Essentials of Vietnam

Essentials of Vietnam

If you are visiting Vietnam for the first time, this trip is an ideal suggestion. In just 11 days, you will see all of the main highlights of this beautiful country. The journey is a combination of incredible natural beauty, rural villages, and busy cities of Vietnam.


You will start from Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital, then head out to Halong Bay to stay overnight a traditional junk. Continue onto the central Vietnam after returning from the bay, explore the imperial city of Hue and the ancient town of Hoi An. Here you may choose spend some time relaxing on the beach before taking a short flight down to Saigon, the most dynamic city in the south.

    Places visited:

  • Hanoi
  • Halong Bay
  • Hue
  • Danang
  • Hoi An
  • Saigon
Itinerary Idea in Detail:
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  • Day 1: Hanoi Arrival

    Upon on your arrival in Noi Bai Airport, your tour guide will meet and take you to your hotel on a private car. You will be free to relax the rest of the day, or explore the surround areas at your own. A short walk from your hotel is the Hoan Kiem Lake, where local people enjoy different kinds of exercise in the late afternoon.

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  • Day 2: Hanoi City Tour (B)

    Today, explore the city of Hanoi with your private guide and driver. Visit Ho Chi Minh complex where the first president of Vietnam lived and passed away in the simple house, the Temple of Literature, known as Vietnam’s first university, and Hoa Lo Prison (Hanoi Hilton) which showcase the use of the prison by both the French and North Vietnam during the Indochina wars. Experience the hustle and bustle of the Hanoi’s Old Quarter on foot or on rickshaw before coming back to your hotel in the afternoon.

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  • Day 3: Hanoi - Halong Bay (B, L, D)
    Halong Bay   Drive to Halong Bay (3.5 hours)  

    In the morning, your private car and tour guide will pick up at your hotel and drive to Halong City, where you will aboard a traditional Vietnamese junk to cruise the bay. Spend the afternoon cruising through the magnificent limestone islands of Halong Bay, enjoy the sunset from the upper deck of your boat before having a wonderful dinner in the middle of the bay. Overnight on the boat. All meals are included during your stay on the boat.

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  • Day 4: Halong Bay - Hanoi - Hue (B, L)
    Hue   Drive back to Hanoi (3.5 hours)   Fly to Hue (1 hour)  

    Wake up to practice some tai chi with the crews and see the beautiful sunrise over the bay this morning. Visit a limestone cave before cruising back to the harbor, where your guide and driver take you back to Hanoi airport in time for your afternoon flight to Hue. On the drive to the airport by private car, stop and visit Yen Duc village which is famous for authentic Vietnamese life in rural area. Upon arrival in Hue, our guide and driver will pick up and drive you to the hotel.

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  • Day 5: Hue City Tour (B)

    The Imperial Hue city was heavily destroyed by bombs during the wars, but your tour guide will help make sense of the ruins and show you many interesting building still standing. Start the day with the Imperial City, where you will learn about the once royal power of Vietnam. Take a private dragon boat to cruise along the Perfume River, visit the famous Thien Mu Pagoda and the ancient tomb of Ming Mang King.

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  • Day 6: Hue - Hoi An (B)
    Hoi An   Drive to Hoi An (3 hours)  

    This morning drive to Hoi An, the three and a half hours will pass abundant rice paddy fields and travel over the Hai Van Pass. On a clear day the pass offers spectacular views out to the Lang Co beach and the East Sea. Check in your hotel in Hoi An, where you can spend the afternoon to relax or enjoy a walk around the charms of Hoi An ancient town.

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  • Day 7: Hoi An - My Son Sanctuary (B)

    Today your guide will show you the hidden charms of this ancient town, which has been so stunningly preserved that it earned the status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. All over the town, streets are still lined with old tile-roofed shop houses, colorful communal halls and shady pagodas. Driver out to the My Son sanctuary to see the ancient Cham ruins with a series of Hindu temples. The remainder of your day is free to relax and explore the rest of the town at your own leisure.


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  • Day 8: Hoi An (B)

    Experience the everyday life of the local fisherman on a traditional bucket boat, today you will learn about Vietnamese fishing and try your hand at catching your own. Afterwards enjoy a fresh seafood lunch being served on board. In the afternoon you are free to relax and visit the local shops. You may also want to have some suits made by the local tailors, which Hoi An is really famous for.

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  • Day 9: Hoi An - Danang - Saigon (B)
    Saigon   Fly to Saigon (1 hour)  

    Your private guide and driver will drive you to Danang airport to take a short flight to Saigon, meet your Saigon guide upon your arrival and head out to the famous Cu Chi tunnels. Here you will have chance to see how the Viet Cong dug and organized their guerrilla war underground during the Vietnam war, you can enter a few of the tunnels if you are comfortable with narrow spaces. In the evening experience the truly Saigon city on the back of a Vespa motorcycle, sample some delicious street food along the way. 

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  • Day 10: Saigon (B)

    Learn about the history of Saigon with your guide in a private half day city tour. Visit the Independent Palace which is Saigon’s iconic building, the War Remnants Museum and the government houses with its vibrant yellow French style. You may want to see some of the hidden markets, and experience Saigon’s coffee style on the side walk with the local people.

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  • Day 11: Saigon Departure (B)

    Enjoy your breakfast and the last day in Vietnam, your tour guide and driver will pick you up and drive you to Tan Son Nhat airport in time for your onward flight.

TRIP COST: 1,476 USD per person (double occupancy)

All Incense Travel tours are private and depart daily.


Trip cost includes:

  • Private airport transfers
  • Private touring with your personal guides and drivers
  • All-the-clock support during your tour
  • English speaking guides
  • All meals mentioned in the detailed itinerary (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)
  • Sightseeing as mentioned with permission fees and entrance tickets
  • Preferred rooms in suggested in the detailed itinerary, double occupancy
  • Domestic flights: HANOI – HUE, DANANG – SAIGON (Ho Chi Minh City)


Trip cost DOES NOT include:

  • International airfares
  • Any meals not specified after each itinerary day, beverages at meals
  • Tips or gratuities to tour guide or staffs
  • Hotel accommodation pre and post the trip
  • Pre-trip expenses of medical immunizations (if any)
  • Travel insurance, visas, and other expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.).

Trip Details at-a-Glance

  • Length: 11 Days - Departs daily on a private basis
  • Price: 1,476 USD per person (double occupancy)
  • Arrival: Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital
  • Departure: Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City)
  • Travel Style: Leisure Travel



  • Cruise on a traditional junk in Halong Bay, weaving through stunning limestone formations
  • Learn about the ancient and modern history of Vietnam in imperial Hue
  • Relax and shop in the ancient but charming town of Hoi An
  • Explore the colonial French influences in Hanoi and Saigon