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  • My Son

  • Boat on Halong Bay at sunset

  • Tran Quoc Pagoda

  • Purple Forbidden City, Hué

  • Thien Mu Pagoda

Overview
Itinerary
Fitness / Practicalities
Tour Director


  • Travel the length of Vietnam’s east coast, from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, becoming immersed in its cultural riches and beautiful landscapes

  • Visit the former imperial capital of Hué with its exquisite imperial tombs, and discover the Cham sanctuary complex at My Son, capital and religious centre of the Champa Kingdom

  • Enjoy an overnight cruise on a traditional-style wooden boat along Halong Bay, and a dragon boat trip on the Huong (Perfume River)

“All most stimulating, knowledgeable and well prepared”

– ACE customer on a previous tour to Vietnam led by Alex Koller

From Hanoi in the north to Ho Chi Minh City in the south, we will journey through Vietnam on a cultural adventure, seeking out the myriad historical and artistic influences that have shaped the nation and its people over time. 

 

Our explorations begin in Hanoi, the first capital of Vietnam, a city of tree-lined boulevards, faded yet stately colonial buildings and centuries-old temples. The Temple of Literature was built in 1076 and was the home of Vietnam’s first university, whilst the Tay Phuong Pagoda contains a wonderful collection of 17th century Buddhist statues. We will also travel to Hoa Lu to visit the 10th century temples of the Dinh and Le dynasties, and Phat Diem with its 12th century Keo Pagoda, a masterpiece of traditional Vietnamese architecture. 

 

A highlight of our tour will be a cruise across the UNESCO-recognised Halong Bay: a wooden boat built to model a traditional Vietnamese junk will convey us along this awe-inspiring seascape of craggy island mountains topped with thick jungle. 

 

It was the Nguyen Kings, Vietnam’s last – and perhaps most glorious – dynasty who established Hué as the capital of a unified Vietnam in 1802. For the next 150 years, successive monarchs adorned their adopted city with elaborate citadels, palaces, mausoleums, temples and pagodas, including the imperial complex known as the Forbidden Purple City, modelled on Beijing’s Forbidden City. 

 

From Hué we will make a scenic drive to Hoi An, situated on the South China Sea and the focus of Vietnam’s commercial activity from the 15th century onwards; today, its wooden buildings and shop-lined streets – exceptionally well-preserved – reflect the region’s former trading links with China and Japan. 

 

UNESCO-listed My Son, set in a verdant valley dominated by Cat’s Tooth Mountain, lies at the heart of Southeast Asia’s most mysterious civilisation, the Hindu-inspired Chams, who flourished between the 4th and 15th centuries.

 

Our travels conclude in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, where the Jade Emperor Pagoda, perhaps the country’s finest, was constructed by the Cantonese community at the turn of the 20th century.

 

We will stay at a series of comfortable hotels of four and five-star quality, well located for our visits, and enjoy an overnight stay on the Bhaya Classic III, a traditional-style wooden boat. Please see the 'Fitness and Practicalities' tab for more information.

 
This tour will be led by Alex Koller, PhD, an expert in art history and experienced tour leader. Alex studied in Vienna, Salzburg and Cambridge, where he gained his PhD in History of Art from Magdalene College and also lectured and supervised. Alex has been leading tours since 1998 and is an accomplished linguist. His experience ranges from Eastern Europe, Russia and the Himalayas to Japan and Southeast Asia, and he has developed a particularly keen interest in Buddhist art and architecture.
Days
16
Cost
£6495
Tour Code
VIET-25


Included: return airfare, accommodation based on sharing a twin or double bedded room, fourteen breakfasts, one brunch, five lunches, twelve dinners with water, beer or soft drink & coffee, excursions & admissions, gratuities & all taxes.


Not Included: visa, travel insurance, single room supplement £875.

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