Trip Type : Small Group Tour
Explore Vietnam tour
Hanoi Ho Chi Minh Explore Vietnam Trip

Explore Vietnam

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4.7 . Excellent
98%
Travel Style: You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level: Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level: You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping. Basic - 2 star
11 days
From: $ 626 $ 57 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights

  • 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.

Short Description

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.

Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
Trip Type Small Group Tour
Off the beaten track trips will stretch your comfort zone. They don't always feature tourist highlights, but dive deeper into local life and culture.
Itinerary Focus Off the Beaten Path
You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping.
Lodging Level Basic - 2 star
Flights & Transport Only ground transport
Start City Hanoi
End City Ho Chi Minh City

Destinations

Vietnam

Cities & Attractions

Hanoi Ho Chi Minh Hoi An

Activities

N/A

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Itinerary

Day 1 Hanoi

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.

Day 2 Cat Ba Island

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 quick 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. Stay overnight on Cat Ba Island and enjoy a dip at one of the beaches and a cold beer.

Day 3 Hanoi - Overnight Train

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.

Day 4 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. 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.

Day 5 Hoi An

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.

Day 6 Hoi An

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.

Day 7 Hoi An - Overnight Train

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.

Day 8 Phan Rang

Arrive in Phan Rang early this morning for two days of relaxation. With 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.

Day 9 Phan Rang - Overnight Train

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.

Day 10 Ho Chi Minh City

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.

Day 11 Ho Chi Minh City

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.

Availability

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Price From $ 626
Price Per Day: $ 57 per day
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Stride Featured in

Stride Feature In

3,163 Intrepid Travel Travel Reviews & Ratings

98%
4.7 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 2,356
Great 625
Average 101
Disappointing 37
Terrible 39
Value
4.7
Guide
4.7
Activities
4.7
Lodging
4.7
Transportation
4.7
Meals
4.7

Explore Vietnam

Write a Review

Our guide Phuong was awesome. I was

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Our guide Phuong was awesome. I was happy with everything he recommended for us from shops to food. He was very knowledgable and seemed to have the resources to help us with any issues. We had a good balance of free time and optional acivities. I felt safe with our guide and group at all times.
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We had an absolutely brilliant time on

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
We had an absolutely brilliant time on the trip. Phuong was a brilliant guide from start to finish and the schedule allowed us enough time to enjoy all the best bits of Vietnam and at a really reasonable price.
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Our guide Huy Van was excellent with

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Our guide Huy Van was excellent with his knowledge of Vietnam and made us all feel like a part of his family. No question was too hard and was always explained in a way that we would understand. His english was also very good. The overall itinerary was well put together .
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All the activities proposed were interesting, well

4.0
Details
Value4.0
Guide4.0
Activities4.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation4.0
Meals4.0
All the activities proposed were interesting, well organised and the optionals ones were suggestions, not "imposed"

Overall a great trip, good mix of

4.0
Details
Value4.0
Guide4.0
Activities4.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation4.0
Meals4.0
Overall a great trip, good mix of people, generally fairly sensible itinerary, knowledgeable guide. Probably a little overpriced.

The trip itinerary was great, but our

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
The trip itinerary was great, but our guide really made the trip fantastic, honoring the Basix mentality with lots of free time while offering plenty of opportunities for group activities. As for recommending Intrepid, both my wife and I talked it up quite a bit on our tour. Vietnam was our third Intrepid trip. We appreciate the "real" experiences offered in the tour itineraries as well as the knowledge of local guides. Intrepid tours also seem to draw like-minded travelers; mid-20s to mid-30s experienced travelers, mostly low-maintenance folks, not a lot of partying and an appreciation of the cultural experiences offered in the tour. Intrepid is a perfect fit for the traveling we like to do.
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Details

Flights & Transport

Only ground transport Boat,Overnight sleeper train,Private vehicle

Group Size:

Small Group - 24 max

Maximum Number of People in Group: 16

Accomodations

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

Guides

All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

Additional Information:

Finish point

  • Blessing Central Saigon Hotel
  • 267-269 Le Thanh Ton
  • District 1
  • Ho Chi Minh City
  • VIETNAM
  • Phone: 84 838242616

Alternate Finish point

  • For trips departing on the following dates, use this finish point.
  • 08 Jan 2020 (TVRR200108), 15 Jan 2020 (TVRR200115), 22 Jan 2020 (TVRR200122), 12 Feb 2020 (TVRR200212), 19 Feb 2020 (TVRR200219), 26 Feb 2020 (TVRR200226), 04 Mar 2020 (TVRR200304), 11 Mar 2020 (TVRR200311), 18 Mar 2020 (TVRR200318), 08 Apr 2020 (TVRR200408), 15 Apr 2020 (TVRR200415), 22 Apr 2020 (TVRR200422), 13 May 2020 (TVRR200513), 20 May 2020 (TVRR200520), 27 May 2020 (TVRR200527), 17 Jun 2020 (TVRR200617), 24 Jun 2020 (TVRR200624), 08 Jul 2020 (TVRR200708), 15 Jul 2020 (TVRR200715), 29 Jul 2020 (TVRR200729), 05 Aug 2020 (TVRR200805), 19 Aug 2020 (TVRR200819), 26 Aug 2020 (TVRR200826), 02 Sep 2020 (TVRR200902), 09 Sep 2020 (TVRR200909), 16 Sep 2020 (TVRR200916), 23 Sep 2020 (TVRR200923), 30 Sep 2020 (TVRR200930), 07 Oct 2020 (TVRR201007), 14 Oct 2020 (TVRR201014), 21 Oct 2020 (TVRR201021), 28 Oct 2020 (TVRR201028), 04 Nov 2020 (TVRR201104), 11 Nov 2020 (TVRR201111), 18 Nov 2020 (TVRR201118), 21 Nov 2020 (TVRR201121), 25 Nov 2020 (TVRR201125), 02 Dec 2020 (TVRR201202), 09 Dec 2020 (TVRR201209), 16 Dec 2020 (TVRR201216), 23 Dec 2020 (TVRR201223), 26 Dec 2020 (TVRR201226)
  • Valentine Hotel Saigon (was Aston Hotel)
  • 27-29 Bui Vien Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward
  • District 1
  • Ho Chi Minh City
  • VIETNAM
  • Phone: +84 838389988

Trip ID#:

intrepid-TVRR

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