Delta to Delta Tours  


While many tour companies try to offer something different from an ordinary package tour, we actually deliver an experience that no other tour company can match.  Our tour is a journey through the history and cultural development of Vietnam, under the direction of the renowned explorer, author and historian Jim Goodman.  Jim has designed this tour and is the tour leader. As the author of Uniquely Vietnamese, he is especially qualified on the indigenous aspects of Vietnamese culture, those traditions rooted in Vietnam's historical experience and not imported from abroad.  Because of his many years of research in China and his long residence in Southeast Asia, he is also knowledgeable about the cultures of Vietnam's neighbors and how they affected the growth of Vietnamese culture.  As the author of A Dragon Still Ascending: 1000 Years of Hanoi, as well as a forthcoming history of Vietnam's southward expansion--Delta to Delta: The Vietnamese Move South, he is thoroughly familiar with the country's history, much of which is little known to outsiders.


Jim Goodman is an American living in Asia since 1972, first in South Korea for four years, then Nepal for eleven years, and now, since 1988, is based in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  In addition to writing books and articles on Nepal, he worked in textile production with Mizos from Northeast India and Newars from Bhaktapur.  In Thailand he has worked with the Akha minority in the north and published books on both Thailand in general and the Akha in particular.  From 1992 he made frequent excursions to Yunnan, China, researching the life and cultures of minority nationalities and published several books on the province and its people.


He made his first trip to Vietnam in 1999 and in his many journeys there since has concentrated on researching the history and culture of the entire country.  Besides examing written material and consulting scholars, he carried out his studies by visiting historical sites, craft villages and famous temples, attending numerous festivals and witnessing various rituals.  He is married to a Vietnamese woman and besides the two books he has published, with Thế Giới in Hanoi, he has also written articles on Vietnam for Thế Giới's periodical Vietnam Cultural WIndow and other newspapers and magazines in Southeast Asia.


We are confident no other tour leader can expand so well your knowledge and appreciation of what you see and experience on this adventure as you discover what makes Vietnam so different from its neighbors. Students, academics or anyone interested in Vietnam's culture and history should take this tour.  We are offering you an exceptional opportunity, in the company of an accomplished author and explorer, to see and understand a fascinating country with a rich cultural heritage.





There are many ways to enjoy a visit to Vietnam.  Its beaches and islands offer multiple venues for relaxing in the sun and surf.  Motorcycle tours explore scenic mountain areas and meet colorful ethnic minorities.  Culinary fans can enjoy a variety of special dishes and snacks from different parts of the country.  Gregarious types can make new friends with its hospitable and engaging people.  But some may seek an experience beyond a casual introduction to the country’s attractions.  For those who want to know more about Vietnam, its unique culture and history, Delta Tours provides an excursion from north to south that reveals how Vietnam became the nation and society it is today.


The birth of Vietnam, its history, culture and national consciousness, took place in the north.  Ancient settlers cleared the Red River Delta and with dikes and canals turned a vast swamp into productive agricultural lands that formed the basis of the first Vietnamese state at the dawn of the Bronze Age.  In the 2nd century BCE the northern third of what is today Vietnam fell under the control of China, which ruled the north for over a thousand years and heavily influenced the development of Vietnamese culture.  In 938 Vietnam recovered its independence and successfully repelled several Chinese attempts to repossess the country.


This state still only ruled over what is the northern third of contemporary Vietnam.  The central part of the country comprised several Chăm kingdoms and the sparsely settled Mekong Delta area of the south belonged to Cambodia.  Periodic wars with the Chăm resulted in Vietnamese absorption of the northernmost Chăm states, but expansion to the southern half of today’s Vietnam did not begin in earnest until the Vietnamese state conquered the Chăm state of Vijaya, in south central Vietnam, in 1472.  


The eventual expansion of Vietnam to its present borders took over three centuries after the fall of Vijaya.  The process was slow and irregular, abetted mostly by the disruptions, depopulation and famines of protracted civil war in the north.  In 1672 a truce formalized the division of the country into a northern state ruled by the Trịnh Lords and a southern one under the Nguyễn Lords.  From this point Vietnamese expansion continued into the south, aided by factional strife in Cambodia, complicated by the Tây Sơn Revolt in the late 18th century, and consolidated with the establishment of the Nguyễn Dynasty in 1802.  


In the course of this southward movement, Vietnamese migrants found their own cultural background inadequate in dealing with the new conditions of places very different from where they had come.  As a consequence, Vietnamese culture became enriched by the adoption of cultural traits, material and spiritual, of their new neighbors--the indigenous Chăm and Khmer.


Our tour will cover the story of how Vietnam became the country it is today.  We will begin by visiting prominent places in the north connected with the history and development of Vietnam and its culture.  We will proceed next to the central provinces to visit sites significant in Vietnamese history, as well as relics of the Chăm legacy.  We will conclude with excursions in the south to places relevant to both Khmer and Vietnamese culture. 


Two programs are available.  Tour A will consist of five days in the north, four days in the center and five days in the south for a total of two weeks.  Tour B, a little more inclusive, will add one day in the north, three days in the center and one extra day in the south.  At the conclusion of your journey you will have acquired an in-depth knowledge and appreciation, practically equivalent to a university course, of one of the most fascinating countries in Asia.


Tour A                                                                                   Tour B                                                                                

Day 1:   arrival in Hanoi                                                       

Day 2:   tour of Hanoi                      

Day 3:   Bắc Ninh, Gia Lâm, return to Hanoi                                  

Day 4:   Chùa Thầy, Sơn Tây, return to Hanoi                   

Day 5:   Hạ Long Bay overnight                                                

Day 6:   return to Hanoi, overnight train to Huế                                     

Day 7:   tour of Huế, overnight in Huế                               

Day 8:   drive to Hội An, tour of old town                          

Day  ̣9:   visit to Mỹ Sơn, drive to Quy Nhơn                      

Day 10:  tour of Bình Định Chăm and Tây Sơn sites        

Day 11:  fly Quy Nhơn to Hồ Chí Minh City                       

Day 12:  Hồ Chí Minh City tour                                           

Day 13:  drive to Trà Vinh, tour and overnight                   

Day 14:  drive to Vĩnh Long, boat tour and o/n                 

Day 15:  return to Hồ Chí Minh City, end of tour               







A full bio on Jim Goodman the tour leader is in the drop down menu on this page.


For descriptions of the itinerary please go to the destinations page.


Day 1:   arrival in Hanoi

Day 2:   tour of Hanoi

Day 3:   Bắc Ninh, Gia Lâm, return to Hanoi 

Day 4:   Chùa Thầy, Sơn Tây, return to Hanoi

Day 5:   Ninh Bình excursion, return to Hanoi

Day 6:   Hạ Long Bay overnight

Day 7:   return to Hanoi, overnight train to Huế

Day 8:   tour of Huế, overnight in Huế

Day  ̣9:   drive to Hội An, tour of old town

Day 10:  visit to Mỹ Sơn, drive to Quy Nhơn 

Day 11:  tour of Bình Định Chăm and Tây Sơn sites

Day 12:  drive from Quy Nhơn to Nha Trang

Day 13:  tour of Nha Trang area  

Day 14:  Chăm sites in Ninh Thuận, o/n Phan Rang

Day 15:  drive to Cam Ranh, fly to Hồ Chí Minh City

Day 16:  Hồ Chí Minh City tour

Day 17:  Sóc Trăng temples and drive to Trà Vinh

Day 18:  tour of Trà Vinh

Day 19:  drive to Vĩnh Long, boat tour and o/n

Day 20:  return to Hồ Chí Minh City, end of tour