Highlights of Vietnam and Thailand

21 Days / 20 Nights

  Hanoi - Halong - Hue - Hoi An - Saigon - Mekong - Bangkok - Chiang Mai - Phuket

21 Days / 20 Nights

Highlights of Vietnam and Thailand

  Hanoi - Halong - Hue - Hoi An - Saigon - Mekong - Bangkok - Chiang Mai - Phuket

Journey North to South in Vietnam and then South to North and back again in Thailand on this unforgettable highlights journey. Enjoy losing yourself on the busy streets of Hanoi, Bangkok and Chiang Mai, dive into history in Saigon and Ayutthaya and round off the trip with 4 days in the beach paradise of Phuket.


  • Discovering the hidden alleyways of Hanoi’s bustling Old Quarter
  • Cruising through the dramatic Karst islands of Halong Bay
  • Learning of grand dynasties past in Hue
  • Feasting on local specialties in charming Hoi An
  • Discovering the Cu Chi Tunnels and Mekong Delta outside of Saigon
  • Hitting the streets of Bangkok with an expert guide
  • Cruising to the historic city of Ayutthaya
  • Getting close to nature in beautiful Chiang Mai
    Relaxing in paradise on Phuket island


  • Carefully selected accommodation with breakfast
  • Other meals listed in the itinerary
  • Expert English-speaking local guide
  • Tours as mentioned and air-conditioned transfers
  • Sightseeing and permit fees during guided times
  • Boat cruises and rides while on tour
  • Flights to tour destinations (Economy Class)
  • Service charges and government VAT tax



Arrive In Hanoi

DAY 1 - Arrive In Hanoi

Upon arrival, meet your guide who will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel. Check in and spend the rest of your day at your leisure, acclimatising to this bustling city.


DAY 2 - Essence Of Hanoi - Monuments And Alleyways

Today, journey to see the highlights and hidden gems of Hanoi at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, an imposing structure that houses the remains of the revered former president who led Vietnam’s campaign for independence from colonial rule. Next, head to the Temple of Literature, an ancient collection of courtyards, gardens and architecture built in homage to the Chinese scholar Confucius. Considered the oldest university in Vietnam, the Temple of Literature dates back nearly one thousand years! Enjoy lunch at a restaurant specialising in traditional Hanoi delicacies.

Follow your guide’s lead while you weave through some of the Old Quarter’s 36 streets, all named for the products historically sold here. Head through labyrinthine back alleys well off the tourist trail and see Hanoi at its unpolished best. Wrap up your guided walk with a strong Vietnamese coffee at a café overlooking Hoan Kiem Lake, before heading to your final stop at Ngoc Son Temple on the tiny island on the lake. Enjoy a water puppet show for a look at traditional performance art in Vietnam before heading back to your hotel.


DAY 3 - Hanoi - Halong - Overnight Cruise

Depart from Hanoi and travel by shuttle bus to the seaside port of Halong Bay. Transfer to Tuan Chau island to board the L’Azalee Deluxe, a beautifully restored traditional wooden junk. Settle in and enjoy the view from the water.

Lunch is served as you leisurely cruise between Cat Ba Island and Ha Long Bay, before dropping anchor for a tour through Sung Sot cave. Cruise on through to the Lom Bo Canal area to visit a local Pearl Farm and have the opportunity to purchase a unique Halong Bay gift. If you’re feeling adventurous, disembark for a spot of kayaking in the floating village.

Back on board, head on to your mooring for the evening and take part in a Vietnamese cooking demonstration from the on board chefs! Enjoy dinner on the deck and wrap up your day with a cocktail or try your hand at squid fishing.


DAY 4 - Halong - Hanoi - Flight To Hue

Rise early to catch sunrise over Bai Tu Long Bay while taking part in a Tai Chi class with the boat’s Tai Chi guru. Enjoy breakfast on the sundeck before cruising onward to Ti Tov Island. Your final stop at Ti Tov leaves plenty of time to explore, hiking up to the scenic viewpoint or swimming off of the beach. On the final leg of your cruise pass by the well-known karsts of Thumb Island, Fighting Cocks and the Incense Karst which is featured on the 200,000 dong note.

