- Day 1: Hanoi – Arrival
- Day 2: Hanoi sightseeing tour and local food discovery
- Day 3: Hanoi – Morning drive to Sapa – Afternoon sightseeing
- Day 4: Sapa – Trek to Cat Cat, Y Linh Ho, Lao Chai and Ta Van villages
- Day 5: Sapa – Bac Ha Sunday Market tour – Night train back to Hanoi
- Day 6: Hanoi arrival – Transfer to Halong Bay – Onboard a junk / boat
- Day 7: Halong Bay – Hanoi – Flight to Da Nang / Hoi An
- Day 8: Hoi An – Discover local villages – Walking and Food Tour
- Day 9: Hoi An – Free day
- Day 10: Hoi An – Hue
- Day 12: Hue Full-day City tour
- Day 12: Hue – Flight to Ho Chi Minh City
- Day 13: HCM City – Cu Chi Tunnels & Cao Dai Temple
- Day 14: HCM City – Day trip to Ben Tre/ Mekong Delta
- Day 15: HCM City – Departure
Full Itinerary Hide Images
Hanoi: Arrival / Private transfer from airport to the hotel
A warm greeting awaits at Hanoi’s Noi Bai airport; your private guide and driver will meet you in the arrivals lounge and drive you directly to your hotel in downtown Hanoi (travel time approximately 1 hour). Your knowledgeable guide will be happy to answer any questions along the way, and will assist you with check-in and registration at the hotel.
After checking in, if you are interested, your guide will take you on a cyclo / rickshaw tour of the French Quarter where the grand boulevards offer a welcome escape from the busy Old Quarter. You will also pass by the Municipal Theatre (also known as the Opera House), which is based on Paris’ Opéra.
Note: For the Vietnamese Visa on Arrival, please make sure you have 2 passport sized 4 cm x 6 cm photos and $25 for the stamping fee.
Overnight in Hanoi
Hanoi sightseeing tour and local food discovery
Around 05:30 you are picked up and start the day with a visit to Quang Ba Flower Market then a stroll around the beautiful Hoan Kiem Lake to watch the local people doing their morning tai-chi and aerobics in the dawn light.
Note: These activities are optional. You can skip this if you are not keen on getting up early! The alternative is to be picked up at your hotel after and breakfast, for a full-day of private sightseeing around Hanoi.
Today with the help of your private guide and driver you will get to explore the city’s major attractions. You will also sample Hanoi’s authentic local dishes away from the tourist trails, hunkering down with the locals on the street at a variety of atmospheric food stalls.
You will start with the Ho Chi Minh Complex including his Mausoleum (Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is closed every Monday & Friday, all afternoons and from late September until December), the Presidential Palace, the historic Stilt house, and the One Pillar Pagoda. From Ho Chi Minh Complex we take a short leisure walk through the small lane ways to visit Huu Tiep Lake and the Downed B-52, one of the the historial vestiges in Hanoi.
We take a short drive to the outskirt of Hanoi to visit the Museum of Ethnology exhibiting the 54 officially recognized ethnic groups in Vietnam. Some of them we will meet during our trip to Sapa.
Today we will have Pho for lunch, a Vietnamese Noodle shop. Some of the local people call this world famous Noodle soup “Mac-Noodles” since it is as popular here as MacDonalds is in other parts of the world! At the restaurant your tour guide will explain the routine during Vietnamese meal times, and also tell you which special ingredients are needed for you.
After lunch you will visit the Temple of Literature, a Confucius temple and also the first University of Vietnam. Continue on to Hoa Lo (so-called Hanoi Hilton), a prison used by the French colonists in Vietnam for political prisoners, and later by North Vietnam for U.S. Prisoners of War during the Vietnam War
Visit Hoan Kiem Lake & Ngoc Son Temple. Enjoy a cup of Egg coffee at Pho Co Café with stunning view of Hoan Kiem Lake and the surroundings.
End up your adventure day by commencing a Walking and Food tour through Hanoi’s Old Quarter (in contrast to the French Quarter). During the food tour with the help of your personal tour guide you will have a chance to experience one of the world’s greatest street food cities and unlock the hidden secrets of the Old Quarter and its cuisine.
Notes: The city tour program is flexible. Our guide would be more than happy to adjust the tour itinerary at your needs. You can skip one site or add another if you so wish.
