Vietnam: A Family Adventure

The warmth and friendliness of the Vietnamese, the contrasts of ancient and modern, the excellent lodgings and myriad cultural attractions make Vietnam an ideal place to travel with family of all ages.

Journey Overview

The warmth and friendliness of the Vietnamese, the contrasts of ancient and modern, the excellent lodgings and myriad cultural attractions make Vietnam an ideal place to travel with family of all ages. This two week journey gives exciting opportunities to explore local markets, try new foods, discover the country’s history and heritage, sail on a traditional junk, participate in local cultural activities,  launch into outdoor adventures and have ample time to relax. Hotels have been hand-picked to suit discerning families with plenty to keep both adult and child entertained. 

Journey Highlights

  • Wander the bustling alleyways of Hanoi’s iconic 36 Streets where old and new collide.
  • Embrace Lan Ha Bay, Ha Long Bay’s less-travelled sister, and experience its spectacular isolated beaches and majestic karst rock formations.
  • Trek through the lush mountain scenery of Mai Chau through verdant rice fields and friendly villages.
  • Catch a glimpse of an historic 15th century trading port with original period architecture in Hoi An’s UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Town.
  • Witness the architectural beauty and rich history of the Imperial City of Hue, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Visit the dynamic streets of Ho Chi Minh City experiencing how the locals live in Vietnam’s most vibrant modern metropolis.
  • Uncover the majestic Mekong Delta and experience the natural beauty of its sprawling flood plains and picturesque river landscape.
Itinerary

Journey Itinerary

Day 1: Hanoi

The cultural heart and capital of Vietnam, Hanoi is a city of surprising beauty where rows of narrow houses stand alongside elegant French-colonial mansions and ornate traditional temples. The life of the city is centred around the meandering streets of the Old Quarter and Hoan Kiem Lake where small boutiques, coffee shops and lively street vendors create a vibrant and bustling atmosphere.

You are met on arrival at Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport and assisted with a 45-minute transfer to your stately hotel.
Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi

Day 2: Design Your Day Hanoi

Tailor your own way today and see Hanoi at your own pace. Take a deep dive into the city’s colourful history. Learn about the life and times of former President Ho Chi Minh, who played a key role in the nation's journey towards independence. Visit the mausoleum where his body is embalmed and see his humble stilted house, which was built in the style of an ethnic village home. Continue to the One Pillar Pagoda, a unique 11th century structure dedicated to King Ly Thai To's son. Visit the Temple of Literature, where Vietnam’s royal family and elite society were educated for almost 700 years. Ride a cyclo (bicycle rickshaw) through the network of narrow, 15th century streets, each named after the business that was once conducted there, such as Silk Street, Rice Street, Paper Street and Jeweller’s Street. End the day at Dong Xuan market where you may like to peruse the stalls for textiles, embroidery and ceramics before exploring its tasty food offerings.

Or, choose a half day cycling expedition in the Red River Delta. You are transferred to the village of Bac Bien where you meet your guide Mr Dan at his home. After a short introduction and briefing, hop aboard your bike and start your cycling adventure. Cycle towards the Duong River and take a ferry across to the other side. Then pedal your way along country lanes, past village houses, pagodas, temples and a local market. Admire the emerald green rice fields and vegetable gardens along the way and meet some villagers in a local house. When you’re ready for a break, pause for, light refreshments in the shade of an old tree. Later, cycle back to the ferry crossing. Visit a local temple to experience a unique Vietnamese folk ceremony called “Len Dong”. Then relax and chat with a local family over a bowl of bun cha (grilled pork with vermicelli) and nem (spring rolls).
Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi | Meals:  B

Day 3: Hanoi – Hai Phong – Lan Ha Bay

A major port city in north-eastern Vietnam, Hai Phong acts as a gateway to the dramatic beauty of Ha Long Bay and nearby Cat Ba Island. With leafy boulevards lined with French colonial buildings, the town centre offers an interesting mix of cultural influences with a neoclassical Opera House and cathedral dating back to the 19th century as well as a pagoda and an elaborate Buddhist temple.

