Large phu quoc

Vietnam Northern Highlights and Tropical Beach

16 day family holiday exploring northern Vietnam’s diverse landscape, fascinating culture, and fabulous beaches, including sailing on a traditional Junk, cycling in rural stilt villages, sightseeing in Hanoi, and five nights on a tropical island idyll.

Tailor-made Classic 16 days

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  • 16 day tailor-made family holiday

  • Cycling and culture in vibrant Hanoi

  • Explore timeless Mai Chau and ancient Hoi An

  • Sail and swim in stunning Ha Long Bay

  • Fun and relaxation on tropical beaches

If travelling in the Western Winter months (November to April) we recommend the Island of Phu Quoc (Vietnam) for your beach time on this itinerary. From May through to October, we recommend combining Vietnam with the beaches of Koh Samui in Thailand instead as it gets the best weather in the region during the rainy season.


On arrival at the airport you will be met by your chauffeur and make the 40 minute transfer to your hotel. Check in for two nights in a family suite room at Hanoi La Siesta, a contemporary hotel located in the heart of the city’s atmospheric Old Quarter, with facilities including a restaurant, gym, cinema, and spa. Spend the remaining day at leisure, relaxing in the hotel or exploring the vibrant Old Quarter.
Accommodation: Hanoi La Siesta Hotel, Hanoi

After breakfast, take a short drive to a traditional village outside the city. Enjoy a guided bicycle excursion around the local markets, cultural buildings, and ancient temples, and learn about Vietnamese rural life and customs. Witness a food demonstration before sharing a typical Vietnamese lunch with a village family. Afterwards, return to Hanoi for an afternoon of sightseeing and culture. Enjoy a musical performance at the city’s Temple of Literature, followed by a cycle around the Old Quarter and peaceful Hoan Kiem Lake, finishing with an entertaining water puppet demonstration. Opt for dinner back at the hotel or choose from one of Hanoi’s tempting restaurants.
Meals included: breakfast and lunch
Accommodation: Hanoi La Siesta Hotel, Hanoi

This morning, enjoy a picturesque 3 ½ hour road transfer to rural Mai Chau, a tranquil contrast to bustling Hanoi. Renowned for its traditional stilt houses, emerald paddy fields, and tree-clad mountain peaks, this enchanting landscape is home to many of Vietnam’s indigenous ethnic groups. Arrive at the delightful village of Poom Coom and check into the Mai Chau Eco Lodge for a two night stay in a deluxe connecting bungalow. Visit a village family, and enjoy warm hospitality along with a delicious home cooked lunch. This afternoon, cycle around the local community, absorbing the tranquil pace of life and majestic scenery. Spend the evening at leisure back at the eco lodge, which boasts a delightful swimming pool and a restaurant with panoramic views.
Meals included: breakfast and lunch
Accommodation: Mai Chau Eco Lodge, Mai Chau

Following breakfast at the hotel, spend the day exploring the area’s charming villages, with an opportunity to meet children at a local school. Return to the eco lodge for a relaxing evening.
Meals included: breakfast
Accommodation: Mai Chau Eco Lodge, Mai Chau

After breakfast, enjoy a leisurely morning before being driven back to Hanoi. En route, visit the Muong Cultural Museum in Hoa Binh, whose substantial exhibits include traditional Vietnamese architecture, art, and sculpture, and cultural artefacts from the indigenous Muong population. Arrive back at Hanoi La Siesta in time for dinner and an evening of leisure in the buzzing metropolis.
Meals included: breakfast and lunch
Accommodation: Hanoi La Siesta Hotel, Hanoi

Today bid farewell to Vietnam’s capital, and take a scenic 4 hour road transfer to Ha Long Bay. En route, visit a picturesque village for lunch and a water puppet performance by local artists. The breath taking UNESCO World Heritage site of Ha Long Bay is northern Vietnam’s prime visitor destination, a glorious stretch of turquoise sea dotted with tiny islands, grottoes, and towering limestone cliffs. On arrival, step aboard the Dragon Pearl Junk, a traditional Vietnamese sailing vessel, for a two night stay in a deluxe cabin. Following a freshly caught seafood lunch, set sail to gorgeous Bai Tu Long Bay, renowned for its pristine beaches and distinctive karst (limestone) landscapes. Spend the afternoon swimming and kayaking, followed by a sunset dinner and peaceful night at sea.
Meals included: all meals
Accommodation: Dragon Pearl Junk, Ha Long Bay

Today, enjoy the beauty of Bai Tu Long Bay. After breakfast, cruise to the historic floating village of Cong Dam through a remarkable natural landscape of unique rock formations emerging from the sea. After lunch on board, sail to Hon Co Island for a leisurely afternoon of swimming, kayaking, and glorious unspoilt scenery. Dinner is served on board.
Meals included: all meals
Accommodation: Dragon Pearl Junk, Ha Long Bay

