With its breathtaking beauty and enduring traditions, Vietnam provides endless rewards for the thoughtful traveler. Discover both the ancient and modern worlds of Vietnam on this popular and magical journey.

Starting at: $4,497 * Includes airfare, taxes & all fees Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 The breathtaking Ha Long Bay  Throwing fishing nets along the river in Vietnam. Credit: Amanda Mack  Terraced rice fields in Vietnam. Credit: Hoang Long Ly  Temple of Literature, Hanoi  The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Hanoi  Ha Long Bay  Terraced rice fields
  Da Nang Harbor  Traditional musicians   The village of Hoi An, a World Heritage site  The canals of Hoi An  The Perfume River near Hue  Pavilion in the Imperial City, Hue  Tomb area of Khai Dinh, Hue  Thien Mu Pagoda in Hue  Pavilion at the Tomb of Minh Mang in Hue  Woman working with flowers on the Mekong. Credit: Nhiem Hoang  Floating market on the river  Skyline of Ho Chi Minh City at dusk  Reunification Palace, Ho Chi Minh City

Discovering Vietnam

15 days from $4,497 | includes airfare, taxes and all fees

With its breathtaking beauty and enduring traditions, Vietnam provides endless rewards for the thoughtful traveler. Discover both the ancient and modern worlds of Vietnam on this popular and magical journey.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details


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This was our first Smithsonian tour and we were impressed! It combined first class transportation and accommodations with intelligent and thought provoking seminars plus knowledgeable tour directors and study leaders. It won't be our last Smithsonian Journey. 

- Carol R.


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Oct 19 - Nov 2, 2020 Departure
Jonathan GoldbergBelle

Jonathan GoldbergBelle

Jonathan GoldbergBelle serves as Director of Study Away Programs at the University of Illinois at Springfield. He holds a Ph.D. in South Asian Language and Literature from the University of Wisconsin with a focus on the study of the great epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, both in their classical and present-day forms. Jonathan remains a student of South Asian Literature, particularly contemporary fiction, and of Asian Philosophy and Religion with an interest in the development and spread of Buddhism from India throughout Asia.

His most recent university courses include “Colonial and Post-Colonial Identity in South Asia," “The Pacific War: World War II in East Asia,” “Nationalism and Identity in Vietnam” and “Spaces of Encounter in East Asia.” He has also collaborated on courses focusing on Japan, China, Thailand and Vietnam with other faculty at his university.

Jonathan has served as a Smithsonian Journeys expert on programs to India and Vietnam and will be returning to both countries in this capacity in 2020.

He has a broad interest in Vietnam and Southeast Asia. He is particularly fascinated with the way the region was influenced by South and East Asia while developing its own separate and unique cultures. He is currently teaching an Honor’s course on Vietnam and preparing a short term study abroad program there for his university. His experience with Smithsonian Journeys study program has informed his decisions regarding both the course and study abroad program and, at the same time, he will bring his current research on Vietnam to the Discovering Vietnam program. He has also been enjoying the opportunity to explore Vietnam’s varied cuisine which will be a highlight of the Smithsonian Journeys program.

Jonathan has been in the field of International Education for over 30 years. He has organized and led study programs to Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Most recently he has taken groups to China, Korea, Japan, India, England, Rome/Malta, Vietnam, and Thailand.

Dec 3 - 17, 2020 Departure
Lawrence Butler

Lawrence Butler

Dr. Butler received his BA and MA from Oberlin College and his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania.  Trained as an art historian of Medieval Europe, the Mediterranean and Islamic world, Butler’s teaching and scholarly interests now range across pre-modern Eurasia, including the Silk Road connections between the Mediterranean world and East Asia. While at George Mason University he served as director of the Art History program, and as Coordinator of the Ancient Mediterranean Art and Archaeology minor.

Dr. Butler has taught at GMU and Hiram College and has also held research positions at a number of museums. He was a Fulbright Research Fellow in Turkey in 1982-83. He has been an active participant in the Semester at Sea program, taking students on academic study tours around the world.  He was the visiting lecturer in Art History on the Fall 1999, Summer 2004, and Fall 2009 voyages.  On the Summer 2011 voyage, he was the Global Studies lecturer.

In 2004, Dr. Butler was awarded George Mason University’s Teaching Excellence Award and in 2005 he was elected to Phi Beta Delta, the honorary society for international education.  He lectures frequently for the Smithsonian Associates on the arts and cultural history of Spain and Portugal, Turkey, China, and many other places in between.

Jan 7 - 21, 2021 Departure
Sharon Ullman

Sharon Ullman

Professor Ullman is a professor of American history at Bryn Mawr College. She received her PhD at the University of California at Berkeley in 1990.  She specializes in 20th-century America with an emphasis on media and memory, gender, and the social history of American Cold War policies in Asia after WWII. After publishing two books on the history of gender and sexuality in the U.S., her more recent research has turned to the ways in which the Korean and  Vietnam Wars impacted American society from 1950-1980, particularly focusing on the often forgotten prisoners of war from the Korean conflict. Her courses at Bryn Mawr College include such topics as  “Korea, Vietnam, and the Cold War,” “Political Culture of the Cold War,” and “Movies and History: The Past Lives Forever.” Professor Ullman has taught in China for the Bryn Mawr College summer program and has been the study leader on multiple trips for the Bryn Mawr College Alumni Travel Program, including to Vietnam.

Jan 28 - Feb 11, 2021 Departure
Dana Sachs

Dana Sachs

Dana Sachs first traveled to Vietnam in 1990 and she has been visiting the country and writing about it ever since. Her first book, The House on Dream Street: Memoir of an American Woman in Vietnam, chronicles her experiences living in Hanoi in the 1990s. Her novel If You Lived Here tells the story of the friendship between two women, one a Vietnamese exile in the United States and the other a North Carolina native, who travel together to Vietnam. In 2010, she published The Life We Were Given: Operation Babylift, International Adoption, and the Children of War in Vietnam, the result of a Fulbright Foundation Fellowship that allowed her to conduct extensive research in Vietnam. Dana’s love of literature and Vietnamese culture led her to translate, with Vietnamese partners, many Vietnamese short stories and to co-edit Crossing the River, a collection of short fiction by the acclaimed writer Nguyen Huy Thiep. With Nguyen Nguyet Cam and Bui Hoai Mai, she compiled a collection of Vietnamese folktales, Two Cakes Fit for a King, which includes beautifully illustrated versions of some of the country’s most beloved stories. Dana and her sister, documentary filmmaker Lynne Sachs, also produced Which Way is East, a documentary film about contemporary Vietnam. Her journalistic articles and essays on Vietnam have appeared in numerous places, including National Geographic, The International Herald Tribune, Travel and Leisure Family and the Huffington Post. She lives with her family in North Carolina.

Feb 22 - Mar 8, 2021 Departure
Elvira Masson

Elvira Masson

Elvira Masson, College Professor of History and Director of the Confucius Institute at New Mexico State University, teaches courses in Asian history and Chinese literature and language. Elvira holds a Master’s degree in Chinese from Stanford University, has traveled widely in Asia, and lived for many years in Beijing. She returns often to Asia, (especially China, Korea, and Vietnam) as you will recognize when she discusses contemporary issues. You can also count on her to recommend a favorite restaurant or specialty market and invite you for morning walks through the local neighborhoods.