Essential Vietnam

11 Days | North to south and all in between – let’s hit up Vietnam.

5 out of 5 based on 88 reviews submitted.
18 to 29s
EUR €547
View dates and book
This trip is for the 18 to 29 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! You’ll be bowled over with the number of offerings on this 11-day Essential Vietnam tour, from north to south. Not only will you be eating, you’ll be cruising, riding, relaxing, exploring and enjoying all of the Vietnamese hospitality. It sure is a damn tasty slice of this South East Asian nation, so there’s only one thing to say: Viet-nom.

Trip overview

Map of Essential Vietnam including Vietnam
Hanoi, Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
18 to 29s
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
Min 18 - Max 29
Group size
Min 1 - Max 16
Trip code
This trip generates 42.41 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.
Bucket list destinations

Tick off all the popular spots and enjoy unique local experiences

Great value

Affordable trips with the freedom to choose how you spend your time

Responsible travel

You book, we donate to help support local communities

Why you'll love this trip
  • A little touch of France here, a little bit of China there – and all in Vietnam! Chill out in the cultural mixed bag of Hoi An. Hit up the local beach, cycle through rice paddies or get some sweet threads tailor-made.
  • Sit down to a cup of strong Vietnamese coffee in a busy Ho Chi Minh City market and listen to stories from your trip leader about the city’s vibrant culture and history.
  • Balance on a tiny street side stool in Hanoi's Old Quarter, soaking up the bustling vibes and watching motorbikes zoom past.
  • 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.
  • Cycle to the ancient capital of Hoa Lu and check out the temples, pagodas and monuments all backed by what some call ‘Halong Bay on land’.

Is this trip right for you?
  • We 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:
  • Vietnamese roads can be hectic and intimidating to cross. Never fear – your leader will show you how to do it like a local in Hanoi's Old Quarter.
  • 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 and do your own activities and eat where you like. Your leader is always there to give you tips and suggestions.


This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2023 to 31 December 2023.

View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2024 - 31 December 2025

Map of Essential Vietnam including Vietnam



2 lunches, 1 dinner


Boat, Overnight sleeper train, Private minibus


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

  • 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 - VND30000
  • Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh Complex - VND80000
  • Hanoi - Street Food Experience Urban Adventure - USD35
  • 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 - USD37
  • Hoi An - Cooking class - USD33
  • Hoi An - My Son Cham tour (entrance fee, guide and transport included) - USD45
  • 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 - USD39
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Mekong Discovery Urban Adventure - USD63
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Saigon Street Food by Night Urban Adventure - USD32

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 3,7,9 (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


5 out of 5 based on 88 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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Hayley · Traveled November 2023
This was an amazing trip which covered so much of Vietnam - Cat Ba Island and Ninh Binh were particular highlights! Our tour leader was outstanding and it was an unforgettable experience.
Review submitted 24 Nov 2023

Alan · Traveled November 2023
This was my first intrepid tour but it will not be my last. From start to finish you will meet amazing like minded people, you will see and experience amazing things, and you will have a tour leader always there to help you on your travels, intrepid are very good at what they do and would highly recommend any of their trips, Vietnam tour was amazing
Review submitted 24 Nov 2023

Flynn · Traveled October 2023
I was so glad I chose this trip. Duy was such an amazing, knowledgeable guide and you could talk to him about anything! I honestly did not expect to build such strong friendships with the group and the guide given that the trip was moderately short but when the trip came to an end I was very sad to see everyone go. This trip had more active activities like kayaking, walking and cycling compared to my European trip which I liked. Most of my group wanted extra time in Hoi An so we actually opted to fly to HCMC as opposed to taking the 16-hour overnight train. I’m glad we did this as it gave us so much more time, so I think having the option to take a flight as opposed to the train would be a good idea. Also, I especially liked the accomodation in Ninh Binh and Hoi An, though the accomodation in HCMC was average. All in all, I had a great time and made so many great memories with my group that I’ll cherish forever! I definitely recommend this trip.
Review submitted 14 Nov 2023

Victor · Traveled October 2023
I love traveling with intrepid becores, the tor leaders are so competent. they will pass a lot off their knowledge about traveling on to you. this means that you get competent and now you are set for your next trip.
Review submitted 25 Oct 2023

Anna · Traveled October 2023
Intrepid are great, whatever type of travel you enjoy they accommodate it, there's freedom and flexibility but also great guidance
Review submitted 18 Oct 2023
Essential Vietnam
EUR €547