Build Your Own Trip

Overview

  • Day 1: Hanoi – Mai Chau (Hang Kia)
  • Day 2: Mai Chau hike & trek: Hang Kia – Buoc
  • Day 3: Buoc – Mai Hich – Van
  • Day 4: Van – Hang – Kho Muong
  • Day 5: Kho Muong – Pho Doan – Hanoi

Full Itinerary

[*Notes]

- This itinerary is a privately guided tour, designed just to show you what is possible.
- We can tailor this trip, it's inclusions and the accommodations, to meet your requirements, budget, and interests.

Hanoi – Mai Chau (Hang Kia)

8.30am: take the drive to Hoa Binh province. En route visit the “Cultural Space of the Muong”, a private museum dedicated to the Muong ethnic group, the biggest minority group in Hoa Binh province. Mr. Vu Duc Hieu, from Hanoi, fell in love with the diverse culture of the Muong people and has spent years of his life and significant funds collecting thousands of items from the Muong culture to assemble this museum and preserve their traditions.

12.00pm: Continue to Xa Linh Village and have a picnic lunch.

1.30pm: Say goodbye to your driver and car and start from Xa Linh Village of Hmong ethnic minority, you’ll walk through the lush trees and tea hills passing by Cha Day 2 Village with an opportunity to interact with friendly local Hmong people. Continue through corn fields surrounded by numerous hills then gradually climbing uphills to the main road down to Hang Kia. Located in a valley, Hang Kia is a beautiful village of Hmong ethnic minority with hundreds of houses embraced by peach and plum trees.

Overnight at the homestay in Hang Kia.

Hiking distance: approx. 6.5km / Duration: approx. 2.5-3hrs
Note: The journey from Day 2-4 is the point-to-point trek with homestay and no support transfers will be provided until you’ll meet up again with your guide on Day 4 for the transfer to Van Village.


Mai Chau hike & trek: Hang Kia – Buoc

8.30am: After breakfast bid farewell to your host. Walk further through Hang Kia Village before entering the unpaved road leading to Thung Mai. You’ll then turn to small dirt trails through the jungle. Most of this morning’s route is going downhill to a land of Thai ethnic minority. Nearly reaching Cun Pheo you can see rice fields and typical local house-on-stilts. Enjoy a picnic lunch then walk on flat trails through the villages and fields to Buoc Village.
Overnight at the homestay in Buoc Village.
Meals: (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)

Hiking distance: approx. 19km / Duration: approx. 6hrs
First, part downhills then up-and-down and finally on flat trails through the villages
Note: The route can be muddy and slippery on rainy days.



Buoc – Mai Hich – Van

8.30am: Set off for a beautiful walk from Buoc Village through the rice fields of Muoi Village where you can see Thai farmers in their daily works. Continue walking through the villages of Sun, Ngoa, and Den where you have plenty of opportunities to meet friendly local people and enjoy the scenic landscape of fields and mountains. Continue to Mai Hich.

After lunch, you will follow the road along the mountains and fields through Cum, Mai Ha to Chieng Chau Village. Meet up with your driver and car for a short drive to Van Village.

Tonight, enjoy the traditional musical & cultural performance by the local people.

Overnight at the homestay in Van Village.
Meals: (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)

Hiking distance: approx. 17km / Duration: approx. 6hrs
Mostly on flat trails through the villages



Van – Hang – Kho Muong

8.30am: After breakfast bid farewell to your host. Transfer to Hang Village located inside Pu Luong Nature Reserve. Follow a track through the forest and climb up to Eo Ken Village for a beautiful view of the valley’s terraced rice fields under majestic limestone peaks. Enjoy a picnic lunch, then continue through several Thai villages and down to Kho Muong Village by mid-afternoon. Here you can experience the daily lives of villagers, among streams running past rice fields under scenic karst mountains.

Overnight at the homestay in Kho Muong Village.
Meals: (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)

Hiking distance: approx. 15-16km / Duration: approx. 6hrs
First part steep climbs and cross the stream, later up-and-down then downhills to Kho Muong

Kho Muong – Pho Doan – Hanoi

8.30am: After breakfast, bid climb uphills and follow the tracks to Uoi Village and finally reaching Pho Doan where you’ll be picked up and drive back to Hanoi.

Hiking distance: approx. 8km / Duration: approx. 2.5-3hrs
Gentle downhills then on the flat route through the villages

Meals: (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)

Useful Information

This tour is built upon our firsthand knowledge & experience, offering you the best choices available. The price of this trip varies depending on the number of people in your party, dates of departure, and availability of ground services. Please click on REQUEST A FREE QUOTE (above) and supply the required information, enabling us to send you your personalized quote within 24 hours!

Note: Amendments CAN be made to this tour to suite your requirements.

What’s Included?

  • Accommodation with daily breakfast at selected hotels
  • Private Vehicles and Drivers
  • Private English Speaking Guides (Other languages if available, upon request)
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner)

  • Domestic flight
  • Airport Taxes and Fuel charges
  • Entrance fees for all mentioned sights visited
  • Service Charge & Government Taxes

What’s Not Included?

  • Your International Flight to and from Vietnam
  • Vietnam entry Visa Fees (contact us for further information)
  • Personal Expenses (such as laundry, telephone, drinks, etc.)
  • Any bank fees or charges at your end

  • Meals other than those mentioned in the itinerary
  • Personal Travel Insurance
  • Tips for guides and drivers

How to Plan a successful Trip to Vietnam, Step-by-Step

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.

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

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.

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.

VOA procedure

  • To apply for your VOA please email us the following information:
  • Arrival and departure dates
  • Full passport details:
  • Passport number
  • Name
  • Gender
  • Nationality
  • 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.

Visa exemptions

The citizens of the following countries do not need a visa to enter Vietnam for a certain amount of time:

Asia

  • 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)

Europe

  • 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

E-visa

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.

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 sales@indochinapioneer.com 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 Checklist – Be sure to check them all 😉

Essentials

  • 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
  • Toiletries
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Refillable water bottle with filter

 

Wardrobe

  • 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

 

Optional comforts

  • Ear plugs & eye mask
  • Sleep sheet for home stays / trains
  • Lightweight travel towel
  • Local language phrasebook