Discover Vietnam and all its delights travelling from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi

Travel to Vietnam and trace its mystical eastern coastline, traversing the country from south to north and discovering the many attractions that lie along the way. From the modern chaos of Ho Chi Minh City all the way up to old-world Hanoi, you'll experience tumultuous history, colonial charm, vibrant colours, delicious food and inspiring scenery on this Vietnam holiday.


Start
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Finish
Hanoi, Vietnam
Destination
Vietnam
Style
Basix
Theme
Explorer
Code
TVRN
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why you'll love this trip

  • Cat Ba Island is dotted with tiny beaches and verdant jungle, situated in karst-studded Lan Ha Bay

  • Hoi An is another idyllic pocket of Vietnam that's best experienced from the seat of a bike. Take a guided bicycle tour through the rolling countryside

  • Vietnam's former imperial capital Hue is not a place where time goes slowly! We've allowed for plenty of free time to make the most of this historic city

  • Your homestay in Da Bac will be one of the most rewarding experiences of your trip. Experience life with the locals and enjoy a delicious home cooked meal

Is this trip right for you?

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

  • During your local guesthouse on the Mekong Delta and homestay in Da Bac, you’ll have basic bedding and shared facilities. It’s not exactly the Hilton, but the experience will be a rewarding cultural exchange.

  • Your visit to Hoi An includes a bicycle tour of the surrounding countryside. Although the ride isn’t strenuous, you will need a basic level of fitness to take part.

  • There is an included hike of up to 6km (3.7 mi) in the countryside in Da Bac. Good walking shoes are recommended. While this hike is in the capabilities of most travellers, please let your booking agent know if you have any concerns.

  • This trip gives you plenty of free time in each location, perfect for the traveller who appreciates a bit of independence.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2019 to 31 December 2019. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2018 - 31 December 2018

