From south to north, Vietnam is a kaleidoscope of wonderful people and picturesque landscapes. Imagine learning the mysteries of the Viet Minh in Ho Chi Minh City or exploring the beautiful lakes and boulevards of Hanoi - and what better way to get to know the locals than to be their guests at a local Mekong Delta guesthouse, or to eat breakfast the local way in Hue? Experience historical temples, visit Vietnam's spectacular coastline, enjoy delicious banquets and explore lively cities - all with a touch of comfort - on this 15-day Classic Vietnam tour.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Finish
Hanoi, Vietnam
Destination
Vietnam
Style
Comfort
Theme
Explorer
Code
TVKT
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Take a comprehensive trip through this South East Asian hotspot. The trip takes you from south to north, to the must-see tourists sites as well a a little off the beaten track.

  • This is a Comfort style trip, which means slightly higher standard hotels and a few more inclusions and meals than on most Original style itineraries. We also fly between some distant destinations to make the most of our time together.

  • We spend a night in a locally run guesthouse on the Mekong Delta - often a highlight for many of our travellers for its insight into local life.

  • Spend time on the coast in the seaside resort town of Phan Rang where you have time to stroll the sandy beaches and head out on the water to snorkel.

  • Discover just why Halong Bay is so popular as you spend the night on a boat among the evocative karst landscape and indulge in a feast of fresh seafood.

  • Sample local food wherever you go, from a seafood dinner on Halong Bay, street snacks at markets, coconut candy and tropical fruits in the Mekong Delta, and a special breakfast at KOTO restaurant.

Is this trip right for you?

  • We cover a lot of distance on this trip, including an overnight train from Phan Rang to Da Nang (approx 9.5 hours). Compartments are on a mixed gender basis and you may be sharing with locals or travellers from other groups. For more about what this experience is like, see our blog post here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/what-to-expect-on-an-overnight...

  • While the pace is generally easy, there is some walking involved on this trip, with walking tours in the downtown areas of each city, as well as a walk in the caves at Halong Bay.

  • At the guesthouse in the Mekong Delta, we stay in more basic accommodation than other destinations on the trip. Amenities are shared and may have cold water only.

  • We include a trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels - an incredible insight into life during the war. Going inside the tunnels is optional as it can be a little claustrophobic for those who don’t like small spaces.

  • Depending on where you come from, the weather in Vietnam might be hotter and more humid than what you are used to. We recommend checking online for what the typical temperatures will be at the time of the year you are looking to travel to see what to expect - this website might be useful: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/au/vietnam/weather-in-vietnam

  • If you are looking for a shorter trip in Comfort style that takes in all the major highlights of Vietnam you might like to consider our Treasures of Vietnam (TVKB) itinerary.

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, a French-infused town with a dynamic atmosphere. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm where you will meet your tour leader and fellow travellers. You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no planned activities until this important meeting. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. If you arrive early, perhaps head to Pham Ngu Lao Street to see the local open-aired market or visit Vinh Nghiem Pagoda.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Special Information
An arrival transfer is included. In order to book this service please provide your booking agent with your flight details at least 2 weeks prior to your departure.

