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- Day 1: Arrival in Hanoi – Welcome Home-hosted Dinner
- Day 2: Hanoi – Sightseeing, Cyclo Ride & Foodie Tour
- Day 3: Hanoi – Authentic Local Cooking Class
- Day 4: Hanoi – Halong Bay
- Day 5: Halong Bay – Hanoi – Flight to Da Nang/ Hoi An
- Day 6: Hoi An – Farming, Cooking Class & Foodie Tour
- Day 7: Hoi An – Day at leisure
- Day 8: Hoi An – Hue – Evening Royal Banquet
- Day 9: Hue – Sightseeing – Flight to Ho Chi Minh City
- Day 10: HCM City – City Sightseeing & Food tour
- Day 11: Ho Chi Minh City – Mekong Delta (Ben Tre & Can Tho)
- Day 12: Can Tho – Cai Rang Floating Market - HCM City
- Day 13: HCM City – Departure
Vietnamese cuisine has been a rising star on the world culinary map, and if you love travelling, why not do both in one trip? Fall in love with the country’s beauty and also with its delicious food on this 12-day tour. The highlights in Hanoi will be its iconic ‘Pho’ and the street food plus a traditional cooking class. Enjoy the 5-star cuisine on a cruise around Halong Bay, with the gorgeous backdrop of its unique limestone karsts. Hoi An and Hue are Vietnam’s two most famous food hubs, known for their eye-catching presentation paired with the most delicious flavours. While exploring the mesmerizing landscapes you can enjoy the most delicious food in central Vietnam, plus have a hands-on experience cooking a traditional meal. In Ho Chi Minh City, later you can head out on a foodie tour with XO motor-riders to find the local’s favourite street food stalls. Wrap up the holiday with a variety of activities from biking, boating on the Mekong Delta and tasting local cuisine, wines, and fruit.
Arrival in Hanoi – Welcome Home-hosted DinnerDay 1
Xin Chao! Welcome to Hanoi, Vietnam.
Upon arrival at Hanoi Airport, your private guide and driver are waiting to meet you, holding up a welcome signboard with your names on it and take you directly to your hotel in the Old Quarter.
We have left this afternoon free for you to relax, unwind, and become accustomed to your new surrounding. There will be a short tour briefing this evening with your guide followed by a welcome home-hosted dinner at a Hanoian family which will give you a hearty and appropriate introduction to Vietnamese authentic cuisine.
Your guide and driver will meet you again and take you to a local home, where you are warmly welcomed in by a local family. After an inviting cup of tea and a short introduction, step into the family’s main hall to learn more about their traditions and beliefs. Next, head to their kitchen for an entertaining demonstration of secret recipes. Finally, gather round the table for dinner with your family hosts, on this exclusive experience. Return to your hotel with a deeper understanding of local life.
Please note: Your travel documents contain a Visa-on-Arrival letter (unless otherwise arranged). Please ensure to pack this in your carry-on luggage. Your Visa-on-Arrival letter must be presented to Customs upon entry into the country.
Overnight in Hanoi
Hanoi – Sightseeing, Cyclo Ride & Foodie TourDay 2
Hanoi is a bustling and fascinating city – a whirlwind of colours, smells and sounds and a wonderful place to get a real flavour of life in Vietnam.
After breakfast your private guide and driver will meet you at the hotel lobby and take you on a half-day tour to discover the city, taking in sights including the Ba Dinh Square, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the Presidential Palace, Ho Chi Minh’s house-on-stilts and the nearby One Pillar Pagoda.
Continue to visit the historic Temple of Literature (Vietnam’s first university, built in the 11th century), the iconic Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple.
For your continuous culinary experience, at lunchtime, you will meet Mrs. Anh Tuyet, a recognized Culinary Artist, and the traditional Hanoi Cuisine Conservationist, and enjoy an authentic lunch at her restaurant. As the seventh generation of a Hanoi original family, the chef Anh Tuyet was fortunate to inherit the ingenuity of her grandmother’s cooking. At 9 years old, the granddaughter Anh Tuyet was sitting at her grandmother’s side, she was told from picking vegetables, choosing vegetables to make good and healthy food. Anh Tuyet’s restaurant becomes the favorite place for gourmands and chefs coming from all over the world including students from Orlando Cultural Academy (USA), Anthony Bourdain (a well-known chef in Manhattan), Eckart Witzigmann (3-star Michelin rank chef from Australia) and so on.
After lunch, you will return to the hotel for your free time. Just relax or enjoy a massage.
