Vietnam Family Holiday Trip Notes

Vietnam Family Holiday

These trip notes are valid for departures from 01 January 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the trip notes for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Last Modified: 21 Sep 2016
Vietnam Family Holiday
Trip code: TVFA
Validity: 01 Jan 2016 to 31 Dec 2016
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 Vietnam East 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.
Table of Contents
StyleAccommodation NotesFinish point description
ThemesMeals introductionFinishing point instructions
Is this trip right for you?MealsEmergency contact
Why we love itMoney mattersVisas
MapGroup leaderWhat to take
ItinerarySafetyClimate and seasonal information
Itinerary disclaimerJoining pointHealth
Physical ratingJoining point descriptionTravel insurance
Included activitiesJoining point instructionsA couple of rules
Important notesAlternate joining pointResponsible Travel
Group sizeAlternate joining point descriptionThe Intrepid Foundation
Your fellow travellersAlternate joining point instructionsFeedback
AccommodationFinish point
Is this trip right for you?
- This is Vietnam, so days are hot and sticky and nights can get quite cool! Be sure to wear layers, use adequate sun protection and drink plenty of water.
- You will visit a number of temples on this trip, and it's important to respect the local custom. Arms and knees should be covered. A light scarf is a good idea for covering shoulders and arms when it’s hot.
- Be prepared for basic shared facilities at your Mekong Delta homestay (Day 11). The lack of creature comforts is, of course, a small price to pay for such an authentic local experience.
- Your overnight train journey from Hanoi to Hue (Day 4) is quite long. The upside is you'll wake up in a thrilling new destination and experience travelling like a local.
Why we love it
- A cyclo tour of Hanoi is an excellent introduction to bustling inner-city Vietnam, and the novelty of travelling on these three-wheeled wonders is a thrill for all ages
- There's a great mix of included activities and free time, which is perfect in atmospheric destinations like Hoi An, with the beach just a short bike ride away
- Halong Bay is not only an amazing and unique natural wonder – it's a proper escape from the world around you. Sleep under the stars on a comfortable cruise boat and enjoy a sumptuous lunch and dinner on board
- By dining at KOTO in Hanoi, you'll not only feast on dellicious northern specialties, you'll be supporting an excellent cause that helps connect street kids with careers in hospitality
- One of the many advantages of group travel is the social aspect, and kids often have playmates, giving you a little more time to relax

Day 1 Hanoi
Xin chao! Welcome to Vietnam. Hanoi is famous for its beautiful lakes, shaded boulevards, verdant public parks and its thriving Old Quarter. The latter is a veritable architectural museum piece, with blocks of ochre buildings retaining the air of a 1930s provincial French town. You will be transferred from the airport to your hotel, and your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Afterwards, perhaps enjoy some dinner with your family and fellow travellers (this is optional).
Hong Ngoc Cochinchine Hotel or similar (1 nt)
Day 2 Hanoi
Embark on a full-city tour of town. You will visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Museum, and the tranquil Temple of Literature – an oasis of calm in the heart of town. Also head to the Museum of Ethnology to learn more about the diverse heritage of Vietnam. Enjoy some lunch at KOTO restaurant, an excellent establishment and longtime friend of Intrepid which lives by the philosophy of 'know one, teach one'. It supports the underprivileged local youth by giving them a chance at making a career in the hospitality industry. In the evening, sit down to a traditional water puppet performance. This northern tradition, dating back nearly a thousand years, is performed alongside traditional Vietnamese music that employs drums, wooden bells, horns and bamboo flutes.
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
    Hong Ngoc Cochinchine Hotel or similar (1 nt)
    1 breakfast, 1 lunch
    Day 3 Halong Bay
    Travel by minibus to the spectacular World Heritage-listed site of Halong Bay (approximately 4 hours). The bay is a breathtaking secluded harbour, with some 2,000 limestone islands jutting out of the waters of the Bac Bo Gulf. Board your private boat and cruise among the dramatic limestone peaks. There's an opportunity to swim in the famous Bay and explore caves filled with stunning stalactites and stalagmites. Spend a peaceful night on board, beneath a sky alive with stars. Your sailing junk has twin-share cabins that have air-conditioning and private facilities. There's also a dining room and bar.