Overnight in Hanoi
Hanoi – Morning drive to Sapa – Afternoon sightseeing
After breakfast you are collected at the hotel and transferred on road for 5,5 hours to Sapa, the Former French Hill Station. Arrive in Sapa after mid-day and check into your hotel.
After lunch your private guide and driver will pick you up and take you (40 minute drive) to Tram Ton Pass, a height of 2047 meters above sea level, the highest pass in Vietnam. Enjoy amazing views of the surrounding mountains and lush forests of the Hoang Lien National Park. From there you will trek 30 minutes through a tropical rain forest enjoying the wonderful flora and fauna. Continue to trek along a stream arriving at the Love Waterfall, a wonderful place to relax in Sapa. Returning to Tram Ton Pass and drive back to Sapa.
Overnight in Sapa
Sapa – Trek to Cat Cat, Y Linh Ho, Lao Chai and Ta Van villages
Your private guide will lead you from the busy town of Sapa and together, you will embark on a moderate walk of 4 – 12 km (adjustable as requested) from Sapa to the Black H’mong villages of Y Linh Ho, Cat Cat and Lao Chai. The Black H’mong villages offer excellent panoramas of the large valley, paddy terraced fields and traditional H’mong houses.
You will take a small local path leading to the bottom of the valley, where some local stalls are situated that serve tea and fruits. This is a perfect spot to rest and where you will enjoy a picnic lunch.
After lunch, you will proceed further through the local villages and eventually arrive at the charming village of Ta Van. You will visit the Zay family and over a cup of tea, have a chat with the Zay family, learning about their lifestyle.
Your guide will take you on a stroll around the villages and you will later return to the Zay family in the evening where you will be treated to a delicious homemade dinner cooked and served by the family.
After dinner, you will bid farewell to the Zay family and will be driven back to Sapa.
Note: The morning trekking distance is from roy 4 – 15km over a course of 3-6 hours and the grade is easy to moderate. This trek is adjustable, and can be shortened or lengthened, according to your preferences.
Overnight in Sapa
Sapa – Bac Ha Sunday Market tour – Night train back to Hanoi
After breakfast, you will be picked up by your private guide and driver and depart Sapa to Bac Ha Market, one of the most colorful markets of the region (travel time approximately 2 hours). Arriving at Bac Ha, you will visit the market and meet the colorfully dressed, ethnic people of the Flower H’mong, Phu La and Dao Tuyen minorities, who gather here to buy and sell their artisanal products. After spending the morning exploring the market our lunch will be served at a local restaurant.
After lunch you drive downhill and begin a short walk to Trung Do Village which is home to the Tay minority. Here you will visit a traditional Tay house. Then travel by boat through this amazing countryside to Bao Nhai Village. Finish the boat trip you continue onwards to Lao Cai station for your night train journey back to Hanoi. You will have the opportunity to drop your bags at a local restaurant near the station where you can have dinner before boarding the train.
Overnight on the air conditioned train.
Hanoi arrival – Transfer to Halong Bay – Onboard a junk / boat
You will arrive at the Hanoi train station early in the morning where your guide will pick you up and take you to a mini hotel near the station to check in for a couple of hours. Here, you will have the opportunity to take a shower, have some breakfast, and relax after the train ride.
After breakfast, you will leave Hanoi for Halong Bay (travel time approximately 4 hours), passing through several Northern Vietnamese towns and villages. Upon arrival, you will be welcomed aboard your traditional junk; designed in the same style as those that have sailed the bay for hundreds of years. You will begin a relaxing and unforgettable cruise around the breathtaking and unique limestone karsts and islets. A delicious fresh seafood lunch will be served as you cruise this spectacular bay, a UNESCO listed site.
Aboard the junk, you will visit several key locations.
– One of the most stunning caves of Halong Bay
– Stop at Titop Beach and take a refreshing swim on this quiet beach or sunbathe on the sundeck; take a short trek to the nearby summit for a panoramic view of the bay
Back onboard the junk, you will watch the sunset and be served a sumptuous dinner, with cocktails available for purchase from the bar. You will spend the night onboard the junk, in a cabin with an ensuite bathroom.
Notes: The program may differ slightly based on the junk cruise’s itinerary. An extra night can be added to the program. If your time is flexible, we highly recommend it.
Overnight on board
Halong Bay – Hanoi – Flight to Da Nang / Hoi An
You will wake up to see the sun rise over the spectacular horizon, reflecting in the pristine waters of the bay. You may join a Tai Chi class on the sundeck if you wish, before enjoying breakfast. You will continue sailing around the natural wonder of Halong Bay and have lunch onboard, before arriving back at the dock where your private guide and driver will be waiting for you.
