The Essence of Vietnam

The Essence of Vietnam 14 Days / 13 Nights

The Essence of Vietnam on this extraordinary voyage via seaplane and private boat, and have remarkable encounters with local characters, sensational food, and memorable cultures. Stay in cherry-picked accommodation that will make your trip as much about relishing the journey as it is about the eye-popping destinations themselves.


  • Graze on north Vietnamese street food accompanied by live music in Hanoi
  • Charter a private junk around the limestone karsts of Halong Bay
  • Measure up for a tailored suit in Hoi An, and wear it to dinner just 24 hours later
  • Admire the view from the glittering heights of Ho Chi Minh City’s Bitexco tower
  • Navigate the hidden backwaters of the Mekong Delta in a private sampan

Hanoi, Halong Bay Cruise, Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh City, Mekong River Cruise, Con Dao

Sample Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive Hanoi, evening Streetfood Tour

Having been introduced to your guide upon arrival in Hanoi, your first day is at leisure until the sun sets, when you’ll meet with your guide again for a hearty tour of the city’s famous north Vietnamese cuisine. Weave through the streets, trying local delicacies such as bánh cuốn rice rolls and cha ca spiced fish and, of course, tucking into some of the best pho you’ll ever eat. Stop at one of the bia hoi bars on Ta Hien Street for a locally-brewed beer, and stroll to Quan Su for strong Vietnamese coffee and live jazz.

Day 2 Hanoi City Tour

Start the day away from the city centre bustle with a cycle around the perimeter of West Lake. Spend time in the shade of Tran Quoc pagoda’s elegant tower, or watch the world go by from a lakeside café as you sip something cool. As midday approaches, look into Hanoi’s past with a visit to the atmospheric halls of the Temple of Literature, on the site of Vietnam’s first university. Tuck into a Vietnamese-style fast lunch on the famous Trang Tien Street, where you can feast on pho and sweet treats among the locals, with the grand Opera House just around the corner. Dip your toes into Hanoi’s contemporary culture at the Manzi Art Cafe, before heading back in time with a stroll past workshops and pagodas in the narrow Old Quarter streets. Grab a beer and keep exploring, or head back to enjoy some R&R; in your hotel.

Day 3 - Drive to Halong Bay & private cruise

Early morning departure for Halong Bay. Once there, you’ll be welcomed aboard your chosen private junk boat, each with its own individual route, to begin your cruise around the bay’s rocky islands and hidden caves. Visit Bai Tu Long Bay, passing the waterside towns of Hon Gai and Cam Pha, and teardrop-shaped Oan Lagoon, Mat Quy (Monster Head) and Am Tich (Teapot) islets. Stop off at Vung Vieng fishing village, where you will transfer to a rowing boat to explore the narrow channels, before returning to your junk to enjoy a sumptuous supper in the dining cabin.

Day 4 - Cruise back to the mainland, evening Vespa Tour

Wake to the sound of sea birds nesting in the thick vegetation covering the karsts, and start your day with a Tai Chi class on deck. After brunch on board, your junk will turn back to the mainland, passing Sung Sot Cave along the way. Once you’ve disembarked, return to Hanoi where your day will be at leisure until the evening, when, riding pillion on a Vespa, you’ll be taken to savour more examples of vibrant Vietnamese cuisine, and hang out where the locals do, witnessing the sombre changing of the guard at Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum and taking in the twinkle of Hanoi by night.

Day 5 - Fly to Hoi An, Dinner at a local restaurant

Take a flight into Danang, where you’ll meet your guide and drive straight to Hoi An to check into your hotel. Wander through the cobbled streets, soaking up the heady blend of ancient and modern, and let your guide show you the highlights, as well as a few local hangouts off the usual tourist trail. Tonight you will enjoy dinner in one of our favourite eateries in town. It’s an ever-changing list! Your guide will transfer you to the restaurant in time for your dinner reservation and will be on hand to transfer you back to your hotel after dinner.

Day 6 - Hoi An at leisure

Spend today at leisure, perhaps delving deeper into the city’s historic sights - or if you fancy a change of scene, head to the popular Cua Dai beach to dip your toes in the warm waters and eat fresh seafood from the stalls along the shore.

Day 7 - Fly to Ho Chi Minh City

After breakfast, fly to Ho Chi Minh City where your guide will meet you and take you to your chosen hotel. Your afternoon is at leisure to settle in and start to absorb the atmosphere, before meeting with your guide to explore the city as evening falls. Though Hoi An is frequently named as the foodie hub of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City also boasts a burgeoning restaurant scene, offering everything from European fine dining to Pan-Asian fusion and home-cooked authentic Vietnamese cuisine. Enjoy dinner at one of our top recommended restaurants from an ever-growing list! Your guide will show you there in perfect time for your reservation, and be on hand to advise you about where to head afterwards for a nightcap.

