Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Hoi An, Hanoi
Dates are customizable for private departures.
Thailand and Vietnam seem to have it all, especially when it’s your first trip to Asia. The bustling cities offer endless sights and impressions. Quiet white-sand beaches backdropped by jungle. Superlative landscapes, atmospheric temples, night markets, Cu Chi Tunnels, historic city quarters and a world wonder that’s never changed. Tailored for first-time visitors, this classic two-week tour is full of inside experiences and highlights. Zicasso offers a variety of Thailand and Vietnam tours....
Bangkok – Drifting Through the Canals of Thonburi
Arriving in Bangkok can be an overwhelming experience. This is a huge city and there’s so much to take in on every single street. It can be a little much for the senses, especially after a long flight. So it’s best to take it slow. Transfer to the hotel and relax. Spend some time at the rooftop pool that’s high above the city. Then spend the afternoon in a quiet place, exploring the canals of Thonburi. This local neighborhood is off the beaten path and shows you a genuine glimpse of everyday Thai life. Sit back, relax on the teak canal boat, and enjoy this unobtrusive look into local culture; when you’re drifting down the water it’s far easier to absorb the sights and sounds. The guide can take you around Bangkok tonight but you might prefer an early night.
Day 2 - 3
Bangkok – Best of Bangkok With an Insider Guide
Bangkok seamlessly mixes the old and new. Giant Buddha images await in ancient temples. Sculpted jade and gold illustrate the riches of the past. Red-robed monks walk barefoot through 17Th-century temples, beckoning you into rooms that swirl with incense. Over these two days, you have a private guide and a flexible itinerary. That’s the best way in Bangkok because it’s a city that’s most enjoyable when it can reflect your mood. Part of your program here will be the icons, places like the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, War Arun, and others. It will be a ferry down the Chao Phraya River, perhaps a tuk-tuk ride.
Then there is the modern side to Bangkok, such as the high-end malls the Thai capital is becoming famous for. You may choose to eat lunch on the 20th floor with stunning views over everything. You can explore a colonial era, like at the Jim Thompson House. You can visit a small shrine and appreciate the spirituality associated with Brahma and other deities. The city comes alive after dark and it’s so much fun to be out exploring. Wander and dine in Chinatown, discover one of the night markets, or take a tour through the bustle of Old Bangkok at dusk. Then how about a floating market, or even a day trip to view the temples of Ayutthaya and the remains of the old Siamese Kingdom capital? With a good guide, Bangkok can be what you want it to be.
Koh Samui – Beach Paradise
Thailand has many islands, and each is a little different. Koh Samui has the best beaches in the Gulf of Thailand, and half the island remains immensely tranquil. It also has an airport, so you can easily escape the world and not have to travel on local speedboats. Your small resort is hidden away in the lesser-developed, southern part of the island, tucked between a quiet beach and a thick jungle escarpment. Thailand evokes many dreamy images of beach island bliss and it was mostly Koh Samui that started them. This was the first island that was really “discovered” yet it has always kept a laid-back feel, especially in comparison to nearby Koh Phangan or larger Phuket.
Day 5 - 7
Koh Samui – Drifting Away On the White Sand
These three days are at your leisure on the island. From the suite, there’s barefoot access to the sand. The waters are warm and tranquil here as if you’re drifting away in a tropical bath. There are many activities, such as walking through the jungle, strolling down the beach, snorkeling one of the small reefs, or going for a lively evening on the busier side of the island. Tranquility reigns as you take the time to relax on the island.
Day 8 - 9
Ho Chi Minh City – Culture and Cuisine of a Fabulous Asian City
After all that rest you’ll be fully energized for the cultural immersion that Ho Chi Minh City brings. Fly to Vietnam’s largest city, and the contrasts are immediately apparent for language, colors, food, scenes along the streets. You’re staying in District 1, close to most of the highlights. From here you can walk to countless restaurants and get yourself fully involved with what makes old Saigon tick. Like Bangkok, the guide will tailor these two days to your mood.
On the first day, it can be hard to ignore the war. So take a journey through the War Remnants Museum, and then explore Reunification Palace. Visiting the Cu Chi Tunnels is a half-day excursion that takes you into the secret base used by the Viet Cong on day nine. Across District 1, you’ll admire French colonial architecture and places that still hum of that time, particularly Ben Thanh Market. It’s only a few minutes to Vietnam’s contemporary side, with superb views coming from the Saigon Skydeck in Bitexco Financial Tower. Vietnam provides a gregarious welcome and with multiple days you’ll get to know the city and start to understand a country.
Day 10 - 11
Hoi An – Old-World Beauty and Evocative history
A quiet atmosphere runs through the streets of Hoi An. Locals cycle past stalls serving a watery chilli soup. Aromas escape from small cafes, before floating past grand colonial architecture. The bell of a street trader tinkles. Everywhere you look there’s a faded charm, the old city showing its age with grace. Made a World Heritage Site in 1999, Hoi An is the best preserved of all of Vietnam’s old cities, a place that avoided wartime destruction better than others. Beautiful pagodas rise above early 20th-century townhouses, like the 16th-century Chuc Thanh. Some of the French buildings have been converted to fine restaurants, while others have a dusty charm.
This is a place to explore on foot, a historic city that takes you back in time. Walk across the Japanese Covered Bridge and enter the Precious Heritage Museum where galleries present a history that came long before the French. You will find tombs and memoirs to old leaders. Take the chance to meet with artists in small galleries, Hoi An at the heart of the country’s art scene. This is a soulful city, one that impresses on all the senses. A few days is perfect for seeing the sights but also absorbing the atmosphere. A local guide leads you around and it’s easy to spend two full days in Hoi An. But you may also choose to take a tour of the surrounding landscapes, where rice paddies glisten and villages beckon.
