Be wowed by the sights and sounds of amazing Vietnam

Get a taste of adventure in Vietnam. Travel from French-influenced Hanoi to heaving Ho Chi Minh City on a journey that takes in a whole range of Vietnam's most intriguing sights. Explore the countryside around Hue by bicycle and bask on Nha Trang's perfect beaches. Jam-packed with memorable experiences, this is a grassroots adventure that will introduce you to the food, culture and people of this fascinating country.

Start
Hanoi, Vietnam
Finish
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Countries
Vietnam
Themes
Explorer
Code
TVRR
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 16
Carbon offset
187kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Some of the greatest entertainment in Vietnam is watching the traffic in Hanoi. Sit back and enjoy the show. Your leader will give you a tutorial on crossing the road like a local
  • Halong Bay is a paradisical enclave of green waters and strange rock formations. 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 on 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
  • What better place to finish up the tour than Ho Chi Minh City, where you'll have free time to see the Reunification Palace, Cu Chi Tunnels or join the locals exercising in the park

Itinerary

Xin chao! Welcome to Hanoi, 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 or your booking agent in advance. 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.

If you arrive early consider booking the Hanoi Highlights Urban Adventure with an expert local guide to introduce you to the city and it's sites, including the Temple of Literature, the Hoa Lo Prison museum and Hoan Kiem Lake. Or take it at your own pace and wander the Old Quarter and admire the city’s French-colonial architecture, relax in a park, or enjoy some street food.

Notes: 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).
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. Here you’ll go on a cruise to explore the rock formations and caves and in the warmer months go for a swim. You’ll also enjoy a sumptuous lunch of fresh seafood.

Later, return to the docks and stay overnight in a hotel in Halong City (Bai Chay).
Take a three-and-a-half hour bus ride back to Vietnam’s charming capital, Hanoi. You’ll then go on a walking tour of the city’s Old Quarter. Explore the 36 streets that make up this district, including the Dong Xuan Market, Hoan Kiem Lake and the unique architecture nearby. Hanoi has a French provincial feel remaining from its colonial times, but it also has a Buddhist influence and striking modern buildings.

Board an overnight train for a twelve-hour journey to Hue. Although conditions are basic, overnight trains are the best way to travel long distances and brush shoulders with the locals. Most trains have a dining carriage which serves 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.
As the former imperial capital of Vietnam, Hue holds the treasures of Vietnam's royal past and is a curious mix of bustling streets and tranquil settings.
Packed with historic monuments, Hue is also perfectly located to explore the surrounding countryside, which features stunning scenery, quaint villages and the peaceful Tam Giang Lagoon.
Hue is Vietnam’s former royal capital and its cuisine is considered by many Vietnamese as the best in the country. Hue’s cuisine is influenced both by its imperial heritage (small dishes and a focus on aesthetic presentation) as well as its strong Buddhist heritage, reflected in the high proportion of vegetarian restaurants in the region.
The bustling Dong Ba Market offers a plethora of goods and foods to see and sample, and it's a good place to try some of the specialities that graced the Nguyen emperors' banquet tables, such as the banh khoai, a royal rice cake.
You have a free day to explore. You could also easily spend a couple of hours exploring Hue’s massive walled citadel and the Forbidden Purple Palace enclosed within. Perhaps jump on board a ‘Dragon Boat’, and enjoy a cruise up the Perfume River to visit the Thien Mu pagoda. Or cycle out to one of the Royal tombs such as the tomb of Emperor Tu Duc, one of the best remaining examples of its kind.
Alternatively, set off on an optional motorcycle tour of the sights in Hue and some surrounding villages.

Please note: Our hotel rooms will be available from the standard check in time this afternoon. You can store your luggage at the hotel while you explore Hue.
Continue on your journey to the World Heritage site of Hoi An, where your leader will take you on a walk around 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 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.
Enjoy a free day to further explore Hoi An. Perhaps take a cruise up the Thu Bon River or learn the secrets of cooking delicious Vietnamese dishes. Visit some of the man art galleries or simply wonder around the beautifully restored Chinese shop houses. There’s also the option of cycling around the surrounding countryside, a truly unique way to get off the beaten track and see rural Vietnam up close. Your leader will be able to suggest activities to help you get the most out of your time.
Make the most out of your last free day in Hoi An. Perhaps do some of the activities you couldn’t fit into your schedule over the past couple of days. There’s
Also Cua Dai Beach nearby, the perfect place to rest up before continuing on your way.

This evening, board another overnight train to Nha Trang. The journey will take about eight hours.
Arrive in Nha Trang at around 7 am and transfer to your hotel. Nha Trang is a charming town on Vietnam's southeast coast with pristine beaches, consistently good weather, a vibrant nightlife and excellent diving. You have two full days to catch some rays, swim, snorkel and indulge in fresh seafood.

Please note: Our hotel rooms will be available from the standard check in time this afternoon. You can store your luggage at the hotel while you explore Nha Trang.
Enjoy your last free day in Nha Trang. In the evening, you’ll get on another overnight train to Ho Chi Minh City (seven hours).
Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City very early this morning and transfer to your hotel. Today you’ll have plenty of free time to explore Vietnam’s largest city. Ho Chi Minh City has a busy atmosphere and a French influence. In your free time, we recommend visiting the Reunification Palace and the War Remnants Museum. There’s also the historic Dong Khoi Street, and the chaotic markets of Ben Thanh and Cholon (Chinatown). Ho Chi Minh City has a different style of cuisine to its northern counterpart Hanoi, so be sure get out for restaurant meals and street food.

Notes: There are shared hotel rooms available this morning if you would like to freshen up before check in time this afternoon.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you can depart the accommodation at any time. As we don’t spend much time in Ho Chi Minh City on this tour, why not stay a few extra days to make the most of your time here? Perhaps take a day trip to the famous Cu Chi Tunnels, where you can witness the strategic underground labyrinth that helped the Vietnamese win the war. Consider doing a tour such as ‘The Cu Chi Experience’ with our partners Urban Adventures. See urbanadventures.com for more information.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
1 lunch
Transport
Overnight sleeper train, Private Bus, Private minibus, Private vehicle, Public bus, Train
Accommodation
Hotel (7 nights), Overnight sleeper train (4 nights)
Included activities
  • Halong Bay - Entrance and half day boat cruise
  • Hanoi - Old Quarter Walking Tour
  • Hoi An - Ancient town guided walk and entrance ticket

Dates

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Important notes

1. Please provide your full name as per passport and passport number 45 days prior to departure in order to secure Vietnam train tickets.
2. A single supplement is available on this trip. Please see 'Your Fellow Travellers' section of trip notes for excluded nights and booking information.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide 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.

View trip notes

Reviews

Our Explore Vietnam trips score an average of 4.69 out of 5 based on 85 reviews in the last year.

Explore Vietnam , March 2016

Explore Vietnam , March 2016

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