After breakfast, spend a relaxing morning swimming and cruising in the bay. Following lunch on board, return to Ha Long Bay Port and disembark. Take a scenic 3½ hour road transfer to Hanoi airport, for a 1 hour 20 minute evening flight to Da Nang. Following a 40 minute road transfer, arrive at Hoi An for a three night stay. Check in to a spacious connecting room at the Beach Little Boutique Hotel and Spa, nestled in tropical gardens overlooking peaceful Cua Dai Beach.
Meals included: breakfast and lunch
Accommodation: The Beach Little Boutique Hotel and Spa, Hoi An

This morning, take a brief boat excursion to a nearby village to meet local fishermen and learn about their livelihood. After lunch, take a leisurely bike ride through paddy fields and farmland, arriving at the vibrant historic port town of Hoi An. Enjoy a guided tour through the atmospheric winding alleyways of this UNESCO World Heritage site, whose architecture dates from the 15th century. Return to the hotel in time for dinner.
Meals included: breakfast and lunch
Accommodation: The Beach Little Boutique Hotel and Spa, Hoi An

Enjoy a relaxing day at the hotel and beach. Facilities include an outdoor pool, fitness centre, and spa, all moments from the white sands of Cua Dai. The hotel offers a complimentary shuttle service to alternative nearby beaches, and into Hoi An old town, where there are numerous restaurants to choose from.
Meals included: breakfast
Accommodation: The Beach Little Boutique Hotel and Spa, Hoi An

Today take a 40 minute transfer to Da Nang airport for a 1 ½ hour flight to Ho Chi Minh airport, followed by a one hour flight to the idyllic tropical island of Phu Quoc, off Vietnam’s south coast. Check in for a five night stay at Mango Bay Resort, a tranquil eco-friendly spa hotel with two restaurants, overlooking a glorious sandy beach.
Meals included: breakfast
Accommodation: Mango Bay Resort, Phu Quoc

Relax and soak up the sunshine surrounded by Phu Quoc’s clear tropical waters and white sands. Indulge in a spot of pampering at the hotel spa, or choose from ocean based activities including fishing, snorkelling, scuba diving, kayaking, and paddle boarding. Also on offer are volleyball, badminton, tai chi and yoga classes, plus complimentary cycle hire for exploring the local area. The lively seaside town of Duong Dong, offering numerous eateries, bustling markets, and temples, is 5km away.
Meals included: breakfast
Accommodation: Mango Bay Resort, Phu Quoc

Today take a one hour flight to Ho Chi Minh’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport, in time for your onward journey.
Meals included: breakfast


Guide price is based on recommended accommodations. Alternative accommodations and upgrades are available. Please get in touch or click on 'alternatives' below for alternatives and upgrade options.

Our rating


Price guide

Price rating 4

- Excellent Old Quarter location
- Restaurant, gym, cinema, and spa
- Good variety of accommodation

Our rating


Price guide

Price rating 3

- Off the beaten path
- Eco-friendly lodge with emphasis on nature
- Pool, hiking, mountain biking
- Cookery classes, village & working farm visits

Our rating


Price guide

Price rating 4

- 11 Cabins
- 2 Sundecks
- Kayaks
- Traditional interiors

Our rating


Price guide

Price rating 3

- Beachfront hotel in tropical gardens
- Free shuttle to Hoi An old town
- Spacious, flexible accommodation
- Pool, spa, restaurants and gym

Mango Bay

Phu Quoc

Our rating


Price guide

Price rating 3

- Unpretentious barefoot beach resort
- Environmentally friendly ethos
- Paddle boarding, kayaking, volleyball
- Spa, yoga, thai chi, Duong Dong excursions


Getting there

Flights from the UK
Vietnam Airlines fly direct from the UK to Vietnam, with an 11–13 hour flight time. Indirect flights with one stop and an overall flight time of between 16-24 hours are available with Air China, Turkish Airlines, BA/Cathay Pacific, Qatar, Thai Airways, and Emirates. Return prices start from £400 - £800 per person, subject to seasonality and demand. Please get in touch for a detailed quote including international flights from the UK.

Flights from the US
There are currently no direct flights between the US and Vietnam. The best options involve one stop, usually in China or Taiwan, flying with EVA, China Airlines, China Southern, or Asiana. Flight times are typically 21-24 hours, with return prices starting from $800 to $1,000 per person. From the West Coast, flight times including one stop are available with EVA, Hong Kong Airlines, Air China, and Philippine Airlines, with overall flight times typically 18-24 hours. Return prices start from $540-$700 per person. All prices are subject to seasonality and demand. Please get in touch for a detailed quote including international flights from the US.