    Notes: Due to recent, unforeseen changes by local authorities, many boats are no longer permitted to stay overnight on the bay. This has resulted in a boat shortage. To ensure Intrepid travellers are all accommodated, a larger boat, usually with 12 cabins, may be used, and passengers may be split across multiple boats. An Intrepid group leader will be present on each boat, and the route and onboard inclusions will remain the same.
    Included Activities
    • Halong Bay - Overnight boat cruise
      Halong Bay Junk (1 nt)
      1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
      Day 4 Hue
      Return to Hanoi by bus (approximately 3.5 hours). From there you will board an overnight train bound for Hue. As the former imperial capital of Vietnam, Hue holds the treasures of Vietnam's royal past. It's a curious mix of bustling streets and tranquil settings. Although conditions are basic on your train journey, overnight trains are a classic South East Asian experience and the best way to travel long distances with the locals. Lie back and enjoy the ride! Most trains have a dining carriage serving simple food, but it's a great idea to stock up on fresh bread, cheese and fruit before you head off.

      Notes: 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.
      Overnight Sleeper Train (1 nt)
      1 breakfast
      Day 5 Hue
      Enjoy a dragon boat cruise along the Perfume River. The trip includes a visit to Thien Mu Pagoda, which is considered by many to be the unofficial symbol of Hue. It's an active Buddhist monastery originating in 1601. One of the most poignant displays here 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. You will visit one of the royal tombs, that of Emperor Tu Duc, and see the central lake set amid a grove of frangipani and pine trees. There is also the chance to visit the tomb of Minh Mang. Its lush forest backdrop and impressive architecture make it perhaps the most majestic of all the royal tombs.
      Included Activities
      • Hue - Imperial citadel
        Thanh Lich Hotel or similar (1 nt)
        1 breakfast
        Day 6 Hue
        Delve further into the fascinating former capital today. You will visit the Imperial Citadel, which is the best-preserved remnant of a large citidel and Royal centre that once existed on this fortified site. The unique fortifications are fascinating, even though much of this place has sadly been destroyed by war. The foliage-covered ruins make for an interesting couple of hours of exploring. You will Forbidden Purple City here, which was almost totally wiped out during the Tet Offensive in 1968. The gaping holes left by bombs give an idea of the shocking destruction wreaked upon the country during the war.
        Included Activities
        • Hue - Royal tomb
        • Hue - Perfume River cruise
          Thanh Lich Hotel or similar (1 nt)
          1 breakfast
          Day 7 Hoi An
          Travelling by bus, head south through coastal rice paddies, then traverse the spectacular Hai Van Pass along the mountains en route to Hoi An (approximately 4 hours). Recently declared a World Heritage site, Hoi An is beautifully preserved and exudes a tranquil atmosphere. It's perfect for strolling around at a leisurely pace, with many beautiful Japanese houses and Chinese temples lining the narrow lanes. Parts of Hoi An look exactly as they did more than a century ago. It's also a shopping mecca – browse local markets and shops for original paintings, handcrafted woodwork, ceramics, embroidery and lanterns. Hoi An has also become famous for its tailoring, with a great variety of fabrics and tailors to choose from.
          Included Activities
          • Hoi An - Orientation walk
          • Hoi An - Ancient town walk and entrance ticket
            Optional Activities
            • Hoi An - cooking course - VND420000
            • Hoi An - Thu Bon river boat trip - VND100000
            • Hoi An - Countryside bicycle hire - VND40000
              Like Hoi An Hotel or similar (1 nt)
              1 breakfast
              Day 8 Hoi An
              In the morning, visit CHIA (Children's Hope in Action Centre) to learn more about its cause and perhaps interact with the local kids. This is a community-based project supported by the Intrepid Foundation. For lunch you will enjoy a picnic on the beach, which is quite close to town. In the afternoon, enjoy some free time. You're sure to be impressed by the Japanese Covered Bridge which, after many additional layers and changes over the years, retains its beautiful original aesthetic. It's also built very sturdily, to protect it from earthquakes.
              Included Activities
              • Children Hope in Action visit
                Like Hoi An Hotel or similar (1 nt)
                1 breakfast, 1 lunch
                Day 9 Hoi An
                Enjoy further free time in this beautiful old town. Perhaps take up a cooking class and learn the secrets of preparing local specialties like cao lau – dark pork broth with thick yellow noodles, sliced pork, bean sprouts, green vegetables and croutons. Street food tours can also be arranged. Alternatively, hire some bikes and take the family out on a cycling trip into the gorgeous surrounding countryside. Another great activity which kids will enjoy is a bamboo basket ride down the waterways of the jungle. For more optional day- and half-day trips, chat to your leader.
                Like Hoi An Hotel or similar (1 nt)
                1 breakfast
                Day 10 Ho Chi Minh City/Mekong Delta
                Take a short flight to the economic hub of Ho Chi Minh City (approximately 1 hour). 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. Check out Ben Thanh Market and experience a delicious local lunch of street food, and enjoy an orientation walk. 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. Consider scooting off on cyclos to Cholon, the Chinatown area of Ho Chi Minh City, for a bit of temple-hopping. Or visit the Vietnamese version of a department store for some serious shopping.
                Optional Activities
                • Ho Chi Minh City - Reunification Palace - VND30000
                • Ho Chi Minh City - War Remnants Museum - VND15000
                • Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi Tunnels - VND110000
                  Victory Hotel (1 nt)
                  1 lunch
                  Day 11 Mekong Delta
                  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. On arrival, board your private boat and cruise along the maze of waterways to visit some local cottage industries. This is a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at a different part of the local economy. Then head to your overnight homestay by the water. Be invited into a family home for a true local experience – a chance to see daily life from the inside. You'll be sleeping on simple camp beds in dorm-style rooms, with all meals included. Bedding and mosquito nets are provided.
                  Included Activities
                  • Mekong Delta - Boat cruise and homestay
                    1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
                    Day 12-13 Ho Chi Minh
                    Life in the delta starts with the sun, so embrace the day early. You will visit a local market and soya bean workshop before heading back to Ho Chi Minh City for one more night. You should arrive in the afternoon, which will give you time for a final exploration of the city. On Day 13 your trip comes to an end, and you are free to leave at any time. For those who have booked an airport transfer, the leader will confirm your departure time and onward flight details.
                    Victory Hotel (1 nt)
                    2 breakfasts
                    Itinerary disclaimer
                    ITINERARY CHANGES 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. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff. We are here to help you! 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. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.