At around 4 pm when it’s cooling down, meet your guide again and take a fun cyclo (a three-wheeled bicycle taxi) ride through the French colonial architecture of the precinct known as the French Quater, past the French-style villas, the Vietnam History Museum, the heritage Metropole Legend Hotel and the Opera House, name to a few.
Embark on a walking tour of Hanoi’s best culinary spots with a famous local food blogger who has an enormous passion for his country’s food, and culture.
You will be met at the hotel and set off for the foodie tour. Start with a short walk to Thanh Ha market, a busy, eclectic market alive with the sounds and smells of Hanoi. Here you will capture the essence of Vietnamese culture while browsing the food stalls, hearing about local culinary culture, and sampling unusual Hanoi delicacies.
Next, proceed to the lively Dong Xuan market where you can sample a few local treats such as Pho Tiu (noodle soup with pork and herbs) and Bun Dau (tofu served in soup with rice noodles and shrimp paste). Your food expert will share the secrets of these dishes and explain about Vietnamese meal times.
Continue to see ceremonial cake stalls and taste a special French influenced dessert. At the end of the tour you will stop at one of the Old Quarter’s busiest, yet smallest, coffee shops for a well-earned sit down and coffee before transferring back to your hotel.
Overnight in Hanoi
Hanoi – Authentic Local Cooking ClassDay 3
Vietnamese cuisine is famous for its diversity in cooking styles, ingredients, ways of serving, and especially for its healthiness. As the heart of the country, Hanoi embodies all finest around Vietnam, where the cuisine is entitled the most attractive and typical.
Today you will embark on a fun excursion to the outskirt of Hanoi to join an authentic and traditional cooking class with typical Northern Vietnam dishes.
Meet your private guide and drive out of the city to the Ngoc Thuy Market – a vibrant and authentic local market. Here your Chef will greet and guide you around the market, demystify the local produce, explain the market culture, and encourage you to taste some of its most exotic ingredients. Try your bargain skill and buy fresh ingredients for the cooking class’s menu. After your Vietnam trip, you surely can bargain anything you want to buy.
After the shopping, you will pay a visit to the Temple of Hero Ly Thuong Kiet, a local pagoda and a local herb garden where your personal chef will have a short talk on the art of Hanoian gastronomy, vegetables, herbs & spices & how to prepare & use them.
Proceed to the cooking school where you will roll into the kitchen and start cooking 4 main dishes of a traditional meal. The hands-on lesson includes learning cooking, cutting techniques, and how to use a Vietnamese vegetable grater & knife. You will be carefully guided step-by-step by your professional chef to make your own Masterpiece.
After all the lessons and cooking, you will sit down and with your Chef eat what you have together cooked. Engage in more conversation with your chef who will share some of her kitchen secrets and tips, which led to the creation of her cooking classes.
Bid a fond farewell to your chef and transfer back to your hotel where the remainder of the afternoon and evening at leisure. You can continue to explore Hanoi’s Old Quarter and try dozens of famous loch dishes such as Pho Cuon (fresh spring rolls), and Nom (Mixed Salad).
Overnight in Hanoi
Hanoi – Halong BayDay 4
After breakfast, your private tour guide will pick you up and take you through the rich farmlands of the Red River Delta to the legendary Halong Bay where you will board a traditional-style Vietnamese Junk Boat that is your home for the evening. The limestone karsts and tropical islets rising up from the emerald waters of the bay provide an ethereal backdrop for your leisurely cruise.
Upon arrival you’ll be welcomed aboard your Stylish Junk boat, each with its own individual route, to begin your cruise around the bay’s thousands of limestone islets and caves.
After a delicious lunch on board, you will spend time to sunbathe on the sundeck and enjoy the peaceful tranquility of the bay.
Later you will visit Sung Sot Cave “Grotte des Surprises” a hidden gem of mother nature. Float peacefully through magnificent limestone formations containing thousands of stalagmites and stalactites.
Continue to cruise. As you weave your way through the islands, you’ll come across secluded bays, white sandy beaches, and floating villages.
There is plenty of leisure time to enjoy activities both onboard and around the fantastical scenery of the Bay. Pamper yourself at the cruise spa or swim in the emerald waters.
Toward the end of the day, you will sail to the overnight mooring area. During this time – the magical “blue hour” – Halong Bay reveals its true, magnificent beauty. You have a chance to attend the chef’s cooking demonstration or enjoy a mesmerising sunset on the top deck before a scrumptious dinner.