Say goodbye to the crew at the main harbour and take the private transfer about 4 hours back to Hanoi, arriving late in the afternoon. Later in the evening, transfer to the airport for your flight to Hue.


DAY 5 - Essence Of Hue - Tombs, Garden House And Local Crafts

Begin your day by floating down the peaceful Perfume River by boat, taking in the endless surrounding greenery. At the end of your hour-long boat trip, hop off at the pier to explore the tombs of Emperor Khai Dinh and Minh Mang Tomb.

For lunch, feast on a vegetarian meal prepared by nuns at Dong Thuyen Pagoda, a temple located on the top of a hill with a fantastic view. Take the opportunity to learn about the Buddhist religion or just get to know your friendly hosts.

Next, make your way to Thanh Tien Village, well-known for over 300 years of crafting paper flowers. Meet one of the local villagers and learn how to make your own ornate paper flower. You can be sure that your visit is backing a good cause as it is supported by Backstreet Academy, a social enterprise providing struggling artists, craftsmen and home-based workers with additional income and recognition.

Finally, visit Tha Om Garden House and its owner, Mr Vinh. Explore the traditional 19th century Hue residence and listen to Mr Vinh’s stories of his royal heritage before returning to your hotel.


DAY 6 - Hue - Transfer To Hoi An - Evening Foodie Group Tour

Depart from your hotel in Hue and continue south to the riverside town of Hoi An. The five hour trip hugs the coastline along the North Pacific Ocean with breathtaking views, particularly as the road winds its way up the Hai Van Pass (“Pass of the Clouds”). As you pass through the city of Danang, stop at the Cham Museum. The Cham ruled central Vietnam from the 2nd - 13th centuries and were an important influence on religion and education in the region.

In the evening set off on a culinary adventure in Hoi An to discover the flavours and dishes that make this coastal town unique. Alongside an expert local guide, your journey introduces you to the stories behind Hoi An’s most iconic dishes at the town’s most famous eateries. Throughout the evening you’ll try white rose dumplings, banh can and Cao Lau and you’ll stop by a local Ancient House.


DAY 7 - Essence Of Hoi An - Highlights & Hidden Charm

Start your walking journey through the breezy walking streets, lined with honey-yellow buildings, and arrive at Chua Ong Pagoda. This Chinese inspired structure dates back to 1653, and its interior still wafts the sweet smell of incense during the day. From here, walk onward to nearby Phuc Kien Assembly Hall and Jinshang Temple, dedicated to the Goddess of the Sea.

After passing by the 200-year old Tan Ky House, take a short break at the Japanese Covered Bridge - one of Hoi An’s most iconic structures. At Reaching Out Tea House - an establishment that aids locals with disabilities - sit down for a rejuvenating cup of tea before having a tasty lunch accompanied by a cooking demonstration at a restaurant specialising in traditional Hoi An delicacies.

Afterwards, hop on a cyclo and head out toward Cam Thanh Village, a small community located in the outskirts of central Hoi An. Your destination is a small village home to meet a local family. On the nearby river, hop in a bamboo basket boat to visit a water coconut forest and then on board a boat bound for central Hoi An. After taking in the stunning riverside scenery along the Thu Bon River, wrap up your journey with a sunset cocktail at a rooftop bar.


DAY 8 - Hoi An – Flight To Ho Chi Minh City

After your flight to Ho Chi Minh City, check in to your hotel and then start a day of exploring at the city’s Central Post Office, next door to the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral. Next, stroll toward the Saigon River along Dong Khoi Street to the centre of town and the commanding Saigon Opera House.

The tour continues with a stop at the Reunification Palace, where a North Vietnamese tank crashed through the gates in 1975 to end a war that killed an estimated 58,000 Americans and three million Vietnamese. Visit the War Remnants Museum for a harrowing look into the wartime hardships and atrocities.

