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Itinerary

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Tour Itinerary

The spectacular valleys and mountains of Vietnam were simply made for exploration. Put on your hiking shoes and get ready for this immersive journey that gets away from the bright lights of Hanoi and under the skin of Vietnam's bucolic countryside. In between trekking and cycling past lush landscapes, stop in at local villages and learn about traditional life with memorable homestay experiences. It's not all mountains and trails either, with an opportunity to kayak across the majestic waters of Lan Ha Bay and spend a night in a waterside resort. Prepare to be led off the beaten track.

Countries Visited

Vietnam

Cities Visited

Hanoi , Lao Cai , Mai Chau , Sapa

  1. Day 1
    Hanoi
    Xin chao. Welcome to Vietnam! Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm. If you have time before the meeting, head out and discover Hanoi. Visit Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple, start sampling the delicious street food, or visit the Museum of Ethnology and find out more about the homes and lives of Vietnam’s ethnic communities. After the welcome meeting, you may like to join your group for an optional meal at one of Hanoi's fantastic eating spots.
  2. Day 2
    Hiking in Sapa
    After breakfast climb board a private minibus to Sapa, a town in the Hoang Lien Son Mountains of northwest Vietnam. This journey will take approximately 5 hours. From the market in the centre of Sapa, venture out on a short trek (approximately 2.5 hours) through the surrounding valleys to visit a village called Cat Cat. This is home to the H’mong people, who emigrated from China 300 years ago. In the evening, settle into your hotel in Sapa for the night.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  3. Day 3
    Hiking in Lao Chai
    Savour the dramatic landscapes and panoramic views of rural Vietnam on a trek from Lao Chai to Ta Van. You'll pass by terraced farms ripe with corn and rice, over bubbling brooks and through bucolic villages. Stop for a picnic lunch before heading on to our homestay with a local family in the evening. The total trek today is around 10 kilometres (6.2 miles).
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  4. Day 4
    Hiking in Su Pan
    This morning trek to Su Pan before taking some time to rest your feet on a bus ride back to Sapa. In the afternoon the group returns to Hanoi (approximately 5 hours). Maybe get a bird's eye view of the city from a rooftop bar and unwind with an iced coffee.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  5. Day 5
    Cycling in Hanoi
    Vietnam's capital is best explored on foot, which is why the group will head out on a city walking tour. See the final resting place of Vietnam's revered revolutionary at Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum and Museum before stopping by the Temple of Literature. Although the shrine was originally built in the 11th century, and is therefore considered to be the city's oldest temple, the current structure and shrine to Confucius actually dates from the 18th century. In the afternoon, have a practice on your bike with a warm up cycling trip around Hanoi's West Lake.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  6. Day 6
    Cycling in Mai Chau
    Leave behind the Hanoi hustle first by vehicle, then jump on your bike and and cycle to the Mai Chau valley (approximately 60km / 37mi). There are great photo opportunities along the way – stop at a vantage point to take in the view of Mai Chau, home to a variety of minority groups with their own unique culture and languages. Along the way, there's also the opportunity to help local farmers plant rice seeds into the fields. Arrive in Mai Chau and head to the village of Pom Coong, where your local guide will introduce you to your hosts for lunch, and provide information on the region's people, their lifestyles, customs and culture. Lunch is a traditional affair with examples of local cuisine on offer. This is a great opportunity to experience the local area, chat with your hosts, and gain a real insight into life in this fascinating and picturesque region. After lunch, take some time to relax before saddling up for a cycle trip to nearby villages. Back at the homestay, relax with a cold drink while watching the sun set over the peaceful mountains. Alternatively, for the food lovers, why not help your host cook dinner!
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  7. Day 7
    Cycling in Ninh Binh
    After breakfast set out again on your bike on a cycle from Mai Chau to Ninh Binh, a region well known for its green valleys, karst mountains and conservation areas. Today's ride will cover approximately 70 kilometres in total.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  8. Day 8
    Cat Ba Island
    Catch a bus this morning from Ninh Binh to Hai Phong then jump on a ferry to Cat Ba Island, which sits at the southeastern edge of Halong Bay. Lan Ha Bay, where Cat Ba can be found, is part of Halong Bay with the additional attraction of numerous white-sand beaches. The total travelling time today is approximately five hours. Check in to your peaceful, hilltop accommodation and enjoy a free afternoon taking it easy in a hammock, or opt to keep the pace up with a hike or trip to the beach.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  9. Day 9
    Kayaking around Cat Ba Island
    Explore the waters and limestone karsts of Lan Ha Bay on a full-day boat trip. Get up close and personal kayaking beside the tree-clad outcrops, with lunch onboard also included. Halong Bay's World Heritage designation was extended to the Cat Ba Archipelago thanks to its similar aesthetic value, and the scenes of turquoise water and junk boats are quintessential Vietnam. No-one will judge you for taking a selfie here. Spend a second night on Cat Ba, with the evening free to visit the local restaurants and bars.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  10. Day 10
    Hanoi
    Say goodbye to Cat Ba Island and head back to Hanoi (approximately five hours). Arrive in the late afternoon, and perhaps head down to the markets for some last-minute souvenir shopping or to pay a visit to one of the city's many museums or historical sites. Both the Fine Arts Museum and Hoa Lo 'Hanoi Hilton' Prison are great choices. In the evening, perhaps head out for a farewell dinner with your group and toast the end of this active adventure.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  11. Day 11
    Hanoi
    Your active adventure comes to an end today and there are no activities planned, but there's plenty to see if you'd like to continue exploring Hanoi or further afield, including an Urban Adventure discovering Hanoi's street food by night.
    Meals:   Breakfast

