Hue & Hoi An Getaway Trip Notes

Hue & Hoi An Getaway

These trip notes are valid for departures from 01 January 2015 to 31 December 2016. Other seasons in this trip: 01 January 2015 - 31 December 2015, 01 January 2015 - 31 December 2015.

Last Modified: 14 Oct 2015
Hue & Hoi An Getaway
Trip code: TVAZ-O
Validity: 01 Jan 2015 to 31 Dec 2016
Get set for an imperial odyssey through the centre of enchanting Vietnam. The heart of this diverse country boasts several World Heritage sites; from the romantic ancient town of Hoi An, packed full of artisans and tailors, to the walled citadel and decadent emperor tombs of Hue. Become lost in the allure of rich aromas, divine food, vibrant market places and welcoming locals. Along with a variety of fun inclusions, including walking and cycling adventures and a hands-on Vietnamese cooking lesson, this all-encompassing short break covers the highlights of central Vietnam in style and promises to be a memorable journey.
Table of Contents
StyleGroup sizeEmergency funds
ThemesYour fellow travellersVisas
MapSingle travellersIssues on your trip
ItineraryAccommodationWhat to take
We also recommendMeals introductionHealth
Itinerary disclaimerMealsSafety
Culture shock rating TransportTravel insurance
Physical ratingGroup leaderResponsible Travel
Included activitiesJoining point A couple of rules
Optional activitiesJoining point descriptionThe Intrepid Foundation
Money ExchangeJoining point instructionsResponsible Travel projects
Spending moneyArrival complicationsCarbon offset
TippingFinish point Feedback
Important notesEmergency contact
  • Our Original style trips have a great balance of included activities with your group and free time to explore independently. Where we stay ensures we keep our travellers firmly entrenched in a region’s people and culture, and provides them with unique local experiences that benefits the community too. In most locations we stay in simple tourist-class hotels (i.e. 2-3 stars), plus on many trips you'll also get to experience a night with a local family on a homestay or something a little different like a Bedouin camp in the Sahara. Original style trips come with all manner of transport modes and use a mixture of local and private transport. You might find yourself sailing in a dhow in Zanzibar, jumping on a rickshaw in Sri Lanka or sailing on a yacht through the Galapagos. No matter the mode, it's all about minimising our environmental impact and making getting around part of the adventure.
Short Breaks
Hue & Hoi An Getaway
Day 1 Hue Citadel/Rural Tour
Xin chao! Welcome to Vietnam.
You will be picked up from your the joining point hotel in Hue between 8.00-8.30am.
A welcome pack containing a welcome letter, your trip itinerary, relevant tickets, a feedback card and general information on the country will be waiting for you at your hotel. Please ask your hotel's receptionist for the Intrepid welcome pack upon arrival.
Packed with temples, tombs, palaces and pagodas, Hue is the gateway to the treasures of Vietnam's royal past and a must-stop on any itinerary. And the best way to explore it is on the back of a motorbike with experienced motorbike drivers!
Start the day with a visit the Citadel. It’s within these 2m-thick and 10km-long walls that you’ll find several of the city’s best sights, from the many ornate pagodas to the Forbidden Purple City. We’ll continue our ride to Thanh Toan Bridge, an ornate covered bridge hard to find without local knowledge. From there, we'll soak up everyday Vietnamese life at a nearby local market and visit an agricultural museum, to understand how locals trade and maintain their traditional daily lives.
Further immerse yourself in the best of Hue countryside with a ride through stunning surroundings, past rice paddies, to a small village that specializes in making incense sticks. We’ll drop by a local pagoda/monastery for a traditional vegetarian lunch and a chance to chat with the monks/nuns to learn more about Buddhism and gain an insight into their daily lives.
Stop for lunch in a local nunnery. Enjoy a traditional meal and grab the chance to chat with the nuns to learn more about Buddhism and gain an insight into their daily lives.
