Uncle Ho's Magical Mystery Tour

'Junk' boat cruise among the limestone karsts of UNESCO World Heritage-listed Halong Bay
Cu Chi Tunnels - the underground network of the Viet Minh and Viet Cong
Dalat hill station
Nha Trang cruise - the islands of the South China Sea
Learn new road rules in Vietnam
The bustling streets and cyclos of Saigon
The tailors and market traders of UNESCO World Heritage-listed Hoi An
Vietnam's northern capital Hanoi
  • Forget everything you know about traffic lights, pedestrian crossings, helmets and stop signs. They don’t matter here. Wait until you're safely on the other side before you start high-fiving your success.

    (Was Vietnam South to North)


    Day 1 - Ho Chi Minh City

    You know when you’re camping, how you can sit and watch the fire crackle and spark for hours? That’s what it’s like watching the people in Ho Chi Minh. Grab an outside seat, a bowl of pho and prepare to be mesmerised.

    • Arrive in Ho Chi Minh and explore this fascinating city

    Day 2-3 - Mekong Delta

    Three things you’ll learn here: how soy sauce is made, whether or not you like the taste of elephant ear fish and what a popcorn factory smells like. Stay overnight with a local family before heading back to cruise the canals, rivers and backwaters.

    • Join the boat at the small market town of Cai Be
    • Cruise the canals, rivers and backwaters and discover how the local people lead their lives
    • Visit a congested flotilla of boats selling all manner of fruit and vegetables at Cai Be's floating market
    • Stop by some family-run industries, which include a rice paper, popcorn and popped rice factory
    • Learn the process involved in making some of the products for which the Mekong Delta is famous – including fish sauce, soy sauce, tofu and clay floor tiles
    • Arrive at asimple home-stay situated on an island in the middle of the Mekong River
    • Enjoy a dinner including the Mekong Delta's famous “Elephant Ear Fish” as well as a number of other Mekong specialties
    • Take a walk along the island's trails and a sampan ride through some of its small creeks and canals
    • Set off on the riverboat back to Cai Be and return to Ho Chi Minh in the afternoon
    Breakfast | Dinner

    Day 4 - Cu Chi Tunnels

    Leave your claustrophobia at the door if you want to squeeze into these teeny tiny tunnels. Then jump on a bike and check out some of Ho Chi Minh’s best, including The Reunification Palace, War Remnants Museum, Ben Thanh Market and Notre Dame Cathedral.

    • Crawl through a section of the Cu Chi Tunnels
    • Learn how the brave men and women of Cu Chi built underground hospitals, kitchens and meeting rooms during their struggle
    • Spend the last afternoon in Vietnam shopping in the city’s main business district, or take a cyclo ride through the busy city streets to Ho Chi Minh’s Chinatown district, Cholon

    Day 5-6 - Dalat

    The French had it right, building villas up here to escape the heat of Ho Chi Minh City. Cycle around the tea and coffee plantations, see the summer palace of Vietnam’s last emperor and pick which place has been dubbed “Crazy House”.

    • Join a local bus for the day-long drive to Dalat
    • Mix with locals and other travellers on board the bus
    • Journey past rubber and teak plantations before ascending the jungle-clad pass to Bao Loc
    • Continue past tea and coffee plantations, where the people and their houses look very different to those in Ho Chi Minh
    • Enjoy a full free day to explore some of the more interesting sights in Dalat, including the old railway station, Bao Dai, and the Hang Nga Guesthouse, known as the 'Crazy House'
    • Perhaps pay a visit to one of Dalat's most notable residents, Buddhist monk/artist, Vien Thuc, and purchase his black ink on paper paintings and calligraphy for approximately US$5 a piece
    • Why not try lunch is the upstairs 'mezzanine' floor of the fruit and vegetable pavilion in Dalat's central market
    • Take an optional trip out to 'Lat Village' – a local ethnic hill tribe community located just outside Dalat

    Day 7-9 - Nha Trang - Island Cruise

    This is the part where your friends get jealous: cruising the islands, jumping off the boat for a swim and a snorkel then tucking into a seafood lunch.

    • Enjoy plenty of time to worship the sun during two full days in Nha Trang
    • Head out onto the water for a day to cruise around the islands
    • Spend stacks of time swimming and snorkelling
    • Indulge in a lunchtime feast of freshly caught seafood and other delights for non-fish eaters
    • Board the overnight sleeper train bound for Danang
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 10-11 - Hoi An

    If Hoi An was a kid, you’d want to pinch her little cheeks: cute winding streets, charming heritage architecture and some of the prettiest sunsets ever.