Price includes

Price is sample price based on a family of 4 travelling together. Price includes all accommodation (breakfast only basis with exception of Ha Long Bay Cruise which includes all meals), tours (lunches included with some tours, see itinerary), domestic flight tickets and transfers as mentioned in the itinerary. Price is given as a guide and does not include International Flights, actual quote will vary depending on the number and age of your children, your travel dates and accommodation availability. Please call or enquire for a tailor-made quote including International flights.

When is best?

Vietnam is a year-round destination with three distinct weather systems. November to April is the period of lowest rainfall, and consequently the most popular time to visit. From May to October, when rain comes to the north and south of country, the central regions generally remain hot and dry.

Start of peak season. Most of the country enjoys hot, dry weather during November and December, excluding central regions, which may experience a few heavy showers. During January and February the majority of the country usually enjoys hot dry weather, with cooler temperatures in Hanoi and the north.

Peak season for visitors. Ha Long usually enjoys blue skies and great visibility, whilst Hoi An becomes a prime beach destination from late March onwards. From April into May, the whole country enjoys hot, sunny weather. Towards the end of May, temperatures start to rise and the rains begin in the north and south.

June is a good time to visit Hanoi, Mai Chau, and Ha Long, where weather is mostly still clear and dry with blue skies. Infrequent showers in the north and south of the country increase during July, whilst central regions including Hue and the beach resorts of Hoi An and Lang Co enjoy long periods of sun and little rain during this period.

Vietnam’s low season sees increasingly frequent rain showers affecting the country’s northern and southern extremities, including popular visitor destinations such as Hanoi in the north, and Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta in the south. Central Vietnam is drier during August, with wet weather increasing towards the end of September. By October, northern areas are beginning to dry up, and sunny spells are on the increase.

Is it for me?

Vietnam boasts a glorious diversity of stunning landscapes, thriving cities, and idyllic beaches. With an emphasis on relaxation, this itinerary focuses mainly on the north of the country, bypassing the southern destinations of Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta to minimise on transfer times.

Cultural and scenic ‘must sees’ are balanced with plenty of quality beach time, concluding with a five night stay on a beautiful tropical island. The holiday will suit an active family who enjoy easy cycling, relaxing boat cruises, and an abundance of sun, sea, and sand. The classic accommodation includes a traditional sailing junk, a bucolic eco-lodge, sleek city hotels, and palm fringed ocean retreats.

Travellers wishing to include south Vietnam in their itinerary may choose to omit the beach stay on Phu Quoc for stays in Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta, or for those with more time and budget flexibility we can offer a longer, three week holiday to include all the above destinations.


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  • The trip was amazing everything was better than we could have imagined.
    There was a moment climbing the mount Kenya where my wife accused me of tricking her into doing this (half kidding) as some of the nights got pretty cold, but we were dressed well and the sunrise at the peak was astonishing.
    Safari was spectacular, Ben who was our main guide and driver was awesome! We saw everything excepts rhinos which were more of a hope than a reality. We also were able to watch a rock python eat a Thompson gazel live. It was one of the most interesting and unsettling things I have ever seen.
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    Self-driving was brilliant, and the chronology of the itinerary was perfect (against the flow/direction most other travelers took).

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    This place was the best!
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    We saw a cheetah kill, leopards, and white rhino (which we were not expecting).
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    The only (slight) disappointment.
    Maybe because it was right after Okonjima, but the service was lacking, the facilities were a bit run down, it was the only place with mosquitoes in the room with no net and no spray. Food was marginal. Not sure if there are better options in the area, though.

    Etosha Park was amazing. There was so much wildlife with so little crowds.
    The Okaukeujo Camp had the best watering hole with animals coming in at all times of the night. A great experience exclusive to the camp.

    Beautiful place. Very private. Food and service excellent.
    A nice stopping point on the drive.

    An amazing place...How they laid out and built it.
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  • We both suffered but enjoyed it immensely. Just how it should be!!!!
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    MissingJonathan Bailey reviewing Mount Kenya: Burguret Chogoria Traverse on 24 September 2018

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Alternative Itineraries

Our itineraries are carefully designed by our experienced travel designers based on years of experience and customer feedback. For a custom itinerary tailored to you, please enquire giving as much detail as possible on your brief.

Classic 16 day guided cultural journey through Vietnam including sailing in Ha Long, cycling in Hanoi, rural villages, and iconic beaches.

Tailor-made Classic 16 days

Families from $2,186 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for a family of four (two adults + two children under 12).

Flights are typically an additional $766 per person economy class from London


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