Vietnam Tours & Holidays
Vietnamese food is where it’s at.
Wherever we travel, it’s the flavours we remember best. A crusty bánh mì or streetside pho, seafood cù lao hotpots and (scarily addictive) coffee with condensed milk. Vietnam tours are tasty, plain and simple. We won’t just drop you in Halong Bay and call it a day. Our local leaders will introduce you to rice farmers in Sapa and fishermen on the Mekong Delta. They’ll guide you through the Cu Chi Tunnels, take you to the best beaches and on a street food crawl through Ho Chi Minh City. Our stomach’s rumbling already...
Our Vietnam trips
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Articles on Vietnam
Vietnam at a glance
Approximately 98 million
(GMT+07:00) Bangkok, Hanoi, Jakarta
Type A (North American/Japanese 2-pin) Type C (European 2-pin)
Learn more about Vietnam
History and government
Geography and environment
Culture and customs
Top 10 iconic landscapes of Vietnam
Vietnam travel FAQs
Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards
From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises).
However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.
Most nationalities are required to obtain a tourist visa in advance to travel to Vietnam. When obtaining your visa you should allow 3 weeks for processing with your nearest embassy or consulate, the cost is approximately US$60 to US$100. Please check with your embassy or consulate for further requirements.
Some nationalities are exempt from visas for a stay of a maximum of 15 days, including British, German, French, Spanish and Italian citizens travelling to Vietnam (for all purposes). This exemption is based upon 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). Please also check the requirements if you plan to re-enter Vietnam.
An eVisa is available for some nationalities including passport holders from Australia, France, Ireland, Italy, Canada and the United States of America, valid for a single entry of a maximum of 30 days stay in Vietnam. Learn more about the eVisa on the immigration website.
Evisas take up to 3 days to be processed. You will need a clear electronic copy of your passport data page and passport photo, and to make a non-refundable payment as outlined on the immigration website.
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 5th floor HiPT Building, 152 Thuy Khue Street, Thuy Khue, Tay Ho, Hanoi, 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.
Internet access is widely available in tourist areas and big cities, which have many internet cafes. Internet access is less frequent in rural and remote areas.
You'll be able to use your mobile phone in most urban areas of Vietnam, although remote and mountainous areas may not have network coverage. Ensure you have global roaming activated with your mobile carrier before you leave home if you wish to use your mobile while in Vietnam.
You'll have to adjust to different standards of hygiene and sanitation while holidaying in Vietnam. The standard toilet is of the squat variety and this may take some getting used to, although western-style toilets can be found in large hotels and some tourist areas.
The currency in Vietnam is the Vietnamese Dong. Here's what you can expect to pay for a:
- Quick city bus ride = 5,000 VND-9,000VND
- Local-style coffee at a cafe = 20,000-30,000 VND
- Bowl of pho from street stall = 20,000-70,000 VND
- Dinner at a simple restaurant = 100,000-250,000 VND
- Dinner at an up-market restaurant = 300,000+ VND
Drinking tap water isn't recommended in Vietnam. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water instead. Ask your leader where filtered water can be found; some hotels we stay in may have drinking water available. It's also advisable to avoid ice in drinks and peel fruit and vegetables before eating.
Major credit cards are widely accepted by large shops, hotels and restaurants in Vietnam. However, they may not be accepted by smaller vendors such as small family restaurants, market stalls or in remote towns and rural areas. Make sure you carry enough cash for purchases, since credit cards aren't always an option everywhere in Vietnam.
ATMs are found widely throughout Vietnam, so withdrawing cash shouldn't be problematic in most areas. Some smaller villages and rural areas may not have ATM access, so prepare for this before venturing too far from a city or major town.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.
For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Public holidays celebrated in Vietnam include:
- 1 Jan: New Year's Day
- 21 Jan: Tết (Vietnamese New Year)
- 21 Apr: Gio to Hung Vuong Day
- 30 Apr: Reunification Day
- 1 May: Labour Day
- 2 Sep: National Day
Please note, Vietnam public holidays may vary.
The major festivals celebrated in Vietnam are Tết (Vietnamese Lunar New Year, February), Reunification Day (30 April), National Day (2 September) and Tet Trung Thu (Mid-Autumn Festival, late September).
The most popular times to visit Vietnam are spring (February-April) and autumn (September-December) but because of the huge variations in latitude and altitude, there is no one best time to go to Vietnam. It’s a good destination all year.
Vietnam has an incredibly diverse tropical climate, and temperatures vary from 4°C (39°F) in Sapa in winter to humid 36°C (97°F) days in Saigon in the middle of the dry season. The monsoons bring heavy rain to the south, and a cooler winter to the north depending on when you plan to tour Vietnam.
