12 days 11 nights
Destinations: Hanoi - Ninh Binh - Cat Ba - Hoi An - Ho Chi Minh city (Saigón)
Day 1: Hanoi
You will be met at the airport and transfer to the hotel, where you can relax. Possibility also to walk around to discover the historical streets of the Vietnamese capital.
Day 2: Hanoi
In the morning, you will entertain yourself with your family by attending a local gastronomy course at a hotel school for underprivileged children. Many of them have been living in the streets of Hanoi and other cities, and this training helps them find a job in hotels and restaurants in the country. Next, explore the old Hoan Kiem district by tricycle-taxi, the traditional means of transport that will take you along narrow roads and picturesque markets. At dusk, you will attend a puppet show on water that will delight children. It is a traditional art form dating from the eleventh century, whose figures, for the most part, are lacquered according to the ancestral techniques of Vietnamese painting. You will be able to enjoy the rest of the night touring the showy old streets of the capital, before returning to the hotel to rest.
Day 3: Ninh Binh - Van Long (breakfast, lunch)
You will leave Hanoi in the morning, after meeting with your guide and driver, to go to the region of Ninh Binh, often nicknamed "the Halong bay on land". In fact, this amazing province can be proud to have a topography similar to that of the famous calcareous sugar loaves of the coast. Here, instead of rising above the sea, these karstic rock formations rise from the emerald green rice fields and sinuous rivers. After two and a half hours of road, you will arrive at the district of Gia Vien and you will go from the car to a bicycle. With it, you will embark on a journey through the rice paddies to head to the nearby Van Long water reserve. On the way, you can stop at the Mai Trung village in order to start rice cultivation and agricultural work carried out locally. Depending on the time of year, you will discover with the farmer that you will receive the way in which the planting, the transplanting, the fertilization, the drainage or the harvest are carried out. Then, you will pedal to a family house whose members will teach you traditional dishes based on rice crackers or fried crabs. Seated with your hosts, you will enjoy the local specialties with another favorite ingredient of the Vietnamese and the rice wine. Then, after lunch, you can challenge one of them at a chess match or continue talking to learn more about their lifestyle. In the afternoon, from the Van Long pier, you will take a short boat trip to the eponymous water reserve. It is the largest marsh area in northern Vietnam, in which it is navigated through poetic landscapes. The jungle-covered hills parade before the eyes and are very photogenic, you can check before saying goodbye to Ninh Binh. You will be back to Hanoi at nightfall, and before resting at the hotel, you will be able to go out with your family to try some small meals, including homemade ice cream.
Day 4: Hanoi - Halong Bay (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
You will leave the capital and its effervescence, taking the route of Halong Bay for approximately four hours. Arriving at the coast, you will board on Mon cheri boat, a beautifully restored luxury junk. You will eat there, admiring the jade green waters of the archipelago. In the afternoon, the boat will take you to one of its secluded areas, ideal for swimming and kayaking around the karst monoliths. You will return to Mon Cheri just in time to watch the sunset from the upper deck, before savoring a dinner of the freshest fish and shellfish in the bay.
Day 5: Halong Bay (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
This morning, you will board a smaller boat to sail towards Lan Ha, in a remote part of the archipelago, where the other cruises do not go. You will make a stop first in the "leaning tower", a place appreciated for climbing, and then a small floating village of fishermen. You will walk through the enclosures of different varieties of fish, shrimp and crabs bred in the bay. You will return to the boat later to go to a quiet place that can be explored by kayak. Later, a delicious meal will be served on board while you will be sailing to the beach. You can dive from the boat and swim to the shores of white sand for sunbathing. Finally, you will return to Mon Cheri, where you will enjoy a drink contemplating the sun falling; and you will be able to do nocturnal fishing, if you like to do it.
Day 6: Halong Bay - Hanoi - Hoi An (breakfast, lunch)
You will wake up well rested, while the ship heads towards Surprise Cave, the largest in Halong Bay. The entrance of the cavity is deceptively narrow, but once crossed, it opens onto a large gallery with impressive calcareous formations. Back to the reed, you will sail to the port of Halong city, arriving around noon and then continuing to Hanoi. Upon arrival in Hanoi, you will travel to the airport for your flight to Da Nang. After a journey of about 40 minutes by car, together you will reach the historic city of Hoi An, an ancient fishing village of the fifteenth century, restored and declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco. Unlike many destinations in the Indochinese country, Hoi An is crossed by pedestrian streets, ideal for quiet strolls with the family, as well as along the Thu Bon River. The local food is particularly exquisite, including dishes made with soups and noodles. You can enjoy the rest of the day and spend the night at your whim, soaking up the fluvial atmosphere with your children, before going to sleep.
Day 7: Hoi An (breakfast, lunch)
After breakfast, you will spend the rest of the day discovering rural Vietnam. The tour will start with a bike ride through the green rice fields, to a nearby town where you can roll up your sleeves and help a farmer during the visit. Back to Hoi An in order to make a short cruise on the river, you will have the possibility of meeting with fishermen to attend a practical lesson on the management of their networks. You will also appreciate how difficult it is, but fun, to paddle in your bamboo-boat baskets. You will return to the hotel later in the afternoon, and if you do not want to go to bed too early, there will be the option of enjoying another walk along the water.
