Highlights of Vietnam in 20 Days

Hanoi – Lao Cai – Sapa – Hiking around Sapa – Ninh Binh – Ha Long – Duong Lam ancient village – Hue – Danang – Hoi An Ho Chi Minh – My Tho – Tra Vinh – Can Tho – Departure


Highlights of Vietnam 20 days tour is a program specialized for tourists who wish for an essential glimpse into Vietnam from the North to the South. Landing in Hanoi, tourists will be introduced to the city and later to other provinces and their renowned destinations such as Sapa, Ha Long Bay, Hue, Hoi An, Saigon, and more. This program is really an opportunity to learn more and the beautiful Vietnam and its friendly residents.

Itinerary & Maps

Day 01: Hanoi arrival (-/-/-)

Day 02: Hanoi City Tours – Lao Cai (B/-/-)

Day 03: Lao Cai – Sapa – Hiking – Sapa (B/L/-)

Day 04: Sapa – Hiking around Sapa – Hanoi (B/L/-)

Day 05: Hanoi arrival – Ninh Binh (B/-/-)

Day 06: Ninh Binh – Thien Ha cave – Hanoi (B/-/-)

Day 07: Hanoi – Ha Long – Cruise (B/L/D)

Day 08: Ha Long – Cruise – Ha Noi (B/L/-)

Day 09: Hanoi – Duong Lam – Hue (B/-/-)

Day 10: Discovery Hue Imperial City (B/-/-)

Day 11: Hue – Tam Giang Lagoon – Hue (B/L/-)

Day 12: Hue – Da Nang – Hoi An (B/-/-)

Day 13: Hoi An & surroundings (B/-/-)

Day 14: Hoi An & surroundings (B/L/-)

Day 15: Hoi An – Da Nang – Saigon (B/-/-)

Day 16: Saigon & surroundings (B/-/-)

Day 17: Saigon – Cu Chi – Cao Dai (B/-/-)

Day 18: Saigon – My Tho – Tra Vinh (B/L/D)

Day 19: Discovery Tra Vinh – Can Tho (B/-/-)

Day 20: Cai Rang floating market – Departure (B/-/-)

Program Details

Day 01: Hanoi arrival (-/-/-)

When you arrive at Noi Bai International Airport, our guide will greet you and take you to the city center to check into your hotel. Take your time relaxing or exploring Vietnam’s current capital firsthand. Take your own meals and spend the night in a hotel in Hanoi


Day 02: Hanoi City Tours – Lao Cai (B/-/-)

Pick up from your hotel for a full-day tour of Hanoi, a blend of the modern with the mystery and charm of bygone eras, Hanoi offers an air of elegance and harmony with nature. The day’s sightseeing begins with a visit to Ba Dinh Square to see Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, which houses a museum about his life as well as the simple cottage where he lived and worked. Then, see the Presidential Palace, a house on stilts, and the One Pillar Pagoda (also known as Chua Mot Cot), which was built in 1040 A.D. on a pillar made of a single large tree trunk.

Later, take a walk along West Lake to see the Quan Thanh and Tran Quoc temples. The former is a Taoist temple in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi. The temple, which dates from the 11th century, was dedicated to Xuan Wu, or Trn V in Vietnamese, one of Taoism’s main deities. The latter is the city’s oldest pagoda, having been built in the sixth century during Emperor L Nam’s reign (from 544 to 548), giving it a history of more than 1,450 years.

Then go to Van Mieu – Quoc Tu Giam (Temple of Literature), which was built in 1070 and is dedicated to the Confucius cult. Continue on to the National Museum of Vietnam History, which was built between 1925 and 1932 and was previously home to the École Française d’Extrême Orient. Bronzes from the Dong Son culture (3rd century BC to 3rd century AD) are kept in the museum, as well as Hindu statuary from the Khmer and Champa kingdoms, imperial Vietnamese jewelry, and displays about the French occupation and the Communist Party.

Next, go to the nearby Hanoi Opera House and the lovely Hoan Kiem Lake, also known as the Lake of the Restored Sword. Later, ride a cyclo through Hanoi’s Old Quarter, a maze of narrow alleys and shop houses known as “The 36 Streets.” This is a great place to observe local life and shop for everything from fabrics to crafts to exotic medicines. Then, transfer to Hanoi Railway Station for an overnight train to Lao Cai in an A/C soft cabin.