                    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.
                    Physical rating

                    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 walk and entrance ticket
                    Children Hope in Action visit
                    Mekong Delta - Boat cruise and homestay
                    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.

                    Group size
                    Maximum of 20 travellers per group.
                    Your fellow travellers
                    GROUP TRAVEL
                    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.

                    SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
                    A single supplement is available on this trip, please refer to your booking agent for further information.
                    Hotel (9nt), Overnight boat (1nt), Overnight sleeper train (1nt)
                    Family of two - All family groupings of two will be put into a twin room.

                    Family of three - Wherever possible we will put you in a triple room. Please be aware that in some places triple rooms are in short supply. This means that, in practice, a triple room will often simply be a twin room with a mattress on the floor or a further bed squashed in. Where it is impossible to provide a triple room, you will have to decide which of your party takes the single room.

                    Family of four or more - You will most likely stay in two twin rooms. If and wherever possible we will aim put you in a quadruple room. Whilst we will do our very best to ensure that families are roomed close together (in some cases, we can arrange adjoining rooms), we can’t guarantee this. Most family holidays occur during peak season and we sometimes have little to no control over where you will be put. You need to come prepared for this.

                    Accommodation is clean and simple. You'll mainly stay in small, locally-run, 2-3 star hotels and guesthouses, which reflect the character of the area,generally these will be a twin room with private facilities. Sometimes you'll stay in larger, more comfortable hotels or occasionally rustic accommodation with basic facilities. We use a variety of accommodation on most trips; chosen for their value for money, location and atmosphere. We also try and incorporate unique accommodation experiences, such as a night with a local tribe, or sleeping under the stars in the desert.
                    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.
                    11 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 2 dinners
                    Money matters
                    The official currency of Vietnam is Dong (VND).
                    US dollars are also accepted for some payments. 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:
                    When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).