Traditional Vietnamese food is typified by its use of fresh herbs and vegetables and its wide regional variance. Vietnamese food is influenced by its Chinese and Khmer neighbours and echoes French colonisation. Some of the best things to eat in Vietnam are noodle soups (pho, bun mam, bun bo hue), bread rolls (banh mi), savoury pancakes (banh xeo) and fresh tropical fruits.
Our list of best things to drink in Vietnam includes ice coffee, fruit smoothies, fresh coconut juice straight from a freshly cracked green coconut, sugar cane juice, local beers and artisan rice wine.
While the tropical climate lends itself to layered, breathable clothing all year round, if you are taking a tour in the North, cold winters mean you might need to bring a fleece or jacket.
Travelling with Intrepid is a little bit different. We endeavour to provide travellers with an authentic experience to remember, so we try to keep accommodation as unique and traditional as possible.
When travelling with us in Vietnam you may find yourself staying in a:
- Overnight boat
Sleeping aboard a boat on Halong Bay is a quintessential Vietnamese experience to be savoured. Slip into relaxation mode as you take in stunning views of the surrounding limestone karst scenery.
Get acquainted with the Vietnamese way of life while on a memorable home stay. Be exposed to new languages, cuisine and customs while making friends with your hosts and neighbours.
Intrepid believes half the fun of experiencing a new country is getting there, and getting around once there! Where possible, Intrepid uses local transport options and traditional modes of transport - which usually carry less of an environmental impact, support small local operators and are heaps more fun.
Depending on which trip you're on while in Vietnam, you may find yourself travelling by:
- Overnight sleeper train
Travelling aboard an overnight sleeper train is a fun way to journey through Vietnam. Interact with other passengers or sit by a window and watch the world go by.
Take time to wave to locals as you cycle at a leisurely pace past rice paddies and through simple villages in rural Vietnam
These 3 wheeled vehicles are a great way to zip around the sights.
The LGBQTIA+ community is gradually gaining recognition in Vietnam, with gay pride parades becoming a regular occurrence and a lift on same-sex marriage bans in 2015. With that said, Vietnam is still a conservative culture and many still hide their sexuality from their families. Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi have some gay-friendly bars and events. It's generally recommended that both gay and straight couples resist showing public displays of affection.
Yes, all Intrepid trips support the Intrepid Foundation. In fact, we make a donation on behalf of every traveller. Trips to Vietnam directly support our foundation partners, Blue Dragon Children's Foundation, Vun Art and WildAct.
Blue Dragon Children's Foundation is helping disadvantaged youth in Vietnam, fighting the causes of human trafficking and (where possible) reuniting homeless or trafficked children with their families. Donations from our trips help their team of social workers, psychologists, teachers, and lawyers to offer individualised support to every child rescued.
Vun Art empowers people with disabilities in Vietnam through vocational training and employment opportunities. They teach traditional folk painting using recycled materials which provides job opportunities, helps to preserve the ancient artform and cares for the local environment all at once. Donations from our trips support Vun Art's capacity-building programs for people with disabilities, including trainees' allowance, transportation, and equipment.
WildAct protects migratory birds of Vietnam and reduces illegal hunting by educating local communities about the importance of conservation. Donations from our trips help WildAct run educational programs to stop the illegal hunting of threatened migratory birds through knowledge-sharing in local communities.
Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. We’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.
Despite having a high population of people with disabilities, accessible infrastructure and facilities are still limited in Vietnam. Chaotic traffic and pavements blocked by parked motorbikes and street stalls, uneven footpaths and high curbs add to the challenges of getting around for travellers with mobility or vision disabilities. Most entrances to hotels, shops, restaurants and tourist sites will have steps and many doorways will not be able to accommodate wheelchairs wider than 60cm. Some sights and destinations will not be fully accessible (ie. Ha Long Bay boats, Cu Chi Tunnels) but other places such as Hoi An are flat and much more wheelchair-friendly. There are likely to be situations where travellers with disabilities may need to rely on local people to help. Taxis are readily available and an affordable way to get around for travellers who are not confident in exploring independently on foot.
Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:
Go to: https://travel.gc.ca/
From the UK?
From New Zealand?
From the US?
The World Health Organisation also provides useful health information.
Whether you’re a seasoned traveller or you’re about to embark on your first trip, travelling can be as intimidating as it is exciting. That's the beauty of a small group tour. From handling the logistics and organising amazing cultural activities to local leaders who know each destination like the back of their hand (like which street has the best markets and where to get the most authentic food), travelling on a small group tour with Intrepid will give you unforgettable travel experiences without the hassle that comes with exploring a new place. Plus, you'll have ready-made friends to share the journey with. All you have to do is turn up with a healthy sense of adventure and we’ll take care of the rest.