From south to north, Vietnam is a kaleidoscope of wonderful people and picturesque landscapes. Imagine learning the mysteries of the Viet Minh in Ho Chi Minh City or exploring the beautiful lakes and boulevards of Hanoi - and what better way to get to know the locals than to be their guests on a Mekong Delta homestay? Experience historical temples, visit Vietnam's spectacular coastline, enjoy delicious banquets and explore lively cities - all with a touch of comfort - on this 15-day Classic Vietnam tour.


Start
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Finish
Hanoi, Vietnam
Country
Vietnam
Style
Comfort
Theme
Explorer
Code
TVKT
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why we love this trip

  • Take a comprehensive trip through this South East Asian hotspot. The trip takes you from south to north, to the most popular tourists sites and off the beaten track

  • Halong Bay is a strange paradise of green waters and rocky islands. Enjoy a cruise through the beautiful landscape and indulge in the bay's fresh seafood

  • Go back in time at the ancient trading port of Hoi An. Experience the blend of influences from Europe and Asia, the nearby beaches and markets

  • Nha Trang has been called the 'Cannes of Vietnam' because of its sumptuous beaches and cosmopolitan feel. You'll have plenty of free time here to relax in the beaches and go snorkelling

  • Meet the locals on the Mekong Delta and stay for the night. The cultural exchange is often the highlight of many travellers trips

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip includes an overnight train journey. Accommodation and amenities are shared and basic, but the experience of rubbing shoulders with the locals makes it all worthwhile. Plus you make the most of your time by travelling while you sleep.

  • On your homestay in the Mekong Delta region, you’ll have basic bedding in a dorm style arrangement. Amenities are shared with cold water only. It’s not exactly the Hilton, but most travellers find it the highlight of their trip

  • In Vietnam, the temperature varies greatly between north and south. While there is no best time of year, it's best to check the seasonal patterns on our country information page to see what the weather will be like when you go. This way you can prepare well for your trip

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 May 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Xin chao! Welcome to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm today. You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please check with hotel reception or look on the reception noticeboard for where and when the meeting will take place. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.

Notes: An arrival transfer is included. In order to book this service please provide your booking agent with your flight details at least 2 weeks prior to your departure.
If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive at the hotel in time for the meeting, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Start the day with a buffet breakfast at KOTO Restaurant, which is one of our supported programs that teaches street children hospitality skills.

Next, drive for about three hours to Cai Be. Here you’ll board a boat to explore the canals of the Mekong Delta. The delta is known as ‘Vietnam’s rice bowl’ for its abundance of rice paddies, fruit and flower orchards. During the boat trip, you’ll stop to sample some of the fresh tropical fruit and visit some cottage industries in the area.

Around sunset you’ll make your way to your homestay to spend a night with the locals and enjoy a wonderful meal of local specialties.

Notes: On the homestay, conditions will be basic. You’ll be sharing amenities and sleeping in a dorm-style arrangement. Bedding and mosquito nets will be provided but you’ll have cold water only.
Accommodation
  • Homestay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mekong Delta - Sightseeing tour including cottage industries
  • Ho Chi Minh City - KOTO breakfast
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Wake up early and see daily life begin on the delta at dawn. You’ll visit the enormous Cai Be floating market, where locals sell their produce on their boats.

In the afternoon, return to Ho Chi Minh City and take a walking tour in town. Experience the hustle and bustle of former Saigon and explore some of the city's more interesting sights such as the War Remnants Museum and Reunification Palace.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Reunification Palace
  • Ho Chi Minh City - War Remnants Museum
  • Mekong Delta - Floating Market
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Make a day trip to the famous Cu Chi Tunnels. This former Viet Cong stronghold provides an insight into the resourcefulness and tenacity of the Vietnamese people, and offers a glimpse of what like was like during the war.

This evening, board an overnight train to Nha Trang. Conditions are basic on these trains and they may be a little dirtier than what you’re used to, however overnight trains are the best way to brush shoulders with the locals and make the best use of your time. Most trains have a dining carriage serving simple food, but some travellers like to take some fresh bread, cheese and fruit for the journey.