                    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: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest US$2-US$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-US$2 per day for drivers.

                    Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$2-US$4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

                    In total, we recommend you budget approx US$5-US$10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.

                    Optional Tipping Kitty:
                    At your group meeting on Day 1 your tour leader will discuss with you the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This is often the easiest way to avoid the hassles of needing small change and knowing when and what is an appropriate amount to tip. Participation in this kitty at your own discretion.

                    Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult

                    DEPARTURE TAX
                    All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.

                    Budget for meals not included: 180.00

                    EMERGENCY FUNDS:
                    We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you bring an extra USD500 for emergencies (e.g. natural disasters or civil unrest). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to our itineraries, and we can’t guarantee there won’t be some extra costs involved.
                    Group leader
                    All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.

                    Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being 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. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
                    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 and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. 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.

                    Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the 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 your Leader 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:


                    WATER SAFETY:
                    Take care when taking part in any activities in the ocean, river or open water where waves and currents can be unpredictable. It is expected that anyone taking part in water activities are able to swim and have experience in open water. All swimmers should seek local advice before entering the water.

                    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!

                    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.
                    Joining point
                    Hong Ngoc Cochinchine Hotel
                    97 Nguyen Truong To St
                    VIET NAM
                    Phone: +84 437164143
                    Fax: +84 38285054
                    Joining point description
                    Located within walking distance to Hanoi's Old Quarter, the newly renovated Hong Ngoc 5 features 35 well appointed rooms, a restaurant serving buffet breakfast, bar and café, and lift. Room facilities include IDD phone, air conditioner, cable TV, mini bar, bathroom with bathtub, and natural daylight.
                    Joining point instructions
                    If you have pre-booked an airport transfer you will be met on as you exit the Customs Hall by a transfer representative holding a sign with The Family Adventure Company and 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.

                    Metered taxi ranks are available outside the airport entrance. Go out of the customs hall and walk through the airport exit gates A4 and A5 on level 1, you will find Noi Bai Airport taxis (+84 4 3886 8888) readily available outside. Noi Bai Airport taxi drivers wear yellow uniform shirt. Taxi fare to your hotel in town will cost approx. US$18 (VND350000) in total. Please note these taxis are not on meter - but generally charge per trip. Please AVOID taxi touts who tell you that they have a metered taxi parked outside the airport.

                    Normal check in time at the hotel is after 13:00.
                    Alternate joining point
                    For trips departing on the following dates, use this joining point.
                    24 Sep 2016 (TVFA1609242), 24 Dec 2016 (TVFA1612242)
                    May de ville City Centre 2 Hotel
                    57 Pham Hong Thai Street
                    VIET NAM
                    Phone: +84 439279999
                    Fax: +84 4393279899
                    Alternate joining point description
                    Located adjacent to Hanoi's old quarter, close to the shops, bars, restaurants, museums and theatres. There are 57 well appointed rooms with LCD TVs, tea and coffee facilities, mini-bar, IDD telephone, hairdryer, air-conditioning and safety boxes. There is Wifi available in the lobby and business centre and ADSL in all rooms.
                    Alternate joining point instructions
                    Intrepid can assist with pre-booking an arrival transfer from the airport. Transfers cannot be arranged on arrival. 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 arrival, and your driver will be waiting for you as you get out of the customs hall and will be holding an Intrepid sign bearing your name.
                    If you cannot find your pre-booked, or if your flight is delayed, please call our hotline at +84 903 117 770. Additionally please proceed 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.

                    Metered taxi ranks are available outside the airport entrance. Go out of the customs hall and walk through the airport exit gates A4 and A5 on level 1, you will find Noi Bai Airport taxis (+84 4 3886 8888) readily available outside. Noi Bai Airport taxi drivers wear yellow uniform shirt. Taxi fare to your hotel in town will cost approx. US$18 (VND350000) in total. Please note these taxis are not on meter - but generally charge per trip. Please AVOID taxi touts who tell you that they have a metered taxi parked outside the airport.

