Days 1 - 4
With its wide boulevards, ancient pagodas and tree-lined lakes, Vietnam’s capital is also the country’s most atmospheric and beguiling city. There is an energy and charm here arising from the genteel mix of French colonialism and Asian grace and tradition. Enjoy a showcase of synchronised t’ai chi at Hoan Kiem Lake; stroll around the lively Old Quarter with its narrow streets, traders and packs of scooters weaving in and out, and don’t miss the chance to see a water puppetry show at the Thang Long Puppet Theatre. Other places to visit include the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, the Perfume Pagoda temple complex and the Hanoi Opera House in the heart of the French Quarter.
Days 4 - 7
Hoi An, on Vietnam’s central coast, is enchanting. This once-bustling port town has a colourful blend of French, Chinese and Japanese-influenced architecture, canals, bridges and temples, and the lack of noisy traffic (no cars are allowed on the main streets) means you can take it all in in relative peace and quiet. Its waterfront area is alive with boutique hotels, eateries and tailor shops, and art and craft shops. If you have time, try to fit in a visit to the ruins of My Son Sanctuary, an ancient Hindu tower temple complex.