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Itinerary

Countries Visited

Vietnam

Cities Visited

Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Hoi An, Hue, Mekong Delta

Tour Itinerary

From Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi, experience authentic Vietnam on this 15-day tour. See how the locals live on on the Mekong Delta, get your beach on in Tuy Hoa and discover history and yum yums galore in Hoi An and Hue. Drift the emerald waters around Cat Ba Island by boat and go for a snoop through any of Hanoi's many markets. This is the make-em-jealous, full-on, once-in-a-lifetime trip up the coast of Vietnam you've been waiting for. Ready, set, pagoda.

Day 1: Ho Chi Minh City
Xin chao! Welcome to Vietnam. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, 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 ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is characterised by a vast array of sights and sounds, and is a fascinating blend of old and new, East and West. The huge number of people rushing about their daily lives in Vietnam's largest city gives it a dynamic atmosphere and the French influence is evident in the excellent baguettes and coffee on offer. Much of city life takes place on the busy streets lined with shops, stalls and vendors, who have their wares spread out on the footpath and sell everything from soup to sophisticated electronics.

Day 2: Mekong Delta
Head down to the Mekong Delta and visit unexplored Ben Tre where coconut is everything and anything. The fertile delta is famous for its abundant harvests of tropical fruits and flowers as well as boating along the canals. On arrival, we board our private boat and cruise along the maze of waterways to visit some local cottage industries. Then head to our overnight local guesthouse along the water.

Day 3: Mekong Delta - Overnight Train
Rising early to the sounds of the delta coming alive, we enjoy a simple breakfast before boarding our boat, and catching a bus back to Ho Chi Minh City. Enjoy some free time in Ho Chi Minh City to go check out a few more sites or some tasty street food snacks. Late this afternoon board an overnight train to Tuy Hoa, a beach town on the central coast (approx 11 hours). Although conditions are basic, overnight trains are all part of the experience and the best way to travel long distances with the locals.

Day 4: Tuy Hoa
Arrive in Tuy Hoa early this morning for two days by the beach. Though Tuy Hoa is much quieter than its southern neighbours, you'll still find the perfect spot of sand to lay down a towel and plenty of dining options. Check out the Eglise de Mang Lang and Da Dia Reef, or head south to the Mui Dien lighthouse for a nature fix.

Day 5: Tuy Hoa - Overnight Train
Today is all yours! Soak up some more free time on the beach. Board an overnight train late in the evening bound for Danang (approx. 8 hours).

Day 6: Hoi An
Arrive in Danang and travel by minibus to Hoi An (approx 1 hr). Recently declared a World Heritage site, Hoi An is being beautifully restored and preserved. Known as Faifo to early western traders, it was one of South East Asia's major international ports during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Today, parts of Hoi An look exactly as they did more than a century ago and it retains the feel of centuries past, making it the sort of place that grows on you the more you explore it. It's also a shopping mecca – with much to browse and buy. Choose from original paintings, handcrafted woodwork, ceramics, embroidery, lanterns and more. Hoi An has also become famous for its tailoring, with a great variety of fabrics and tailors to choose from. Bring your favourite piece of clothing or even just a picture, and you'll be able to have it copied.

Day 7: Hoi An
There's no better way to explore the peaceful countryside of Hoi An than by bike. For a true insight into country living in Vietnam, join your leader in cycling past green rice paddies, over small creeks and through rural villages.

Day 8: Hue
Departing Hoi An, we can pass by My Khe Beach before crossing the dramatic Hai Van Pass to the picturesque fishing village of Lang Co. After a quick stop, continue on to Hue (approx. 5 hours including stops). 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. Your afternoon is free to go exploring. The Dong Ba market, which sells everything imaginable, is a great place to spend some time. Visit the Imperial Citadel, including the Forbidden Purple City. The latter was almost totally destroyed during the Vietnam War's Tet Offensive, but the foliage-covered ruins are still atmospheric and the gaping holes left by bombs give an idea of the destruction wreaked upon the country during the war.

Day 9: Hue
Today is a free day. You may like to take a dragon boat cruise on the Perfume River, and a visit to Thien Mu Pagoda, considered by many to be the unofficial symbol of Hue. It's an active Buddhist monastery with its origins dating back to 1601. One of the most poignant displays is a car belonging to a former monk who, in 1963, drove to Saigon and set himself alight to protest against the treatment of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese regime.

