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12-Day Vietnam Beach Escape Vacation

Explore the two biggest cities of Vietnam: Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city together with the vibrant Mekong River Delta. Meet the locals, experience their daily lives and learn about ethnic history and culture. This includes an off-the-beaten cruise in Lan Ha Bay enjoying the tranquility of a less touristy and more pristine bay. Dig deeper into Vietnamese vestiges, cuisine, and incredible sights before ending your holidays at the paradise beaches of Mui Ne

HIGHLIGHTS

Various activities on sites

  • City tour of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city and learn about its unique history
  • Cruising the beautiful Lan Ha Bay and joining various water activities on site
  • Cruising the vibrant Mekong River Delta and experiencing the life of local people
  • Beach break in the authentic and beautiful Mui Ne

Unforgettable moments

  • Strolling around the small street of Hanoi whilst the sea of motorbikes running around
  • Admiring the sunset & sunrise over the amazing site of Lan Ha Bay
  • Admiring the life of local people in Mekong River Delta whilst cruising along the complicated canal system
  • Soaking in the beautiful and authentic beaches of Mui Ne

Nature exploration

  • The amazing nature of Lan Ha Bay and surrounding area with plenty of water activities
  • The nature of Southern Vietnam in Mekong River Delta
  • The nature of Mui Ne Beach with crystal clear beach and the amazing sand dune.

Culture experience

  • The busting culture of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city with the effect of western culture wave
  • The peasant culture of local people living in Mekong Delta River
  • The friendly culture of the beach town of Mui Ne and surrounding area

Map

Detailed schedule

Day 1 - Welcome to Hanoi

Upon arrival at Noi Bai International Airport, Sonasia’s guide & driver will pick you up and transfer directly to the hotel in the old quarter of Hanoi.

Vietnam's capital races to make up for time lost to the ravages of war and a government that as recently as the 1990s kept the outside world at bay. Its streets surge with scooters vying for right of way amid the din of constantly blaring horns, and all-around layers of history reveal periods of French and Chinese occupation – offering a glimpse into the resilience of ambitious, proud Hanoians.

Notes
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Day 2 - Hanoi - Culture & Local Experience

This morning be picked up at 08:30 at the hotel for an off-the-beaten-track Hanoi city tour. Drive pass the historical Ba Dinh Square where Ho Chi Minh proclaimed the independence of Vietnam in 1945.

Driver drops off at Lenin Garden – a communal space for locals. Enjoy taking an easy walk through before strolling through areas where family generational sewing shops line the streets and people still practice the old ways. Admire the daily life of local people in the alley of Hanoi.

Proceed to the millenia-old Temple of Literature and explore its role in the country’s past, as both a university and a temple.

If interested, make a stop at the last courtyard where Vietnamese traditional instruments contribute to an oriental feel. For music lovers, there are opportunities to play some notes under the guidance of the artists.

Towards the end of the tour, embark on a walk through Hanoi’s Old Quarter. Witness the ancient commercial street names, mirroring the crafts and businesses dating back over a thousand years. Then stop at a Hanoian’s home for tea break and listen to family stories that stretch over decades.

Later this afternoon, take part in a hands-on cooking class with the charming Ms Ai, a renowned local chef. Shop for ingredients at the neighbourhood wet market and step into the kitchen of Chef Ai’s family home.  

Prepare and dine on authentic North Vietnamese cuisine during this afternoon of culinary and cultural discovery. Learn all about the secrets behind North Vietnam’s most popular foods. Using Chef Ai‘s recipes, slice, dice and cook delicious dishes. Enjoy the self-made dinner with Chef Ai.

Overnight in Hanoi

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Day 3 - Hanoi - Lan Ha Bay

Leave Hanoi after breakfast for a 2-hour transfer to Hai Phong City with a 15-minutes stop on the way. Arrive at Got Pier towards noon then proceed with check-in formalities. Welcome aboard, followed by lunch while cruising towards the bay. Spend the afternoon enjoying some visits and/or activities (depending on each boat’s itinerary) or relaxing onboard with panoramic views of the karst limestone formation. Complete the evening with dinner served onboard.

Overnight on Lan Ha Bay.

Notes
  • Check out the Lan Ha Bay travel guide
  • From Hanoi to Hai Phong (140km): approx.2h
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Day 4 - Lan Ha Bay - Hanoi // Saigon

The sun rises on Lan Ha Bay in the morning and breakfast is served (also brunch on some boats) while the vessels cruises slowly back towards port. It is time to say goodbye to the cruise team.
From there, our guide and driver will transfer you directly Noi Bai International Airport to take the flight to Saigon.

