this luxe textile is produced by mulberry-eating silkworms. A coach transports the group to Hangzhou where you will enjoy a boat ride on West Lake, the symbol of the city.
Optional: Impression West Lake
Take in the open-air Impression West Lake performance this evening. This spectacle was created by the director behind the Opening Ceremony at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and takes place on the lake’s surface. Additional cost applies.
Day 18: Hangzhou – Shnaghai (B)
Sip from the cups at a local tea plantation and travel by coach to Shanghai, the commercial epicentre of China. Walk along the Bund to take in the architecture and buildings lining this pretty riverfront promenade. The rest of the day is leisure time.
Optional: Huangpu River Cruise
Take to the Huangpu River on this afternoon cruise and see Shanghai from a different vantage point. Additional cost applies.
Day 19: Shanghai (B)
The only scheduled item on today’s itinerary is a morning visit to the Shanghai Museum. The rest of the day is free time.
Optional: Jin Mao Tower, Xintiandi and Maglev Train Tour
Head up to the 88th floor of the Jin Mao Tower to admire the view from the Observatory Deck. Explore the affluent Xintiandi area and take a ride on the Maglev train, the world’s fastest commercially-operating train. Additional cost applies.
Optional: ERA The Intersection of Time, or SPIRAL
Watch a Chinese acrobatic show tonight. Additional cost applies.
Optional: Shanghai Disneyland
Experience the thrills, delights and rides at Shanghai Disneyland. This activity includes admission to the park and one transfer in each direction. Please note that the return transfer is at a set time and this activity cannot be combined with other optional activities happening on this day. Additional cost applies.
Day 20: Shanghai –– Australia (B)
A transfer takes you to the airport at the appropriate time and you will board your overnight connecting flight on the return journey to Australia.
Day 21: Australia (B)
Arrive home today.