    • Drive through the busy streets of Danang and pass by the massive former US airbase that was, in 1968, the busiest airport in the world
    • Take a walking tour of Hoi An
    • Enjoy free time - there’s such a broad choice of things to see and do, and they can all be experienced without difficulty
    • Perhaps rent bicycles and set off to explore the surrounding countryside, take a boat trip on the river, relax on the nearby beach, enjoy the cuisine on offer at some of the town’s numerous cheap cafes or have some clothes made up
    • Why not venture further afield to Vietnam’s world famous ‘China Beach’ and the adjacent Marble Mountains
    • An optional visit to the Kingdom of Champa, the ancient ruins at My Son, can be completed in half a day
    • Leave Hoi An and take the day train to Hue.

    Day 12-13 - Hue

    Bit of bike riding, bit of walking and a bit of cruising down the Perfume River. Chat with the locals on the overnight train to Hanoi.

    • Mount local ‘shopping’ bikes and cycle down to the riverside
    • Place the bikes on board a ‘Dragon Boat’, and enjoy a cruise up the Perfume River to visit the Thien Mu pagoda
    • Choose to either cycle back into town from here, approximately 8km, or staying on the boat to head back down river to the Citadel
    • Spend a couple of hours exploring Hue’s massive walled citadel and the Forbidden Purple Palace enclosed within
    • Perhaps cycle out to one of the Royal tombs such as the tomb of Emperor Tu Duc, one of the best remaining examples of its kind
    • Alternatively, set off on an optional motorcycle tour of the sights in Hue and some surrounding villages

    Day 14-15 - Hanoi

    Back on solid ground, with free time to say hi to Uncle Ho at One Pillar Pagoda, geek out at the Temple of Literature or grab some pho in the Old Quarter.

    • Begin by visiting the One Pillar Pagoda near the Soviet-inspired mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh
    • Walk to the Temple of Literature - Vietnam’s first educational institute
    • Visit the Hoa Lo Prison, probably better known to most as the ‘Hanoi Hilton’
    • Enjoy a free afternoon to wander around town and check out the lifestyles of Hanoi’s people
    • Perhaps stop by the city’s Old Quarter, situated to the north of the lake

    Day 16-18 - Halong Bay - Hanoi

    Swim, snorkel, eat a freshly caught seafood lunch, grab a cocktail and watch the sunset. Fingers crossed for a clear night so you can sleep out on the deck under the stars.

    Day 16

    • Take a drive through the fertile Red River Delta to the bayside town of Bai Chay
    • Board a chartered boat and enjoy a full afternoon lazing on deck as you cruise through the seascape
    • Indulge in a seafood lunch is served on board
    • Perhaps go for a swim before going ashore on one of the islands to explore colourful limestone caves
    • Be lucky to witness a sunset over Halong Bay before enjoying dinner prepared by the crew

    Days 17-18

    • Enjoy free time in Hanoi to get in some sightseeing or shopping before the trip ends
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner
  • Trip Dates and Prices

    Start Date – End Date Trip Status Price
  • Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments

    At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.

    Uncle Ho's Magical Mystery Tour

    Kathryn - Australia, 13 Apr, 2013
    Overall Rating

    Fantastic holiday. We just had a ball. We were a little worried due to being 48 and 52 but the holiday, food, travel, people - everything was fantastic. Looking at travelling with Gecko again at the end of 2014 to Egypt for my 50th we were so impressed.

    Uncle Ho's Magical Mystery Tour

    Melissa - United Kingdom, 30 Mar, 2013
    Overall Rating

    I really enjoyed the trip. It was a perfect balance of day trips and free time. The hotel staff were fantastic especially at the last hotel An hung in Hanoi. I really enjoyed the home stay so the only thing that would be a suggestion is to include a few more nights at a home stay rather than just hotels so you can get more involved with the real people of Vietnam. The guide Tuan was exceptionally great! And make the trip even more special

18 days
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4 - 16
Bicycle, Boat, Local bus, Private vehicle, Sleeper train
1 night Sleeper train, 14 nights Hotel, 1 night Homestay, 1 night Boat
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

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