Classic Vietnam in 14 days
Take up to two weeks to discover Vietnam's ancient and recent history, as well as contemporary comforts, distinctive scenery and memorable food experiences.
Book an Air New Zealand return fare to Ho Chi Minh City, then catch domestic flights within Vietnam.
Days 1 to 4: Ho Chi Minh City
Air New Zealand flies non-stop to Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday and Saturday from 24 June to 25 October, making it easy to plan a fascinating and relaxing holiday in Vietnam. You can discover immersive historical sites and extraordinary scenery, as well as cuisine experiences that earn high praise from the world's greatest chefs. While Ho Chi Minh City is always thrumming with energy and action, it also offers pockets of peaceful tranquillity where you can reflect on Vietnam's enthralling culture and torrid history.
Things to see and do in Ho Chi Minh City
- Visit the Jade Pagoda, one of Ho Chi Minh City's most intriguing places of worship
- Eat banh mi, slurp cane juice and listen to live music at the Ben Thanh Street Food Market
- Take a day trip to the Cu Chi tunnels, an immense network of underground passages used by Viet Cong soldiers during the war
- See Notre Dame Cathedral, a brick masterpiece built during the city's French colonial era
- Get a bird's eye view of the city from the 25th floor of Bitexco Financial Tower, where you'll find an indulgent rooftop bar
- Explore river life on a Mekong Delta sampan cruise - dare to sip snake wine!
- Discover the War Remnants Museum, where images and exhibits tell haunting war stories
- Visit the 3D Art Museum for amazing photographs involving you and art works
- Watch the boats on the Saigon River from M Bar, on the rooftop of Hotel Majestic - the city's original five-star hotel
Days 4 to 7: Hoi An
A short domestic flight to Danang, followed by a taxi ride, gets you to heritage-listed Hoi An, an ancient town that has adapted beautifully to the expectations of modern tourism. Here you can have your history and get pampered too. While Hoi An is on the Thu Bon River, it's also close to the strip of coast known as 'China Beach'. In the Vietnam War this area was used as an R & R spot for soldiers on leave. Whether you stay in town or at the beach, excellent hotels and resorts can provide a level of luxury that leaves you wanting for nothing.
Things to see and do in Hoi An
- Pedal the countryside on a bike tour, stopping to meet locals and sample village life
- Visit Quan Cong Temple, the Old House of Tan Ky and the Japanese Covered Bridge, which all date back hundreds of years
- Have gorgeous (and very affordable) clothes and shoes tailor-made for you overnight
- Shop for anything and everything at the market
- Enjoy exquisite cakes, pastries and coffee at one of Hoi An's many bakeries
- Learn about Vietnamese cuisine, and how to make it, at the Red Bridge Cooking School
- Sun yourself by the pool, or on the white sand of An Bang or Cua Dai beach
- Enjoy a head-to-toe pamper session at a spa (there are more than a hundred to choose from)
- Eat exceptional food that fuses traditional Vietnamese recipes with modern culinary concepts
Days 7 to 10: Hanoi
An easy 80-minute flight from Danang (the closest airport to Hoi An), Hanoi offers a photogenic blend of Vietnamese, French and Chinese architecture. If you're a history hound, stay in the Old Quarter, which is packed with ancient charm. Make sure you walk off every meal, so you'll be ready to eat again as soon as possible - Hanoi is a culinary paradise and every meal is a delectable adventure. From dim sum and duck salad to steamed buns and crab noodle soup, Hanoi serves up holiday food you'll want to email home about.
Things to see and do in Hanoi
- Drink ‘Tra Da', which is a type of iced tea
- Haggle for silk embroidered robes and oil paintings at Dong Xuan Market
- Visit Ho Chi Minh's tomb and stilt-house
- Watch locals performing ancient exercise routines at the edge of Hoan Kiem Lake
- See the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Watch a water puppet performance, where puppets dance over a liquid stage
- Visit the Perfume Pagoda, a series of ancient Buddhist temples built into a mountain range
- Take a day trip to Ba Vi National Park, famous for its three-peaked mountain
- Catch a live performance at the Hanoi Opera House
- Visit Halong Bay as an overnight trip from Hanoi, if you're not doing the 14-day itinerary
If you're opting for the 10-day itinerary, from Hanoi you'll catch a local flight back to Ho Chi Minh City in time to check in for your evening flight home to New Zealand.
Days 10 to 14: Halong Bay
If you're going with the 14-day itinerary, from Hanoi you'll catch a shuttle bus or local driver to Halong Bay, one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Declared a World Heritage site in 1994, this place is mind-blowingly beautiful. Soaring limestone cliffs and islets, jade-green ocean and lush rainforest combine to fill your camera with photographic art. Legend says it was created by a dragon who descended from heaven and sprayed a thousand pearls from its mouth. Staying a few days will give you time to appreciate the immensity of Halong's panorama.
Things to see and do in Halong Bay
- Tour the bay in a luxury cruise boat, with overnight accommodation on board
- Get up extra early to capture the bay at dawn, when it looks like a mystical fantasy land
- Take a day trip around the day in a traditional junk, complete with rustic burgundy sails
- Paddle the bay on a guided kayak or canoe tour, with a bit of snorkelling along the way
- Visit extraordinary limestone caves and grottoes
- Visit mysterious Cat Ba Island, where you can swim and sunbathe at gorgeous white sand beaches
- Enjoy a banquet in a cave and eat fresh seafood that was swimming just a few hours ago
- Fly over the bay on a seaplane
From Halong Bay you'll return to Hanoi for a local flight back to Ho Chi Minh Airport, then check in for an evening flight home to New Zealand.