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Inclusions

  • Sapa - Cat Cat Village trek
  • Sapa - Lao Chai to Ta Van trek
  • Sapa - Ta Van to Su Pan trek
  • Hanoi - Old Quarter Walking Tour
  • Hanoi - West Lake bike ride
  • Mai Chau - Pom Coong Village visit & traditional lunch
  • Mai Chau - Cycling
  • Mai Chau to Ninh Binh cycling

Meals
10 Breakfast(s) Included
4 Lunch(es) Included
2 Dinner(s) Included

Style: Original

Health and Safety Protocols for Intrepid Tours

Protection against COVID-19 as well as other transmissible diseases requires enhanced protocols in hygiene and sanitation. We will put in place additional measures, in line with government health advice and with global health authorities (including the WHO and CDC) to ensure that we maintain the highest standards of cleanliness and hygiene.

Hand Hygiene
Handwashing is one of the most important safety measures to prevent the spread of disease. Intrepid will actively reinforce its importance by:

  • Implementing a handwashing policy that dictates when, how often and for how long all staff, leaders and crew must wash their hands on-trip.
  • Promote the importance of hand hygiene to customers through signage and online customer material.
  • Contract suppliers that have hand hygiene protocols in place
  • Contract suppliers that provide hand sanitizer in public places (where applicable)
  • Educate staff, leaders, crew and suppliers on the importance of hand hygiene via training.

Respiratory Hygiene
Practicing good respiratory hygiene prevents the spread of disease by reducing the number of droplets in the air when you sneeze or cough. Intrepid will:

  • Actively reinforce its importance to customers through signage and online customer material.
  • Educate staff, leaders, crew and suppliers on the importance of respiratory hygiene via training.
  • Contract suppliers who have respiratory hygiene protocols in place.

Masks
In addition, in areas with high community transmission and/or places that are difficult to maintain physical distancing, we recommend the the following at-risk people also wear them. Intrepid follows the advice of the World Health Organisation (WHO) that masks should only be used as part of a comprehensive prevention strategy and that the use of a mask alone is not sufficient to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Physical distancing, hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene must also form part of the strategy.

Medical/Surgical Masks
On our trips, regardless of destination, the following people must wear medical/surgical masks:

  • Anyone who develops symptoms of COVID-19 regardless of whether or not they have been tested yet.
  • People caring for people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases (outside of hospitals/clinics).

In addition, in areas with high community transmission and/or places that are difficult to maintain physical distancing, we recommend the the following at-risk people also wear them.

  • People over 60
  • People with underlying health conditions
Intrepid will:
  • Provide medical/surgical masks as part of the First Aid Kits carried by leaders.
  • Educate leaders, crew, staff and customers on the correct method to wear, handle and dispose of a mask.
  • Require all customers, leaders and staff to comply with any local regulations or requirements that require the use of a mask in public or in certain places

Fabric Masks
Intrepid follows the advice of the World Health Organisation (WHO) that it is not necessary for the public to wear fabric masks generally.

