Day 1: Hanoi
You will be greeted at the airport and transferred to your hotel. Kid-friendly tours can be arranged for your afternoon or evening.
Day 2: Hanoi
Today you will join a cooking class at a hospitality school for underprivileged children. Many of them were living on the streets of Hanoi and other cities, and their training will eventually help them work in some of Vietnam’s best hotels and restaurants. Next, explore the old quarter by cyclo, navigating its narrow streets and colorful markets. And in the late afternoon, attend a water-puppetry performance – a surefire kid pleaser! The tradition dates to the 11th century, and many of the puppets are lacquered using a traditional Vietnamese painting technique.
Day 3: Hanoi
Visit two of Hanoi’s most iconic sites a mausoleum containing the preserved corpse of Vietnam’s founding president, Ho Chi Minh, and the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long. Both are great introductions to Vietnam’s complex history.
Please be aware that the One Pillar Pagoda in Hanoi is closed for renovation work until January 2015. Day tours will now visit Ho Chi Minh’s Museum as an alternative touring attraction.
Day 4: Hanoi – Cat Ba Island
Take a three hour drive to a coastal city to take the express ferry to Cat Ba Island, the gateway to Halong Bay, an assemblage of limestone formations in the Tonkin Gulf. Explore an old French colonial fortress, and spend some time relaxing on the city’s riverfront promenade. Sit at a waterfront restaurant and watch colourful boats motor out to sea for a night of squid fishing!
Day 5: Cat Ba Island
Today jammed packed with activities and fun for the whole family. Take a wooden junk and cruise to Lan Ha Bay, a less-traveled part of Halong Bay. Visit a cave and see beautiful coral and tropical fish swimming about. Then kayak into a hidden lagoon. All of the kayaks fit two people and child-sized life-vests are available – perfect for adult-child pairings. Then it’s off to Moody Beach, to climb the limestone cliffs. Our guides regularly work with climbers of all ages, and children tend to be naturals!
Day 6: Cat Ba – Hanoi – Hoi An
Drive back to Hanoi and fly to Danang. Then drive about 40 minutes to Hoi An, a restored 15th century fishing village recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Unlike many destinations in Vietnam, Hoi An has pedestrian streets that are ideal for leisurely strolling. The food here is particularly good especially the tasty soup and noodle dishes.
Day 7: Hoi An
Spend the day getting to know rural Vietnam. Start with a bike ride along green rice paddies to the village of Tra Que. Join the farmers in the fields and learn about the harvesting process! The roll up your sleeves and plants some seeds with help from the farmers. There is also a cooking demonstration with a taste test afterwards.
Back in Hoi An and take a short river cruise and meet some local fisherman. You will have a hands-on lesson in river net fishing with the locals. Then the fun begins as you try to paddle a bamboo basket boat.
Day 8: Hoi An
Hoi An is famous for its brightly coloured lanterns lighting up the streets. Join a lantern-making workshop, where the kids can create their own. Visit a tailor and have them sew you up a new wardrobe or spend the day relaxing on the beach. You really can’t go wrong!
Day 9: Hoi An
Spend the day exploring Hoi An at your own pace and do as much or as little as you choose. If the beach is not your thing then you might like to take part in a cooking class, or become ‘tomb raiders’ as you explore the ancient ruins of My Son.
Day 10: Hoi An - Ho Chi Minh City
Drive to Danang and transfer to the airport for a morning flight to Ho Chi Minh City.
Spend the day exploring Vietnam’s bustling city streets at your leisure! Likely points of interest include Notre Dame Cathedral, Reunification Palace and the War Remnants Museum. Or just relax at a street side café or noodle shop. The city, formerly called Saigon, reflects the pulse of a changing Vietnam. Trendy cocktail lounges are found alongside ramshackle noodle stands, and Rolls Royces share the road with hundreds of scooters whizzing past.
Day 11: Ho Chi Minh City
Cruise the Saigon River en route to the Cu Chi Tunnels, an underground network that housed thousands of Viet Cong soldiers during the Vietnam War. The tunnels also contained supply routes, hospitals and munitions dumps, and figured prominently in the 1968 Tet Offensive. The kids will love crawling through the tunnels and climbing on top of an old bombed out tank! On the way back to Ho Chi Minh City, stop at a cricket breeding farm and sample the tasty cricket spring rolls!
In the afternoon take in a bit more history with a trip to the Reunification Palace and the War Remnants Museum. The museum is child-friendly, however it does contain some graphic images.
Day 12: Depart Ho Chi Minh City
It the end of your holiday and time to go home! Depart to the airport for your onward flight.