Since our short flight from Hanoi to Da Nang leaves in the evening you will have time for some sightseeing along the way. You will make a stop at Yen Duc, a typical village of the Red River Delta. Here you will watch a traditional water puppet show performed by the village artists. After the show, you will be transported (approximately 2 hours) to the airport to catch the flight to Da Nang (approximately 1 hour).
Upon arrival at the Da Nang airport, you will be picked up by your private guide & driver and taken to your hotel in Hoi An to check in.
Overnight in Hoi An
Hoi An – Discover local villages – PM walking and food tour of the ancient town
After breakfast, you will be picked up from your hotel to visit a local fishing village by cycling on level ground to the Thu Bon River. For safety purposes, you will be given a short bicycle competency test. For those uncomfortable with riding a bicycle, a private car can be arranged.
Ride along country 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 in a local family at Cam Thanh Village before enjoying 1.5 hours ride on 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 to ride our bike to Tra Que Organic Vegetable Village where a large variety of vegetable are 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 we head a local family to enjoy a foot massage and the traditional herbal foot dip. You will then ride back to the hotel to rest during the day. Get ready for the afternoon walking and food tour.
Your private guide will collect you from the hotel to commence 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 markets.
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 as Vietnam. You 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.
Overnight in Hoi An
Hoi An – Free day
Free day in Hoi An to do your own exploring, pick up your made to measure clothes, or relax on the beautiful Cua Dai beach. You can also take an opportunity to join a cooking class to learn about the arts of Vietnam culinary; visiting local market, choosing ingredients and preparing and cooking Hoi An special dishes. This is a great fun.
Overnight in Hoi An
Hoi An – Hue
After breakfast you will be collected by your private guide and transferred in a private vehicle (approximately 4 hours) to Hue. Today the drive over the Hai Van Pass will be one of the most scenic ones in your trip. En route you will stop to visit the Marble Mountain, My Khe Beach which was home to American GIs during the war, and Lang Co Beach and fishing village.
Arrive in Hue after midday and check into your hotel.
Your guide and driver pick you up and transfer you to the wharf for your boat ride on the Perfume River. During the boat cruise, you will stop to visit the iconic Thien Mu Pagoda, a symbol of Hue.
After the boat cruise, you will explore the Dong Ba Market runs along the north bank of Huong (Perfume) River. 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”.
Return to the hotel in the late afternoon. Spend the rest of the day at your leisure.
Overnight in Hue
Hue Full-day City tour
After breakfast you will be collected again by your private guide and driver from the hotel lobby.
Your day starts with a short visit to Thanh Toan Village where we can see the lively morning market. This is where the locals come to by their daily food. Nearby is the 300 year old Thanh Toan bridge and a Cultural Museum where you can visit and talk to the locals.
Continue on to the Hue Roal Complex, former home to the Nguyen Dynasty, the last the last Monarchy of Vietnam from 1802 – 1945. You will explore the ancient and atmospheric walled Citadel which contains the former Imperial Palace and the Forbidden Purple City.
Wind your way to visit Cat Tuong Quan Zen House. It’s a perfect combination of architecture, culture and people. Here we had a chance to learn about Hue culture, experience Qigong and do meditation.
Today you will enjoy an excellent Vegetarian lunch at a local Buddhist Monastery, prepared and served by the nuns.
You will visit the final resting place – socalled the King tomb of Tu Duc, then head to Vong Canh Hill to watch the sunset over the Perfume River. On the way back to town you will visit a local workshop where you can see how incense sticks and traditional conical hats are made.
Overnight in Hue
Hue – Flight to Ho Chi Minh City
After breakfast your private driver will you collect you and take you to Hue Airport for a short flight to Ho Chi Minh City, commonly known as Saigon. It is the largest city in Vietnam and is located near the Mekong Delta.
Upon arrival we will be met by your private guide and driver and taken to the hotel for check in. Rooms are usually available after mid-day.
You will be met again and embark upon an exploration of this Metropolitan City. You will visit the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Rex Hotel, City Hall, the Opera House, the colonial Post Office, renowned for its architecture, and the Ben Thanh Market. Later stop at the Reunification Palace and the moving War Remnants Museum to learn more of Vietnam’s turbulent past.