Notes: Sleeper trains typically have four or six berth compartments with bench seats that convert into sleeping bunks. A sheet, pillow and blanket are provided, although some travellers prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. Depending on the configuration of the group, you may have to share with people of different genders or passengers who aren’t part of the group.
Accommodation
  • Overnight sleeper train (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi Tunnels
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Arrive in Nha Trang and transfer to your hotel. Nha Trang has been referred to as the ‘Cannes of the Orient’ because of its beautiful beaches and cosmopolitan vibe. Enjoy a free day in Nha Trang. Perhaps you’d like to soak up more sun on the beaches, or make an optional visit to the nearby Po Nagar Cham Towers. This archaeological site dates back to the middle ages and is dedicated to the indigenous goddess Yan Po Nagar.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Nha Trang - Mud baths - VND280000
  • Nha Trang - Po Nagar Cham Tower - VND22000
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today you’ll go on a boat trip to some of the nearby islands and visit a fishing village. You’ll also have plenty of free time to go swimming and snorkelling, and you’ll be treated to a seafood buffet on the cruise.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Nha Trang - Hon Mun Island swimming and snorkelling
  • Nha Trang - Boat trip including lunch
  • Nha Trang - Row boat tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Take a short flight to Danang and then travel by minibus for one hour to Hoi An.

The rest of the day is free for you to do some optional activities or soak up the ambience of the place. You may like to wander Hoi An Market and the street stalls selling paintings, woodwork, ceramics, lanterns and much more. It’s also famous for its talented tailors who can make beautiful items to order within a few hours.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Your leader will take you on a walk around the Old Town. The city was a major trading port with the west from the 17th century onwards, and has a various architectural influences from Europe, China and Vietnam. Today the city is being restored and looks exactly like it did over a century ago.

The afternoon is free. You can rent a bicycle and take a trip out to the nearby beach. There’s also an optional Urban Adventure including a countryside bike ride and finishing up with a cruise along the Thu Bon River.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hoi An - Ancient town walk and entrance ticket
Optional Activities
  • Hoi An - Street Food By Night Urban Adventure - USD28
  • Hoi An - Hoi An Boat & Bike Urban Adventure - USD51
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Enjoy a free day in Hoi An.

If you can muster an early rise this morning, head to the local produce market to watch animated shoppers haggling over fresh fish, spices and vegetables. Your leader can help you arrange an optional Vietnamese cooking course. Perhaps visit the ruins of My Son, Vietnam's most important Cham site. Set in a verdant valley, surrounded by hills and overlooked by the massive Cat's Tooth Mountain, the elaborate World Heritage-listed temples here reflect the rich cultural traditions of the Cham civilisation that flourished in this region between the 4th and 12th century.

Make the most of your last day in Hoi An by doing any activities you couldn’t fit into your schedule yesterday.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Hoi An - My Son Cham day trip - USD35
  • Hoi An - Hoi An Walking & Cooking Class Urban Adventure - USD49
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Continue on your journey today and drive over the spectacular Hai Van Pass, an incredibly scenic and mountainous stretch of highway with views of Lang Co Beach. Make a stop at beautiful Lang Co for an optional lunch.

Arrive in Hue, Vietnam’s former Imperial capital. Here you’ll visit the Imperial Citadel and the Forbidden Purple City which was almost entirely destroyed by bomb blasts during the war.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hue - Imperial citadel
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take a cruise on a dragon boat along the Perfume River. You’ll stop off at the
Thien Mu Pagoda, and see an active Buddhist monastery dating back to 1601. One of the most poignant displays is a car belonging to a former monk who set himself alight to protest against the treatment of Buddhists. You’ll also visit one of the royal tombs, that of Emperor Tu Duc, with its lake, frangipani and pine trees.

Notes:
- Perfume River Cruises may not be available during festival season. During these times you’ll travel by land to reach the activities.
- During your trip to Hue, you’re likely to visit a Buddhist nunnery or monastery for lunch. The lunch provide economic benefits to these institutions, which rely on donations to survive, and gives you an insight into the unique traditions and food of Vietnamese Buddhism.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hue - Perfume river cruise and Thien Mu Pagoda
  • Hue - Royal tomb
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Fly from Hue to Vietnam’s charming capital of Hanoi. This afternoon, take a half-day tour of Hanoi that captures the beauty and the history of the laid-back, tree-lined capital. You’ll visit major sights including the Temple of Literature and One Pillar Pagoda. You’ll also pass by the Hoan Kiem Lake and enter the ’36 Streets’ of the historic Old Quarter.