If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive in time for today's welcome meeting, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). 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 have these on hand.
Start the day with a buffet breakfast at KOTO Restaurant, an Intrepid Foundation-supported program that teaches street children hospitality skills. Next, drive for about three hours to Cai Be. Here you’ll board a boat to explore the canals of the Mekong Delta. The delta is known as ‘Vietnam’s rice bowl’ for its abundance of rice paddies, fruit and flower orchards. During the boat trip, you’ll stop to sample some of the fresh tropical fruit and visit some cottage industries in the area. Around sunset, make your way to your local guesthouse to spend a night with the locals and enjoy a wonderful meal of local specialties.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ho Chi Minh City - KOTO breakfast
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Your guesthouse is operated by local hosts, with simple twin and double rooms. Bedding and mosquito nets are supplied. Bathroom facilities may be shared, and may only have cold water available.
Return to Ho Chi Minh City and take a walking tour in town. Experience the hustle and bustle of former Saigon and explore some of the city's more interesting sights such as the War Remnants Museum and Reunification Palace.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ho Chi Minh City - War Remnants Museum
Optional Activities
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Reunification Palace - VND40000
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Make a day trip to the famous Cu Chi Tunnels. This former Viet Cong stronghold provides an insight into the resourcefulness and tenacity of the Vietnamese people, and offers a glimpse of what life was like during the war. There’s time for lunch, then make tracks for Phan Rang. First, take an afternoon flight to Cam Ranh. From there, travel 1.5 hours by bus to the historic city of Phan Rang, your base for the next two days.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi Tunnels
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take a day trip to Vinh Hy Bay, a picturesque, crescent-shaped harbour between Phan Rang and Nha Trang. Along the way, you’ll stop at the Bau Nai fish market for a glimpse of the bustle of activity as fish are unloaded and locals hurriedly shop for the best deal. Continue to a salt field. Rivalling the beauty of the Vietnamese countryside, central Vietnam’s sprawling salt fields are a sight to behold. Witness workers raking and collecting salt that has evaporated from the salty waters of Vietnam’s coast, which has been funnelled inland into shallow fields. Next, visit another place of great natural beauty – the moss-covered rock formations and fossilised coral reefs of Hang Rai. Finally, arrive at Vinh Hy Bay, where you’ll have plenty of time to swim and snorkel in its warm, coral-filled waters.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Phan Rang - Vinh Hy Bay snorkelling
  • Phan Rang - Hang Rai fossilised coral reefs
  • Phan Rang - Bau Nai fish market & salt fields
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Enjoy a free day in Phan Rang. Perhaps use this time to see some of the grand remnants of the Cham dynasty - an ancient kingdom that had control of central and the southern coastal region of Vietnam from the 2nd to the 17th-century – scattered throughout the region. Take an optional visit to the nearby Po Nagar Cham Towers, an archaeological site from the middle ages dedicated to the indigenous goddess, Yan Po Nagar. Alternatively, gain an insight into an ancient tradition with a visit to the oldest pottery village in South East Asia, Bau Truc. This evening, board an overnight train to Da Nang. 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 Train (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Arrive early into Da Nang, then travel by minibus for one hour to Hoi An. Upon arrival, your leader will take you on a walk around the World-Heritage-listed Old Town. The city was a major trading port with the west during the 16th and 17th-century, and has various architectural influences from Europe, China and Japan. Today the city is being restored and looks exactly like it did over a century ago. You'll see Chinese temples, Japanese pagodas, French-colonial houses, wooden shop-houses and old canals during your walk. After lunch, enjoy free time to participate in optional activities or simply soak up the ambience of the place. You may like to wander Hoi An Market and the street stalls selling paintings, woodwork, ceramics, lanterns and much more. It’s also famous for its talented tailors who can make beautiful items to order within a few hours.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hoi An - Old Town walking tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Enjoy a free day to further explore Hoi An and its beautiful surrounds. Perhaps rent a bicycle and take a trip out to the nearby beach. If you're after a little more structure, our sister company, Urban Adventures, offers a guided tour that includes a countryside bike ride and finishes up with a sunset cruise along the Thu Bon River. Vietnam is known for its delicious food, and Hoi An is no exception. Unlock the flavours of Hoi An's vibrant Old Town on an Urban Adventures food tour. Your leader can help arrange optional activities and tours.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Hoi An - Street Food By Night Urban Adventure - USD28
  • Hoi An - Hoi An Boat & Bike Urban Adventure - USD51
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Enjoy a free day in Hoi An. If you can muster an early rise this morning, head to the local produce market to watch animated shoppers haggling over fresh fish, spices and vegetables. Your leader can help you arrange an optional Vietnamese cooking course. Perhaps visit the ruins of My Son, Vietnam's most important Cham site. Set in a verdant valley, surrounded by hills and overlooked by the massive Cat's Tooth Mountain, the elaborate World Heritage-listed temples here reflect the rich cultural traditions of the Cham civilisation that flourished in this region between the 4th and 12th-century.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Hoi An - My Son Cham day trip - USD35
  • Hoi An - Hoi An Walking & Cooking Class Urban Adventure - USD49
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Continue on your journey today and drive over the spectacular Hai Van Pass, an incredibly scenic and mountainous stretch of highway with views of Lang Co Beach. Make a stop at beautiful Lang Co for an optional lunch. Arrive in Hue, Vietnam’s former Imperial capital. Here you’ll visit the Imperial Citadel and the Forbidden Purple City which was almost entirely destroyed by bomb blasts during the war.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hue - Imperial Citadel
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
After a local breakfast of bun bo hue take a cruise along the Perfume River. You’ll stop off at the Thien Mu Pagoda, and see an active Buddhist monastery dating back to 1601. One of the most poignant displays is a car belonging to a former monk who set himself alight to protest against the treatment of Buddhists. You’ll also visit one of the royal tombs, that of Emperor Tu Duc, with its lake, frangipani and pine trees.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hue - Perfume River cruise & Thien Mu Pagoda
  • Hue - Royal tomb
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
Perfume River Cruises may not be available during festival season. During these times you’ll travel by land to reach the activities.
During your trip to Hue, you’re likely to visit a Buddhist nunnery or monastery for lunch. The lunch helps to provide economic support to these institutions, which rely on donations to survive, and gives you an insight into the unique traditions and food of Vietnamese Buddhism.
Fly from Hue to Vietnam’s charming capital of Hanoi. This afternoon, take a half-day tour of Hanoi that captures the beauty and the history of the laid-back, tree-lined capital. You’ll visit major sights including the Temple of Literature and One Pillar Pagoda. You’ll also pass by the Hoan Kiem Lake and enter the ’36 Streets’ of the historic Old Quarter. Today the group will also enjoy a unique water-puppet performance hosted by a family, who are experts in this art form.

Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hanoi - Temple of Literature
  • Hanoi - Old Quarter Tour
  • Hanoi - One Pillar Pagoda & HCM stilt house
  • Hanoi - Local water puppet performance
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel by private minibus for about four hours to the spectacular World Heritage site of Halong Bay. This is one of Vietnam’s most beautiful places, a secluded bay of emerald waters flecked with sandstone islands and caves. Go on a cruise to explore the rock formations and caves and in the warmer months, go for a swim or perhaps go kayaking out on the bay. You’ll spend the night on the boat. The sailing junk has twin-share cabins with air-conditioning and private facilities. There's also a dining room and bar where you’ll enjoy all of your meals, including a lavish seafood buffet for lunch.
Accommodation
  • Overnight boat (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Halong Bay - Overnight boat cruise
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
It is recommended to pack a smaller overnight bag to take to Halong Bay for ease of boarding and disembarking. You can store your main luggage in Hanoi for tonight.

Kayaking and swimming is restricted to designated zones within the bay.

There are restrictions on the number of boats that are permitted to stay in the bay overnight, sometimes resulting in a shortage. To ensure all Intrepid travellers can enjoy the experience of a night on the water, occasionally you will stay on a larger boat (with approximately 12 cabins) and share your boat with another group. Or your group may be split across different vessels, in which case an Intrepid group leader will be present on each boat, and the route taken and inclusions on board will remain the same.
Drive for about four hours back to Hanoi. Along the way, you’ll stop at Dong Trieu Factory to watch locals creating ceramic art pieces. If you have some free time this afternoon, you may like to visit the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum. This Museum plays a crucial role in maintaining and promoting the cultural heritage of Vietnam’s ethnic communities. Enjoy a final dinner with your fellow travellers.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Hanoi - Hoa Lo 'Hanoi Hilton' Prison - VND30000
  • Hanoi - Museum of Ethnology - VND180000
  • Hanoi - Fine Arts Museum - VND30000
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Bid a fond farewell to Vietnam after breakfast when your trip comes to an end. There are no planned activities for this final day.
Optional Activities
  • Hanoi - Hanoi Street Food By Night Urban Adventure - USD31
  • Hanoi - Citadels, Karsts & Cycle Urban Adventure - USD88
  • Hanoi - Village Discovery by Bike Urban Adventure - USD33
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

14 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 dinners

Transport

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

Accommodation

Guesthouse (1 night), Hotel (11 nights), Overnight boat (1 night), Overnight sleeper train (1 night)

Included activities

  • Ho Chi Minh City - KOTO breakfast
  • Ho Chi Minh City - War Remnants Museum
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi Tunnels
  • Phan Rang - Vinh Hy Bay snorkelling
  • Phan Rang - Hang Rai fossilised coral reefs
  • Phan Rang - Bau Nai fish market & salt fields
  • Hoi An - Old Town walking tour
  • Hue - Imperial Citadel
  • Hue - Perfume River cruise & Thien Mu Pagoda
  • Hue - Royal tomb
  • Hanoi - Temple of Literature
  • Hanoi - Old Quarter Tour
  • Hanoi - One Pillar Pagoda & HCM stilt house
  • Hanoi - Local water puppet performance
  • Halong Bay - Overnight boat cruise

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 and flight 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. An airport arrival transfer is included. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking.
3. 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 day 2 (guesthouse), day 6 (overnight train) and day 13 (overnight boat) where you will be in shared accommodation. Day use rooms are also excluded.
5. This trip includes a domestic flight. Checked luggage allowance is a maximum 20kg, with up to 7kg carry on luggage. Any excess luggage charges will need to be paid directly to the airline at check-in.

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 Classic Vietnam trips score an average of 4.88 out of 5 based on 266 reviews in the last year.

Classic Vietnam, July 2018

Anna Grove

Classic Vietnam, July 2018

Charmaine Botes