However in certain circumstances, in places where community transmission of COVID-19 is high and/or physical distancing is not possible (e.g. on public transport, in shops or in other confined environments) then a fabric mask can be a useful barrier to prevent the spread of virus.

Fabric masks be purchased commercially or handmade, and are generally not standardised like medical masks. Fabric masks should:

  • Cover the nose, mouth, and chin
  • Be secured with elastic loops or ties
  • Include multiple layers
  • Be washable and reusable.

Sanitation
Protection against COVID-19 as well as other transmissible diseases requires enhanced sanitation processes. Intrepid will take the following measures:

  • Require all suppliers to detail their cleaning and sanitation protocols
  • Audit/monitor all suppliers on their cleanliness and sanitation.
  • All cleaning and disinfecting products must be approved by health authorities (e.g. WHO).
Accomodation
  • All rooms must be thoroughly cleaned between guests with all high touch surfaces in shared areas regularly cleaned and disinfected.
  • Hand sanitizer should be available in public areas.
  • There must be a process in place for customers to escalate any concerns regarding hygiene or sanitation.
  • Staff must be trained and able to answer questions regarding safety protocols in place.
Camping
  • All tents must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between use.
  • If staying at a campground, ensure all bathrooms are well stocked with hand soap and paper towels. If the area is remote, with limited facilities and/or minimal staffing, then customers should be informed to bring their own hygiene equipment.
Transport
  • All mini buses, transfers, charters, overland trucks must be thoroughly cleaned between guests with all high touch surfaces in shared areas regularly cleaned and disinfected.
  • Hand sanitizer should be made available
  • Close top bins with bin liners should be available on board and disposed of at every stop
Restaurants
  • Must be thoroughly cleaned at the end of each day
  • Tables and chairs must be disinfected after each guest use
  • Avoid buffets where possible. If buffets are used, prevent customers from handling food and operating machines (e.g. self-serve coffee stations)
  • Either disinfect shared use objects (e.g. table salt) between guest use. Where possible, Intrepid will try to source safe alternatives to single serve packaging.
  • Staff must be trained and able to answer questions regarding safety protocols in place.
  • Preferred: Provide hand sanitizer to guests at the door before entry
Activities
  • All equipment must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between guest us
  • Staff must be trained and able to answer questions regarding safety protocols in place.
Contactless/low touch
Limiting the number of surfaces touched by large numbers of people helps prevent the spread of disease. Therefore, it is important to proactively move towards contactless or low touch solutions for travel. Intrepid will:
  • Prioritise contactless/low touch as a key feature when sourcing new tech or solutions.
Brand Material
  • Remove any paperwork required on the ground (e.g. signing forms, feedback cards)
  • If details must be entered using a shared device (e.g. insurance details), then it must be disinfected between each customer. Preference is to move entirely to digital solutions.
Contracting
  • Accommodation should provide online check in (no paperwork)
  • Contactless keys (e.g. QR codes)
  • Contactless tech (e.g. lights)
  • Online ticketing for attractions and transport
  • Online payment

Physical Distancing
Physical distancing is important in the preventing the spread of COVID-19 as it can be transmitted via droplets sprayed when coughing, sneezing, singing, yelling etc…
Intrepid will take the following measures:

  • Require all suppliers to detail their physical distancing protocols
  • Follow local regulation and advice on the need for physical distancing.
Accommodation Intrepid operates product that is based on twin share accommodation and allows single travellers the chance to share accommodation with a stranger.
We will continue to offer this as an option. Single supplements are available for single travellers who do not wish to share a room. We will work closely with accommodation suppliers to ensure increased availability of single rooms.

