Meet Vietnam’s welcoming people and explore its natural and cultural treasures

With great food, lush scenery and lots of warm, friendly locals, the whole family will fall in love with Vietnam. Sail beautiful Halong Bay. Delight at water puppets in Hanoi. Learn about rich emperors in Hue. Get a new outfit tailor-made in Hoi An. Maybe even take a dip in the South China Sea. With so much to share and do together, you'll experience the culture, flavours, and highlights of a Vietnamese adventure your family will always remember.

Start
Hanoi, Vietnam
Finish
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Countries
Vietnam
Themes
Family
Code
TVFA
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 5
Group size
Min 4 Max 20
Carbon offset
667kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Take a cyclo tour through Vietnam's capital, Hanoi
  • Cruise Vietnam's majestic Halong Bay
  • Find a poem hat in imperial Hue
  • Discover Vietnam's Perfume River on a dragon boat
  • Meet local kids in Hoi An
  • Lunch at Koto , Hanoi

Itinerary

Xin chao! Welcome to Vietnam.
Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting at 6pm on Day 1.
The capital of Vietnam is a charming city with a population of over six million. Hanoi is famous for its beautiful lakes, shaded boulevards, verdant public parks and its thriving Old Quarter, which is an architectural museum piece with blocks of ochre buildings retaining the air of a 1930s provincial French town. As Vietnam develops to compete with other South-East Asian countries, the beautiful Hoan Kiem Lake reflects the contrasts of modern office buildings, old Buddhist temples and the tangle of ancient streets in its still surface.
If you arrive early, why not get your first taste of Vietnam exploring the lovely, laidback capital. You can stroll the tree-lined boulevards to get a sense of the old days, wander the Old Quarter to uncover ancient temples and a rich, religious culture or head to the Temple of Literature, an oasis of calm right at the heart of Hanoi.
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Today our trip starts in earnest and after a relaxing morning we enjoy a tasty lunch with our long time friends at KOTO restaurant. Koto stands for " know one, teach one " and is an organisation that is supporting street kids with a career in the hospitality industry. In the evening we enjoy a performance of the unique Water Puppets.
Travel by private minibus to the spectacular World Heritage site of Halong Bay (approx 4 hrs).

Halong Bay is a breathtaking secluded harbour with 2,000 limestone islands rising from the emerald waters of Bac Bo Gulf. One of Vietnam's most scenic regions, this area of about 1,500 sq km is dotted with innumerable beaches and grottos, created over thousands of years by waves and wind.

Board our private boat and cruise among the dramatic limestone peaks. There's an opportunity to swim in the famed South China Sea, as well as to explore caves filled with stunning stalactites and stalagmites. Spend a peaceful night on board, beneath a night sky alive with stars. Our sailing junk has twin-share cabins that have air-conditioning and private facilities. There's also a dining room and bar where we enjoy a sumptuous lunch and dinner.