With full tummies, our Hue tour continues with the visit to one of the most impressive emperor’s tombs to take in its astonishing architectural beauty. From there, we’ll head to Tiger Arena, where duels between elephants and tigers were arranged for the entertainment of the Emperors right up until 1904.
After a day taking in the many sights of Hue, we’ll enjoy a relaxing boat trip along Perfume River to Thien Mu Pagoda, the most sacred temple in the area. Take in the magic of Hue’s most sacred temple before our tour ends with a short motorbike ride back to the centre of the city.
Included Activities
  • Hue - Imperial citadel
  • Hue - Royal tomb
  • Hue - Perfume river cruise and Thien Mu Pagoda
Day 2 Hue/Tam Giang Lagoon
This morning is free to explore Hue. You will be picked up from your hotel between 1.00-1.30 pm by your experienced local motorbike driver. We recommend you take your swimwear today for our stop at the wild beach.
Escape the hustle of Hue on a journey to Quang Dien, a peaceful village known for its beautiful architecture, stunning surrounds and friendly locals. On the way you can take in the sea air from the back of the bike, as you wind through quaint towns en route to the majestic Tam Giang Lagoon.
First off, we’ll call in to a farming family to witness their traditional lifestyle. Roll up your sleeves to lend a hand with the garden tasks, from watering the vegetables to helping harvest crops. We’ll reward you with a taste of Hue’s most famous specialty snacks and honey tea.
Our Hue motorbike tour continues to a so-called Ghost City, where hundreds of tombs have been built and beautifully decorated. Here you’ll learn its secrets and the beliefs and history of the local people. Back on our motorbikes, we continue this Hue tour to Quang Dien wild beach to relax on a white sandy beach next to the translucent water. This is a quiet escape from the crowds and a perfect place for an ocean dip.
Before the sun sets, we’ll take you to Tam Giang Lagoon where a sampan is waiting to take you out for a fishing harvest. We’ll stop by a fish and prawn farm to help the fisherman haul up their catch ready to sell at market. Get a lesson in how to throw a fish net, then try your luck to catch a fish in the lagoon.
After a day of farming and fishing, our day in the Hue countryside ends with fresh fruits and tea prepared by our local host as we bid farewell to the last rays of sunshine and ride back to our hotel in Hue.
Included Activities
  • Hue - Half day motorbike tour to Tam Giang Lagoon
Day 3 Hoi An Countryside Bike Ride/Boat Trip
You will be picked up from your Hue hotel at 8.00 am. Travelling by bus, head south through coastal rice paddies before traversing the spectacularly mountainous Hai Van Pass. After a brief visit to the beautiful China Beach (known officially as My Khe Beach), arrive at Hoi An (approx. 4 hours).
Drop your bags and freshen up before making your way to the Intrepid Travel Vietnam - Hoi An Office for our 3.00 pm bike tour departure. The office is located 24 Nguyen Duy Hieu Street (near the crossroad for Nguyen Duy Hieu & Pham Hong Thai Streets). Phone: +84 (0) 9 3428 6988.
This afternoon our adventure continues taking to the streets and the waterways on a unique boat and bike tour, weaving through the back streets to reach the country lanes that lie outside Hoi An’s borders.
Follow your local guide out along country lane-ways to reach some of the villages that are dotted throughout the region, stopping to talk to the locals and learn more about life in this part of Vietnam. Pass emerald rice paddies, snaking waterways and plenty of waving children as you discover some of the beautiful landscapes found in this region.
Make your way to banks of the Thu Bon River to take to the waterways for a different perspective on the surrounding landscape. Cruise the river, heading out to one of the small islands where a barbecue feast awaits. Watch the sun set over the river and the bobbing fishing boats while feasting on local specialities.
Jump back in the boat and catch the last of the sun’s rays as they disappear behind the rice paddies before heading back to Hoi An. Watch the twinkling lights of the city appear as you approach the dock, before heading through the bustling waterfront crowds to head back into town.