The rest of the evening will be at leisure. You can watch a movie or join the crew for squid fishing before retiring to your room for a restful sleep.
Note: If your time permits, we would highly recommend an additional night on board which gives you a lot more time to relax and take in the amazing landscape. You’ll get to cruise deeper into the Bay where it’s more beautiful and less crowded.
Overnight on board in Halong Bay
Halong Bay – Hanoi – Fly to Danang/ Hoi AnDay 5
The graceful practice of Tai Chi eases you into your day as is the local custom. Join a ‘Local Specialist’ on the deck of the Junk boat for a morning class in exquisite natural surrounds. You’ll have time for an early morning swim at one of Halong Bay’s quiet beaches and, if you’re feeling energetic, hop on a kayak and paddle through the Dark and Bright Caves admiring the glittering stone walls.
Back to the Junk boat. Check out of the cabin and then enjoy a full brunch buffet as you cruise back to port. Disembark around midday for your return drive to Hanoi.
From Hanoi, you will be transferred to the airport to catch the flight to Da Nang, in the central of Vietnam.
Upon arrival at Da Nang airport, you will be picked up by your private guide & driver and taken to your hotel in Hoi An, the UNESCO heritage town. Hoi An has a pick of two beaches just 5kms (3 miles) away with so many beautiful beach resorts so please advise us if you prefer to stay on the beach.
Overnight in Hoi An
Hoi An – Farming, Cooking Class & Foodie TourDay 6
Meet your guide again and start to explore rural Hoi An on a beautiful cycling adventure. Your ride begins by exploring the hidden passageways and winding alleyways of Hoi An countryside. Ride along small lanes at a peaceful pace viewing local life and pause to see farmers toiling in their rice fields using centuries of farming practices. Peddle your way through palm forests, across bridges, fields of water buffalo…
Take a short break at a local family in Cam Thanh Village before enjoying a fun ride on the traditional Basket Boat (round boat) in the Water Coconut Palm Forest. Learn how to sail the basket boat and spend your time to catch fishes and “purple crabs” in the Canal.
Continue riding to Tra Que Organic Vegetable Village, where a large variety of vegetables is produced for the local community. At the village, you will be shown the environmentally sustainable practices which the local villagers have used for centuries and is still being used extensively today.
After some farming practices, you will head to a family in the local village to enjoy a foot massage and the traditional herbal foot dip. After that, you will participate in a hands-on cooking class. Together with your Chef, you will learn the traditional ways of preparing and cooking Vietnamese food from scratch. Using the freshest ingredients and traditional Vietnamese utensils (still in use today) you will cook 4 famous dishes like: Tra Que Vegetable Salad, Tam Huu (spring onion rolls), Banh Xeo (Vietnamese pancake) & Hoi An fresh spring rolls.
After the class, you sit down and have a chance to savour the dishes you and your chef have prepared. Bid a farewell to your chef and ride back to your hotel.
Embark on a 4-hour walking and food tour through the narrow winding streets of the Ancient Quarter, visiting the Tan Ky house, the 400-year-old Japanese Covered Bridge, the Assembly Hall of the Chaozhou Chinese Congregation and the Central Market.
The walking tour combines with food tasting and off-the-beaten sightseeing. This tour is designed to give you the confidence to go out and try street food on your own when you visit a heaven of street food like Vietnam. You’ll also discover a different Hoi An – not beautiful decorating restaurants. This tour is a delicious and fun way to explore Hoi An just like a local. The local dishes you will are Chicken Rice, Hoanh Thanh (Chinese inspired won ton), Banh Vac (white rose cake), and Banh Beo (water fern cake).
Overnight in Hoi An
Hoi An – Day at leisureDay 7
Today is free for you to explore Hoi An further or simply relax at your hotel. Hoi An is truly a food heaven. You can try numerous local specialties in one of many restaurants in Hoi An. Certainly, vegetarian and vegan choices are available. Or if you are keen on exploring more about Vietnam Culinary, let’s join a cooking class with Hoi An’s most famous Chef Ms. Vy who has over 30 years of experience in the kitchen – the first 11 of which were in her parent’s restaurant followed later by her own. Over this time, Ms. Vy has gathered an unrivaled repertoire of Vietnamese dishes. Ms. Vy has published her first Book, Taste Vietnam: The Morning Glory Cookbook. Having sold over 35,000 copies, the book reflected Vy’s passion for Vietnamese cuisine and cooking.