Swap the hustle and bustle of Hanoi for the peace and tranquillity of Lan Ha Bay, the extension of Ha Long Bay. Arrive by tender to your beautifully crafted sailing vessel which is chartered for your exclusive use. A refreshing welcome drink awaits before setting sail. Admire the dramatic beauty of the bay and its surrounds over lunch and this afternoon step ashore on Cat Ba island at the small village of Viet Hai. Cycle along the village path through rainforests, rice fields and mysterious tunnels. Visit an old house made from straw, mud and bamboo and observe the villagers’ humble way of life. 

Return to the boat for afternoon tea and a cooking demonstration where the secrets of a you can classic Vietnamese dish are shared. Savour the cool sea breeze and the warm glow of twilight as the boat anchors for the night. Enjoy dinner by candlelight on board followed by an evening at leisure, where you can try your hand at squid fishing, stargazing from the sundeck or simply spending quiet time in your cabin.
Orchid Premium Cruise – Boat Charter | Meals: BLD

Day 4: Hai Phong – Hanoi – Mai Chau

Wake to a gentle breeze and the water lapping against the boat in the early morning. To kick start the day, head to the sundeck for an optional tai chi session before breakfast. Then head out to experience more of the bay and explore Frog Lake by kayak. Enjoy the wild beauty of the area and admire the tranquil scenery and dream-like landscape filled with tree-topped islands.

After a leisurely brunch and tea ceremony, the cruise comes to an end with your disembarkation. The rest of the day is spent in your private vehicle as you are driven west to Mai Chau, pausing for breaks along the way. This evening upon arrival, settle into your accommodations, and then gather for dinner and a traditional dance performance.
Mai Chau Eco Lodge | Meals: BLD

Day 5: Mai Chau

After a leisurely breakfast, you may opt for a cycling tour in the surrounding valleys. Your 20-kilometre ride snakes its way through Chieng Chau, Van Mai, Cun and Mai Hich, passing villages, lush rice paddies and seldom-seen countryside. En route, pause to meet a local hill tribe community and learn about their enduring cultural traditions. Visit a local school and learn about how the AKP-supported Safe Water for Schools programme is providing clean filtered drinking water to students. Then, enjoy lunch at a local home before returning to your lodge by late afternoon. Later, visit a nearby home filled with precious Vietnamese antiques.
Mai Chau Eco Lodge | Meals: BLD

Day 6: Mai Chau – Hanoi – Hue

This morning, transfer to Hanoi. After lunch at a local restaurant, transfer to the airport for your flight to the old imperial city of Hue. On arrival you are met and transferred to your boutique hotel fronting the Perfume River. The remainder of your evening is at leisure.
Azerai La Residence |Meals: BL

Day 7: Design Your Day Hue

Choose to discover Hue your way. Uncover centuries of history and culture with a scenic boat ride along the Perfume River to Thien Mu Pagoda, one of the city’s oldest religious monuments. Then take a short drive to the tomb of Tu Duc, the “Poet Emperor.” A lover of romance and eastern philosophies, the Emperor designed his own tomb within an enchanting garden of pine trees and frangipanis overlooking a lake. Stop by an incense-making village to see how thin sticks of bamboo are dyed and dried in a mixture of sandalwood, cinnamon or pine-scented powder to create ceremonial items used at temples and shrines all over Vietnam. Then head to Dong Ba Market for a chance to peruse the local goods, including clothing, kitchenware, handicrafts and souvenirs.

Or, experience Hue on an exhilarating ride through lesser-seen parts of the city on the back of a vintage Vespa. See the bright lights of the city slowly give way to quieter, residential streets as you ride towards the charming area at the top of Vong Canh Hill. Take in the stunning, panoramic views from the top with a glass of champagne while contemplating the beauty below of the Perfume River and Royal Valley, where members of the Nguyen dynasty are buried. Hop back on your Vespa to the home of the Doan family, where three generations live together under one roof. You are warmly invited for dinner with the family and the opportunity to swap stories and hear about traditional life in Hue.