Day 4 Hoi An
Please reconvene at 8.00 am at our meeting point, Intrepid Travel Vietnam - Hoi An Office, 24 Nguyen Duy Hieu Street, to continue your exploration of Hoi An.
Discover the history and flavours of Vietnam during a walking and cooking tour of Hoi An. This is a place oozing with charm and, having largely escaped the destruction of successive wars, its streets and architecture are a delight to explore. Your local guide will walk with you to the Old Town ready to explore its ancient streets.
Now a UNESCO World Heritage site the Old Town is packed with buildings of historical and cultural significance and boasts a number of streets that are off-limits to cars. Stroll past the many Chinese Assembly Halls - from the Cantonese Chinese Congregation with its impressive main altar to the Hainan Chinese Congregation which serves as a memorial to 107 merchants from Hainan Island who were mistaken for pirates and killed during the reign of Emperor Tu Duc. Stop by the Japanese Covered Bridge which was constructed in the 1590s by the town’s Japanese community to link them with the Chinese quarters across the stream.
At the end of the walking tour head to a family run restaurant for a cooking class. The chef will run through the range of delicious dishes that you will recreate, then it’s time to hit the local market to stock up on all the fresh produce needed to create the feast. Learn how to choose the best supplies and discover some of the less-familiar ingredients, then head back to the restaurant ready to cook
Pick up recipes that are sure to wow your family and friends and discover the tricks to making some of the legendary Vietnamese dishes at home. End the day by sitting down to feast on all the delicious dishes you’ve created.
Your trip finishes at approximately 1.00 pm. No accommodation is included tonight.
Included Activities
  • Hoi An - Ancient town
  • Hoi An - Cooking Class
    We also recommend
    If this trip is not quite right for you, cast your eye over these alternatives:
    • Halong Bay Junk Cruise (TVAQ-O)
    • Mai Chau Adventure (TVAX-B)
    • Sapa Adventure (TVAG-O)
    • South Vietnam Getaway (TVAS-O)
    • Hue & Hoi An Getaway (TVAZ-B)
    Itinerary disclaimer
    Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website:
    Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
    Culture shock rating

    Expect some culture shock. You'll be exposed to signs of poverty and access to services may be sporadic. The food will be quite different to home and English speakers harder to find. Respecting the local culture will make it easier to fit in and really experience the location.
    Physical rating

    Some easy physical activities included in your trip. No physical preparation is required to make the most of the journey.
    Included activities
    Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
    Optional activities
    A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination.
    Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
    Money Exchange
    The official currency of Vietnam is Dong (VND).
    The local currency is Vietnam Dong (VND), but US dollars are also accepted. It is almost impossible to change VND into US dollars without a flight ticket showing your onward destination.
    Only change money at official money exchange counters with a clear sign showing this status. Illegal exchange places like gold shops may offer a higher rate you may risk losing your money.
    Credit cards are becoming more widely accepted, but outside main centres you may find cash the only acceptable currency. It may be difficult to cash travellers’ cheques.
    ATMs are widely available in major cities and tourist areas.
    You can have funds transferred to Vietnam via international money transfer companies like Western Union or Moneygram.
    Spending money
    Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
    If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. Although can be difficult to source we advise you to carry small notes of local currency each day to make tipping easier.
    The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
    Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up to the nearest US$1. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill.
    Local guides: We suggest US$2-3 per day for local guides.
    Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however we suggest US$1-2 per day for drivers.
    In total, we recommend you budget approx US$5-10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.
    Important notes
    Tet is Vietnam's New Year festival, held annually in late January or early February based on the lunar calendar. While this can be a fascinating time to travel and experience this event, expect some shop closures and busier than usual local transport. Opening hours at some tourist sites may also be affected or closed. Although we make all reasonable efforts to avoid disruption, a flexible approach from the traveller is appreciated
    During the rainy months (approx. June to October), our mode of transport can be changed at short notice due to weather conditions.