Day 8 Ho Chi Minh City Tour

Visit your pick of Ho Chi Minh City’s highlights on a personalised tour with your guide, taking in everything from grand palaces, to French neoclassical architecture, to bustling side streets. Start with an early morning meander through the alleys and markets of District 1 - a densely populated, and architecturally interesting area, full of aromatic markets and small businesses, that few visitors know exists, let alone see for themselves. We recommend you incorporate the impressive Reunification Palace, and the beautiful Saigon Central Post Office - designed by Gustave Eiffel – and bear witness to the violence of the country’s recent past with a visit to a secret resistance weapon store used during the Vietnam war. Immerse yourself in the micro-culture of Cho Lon, HCMC’s Chinatown, and end with a visit to the top of the Bitexco Tower for a sundowner and panoramic cityscape views.

Day 9 - Private Mekong Delta Cruise

Head out early to Cai Be, where you’ll board your private sampan: a type of boat that has been used on Vietnamese waters for centuries. Enjoy tea and seasonal fruit as you depart on your cruise with your crew of a boat-driver, deckhand, and a local guide. Observe life playing out along the shore, before disembarking at Sa Dec town to stroll between the beautiful old French houses, Chinese temples and a central market. Return to your sampan to cruise towards Can Tho, going along picturesque narrow canals and under several wooden 'monkey bridges'. The last stop before sunset is at a traditional Nha Co house from the early 19th century, where you’ll be welcomed by the owner before enjoying a candlelight dinner. Return to your sampan and let the boat’s gentle motion lull you to sleep.

Day 10 - Cruise to Can Tho, fly to Con Dao

Enjoy breakfast as your sampan glides between the boats at Cai Rang floating market. You’ll have time to look around, and perhaps even practise your bartering, before transferring to Con Dao. Take time to settle into your own slice of paradise at your resort, before exploring the picture-perfect coast. During the summer months you might be lucky enough to spot turtles in the shallows whilst snorkelling, or even as they make their way up the beach to lay their eggs.

Days 11 & 12 - A few days R&R

Your days will be at leisure to relax on the beach and make the most of the hotel's facilities.

Day 13 - Fly to Ho Chi Minh City & depart

Transfer to the airport for your domestic flight to Ho Chi Minh City and connecting onward flight.

Booking Policy

  • English speaking, local guide
  • All accommodation listed
  • Land transportation by private air-conditioned vehicles
  • Any domestic flights listed (unless marked otherwise)
  • All admission fees at attractions, temples and activities as mentioned in the itinerary
  • All meals listed
  • International flight reconfirmation.


  • Entry visas
  • International airport departure taxes
  • Any meals not listed in the itinerary
  • Drinks, other than water on activity days
  • Personal expenses (laundry, telephone, drinks, tip...)
  • Travel insurance
  • All other services not listed in 'inclusive'


Personalised design
We’ll plan your trip around your specific interests, tastes and preferences, providing helpful tips and honest advice based on firsthand knowledge of the destionation.
Authentic Experience
Our expert guides and brilliant travel concierges are hand-picked to provide a genuine experience, bringing you destination to life with care and passion.
Responsible Travel
Our luxury trips are designed with responsible travel principles that priorities travel experiences that are both good for you and good for the planet.
It is easy to customize your The Essence of Vietnam tours with us

What our clients say about us

Feb 2023
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An amazing trip out together by Stephen at My Way Travel! This was our second trip ( went to Vietnam and Cambodia 2019). Stephen is great to work with- very flexible and listens to what we wanted to do. This trip was originally scheduled for April 2020. A honest company that asked if I wanted my deposit back and I said no - that I would use it in a future trip! How many companies around the world did this???? We had great guides In Bangkok and Chiang Rai and Chiang Rai. Fon was full of energy and fun in Bangkok. Ann was one of the best guides I have ever had- she took us to a couple of places not noted on the tour. We went for a hike at a waterfall and visited the cave where the Thai boys were rescued in the cave. Both Ann and Fon gave us wonderful suggestions for restaurants. I would absolutely recommend Stephen and My Way Travel! We plan to use him again in planning Bali!
April 18, 2023
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Our group of 26 people traveled to Japan & Thailand with My Way Travel, and had an incredible time. This was our third trip with My Way Travel and the trip was planned perfectly with every detail accounted for. Our tour guides were exceptional in every way. They exuded a warmth and friendliness that immediately put us at ease, making our trip more enjoyable. Not only were they amiable, but they also had extensive knowledge about the places we visited. We would highly recommend My Way Travel to anyone planning a trip to Asia.
July 28, 2023
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We have just returned from a 16 Day/15 Night trip to southeast Asia including stops in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand planned by Stephen at My Way Travel. We reached out to My Way Travel with quite a tall order asking them to arrange a trip for us that included visiting 9 cities in 15 nights! From the first point of contact, our experience with My Way Travel was absolutely fantastic. Stephen was very attentive and let us customize our tour however we pleased. All of the hotels he booked for us were incredible and the tour guides and drivers made us feel like family. It was very easy to keep in touch with Stephen throughout our trip via Whatsapp. The only thing we really needed during our trip was to add baggage for one of our flights and he was able to take care of it the day before we arrived at the airport. All the drivers/guides showed up on time and made transferring from airport to hotel to tour to wherever extremely easy. I will definitely recommend this company to anyone that plans on traveling to Asia.
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