- Day 1: Arrival Danang/ Hoi An
- Day 2: Hoi An Sightseeing
- Day 3: Hoi An - Flight to Pleiku
- Day 4: Kontum – Pleiku – Buon Ma Thuot
- Day 5: Buon Ma Thuot – Nam Ka
- Day 6: Nam Ka – Buon Triet Lake
- Day 7: Buon Triet – Lak Lake - Dalat
- Day 8: Dalat – Pinhatt Mountain
- Day 9: Pinhatt Mountain – Dalat – Flight to Ho Chi Minh City
- Day 10: Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi Tunnels and Cao Dai Temple
- Day 11: Ho Chi Minh City – Can Tho
- Day 12: Can Tho - Cai Rang Floating Market - Soc Trang
- Day 13: Can Tho – Vung Liem
- Day 14: Vung Liem – Ho Chi Minh City
- Day 15: Departure Ho Chi Minh City
- 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.
Arrival Danang/ Hoi AnDay 1
Arrive at Da Nang Airport and private transfer to your hotel in Hoi An. Remainder of the day is free at leisure.
Overnight in Hoi An
Hoi An SightseeingDay 2
You have an early morning pick-up for the boat trip to village of Duy Hai. Here you can watch fishermen bring in their overnight catch and see how the fish are smoked and dried. You are offered coffee and snacks with a local family before cycling back to Hoi An. Upon arrival you have another boat ride, this time on the Thu Bon River as you cruise upstream to the villages of Thanh Ha and Kim Bong, renowned for pottery and carpentry. Visit the local workshops where the handicrafts are made before returning to your hotel around midday.
Enjoy a cycling trip to Hoi An’s most popular attractions: the Quan Cong Temple, the Japanese Bridge, Old Merchant House, Chinese Assembly Halls and the local markets. You also visit a lantern maker to see how these delicate things are made. You will have the chance to create your own lantern as a souvenir.
Overnight in Hoi An
Hoi An - Flight to PleikuDay 3
After breakfast and check out transfer to Da Nang Airport for the short flight to Pleiku. Upon arrival in Pleiku you drive to Kontum where you have a tour of the town including the museum, wooden church, an orphanage and the Kon K’Lor suspension bridge. Later you start hiking to the villages of Kon Ko Lor Lor I and Kon Ko Lor II. You have a picnic lunch on the way.
Board a wooden boat on the Dakbla River to the village of Kon Ko Tu, home to the Bahnar minority people, where you are guests for the night. You take dinner at a local home.
Overnight in Pleiku
Kontum – Pleiku – Buon Ma ThuotDay 4
Depart Kontum for Buon Ma Thuot via Pleiku where we visit Phun village, a village of the Jarai ethnic group, best known for their cemeteries adorned with wooden statues.
Leave Pleiku for Buon Ma Thuot, stopping at coffee, rubber and pepper plantations along the way.
Overnight in Buon Ma Thuot
Buon Ma Thuot – Nam KaDay 5
Visit the Ethnology Museum, containing lots of information and artifacts from the region’s ethnic minorities. After this you proceed to two of the most impressive waterfalls in the Central Highlands: Dray Sap and Dray Nu.
Drive roughly 90km to the village of Nam Ka before walking the final 3km to your local home for the night. The homestay is in Rai, an Ede minority village. Your accommodation will be a traditional long house on stilts. It’s very simple but clean and comfortable.
Overnight in Nam Ka
Nam Ka – Buon Triet LakeDay 6
Trek through evergreen forest to Buon Triet Lake and will involve a climb as well as descending through forest as well as crossing a stream. Along the way you will see tropical birds, forest wildlife and some ethnic tribes- people.
You take to paddle boats and ride across beautiful Buon Triet Lake with the opportunity for a swim. This evening is spent in Jatu village where your hosts are the M’Nong minority.
Overnight at a local home stay
Buon Triet – Lak Lake - DalatDay 7
After breakfast, head to Lak Lake. The journey takes us past ethnic villages, rice fields and rivers. You cross Lak Lake by dug-out canoe to M’Lieng village where you have time to walk around to find out more about daily life in the Central Highlands. Later you can take an elephant ride.
Depart Lak Lake for Dalat, arriving in the evening and checking in to your hotel.
Overnight in Dalat
Dalat – Pinhatt MountainDay 8
Depart Da Lat and drive Robin Hill for a trek through the pine forest to Paradise Lake. You stop at a coffee farm en route to the base of Pinhatt Mountain (1696m). Your climb to the top should take roughly 45 minutes.
After lunch you descend in to the tropical forest to your campsite where you can do some fishing and swimming. Spent the night at camp in tents.
Overnight in Pinhatt Mountain
Pinhatt Mountain – Dalat – Flight to Ho Chi Minh CityDay 9
After breakfast you embark on another jungle trek. Today will be harder than yesterday and last for at least 4 hours before you stop at a local village.