    Group size
    Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
    Your fellow travellers
    As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.
    This trip is operated in "Join-In" basis and you may travel alongside other Intrepid or non-Intrepid travellers during included activities.
    Please note many of our Short Break Adventures operate with a minimum of 1 person, so there may be instances where you are the only person on the trip.
    Single travellers
    On some trips accommodation is available only on a shared basis with other travellers, who might not necessarily be Intrepid travellers. Arrangements vary depending on the trip from twin to multishare, so refer to the daily itinerary for more details on your accommodation. In some situations you may have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure you have your own room.
    Please note that this short break has a compulsory single supplement. Please contact your booking agent for more information.
    The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.
    Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.
    If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
    Meals introduction
    While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
    3 Breakfasts, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
    Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.
    USD 80.00
    Group leader
    This Short Break Adventure is a 'join in' group departure, which means you are not accompanied by an Intrepid group leader - our local representative fills this role - and the configuration of any fellow travellers in the group might change during the trip.
    The aim of our local representative is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. On this style of trip you might have one person stay with you for the entire journey, or you might get to enjoy the variety of having someone different for each day and/or activity. They will be able to provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and, where possible, introduce you to our local friends. While some may not be guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects.
    Joining point
    Gold 1 Hotel
    28 Ba Trieu St,
    Joining point description
    The Gold 1 hotel is centrally located in the centre of Hue, and is close to Hue tourism attractions. The hotel facilities include 2 restaurants, a bar, gym and outdoor swimming pool. The Gold 1 hotel offers wifi, as well as a business centre.
    Joining point instructions
    Intrepid can assist with pre-booking an arrival transfer from the airport - enquire with your agent. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your departure.
    If you have pre-booked an airport transfer you will be met on as you exit the Customs Hall by a transfer representative holding an Intrepid sign with your name on it.
    If you cannot find your transfer representative, or if your flight is delayed, please call our hotline at +84 903 117 770. Additionally please proceed to the Information Counter, your driver will wait here if you do not meet upon arrival.
    Please note that neither the driver nor any representative should ask you for additional payment.
    If you are making your own way from the airport to the hotel it is a matter of catching a taxi. After clearing customs and immigration at Noi Bai Airport, make your way outside the terminal where there will be taxis waiting. The distance from the airport to the city is approximately 40 kilometres and it should cost about US$15-US$20 to get to the hotel (ensure you have settled on an amount with the taxi driver before you commence your ride). There is also a Vietnam Airlines bus to the city; inquire on arrival for directions to the bus.
    Arrival complications
    We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the emergency contact section below for who to contact depending upon your starting location.
    No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.
    Finish point
    Thuy Duong 3 hotel
    92-94 Ba Trieu Hoi An - Vietnam
    Hoi An
    Phone: +84 05103916565
    Fax: +84 05103916567
    Emergency contact
    In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Vietnam Office can be reached on Tel: +84 903 117 770. For all other enquiries please contact our Reservations department which is open 24 hours, 6 days per week (excluding Sunday). For further contact details please use the following page:
    Emergency funds
    Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$500, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest, strike action or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
    Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
    We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
    Australia: Yes - in advance
    Belgium: Yes - in advance
    Canada: Yes - in advance
    Germany Yes - in advance over 15 days (Effective 1 July 2015 - Visa free up to 15 days)
    Ireland: Yes - in advance
    Netherlands: Yes - in advance
    New Zealand: Yes - in advance
    South Africa: Yes - in advance
    Switzerland: Yes - in advance
    United Kingdom: Yes - in advance over 15 days (Effective 1 July 2015 - Visa free up to 15 days)
    USA: Yes - in advance
    When obtaining your visa you should allow 3 weeks for processing, the cost is approximately US$60 to US$100. Check with your embassy or consulate for further details.