Or, discover a 200-year old martial arts tradition that is unique to Hue. Developed by mandarins of the Nguyen dynasty, the vo kinh van an technique was used to protect the imperial city in the old world. This specialised martial art was prohibited for ordinary citizens and was almost lost after the fall of the dynasty. Now, the old practice has been revived and you are invited to join a local troupe for a rare demonstration and a chance to interact with the martial artists and learn more about their training routine after the show.
Azerai La Residence |Meals: B

Day 8: Hue – Hoi An

After breakfast, transfer south to Hoi An via the stunningly scenic Hai Van Pass. Also known as the “Cloudy Pass,” this winding mountain road overlooks lush countryside, sandy beaches and the blue waters of the South China Sea. Pause in Lap An lagoon and admire the beautiful natural landscape before continuing to Danang to the Museum of Cham Sculpture. Meet Cham Specialist, Dr. Nguyen Ky Phuong, who will guide you through the museum and some of its stone treasures including what is believed to be the finest collection of Cham sculpture in the world. The exhibitions include sandstone carvings, alters, lingas, garudas, ganeshas and images of Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu. 

Check in your hotel and later this afternoon, choose an activity:  

Take a stroll through the winding streets of old Hoi An, where rows of vibrant yellow shophouses are adorned with multi-coloured lanterns. Admire the Old House of Tan Ky, an 18th century merchant's house that has been lovingly preserved through five generations and features Chinese and Japanese influences. See where the Chinese migrant community once gathered for meetings and social events at the Fukien Assembly Hall and walk across the 400-year-old covered bridge built in Japanese style. Then get in touch with your creative side and make your own traditional Hoi An lantern at a studio led by skilled artisans. After the workshop, take a boat ride along the peaceful Thu Bon River lined with trees and swaying palms, admiring traditional row boats and fishermen along the way.

Or enjoy a sunset dinner experience on the Coco River. Float in a traditional Vietnamese basket boat and observe the traditional methods of fishing used by local fishermen. Then take your seat on the raft and sip a cocktail or two serenaded by a soothing live musical performance.  A barbecue dinner in garden surrounds at The Field restaurant completes the experience.
Intercontinental Danang Sun Peninsula | Meals: BL

Day 9: Design Your Day Hoi An

Choose how you explore Hoi An. Take a walking tour through the meandering, yellow-walled streets of old Hoi An to discover a town of infinite hidden charm. Turn into a small side street where one of the town's elders lives in a traditional house. Stop to chat with him over a cup of tea and hear stories about life in the town and how little things have changed over the years. Next, make your way to a temple to meet a calligraphy master and learn about the ancient art of writing, a tradition that dates back to the seventh century. Taste Hoi An specialties at some popular local eateries. Then visit a family making coconut coffee. Try this unique beverage and perhaps meet the owner to learn more about this local business. Continue walking to visit the Fukien Assembly Hall, an ornate Chinese-style temple, and the 400-year-old Japanese covered bridge, which has become an icon of the town.

Or, embark on a culinary adventure, learning how to make, and of course taste, the local specialties. Visit the local market to learn about the uses of different types of noodles, discover the tricks to selecting the best herbs and spices and recognise when fish is at its freshest. Then explore a mouth-watering collection of stalls at The Market where local chefs cook street food specialties in the open kitchens. Savour freshly baked Vietnamese-style baguettes straight out of the oven and sip traditional Vietnamese tea served with home-made Hoi An cupcakes and local treats which are usually served during Tet, Vietnam's New Year festival. Learn how rice and water can be used to create noodles, dumplings and rice paper and discover how Hoi An's cao lau noodles are made by hand and steamed over an open fire. Get hands-on with a two-and-a-half-hour cooking session, learning how to prepare a variety of local dishes before sitting down to enjoy your self-made feast.

