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Central Vietnam and the Ho Chi Minh Trail

17 days from £3245 per person

Vietnam’s central provinces are a remote jungle-clad land of spectacular natural beauty and great cultural antiquity. Forever shaped by the events of the Vietnam War, battlefields and fortresses share the landscape with ancient cities and forgotten national parks of extraordinary importance and beauty. Explore Hanoi and the recently opened Thang Long Citadel, then travel south to the cave complexes of Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park. Crossing the DMZ, visit the VC tunnels at Vin Moc, imperial Hue and pretty Hoi An before ending by the sea on the tropical island of Phu Quoc.

Route: Hanoi – Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park – Hue – Hoi An – Ho Chi Minh City – Phu Quoc – Ho Chi Minh City

Itinerary Highlights

Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park is noted for its extensive limestone cave systems covering over 120 kms and including Son Doong Cave, considered to be the world’s largest.

Hue in Central Vietnam was the country’s capital under the Nguyen dynasty. The Imperial citadel is located north of the Perfume River, whilst the emperor’s tombs lie alongside the river.

Hoi An is the perfect place to relax for a few days. An ancient trading port, the Chinese, Japanese and French influences are clearly evident whilst the beaches of China Bay are close by.

Itinerary: Central Vietnam and the Ho Chi Minh Trail

Today depart the UK on the Singapore Airlines flight to Singapore. (N)
Arrive into Singapore and connect onto a Singapore Airlines flight to Hanoi where you will stay for the next two nights. A handsome city of tree-lined boulevards, temples, lakes, parks and a frenetic, vibrant old colonial centre, Hanoi’s charm lies in the preservation of a distinct North Vietnamese culture and way of life distinct to that of the south of the country. (N)
Accommodation in Hanoi: Silk Path Hotel
Upgrade option: Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel
Today explore Hanoi with your guide starting at Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum before continuing to his house, in the compound of the former Presidential Palace, and nearby One Pillar Pagoda which was originally built during the 11th century AD. From here continue on foot to the wonderful Temple of Literature – the largest temple complex in the city. Nearly 1,000 years old, the temple was dedicated to Confucius and the cult of literacy and education. End the day exploring the narrow lanes and historic buildings of the atmospheric old quarter. (B)
Accommodation in Hanoi: Silk Path Hotel
Upgrade option: Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel
This morning transfer to Hanoi Airport and fly to Dong Hoi which lies just north of the 17th parallel – the old border between North and South Vietnam. From Dong Hoi head inland to Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site home to some of the oldest karst mountains in Asia where vast cave complexes and spectacular underground rivers give way to pristine tropical jungle. Later explore some of the caves and travel by boat to local villages. Stay for two nights at the national park. (B)
Accommodation in Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park: Sun Spa Resort
The diversity Phong Nha Ke Bang is staggering with the park protecting over 100 species of mammal and close to 300 varieties of bird. Much of Phong Nha Ke Bang has yet to be explored and only small sections of the reserve are open to visitors. Today, visit Paradise Cave – a highlight of Phong Nha Ke Bang – which is one of the largest caves in the area. Housing stunning cave formations, stalagmites and stalactites, the walkways descend deep into the cave complex. (B/L)
Accommodation in Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park: Sun Spa Resort
This morning travel south towards the tunnels at Vin Moc stopping en-route to visit the childhood home of the revered General Giap. Crossing the former Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) stops are made at the village of Vinh Moc, where over 3kms of well-maintained underground tunnels were constructed, and Quang Tri Citadel. Later continue on to Hue where you will stay for two nights. A city of infinite charm and personality, Hue was home to the powerful Nguyen dynasty and much of its magnificence remains. (B/L)
Accommodation in Hue: Pilgrimage Village Hue
Upgrade option: La Residence Hotel and Spa
Hue is dominated by its spectacular Imperial City and in the morning explore this complex with your guide. Similar to Beijing’s Forbidden City, the ancient walls of this UNESCO World Heritage Site enclose a vast complex of palaces, pavilions, gardens and temples. In the afternoon visit the Dong Ba Market then travel to the countryside outside of the city to explore some of the astonishing tombs of the ancient emperors of Vietnam. In Hue a visit to a local Garden House can also be arranged as can scenic cycle rides through the outlying rural villages to the beautiful Thanh Toan covered bridge. (B)
Accommodation in Hue: Pilgrimage Village Hue
Upgrade option: La Residence Hotel and Spa
