Mountainous northern Vietnam is one of the best places in Asia to visit hill tribe villages and see dramatic mountains covered with terraced rice fields. This tour combines this rural idyll with Vietnam's best urban and small town experiences. Start in the charming capital of Hanoi, Vietnam's artistic and intellectual capital. Explore the fascinating Old Quarter and its hundreds of specialty shops selling silk clothing, lacquerware, embroidered linens, furniture, bamboo, cooking utensils, ceremonial objects and more. Walk around Hoan Kiem Lake, ride a cyclo to dinner, and watch a performance at the famed Thang Long Water Puppet Theater.
Next, board the luxury Victoria Express train bound for remote Sapa, a mountain village near the Chinese border. Visit local markets where hill tribe minorities (including Hmong, Red Dao, Tay, Xa Pho and Giay) trade their goods. View spectacular waterfalls and drive through mountain valleys. Explore the hill station town of Sapa, and visit several villages where the tribes live. During free time, enjoy your mountain chalet hotel, where you can enjoy fondue by the fire, swim, play tennis, and take mountain walks.
Return to Hanoi for two more nights. Tour a food market with a renowned chef, followed by a cooking class. Dine in French colonial villas converted into gourmet restaurants. Enjoy people watching at stylish cafes. Shoping for impressive modern art in the city's many galleries. Also visit Hanoi's main cultural attractions, including the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, his House on Stilts, the One Pillar Pagoda, the Fine Arts Museum and the Temple of Literature.
Next, fly to Danang and stay several days at the luxurious beachfront Furama Resort. Nearby, see ancient sculpture in the Cham Museum or My Son, and tour Buddhist cave temples in the Marble Mountain. Visit atmospheric Hoi An, a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site and riverfront port town crammed with historic homes, tiny museums, cafes, and bustling silk and fish markets.
Fly to the resort town of Nha Trang to spend several days in a secluded private villa overlooking beautiful Ninh Van Bay at the Evason Hideaway Resort at Ana Mandara. Snorkel or dive among the coral reefs in crystal blue waters, hike nature trails, cool off in your private plunge pool, indulge in spa treatments or just relax on the white sand beach and admire the unspoiled mountain and sea views.
Continue to dynamic Ho Chi Minh City, the country's commercial center and home to a growing number of upscale restaurants and shops. Visit Chinatown, the Thien Hau Pagoda, the Reunification Palace , the Opera House and Hotel de Ville. If so desired, also visit the powerful War Remnants Museum. Explore colorful outdoor markets and Dong Khoi Street, the city's main shopping boulevard with shops selling clothes and accessories by new Vietnamese designers, hill tribe crafts, high quality linens and housewares. Try the southerners' strong Vietnamese iced coffee and a banh mi (baguette sandwich). Take a day trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels and watch an unusual, eclectic religious ceremony at the main temple of Cao Daism, a unique fusion of world religions Alternatively, spend the day cruising the narrow canals of the Mekong Delta.
Day 1: Arrive Hanoi Arrival transfer to hotel for overnight stay. Afternoon private city touring. Evening at Thang Long Water Puppet performance
Day 2: Hanoi - Sapa (B,L,-) Free morning at leisure. Afternoon private city touring. Evening board Victoria Express train to Lao Cai
Day 3: Arrive Lao Cai - Sapa (B,L,-) Drive to Sapa for two-night stay. Private touring of local markets.
Day 4: Sapa (B,L,-) Continue private touring of local markets and villages
Day 5: Hanoi (B,L,-) Morning market walk and cooking class. Afternoon private city touring
Day 6: Hanoi - Halong Bay - Hanoi (B,L,-) Private excursion to Halong Bay
Day 7: Hanoi - Danang - Hoi An (B,L,-) Transfer and flight to Hoi An for two-night stay. Afternoon tour of Marble Mountains and Cham Museum or ruins in My Son
Day 8: Hoi An (B,L,-) Enjoy a free day at leisure in Hoian.
Day 9: Hoi An (B,L,-) Free day at leisure and optional tour to MySon Ruines
Day 10: Hoi An (B,-,-) At leisure or optional tour to the former Imperial Capital Hue.
Day 11: Hoi An - Nha Trang (B,L,-) Transfer and flight to Nha Trang for three-night stay.
Day 12: Nha trang (B,-,-): Free at leisure
Day 13: Nha trang: (B,-,-) Free at leisure
Day 14: Nha trang - HCMC (B,L,-) Transfer and flight to HCMC for two-night stay. Afternoon private city touring by cyclo
Day 15: HCMC (B,L,-) Full-day private excursion to Tay Ninh and Cu Chi or Mekong Delta
Day 16: Depart Vietnam (B,-,-) Airport transfer
Remark:P = Person, B= Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner