Be wowed by the sights and sounds of amazing Vietnam

Get a taste of adventure in Vietnam. Travel from French-influenced Hanoi to heaving Ho Chi Minh City on a journey that takes in a whole range of Vietnam's most intriguing sights. Explore the countryside around Hue by bicycle and kayak between limestone karsts off the coast of Cat Ba Island. Jam-packed with memorable experiences, this is a grassroots adventure that will introduce you to the food, culture and people of this fascinating country.

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Save a space on your 2019 trip with only a £50 deposit until 31 August 2018.

Terms & Conditions

Start
Hanoi, Vietnam
Finish
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Destination
Vietnam
Style
Basix
Theme
Explorer
Code
TVRR
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why you'll love this trip

  • This trip gives you plenty of free time in each location, perfect for the traveller who appreciates a bit of independence.

  • See the very best that Vietnam has to offer in just 11 days as you traverse the country from top to bottom with a small group of up to 16 new friends.

  • Some of the greatest entertainment in Vietnam is watching the traffic in Hanoi. Sit back and enjoy the show. Your leader will give you a tutorial on crossing the road like a local!

  • Lan Ha Bay is a paradisical enclave of green waters and strange rock formations. Explore them by boat and kayak, then spend the evening on Cat Ba Island.

  • What better place to finish up the tour than Ho Chi Minh City, where you'll have free time to see the Reunification Palace, Cu Chi Tunnels or join the locals exercising in the park.

Is this trip right for you?

  • Some travellers find the pace of this trip quite fast as we are covering a lot of destinations in a short amount of time. If you would like a more relaxed pace with more time to explore, you might like to consider a longer trip (see trip code TVRN on our website), or additional days in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

  • We cover a lot of distance on this trip, including on overnight trains. 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...

