The Real Experience of Vietnam 12 Days

The Real Experience of Vietnam 12 Days


B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, G = Guide, GP = Guide pick-up, DP = Driver pickup


This tour combines sightseeing together with a unique opportunity to get your hands in the soil and your heart in the soul of Vietnam, staying with the locals and experiencing the rural reality of their lives up close.


Day 1: Arrive Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

post officeOn arrival at Tan Son Nhat airport in Ho Chi Minh City, you’ll be welcomed by our guide and transferred to your hotel. In the afternoon, enjoy a performance of traditional Water Puppetry (an art form unique to northern Vietnam, and an interesting, light-hearted introduction to s rural culture). This is optional. Overnight Saigon.

Day 2: Saigon/My Tho/Ben Tre/Vinh Long  (B, L, D, G)

After an early breakfast, at about 8 o’clock, travel to My Tho. On arrival, embark on a boat cruise on the Mekong River to Xep canal, where you’ll disembark and walk along a small village road to visit a dried Longan factory, fruit gardens and orchards. Then take a ride in a horse cart for about 2km to Quoi Son Village to visit local beekeeper farms. Sample some of the area’s tropical fruits, watch a traditional music show and ride on a sampan through the small canals before lunch. In the afternoon, drive further to Vinh Long and stay overnight in a family house.

Day 3: Vinh Long/Can Tho (B, L, G)

bridgeIn the morning, enjoy a bicycle ride along the zigzag road, passing villages, orchards, ancient houses and many bridges - some quite small and narrow. Later, take a boat ride to a traditional family-run brick kiln, and other traditional cottage industries - a workshop making huge coffins unique to the Mekong is particularly interesting. In the afternoon, drive to Can Tho to spend the night.

Day 4: Can Tho (B, G)

floating marketThe day begins with a cruise to Cai Rang floating market on the Mekong Delta – both the journey and the market will provide deep insight into the Mekong rural lifestyle. The rest of the day will be free for relaxation. Overnight in Can Tho.

Day 5: Can Tho/Ho Chi Minh City/Danang/Hoi An (B, G, GP in Hoi An)

After breakfast, free at leisure until time to drive back to Saigon airport for flight to Danang. On arrival, drive to Vuon Trau Family Resort in Hoi An.

The name Vuon Trau Family Resort was derived from its location, which is ideally situated on 3000 square metres of unspoiled tropical gardens, featuring more than 700 trees and a complex of bungalows intermingling with nature. The Resort is landscaped with several unique species of areca and betel trees, and furnished with selective Vietnamese products of silk, wood, and natural ceramics.

Day 6: Hoi An/From Farmer to Fisherman Tour ½ day (B, L, G)

rice fieldsThe day starts with a cycle ride through the countryside, passing by rice paddy fields, water buffalos, bamboo bridges and local farmers at work. Then enjoy a boat ride to the mouth of the Thu Bon estuary where the river meets the Cua Dai Sea and cruise along the coastline observing the lives of the local fishermen.

Try your hand at catching fish in a traditional ‘Thung Chai’ basket boat, while meandering through the water palm coconut canal. During the American War, Viet Cong soldiers made use of this area as a highly effective hiding place from enemy attacks. Following an insightful visit to a local fishing village, relax and enjoy a fresh seafood lunch before cycling back to the hotel.

basket boatThung Chai Basket boats, similar in style to coracles in use throughout the ancient world,are widely used throughout Central Vietnam, and are highly suited to the local terrain and lifestyles of local fishermen due to their relative light weight and portability,often doubling as a carrier for various handy items. Circular and constructed of bamboo and tarred for waterproofing, these small boats can typically carry up to five people, and represent a fun-filled opportunity to touch the authentic rural soul of Vietnam. As a precaution, life jackets are provided for your safety during this excursion.

Day 7: Hoi An free (B)

hoi anToday enjoy a leisurely and relaxed day to explore Hoi An, strolling in the town, lazing on the beach, or whatever takes your fancy. Overnight in Hoi An.

Day 8: Hoi An/Danang/Hanoi (B, DP)

After breakfast, free at leisure until time to drive to Danang airport for the afternoon flight to Hanoi. On arrival be met by our guide, who will transfer you to your hotel. Relax and overnight in Hanoi.

Day 9: Hanoi city tour by motorbike and street food (B, L, G)

temple of literatureToday enjoy and adventure by exploring Vietnam’s capital city on the back of a motorbike. Visit the Temple of Literature, the first university in Vietnam dating back to the 11th century, and a popular attraction, as is Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, his simple stilt house where he lived and worked and the museum dedicated to his memory. After that, visit the bustling Old Quarter with its eclectic mix of architectural styles - traditional ‘tube’ houses, religious buildings, colonial houses, vernacular dwellings and modern concrete edifices.

noodle dishThe day also includes a ‘Street Life’ experience, also on the back of a motorbike. You’ll spend a couple of hours wandering around the back streets in and nearby the Old Quarter. A street food brunch is included – take your pick from a variety of traditional Vietnamese cuisine. In the late afternoon, go to south Hanoi by bus to experience local life and Vietnamese coffee in a tucked-a-way café. Overnight in Hanoi.

