Best of Vietnam

Intrepid Travel Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
4.6 . Excellent
94%
Travel Style: Array Mixed
Physical Level: All or most of day hiking or biking, hills included. Moderate
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value (3*)
20 days
From: $ 2,448 $ 122 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights (Bullets)

  • Experience local life during homestays in the Mekong Delta and Da Bac. Get to know local families, participate in their activities and enjoy a homestyle meal.
  • Travel to both popular and lesser-known destinations in Vietnam, including tourist hotspots like Halong Bay and hidden gems such as Da Bac
  • See Vietnam through an exciting mix of transport, including motorbike, sampan, junk-style boat, bus and train
  • Visit the mind-boggling Phong Nha and Thien Duong Caves. These labyrinthine systems were used to shelter civilians during the Vietnam/American War
  • Spend a day in Hue, touring the city's sights on a motorbike and eating lunch at a serene nunnery
  • Relax in the turquoise waters at Nha Trang and discover local fisherman's life on a boat trip.

Short Description

Experience quintessential Vietnam on this comprehensive trip from south to north. Travel from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi and experience dynamic cities, tranquil backwaters, imperial ruins, faded colonial elegance and picture-perfect landscapes dotted with reminders of the past. Explore the narrow cobbled streets of Hoi An’s Old Town, encounter local tribes on a hike in the mountains of Da Bac and whizz through the back streets of Hue as you uncover the very best of Vietnam.

Style Small group tour
Spend most of the time outdoors. Common trip themes and activities include cycling, hiking, kayaking, whitewater rafting.
Itinerary Focus Active
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value (3*)
Flight & Transport Inclusions All internal ground transport
Start City Ho Chi Minh City
End City Hanoi

Destinations

Vietnam

Attractions & Cities Visited

Cai Be Hanoi Ho Chi Minh Hoi An Hue

Activities & Interests

Culture Historic sightseeing

Age Requirement

15-99

No single supplement
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Itinerary

Day 1 Ho Chi Minh City

Xin chao! Welcome to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm today, where you'll get to know your fellow travellers and meet your legendary group leader. If you arrive early before the meeting, perhaps head to Pham Ngu Lao Street to see the local open-aired market, visit Vinh Nghiem Pagoda or one of the amusements parks. Ho Chi Minh City has a dynamic atmosphere and a French influence. After the welcome meeting, you may like to join your group for an optional meal at one of the city's fantastic eating spots. Because this trip doesn’t spend much time in Ho Chi Minh City, you might even choose to spend an extra day or two here to see the sights.

Day 2 Ho Chi Minh City

After breakfast today, you’ll visit one of the most important sites in Ho Chi Minh City, the famous Cu Chi Tunnels. These complex tunnels were used by the Viet Cong in the long war against the Americans and were instrumental to the Vietnamese victory. You'll be amazed by the ingenuity of these dangerous tunnels. Later in the day, take a tour of the city, passing the Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Opera House. Head to the War Remnants Museum for a sobering yet informative lesson on the Vietnam War. Here you’ll see things like old military equipment, an F5A fighter and a UH1-Huey helicopter.

Day 3 Mekong Delta Homestay

Today you'll travel south by private minibus to Cai Be. When you arrive, you’ll board a boat and explore the intricate waterways of the Mekong Delta. Often referred to as ‘the rice bowl’ of Vietnam, the fertile delta is where rice, tropical fruit and flowers are grown for the whole country. You'll get a chance to get off the boat to visit an orchard and sample some tropical fruit. You’ll then continue on the cruise and visit a selection of local cottage industries along the way where you'll experience local life and the industries surrounding the river up close. For sunset today, you’ll make your way up one of the many canals to your homestay where you’ll tuck into a wonderful meal of local specialities. Your guesthouse accommodation tonight will be simple, but the experience will be rewarding.

Day 4 Ho Chi Minh City

Travel back to Ho Chi Minh City today and enjoy some free time to do a bit of sightseeing at your leisure. We recommend exploring the city’s restaurants and trying Ho Chi Minh City’s distinctive fresh and flavoursome food. In contrast to the north of Vietnam, the cuisine here is spicier, sweeter and more varied. There are also plenty of street food stalls if you’d like to take a few bites of the local fare.

