When we think of moped shoals in Ho Chi Minh City or cloth merchants in Hoi An, it’s the flavours we remember best. A crusty Bánh mì or streetside pho, seafood cù lao hotpots and (scarily addictive) condensed milk coffee. Vietnam tours are fun, plain and simple. But unlike other operators, we won’t just drop you in Ha Long 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, point out Nha Trang’s best beaches and take you on a rooftop bar crawl through Ho Chi Minh City. Our stomach’s rumbling already...
|Departing||Trip name||Days||From USD|
|Hoi An to Hanoi||10||
|Vietnam Express Northbound||10||
|Ho Chi Minh City to Hoi An||9||
|Vietnam Express Southbound||10||
|Best of Vietnam||20||
|Vietnam Real Food Adventure||12||
|Vietnam and Cambodia Family Holiday||15||
|Vietnam Family Holiday with teenagers||9||
Cruise the sparkling waters of Halong Bay
Admire ancient royal relics in Hue
Relax on Nha Trang's stunning beaches
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:
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:
Most nationalities require a visa to travel to Vietnam.
Some nationalities are exempt from visas for a stay of under 15 days. 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). Effective from 1st July 2015 - 30 June 2017 exempt visa nationalities include British, German, French, Spanish and Italian citizens travelling to Vietnam (for all purposes) for a period of up to 15 days, and on the basis of meeting all conditions prescribed by Vietnamese laws.
Vietnam visas need to be arranged in advance. When obtaining your visa you should allow 3 weeks for processing, the cost is approximately US$60 to US$100. Check with your embassy or consulate for further details.
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 57A Nguyen Khac Hieu St, Hanoi, Vietnam 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.
Tipping isn't mandatory or customary in Vietnam, but a tip of spare change or another small amount would be appreciated by restaurants, drivers and other service workers, especially if the service has been particularly good.
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 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.
Quick city bus ride = 4,000 VND
Local-style coffee at a cafe = 15,000 VND
Bowl of pho from street stall = 20,000-30,000 VND
Dinner at a simple restaurant = 70,000-100,000 VND
Dinner at a up-market restaurant = 200,000+ 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
Please note these dates are for 2017. For a current list of public holidays in Vietnam go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/vietnam/public-holidays
The major festivals celebrated in Vietnam are Tet (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 in Vietnam.
Traditional Vietnamese food is typified by its use of fresh herbs and vegetables and it's wide regional variance. Vietnamese food is influenced by its Chinese and Khmer neighbours and echoes of 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 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.
The LGBQTI 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 stil a conservative culture and many still hide their sexuality from their families. Travellers will find Vietnam to be a gay-friendly country, with lively gay-friendly bars, restaurants, sauncas and hotels found in major cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. It is generally recommended that both gay and straight couples resist showing public displays of affection.
Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.
The Intrepid Foundation provides travellers with an opportunity to give something back to the many wonderful communities we travel to. By donating to The Intrepid Foundation you can make a difference in local communities - in health care, education, human rights, child welfare and the protection of wildlife and the environment.
In Vietnam, The Intrepid Foundation proudly supports:
This organisation supports some of the most vulnerable children in Vietnam. Homeless, disabled and poverty stricken kids are greatly assisted by the health, education and social development programs run by this worthy organisation.
Image supplied by Blue Dragon Children's Foundation.
Caring for some of Vietnam's neediest children, this grassroots organisation provides life-saving medical treatment, therapy programs and education opportunities to families without means.
Image supplied by Children's Hope in Action.
This not-for-profit restaurant and vocational training program changes the lives of disadvantaged youth in Vietnam. Providing hospitality training, English language education and life skills, the KOTO cafe not only serves up great food, but also changes people's lives in the process.
Image supplied by KOTO.