Or take part in a hands-on cooking class at The Red Bridge. Explore the cooking school’s herb and vegetable garden before learning about some of Vietnam’s best-known dishes. Over the next two hours discover the secrets of each dish, first demonstrated by the Red Bridge chef’s before making your own attempt. Also learn about the art of Vietnamese food carving and plate decoration before sitting down to taste the fruits of your labour.
Intercontinental Danang Sun Peninsula | Meals: B

Day 10: Design Your Day Hoi An

Plot your own course today with a choice of activity. Travel by jeep into the Vietnamese countryside to discover the world of the ancient Champa kingdom. Walk in the footsteps of early kings who presided over religious ceremonies at My Son, a sacred temple complex and spiritual centre of the old empire. Recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, the temple dates as far back as the fourth century and prospered for a millennium until the empire was overturned in the 14th century. Wander through the quiet fields to see the ruins of red brick towers where Cham royalty and national heroes were once honoured.

Or visit a non-government organisation that is working to preserve the communities and ecosystems in and around Da Nang and surrounding provinces before heading off into the wild jungles of the Son Tra Peninsula in search of the rare ``Queen of Primates´´ with their representative. This area of the Son Tra Peninsula is home to a species of endangered primates, the red-shanked douc langur, which is considered the "Queen of Primates" due to its colour. There are about 300 red-shanked douc langur living in the Son Tra Peninsula and you may catch a glimpse of one as you explore the jungle with your trekking guide. Venture deep into the forest, learning more about the wildlife here and how the local communities are promoting conservation efforts in order to protect the many creatures that live in these forests. Your visit here today contributes to these local efforts and helps provide a more sustainable future for this beautiful ecosystem. During the walk, your trekking guide takes you to the most likely spots to see the red-shanked douc langur. However sightings are rare and weather dependent. 

Dine tonight in an open-air bamboo house in the middle of a tranquil rice field near the Coco River. Float in a traditional Vietnamese basket boat and observe the traditional methods of fishing used by local fishermen. Then take your seat in the bamboo house where a barbecue dinner made from fresh ingredients and the daily catch is served. Watch the dramatic sunset unfold as you dine in the calm and beautiful rice field surroundings.
Intercontinental Danang Sun Peninsula | Meals: B

Day 11: Hoi An/Danang – Ho Chi Minh City

Transfer to Da Nang Airport in time for your onward flight to the bustling economic centre of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City, commonly known by its former name Saigon. Full of contrasts, the city is known for its cosmopolitan vibe and energetic pace which is unlike any other city in Vietnam. Old French boulevards and colonial architecture stand beside traditional temples and modern skyscrapers, revealing a city of captivating diversity and charismatic charm.

Upon arrival in Ho Chi Minh City transfer to your hotel.

Design your afternoon by choosing one of the following activities:

Encounter a tale of drama, intrigue and fascination, exploring the city on foot with a local art and cultural expert. Gain new perspectives on the old city, uncovering untold stories from its establishment in the late 17th century to the arrival of the French and the turbulence of the Vietnam War. The walk commences at the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Garden and takes you past heritage buildings and historical sites intimately connected with the city's dramatic past. Take a fresh look at iconic landmarks such as the Central Post Office, the former French Lieutenant Governor's residence and the former U.S. Embassy. Stop to take in the vibe at some of the city's most fashionable cafés and enjoy a meal at a family-style eatery that dishes up the authentic flavours of a Vietnamese home kitchen.