  • 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

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 Hanoi, Vietnam. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm tonight. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. If you arrive early consider booking the Hanoi Highlights Urban Adventure with an expert local guide to introduce you to the city and it's sites, including the Temple of Literature, the Hoa Lo Prison museum and Hoan Kiem Lake. Or take it at your own pace and wander the Old Quarter and admire the city’s French-colonial architecture, relax in a park, or enjoy some street food.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Hanoi - Citadels, Karsts & Cycle Urban Adventure - USD88
  • Hanoi - Village Discovery by Bike Urban Adventure - USD33
  • Hanoi - Hanoi Highlights Urban Adventure - USD40
  • Hanoi - Fine Arts Museum - VND30000
  • Hanoi - Museum of Ethnology - VND40000
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
You may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend the group meeting and have time to explore Hanoi. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
If you're expecting to be late for your group meeting, please inform the hotel reception or your booking agent in advance.
An early start is necessary to get the most out of your day. A 7.30 am bus ride and ferry transfer will deliver you to the steep cliffs and tiny beaches of Cat Ba Island before midday, with a quite stop to stretch your legs en route. The largest of all the islands in UNESCO-listed Halong Bay, charming Cat Ba will be your base for exploring the limestone cliffs and turquoise water that define this area. Get acquainted with this stunning spot with an afternoon cruise around Lan Ha Bay, enjoying lunch on the boat while floating pasts karsts covered in emerald-green foliage. Later, get closer to the water and explore on a kayak, perhaps stopping at one of Cat Ba’s many beaches for a dip.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cat Ba Island - kayaking
  • Cat Ba Island - boat trip on Lan Ha Bay
Meals Included
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Wake up in paradise and enjoy some free time lazing on the beach. Maybe go for a swim, kick back with a book or take a romantic stroll along the sand. In the afternoon, head back to Hanoi. Maybe grab dinner with the group before boarding an overnight train for a twelve-hour journey to Hue around 6 pm. Although conditions are basic, overnight trains are the best way to travel long distances and brush shoulders with the locals. Most trains have a dining carriage which serves simple food, but some travellers like to take some fresh bread, cheese and fruit for the journey.
Accommodation
  • Overnight sleeper train (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Sleeper trains typically have four or six berth compartments with bench seats that convert into sleeping bunks. A sheet, pillow and blanket are provided, although some travellers prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. Depending on the configuration of the group, you may have to share with people of different genders or passengers who aren’t part of the group.
As the former imperial capital of Vietnam, Hue holds the treasures of Vietnam's royal past and is a curious mix of bustling streets and tranquil settings. Packed with historic monuments, Hue is also perfectly located to explore the surrounding countryside, which features stunning scenery, quaint villages and the peaceful Tam Giang Lagoon. Hue is Vietnam’s former royal capital and its cuisine is considered by many Vietnamese as the best in the country. Hue’s cuisine is influenced both by its imperial heritage (small dishes and a focus on aesthetic presentation) as well as its strong Buddhist heritage, reflected in the high proportion of vegetarian restaurants in the region. The bustling Dong Ba Market offers a plethora of goods and foods to see and sample, and it's a good place to try some of the specialities that graced the Nguyen emperors' banquet tables, such as the banh khoai, a royal rice cake. You have a free day to explore. You could also easily spend a couple of hours exploring Hue’s massive walled citadel and the Forbidden Purple Palace enclosed within. Perhaps jump on board a ‘Dragon Boat’, and enjoy a cruise up the Perfume River to visit the Thien Mu pagoda. Or cycle out to one of the Royal tombs such as the tomb of Emperor Tu Duc, one of the best remaining examples of its kind. Alternatively, set off on an optional motorcycle tour of the sights in Hue and some surrounding villages.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Hue - Perfume River cruise & Thien Mu Pagoda - VND220000
  • Hue - Royal tomb - VND136000
  • Hue - Imperial Citadel - VND150000
  • Hue - Motorbike trip including lunch - VND540000
  • Hue - Hue Royal Street Eat by Cyclo Urban Adventure - USD40
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Your hotel rooms will be available from the standard check in time this afternoon. You can store your luggage at the hotel while you explore Hue.
Continue on your journey to the World Heritage site of Hoi An, where your leader will take you on a walk around town. The city was a major trading port with the west from the 17th century onwards, and has a various architectural influences from Europe, China and Vietnam. Today the city is being restored and looks exactly like it did over a century ago. The rest of the day is free for you to do some optional activities or 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
There are no meals included on this day.
Enjoy a free day to further explore Hoi An. Perhaps take a cruise up the Thu Bon River or learn the secrets of cooking delicious Vietnamese dishes. Visit some of the man art galleries or simply wonder around the beautifully restored Chinese shop houses. There’s also the option of cycling around the surrounding countryside, a truly unique way to get off the beaten track and see rural Vietnam up close. Your leader will be able to suggest activities to help you get the most out of your time.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Hoi An - Hoi An Boat & Bike Urban Adventure - USD51
  • Hoi An - Hoi An Walking & Cooking Class Urban Adventure - USD49
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Make the most out of your last free day in Hoi An. Perhaps do some of the activities you couldn’t fit into your schedule over the past couple of days. There’s also Cua Dai Beach nearby, the perfect place to rest up before continuing on your way. This evening, board another overnight train bound for Phan Rang. Remember, it’s always a good idea to have snacks and a book on hand.
Accommodation
  • Overnight sleeper train (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Hoi An - My Son Cham day trip - USD35
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Arrive in Phan Rang early this morning for two days of pure relaxation. With pristine beaches and arguably the best weather in Vietnam, Phan Rang is a low-key coastal city where swimming, snorkelling and seafood take priority. While you’re here, look out for banh can and banh xeo – egg, squid, shrimp and vegetables cooked into a pancake.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Shared day use hotel rooms available this morning prior to standard check in. There is one room provided between up to 6 members of the group. Single supplements do not apply to day rooms.
Make the most of your last day in Phan Rang. Squeeze the sand between your toes and grab some rays on the beach. Perhaps ask your leader where you can get a massage, as you’ve got a final overnight train journey this evening. Get ready for a 7-hour journey to Ho Chi Minh.
Accommodation
  • Overnight sleeper train (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City very early this morning and transfer to your hotel. Today you’ll have plenty of free time to explore Vietnam’s largest city. Ho Chi Minh City has a busy atmosphere and a French influence. In your free time, we recommend visiting the Reunification Palace and the War Remnants Museum. There’s also the historic Dong Khoi Street, and the chaotic markets of Ben Thanh and Cholon (Chinatown). Ho Chi Minh City has a different style of cuisine to its northern counterpart Hanoi, so be sure get out for restaurant meals and street food.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Orientation Walk
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
There are shared hotel rooms available this morning if you would like to freshen up before check in time this afternoon.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you can depart the accommodation at any time. As we don’t spend much time in Ho Chi Minh City on this tour, why not stay a few extra days to make the most of your time here? Perhaps take a day trip to the famous Cu Chi Tunnels, where you can witness the strategic underground labyrinth that helped the Vietnamese win the war. Consider doing a tour such as ‘The Cu Chi Experience’ with our partners Urban Adventures. See urbanadventures.com for more information.
Optional Activities
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi Tunnel Experience Urban Adventure - USD43
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Mekong Discovery Urban Adventure - VND59
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Cyclos & Markets Urban Adventure - USD41
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Transport

Boat, Overnight sleeper train, Private vehicle

Accommodation

Hotel (7 nights), Overnight sleeper train (3 nights)

Included activities

  • Cat Ba Island - kayaking
  • Cat Ba Island - boat trip on Lan Ha Bay
  • Hoi An - Old Town walking tour
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Orientation Walk

Dates & availability

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There are currently no scheduled departures on our Explore Vietnam trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

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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 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. 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 days 3, 7 and 9 (overnight trains) where you will be in shared accommodation. Day use rooms are also excluded.

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 Explore Vietnam trips score an average of 4.78 out of 5 based on 241 reviews in the last year.

Explore Vietnam, July 2018

Linda Morfitt

Explore Vietnam, July 2018

Charlotte Bennetts