In the evening head back to the Saigon Opera House, to watch the spectacular A O Show. This performance is a showcase of Vietnamese culture and art, and combines, in beautiful precision, elements of both old and new.

After the hour long show, take a short walk through the wide Boulevards of central Saigon to Hoa Tuc Restaurant - a real culinary and architectural gem, tucked away from the hustle and bustle of District 1. Renowned for its combination of contemporary Vietnamese cuisine and authentic French colonial architecture, Hoa Tuc is the perfect end to a memorable night in Saigon.


DAY 9 - Local Life - Cu Chi By River Tour

Escape the congestion of Ho Chi Minh City and head out into the countryside, a far cry from the frenetic urban sprawl of downtown Saigon. As you journey down the Saigon River by speedboat, watch the city fade into the background, replaced by scenes of rural Vietnamese life, and enjoy a selection of traditional Vietnamese fruits.

Your destination is the Cu Chi tunnels, the infamous underground city for Viet Cong soldiers during the Vietnam War. Central to the Viet Cong’s strategic war operations, including the famous 1968 Tet Offensive, it is still complete with a hospital, kitchen, and schools. The Cu Chi experience can be emotionally draining for some visitors, but it does offer a fascinating look into the ingenuity of the local Vietnamese people.

Before lunch, head through the countryside to a cricket farm, where crickets are raised to eventually become tasty snacks. Considered a delicacy by many, local lore also says that hungry soldiers ate them to beef up their nutrient-poor diets.

DAY 10

DAY 10 - Local Life - Le Jarai Mekong Full Day Tour

This morning depart from your hotel and drive approximately two hours to Ben Tre, gateway to the Mekong Delta. Here, you will board a small boat to navigate the waterways of the mighty Mekong.

Pay visits to some of the local industries including a brick factory and a coconut processing plant. After the boat trip you will have a short walk to a local village to see mat weavers at work, before jumping on the delta’s version of a tuk-tuk and travelling down the country roads to the pier. Here you will board the beautiful teak boat ‘Le Jarai’ to continue your cruise along the river. While onboard join in the demonstration of Vietnamese cooking before sitting down to a sumptuous three-course lunch of Mekong specialities. After lunch relax on the top deck and take in the scenery back to Ben Tre, where on arrival you will transfer back to Ho Chi Minh arriving late in the afternoon.

DAY 11

DAY 11 - Ho Chi Minh City - Fly To Bangkok

Your guide will meet you at your hotel and transfer you to the airport for your flight to Bangkok
Upon arrival, meet our guide and private transfer with guide from Bangkok Airport to hotel in Bangkok. Check in and free time at leisure.

DAY 12

DAY 12 - Essence Of Bangkok - Full Day Relics Of Siam

Today explore the fascinating Rattanakosin District, considered the most historically significant area in all of Bangkok. Your journey begins within a kaleidoscope of colour at a local flower market, followed by a hands-on lesson about how Buddhist locals use the lotus flower to worship Buddha.

By car, set off from the flower market and arrive at the Grand Palace, a must-see icon of the city. Home to the Emerald Buddha, the Grand Palace is a striking example of traditional Thai architecture and considered one of the holiest locations in the entire country!

After lunch at a charming boutique restaurant by the river, with a magnificent view of Wat Arun, walk to nearby Wat Pho, home of the famous reclining Buddha. After a visit here, set off by car to the Giant Swing, the gateway to the Baan Bat community. Wander through the area and witness the creation of alms bowls, an important handicraft for Thailand’s Buddhist residents which has sustained much of the community here for generations. With the help of your guide, chat with the locals before kicking back for a one-hour foot massage in a traditional Thai house - a well-earned treat after an eventful day!