Camping
  • Consider whether it is appropriate to offer single tents for solo travellers as customers will be much closer together then in a traditional room.
  • Consider whether staggering meal times may reduce the number of people sharing a dining tent.
Transport
Intrepid will consider the following factors when designing or amending transport options on trips.
  • Local laws or requirements regarding physical distancing on transport
  • Hygiene protocols of the transport provider
  • Level of active community transmission in the destination
Possible risks include:
  • Using designated seating on transport. Customers have assigned seats throughout the trip.
  • If trip is longer than 15 minutes and air conditioning is available, it must be set to external airflow rather than to recirculation or windows should be opened for the duration of the trip.
  • Designing or amending itineraries to reduce the duration of travel.
  • Increasing the size of the vehicle, using multiple vehicles.
In Public
  • Educate all leaders, crew, staff and customers to maintain a 1.5m distance wherever practical in public (e.g. queueing at a museum).
  • Proactively design product to avoid crowds by visiting attractions at off-peak times.
  • Proactively design product to avoid crowds on public transport or at airports where practical.
Restaurants
  • Follow local regulations on table spacing and guest seating in restaurants. Wherever possible, try to ensure groups are sitting at their own table without strangers in restaurants.
  • Proactively design product that focuses on experiences that assist with physical distancing (e.g. picnics over crowded marketplaces) if relevant for that destination.
Health Screening & Tracking
Screening for COVID-19 helps isolate anyone with COVID-19 symptoms and stops the spread of disease. It is likely to become more common for future travellers.

Pre-Departure (Brand Material)
Customers should be informed as part of ‘Essential Trip Information (ETIs) or other similar trip notes if their trip is likely to include any of the following:
  • Testing for COVID-19 before being able to pass through immigration and/or board planes.
  • Negative test results to be uploaded for visa purposes.
  • Thermal temperature checks in airports, train or bus stations, major hotels or attractions.
Pre-Departure (Customers)
Pre-departure, all customers are required to fill out an online questionnaire (“self- declaration/assessment” form) to identify any high-risk customers before travel.

Extra qualifiers will be included to address customers with symptoms that can be contributed to pre-existing conditions (e.g. breathlessness to asthma).

Customers answering YES to any question should be removed from the departure and appropriate arrangements made.

COVID-19 Testing
Intrepid will not require a negative COVID-19 test as proof of health from customers or leaders at this stage unless it is required by local law or regulations.

This is partially due to the lack of availability of testing for people with no symptoms in many parts of the world and may change in due course.

On Trip
  • Ask customers, leaders, crew and staff to monitor their own health
  • Display appropriate signage on COVID-19 symptoms
  • Educate leaders, crew and staff on how to identify COVID-19 symptoms
  • Describe COVID-19 symptoms in group meetings
Removal of customers, leaders, crew
If customers, leaders or crew show symptoms of COVID-19 and are either unable to or unwilling to be tested, Intrepid reserves the right to remove them from our trips to prevent any risk to others.

Flexible Booking Conditions
Customers will be supported by flexible booking conditions to stay home if unwell or displaying symptoms

Flexible Work Conditions
Intrepid will support leaders and crew to stay home rather than lead a trip if they are unwell or displaying symptoms. Schedules will need to be created with back up availability of leaders/crew.

Data Collection & Health Tracking
Intrepid will assist government health departments in tracking and tracing any customers, staff, leaders, crew or suppliers at risk of contracting COVID-19 via exposure to a known case and/or outbreak by providing relevant details in line with privacy laws and regulations.

COVID Tracking apps
Intrepid strongly recommends that customers and staff download COVID tracking apps (e.g. COVIDSafe in Australia, StayHomeSafe in Hong Kong) to assist in reducing the spread of disease within their communities.

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Accommodations

Homestay (2 nights), Hotel (6 nights), Lodge (2 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.

Intrepid Tours Customer Reviews

Overall Rating
4
Accommodations
3.6
Itinerary
4.2
Professional Staff
4.3
Repeat with Operator
4.1
Value for Money
3.8

Ratings based off 122 reviews about Intrepid Tours - currently showing 7 reviews with comments only

Intrepid tour is great company. Will use this company again.

The trip was both both educational and exciting. I very much enjoyed the sights and culture.

The itinerary was just as I expected! The guide was very good as were the accomodations

Intrepid did such a great job. I never had to worry about where I was supposed to be and it felt so good not to worry about a thing but just to enjoy myself. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable about culture and history.

Taiwan people very friendly. Accommodation were centrally located and easily accessible. Did extra activities then in brochure which was greatly.

Larus our tour guide did an excellent job and was very attentive to our needs. He is very knowledgeable and has a great sense of humor.

Our guide Tarang chandola was exceptional. Courteous, knowledgeable, organized, polite, professional and went above and beyond taking care of our needs and requests offen anticipating what that might be. He made sure we all had the best possible time and offered suggestions to meet the needs of everyone on the tour. This made the trip even more enjoyable.

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