                    Normal check in time at the hotel is after 13:00.
                    Finish point
                    Victory Hotel Saigon
                    14 Vo Van Tan St, Dist 3, HCMC
                    Ho Chi Minh City
                    VIET NAM
                    Phone: +848 39304989
                    Finish point description
                    The Victory Hotel is located in the very near city centre with many shops and restaurants around. The hotel features a restaurant and rooms are equipped with air conditioning, hair dryer, TV and telephone.
                    Finishing point instructions
                    A metered taxi from the hotel to the airport will cost approx. US$10 (VND200,000) and take approx 45 minutes (depending on traffic).
                    A departure transfer from our hotel to the airport is available if arranged at the time of booking. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your trip start date. If you plan to stay longer, this departure transfer can only be offered in conjunction with post-tour accommodation booked through Intrepid. If you have booked a post trip airport transfer, please ask your leader to confirm with our local operator the time of departure and meeting place. If you have any problems please call our hotline at +84 903 117 770.
                    Emergency contact
                    For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist. For further contact details please use the following page:

                    For general contact details please use the following page:

                    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.

                    Vietnam Ops: +8491394210100
                    Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.

                    VIETNAM VISA:
                    Most nationalities require a visa to travel to Vietnam.

                    Some nationalities are exempt from visas for a stay of under 15 days. 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 2017 exempt visa nationalities 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.

                    Vietnam visas need to be arranged 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.

                    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.
                    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.

                    Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:


                    WATER BOTTLE:
                    Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. We recommend at least a 1.5litre capacity. 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 end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments.
                    Climate and seasonal information
                    WET SEASON:
                    During the rainy months (approx. June to October), our mode of transport can be changed at short notice due to weather conditions.

                    VISA UPDATE:- Effective from 1st July 2015 - 30 June 2016 exempt visa nationalities will also include British, German, French, Spanish and Italian citizens travelling to Viet Nam (for all purposes) for a period of up to 15 days, and on the basis of meeting all conditions prescribed by Vietnamese laws. 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).


                    Tet is Vietnam’s New Year festival which takes place in late January/early February based on the lunar calendar and is the most important celebration of the year. While this can be a fascinating time to be in Vietnam, you do need to be prepared for some businesses to be closed, tourist sites to be very busy and for transport to be packed as many Vietnamese are travelling around the country. Although we do our best to run trips during Tet as per the scheduled itinerary, it is likely that there will be some changes to transport, accommodation or order of destinations visited. Due to the high demand on tickets at this time, flights and overnight trains may on occasion need to be replaced with day buses. We will aim to communicate any known changes prior to your departure.
                    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 Travel 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.

                    Kids bellies are delicate and standards of hygiene you may experience while travelling in this region can be less than what you are accustomed to at home. There are a few simple precautions you can take that will keep the family travelling in good health.

                    DRINKING WATER:
                    Make sure you always travel with plenty of water so you do not risk dehydration.

                    With all the exotic tastes available it would be a shame to avoid this great experience of trying new foods for the first time- both kids and parents! In most cases food is fresh and tasty and perfectly fine to eat, however it can contain ingredients that you are not used to. Any change in diet (no matter where in the world you travel) can result in an upset stomach. Usually this is the only side-effect and it can last a few days. We don´t want you to miss out savouring new flavours, but be wary of what you choose to eat - especially what your kids eat.

                    Keep your hands clean- and the kids'. It is important to remember to do this before eating especially if you will be eating with your hands as may be the custom. Antiseptic wipes or antiseptic hand gel (which you can use without water) are fabulous inventions - made with travelling families in mind.

                    CONTACT WITH ANIMALS:
                    In new and exciting destinations we often come across different animals such as camels, donkeys and elephants. There are also a lot of stray cats and dogs in some destinations. Keep an eye on children in these situations as aggravated animals can bite and may transmit diseases including rabies.

                    DENGUE FEVER:
                    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.
                    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 group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.

                    If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.

                    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 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.
                    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.

                    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:


                    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:

                    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.