BOAT SHORTAGE:
Due to recent unforeseen late changes by local authorities in Halong Bay a large proportion of boats are now no longer permitted to stay overnight, thus resulting in a shortage of boats. To ensure we can accommodate all Intrepid travellers overnight on a boat we are occasionally using a larger boat (approx. 12 cabins) and splitting our groups across different boats. An Intrepid group leader will be present on each boat, and the route taken and inclusions on board will remain the same.
We return to Hanoi by bus (approx 3.5 hrs). From there we board an overnight train bound for Hue. Although conditions are basic, overnight trains are a true experience and the best way to travel long distances with the locals. Sleeper trains typically have four berth compartments (occasionally six berth depending on seasonal variations), which have bench seats that convert into sleeping bunks. A sheet, pillow and blanket are provided, although some travellers prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. On occasion, passengers of different genders will be required to share a compartment and there will be occasions where you'll be sharing with local travellers or travellers who are not part of your group. Most trains have a dining carriage serving simple food, but some travellers take the opportunity to stock up on fresh bread, cheese and fruit prior to departure.
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.
Enjoy a dragon boat cruise on the Perfume River. The trip includes a visit to Thien Mu Pagoda, considered by many to be the unofficial symbol of Hue. It's an active Buddhist monastery with its origins dating back to 1601. One of the most poignant displays is a car belonging to a former monk who, in 1963, drove to Saigon and set himself alight to protest against the treatment of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese regime. We also visit one of the royal tombs, that of Emperor Tu Duc, with its central lake set amid a grove of frangipani and pine trees, and we may visit what many believe to be the most majestic of all the royal tombs, Minh Mang.
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.
Visit the Imperial Citadel, including the Forbidden Purple City which was almost totally destroyed during the American War's Tet Offensive, but the foliage-covered ruins are still atmospheric and the gaping holes left by bombs give an idea of the destruction wreaked upon the country during the war.
Travelling by bus, we head south through coastal rice paddies, before traversing the spectacularly mountainous Hai Van Pass to Hoi An (approx 4 hours).
Recently declared a World Heritage site, Hoi An is being beautifully restored and preserved. Known as Faifo to early Western traders, it was one of South-East Asia's major international ports during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Today, parts of Hoi An look exactly as they did more than a century ago and it retains the feel of centuries past, making it the sort of place that grows on you the more you explore it.
It's also a shopping mecca - with much to browse and buy. Choose from original paintings, handcrafted woodwork, ceramics, embroidery, lanterns and more. Hoi An has also become famous for its tailoring - with a great variety of fabrics and tailors to choose from. Bring your favourite piece of clothing or even just a picture, and you'll be able to have it copied.
We will be taken on an orientation walk for the Ancient Town with our group leader. We then visit Children's Hope in Action Centre for information about the project and perhaps some interaction with local kids. CHIA is a community-based project supported by The Intrepid Foundation before having a picnic lunch on the beach.
The rest of your time is left free to relax in this beautiful area. You could take a taxi or make the easy five-kilometre bicycle ride through the rice paddies and shrimp ponds to Cua Dai beach.
Today is left free to explore.
The rest of your time is left free to relax in this beautiful area. You could take a taxi or make the easy five-kilometre bicycle ride through the rice paddies and shrimp ponds to Cua Dai beach. Alternatively Hoi An is one of the best places to shop for souvenirs, especially if you’re looking for t-shirts, paintings or ceramics. For those interested in getting clothes tailored, this is definitely the place to shop. Speak to your leader about arranging a cooking lesson and learn about the many layers of fresh herbs and flavours that can be found in this fresh cuisine.
Take a short flight to the economic hub of Ho Chi Minh City (approx 1 hr).
Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is characterised by a vast array of sights and sounds; a fascinating blend of old and new, East and West. The huge number of people rushing about their daily lives in Vietnam's largest city gives it a dynamic atmosphere and the French influence is evident in the excellent baguettes and coffee on offer. Much of the city's life takes place on the busy streets lined with shops, stalls and vendors with their wares spread out on the footpath, selling everything from soup to sophisticated electronics.
We head off to Ben Thanh Market to experience a local lunch, market-style! Afterwards you're free to explore the city on your own. Your leader will have plenty of interesting and fun ideas for you and the kids. Perhaps you might consider scooting off on cyclos to Cholon, the Chinatown area of Ho Chi Minh City, for a spot of temple-hopping. Or you might like to visit the Vietnamese version of a department store for some serious shopping.
Head down to the Mekong Delta and visit unexplored Ben Tre where coconut is everything and anything. The fertile delta is famous for its abundant harvests of tropical fruits and flowers as well as boating along the canals. On arrival, we board our private boat and cruise along the maze of waterways to visit some local cottage industries. Then head to our overnight homestay along the water. We'll be sleeping on simple camp beds in dorm-style rooms with all meals included. Bedding and mosquito nets are provided. Shared toilet and bathroom facilities are basic.
Life in the Delta starts with the sun so we are up early and after breakfast we take an easy cycling trip or just walk around to visit a local market and the soya bean sauce workshop before heading to Ho Chi Minh city for one more night. We should arrive in the afternoon to give us time for a final exploration or a final look in the shops.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
11 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 1 dinner
Transport
Boat, Minibus, Overnight sleeper train, Plane, Private Bus
Accommodation
Hotel (9 nights), Overnight boat (1 night), Overnight sleeper train (1 night)
Included activities
  • Hanoi - Temple of Literature
  • Hanoi - Water puppet show
  • Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum and Museum
  • Hanoi - Koto Restaurant lunch
  • Hanoi - Museum of Ethnology
  • Halong Bay - Overnight boat cruise
  • Hue - Imperial citadel
  • Hue - Royal tomb
  • Hue - Perfume River cruise
  • Hoi An - Orientation walk
  • Hoi An - Ancient town guided walk and entrance ticket
  • Children Hope in Action visit

Dates

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Important notes

A discount of 10% applies on this trip to children 14 years and under at time of travel.

Please note that these trips are for adults and children travelling together and there must be at least one child under 18 with you.

Minimum age for children on this trip is 5 years old.

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.

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Reviews

Our Vietnam Family Holiday trips score an average of 4.94 out of 5 based on 52 reviews in the last year.

Vietnam Family Holiday , April 2016

Vietnam Family Holiday , April 2016

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