Or discover quintessential Saigon by Vintage Vespa. Part night excursion, part street food adventure, this evening offers an authentic taste of Ho Chi Minh City's buzzing nightlife. Ride pillion on the back of a vintage Vespa and set off into the chaotic city streets. Stop at one of the city's historical bridges to toast the enchanting riverside view with a signature drink. Then zip through side streets and alleyways to a popular local spot for street seafood. Take a seat on a low stool by the roadside, like the locals do, and taste the fresh and beautifully-seasoned crab claws and clams. Head to a downtown area to try a Ho Chi Minh City specialty called banh xeo, a kind of Vietnamese pancake with savoury fillings. Then round out the evening with cocktails at an intimate venue where you can mingle with locals and listen to live Vietnamese music.
Park Hyatt Saigon | Meals: B

Day 12: Ho Chi Minh City

Tailor your morning to suit. Choose from the following:

Get an early start to witness the city slowly come to life at dawn. Take a cyclo ride past Notre Dame Cathedral and the Central Post Office, enjoying the leisurely pace before the traffic starts. Then stroll through a city park where locals gather for their daily exercise, tai chi practice or perhaps a game of badminton. Stop for a Vietnamese coffee at a scenic spot behind the Reunification Palace before continuing on to see the memorial dedicated to a Buddhist monk who famously committed an act of self-immolation in 1963. 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 colourful floral displays at the flower market and enjoy a traditional bowl of pho for breakfast at one of the city's best noodle shops.

Or take to the water with a private speedboat cruise along the Saigon River, passing mangroves and palm trees for about an hour to reach one of the region's most well-known wartime landmarks - the Cu Chi tunnels. The intriguing network of underground tunnels provided shelter and an effective source of infiltration for the Viet Cong during the later years of the Vietnam War. Catch a glimpse of life during the war as you experience crawling in tight, narrow passageways and through a series of caverns which consist of storage rooms, make-shift hospitals and sleeping quarters. Return to your speedboat for the journey back to Ho Chi Minh City with lunch at a riverside restaurant en route.
Park Hyatt Saigon | Meals: B

Day 13: Ho Chi Minh City – Ben Tre

Today, experience village life along the picturesque Mekong Delta, just two hours’ drive from Ho Chi Minh City. Pass through the idyllic Vietnamese countryside to Ben Tre, a village built along a series of crisscrossing rivers and canals. Explore the pastoral lifestyle using various modes of transport, including a traditional xe loi rickshaw, weaving in and out of village streets and through lush green rice fields. Take a scenic boat ride through shaded canals before stopping at a brick factory to see how bricks have been made here by hand for centuries. 

The day continues with more unique local encounters by bike, on foot and by traditional sampan boat. Spend time in the company of village residents such as rice paper and coconut liquor manufacturers, traditional fishermen, former Viet Cong soldiers and fruit farmers. Learn from their years of practice and immerse yourself in the slow pace of life in this remote countryside region. Sample authentic local delicacies at a riverside restaurant before making your way toward Can Tho.
Azerai Can Tho | Meals: B

Day 14: Can Tho

Rise early to enjoy breakfast. Then head out to experience the hustle and bustle of Cai Rang floating market. See traditional life and the trading culture as you weave in and around the vendors selling local fruits and fresh produce direct from their small wooden boats. Feel free to practice your bargaining skills and choose some fruits or snacks for yourself.

After your excursion return to your hotel where the rest of the afternoon is at your leisure.
Azerai Can Tho | Meals: B

​ Day 15: Can Tho – Depart Ho Chi Minh

Wake up in the beautiful surroundings of the Mekong River and enjoy breakfast at your hotel. The day is at leisure until you are transferred back to Ho Chi Minh City.
Meals: B

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Preferred Accommodation

Preferred Accommodation

This journey features the following Preferred Accommodations:

Sofitel Legend Metropole, Hanoi, Halong Bay

Vietnam: A Family Adventure

The beautiful French-colonial style Sofitel Metropole is located in the heart of Hanoi just a short walk from the vibrant Old Quarter. So ... Read more

Park Hyatt Saigon

Vietnam: A Family Adventure

Park Hyatt Saigon enjoys a prime location on the city’s most famous square, within walking distance of the most popular cultural attracti ... Read more

Journey Dates & Prices

As this suggested itinerary can be personalised to your specific requirements, it is not available for online booking.

Depending on your preferred dates and arrangements, final pricing will vary from low season to peak season travel.

Please call A&K on 1300 851 800 or send us a booking enquiry to book this journey.