Classic Vietnam Itinerary
‘We would both like to thank you for organising a fantastic Vietnam trip. As usual, the attention to detail really made the whole experience so rewarding. In fact I’m struggling to find fault with anything on the trip and must congratulate you and the other members of your team on a job well done.’ Tony and Barbara Dewynter
Classic Vietnam 2013 Itinerary
Trip One - Tuesday 23rd April Depart UK for Arrival in Vietnam (Hanoi) Wednesday 24th
Monday 6th May Departure (Saigon - Ho Chi Minh City)
Trip Two - Tuesday 7th May Depart UK for Arrival in Vietnam (Hanoi) Wednesday 8th May
Monday 20th May Departure (Saigon - Ho Chi Minh City)
Day 1 Overnight flight to Hanoi.
Day 2 Arriving in Hanoi an airport car will meet you at Noi Bai airport and take you to our first hotel, which is in the centre of town within walking distance from shops, markets etc. We have an informal meet up at the pool bar before heading to a nearby restaurant for a welcome dinner.
Day 3 After breakfast we will be taking a tour of some of Hanoi’s principal sights. They’ll also be the opportunity to climb aboard motorcycle side cars for part of the tour. We’ll start with a visit to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum then view the remains of a downed B52. After stopping for coffee at the War Museum we’ll finish at the Hanoi Hilton - the old French prison where downed American fighter pilots were held captive. In the afternoon you’ll be free so there will be time for a wander around the Old Quarter. In the evening we’ll head off to different local restaurant for dinner.
Day 4 We depart the hotel by bus to visit the Ho Chi Minh Trail Museum on the outskirts of Hanoi, where the vehicles will be waiting. After touring the museum we head off, quickly finding ourselves in rural Vietnam and a sea of paddy fields dotted with limestone mountains. Later in the day we cross two mountain passes before descending to the mountain valley settlement of Mai Chau. Dinner that evening will be cooked by the same family that appeared with Gordon Ramsay on his recent TV show about Vietnam. 90 miles
Day 5 Its a long day so it will be an early start. Heading south on a beautiful winding road following the Ma River we will eventually join the new Ho Chi Minh Highway, which lies on top of the original Ho Chi Minh Trail. This takes us due south, through remote back country, very close to the Laos border. We then head towards the coast to the Vinh, our overnight stop. Vinh was a target of particular significance to US air raids during the war. That night we’ll have dinner by the pool. 190 miles.
Day 6 Not such an early start we head south along Highway One, before turning inland towards the Laos border. We pass the Dong Loc intersection, (a main junction for supply lines during the War), and head into remote back country noticing the scenery becoming dominated by karst limestone rock formations. Our overnight stop is at the World Heritage site of Phong Nha, home of one of the world’s largest caves, where local civilians and military sheltered from incessant bombing during the war. Before dinner we’ll take an amazing boat ride deep into the cave., which is one of the largest in the world. 175 miles
Day 7 Having obtained special permission, we head deep into the pristine jungle that comprises the World Heritage Ke Bang National Park. It’s a lovely drive and along the way we pass a number of significant wartime locations including overgrown remnants of the original Ho Chi Minh Trail. Skirting the Laos border, we arrive at Khe Sanh, the site of the former US Marine base that underwent the famous siege in the prelude to the Tet Offensive in 1968. 150 miles.
Day 8 Today is a gentler start, beginning with a visit to the fascinating museum, displaying wrecked Huey and Chinook helicopters. Continuing south we pass through the former DMZ (demilitarised zone), and cross the famous Hien Luong Bridge (former demarcation line between North and South Vietnam). In the afternoon we will stop to visit the Vinh Moc Tunnels, where hundreds of villagers lived underground during the course of the war. Following the coast we eventually reach the delightful city of Hue, which lies along the banks of the Perfume River. 100 miles.
Day 9 Hue is the former imperial capital of feudal Vietnam and is an ideal place to relax, sightsee and chill after the driving to date.
Day 10 Leaving Hue we head up the Me Oi (translation – “oh mum”) pass towards the site of Hamburger Hill and the besieged A Shaw special forces camp. We meet up with the Ho Chi Minh Trail again, and head up into further into the moutains. On a clear day one can see directly down to the coast, over 50miles away. Passing just mteres from the Laos border we start heading back to the coast past ancient temples and fiercely fought-over territory during the war. We overninght at the world Hertiage site of Hoi An, a major trading centre in SE Asia in the 16th and 17th centuries. After a wash and brush up, we will head down to the beach and enjoy a sunset barbeque under the stars. 175 miles.
Day 11 A day off. Hoi An offers fine wining and dining, impressive architecture, fantastic tailoring, endless shopping and a great beach, so you won’t be short of things to do.
Day 12 This is our last day’s driving and what better way to spend it than cruising up and over a number of fabulous coastal passes made famous by the BBC Top Gear Vietnam Special, as we head northwards to Phu Bai, a former US air base, where we will catch an afternoon flight to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). 90 miles.
Day 13 Saigon - Ho Chi Minh City is the bustling commercial heart of Vietnam, and site of the former South Vietnam Presidential Palace. In the morning we will take a tour of the sites by cycle rickshaw leaving the afternoon free for last minute shopping. In the evening we will commence our final night celebrations with pre-dinner drinks in the rooftop bar of the Rex hotel where war correspondents gathered during the war. Afterwards we will head into town to a lovely restaurant for our end of event meal.
Day14 Transfer to the airport for the flight home.
Created on Tuesday, November 1st, 2011 and was last updated on Thursday, October 25th, 2012