    Some nationalities are exempt from requiring a visa if their stay is less than 15 days, but if you are planning on staying in Vietnam for longer than 15 days you will need to obtain a visa extension in advance (please contact your relevant Consulate or Embassy). Effective from 1st July 2015 - 30 June 2016 exempt visa nationalities will also include British, German, French, Spanish and Italian citizens travelling to Vietnam (for all purposes) for a period of up to 15 days, and on the basis of meeting all conditions prescribed by Vietnamese laws.
    Keep the customs and immigration form you receive on arrival, as you need it to complete exit formalities on departure.
    If your visa application asks for a point of contact, please write: Intrepid Vietnam 57A Nguyen Khac Hieu St, Hanoi, Vietnam Ph +84 4 3715 0996.
    Most nationalities do not require a letter of invitation for Vietnam but if you do need one, please contact your sales agent for more information.
    Issues on your trip
    While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
    We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
    You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
    What to take
    What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage, although you won't be required to walk long distances with it (max 30 minutes).
    Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
    You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
    Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please consider water purification techniques such as iodine or micropur and use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day.
    All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
    You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
    Rare instances of dengue fever have been reported in this region. This virus is transmitted by mosquitoes. There is no vaccination against it, but there are preventative measures that you can take such as wearing long clothing and always using repellent. Please note that this mosquito is most active during daylight hours however care should be taken at all times.
    Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
    We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
    In addition to any included activities on your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. Our local representative may be able to assist you with available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that our local representative has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
    For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
    While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
    Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!
    Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts.
    Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
    Some hotel balconies don't meet UK standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.
    You may stay at hotels with unfenced pools and no life guard on duty.
    While life jackets are generally available on water craft, there may be occasions where they are not provided and child size life jackets are not always readily available. If travelling with children and this safety issue concerns you we will be able to advise alternative methods of transport (where available) for you to travel to the next destination. You can choose to travel independently for this leg of the journey. This would be at your own expense.
    Please take care when taking part in any activities in the ocean, river or open water, where waves and currents can be unpredictable. It's expected that anyone taking part in water activities is able to swim and have experience in open water. All swimmers should seek local advice before entering the water.
    Travel insurance
    Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
    When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the trip until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by our local representative.
    If you have credit card insurance our local representative will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact telephone number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
    Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
    IMPORTANT NOTE: Please note that for this particular trip, your travel insurance cover must also include riding pillion on a motorbike. The motorbikes used are all less than 150cc.
    Responsible Travel
    We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
    When packing be aware that dress standards are conservative and you should dress accordingly. To respect the local culture and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. As a guideline, shoulders and knees at the minimum (and everything in between including midriff and cleavage) should be covered at all times. Wearing shorts and singlet tops is not appropriate and may well restrict your entry into sites of a religious nature, family homes, and will limit your local interaction opportunities in general. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in the predominantly warm climate.
    A couple of rules
    Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader or local representative has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
    Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.
    The Intrepid Foundation
    Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
    The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$1,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
    Responsible Travel projects
    Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in Vietnam include:
    * The Blue Dragon Children's Foundation works in northern and central Vietnam with the most vulnerable children: street kids, children with disabilities, children from rural families living in extreme poverty, and victims of human trafficking and slavery. Their primary aim is to rescue kids from danger, reunite them with their families when they can, and provide all the services needed for recovery and growth.
    * Children's Hope in Action (CHIA) provides vital health and disability programs and educational services to vulnerable families in Hoi An and surrounding rural areas. CHIA’s holistic Special Education program facilitates the social, physical and intellectual development of children who have motor disabilities and little, or no intellectual impairment.
    * The KOTO Saigon Training Centre provides training in life skills and hospitality to former street children. Trainees at the Saigon centre will go on to work at KOTO's restaurant in the city (to open in 2011). Travellers may also visit the KOTO restaurant in Hanoi, which also provides training opportunities for disadvantaged youth and great food.
    For more information, or to make a donation please visit:
    Carbon offset
    Carbon Offset C02-e 81.00 kgs per pax.
    After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.