Day 5 Dalat

After exploring Ho Chi Minh City, take a bus transfer to Dalat. Temperate and cool compared to the rest of the country, Dalat has gained the name “City of Eternal Spring” due to the mists that cover its nearby valleys nearly all year around. This fairytale nickname spreads to its amazing architecture – the Hang Na guesthouse, an expressionist masterpiece, stands as a towering, melted stone obelisk over the lush garden below. There’s also plenty of charming Art Deco-influenced structures and gardens littering the area as well. This afternoon, perhaps go for a wander through the streets for a better feel of the city or find a café for a cup of artichoke tea, a regional specialty.

Day 6 Dalat

Dalat’s soothing climate isn’t just a great reprieve from the heat of Vietnam's coast, it also creates the perfect environment to grow a wide selection of fruits, vegetables and herbs. Take a full day to stroll through the tranquil gardens of this city, darting past plantations full of plump vegetables, dazzling flowers, medicinal herbs, aromatic lavender and juicy strawberries. You'll enjoy a guided garden visit to learn more about this fruitful area.

Day 7 Nha Trang

After breakfast this morning travel by minibus to the coastal town of Nha Trang. On arrival, stretch your legs with a leader-led orientation walk. Then, enjoy free time in the afternoon and evening in this stunning coastal city -you might like to make a beeline straight to the beach or try a mud bath. Be sure to find a beach side bar for a cocktail at sunset and then tuck into some of this town's epic seafood - your leader knows all the good spots, so be sure to ask them for their top tips.

Day 8 Nha Trang / Overnight train

After breakfast this morning, enjoy a leisurely boat trip in Nha Trang Bay. You'll stop at Mieu Island to learn about local fishermen's life here, and even get a chance to give it a go yourself with the rowing bamboo basket boat. Then you'll hop to Tam Island and enjoy swimming and snorkelling in the turquoise water amongst the stunning corals. Head back to Nha Trang in the early afternoon. This evening, board an overnight train to Da Nang. Conditions are basic on these trains and hygiene standards may be lower than what you’re used to at home, however overnight trains are the best way to brush shoulders with the locals and make the best use of your time. Most trains have a dining carriage serving simple food, but we recommend stocking up on snacks before you board.

Day 9 Hoi An

You'll arrive in Hoi An early today. Recently declared a World Heritage site, Hoi An was a major trading port with the West from the 15th to the 19th century. Today it has been restored to look exactly as it did more than a century ago, giving it an old-world feel full of nooks and crannies for you to explore. You’ll have some free time to wonder the city and adventure at your own leisure this afternoon. Hoi An is very much a shopping mecca. Why not browse the paintings, woodwork, ceramics, embroidery all made by the locals? The city is also famous for its talented tailors who work with beautiful fabrics for a good price.

Day 10 Hoi An

Enjoy another free day in the town of Hoi An. You’ll have time to see the beautiful Chinese shophouses, enjoy the busy market, visit Cua Dai Beach, cycle to the rice fields or browse the array of art galleries. With plenty of options to keep you busy in this quaint city, you can build the day into whatever you wish.

Day 11 Hue

This morning, wave goodbye to Hoi An as we make tracks to the white sand and blue sea of My Khe Beach. Continue on the journey and cross the dramatic Hai Van Pass and make a quick stop at the fishing village of Lang Co before making your way to Hue. The former imperial capital of Vietnan, Hue contains the treasures of Vietnam’s royal history, and has a curious blend of bustling streets and tranquil settings. You'll explore the Imperial Citadel this afternoon - this fortress houses the Imperial City and the citadel-within-a-citadel, the Forbidden Purple City. This icon was almost completely destroyed during the Vietnam War, and the ruins and holes left by bombs are a reminder of the destruction caused by the war. In your free time here you might like to visit to Dong Ba Market which offers locally made goods, fresh produce and tantalising street food. This is a good place to try the specialties enjoyed by Emperor Nguyen such as the banh khoai royal rice cake.