Day 03: Lao Cai – Sapa – Hiking – Sapa (B/L/-)

Upon arrival at Lao Cai railway station, our guide and driver will meet you and transport you to your hotel for relaxation, showering, and breakfast. Then, proceed to Sapa. Stroll through the village and stop by welcoming Red Zao families to learn about their culture. You will deviate from the main road and onto hilly mountainous trails. Your surroundings are lush with vegetation, pine forest, and clean air. You will be able to enjoy the area’s untouched beauty.

Start to visit Cat Cat village. Nestled in a beautiful valley about three kilometers from Sapa Town, Cat Cat- the old village of ethnic groups- attracts for its distinctive customs and practices which have been lost in almost ethnic villages. The village is within easy walking distance from any hotel in downtown Sapa. Enjoy the musical dancing performed by the local hill tribe.

Ma Tra is about 3 km walking from Ta Phin which is the newly added location in a series of villages in Sapa that visitors can go to. The village is about 5km from the town of Sapa. This has around 50 households, resided by only H’Mong people. Ma Tra village has restored the traditional flax weaving loom, forging tools and carved silver production as part of tourism. Experience tribal life on mountain, see how the locals make clothes and handicrafts, and enjoy amazing scenery that you can never forget. Transfer to the center for overnight at hotel.

Trekking in Sapa is a highlight of any trip to Vietnam: Things you need to know


Day 04: Sapa – Hiking at hill tribes villages – Hanoi (B/L/-)

Enjoy breakfast at hotel before going down to Muong Hoa valley. Beginning of the trip is the moment for admire the panorama view of the town and then the valley from the main road. After 4km on the main road, we start going down to the valley by the small trails through the terrace rice fields to get to Y Linh Ho hamlet, a small village of the Black Hmong people.

From Y Linh Ho village, we go along the river to go to Lao Chai village (means “old village” in the local dialect). It is time for you to visit the local families, listen to your guide’s explanation about the local culture: how they live, way of building the traditional house, and techniques of making clothes… or listen about the way of treatment for a sick person. Stop for lunch. The lunch is served in one of the local refreshment restaurants on the side of the river.

In the afternoon, we leave Lao Chai to continue to Ta Van village, the Giay people’s residence. The guide to bring you into some family: listen about their life, enjoy some green tea, and learn about the differences of their culture from the other hill tribes even they leave close to each other. Finally, transfer to Lao Cai for overnight train to Hanoi.


Day 05: Hanoi – Ninh Binh (B/-/-)

Train arrives in Hanoi early morning, check in hotel right in front of the railway for your shower, relax and breakfast. Afterwards, you will be picked up by driver around 8 am to Ninh Binh known as “Halong Bay on land” one of the most beautiful land for its relics and impressive limestone peaks. Visit Hoa Lu which was once depicted the ancient capital of Viet Nam, settling up in the 10th century. Also, visit temples of two dynasties of Dinh and Le with a very unique architecture in the old time. Learn about ancient culture through an excavation of vestiges of Royal Palaces ground dated 10th century.

After that, transfer to Tam Coc upon arrival boarding the sampan to travel along river among the villages, mountains and rice fields. Pass through 3 caves “Hang Ca – First cave, Hang Hai – Second cave, Hang Ba – Third cave” to get a wonderful feeling.

Later visit, around the village to enjoy the peaceful climate of Vietnamese countryside and meet welcoming and hospitable locals to get deep understanding of their life. Transfer to hotel in the center of Ninh Binh for overnight.



Day 06: Ninh Binh – Hanoi (B/-/-)

Enjoy your breakfast at hotel and then transfer to Thien Ha Cave, which is the 200-meter-high Tuong Mountain – part of the mountain range that helped to protect the Hoa Lu ancient capital from invaders in 10th century.

Although the mouth of the Thien Ha Cave is only about 4 meter across, the visitors who desire to go inside this cave will not be disappointed with its size. The entire cave is around 900 meters deep, but only 700 of those meters are accessible by foot, others are by boat as they are under water.

Get on the port then take a bike ride to Bich Dong cave. This charming cluster of cave temples is a couple of kilometers north of Tam Coc. The Lower Pagoda is located at the base, from which 100 steps lead to the Middle Pagoda, then a shorter but steep ascent to the Upper Pagoda. Inside each cave temple, looming statues peer from the haze of burning incense. Outside offers incredible countryside views. Transfer back to Hanoi for overnight.


