Luxury Tailor Made Journeys depart on the dates that work for you and feature expert local guides throughout your journey. The itinerary below can be customized to your interests.
Arrive Hanoi, Vietnam
Arrive in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, and transfer to your colonial hotel.
Hanoi | Vietnam’s Cultural Heart
Discover Hanoi, the country’s cultural heart, bearing traces of centuries of changing dynasties. Visit Ho Chi Minh’s house, a simple structure from which the revolutionary leader pursued independence for Vietnam. Continue to lotus-shaped One Pillar Pagoda, dating back to the first Vietnamese empire independent from China. Then, explore Hoa Lo Prison, where American prisoners of war were once confined, in the company of a former prison officer — an extraordinary opportunity to hear a unique, firsthand perspective on the notorious “Hanoi Hilton.” Next, Ride Like a Local by cyclo through the city’s Old Quarter. After pausing for lunch at a local restaurant, change gears, viewing the Vietnam National Museum of Fine Arts’ collection of stone carvings, sculptures and folk paintings. Proceed to the private studio of one of Vietnam’s most celebrated female artists. Return to your hotel, where you have time to unwind. Later, set out to explore Hanoi by scooter, visiting a local market and travelling through a hidden passageway. Along the way, sample local fare, including at the restaurant where President Obama and Anthony Bourdain once dined.
Ha Long Bay | Cruising Among the Karsts
Journey by private vehicle to Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO Heritage World Site, to board your intimate, luxury boutique traditional Vietnamese junk vessel. Set sail through the emerald waters, savoring lunch on board. In the afternoon, choose between two excursions. Perhaps visit Cua Van, the largest and oldest fishing village in Ha Long Bay. As you paddle by kayak or sampan (small bamboo boat) see floating houses and observe residents’ unique way of life. Alternately, explore Tien Ong cave, a large grotto that has been inhabited since pre-historic times. Observe its stalactites and stalagmites, formed naturally over the course of 700,000 years. Return to your vessel in the late afternoon and partake in an indulgent afternoon tea service. Enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure, followed by dinner on board.
Ha Long Bay & Mai Chau | Kayaking in the Bay
Greet the day with a sunrise tai chi session overlooking the bay from your vessel’s deck. Set out for an early morning kayak excursion among the towering limestone pinnacles. Return for brunch on board as your vessel makes her way back to port. Disembark and board a coach for a scenic, half-day drive to Mai Chau, pausing for breaks along the way. Arrive in the evening, settle into your accommodations and, later, dine at your hotel.
Mai Chau | Cycling the Countryside
After a leisurely breakfast, choose to set out on a cycling excursion through local valleys. Your cycling adventure takes you through Chieng Chau, Van Mai, Cun and Mai Hich, passing villages, lush rice paddies and seldom-seen countryside. En route, visit a local hill tribe, the White Thai, learning about their enduring cultural traditions and receiving a Thai cooking lesson in a resident’s home. Return to your hotel for an afternoon at leisure. Tonight, enjoy dinner on site.
Hue | Perfume River
This morning, return to Hanoi. After lunch at a local restaurant, transfer to the airport for your flight to Hue. En route, visit a local school and learn about how Abercrombie & Kent Philanthropy (AKP) helps provide clean filtered drinking water to students. Upon arrival in Hue, transfer to your boutique hotel fronting the banks of the Perfume River. Enjoy the remainder of the evening at leisure.
Hue | Cooking with a Local
Visit a Zen house, where you partake in a vegetarian Vietnamese cooking experience with an expert chef. Learn how to set a Vietnamese-style table and sit down to the meal you helped prepare. Next, master the art of the lotus pose during a tai chi lesson. Continue to the tomb of Emperor Tu Duc, the dynasty’s longest reigning ruler. Stroll among the citadel’s other monuments, noting the scars of war that remain from the conflicts over the last century. Return to your hotel for time at leisure. In the evening, hop on a Vespa to discover local life in Hue before concluding the evening with a visit to the top of Vong Canh hill for rewarding views of the Perfume River.
Hue & Hoi An | Hidden Charms of Hoi An
After breakfast, explore the legacy of the Nguyen dynasty, a powerful family that ruled Vietnam from 1802 to 1945. Their reign witnessed the construction of Hue’s Imperial Citadel, which served as the nation’s political capital and religious hub. Venture inside it to discover the Imperial City, a walled palace that mirrors the grandeur of China’s Forbidden City. Then transfer to Hoi An via the stunningly scenic Hai Van Pass. Also known as “Cloudy Pass,” this winding mountain road overlooks lush countryside, sandy beaches and the blue waters of the South China Sea. Arriving in Hoi An, check in to your hotel. After setting in, explore the city’s hidden charms, observing ancient houses and sitting down to tea with local elders. Then, visit a local temple, try your hand at calligraphy and set out on a culinary excursion in search of local street food, sampling traditional dishes from market stalls. Finally, see the 400-year-old covered bridge, before returning to your hotel for an evening at leisure.
Hoi An | Lifestyles of Farmers and Fishermen
Discover the art of rice farming alongside local farmers. You are then welcomed into a local farmer’s home, where you learn how rice makes its way into Vietnamese food and drink. Next, learn about lifestyles of local fishermen as you board a traditional basket boat and savor lunch onboard. Proceed to Tra Que village, where you see how farmers use centuries-old methods to grow organic vegetables. After a traditional welcome drink, relax with a foot massage.
Ho Chi Minh City | Evocative Saigon
Fly this morning to lively Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon. Recently experiencing a resurgence of art and culture, this evocative city is a hub of activity. Upon arrival, check in to your hotel, where the remainder of the day is at leisure.
Ho Chi Minh City | Stories of Culture & Cuisine
Discover Ho Chi Minh City by cyclo (three-wheeled bicycle taxi) this morning as the city is waking, passing Notre Dame Cathedral and the Central Post Office, examples of the city’s colonial legacy, en route to leafy Tao Dan Park, where locals are often seen playing sports or doing yoga. Proceed to the Venerable Thich Quang Duc Monument, a memorial to the monk who set himself on fire in protest of Buddhist persecution in Vietnam. A Vespa driver then picks you up and whisks you to a local street market, where a secret, underground weapons bunker lies hidden under a trap door in a narrow house. Next, admire the colorful floral displays at the flower market. Enjoy a complimentary beverage before sitting down to a traditional breakfast of pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) at one of the city’s best noodle houses. Return to your hotel for time at leisure before heading to Independence Palace (Reunification Hall) — home and workplace of South Vietnam’s president during the Vietnam War — and the Museum of Vietnamese History, seeing its Khmer artifacts, Buddha statues, relics from Angkor Wat and impressive porcelain collection. Then, escape to an oasis of calm at a local seminary, which is one of the city’s first Roman Catholic institutions, and enjoy a refreshment stop at a hidden alley. After lunch at local restaurant, return to your hotel and enjoy the remainder of the day as you wish.
Ho Chi Minh City | Into the Cu Chi Tunnels
This morning, venture into the countryside and explore the expansive Cu Chi Tunnel network, a key Vietcong resource during the Vietnam War. You have the opportunity to squeeze into and crawl through the small tunnels once traversed by Vietcong guerrillas. Have lunch at a local restaurant and enjoy some time at leisure. Afterward, discover Ho Chi Minh City’s hidden craft-beer scene. After sampling freshly tapped beer at the city’s best venues, return to your hotel by cyclo.
Depart Ho Chi Minh City
After breakfast, transfer to the airport and board your homebound flight.