Overnight in Hoi An
Hoi An – Hue – Evening Royal BanquetDay 8
After breakfast, you will depart Hoi An heading north to the Royal City of Hue. Your 4-hour trip, hugging the coastline along the Eastern Sea, provides breathtaking views that grow ever more spectacular as we wind our way up Hai Van Pass (“Pass of the Clouds”). On the way, you will stop to visit some sites, such as Non-Nuoc Stone Carving Village, Marble Mountain, and Lang Co Beach.
Arrive at the hotel in Hue at mid-noon. You will be served a light lunch with some local specialties of Hue:
– Nem Lui (Hue Lemongrass Skewers)
– Banh Beo (Steamed Rice Cakes) …
– Bun Thit Nuong (Vermicelli Noodles With Grilled Pork) …
– Banh It Ram (Fried Sticky Rice Dumplings)
You will be transferred to the outskirt to visit Hue’s most impressive tomb of King Tu Duc to learn more about Royal’s life. En route, you will stop to visit the Incense and Conical Hat making villages.
Hue is famous for its Royal cuisine. The Nguyen Emperors’ banquets were legendary. Some feats were said to have included 300 rare dishes served in more than a thousand bowls. Tonight you will head out to enjoy a Royal Banquet. You will be entertained by the traditional Hue Imperial Court music and served a multiple course meal in the royal tradition of the Imperial Court. Each dish is exquisitely prepared to symbolize the dragon, the phoenix, and the peacock. A truly unique experience.
Overnight in Hue
Hue – Sightseeing – Flight to Ho Chi Minh CityDay 9
After breakfast, you will navigate the busy streets of Hue on the back of a cyclo en route to Dong Ba market, an exciting market filled with colorful sights, sounds, and smells. At the market, you will have a chance to discover a favourite Noddle shop by Anthony Bourdain – the World Famous Chef and TV Producer. Here you will sample the best Bun Bo Hue “Hue Noddle soup”.
From the market, you will be transferred to Thien Mu Pagoda, Hue’s best-preserved religious monument. Boarding a local dragon boat next, you cruise along the Perfume River.
Continue your journey to discover the UNESCO World Heritage-listed wonder of the Atmospheric Citadel including the Forbidden Purple City. After that proceed to the Hue Royal Antiques Museum to see a collection of ornaments, where preserves royal treasures have a history with many changes.
Today you will have an opportunity to visit the house of the former Princess Ngoc Son where you will ‘Connect With Locals’ and meet a family member for a home-hosted lunch to gain a glimpse of their life in this historic house.
After lunch you will be driven to Hue airport for a short flight to Ho Chi Minh City, still called Saigon by the locals. Arrive and transfer to your hotel in downtown for check-in. The remainder of the afternoon and evening will be at your leisure.
For your dining experience, we would highly recommend the top-notch Noir Restaurant where you can embark on a culinary journey like no other: Dining in the Dark. Experience a different world in which you savor exquisite tastes and textures in complete darkness.
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City
HCM City – City Sightseeing & Food tourDay 10
After breakfast, you will begin your exploration of this vibrant City. Take a walking tour of Dong Khoi Street where the Heritage icons and modern high-rises stand side by side. During the walking tour, you will pass by the Opera House and the former Hotel de Ville. Then, wander up to Notre Dame Cathedral and the Central Post Office, designed by the renowned Gustave Eiffel.
Continue to the War Remnants Museum and the Reunification Palace where you’ll have a vivid glimpse of the war through the eyes of the locals. Your final stop will be Ben Thanh market, one of the earliest surviving structures in old Saigon.
Today you will enjoy lunch at BLOOM restaurant. Your visit will ‘Make A Difference’ to this Culinary Vocational Training facility developed by the charity ‘Aid to Children Without Parents’ that provides training to disadvantaged young people in the hospitality industry enabling them to become self-reliant.
Finish the tour and return to your hotel for your leisure time.
Experience the City’s nightlife the way locals do, all from the back of a Vespa scooter. Sample the most amazing dishes that Vietnam has the offer! Taste your way through cuisine from North Vietnam, Hue and the South. The Foodie is the most acclaimed Vietnam Food tour, and is designed to introduce you to the dishes and desserts that most food blogs and other tours don’t really touch upon!
During the food tour, you will be taken to the most popular street stalls and hidden alleyways in the city and we will show you where the locals really love to eat! So save your appetite, delight your palate, and let us fill your tummy with delicious and authentic Vietnamese Food!
The foodie tour focuses on street food dishes that most people outside of Vietnam have never had a chance to experience. The food is not just a gastronomic tour, but a great way to see parts of the city that the majority of tourists do not get to see.