DAY 13

DAY 13 - Bangkok - Full Day Ayutthaya By Cruise

Journey from Bangkok to the country’s former capital of Ayutthaya by road. This is your chance to escape the hustle and bustle of Bangkok. Stop off at the majestic ‘Bang-Pa-In’ - a gorgeous palace formerly frequented by King Rama IV during the steamy summer months. The waterside complex takes inspiration from Thai, Chinese and gothic design; here, see the intricately-carved camel bone dragon, or snap some photos next to the bright red watch tower overlooking the lake.

Head a little further north to Ayutthaya to explore the ancient temple ruins and crumbling pagodas that used to form Thailand’s largest and most important settlement. Afterwards, dine on-board your boat while making your way back to Bangkok. Along the way, enjoy the view as the riverbank scenery slowly transitions from emerald rice paddy fields to traditional Thai architecture and finally an urban skyline.

DAY 14

DAY 14 - Bangkok - Tour To Damoen Suduak Floating Market - Flight To Chiang Mai

Prepare for a morning of colour, art and passion, as you’re picked up at your hotel and driven 100 km southwest of Bangkok to the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market in the Ratchaburi province. Walk around and check out the many stalls or rent a paddle boat to experience the market from water.
Next stop at the Mae Klong railway market where 8 times a day, every day of the week, a train runs through the market! As soon as the siren signals the arrival of the train, everything stops. Shoppers will hop off the tracks, and vendors will quickly pack their goods and prepare to close/retract their awnings from the train track as the train passes by. Once the train is gone, its business as usual as if nothing happened.

After your morning tour transfer to the airport for your flight to Chiang Mai. On arrival a guide will meet you and take you to your hotel.

DAY 15

DAY 15 - Essence Of Chiang Mai - Full Day Lanna Temple Relics

Spend a day exploring the highlights of Chiang Mai, all while reducing your carbon footprint by travelling aboard a traditional Thai rickshaw.

Start the day at Doi Suthep, home to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep - considered the holiest shrine in northern Thailand. Founded under miraculous circumstances in 1386, this spiritual location features a steep flight of 300 stairs flanked by greenery and guarded by a 16th Century Naga serpent carving. You can either brave the climb or opt for a more gentle funicular train adjacent the stairs. Atop the mountain, the views from here are nothing short of stunning.

Enjoy lunch in the shade of large trees at a charming riverside restaurant and then swap your car for a traditional Thai rickshaw. Glide onward to Waroros Market. Weave through stalls brimming with anything from flowers to silks to handicrafts, before ending the day at two of the most stunning temples in Chiang Mai: Wat Srisuphan and Wat Chedi Luang.

DAY 16

DAY 16 - Chiang Mai - Full Day Chiang Dao Trek And Elephant Camp

Today’s adventure starts just north of Chiang Mai with a visit to Palong Village - famous for an ethnic tribe originating from Myanmar (Burma). Drive on from here to Ban Palai, a picturesque Karen village comprising traditional bamboo houses and rice paddies cut into the jungle. This is the starting point for your two-hour trek, following a nature trail passing some breathtaking scenery. Have your camera ready to capture the abundance of flowers, vegetation, and a rare glimpse of local wildlife.

Enjoy a picnic lunch before heading to the Mae Taman Elephant Camp for some elephant encounters. Spending time with these magnificent beasts is a highlight of any trip to Thailand. Wrap up your adventure in northern Thailand with a bamboo rafting river journey downstream - an ideal way of seeing the jungle from a different angle.

DAY 17

DAY 17 - Chiang Mai - Flight To Phuket

Transfer from your hotel in to Chiang Mai Airport for your flight to Phuket. On arrival in Phuket, check into your hotel and spend the rest of the day settling into island life.

DAY 18-20

DAY 18-20 - Phuket Free Days

Spend the rest of your trip enjoying some quality downtown on Thailand’s largest paradise island. If sitting all day on a beach is not your thing, the island offers many activities such as elephant encounters, white water rafting, rock climbing and plenty of water sports. Or stay in town and shop up a storm at the local markets.

DAY 21

DAY 21 - Depart Phuket

Transfer with your guide from your hotel in Phuket to Phuket Airport. Say goodbye and have a safe onward journey!

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