Xin chao! Welcome to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm today. You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please check with hotel reception or look on the reception noticeboard for where and when the meeting will take place. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. As you won’t be spending much time in Ho Chi Minh City, we recommend arriving a few days early to see more of this incredible city. See the ancient pagodas and cathedrals near the former Presidential Palace, the historic Dong Khoi Street, and the chaotic markets of Ben Thanh and Cholon (Chinatown). Consider taking a day trip such as ‘The Cu Chi Experience’ with our partners Urban Adventures. See urbanadventures.com for more information.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi Tunnel Experience Urban Adventure - USD43
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Ho Chi Minh Discovery Urban Adventure - USD53
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Make your way to the province of Ben Tre, where you’ll get on a boat to tour the canals of the Mekong Delta. This fertile area is famous for its abundance of fruit, flower and rice crops, and is known as ‘the rice bowl’ of Vietnam. During your boat ride you’ll visit some local cottage industries and then head to your local guesthouse. Staying in simple local accommodation close to the Delta and hosted by a Vietnamese family will be one of the highlights of your trip as you get a taste of the life of a local and enjoy a home cooked meal.
Accommodation
  • Homestay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mekong Delta - Boat cruise and guesthouse
Meals Included
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
At the local guesthouse, you will be sleeping in multi-share rooms with bedding and mosquito nets provided. Bathroom facilities are basic and shared between the group, and our hosts.
Rising early to the sounds of the delta coming alive, we enjoy a simple breakfast before boarding our boat, and catching a bus back to Ho Chi Minh City. Enjoy some free time in Ho Chi Minh City this afternoon, perhaps visit the War Remnants Museum or Reunification Palace. This evening, board an overnight train to Tuy Hoa. Conditions are basic on these trains and hygiene standards may be lower than what you’re used to at home, however overnight trains are the best way to brush shoulders with the locals and make the best use of your time. Most trains have a dining carriage serving simple food, but some travellers like to take some food for the journey.
Accommodation
  • Overnight sleeper train (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Reunification Palace - VND40000
  • Ho Chi Minh City - War Remnants Museum - VND40000
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
There are shared hotel rooms available this afternoon between up to 6 members of the group, if you would like to freshen up or organise your luggage.
Sleeper trains typically have four or six berth compartments with bench seats that convert into sleeping bunks. A sheet, pillow and blanket are provided, although some travellers prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. Depending on the configuration of the group, you may have to share with people of different genders or passengers who aren’t part of the group.
Arrive in Tuy Hoa early this morning for two days by the beach. Though Tuy Hoa is much quieter than its southern neighbours, you'll still find the perfect spot of sand to lay down a towel and plenty of dining options. Check out the Eglise de Mang Lang and Da Dia Reef, or head south to the Mui Dien lighthouse for a nature fix.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
There are shared hotel rooms available again this morning. Our normal twin-share rooms will be available from the hotel check in time this afternoon, but you can store your luggage at the hotel while you explore Nha Trang.
Today is all yours! Soak up some more free time on the beach. Board an overnight train late in the evening, bound for Danang (approx. 8 hours).
Accommodation
  • Overnight sleeper train (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Arrive in Danang and travel by minibus for one hour to Hoi An. Hoi An was recently declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, and is being beautifully restored. It was a major trading port with the west from the 17th century onwards. Today, parts of Hoi An look exactly as they did more than a century ago. Your leader will take you on a sightseeing walk through the Old Town and visit some of the city's major attractions. A sightseeing pass is included in your tour for you to visit a selection of the major sights as you wish. Hoi An is also a shopping mecca, so head down to the markets and street stalls to browse paintings, woodwork, ceramics and lanterns. Hoi An is famous for its tailors who can make beautiful items to order.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hoi An - Old Town walking tour
Optional Activities
  • Hoi An - Street Food By Night Urban Adventure - USD28
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Go on a bike ride through the countryside near Hoi An. There's no better way to explore the peaceful area than by bike. You’ll see places few tourists get the chance to see among green rice paddies and small creeks. You’ll get a true insight into rural life in Vietnam.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hoi An - Countryside bicycle hire
Optional Activities
  • Hoi An - My Son Cham day trip - USD35
  • Hoi An - Hoi An Boat & Bike Urban Adventure - USD51
  • Hoi An - Hoi An Walking & Cooking Class Urban Adventure - USD49
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Say goodbye to Hoi An this morning and make your way to Hue. The drive in our minibus will take about five hours, but along the way you’ll stop at My Khe Beach (China Beach) and the picturesque fishing village of Lang Co. You’ll be travelling on the incredible Hai Van Pass, through lush mountains. Once in Hue, you’ll have a free afternoon to explore. Hue was once Vietnam’s Imperial capital and has a curious mix of bustling streets and tranquil enclaves. Perhaps visit the Dong Ba Market, which sells everything imaginable and is a great place to spend some time.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Hue - Imperial Citadel - VND150000
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Enjoy a free day in Hue. Perhaps visit the Imperial Citadel which includes the Forbidden Purple City that was almost totally destroyed during the Vietnam war. The gaping holes left by bombs give you an idea of how much destruction occurred in this country. Another optional activity is a dragon boat cruise along the Perfume River and then a visit to Mu Pagoda, the unofficial symbol of Hue. Here you’ll see an active Buddhist monastery dating back to 1601, and a car belonging to a monk who set himself alight in protest against the treatment of Buddhists. You may also like to visit one of the royal tombs, that of Emperor Tu Duc, with its central lake set amid a grove of frangipani and pine trees.