Overnight in HCM City
Ho Chi Minh City – Mekong Delta (Ben Tre & Can Tho)Day 11
After breakfast, your private guide and driver will take you out of HCM City in a private vehicle and onto some beautiful country roads to Ben Tre Town in the Mekong Delta, famous for its vast rice fields, numerous waterways, and beautiful landscapes. Known as the ‘rice bowl’ of Vietnam, this region produces most of Vietnam’s fruit, rice, sugar cane, and coconuts.
After the two-hour drive through the lush farming land, you will arrive in Ben Tre where you will set out on a motorized boat trip on narrow channels winding through the coconut forest. During the boat ride, you will stop at the local cottage industries to see how the local people make bricks and weave sleeping mats by hand. Learn about their craft handed down through generations.
Take a leisure walk along the village lanes, visiting the local homes to try fresh fruits, taste delicious honey tea while enjoying a local Tai Tu music show. Continue to visit another workshop where the local delicacy of coconut candy is produced and a wide range of coconut husk and fiber products are skillfully handcrafted.
Next, take a small sampan through palm-fringed back canals, gliding peacefully along the hidden waterways surrounded by an immense variety of tropical plants. The quiet, rural setting is a welcome and restorative retreat to the frenetic buzz of HCM City which seems far, far away.
Enjoy sitting in the back a Motor Cart (xe lôi) passing local hamlets, rice fields, coconut groves, and lush orchard farms while meeting with local people.
Finish your sightseeing tour then your guide will take you to a riverside restaurant for lunch sampling the most delightful cuisines such as Banh Xeo and the grilled Elephant-Ear Fish. After lunch, you will be transferred toward Can Tho, the capital city of the Mekong delta. Arrive and check in to your hotel.
Your Chef will pick you up from your hotel and take you to the local market by the river for some shopping. You will personally select the ingredients for the cooking class. After having some fun at the market head to the local home where you will take part in a hands-on, entertaining cooking class. With the help of your personal chef, you learn how to cook some of the most delightful dishes of the Mekong region such as Banh Xeo (Vietnamese rice pizza) and Hu Tieu (southern style noodle soup). After preparing the food you will enjoy your dinner afterward.
Overnight in Can Tho
Can Tho – Cai Rang Floating Market - HCM CityDay 12
After breakfast take a leisurely boat trip to explore the picturesque tributaries of the Lower Mekong River.
Proceed to Cai Răng floating market, the largest wholesale floating market in the Mekong Delta. Packed into a section of the river, hundreds of vessels sell all sorts of fruits and vegetables grown in the Delta. You’ll see one boat heaped with pineapples, another with carrots while sellers nimbly toss watermelons down to a smaller boat that has latched on.
Get off the boat you will take a leisurely walk through the village, see the fruit gardens and visit a rice husking mill and rice noodles making shop.
Head back to the City you will continue to visit Binh Thuy Ancient house. The amazing combination between Old style of Vietnam and French construction in one House has been well maintenance by the inherited family.
Depart Can Tho you will wind your way for 4 hours back to Ho Chi Minh City. Return to your hotel in the late afternoon and spend the remainder of the day at your leisure.
For your fine-dining experience, we would highly recommend the world-class La Villa French Restaurant ran by the renowned Chef, Thierry Mounon. Located on a quiet side street off Thao Dien, a short taxi ride from the city center. La Villa French Restaurant features authentic French cuisine with the true love of top products.
Overnight in HCM City
HCM City – DepartureDay 13
Your private transfer greets you at the hotel after breakfast and escorts you to Ho Chi Minh International Airport where you board your flight home or travel on to more adventures, we will help you with the planning.
Inquire this trip
Hanoi: The Hanoian Hotel & Spa (3*++)/ Deluxe Room (http://www.thehanoianhotel.com)
Halong Bay: Renea Cruise (4*)/ Deluxe Cabin (https://reneacruiseshalong.com)
Hoi An: La Residencia Hotel & Spa (4*)/ Junior room (https://www.littlehoiangroup.com/la-residencia)
Hue: Moonlight Hue Hotel (4*)/ Deluxe Room (http://www.moonlighthue.com)
Ho Chi Minh City: Sanouva Hotel (3*)/ Premier Deluxe Room (https://www.sanouvahotel.com)
Can Tho: Iris Hotel (4*)/ Superior Room (http://www.irishotelcantho.vn)
Note: Amendments still CAN be made to this tour to suit your requirements.