Day 07:Hanoi – Ha Long Bay – Cruise (B/L/D)

Around 8am, you will be picked and transferred by car to Halong Bay. 12.00: Arrive at Tuan Chau Island.

12.30: Welcome Drink – cruise briefing, safety instructions, check-in cabins. Cruise and program commence

13.00 – 14.30: Serve Special Lunch on board while cruising and exploring Halong Bay passing by Soi Sim Beach, Coconut Three Island.

14.45 – 15.45: Exploring Cua Van Floating Village by rowing bamboo boat with local people or kayaking by yourself.

15.45 – 17.00: The Vessels will continuous cruising in Halong bay passing by Tien Ong Cave, Trong Cave, Ho dong Tien, Luon cave, Ti Top Island and Coconut Three Island for overnight stay. Enjoy spa at your leisure on-board.

17.00 – 19.00: Enjoying “Happy Hour” Buy one take one on selected beverages, while the vessels is anchoring at Coconut Three Island for overnight stay.

18.00 – 19.00: Enjoy cooking demonstration with Chef to discover the Vietnamese cuisine. Learn how to toast Vietnamese way through the evening’s toast of the local rice wine and follow the Pre – dinner cocktail on the sundeck serving assorted canapé and nuts. 19.30 – 22.00: Serve elegant dinner.

21.00 – 23.00: Evening Activities – relax at leisure; enjoy Movie Night and squid Fishing or Beauty Spa services.



Day 08: Ha Long Bay – Cruise – Hanoi (B/L/-)

6.30: Tai Chi session on Sundeck.

7.00 – 7.30: Coffee & tea with assorted homemade pastries.

7.30 – 8.30: Relax or Visit Sung Sot Cave – Hiking up and down 600 steps to the magnificent limestone formations of the most beautiful and biggest cave in Halong bay.

8.30: Serve Breakfast Menu.

9.30: Check-out cabins and settle bills.

10.30: Arrive at Tuan Chau Island.

10.30 – 12.00: Set lunch served on the cruise

12.15 – 12.30: Shuttle bus picks up guests to Hanoi.

16.30 – 17.00: Arrive at hotel in Hanoi. Check in hotel and overnight in Hanoi.


Day 09: Hanoi – Duong Lam – Hue (B/-/-)

In the morning, you will be taken to Duong Lam, an ancient agricultural village approximately 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Hanoi on the northern Red River Delta.  The charming village has a history that dates back 1,200 years, and many of the village’s houses were built over 400 years ago. Take your chance for the discovery by walk or bike to see old houses of red laterite and rammed earth. Visit the town hall of the village

Getting picked up at the hotel in Hanoi and take 40-minute drive to Bat Trang Ceramics Village. The village is located besides the Red River and rich in clay. This seven-century old pottery village has become an interesting attraction that visitors can easily access from Hanoi. Arrive at the village, you are taken to some local workshops and witness the local techniques of making fine ceramics products. You also have chance to experience hand-on ceramics making along with a local artisan’s guidance. While waiting for your own work ready, take a short stroll around the village’s market to see how various the products are.

Then transfer to the airport for flight to Hue. Upon arrival, be welcome by our guide then transfer to hotel in center for check-in and overnight in Hue.



Day 10: Discovery Hue Imperial (B/-/-)

In the morning, start Hue city tour today by exploring the Imperial Citadel of Hue (the home of Vietnam’s last royal dynasty, the Nguyen Dynasty (1802 – 1945). Have boat ride along the Perfume River and the countryside through rarely visited villages to Thien Mu Pagoda (one of the most atmospheric and picturesque places in the former imperial capital, listen legend story about Thien Mu pagoda).

Next, visit the tombs of Minh Mang (is impressed by the majesty and symmetry of the architectural constructions. Learn more about the Royal’s life, and Vietnam’s conception of death) and Khai Dinh (a blend of Western and Eastern architecture). Later, transfer back to hotel and overnight in Hue.