Day 10: Phong Nha
Jump on the bus and make your way to Quang Tri. If you’re keen, it’s just a small fee to visit the Hien Luong Bridge and Vinh Moc tunnels. Hien Luong Bridge separated the North from the South during the war. The tunnels at Vinh Moc are an expansive network of limestone tunnels that locals used as shelters from the bombing. Travel onwards to Phong Nha and spend the afternoon exploring your surroundings. You'll stay just outside Phong Nha Town, which is near Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, an amazing landscape riddled with caves and underground rivers.

Day 11: Phong Nha - Overnight train
Enjoy a free day to explore Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. At 400 million years old, this World Heritage site is the oldest karst mountain range in Asia. You might like to take a boat through Phong Nha Cave, or check out the spectacular cavern of Paradise Cave. If caves aren’t your thing, chat with your leader about a kayaking adventure in Suoi Mooc. Otherwise chill out with a coffee and soak in the river views. Later today you'll head back to Dong Hoi and hop back on a sleeper train (approximately 8 pm to 5.50 am) – you'll be a pro at this by now.

Day 12: Hanoi
Arrive in Hanoi very early (approx. 5.30 am) and transfer to your hotel. Then leave your gear in a day room at the hotel. The capital of Vietnam is a charming city with a population of over six million. Hanoi is famous for its beautiful lakes, shaded boulevards, verdant public parks and its thriving Old Quarter, which is an architectural museum piece with blocks of ochre buildings retaining the air of a 1930s provincial French town. As Vietnam develops to compete with other South East Asian countries, the beautiful Hoan Kiem Lake reflects the contrasts of modern office buildings, old Buddhist temples and the tangle of ancient streets in its still surface. Take a walking tour of the Old Quarter. You'll visit the Dong Xuan market, the biggest wholesale market in northern Vietnam, stroll through the ancient '36 streets' where you can discover an amazing selection of shops selling everything from souvenirs to exquisite silk clothing, beautifully embroidered tablecloths. Your leader will point out some of the unique architecture around Hoan Kiem Lake and the myths and legends of the lake.

Day 13: Cat Ba Island
Travel by bus and ferry (approximately 3.5 hours) to Cat Ba Island, the largest island in the UNESCO-listed Halong Bay. With thousands of little limestone islands scattered around, this area is one of those quintessential Vietnamese scenes in which bright green water is dotted with traditional junk boats and limestone karsts. Take a cruise around Lan Ha Bay with lunch on the boat, then get up close and personal with this other-worldly landscape by kayak. Stay overnight on Cat Ba Island and enjoy a dip at one of the beaches and a cold beer.

Day 14: Hanoi
Wake up in paradise, maybe starting your morning with a refreshing swim. Make sure you soak up as much sun and sand as possible, because it's back to Hanoi this afternoon via ferry and bus. Tonight you can head out for an optional farewell dinner with your new friends and spend the evening swapping stories and contact details for the inevitable post-trip catch-up. 

Day 15: Hanoi
The trip ends this morning. There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.

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Inclusions

  • Mekong Delta - Boat cruise and homestay
  • Hoi An - Old Town walking tour
  • Hoi An - Countryside bicycle tour
  • Hanoi - Old Quarter Walking Tour
  • Cat Ba Island - Kayaking
  • Cat Ba Island - Boat trip on Lan Ha Bay

Meals
1 Breakfast(s) Included
2 Lunch(es) Included
1 Dinner(s) Included

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Accommodations

Guesthouse (2 nights), hotel (9 nights), overnight sleeper train (3 nights)

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Questions & Answers

Question: How many suitcases can I take with me on my trip?

Each person is allowed one "check-in," and one "carry-on." Remember to take all valuables with you as "carry-on", because electronic equipment, cameras, laptops, jewelry, business documents and money are not covered by the airlines' liability, so always carry them aboard with you.

Question: Is Airfare Included in the Price?

Airfare from your point of origin to and from the trip is not included in the land price.


Note: AffordableTours.com is a travel agent for Intrepid. All prices, itineraries, accommodations and dates are subject to change without notice and at any time by the tour operators. All prices are USD per person and based on double occupancy. Availability is limited and must be reconfirmed at time of booking. Please call us toll free at 1-800-935-2620 to confirm availability and current pricing on all our discounted specials. The prices on this website are not guaranteed until a deposit has been made. We are not responsible for errors, omissions, or changes in these prices until a booking has been confirmed by one of our agents. Some land prices may include an internal air component and discounts will not be offered on the internal air component. Discounts will not be offered on packages with a land price of less than $500.

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