Day 10: Visiting Bat Trang ceramics village by buffalo cart/Quan Ho show (B, L, G)

ceramicsToday enjoy a half day visit to Vietnam’s premier ceramics centre in detail. The road to Bat Trang runs alongside the river. It’s about 15km east of Hanoi and famous for making fine ceramics. Escape the busy tourist area on a buffalo cart to the old part of the town where you can stroll through the narrow streets to watch the manufacturing process and meet the crafts people. If you’re interested, your guide will take you to a ceramic factory where you can try your hand at creating a ceramic product. Later return to Hanoi for lunch.

After lunch, drive to Tam Tao village to enjoy its traditional Quan Ho music performed by villagers in the commune house. The singers have been officially designated as part of Vietnam’s ‘living heritage’ by UNESCO. In the late afternoon, return to Hanoi and overnight.

Bat Trang is misnamed as a village, in reality it is a small town where the northern end is very commercialised specialising in glazed ceramic artefacts while the riverside ‘ancient’ village leans more towards earthenware and pottery products. There’s also a large ceramics market with many small businesses selling a wide variety of items.

Day 11: Hanoi free day (B, D, GP)

Today enjoy a free day to explore Hanoi at leisure.

In the evening, dinner will take place in a family restaurant situated in a small alley in the Old Quarter of Hanoi. The owner, who will be preparing your food, is a talented cook. Then Overnight in Hanoi.

Day 12: Hanoi departure (B, DP)

After breakfast, free at leisure until time to transfer to Noi Bai airport for your departure flight.

End of itinerary


Our prices include:

● Breakfast and accommodation sharing a twin or double room.

● Pick-ups and transfers by private air-conditioned vehicle as specified in the itinerary above (Please note: pick-ups will be by a guide and driver or, where a guide is not necessary, a driver only. All unaccompanied drivers will be briefed in advance, and will carry a mobile phone to ensure smooth transfer arrangements)

● Domestic flight tickets: Ho Chi Minh City – Danang; Danang – Hanoi including airport tax

● Boat cruises as specified in the programme.

● Travel in an appropriate private air-conditioned vehicle with an experienced safe driver.

● The services of experienced English-speaking guides as indicated in the itinerary (please note: guides will be on hand from pick-up until guests’ return to their hotel or final destination during tours). Free days or part days will not include the services of a guide unless requested and included in the final itinerary.

● Where necessary, entry fees for all visits as mentioned in the programme.

● Lunches and dinners (as specified in the itinerary) in the best local restaurants, or picnics where no suitable restaurant is available.

● VAT and other taxes

● Visa approval letter to pick up at the airport (please pay directly US $ 25.00/ pax more at the airport for visa stamp)


Our prices do not include:

● International flight tickets and airport tax.

● Dinners, except as specified above.

● Drinks, gratuities and personal expenses.

● Camera fees (if any)

● Insurance.

● Any other items not specified as included.


Hotel list for Superior standard:

● Ho Chi Minh City: Rex Hotel (**** in the heart of the city – Premium room at New Wing)

● Vinh Long: Home stay in a local family beside a canal

● Can Tho: Victoria Can Tho Resort (**** best hotel in Can Tho, colonial architecture on the bank of Hau River - Superior Room)

● Hoi An: Vuon Trau Family Resort (unspoiled tropical garden, landscaped with several unique species of areca and betel trees – Bungalow )

● Hanoi: Silk Path Hotel (**** conveniently located in Hanoi’s ‘Old Quarter’, about a ten-minute walk from Hoan Kiem Lake – Silk Deluxe room)


Hotel list for Mid-range standard:

● Ho Chi Minh City: Elios Hotel (*** city centre – Superior room)

● Vinh Long: Home stay in a local family beside a canal

● Can Tho: Kim Tho Hotel (***comfortable local hotel, conveniently located – Superior room)

● Hoi An: Vuon Trau Family Resort (unspoiled tropical garden, landscaped with several unique species of areca and betel trees – Deluxe room)

● Hanoi: Hanoi Moment Hotel (**boutique hotel conveniently located in the heart of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, a short walk from Hoan Kiem Lake – Deluxe room)

Please note that Vietnam hotels do not recognise provisional reservations, so specific hotels cannot be guaranteed until you have booked your chosen tour. As many of the better hotels are often full during the October to April peak season, early booking is advisable.


If you are interested in the tour above please do contact us for a quote. Prices are based on current exchange rates and can vary depending on your wishes and requirements.