Day 12 Hue

Today’s adventure will be taken on the back of a motorbike. You’ll have your own driver who will take you first on a drive around the Imperial Citadel, including the Forbidden Purple City. The latter was almost completely destroyed during the Tet Offensive in the Vietnam War, but its humble, foliage-covered ruins remain a testament to its proud history. Here you'll gain some insight into the horrific damage endured during the war. Next, you'll ride to a special lunch spot at a convent or Buddhist monastery for a delicious home-cooked vegetarian feast. After lunch, drive to the royal tomb of Emperor Tu Duc, set amid a lake, frangipani bushes and pine trees. This evening, perhaps ask your leader for the best place to try imperial street specialties.

Day 13 Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park

Today, we'll take a minibus to the Vinh Moc Tunnels. These were used during the Vietnam War as shelter for the villagers who were escaping intense bombing. Incredibly, the locals here lived in the underground system that went over three levels. You’ll get a chance to enter the tunnels which remain in their original form. This afternoon, continue on to a picturesque village outside the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. Our accommodation here is situated on a farm, with rooms set in bungalows positioned throughout the property. The 'farmstay' was established to help the small town benefit economically from tourism, while it has also adopted recycling and waste management programs.

Day 14 Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park / Overnight train

After breakfast today, visit the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage site contains the oldest known karst mountains in Asia. The area is also known for its enormous cave system. You’ll visit the Thien Duong Cave (Paradise Cave), then take a cruise up the Son River towards the Phong Cave - the scale of the place is truly astounding. In the late afternoon, travel to Dong Hoi and catch an overnight sleeper train to Hanoi.

Day 15 Hanoi

Arrive in Hanoi early in the morning and transfer to your hotel. Vietnam’s capital is famous for its beautiful lakes, shaded boulevards, public parks and French-style Old Quarter. As an emerging city in South East Asia, Hanoi has an attractive contrast of modern office buildings, old Buddhist temples and a labyrinth of ancient streets. Later in the day, you’ll visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum complex, including One Pillar Pagoda and the Ho Chi Minh Museum.

Day 16 Da Bac

Today you'll kiss goodbye to Hanoi after breakfast and make the drive to Sung village. There are around 70 families living at Sung Village and the majority are Dzao ‘Tien’ people. Farming and forest plantation are their main source of income. You'll enjoy a traditional lunch at your homestay then take an introductory walk around the village. After getting to know the village better, take a short trek (2 kilometres) to the alluring Sung Cave and visit a 100-year-old tea plantation. The trek has some steep and slippery sections so please ensure you have suitable footwear for this activity. After a handicraft workshop, return to your homestay accommodation for a nice hot shower and a delicious dinner.

Day 17 Hanoi

This morning, you'll get the opportunity to take in more of the Vietnamese highlands on a 10 kilometre (6.2 mi) trek from Sung Village to Da Bia. The first 8km of the trek is mostly flat ground along well-worn buffalo tracks. The final 2km gradually inclines and for a period of approximately 300m there are some steps to climb, however the walk will be a steady relaxed pace. Keep an eye peeled for the monumental stone at the peak of Da Bia Mountain during the hike that takes us through the local villages, meeting people from the ethnic Muong tribe along the way. Stop for lunch at Da Bia before enjoying a scenic 1.5 hour boat cruise on Hoa Binh hydropower reservoir. Arrive at Thung Nai then board a bus transfer to Hanoi, where you'll arrive at around 6 pm. This evening is free for you to explore this delightful city. Why not relax with a bia hoi (freshly brewed draught beer) at one of the microbars in the Old Quarter?

Day 18 Halong Bay

After breakfast today, drive to Bai Chay Harbour towards the famous world heritage site of Halong Bay. A blue-green bay studded with limestone outcrops, this area is full of beaches and natural grottos. You’ll take a boat through the limestone peaks and caves filled with stalactites and stalagmites and have the chance to go for a swim or perhaps take a kayak out on the bay. Spend the night on board the boat beneath a sky alive with starlight. The boat has twin-share cabins with air-conditioning and private facilities. There’s also a dining room and bar where you can enjoy the day’s meals.