Meet with the driver upon arrival and transfer to the hotel.

Once known as the ‘Pearl of Indochina’, Saigon boasts an enormous architectural wealth, mirroring its colourful history. From the pagodas, museums and European architecture of the city’s recent past to the growing number of skyscrapers, Saigon is like a trip through time. On the way to the hotel, make a quick stop at the city historic landmark of Saigon Post Office and Notre Dame Cathedral (outside visit)

This afternoon, meet with a respected cultural and history expert and enjoy a guided tour through the Pearl of Indochina. Start with the French colonial area with a visit to the Archbishop's Palace and its more than 200-year-old house of prayer.

Continue through the ages and encounter a local who specialises in the stretch of time that cover the Vietnam war right until today. Visit Gia Long Palace, built in 1885 combining classical Baroque architecture elements with European and Oriental influences.

Walk over to the city’s oldest colonial-era apartment, built in 1886, and see what the young creative Vietnamese are up to from their funky boutiques and coffee shops. Sit down at one of the stylish coffee shops and interact with a local resident who moved here in 1975. During the ride back, there is an optional visit to a restored opium factory. Considering the importance of the opium trade in the first half of the last century, this is another interesting view on Saigon’s history and the city’s power struggles.

Overnight in Saigon.

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Day 5 - Saigon - Mekong River Delta Cruise

The local markets, vast emerald rice fields and lush back waterways; these are the things that make the Mekong Delta such a desired destination. This morning, leave bustling Ho Chi Minh for the 1.45 hour drive to the Delta town of Ben Tre. On arrival, board the boat and meet with the crew members who will be the guides on this overnight waterway journey.

Cruise to Phong Nam village in Giong Trom and hop on a rowing sampan boat through the small canals, which are covered green by the water coconut plants. 
Stop at a local house to taste the tropical fruits and chat with the farmer. Visit the rice noodle factory before starting the bike trip around the village. Return to the boat and enjoy lunch onboard while you cruising to Sadec town.  On the way, stop for a visit at the floating fish farm and experience the local river culture.

Head to Long Trung Village and stop for a bike ride to explore more of the daily life and the beauty of Tra Tan canals this place offers a great opportunity for you to interact with the friendly locals.

Return to the sampan, refresh and prepare for a cooking demonstration while enjoying dinner.

Overnight on board.

Notes

HCMC to Ben Tre (80km): 2 hours

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Day 6 - Continue the Cruise & Back to Saigon

Wake up to the sounds of the delta. Breakfast will be served onboard and cruising towards the town of Sa Dec. Start exploring  this charming town, where it is the backdrop for the film ‘The Lover’, based on the semi-autobiographical novel by Marguerite Duras.  The story is about a teenage French girl who falls in love with a wealthy Chinese man, Huynh Thuy Le. Visit his old family home as well as the high school where Marguerite’s mother was a teacher. Then, visit the beautiful Temple Kien An. 
Continue with a cycle through the village of An Phu Dong.  For hundreds of years this village has provided Saigon with its daily flower supply.
Meet the driver on land for the return to Ho Chi Minh City.

Note: Sa Dec to HCMC (145km): 3 hours

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Day 7 - Saigon - Mui Ne

Departing early in the morning to the beach town of Mui Ne – about 220 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City. This is a wildly popular place for water sports like windsurfing and kitesurfing, and its giant sand dunes are ideal for jeep safaris. The area is also famous for its cheap, fresh seafood. The days will whizz by as you enjoy your last beach adventures and sunsets. Don’t forget to snap some photos along the way!

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Day 8 - Mui Ne - Leisure Day

Free day at leisure at your own relaxation or explore the beach by yourselves. 

There are plenty of water activities on spots if you wish to spend your day. Just check with your hotel or contact us for further detail.

Overnight on Phu Quoc Island

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Day 9 - Mui Ne - Leisure Day

Free day at leisure at your own relaxation or explore the beach by yourselves. 

There are plenty of water activities on spots if you wish to spend your day. Just check with your hotel or contact us for further detail.

Overnight on Phu Quoc Island

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Day 10 - Mui Ne - Leisure Day

Free day at leisure at your own relaxation or explore the beach by yourselves. 

There are plenty of water activities on spots if you wish to spend your day. Just check with your hotel or contact us for further detail.

Overnight on Phu Quoc Island

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Day 11 - Mui Ne - Leisure Day

Free day at leisure at your own relaxation or explore the beach by yourselves. 

