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Itinerary

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Tour Itinerary

From Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi, you'll experience authentic Vietnam on this epic 15-day adventure from south to north. See how the locals live on the Mekong Delta, discover the rich history in Hoi An and taste some amazing food in Hue. Drift on the emerald waters around Cat Ba Island by boat and go for a snoop through some of Hanoi's many markets. Enjoy unique homestays, explore national parks, eat your weight in fresh street eats and cycle through the countryside. This is the make-em-jealous, full-on, once-in-a-lifetime trip up the coast of Vietnam you've been waiting for.

Countries Visited

Vietnam

Cities Visited

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

  1. Day 1
    Ho Chi Minh City
    Xin chao! Welcome to Vietnam. Your adventure begins in Ho Chi Minh with a welcome meeting at 6 pm tonight. 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. After your welcome meeting, why not head into the Ben Thanh night market for a serving of pho or bun with your fellow travellers?
  2. Day 2
    Mekong Delta
    Today, head down to the Mekong Delta and visit Ben Tre, where the humble 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. When you arrive, board a private boat and cruise along the maze of waterways to visit some cottage industries, where you’ll have the chance to interact with the locals of the area. In the evening, head to a guesthouse along the water and enjoy some time to relax among the soothing sounds of the river.
    Meals:   Dinner
  3. Day 3
    Mekong Delta - Overnight Train
    Rise early to the sounds of the delta coming alive and enjoy a simple breakfast before catching a bus back to Ho Chi Minh City. Enjoy some free time in Ho Chi Minh City to check out a few more sites or some tasty street food snacks. There will be a leader-led orientation walk around the city, where you might choose to try the iconic Saigon café’s sua da (iced coffee with condensed milk) as your leader shares stories about local life. Late this evening, board an overnight train bound for Hoi An – a historical town on the central coast. Although conditions are basic, overnight trains are all part of the experience and the best way to travel long distances with the locals.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  4. Day 4
    Hoi An
    Arrive in Danang in the early afternoon and travel by minibus to Hoi An. Recently declared a World Heritage-listed site, Hoi An is 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 over a century ago. Among the feeling of decades past, it's also a shopping mecca! You can choose from original paintings, hand-crafted woodwork, ceramics, embroidery, lanterns, and so much more if you’re after a good deal or some souvenirs. Hoi An has also become famous for its tailoring, with many tailors and fabrics to choose from. Bring your favourite piece of clothing or even just a picture, and you can have it copied. When you arrive, head out on a walking tour of the Old Town. After, you’re free to explore Hoi An at your own pace.
  5. Day 5
    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. Later in the day, you may like to cycle or catch a local bus to Cua Dai Beach near Hoi An centre for an afternoon on the stunning South China Sea. If you would like to see more of the Vietnamese countryside and visit some temples, you could book yourself into a My Son Cham day trip. The afternoon is yours to do as you please – you might like to wander to streets with your camera and discover all the colourful buildings lit up by lanterns as the sun goes down.
  6. Day 6
    Hue
    Departing Hoi An, you’ll cross the dramatic Hai Van Pass this morning, with a quick stop and photo opportunity before continuing to Hue. 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. See the Imperial Citadel, including a visit to the Forbidden Purple City, which was almost totally destroyed during the Vietnam War's Tet Offensive. In the evening, sit back, relax and enjoy a traditional dinner in a local home. These experiences off the beaten track are the ones you’ll remember.
    Meals:   Dinner
  7. Day 7
    Hue
    You’ve got the whole day to explore stunning Hue today. Head out with your group on a street food experience in the morning to pick up a delicious market breakfast and pass by all the local traders. Later, you may like to take a dragon boat cruise on the Perfume River and visit 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. Otherwise, you’ll have the opportunity to embark on an optional motorbike tour, riding with a local guide around the sights.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  8. Day 8
    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 on to Phong Nha and spend the afternoon exploring your surroundings. You'll stay just outside Phong Nha Town, near Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park – an amazing landscape full of caves and underground rivers.
  9. Day 9
    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 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 – you'll be a pro at this by now.
  10. Day 10
    Hanoi
    Arrive in Hanoi very early this morning and transfer to your hotel, leaving your luggage and setting out to discover the city. Hanoi is known for its beautiful lakes, shaded boulevards, lush public parks and thriving Old Quarter – an architectural museum 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 on its still surface. Take a walking tour of the Old Quarter and the French Quarter with your leader, visiting 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 and 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, and you’ll sit down for a banh mi lunch.
    Meals:   Dinner
  11. Day 11
    Pu Luong
    Leave Hanoi this morning and travel to Pu Luong – one of the most beautiful sites in rural Vietnam with expansive rice paddy fields surrounded by the National Park. When you arrive, you’ll check in to your unique homestay accommodation, with rooms boasting beautiful views of the rice fields. Have a quick lunch then head out for a trek in the middle of this natural paradise. You’ll see the impressive water wheel in the village, locals working in the fields and you’ll visit a few local tribes, giving you the opportunity to learn about their culture and customs firsthand. After, maybe take a refreshing swim in the onsite swimming pool, watch the sunset over the terraced fields or wander the grounds on your own, breathing in the fresh air.
    Meals:   Dinner
  12. Day 12
    Hanoi
    This morning, enjoy a leisurely breakfast, then make your way back to Hanoi. Today, you’ll visit The Intrepid Foundation partner Vun Art – a local organisation empowering people with disabilities in Vietnam by providing job training and employment opportunities. See how they produce tote bags and art pieces from the discarded silk that comes from Van Phuc Silk Village. Vun Art also aims to reduce climate impact by reusing these scraps and in the process, keeping traditional art alive. First, the fabric is cut into mosaics, then gathered and glued individually and finally, it’s pressed in the heat press machine. Tonight, you’re free to find the perfect spot (or street food) for dinner. After, maybe head out to explore the bars and discover the streets after sundown.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  13. Day 13
    Cat Ba Island
    Travel by bus and ferry to Cat Ba Island – the largest island in the World Heritage-listed Ha Long Bay area. With thousands of limestone islands and formations scattered around, this is one of the quintessential Vietnamese scenes where bright green water is dotted with traditional junk boats. Take a boat around Lan Ha Bay, 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 maybe a cold beer).
    Meals:   Dinner
  14. Day 14
    Hanoi
    Wake up in paradise, and maybe start your morning with a refreshing swim. Ensure you soak up as much sun and sand as possible, as it's back to Hanoi later in the afternoon via ferry and bus. Being such a large city, Hanoi has so much to explore. This afternoon, you could head to the French Quarter to see the European influences on parts of Hanoi’s architecture, or otherwise, get the gang together and stake out a roadside stall for some chargrilled meats or pho cuon (rice noodle rolls).
  15. Day 15
    Hanoi
    There are no activities planned for today, and you can depart the accommodation at any time. With so much to see and do in Hanoi, why not book an Urban Adventure? Hanoi Street Food Experience is a good pick – a 3-hour tour where you’ll get to sample some amazing eats from markets, street cafes, food carts and other secret spots. If you would like to spend some more time in Hanoi, just speak to your booking agent.