Our Risk-Free Booking Policy!
We listen and we understand your desire to travel and also your concern amid the current Covid-19 pandemic. We are introducing a new policy to support you and secure your safety and comfort when you begin to travel again!
Book Now and SAVE $150 per person PLUS a huge discount up to 30% off the total price of your trip with Indochina Pioneer.
Deposits for life: To secure your trip, you will only need to pay a deposit of $200 per person. If you can’t travel, we’ll hold your deposit for life.
We guarantee you have the flexibility to change your plans—regardless of the reasons. You can change your date or tour for free up to 14 days (formerly 60 days) prior to your original departure – and we will waive any change fees for 2021 reservations. If you are not ready to reschedule your holiday to another departure date, you will receive future trip credit worth the full already-paid amount, which can be used through the end of 2021. All reservations made from now until April 30th, 2021 are eligible for this policy.
We hope with these new safety protocols, special savings, and our Risk-Free Booking Policy, you are excited to move forward with the travel plans that you have been dreaming of making. Whenever you’re ready to take the next step, we’re here to help – Call us at +84.982116630 or email us at [email protected] to reserve and get the best out of our Offers.
Special Benefits Added
1, Free visa approval letter
2, One free local sim card
3, Special secret souvenir offered by Indochina Pioneer
- Join a welcome home-hosted dinner on arrival day to experience Vietnamese authentic cuisine
- Walk through the little alley streets of Hanoi Old Quarter. Enjoy the local food discovery tour
- Visit a Hanoi market and join authentic local cooking class
- Take the overnight cruise trip. Admire Halong Bay’s majestic beauty
- Explore the weaving laneways of historic Hoi An by a bicycle ride and taste the delicious local food
- Climb the Marble Mountain in Da Nang
- Explore the magnificent Imperial Citadel and cruise along the Perfume River
- Visit Ho Chi Minh City landmarks: War Remnant Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral, Reunification Palace, and Ben Thanh Market…etc.
- Join Vietnam food tour by Vespa scooter in Saigon
- Discover the famous Cai Rang Floating Market and the Cottage Industries in the Mekong Delta.
- 12 hotel buffet breakfasts.
- 7 dinners and 10 lunches at well-selected restaurants
- 3 street food tours
- Your own private guide and driver for in-depth cultural touring based on your interests
- Firsthand, sophisticated destination knowledge and recommendations from our locally born travel specialists
- Itineraries that are customized according to your interests and preferences
- A seamless travel experience, including all logistics, hand-picked hotels and restaurants, private airport transfers, internal transportation, and entry visa assistance…etc
- Around-the-clock support from your travel designer and concierge before, during and after your trip
Private English speaking guide, accommodation, private tours and transfer, domestic flights, some main meals, all entrance fees, tax, and service charge.
What’s Not Included?
Your international flights from and to Vietnam, the entry visa to Vietnam, personal expense, tips to guide and driver.
How to Plan a successful Trip to Vietnam, Step-by-Step
Why to visit Vietnam
Where to Go
When to Go
Obtain a Vietnam Visa
How to Book a Tour
Packing and Luggage Allowance
Why to visit Vietnam
Vietnam, the S-shaped country, also commonly likened to the shape of a dragon, is located to the west of the South China Sea. The perfect combination of colonial elegance and rustic charm, it guarantees to satisfy all types of travelers with its rich experiences made all the more special by its charming people.
With cities to explore, temples to admire, and green countrysides to roam, there is plenty to see and do in Vietnam. Known as a colorful and diverse country from the wild mountainous north, with its myriad of ethnic communities, to the sleepless city of Ho Chi Minh City (previously known as Saigon) on the edge of the Mekong Delta, it is difficult to pick just one region to visit when coming to Vietnam.
The charming capital of Hanoi is a fascinating mix of fading colonial buildings and national monuments; the scenery of Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is bound to leave you speechless; Hue, home to the old Kings of Vietnam, appears to have been frozen in time for several hundred years with its ancient atmosphere and architecture.
With a 3260km coastline, Vietnam is home to many top-tier beaches; the country’s most unsung beauties. My Khe beach – “one of the most attractive beaches on the planet” as described by Forbes – offers blue skies, smooth white sand, clear & warm water year-round. Phu Quoc island, boasting several luxury resorts, is also a favorite escape for the rich and famous. The abundance of mountains, rainforests, and natural lakes also makes Vietnam a great destination for trekking, hiking, mountain biking, sea and river kayaking, and classic overland tours.