Day 19 Hanoi

After breakfast today you'll return to Hanoi, arriving mid afternoon to enjoy a water puppetry performance - a unique and traditional Vietnamese art form. Afterwards, perhaps mark the end of your trip with an optional farewell dinner. Spend a final night in Hanoi before the trip ends tomorrow.

Day 20 Hanoi

There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. There’s so much to see and do in Hanoi, why not stay a day or two longer? We’ll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you have extra time, you may like to do an Urban Adventure tour. Your leader will be able to assist you in booking the tour of your choice. See urbanadventures.com/destination/hanoi-tours.

Availability

Checking price
Price From $ 2,448
Price Per Day: $ 122 per day
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Apr-21-2024May-10-2024$ 2,88512 spots left Reserve
May-05-2024May-24-2024$ 2,88512 spots left Reserve
Jul-07-2024Jul-26-2024$ 2,88512 spots left Reserve
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Prices may vary due to local taxes and trip seasonality. Click "Request Info" to inquire directly with the tour operator for the final trip price.

4,186 Intrepid Travel Travel Reviews & Ratings

94%
4.6 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 3,164
Great 667
Average 132
Disappointing 66
Terrible 157
Value
4.6
Guide
4.6
Activities
4.6
Lodging
4.6
Transportation
4.6
Meals
4.6

Best of Vietnam

The Best of Vietnam trip was an excellent way to experience

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
The Best of Vietnam trip was an excellent way to experience the diversity that the country provides in food, culture, history, landscape and communities. The many cities and places we visited gave an amazing insight into a country that has survived so much turmoil and suffering but welcomes visitors with open arms, sharing with them fantastic food and beautiful scenery. The trip involved travelling in mini buses, overnight trains and boats. Our accommodation ranged from city hotels to huts in local villages, with one of the many highlights being the overnight cruise on the majestic Halong Bay. Vietnam is well worth a visit, but allow the time to see as much of the country as possible.
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I have traveled all over the world and this was by far the best trip

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
I have traveled all over the world and this was by far the best trip I have ever taken! Nam (our guide) was wonderful. Vietnam is so beautiful, the people very friendly and the food was great!! Not a single person had "tummy" problems because of the food. If you only take one trip, take this one and ask for Nam as your guide. I can't wait to go back!!
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Fantastic trip

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Fantastic trip in Vietnam which includes amazing sites and fun and interesting information with great accommodations with a fun tour leader, Q !!!
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Extremely passionate and are very proud

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
We highly recommend intrepid tours. We have done 2 tours with them and both times it has been highly organised. The tour leaders have been extremely passionate and are very proud to talk about and show you their country. The accommodation is normally of very good standard and the homestays are wonderful- a chance to talk to locals. They take you to places you want to see but you also have a good amount of free time.
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Tour leader Tuyen was excellent. Great variety

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Tour leader Tuyen was excellent. Great variety in experiences and locations.

Had a brilliant time filled with amazing

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Had a brilliant time filled with amazing scenery, food and culture. Local tour leaders were full of fun, passionate about their country and considerate to everyone's needs. I only wish I could have stayed longer.
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Details

Flight & Transport Inclusions

All internal ground transport Boat,Overnight sleeper train,Private minibus,Taxi,Train

Group Size

Small Group - 24 max

Maximum Number of People in Group: 12

Accommodations

Homestay (2 nights),Farm Stay (1 night),Hotel (13 nights),Overnight boat (1 night),Overnight sleeper train (2 night)

Guides

All 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 are 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.

Age Notes :

Min. Age: 15

Max Age: 99

Additional Information

Finish point

  • Thang Long Espana Hotel
  • 63 Nguyen Truong To Str., Ba Dinh Dist.
  • Hanoi
  • VIETNAM
  • Phone: +84 2437163233
  • Fax: +84 2437163232

Trip ID#:

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