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Inclusions

  • Mekong Delta - Homestay and Boat Cruise
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Orientation Walk
  • Hoi An - Old Town walking tour
  • Hoi An - Countryside bicycle tour
  • Hue - Home cooked dinner
  • Hue - Street food breakfast
  • Hanoi - Old Quarter & French Quarter Walking Tour
  • Hanoi - Banh Mi Lunch
  • Pu Luong - Homestay and Village Walk
  • Hanoi - Vun Art Visit
  • Cat Ba Island - Kayaking
  • Cat Ba Island - Boat trip on Lan Ha Bay

Meals
3 Breakfast(s) Included
4 Lunch(es) Included
3 Dinner(s) Included

Style: Basix

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Accommodations

Guesthouse (1 nights), Homestay (2 nights), Hotel (9 nights), Overnight sleeper train (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
4.4
Repeat with Operator
4.1
Value for Money
3.8

Ratings based off 206 reviews about Intrepid Tours - currently showing 9 reviews with comments only

Intrepid is awesome. Our guide was superb. Everything went smoothly!

Our tour guide was wonderful. She was knowledgeable, fun, energetic, and made our week run very smoothly. The trip itself was fantastic! We saw a lot and the islands are absolutely beautiful. Great food, great new friends made on the tour, and would absolutely book with Intrepid again.

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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