Day 11: Hue – Tam Giang Lagoon – Hue (B/L/-)

At 8:00, our tour guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel in Hue. Depart for Dam Chuon (Đm Chun) in Tam Giang Lagoon. Located along the beautiful and peaceful villages, Tam Giang Lagoon is the meeting place of three big rivers, including O Lau, Huong and Bo rivers. The lagoon provides a livelihood, directly or indirectly to about 300,000 inhabitants of 326 villages in 31 communes around the lagoon. Those people who operate fishing gear in the lagoon are both fishermen and farmers. The local is hard working and friendly. Come to the rustic place, you will have chances to experience the simple real life of countryside and learn the exciting farming, fishing activities of the local people. Spend time on Dam Chuon with interesting activities and have special seafood lunch here. In the afternoon, embark the drive for An Bang City of Ghost. It is worthy to be a tourist site thanks to its uniqueness in culture and architecture. Tombs in this cemetery are built in various styles: Buddhism, Taoism, Catholicism, Vietnamese, Chinese and Western… Especially, many tombs in An Bang are the copies of Nguyen Kings’ tombs and Hue royal citadel. After sightseeing, get back to your hotel in Hue.



Day 12: Hue – Da Nang – Hoi An (B/-/-)

Enjoy your free time in Hue before travelling to Hoi An ancient town through small villages and emerald green rivers in the blue water of Lang Co Beach. We will conquer the 10-km long, 500 meters high Hai Van Pass (pass of the Clouds). At the summit, explore French and American forts, while enjoying panoramic views of the coast.

Next, visit the Marble mountain which is a cluster of five hills made from limestone and marble, Marble Mountains are a well-known pilgrimage site with peaks, caves, tunnels and temples all just waiting to be discovered. Named after the elements metal, wood, water, fire and earth, Marble Mountains exist in a coastal area.

Arrive in Hoi An which was recognized by UNESCO as being World Cultural Heritage in 1999. Hoi An used to serve as an active port of trade with the Japanese, Dutch, Portuguese and Chinese people during the 17th and 18th centuries. Check in hotel and overnight at hotel in Hoi An.


Day 13: Hoi An and surroundings (B/-/-)

After your breakfast at hotel, enjoy a comfortable, air-conditioned ride to the Thu Bon River to board your river boat. As you sail down the river, discover the amazing Hoi An craft villages dotting the riverside, and hop off the boat to explore them more deeply. Visit the Thanh Ha ceramic village to admire its intricate pottery, and stop off at the Kim Bong furniture village to check out the hand-crafted tables and chairs. Return to the land to have your own lunch at local restaurant. In the afternoon you will take Hoi An sightseeing of Japanese covered bridgeHandicraft workshopsTan Ky old houseFujian assembly hall and the 15th century Chuc Thanh Pagoda.

Also, visit around the small and beautiful streets of Hoi An which is famous for its numerous tailor-made clothing shops. You may also enjoy the relax on the beaches of Cua Dai or Ang Bang. Overnight at hotel in Hoi An.



Day 14: Hoi An and surroundings (B/L/-)

After your breakfast at hotel, transfer to the Thu Bon port for boat ride to Cam Thanh village which is just some km from Hoi An’s center. Cam Thanh village is very famous for its Bay Mau (7 hectares) Coconuts palm forest – a revolutionary base during for the resistance during the war which is nowadays a luxuriant zone of biosphere reserve in Hoi An – Cham Island, a small path alongside the quiet river. You can enjoy the verdant nature all around as well as spend time for fishing by the traditional way with inhabitants. It is a really pleasant time for relaxing and enjoying the fresh air of the countryside.

Later, depart to Tra Que village which is very famous for its fresh herb and vegetable. You are fascinated by watching the farming procedures of local farmers, including: raking the ground, sowing, watering, picking vegetables and many other activities which are rarely seen in modern daily life. You can join one of the local farmers and get a feel of what it is like to work the land. Enjoy your lunch and foot massage to relax after a wonderful day. Transfer back to your hotel and overnight in Hoi An.


Day 15: Hoi An – Da Nang – Saigon (B/-/-)

Take your time to enjoy the last day in Hoi An until being transferred to the airport for flight to Saigon. Upon arrival, be picked up by our guide and driver and then transfer to hotel for check-in. Have your first-hand exploration of the most bustling and hustling city of Vietnam. Overnight at hotel in Saigon.



Day 16: Saigon and surroundings (B/-/-)

Enjoy the breakfast at hotel then begin your tour of this exciting city with a tour of the historic center, strolling along Dong Khoi St, formerly known as the Rue Catinat, the main shopping thoroughfare and heart of old colonial Saigon. Pass by classic European-style landmarks such the old Opera House (may only be viewed from the outside), visit to the neo-Romanesque Notre Dame Cathedral and the Central Post Office.