There are plenty of water activities on spots if you wish to spend your day. Just check with your hotel or contact us for further detail.

Overnight on Phu Quoc Island

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Day 12 - Mui Ne - Ho Chi Minh - Departure

Free before transferring back to Saigon to connect with another onward flight back home or to the next destination.

Notes

Mui Ne to Ho Chi Minh: 217KM / 5-hour transfer >> The departure flight should be in the night time. Pick up time: 7 hours before the flight

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NOT READY YET?

We believe you have the right to arm yourselves with as much information as possible before making any decision.

Check below our detailed tips & guide for every places to visit in Vietnam, recommendation regarding the inclusion in each theme you prefer, and what you can do based on the time frame you have.

PLACES TO VISIT IN Vietnam
Hanoi
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Ha Long Bay
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Sapa
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Hoi An
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Hue
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Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
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Vietnam PLANS BY TRAVEL THEME
Must-see
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Check out all the must-see places and things to do & see

Luxury Holiday
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Unique experience combined with top-notch services

Honeymoon Vacation
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Easy excursions combined with unique experience making the long-lasting romantic memories

Wellness & Leisure
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Easy excursion combined with week-long beach break

Cruise
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The combination of some must-see experience and the cruise tour along the mighty rivers

Family Vacation
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The combination of fun and educational activities

Unseen
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Reveal off-the-beatentrack routes, least explored destinations, and unknown tribe groups

Cycling & Biking
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Explore every corners of the destination on two wheels

Trek & Hike
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Explore the least visited destinations and unknown experience on foot

Vietnam PLANS BY TIME FRAME
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Vietnam TRAVEL TIPS & GUIDE

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Vietnam BLOG ARTICLES

"Should I visit Thailand or Vietnam?" is some of the most frequently asked questions that we have from our travelers

Well, Vietnam and Thailand are the most popular holiday destinations in Southeast Asia. They are similar in climate and food, though obviously different in culture, lifestyle and travel experience.

Below we list 13 major differences between the two countries, to give you a quick overview and help you decide which to visit first. These are based on our own travel experiences, investigations, and partnerships with local operators.

...more

How long to spend in Vietnam may seem like a ridiculous question to address, but if you have plenty of time and aren’t sure how much to dedicate, this blog will definitely help you out.

You can find here and there that you should spend 10 days, 2 weeks, 20 days, or 1 month to best explore Vietnam. So what is the best Vietnam tour duration for you?

Well, as long as you like! From 10 days to a month, there are various ways you can travel across Vietnam and uncover its secrets. Advising an ideal trip length for Vietnam is a bit of a complex challenge, as it depends on several factors such as the places you wish to visit, the activities you plan to join, or if you want to combine Vietnam with its neighbor countries. 

Stay tuned! We are going to sort all these things out including the step-by-step guide to create the best itinerary in Vietnam.

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Vietnam would scrap the Covid-19 testing requirement for all arrivals starting Sunday, May 15th 2022, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has directed.

In a document issued Friday, the Prime Minister requested the Ministry of Health to closely follow the coronavirus situation and provide proper guidance. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs should direct Vietnamese authorities outside the country to inform people who wish to enter Vietnam to follow appropriate disease prevention measures, he said.

The latest decision has been made as the number of Covid-19 infections and deaths drops both in Vietnam and around the world. Several countries have been taking steps to relax coronavirus restrictions, including scrapping testing before entry.

Current policies issued by the health ministry require entrants to have negative results from PCR tests done within the previous 72 hours, or a negative result from a rapid test done within the last 24 hours.

Those who don’t have a negative test result must refrain from making contact with others during the first 24 hours after entry. They will be able to move freely once they test negative after arrival.

Children under two don’t need to be tested.

Vietnam stopped requiring medical declarations from those arriving from abroad starting April 27, and for domestic travel starting April 30.

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The “Colorful Hanoi” hot air balloon festival is one of the attractive activities within the framework of the program “Hanoi tourism welcomes 2022” taking place from March 25-27, 2022.

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The Ministry of Health said on Wednesday, March 16th, 2022, foreigners entering Vietnam only need to furnish a negative Covid-19 test certificate and are not required to quarantine.

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Vietnam is determined to fully reopen its tourism industry and will adopt measures to treat foreign and domestic tourists alike, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said Tuesday, March 15th, 2022

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Cambodia
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There's a magic about this charming yet confounding kingdom that casts a spell on visitors. In Cambodia, ancient and modern worlds collide to create an authentic adventure.
Myanmar
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