Where to Go
Most popular sites of Vietnam
• Sapa & Mai Chau – visit the hill tribe villages and plantations
• Hanoi – the capital of Vietnam
• Halong Bay – a UNESCO World Heritage site
• Hue – the ancient capital of Vietnam
• Hoi An – the kitchen of Vietnam and paradise on Earth
• Ho Chi Minh City (previously Saigon) – the economic heart of Vietnam
• The Cu Chi Tunnels – walk through the history of the Vietnam War
• Mekong Delta – see the floating markets
When to Go
Even though Vietnam lies entirely in the tropic zone, its climate varies surprisingly from region to region. Therefore this charming land is well-known as an “all-year-around” available destination for travelers.
In the north, from Sapa to Hanoi, there are 4 seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter.
In the central region, from Nha Trang to Hue, sunshine lasts throughout the year, except for the months of November and December when heavy rainfalls occur. Dalat, at an altitude of 1500m, is cooler than the coastal area, particularly from November to March. Da Nang and Hue both experience typhoon activity from mid-October to mid-December when the climate becomes cooler, more overcast and wet.
In the south, from Ho Chi Minh City to Phan Thiet, there are two main seasons: wet and dry. The wet season falls between April and September, with sudden heavy showers that don’t last very long. The dry season spans the months of October to March, with higher temperatures and long days of sunshine, followed by cooler nights.
Obtain a Vietnam Visa
Almost all visitors to Vietnam need a visa to enter the country, although some exemptions apply for citizens of countries with reciprocal agreements with Vietnam. Depending upon the nationality and passport of the applicant, a tourist visa can be obtained at the Vietnamese diplomatic office or consulates in foreign countries. Visas can also be obtained with the help of a licensed Vietnamese Travel Company, known as a “Visa on Arrival”. Visas may be either single-entry or multiple-entry, as requested at the time of application.
Visa on Arrival (VOA)
The easiest way is to get your visa through a licensed Vietnamese Travel Company, such as Indochina Pioneer. We can quickly and efficiently organize your pre-arranged VOA if you wish. Our visa processing fee is a reasonable rate of USD$10 / person only. Except for American citizens who are required to pay a stamping fee of USD$135 to get a 1-year, multiple-entry tourist visa, other nationalities need to pay just USD$25 / person for a single entry and USD$50 / person for multiple entries.
- To apply for your VOA please email us the following information:
- Arrival and departure dates
- Full passport details:
- Passport number
- Issuing date
- Expiry date
Note: your passport must be valid for 6 months beyond your travel date, and there must be several blank pages left on your passport.
- Once we have received your information, we will secure a Visa Approval Letter for you. This usually takes about 2 – 4 working days (ie. excluding weekends). We will then send you the letter via email or fax. You must present this letter upon boarding your flight. Also, you will need to prepare two photos (6 cm high x 4 cm wide – white background, no glasses, no smiling).
- On arrival at the airport (in Hanoi, Da Nang or Ho Chi Minh City) please find the Visa on Arrival window/counter where you will hand over your passport and photos, and be given a simple form to fill out. Pay the stamping fee of USD$25 for the single entry and USD$50 for multiple entries. The staff at the airport will shortly return your passport with your visa, after which you will be allowed to exit the airport.
The citizens of the following countries do not need a visa to enter Vietnam for a certain amount of time:
- Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Indonesia (maximum stay of up to 30 days)
- Philippines (maximum stay of up to 21 days)
- Japan, South Korea (maximum stay of up to 15 days)
- Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and United Kingdom (maximum stay of up to 15 days)
Unfortunately, citizens of the following countries are ineligible for a VOA and will have to apply at their nearest Vietnamese embassy/consulate :
South Asia – Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka
Africa – Algeria, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa
Starting from February 1st, 2017, the Vietnamese government officially launched the electronic visa plan for foreign tourists of certain countries visiting Vietnam. To apply for an e-visa, please visit http://www.xuatnhapcanh.gov.vn or http://www.immigration.gov.vn. For the list of
countries whose citizens are eligible to apply for an e-visa to Vietnam, click here.
How to Book a Tour
Booking your holiday with Indochina Pioneer cannot be easier! Follow our 3 simple steps:
Step 1: Browse our website www.indochinapioneer.com for tours, cruises and other destination information.
Should you find something that matches your interest, fill in the REQUEST A FREE QUOTE forms. Can’t find something that fits your needs? Then fill the BUILD YOUR OWN TRIP or CONTACT US form and click SUBMIT.