Afterwards dive into modern history with a tour of the Reunification Palace. Formerly the Independence Palace of the South Vietnamese president, this 60s style was famously stormed by tanks on April 30, 1975 signifying the fall of South Vietnam. It has been preserved in its original state, and the original tanks remain on display near the entrance gates.

Continue the trip to War Remnants Museum which once known as the Museum of American War Crimes preserving the items and documents in the war. The War Remnants Museum is consistently the most popular museum in Saigon. Overnight in Saigon.


Day 17: Saigon – Cao Dai – Cu Chi (B/-/-)

After breakfast at hotel, head out to Cao Dai which is the Great Holy See Temple, built in 1926 and is considered one of the most striking structures in all of South-East Asia. It is the headquarters of the unique Cao Dai sect, a religion with a hybrid of Buddhism, Christianity & Confucianism. Above the entrance is the all-seeing holy eye – symbol of the sect. Visitors will attend the midday ceremony’s extravaganza to witness the daily mass held by the Cao Dai followers which is a fantastic experience. 

Afterwards, proceed to Cu Chi to explore the amazing site where Viet Cong hid during the War. It is now a popular spot for both Vietnamese & foreign tourists – the network of over 200km of tunnels became legendary when they played a vital role in the War. There is plenty of evidence of the fierce battle that took place here during the 1960s when Cu Chi was a “Free Target Zone”.

Visitors can watch a short introductory video showing how the tunnels were constructed before entering the tunnels. Spend the next hour exploring the tunnels. Afterwards, enjoy tea, cassava (guerrilla’s food in war time). Return to Saigon in the late afternoon. Overnight in Saigon.



Day 18: Saigon – My Tho – Tra Vinh (B/L/D)

Our guide and driver pick you up at your hotel; head out to My Tho in Mekong Delta. Dip into the beauty of rice fields along the way. Firstly, visit Vinh Trang pagoda which is the “must visit” site in Tien Giang. The pagoda is an ancient Southern gem with the combination of Asian and European architecture including Renaissance period and Romanesque style.

Next, continue to My Tho, up on arrival, take a boat trip on Mekong River to visit farmer’s house and garden. View the fishing port, the traditional stilt houses and boat building workshops and islands including Dragon, Phoenix, Unicorn and Tortoise. Enjoy lunch on the beautiful island. Next, ride horse and carriage around villages to see the local life; taste tropical fruits and honey tea at bee-keeping farm; listen to traditional music and visit coconut candy manufacturer. Roam on village path with fruit orchards and bonsai garden. Meet the locals to get deeper understanding about their daily life in the watery area.

Continue your trip to Mekong Garden where you will immerse in the peace and beauty of the countryside. Enjoy the beauty of countryside during your travel by boat to Mekong Garden. After check-in the bungalow, have a short bike ride or wander around the area surrounded by orchards, rice fields, canals and lines of coconut tree. After that have a cooking demonstration in which you can learn to make Vietnamese food.


Day 19: Discovery Tra Vinh – Can Tho (B/-/-)

After your breakfast, head out to the center of Tra Vinh. Visit Khmer Culture Museum, Co (Stork) and Hang (cave) temples. Continue traveling to Can Tho to visit Ong Pagoda which is one of the most important religious sites of Chinese community in Can Tho. It is built in the late 19th century to worship Kuang Kung, a deity symbolizing loyalty, justice, reason, intelligence, honor and courage among other merits.

Then, visit Binh Thuy ancient house. Binh Thuy ancient house was built in 1870 with French style in architecture but still remained traditional features of Southern style. This is the private property of Duong’s family, it however has been acknowledged as a valuable construction of the city and nation for its architectural and historical values. Finally, check in hotel and overnight in Can Tho.



Day 20: Can Tho – Saigon – Departure (B/-/-)

You will leave hotel early for visiting Cai Rang floating market. The landscape is very beautiful: hundred sampans with full of rice, fruits and handicraft products…they are here to exchange their products. We will then visit the central market and explore the local activities. After leaving the market, we are going to visit a luxuriant orchard of Little Hien Farm and enjoy fruits. To get deeper understanding of local life, you may join the farming such as, fishing, planting… (at your own cost). Later transfer directly to Saigon for flight to next destinations

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