This afternoon take another overnight train bound for Hanoi. The journey will take approximately 12 hours.
Accommodation
  • Overnight sleeper train (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Hue - Countryside Bike Urban Adventure - USD25
  • Hue - Hue Royal Street Eat by Cyclo Urban Adventure - USD40
  • Hue - Royal tomb - VND136000
  • Hue - Perfume River cruise & Thien Mu Pagoda - VND220000
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Arrive in Hanoi at about 5am and transfer to your hotel. Today you’ll take a walking tour of Vietnam’s charming capital. Explore the 36 streets of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, including the Dong Xuan Market, Hoan Kiem Lake and the unique architecture nearby. Hanoi has a French provincial feel remaining from its colonial times, but it also has a Buddhist influence and striking modern buildings. The rest of the day is yours to explore Hanoi as you please.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hanoi - Old Quarter Walking Tour
Optional Activities
  • Hanoi - Temple of Literature - VND30000
  • Hanoi - Hanoi Street Food By Night Urban Adventure - USD31
  • Hanoi - Museum of Ethnology - VND40000
  • Hanoi - Hoa Lo 'Hanoi Hilton' Prison - VND30000
  • Hanoi - Army Museum - VND20000
  • Hanoi - Women's Museum - VND30000
  • Hanoi - Fine Arts Museum - VND30000
  • Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh Complex: Ho Chi Minh, Stilt House and Museum - VND80000
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
There are shared hotel rooms available this morning prior to the standard check in time this afternoon.
After an early breakfast, leave Hanoi around 8am and make the drive to Sung village (approximately 4 hours). Enjoy lunch at the Sung village homestay before heading out on a 6-kilometre trek (3.7 mi) through this beautiful, practically untouched landscape of rivers, mountains and rice fields. We start at 500m and maintain around the same elevation for the first 4km of the trek. We descend over the last 2km to finish at around 120m. This trek can be quite slippery after or during rain, so we highly recommend suitable footwear. Our home stay hosts can provide bamboo trekking poles on request. At the end of the trek, take a boat to Da Bia village, home to the Muong ethnic group and where you’ll spend the night in a homestay.
Accommodation
  • Homestay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Da Bac - Ba Dia Village Homestay and activities
Meals Included
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
The homestay is shared accommodation, usually with the group in one room together. There are separate beds with clean linen, blankets and mosquito net provided. There is also a shared bathroom with hot shower.

Should Sung Village be inaccessible due to weather conditions, we will put an alternative itinerary in place visiting Mai Chau.
This morning is free to make the most of your lovely surrounds and just soak up the serenity of this place – or maybe use the time soak in the reservoir instead! This afternoon, return by bus back to Hanoi (approximately 4 hours). This evening is free for you to explore this delightful city. Why not relax at a cafe or stop for a bia hoi (freshly brewed draught beer) at one of the microbars in the Old Quarter.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Rise and shine for the 7.30 am bus, stop for a quick break, then jump on the ferry. This morning of travel will deliver you to beautiful Cat Ba Island before midday.There's no time to waste, so begin exploring the picturesque waters around Cat Ba. You’ll board a boat and spend the rest of the day cruising the breathtaking Lan Ha Bay. Located in the greater Halong Bay area, Lan Ha Bay is one of Vietnam’s most scenic places, where limestone islands and caves rise from the emerald waters. Enjoy lunch on board, then get up close and personal with giant karsts in a kayak.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cat Ba Island - kayaking
  • Cat Ba Island - boat trip on Lan Ha Bay
Meals Included
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Wake up in paradise, maybe starting your morning with a refreshing swim. Make sure you soak up as much sun and sand as possible, because this afternoon it's back to Hanoi via ferry and bus. Tonight you can head out for an optional last dinner with your fellow travellers.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
There are no activities planned for today and you’re able to depart the accommodation at any time after check out.
Optional Activities
  • Hanoi - Citadels, Karsts & Cycle Urban Adventure - USD88
  • Hanoi - Village Discovery by Bike Urban Adventure - USD33
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

3 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 3 dinners

Transport

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

Accommodation

Guesthouse (1 night), Homestay (1 night), Hotel (9 nights), Overnight sleeper train (3 nights)

Included activities

  • Mekong Delta - Boat cruise and guesthouse
  • Hoi An - Old Town walking tour
  • Hoi An - Countryside bicycle hire
  • Hanoi - Old Quarter Walking Tour
  • Da Bac - Ba Dia Village Homestay and activities
  • Cat Ba Island - kayaking
  • Cat Ba Island - boat trip on Lan Ha Bay

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. Please provide your full name exactly as per passport at the time of booking (including any middle names listed on your passport) for train tickets. Ticketing fees may apply for amendments to details within 45 days of departure, and in some cases you will be required to cover the cost of issuing a new ticket.
2. A single supplement is available on this trip, subject to availability. Please contact your sales agent if you would like to book this. Please note the single supplement excludes days 3, 5 and 9 (overnight trains), day 2 (guesthouse) and day 11 (homestay) where you will be in shared accommodation. Day use rooms are also excluded.

Essential trip information

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

Reviews

Our Vietnam Discovery trips score an average of 4.78 out of 5 based on 309 reviews in the last year.

Vietnam Discovery, July 2018

Lucy Boynes

Vietnam Discovery, July 2018

Elizabeth Frankel