If you have some free time this afternoon, you may like to visit the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum. This Museum plays a crucial role in maintaining and promoting the cultural heritage of Vietnam’s ethnic communities.

In the evening, enjoy a traditional Vietnamese water puppet show.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hanoi - Water puppet show
  • Hanoi - Temple of Literature
  • Hanoi - Old Quarter Tour
Optional Activities
  • Hanoi - Fine Arts Museum - VND30000
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel by private minibus for about four hours to the spectacular World Heritage site of Halong Bay. This is one of Vietnam’s most beautiful places, a secluded bay of emerald waters flecked with sandstone islands and caves. Go on a cruise to explore the rock formations and caves and in the warmer months, go for a swim.

You’ll spend the night on the boat. The sailing junk has twin-share cabins with air-conditioning and private facilities. There's also a dining room and bar where you’ll enjoy all of your meals, including a lavish seafood buffet for lunch.

Notes: It is recommended to pack a smaller overnight bag to take to Halong Bay for ease of boarding and disembarking. You can store your main luggage in Hanoi for tonight.

There are restrictions on the number of boats that are permitted to stay in the bay overnight, sometimes resulting in a shortage. To ensure all Intrepid travellers can enjoy the experience of a night on the water, we’re occasionally using a larger boat (with approximately 12 cabins) or splitting groups across different vessels. An Intrepid group leader will be present on each boat, and the route taken and inclusions on board will remain the same.

Your leader will discuss the option for swimming from Ti Top Island beach during the warmer months. Swimming in the bay from the boats is not permitted.
Accommodation
  • Overnight boat (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Halong Bay - Overnight boat cruise
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Drive for about four hours back to Hanoi. Along the way, you’ll stop at Dong Trieu Factory to watch locals creating ceramic art pieces.

Arrive late this afternoon and enjoy a couple of hours free to visit Hanoi's sights or to do some last-minute shopping. Perhaps visit the Hoa Lo Prison aka the ‘Hanoi Hilton’ which was used for prisoners of war during the Vietnam War. There’s also the Museum of Ethnology with its fascinating indoor and outdoor exhibits.

Enjoy a final dinner with your fellow travellers.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Hanoi - Hoa Lo 'Hanoi Hilton' Prison - VND30000
  • Hanoi - Museum of Ethnology - VND180000
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
Optional Activities
  • Hanoi - Hanoi Street Food By Night Urban Adventure - USD31
  • Hanoi Urban Adventure - Citadels, Karsts & Cycle - USD88
  • Hanoi Urban Adventure - Village Discovery by Bike - USD33
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

13 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 dinners

Transport

Boat, Overnight sleeper train, Plane, Private Bus, Private vehicle, Taxi

Accommodation

Homestay (1 night), Hotel (11 nights), Overnight boat (1 night), Overnight sleeper train (1 night)

Included Activities

  • Mekong Delta - Sightseeing tour including cottage industries
  • Ho Chi Minh City - KOTO breakfast
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Reunification Palace
  • Ho Chi Minh City - War Remnants Museum
  • Mekong Delta - Floating Market
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi Tunnels
  • Nha Trang - Hon Mun Island swimming and snorkelling
  • Nha Trang - Boat trip including lunch
  • Nha Trang - Row boat tour
  • Hoi An - Ancient town walk and entrance ticket
  • Hue - Imperial citadel
  • Hue - Perfume river cruise and Thien Mu Pagoda
  • Hue - Royal tomb
  • Hanoi - Water puppet show
  • Hanoi - Temple of Literature
  • Hanoi - Old Quarter Tour
  • Halong Bay - Overnight boat cruise

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. Passport Details: Please provide your full name exactly as per passport at the time of booking (including any middle names listed on your passport), for internal flights and train tickets. Ticketing fees may apply for amendments to details within 45 days of departure, and in some cases you will be required to cover the cost of issuing a new ticket.
Included day rooms on days 4 & 5 will also be shared.
2. An airport arrival transfer is included. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking.
3. A Single Supplement to have your own room is available on this trip and excludes nights 2 (Homestay), 4 (Overnight Train) and 13 (Overnight Boat) where you will be in shared accommodation.

Essential Trip Information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

Reviews

Our Classic Vietnam trips score an average of 4.92 out of 5 based on 66 reviews in the last year.

Classic Vietnam, November 2016

Christine Taylor

Classic Vietnam, November 2016

Elizabeth Gardiner