Leaving your hotel transfer to the railway station for the train ride south to Danang. Colourful, noisy and scenic in equal measure, this rail journey offers a true local experience. On arrival in Danang visit the Cham Museum, which houses the largest collection of Cham art in the world. Continue to China Beach, close to Hoi An, and where you will stay for three nights. (B)
Accommodation in Hoi An: Boutique Hoi An Resort
Upgrade option: Victoria Hoi An Resort and Spa
Alternative upgrade option: The Nam Hai, Hoi An
This morning visit Hoi An – a quaint, picturesque town of winding cobbled streets, pretty wooden merchant houses, pagodas and silk merchants. Around two-hundred years ago Hoi An was a bustling little port home to Chinese traders and a strong commercial link to Japan which, over time, influenced the town’s architecture and design. Spending time in the town, spend the rest of the day relaxing on China Beach. Visits can also be made to one or two of the local fishing villages outside of Hoi An. (B)
Accommodation in Hoi An: Boutique Hoi An Resort
Upgrade option: Victoria Hoi An Resort and Spa
Alternative upgrade option: The Nam Hai, Hoi An
At leisure to relax and enjoy the beach and hotel. The majority of resorts provide a free shuttle service into the old town of Hoi An should you wish to return. A day trip to the ancient Cham city of My Son can also be arranged as can a cookery class in the town. (B)
Accommodation in Hoi An: Boutique Hoi An Resort
Upgrade option: Victoria Hoi An Resort and Spa
Alternative upgrade option: The Nam Hai, Hoi An
After breakfast transfer to Danang Airport and fly via Ho Chi Minh City to Phu Quoc Island for a three night stay. Alternatively, fly to tropical Con Dao Island and stay at the luxurious Six Senses Con Dao. Located at the southern tip of Vietnam, the largely undeveloped Phu Quoc offers calm crystal-clear waters and soft sandy beaches ideal for swimming and snorkelling. (B)
Accommodation on Phu Quoc: Fusion Resort
Upgrade option: La Veranda Resort
Accommodation on Con Dao: Six Senses Con Dao
At leisure to relax and enjoy your hotel. (B)
Accommodation on Phu Quoc: Fusion Resort
Upgrade option: La Veranda Resort
Accommodation on Con Dao: Six Senses Con Dao
Today transfer to Phu Quoc Airport and fly to Ho Chi Minh City where you will stay for the next two nights. Renamed at the conclusion of the Vietnam War, the city is still known to many as Saigon. Growing from a small 15th century Khmer trading port, today Ho Chi Minh City is the modern face of Vietnam – a bustling dynamic metropolis of crumbling colonial buildings, chaotic streets, colourful markets and informal pavement cafes. (B)
Accommodation in Ho Chi Minh City: Majestic Hotel
Upgrade option: Caravelle Hotel
Alternative upgrade option: Park Hyatt Saigon
This morning explore Ho Chi Minh City with your guide. Places of interest include the former Presidential Palace, now Reunification Hall, famously occupied by the army of North Vietnam in 1975, the city’s colonial centre including Notre Dame Cathedral and General Post Office and colourful Chinatown with its historic pagodas. In the afternoon take a walking tour through the busy side-streets ending at a small shop, formerly the secret weapon storage of the Viet Cong that was used during the Tet Offensive of 1968. (B)
Accommodation in Ho Chi Minh City: Majestic Hotel
Upgrade option: Caravelle Hotel
Alternative upgrade option: Park Hyatt Saigon
Today is a day at leisure in the city. Early risers may wish to take a special morning tour to experience the city as it rouses, watching the morning public exercises, relaxing over a cup of hot Vietnamese coffee at Ben Thanh market and an authentic breakfast of pho noodle soup. Alternatively a cookery class can be arranged or you may simply wish to further explore the city under your own steam. Later catch the onward flight to Singapore and connect onto the Singapore Airlines flight non-stop to the UK. (B)
In the morning arrive back into the UK. (N)
**KEY: N = No meals, B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

What To Do Next?

We design unique, tailor-made holiday itineraries to suit you, by combining your ideas with our knowledge and experience. Once you have an idea of what you’re looking for, or if you require some advice, please call us or complete the enquiry form online for a quotation.

What's included

  • International flights from the UK
  • Domestic flights
  • Private car and driver
  • Sightseeing with local English speaking guides
  • Wildlife viewing with local naturalist
  • Hotel accommodation and taxes

What's not included

  • Cost of visas
  • Travel Insurance
  • Expenses of a personal nature

Guide to Price

The above price is based on two people travelling together and sharing accommodation in low season. The price is only a guide and can vary according to selected airlines, hotels and date of travel. If you wish to travel with your family, friends or on your own we will be very happy to assist you with your arrangements.

Experts in Tailor-Made Holidays

For over 30 years, Pettitts Travel have led the way in creating authentic, tailor-made holidays. Our knowledgeable team have first-hand knowledge of our destinations and no two itineraries we prepare are the same.

Please call us for more information or complete the online enquiry form to request a quotation.

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