End your day at the Jade Emperor Pagoda before returning to your hotel.
Overnight in HCM City
HCM City – Cu Chi Tunnels & Cao Dai Temple
After breakfast, you will be taken to the northwest of HCM City to visit the Cu Chi tunnels (approximately 2 hours). These tunnels were constructed during the “American War” and were used by the Viet Cong. Today, some of the existing tunnels have been opened to tourists, offering a unique insight into what underground life must have been like during the war.
Upon arrival at the historical site of Cu Chi you will watch a brief introductory documentary and then begin your sightseeing, walking on the dirt paths through the bush. You will also have the chance to crawl through some of the tunnels if you wish. After touring Cu Chi, you will be taken to Tay Ninh, to the Cao Dai Temple (approximately 1 hour). Here you will watch part of a Cao Dai service, with an explanation of this very different religion.
Leaving the temple, a simple lunch will be provided at a local restaurant before driving back to HCM City (travel time approximately 3 hours).
Overnight in HCM City
HCM City – Day trip to Ben Tre/ Mekong Delta
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, the heart of the Mekong Delta, popularly known as the “rice bowl” of Vietnam. This town is famous for its vast rice fields, numerous waterways and beautiful landscapes.
After appox 2 hour driving through the lush farming land we arrive at Ben Tre town where we will embark on a motorized boat trip around the scenic Bến Tre River, viewing various local industries along the way. During the boat ride we will stop to visit the small local factories where bricks and sleeping mats are made. Take a leisure walk along the village lanes visiting the local homes to try dry fruits, taste honey tea while enjoying a local Tai Tu music show. Continue to visit a coconut mill workshop where the local delicacy of coconut candy is produced and a range of coconut husk and fiber products are skillfully handcrafted.
We next take a small sampan through palm-fringed back canals, gliding peacefully along the hidden waterways surrounded by immense variety of tropical plants. The quiet, rural setting is a welcome and restorative retreat to the frenetic buzz of Saigon which seems far, far away.
Enjoy sitting in the back a Motor Cart (xe lôi) passing rice and vegetable orchard farms while meeting with local people.
Finish your sightseeing tour then your guide will take you to a riverside restaurant for lunch, after which you will be driven two hours back to back to Ho Chi Minh City.
The rest of the day is yours to explore at your leisure. You can visit the night market to discover the authentic local cuisine. Or simply enjoy a glass of cocktail on the rooftop bar of the historic Rex Hotel.
Overnight in HCM City
HCM City – Departure
This will mark the end your trip in Vietnam. Depending on the time of your departure flight, your private driver will pick you up from the hotel and take you to the airport for your outbound flight home. Your driver will ensure that you are taken to the correct gate.
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.
- Drive through Hanoi’s tree-lined boulevards, Enjoy the local food discovery tour
- Overnight train ride to Sapa, Discover the Hill tribe village
- Take the overnight cruise trip, Admire Halong Bay’s majestic beauty
- Explore Hue’s Forbidden Perple City, Enjoy a hosted vegetarian meal at a Buddhist temple
- Climb the Marble Mountain, Walk through charming town of Hoi An and taste the local food
- Visit Tra Que village, Take part in a fun farming lesion.
- Discover the network of Cu Chi Tunnels, See the Notre Dame and Reunification Palace in Ho Chi Minh City
- Take a day trip to Mekong Delta to discover the hidden waterways.
- 11 hotel buffet breakfasts.
- 5 dinners and 6 lunches at well-selected restaurants (vegetarian food is upon request)
- 2 street food tours
- Private guide in each City of visit
- Private driver with air-conditioned vehicle for daily tours or alternative transportation (such as rail journeys)
- Hand-picked Restaurants and hotels
- Must-see sightseeing and surprise extras
- All Airport transfers on the first and last day of your guided holiday
Private English speaking guide, accommodation, private tours and transfer, domestic flights, A/C train, some main meals, all entrance fees, tax and service charge.
What’s Not Included?
Your international flights from and to Vietnam, entry visa to Vietnam, personal expense, tips to guide and driver.
We are committed to giving our customers unforgettable experiences in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and beyond, not just something staged for tourists. Read reviews written by our customers about their experiences in Indochina after they have returned home. These include the ratings and comments on attractions, guides, activities, hotels and food.