Day 8: Hoi An (breakfast, lunch)
You will get up early with the pleasure of living other exciting moments in bucolic Vietnam. You will climb again on a bicycle to continue discovering the picturesque countryside around Hoi An, pedaling through the rice fields. A stop by Cam Thanh will give you another taste of what local rural life is like. This town became a refuge for the inhabitants and soldiers during the war, and is now famous for its houses with thatched roofs, woven from the leaves of coconut trees in the region. You will spend a little time with a Cam Thanh family, which will allow them to get first-hand information about the lifestyle of the Vietnamese villagers. Then, aboard a bamboo-boat-basket, you will learn to catch crabs with experts from the trade. After a well-deserved rest and having taken a fresh coconut water, you will continue with the bicycle towards Ha Linh lanterns workshop. In the framework of a practical class, several craftsmen will teach you how to make these subtle objects, and will make yours to take home. Then, on the way back to Hoi An, you can enjoy again the enchanting landscape around.
Day 9: Hoi An (breakfast)
You will spend the day exploring Hoi An at your own pace, doing as much or as little as you wish. If going to the beach - located a few kilometers from the center - is not your priority, you may like to follow another cooking class. One option could also be to become an explorer, visiting the ancient ruins of My Son through a day trip. Then, on your last night in Hoi An, you may want to make lanterns float along the river, a "mandatory" rite of passage that your whole family will appreciate.
Day 10: Hoi An - Ho Chi Minh City (breakfast)
The guide will come to the hotel after breakfast for the transfer to Danang airport and the flight to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). Upon arrival, another escort will be waiting to take you to your new home. You will have a refreshing drink and begin the visit through the central District 1, with the magnificent Saigon Opera. It is one of the most emblematic buildings in the city, witnessing the French presence in Indochina. You will see the unforgettable and orchestrated acrobatic show A O Show, showcase of Vietnamese cultures and performing arts. It is in fact a combination of high precision, tradition and modernity thanks to its very talented artists. His folk music and circus choreography make discover something more of the country's customs. For example, with the use of simple accessories, mostly made of wood and bamboo, the serenity of rural Vietnam, the ebb and flow of coastal waves or the frenetic traffic of the streets of Hanoi and Saigon are shown for one hour. This will be one of the most unforgettable experiences of your trip. After the show, you will take a short walk through the grand boulevards of the center of the southern metropolis, heading to the Hoa Tuc restaurant, a true culinary and architectural gem, away from the bustle of District 1. As this establishment is recognized by its kitchen association Contemporary Vietnamese with French colonial style, it turns out to be the perfect place to finish the first stage of your discovery of Ho Chi Minh City. Your family can dine outdoors or between the white walls, whitewashed with elegance, of this old opium refinery. Then, you will return to your hotel to spend a well-deserved restful night.
Day 11: Ho Chi Minh City - Mekong Delta (breakfast, lunch)
You and your family will leave your hotel at 8 in the morning to be driven to the city of Cai Be. You will board the Cai Be Princess, a traditional river sampan, made of indigenous bamboo, wood and wicker. During the French colonial period, boats of this type were an indispensable means of transportation in these swampy areas, because of the poor condition of the roads. Still today, you are very convenient to access the remote communities of the delta. You will meet at the dock of Cai Be at 10 o'clock, with the attentive and friendly crew of the ship. They will provide you with towels and refreshing drinks when you set sail to tour the animated water courses. The traffic and the activities do not stop, in fact, as you can see while the waiters will serve you tea and several fruits in season. Comfortably installed, you can contemplate from the sampán the hectic life on the banks, with its inhabitants and its magnificent landscapes. At one of the stops, you will have the opportunity to visit an old residence dating from the nineteenth century, and also various handcrafted factories of coconut candies and puffed rice (the local equivalent of popcorn). These products provide the population of the river with income necessary to live. Your cruise will end at Le Longanier restaurant, located in a beautiful colonial-style house, where food will be served. With its lush tropical garden and fruit trees, this establishment will give you an idea of how the colon lived during the time of French Indochina. After lunch, at about two thirty in the afternoon, you will take a short walk through a small canal, towards the Ba Bon bridge. Your vehicle will be waiting there for your whole family to go back to Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 12: Ho Chi Minh City (breakfast)
You will bid farewell to your guide and be taken to the airport, with your pleasant stay in Vietnam, to take your flight back home.
- Immersion in the hustle and bustle of Hoan Kiem, the old town of Hanoi.
- The magnificent Halong Bay, one of the seven natural wonders of the world and a world heritage site by UNESCO.
- The walk through the streets of the ancient city of Hoi An, with its banks and lanterns.
- The experience of the urban effervescence of Ho Chi Minh City.
- Accommodations carefully selected, including breakfast.
- Other meals indicated in the program.
- Local Spanish-speaking or English-speaking guide with experience.
- Tours mentioned and transfers in private vehicle with air conditioning.
- Cruises and scheduled trips.
- All internal flights (economy class).
- Admission expenses to the sites included in the circuit.
- All travel insurance
- All services not mentioned above
- Tipping and personal expenses