Return to Dalat and then transfer to the Airport for the evening flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Upon arrival you will be met and driven to the hotel to check in.
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi Tunnels and Cao Dai TempleDay 10
After breakfast you leave the city behind and drive through the countryside to the Cu Chi Tunnels. Before entering the tunnels you have a short introductory video showing how the tunnels were constructed. You then spend the next hour exploring the maze of tunnels. On display are various mantraps and the remains of an American tank as well as numerous bomb craters made by 500 pound bombs dropped by B52 bombers.
Continue to Tay Ninh, near the Cambodian border which is home to the unique Cao Dai sect, whose patron saints include Joan of Arc, Victor Hugo and Winston Churchill to name a few. The religion is a fusion of Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism and Christianity. Here we will witness the colourful mid-day service. You return to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) late afternoon.
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City – Can ThoDay 11
Leaving HCM City you drive through the lush Mekong Delta to the town of My Tho. Upon arrival, you board your boat to visit the islands, passing fishing villages and orchard gardens before disembarking at Thoi Son Island to find out about bee farms, coconut candy making amongst other locally made products.
After lunch at a local restaurant you drive to Can Tho, in the heart of the Mekong Delta. The remainder of the day is free to relax or explore the city.
Overnight in Can Tho
Can Tho - Cai Rang Floating Market - Soc TrangDay 12
An early start, as you take a boat trip along the myriad waterway of the mighty Mekong River to Cai Rang Floating Market where hundreds of boats laden with fruits, vegetables and fish jostle for trade. After visiting a second floating market you head to Soc Trang to see the famous Khmer, Clay and Bat Pagodas.
After lunch at a local restaurant in Soc Trang you return to Can Tho. The rest of the day is free at your leisure.
Overnight in Can Tho
Can Tho – Vung LiemDay 13
Depart Can Tho you take the small country roads to Vung Liem and the lodge where you will spend tonight.
After a traditional lunch you are taken by rowboat through the canals to a ‘pop rice factory’. You also visit a colorful Cao Dai temple nearby. Returning to the lodge you pick your bicycles and take to the quiet village roads passing by a duck farm, dragon fruit gardens, and a coconut fabric factory. This is a real chance to discover a rural Vietnam that most visitors never get to see. Later back at the lodge you are shown how the locals prepare a traditional meal.
Enjoy dinner at the Lodge. The last activity of the day is a walk with locals using traditional torches made of dried coconut leaves to a neighbour’s house where you are treated to a traditional musical performance.
Overnight in Vung Liem
Vung Liem – Ho Chi Minh CityDay 14
After enjoying a quiet breakfast at the lodge we can either cycle or be rowed to a local school and the 200 year old Chua Xu temple where locals and visitors from other provinces come to pray. Why not try and learn some Vietnamese from th children or teachers at the school. Later we will try our hand at weaving with water coconut leaves. The leaves are a key building material in the Mekong Delta and used to build the walls and roofs of homes.
Return by road to Ho Chi Minh city. Enjoy your last night in this city before going home.
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City
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.
- 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)
- Vietnam Domestic Flights
- Entrance fees for all mentioned sights visited
- Service Charge & Government Taxes
What’s Not Included?
- Your International Flights 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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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.
It was great to have a relaxing vacation and indochina took
Care of everything. Loved Hanoi and Halong Bay!
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.
"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.
"First trip to Vietnam"
As this was our first trip to Vietnam we decided to us Indochina Pioneer-and Mr Lam provided us with a 17 day itinerary. Thank you for arranging a most relaxing holiday, and we enjoyed every minute with our guides, Mr Dong (Hanoi), Mr Thoung and driver Mr Hai (Hoi An-Hue) Mrs Yen from Ho Chi Minh City and Mr Tom from the Dragon Peal No 1. Their warmth, friendliness and good humour has made our trip most memorable. The guides all did an excellent job with their knowledge on places visited as well as the history of Vietnam. Our visit to Halong Bay was unfortunately very cold, but was still made enjoyable, and guests still participated in canoeing and visiting the floating fishing village. Although there were many highlights with the sounds, smells and overall busy day to day life especially in the markets, my favourite highlight was in Ho Chi Minh City with a park becoming one enormous flower market and the boats on the river covered in flowers ready to sell, all for the Tet festival. We wished we stayed a few extra nights to enjoy the Tet festivities. Yes I would definitely recommend Indochina Pioneer to anyone wishing to travel to Vietnam, and will use this company again.
"12 days in Myanmar"
Kata Tran has organised many holidays for me – in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. All excellent. She organised a 12 day trip to Myanmar in January 2016 with a few days each in Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay and Inle. Great guides and drivers. Lovely hotels. Terrific boat trip from Mandalay to Bagan. Day trip to old colonial Maymyo. Highly recommended. Kata always listens carefully to what you want and is very flexible.