Hanoi – Colors and Charms of the Old Quarter and More
Hanoi is completely different. Smells and shouts guide you through the Old Quarter, where crowded alleyways lead to tiny restaurants and ambient cafes. Motorcycles pip as if creating an orchestral soundtrack, but then you escape the noise by walking around Hoan Kiem Lake to the Temple of the Jade Mountain. If you seek history, then visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the leader’s embalmed body open for all to view. Travel further back in time at the Temple of Literature and One Pillar Pagoda, two of the oldest places left in Vietnam, both still standing proud since AD 1070 and AD 1049 respectively. Hoi An is a relaxed city. Hanoi can be really chaotic but there is a lot to see. Today is action-packed, but a quick stop here is an essential part of exploring Vietnam.
Day 13 - 14
Halong Bay – Relaxing in the World Wonder
It’s a four-hour drive from Hanoi to Halong Bay. But Halong Bay is too beautiful and your time is too precious. So fly instead, a seaplane taking you above the dramatic green landscapes of northern Vietnam, rice paddies and karst mountains down below as you travel east to the coast. From the air, you are introduced to the New 7 Wonder of Nature. Limestone karst serge from the water, as if a giant was pushing a hand up from the middle of the earth. They form a grand chain, stretching almost 100 miles into the ocean, generating a string of islets and caves. There’s no place like this anywhere in the world, but then again, there really is no country like Vietnam.
Touch down after the morning flight and board your junk. That’s the name given to traditional wooden boats that ply the area. Propelled by both a motor and sails, these junks come in various shapes and sizes. You’re traveling on a luxurious small boat, just eight passengers and four cabins. With two full days, you can go beyond where most tourists visit. Most itineraries are just one day or one night, so there’s a congregation of junks at the karst closest to Haiphong harbor on the mainland. With two days, you truly experience why this was voted a new wonder of the world.
Drift through the landscape. Forests cling to the karst. Caves are accessed from unseen entrances. You can kayak to deserted islands as well as kayak beneath overhangs and alongside karst, all of which creates a humbling appreciation of this landscape’s scale. But most of all you relax. You wake up amid the silence of this mysterious landscape. You dine amid its beauty and set sail to places unchanged for millions of years. You bask in the inimitability of a place that deserves its new-found fame as a world wonder. In Halong Bay, you keep exploring, but it’s so relaxing here, making it an ideal last stop on your tour.
Halong Bay to Hanoi – Departure
Wake up next to a forested karst and spend the morning cruising back to Tuan Chau Marina. From here you fly back over Red River Delta, soaring above meandering rivers and villages to Hanoi’s Noi Bai Airport, where you transfer onto your outbound flight.
- Lounge around a private beach paradise, white sand in your toes on the island of Koh Samui
- Immerse yourself in the old-world charm of Hoi An, a soulful city that’s soft on the eyes
- Drift through the limestone karst of Halong Bay, spending two days cruising the New 7 Wonder of Nature
- Explore the evocative contrasts of Ho Chi Minh City, where a historic quarter juxtaposes with modern Asia
- Embrace the bustle of Bangkok, a fabulously evocative city when a great guide leads you around the city
- Wander the ancient streets of Hanoi, savoring all its smells and sounds
- Crawl into the Cu Chi Tunnels, kayak to a deserted island, explore the night markets and enjoy many other classic Southeast Asia experiences
Thailand and Vietnam live up to their dreamy reputations. These are countries with a little of everything. Cultural history to excite the soul, spirituality to slow you down, bustling markets and cities to get your pulse going. There are quiet islands of white sand and jungle, where you can spend days escaping the world. You also discover famous places from world history, where you walk the streets of yesteryear. Dream of Southeast Asia and so many wonderful images come to mind. This first-time visitors tour connects the distinctive highlights, with a week in Thailand and a week in Vietnam.
It has a little of everything and a lot of what makes the region so special. Great guides make all the difference as they steer you away from tourist traps, towards authenticity and intimacy. Inside experiences help you discover more, such as drifting down the canals of Thonburi on your first day in Thailand. Over the two weeks, there is time to be alone, especially on the island of Koh Samui. There are other places where you need a guide to navigate, especially when so many sounds and smells are packed into such a crowded space. Destinations are connected by flights, and your hotels are expertly located, either in the heart of a historic quarter or tucked away from it all.
Land in Bangkok, which is always an intoxicating experience if you haven’t visited Asia before. With so many new impressions it’s easy to get a little travel weary. So after some downtime at the hotel, you drift through the back-canals of the city, a small wooden boat taking you down through local neighborhoods. The next few days are tailored to you, mixing the Bangkok experiences to match your mood: temples, palaces, icons, night markets, floating markets, modern Southeast Asia and wonderful heritage. Then fly to Koh Samui and relax at a small beach resort that’s perched between the jungle and the beach. This is a quiet time, a getaway that fulfills many dreamy ideas of the region.
Fly to Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon as it was formerly known. There’s so much history here, from colonial remnants to old palaces and the Viet Cong tunnels nearby. You’ll get to know Vietnamese culture and cuisine, particularly how it is so different from Thailand. Fly to Hoi An and immerse yourself in the old world, such beauty to this World Heritage city at the country’s heart. Hanoi takes you back to bustle and a whirlwind of new experiences before you end with two days sailing around the limestone karst landscape of Halong Bay. It’s a serene way to keep exploring while completely relaxing at the end of a vacation.
To gain more ideas for your perfect Thailand and Vietnam vacation, take a look at our Thailand and Vietnam page for more itineraries and tours.
$2,995 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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