Fly overnight to Saigon, Vietnam's most evocative and largest city. Depending on your time of arrival the rest of the day is yours to start soaking up the local culture.
This morning, contemplate the struggles of guerrilla warfare at the Cu Chi Tunnels before returning to Saigon. This exuberant city is driving Vietnam forward into the modern world, but it is also a treasure trove of fascinating heritage. See the colonial Notre Dame Cathedral and visit the Central Post Office, the Reunification Palace, and the chilling War Remnants Museum.
Journey to Ben Tre to take a cruise on the Mekong. Paddle through the maze of palmlined canals and get a glimpse of daily life on the Mekong Delta. Enjoy a lunch of typical Mekong dishes. Make a stop at Vinh Trang Pagoda en route back to Saigon.
Fly to Danang and transfer to Hoi An. This afternoon take a walking tour of this charming town '“ a wonderfully laidback and wilfully traditional place, whose streets are a delight to wander. Visit an old merchant's house, Quan Cong Temple, the elaborate Japanese Bridge and the bustling market. Stop en route to visit Reaching Out, a social enterprise craft workshop, and watch the artisans at work.
Head out into the countryside to Tra Que, a small farming community that supplies many hotels and restaurants in the area with vegetables and herbs. Here you can enjoy the lush green countryside and stroll through the gardens to see the farmers at work. Later spend the afternoon at leisure back in Hoi An.
Leave Hoi An for Hue, taking a scenic route over the Hai Van Pass. The epitome of Vietnam's dynastic past, Hue is a dignified and scholarly city. Visit the imposing Imperial Citadel and Forbidden Purple City. The magnificent centrepiece of the Royal Empire, the citadel was extensively damaged during the Vietnam War. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Royal Tomb of Minh Mang, a complex of 40 monuments set in surroundings of gardens and pools. Continue to the old Thien Mu Pagoda before taking a cruise on the Perfume River.
Fly to Hanoi. Take the afternoon at leisure or start your explorations of Vietnam's capital.
Sightseeing today includes a wander through the Ho Chi Minh Quarter, where you'll visit Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum (closed at certain times of year) and the Stilt House set in the gardens of the Presidential Palace. Also visit One Pillar Pagoda and the Confucian Temple of Literature. End the day's explorations with a cyclo tour through the Old Quarter and enjoy a flavourful Vietnamese coffee at a cafÃ© overlooking Hoan Kiem Lake.
Stay overnight on a traditionally designed boat on Halong Bay, cruising amongst the karst peaks on the tranquil green waters. A UNESCO World Heritage Site and a vision of awe-inspiring beauty, it isn't hard to see why it is one of Vietnam's most popular destinations. Dinner is included during your voyage.
Rise early this morning for a beautiful sunrise over the bay. Return to Hanoi this
afternoon and later, see the Quintessence of Tonkin show, a spectacular open-air performance celebrating the rich history of northern Vietnam.
Fly to New Zealand, arriving home the same or following day.