Then sit back! One of our travel experts will get back to you shortly with our customized package and most favorable offer!
In a hurry? Don’t like filling forms? Then call +84 982 116 630 (MR. LAM) or +84 983 145 799 (MR. Quyen). We’re available 24/7 and would be more than happy to talk! Certainly, your request will be carefully noted and a nicely crafted package with a pleasant price will follow!
Step 2: Reviewing/ Customizing our offer!
It’s your holiday so everything should be exactly what you want! We encourage your careful review of what we offer, letting us know what changes you would like to make. We’ll be more than happy to fine-tune the tour to fit best your interests, budget and time! This step may require several emails/call exchanges until perfect!
Step 3: Confirming/Paying/ Packing for the trip!
Once you’re satisfied with the customized tour, please let us know and Indochina Pioneer will need a few working hours to place reservations for all of the tour services. As soon as the availability and reservations of the services are confirmed, we will request a deposit. Please refer our Payment Guide for more details.
Once your deposit is received by Indochina Pioneer, we will send you the service voucher which confirms all the services of the tour and provides ground contact details and a guide for the final payment schedule.
And then you start counting down the day for your most fabulous trip!
Booking Amendment & Cancellations:
Booking Amendment: Flexibility is our strongest point. You can amend your booking even after it is made. Just contact your salesperson or contact us at [email protected] with your booking number. Our reservations team is glad to amend your booking with your preferable alternatives. Please kindly note that you will be responsible for any change of the final price caused by your amendment requests.
Travel smart with Indochina Pioneer!
Packing and Luggage Allowance
Packing Checklist – Be sure to check them all 😉
- Travel documents (passport, visas, travel insurance certificate, air tickets, tour voucher)
- Money (cash, credit card, debit card, traveler’s cheques and money pouch)
- Day pack for your personal needs during the day
- Camera and extra memory cards and batteries
- Cell phone and cell phone charger
- Laptop charger (if you are bringing your laptop)
- Travel plug/international adapter
- Medication (including a doctor’s letter if you are carrying a large amount of medication)
- Prescription glasses / contacts and if necessary, contact lens solution
Best to bring along
- First aid kit
- Insect repellent
- Refillable water bottle with filter
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Comfortable clothing, either light or heavy options, depending on the season you are travelling
- Clothes suitable for visiting temples (long pants / skirts, long sleeved tops)
- Waterproof jacket / raincoat / umbrella
- Hat & sunglasses
- Bathing suit
- Ear plugs & eye mask
- Sleep sheet for home stays / trains
- Lightweight travel towel
- Local language phrasebook
Reviews on Our Service
We had a wonderful 7-day trip last July; Kata was awesome to work with. So professional, reliable and helpful!
"Lifetime of Memories"
Lam did an amazing job putting together an itinerary based on phone/text conversations. We told him the where and what and he did the rest. The accommodations were beyond expectation, the guides were unbelievably friendly, and the places we were taken were spectacular. Having guides and drivers is worth every penny. So much time and money would have been wasted had we tried to accomplish this ourselves.
We got to experience so much more because of our guides local knowledge. Lastly, how great it was not to worry about how we were getting to the next adventure. Had we not used Indochina Pioneer I truly believe I wouldn’t have as many astonishing memories.
"Amazing 30 Day Journey with Indochina Pioneer"
If you are looking for a private tour of SE Asia, look no further than Indochina Pioneer. I recently returned from a 30-day private tour of Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand all arranged by Indochina Pioneer and could not have been happier with everything they arranged for me. They are top-notch from working directly with you on planning your trip, arranging visas, having individuals at the airports to meet and walk you through everything when entering the countries, having amazing tour guides and drivers as well as organizing everything for you on the ground and being there to help you all along the way if you have any questions or problems. My tour was amazing with not only the normal tourist sights, but many off the beaten track sights and with your own guides, you learn so much more from these individuals who actually live in the places you will visit. I can’t recommend this tour agency enough. If you are looking to travel to any of the locations Indochina Pioneer has tours, you must book through them, you will not be disappointed.
"Excellent from the very beginning"
We had 21 days on a private tour and every detail was perfectly arranged. Perhaps, the Spanish speaking skills of guides can ve improved, but overall they were very helpful and committed with their job. I want to highlight the performance of Juan (Hanoi), Miguel (Hoi An), Chao (Ho Chi Minh City) and La (Luang Prabang, Laos).
Hotels were as we asked and the timing for the visits was very good.
I recommend this travel agency!