"Indochina Pioneer – Great Tour Organizer"
I arranged a 28 day customized tour of Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand in January, 2016 the assistance of Indochina Pioneer. Lam, the principal of the company, was fabulous to deal with. He made many suggestions, booked all of our drivers and local tour guides, hotels, admission tickets, and even some restaurants. All of his choices were excellent, and when there was a need to make a last minute change, he was readily available. His tour included many extras that other tour organizers did not include, and he made sure that we visited off the beaten track places, took local tours that the big groups do not see, and that our hotels were carefully chosen to be very central and more of a local boutique nature. Lam never hesitated to make sure that our trip was going well as we travelled, and even made a point of meeting us at our stop in Hanoi and sent flowers to me on my birthday. The tour was priced very favorably compared to 3 others I contacted, and all of our guides were excellent. I would highly recommend this company and Lam in particular to anyone wanting to arrange a local tour or a detailed itinerary of Indochina.
"An amazing trip"
In my younger years I spent months backpacking on the cheap around Asia. I now have more money, less time and a family. I found Indochina Pioneer on-line and contacted Mr Lam for our recent trip to Cambodia. He was full of information, answered all of my many questions, suggested great ideas, incorporated my changes and organised all smoothly.
I wanted airport transfers and to organise hotels before we left. Mr Lam suggested a range of hotels to choose from all of which were good. Internal transfers and flights were also organised. We only wanted tours for Angkor Wat and The Killing Fields which Mr Lam arranged. Our other days were left free for us to choose what we wanted. The tour consisted of myself, my husband and twin sons which was perfect. The tour guides were knowledgeable and helpful, as were the drivers.
Mr Lam suggested we get a speed boat from Chau Doc, Vietnam to Phnom Penh up the Mekong River which was a great way to travel. The crocodile farm on the way was well worth the lunch stop.
I would recommend Indochina Pioneer as a great tour company for families. My in-laws are travelling with them later in the year. I am currently planning another trip to Laos using Indochina Pioneer again.
For someone who doesn’t like or do package tours having a private tour for my family was just perfect.
goodtravelfort lee, nj
"Fantastic 17 days in Vietnam and Cambodia"
The best thing about Duong Dai Lam (Lam) from Indochina Pioneer is that he listens. We are interested in history, architecture and food, and really appreciate good views.
Our trip provided these things and more:
– In every city we had gorgeous hotels with fabulous views, with a number of upgrades. Hotels appreciated Indochina Pioneer business.
– Halong Bay cruise was one of the highlights – small, comfortable boat with great food and most incredible landscapes. How did they get such a good chef for a 10 cabin boat?
– Lam suggested many off the beaten track attractions that helped us to understand and appreciate the country.
– Our tour guides in every place were knowledgeable about history and architecture, forthcoming with cultural and lifestyle information
– They were very flexible both in planning, and trip changes when the weather did not cooperate. For example – we don’t ride bicycles, so we ended up doing one day tour on the back of 2 scooters. Fun!!!
– Street food tour with Luu in Hanoi was fun, delicious and educational. We kept eating on the street throughout the trip. No food poisoning, just delicious food.
– Private cars were medium size SUVs immaculately maintained and drivers were safe.
I infrequently gush – see my other reviews. But this was one of our best trips, and the private tour ended up costing less than a comparable group tour booked from US.
"2nd Time….just as great"
This is the second time I have used Indochina Pioneer. They excelled again. This time, we had 5 Rotarians who had completed a project in Cambodia, and needed some holiday time afterwards. We booked an 8 night Hanoi/Sapa/Halong Bay tour.
Again, the Indochina Pioneer Team performed beyond my expectations. On time, knowledgeable and flexible at all times.
We had a small problem with our van after the 5 hour drive to Sapa. By breakfast the next day, we had a new van and driver to look after us for the rest of our journey.
We got a great upgrade on the Halong Bay cruise.
I can’t commend Indochina Pioneer highly enough. If you want further details, please PM me directly, if I go again in Indochina, it will only be with Indochina Pioneer.
"Fantastic trip amazing service"
Fantastic trip from start to finish. All our expectations were met and exceeded from the moment we booked the trip with Mr Lam to our last day.
We had one minor problem during our stay and it was sorted immediately with profession
And made our trip the most memorable holiday ever.
Mr Lam customised our trip to suit us and we loved all of our guides and drivers.
We were even lucky enough to be invited to the companies end of year party and got to meet everyone who made our holiday so special. I can’t recommend this company enough and that’s something coming from someone in the tourist industry. Well done indoctrination pioneer.