Essential Vietnam

11 Days | From World-Heritage islands to hole-in-the-wall bars, you’ll see all the essentials in Vietnam

5 out of 5 based on 106 reviews submitted.
18 to 35s
From
EUR €476
View dates and book
This trip is for the 18 to 35 year olds

As you slink from old-world Hanoi through ancient Hue, past historic Hoi An and to bustling Ho Chi Minh City, you'll quickly realise that the Vietnamese know a thing or two about delicious food. Pho, banh mi, rice paper rolls – oh my! On this 11-day trip from north to south, you’ll be cruising, riding, relaxing, kayaking, drinking, exploring and enjoying all the Vietnamese hospitality. From sailing on the calm waters of Cat Ba Island to picking your own lunch ingredients from a local chef’s garden, you’ll discover that this place is even richer in culture and city hotspots than you thought.

Trip overview

Map of Essential Vietnam including Vietnam
Start
Hanoi, Vietnam
Finish
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Theme
18 to 35s
Destinations
Vietnam
Physical rating
Indicates how physically exerting a trip is, and how fit you will need to be to enjoy it. More info on physical ratings
Style
Basix
Ages
Min 18 - Max 35
Group size
Min 1 - Max 16
Trip code
TVYE
This trip generates 42 kg of CO2-e per person per day.
We offset these emissions on your behalf. But we know that is not enough, so we also have a carbon reduction target.

Why you'll love this trip
  • Chill out in the cultural mixed bag of Hoi An and hit up the local beach, cycle through rice paddies or get some sweet threads tailor-made. Then, pick your own ingredients for lunch during a garden-to-table experience with a local chef.
  • Sit down for a cup of strong Vietnamese coffee after touring a busy Ho Chi Minh City market and listen to stories from your trip leader about the city’s vibrant culture and history as you tuck into some delicious street eats.
  • Balance on a tiny streetside stool in Hanoi's Old Quarter, soaking up the bustling vibes and watching motorbikes zoom past. Then, maybe hit a local bar for a refreshing beer with the locals or explore the nightlife in search of the best cocktail.
  • Who'd have thought green seas and giant mossy rocks could be so pretty? Take in the views of Lan Ha Bay by kayak as you explore the limestone islands during your visit to Cat Ba Island.
  • Cycle around the ancient temples and expansive fields in Ninh Binh – a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site. With loads of free time, you can hike to Mua Cave or take a boat down in Tam Coc to the nearby caves.
  • By travelling on this trip, you’ll directly support our Intrepid Foundation partner, WildAct. Donations help them run educational programs that aim to stop the illegal hunting of threatened migratory birds in Vietnam.

Is this trip right for you?
  • You’ll cover a lot of distance on this trip, including on overnight trains. Accommodation and amenities are shared and basic, but the experience of rubbing shoulders with the locals makes it all worthwhile. For more about what this experience is like, see our blog post here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/what-to-expect-on-an-overnight.
  • This trip is for travellers who appreciate a bit of independence. You'll get plenty of free time in each location to make your own choices, do your own activities and eat where you like. Your leader is always there to give you tips and suggestions.

Itinerary

Map of Essential Vietnam including Vietnam

Inclusions

Meals

2 lunches, 1 dinner

Transport

Boat, Overnight sleeper train, Private minibus

Accommodation

Hotel (7 nights), Lodge (1 night), Overnight sleeper train (2 nights)

Activities
  • Cat Ba Island - Boat trip on Lan Ha Bay
  • Cat Ba Island - Kayaking
  • Hoa Lu - Temple of King Dinh and King Le
  • Ninh Binh - Bike Tour
  • Hue - Home cooked dinner
  • Hoi An - Old Town walking tour
  • Hoi An - Garden-to-Table with A Local Chef
  • Ho Chi Minh City – Local Market Visit
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Local Coffee Experience
Add on activities
  • Hanoi - Temple of Literature - VND70000
  • Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh Complex - VND80000
  • Hanoi - Street Food Experience Urban Adventure - USD40
  • Ninh Binh - Mua Cave Hike (entrance fee and taxi) - USD12
  • Ninh Binh - Trang An Boat Trip (entrance fee, boat, taxi) - USD21
  • Hue - Highlights & back streets by motorbike (without lunch) - USD23
  • Hue - Highlights & back streets by motorbike (with lunch) - USD28
  • Hue - Perfume River cruise & Thien Mu Pagoda - VND220000
  • Hoi An - Food Adventure Urban Adventure - USD44
  • Hoi An - Cooking class - USD33
  • Hoi An - Private Hoi An: My Son Discovery (from) - USD77
  • Danang - Marble Mountain - VND40000
  • Ho Chi Minh City - War Remnants Museum - VND40000
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Reunification Palace - VND40000
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi Tunnel Experience Urban Adventure - USD45
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Mekong Discovery Urban Adventure - USD73
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Saigon Street Food by Night Urban Adventure - USD36

Dates and availability

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Important notes

1. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement exclude Days 5 & 9 (Sleeper Train) where you will be in shared accommodation, and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
2. 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. 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 new tickets.

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.

Read Essential Trip Information

Reviews

5 out of 5 based on 106 reviews submitted.
Reviews are from travellers who have completed their trip and want to share their experience. We show all reviews, but may remove any that include profanity or inappropriate content, are unrelated to the trip or reveal personal details.

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Rachel · Traveled January 2024
Definitely do this trip if you are considering it! Honestly one of the best things I’ve ever done. A great mix of fun and cultural activities and our guide Thanh was phenomenal! Such a special experience and I’ve made some great friends who I’ll stay in touch with beyond this trip. Thank you!
Review submitted 02 Feb 2024

Sona · Traveled January 2024
This tour was excellent from start to finish! I especially loved Cat Ba and Hue. Thanh Vu was amazing, he communicated everything clearly and gave the best recommendations. He made sure to account for everyone, I was the only vegetarian on the trip and I had some of the best food during this trip! He is very passionate and makes sure you have a good time while learning about the places you visit. Lastly I made great friends on this trip too!
Review submitted 31 Jan 2024

Robert · Traveled January 2024
An excellent trip for those seeking to explore Vietnam with a superb guide and a group of like-minded people. A pretty efficient itinerary at times, but the ease of travel more than makes up for it!
Review submitted 27 Jan 2024

Harrison · Traveled January 2024
Well organised trip with a knowledgeable host. Perfect to get a taste of each city if you have little time but would like to return in future.
Review submitted 23 Jan 2024

Sophie · Traveled January 2024
Just book it. You will not regret it. It is the trip of a lifetime. I was very apprehensive about going on this trip but my god, if I’d had missed out on this experience I would never have forgiven myself. Just do it.
Review submitted 19 Jan 2024
Essential Vietnam
From
EUR €476