Build Your Own Trip

Overview

  • Day 1: Ho Chi Minh City (previously known as Saigon) – Arrival
  • Day 2: HCMC City – Half-day City Tour – Cu Chi tunnels
  • Day 3: HCM City – My Tho – Can Tho
  • Day 4: Can Tho – Cai Rang Floating Market – Flight to Da Nang/ Hoi An
  • Day 5: Hoi An – Walking Tour of the Ancient Town
  • Day 6: Hoi An – Hue
  • Day 7: Hue – Flight to Hanoi
  • Day 8: Hanoi – Full-Day City Tour
  • Day 9: Hanoi – Halong Bay – On board a junk boat
  • Day 10: Halong Bay – Hanoi
  • Day 11: Hanoi – Departure

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.

Ho Chi Minh City (previously known as Saigon) – Arrival

Your private tour guide will meet you at Ho Chi Minh City’s (HCM City) Tan Son Nhat airport when you arrive for your holiday to Vietnam, and will escort you by private car to your selected hotel in HCMC. 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. The rest of the afternoon will be yours to explore at your leisure.

In the evening your private guide will meet you again and take you to a local Vietnamese Restaurant for a welcome dinner. You can sample some of the most delightful southern Vietnamese cuisine. After that you can head to the Rex Hotel’s rooftop bar for some drinks (at your own account). It was a well-known hangout spot for the former US military officials.

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 HCM City
Meals: (_/_/_) 



HCMC City – Half-day City Tour – Cu Chi tunnels

Morning
After breakfast, your 10 days package tour in Vietnam officially starts as your private tour guide and driver pick you up for a guided tour around HCM City to visit the city’s historical landmarks. Below are the recommended sites, but of course, your guide will be happy to modify the list based on your preferences.

Visits:
– Reunification Palace (the former Presidential Palace), where the war officially ended on April 30th, 1975 when tank 843 of the North Vietnamese Army crashed through the gates of the home of the President of the Republic of Vietnam
– War Remnants Museum, highlighting the suffering of the Vietnamese people during recent conflicts – not entirely unbiased
– Notre Dame Cathedral considered being one of the most beautiful buildings in all of Vietnam. It was built in the period 1877 – 1880 by the French architect Bourad.
– The Opera House, a popular backdrop for wedding photos, now used as a Municipal Theatre. This area is rich with history from the times of the French invasion to the filming of Phil Noyce’s “The Quiet American.”
– Jade Emperor Pagoda, built in 1909 in honor of the supreme Taoist god (the Jade Emperor or King of Heaven, Ngoc Hoang) – this is one of the most impressive temples in HCM City, filled with statues of deities and heroes.

You also have a chance to pass by the Former U.S. Embassy (now becoming the Consulate General of the United States) and the Saigon villa of General Westmoreland.

Lunch will be served at the renowned Pho 2000 Restaurant, where former US president Bill Clinton and his daughter Chelsea once patronized.

Afternoon
You will visit the Cu Chi Tunnels which were built by the Viet Cong during the battles for the south of Vietnam. This vast network of tunnels, stretching over 150 km, was built by the Viet Cong during the battles that took place in the south. You will take a walk through the reserve and get to see:

– the Secret Entrance to the tunnels
– workshops for the handmade weapons
– the clinic, commander, meeting and kitchen bunkers

If you are feeling brave, you can crawl inside the Cu Chi Tunnels to experience how difficult life must have been, and discover the 3 underground levels.

After the visit to the Cu Chi Tunnels, you will return to HCM City where the rest of the day will be yours to explore at your leisure.

Overnight in HCM City
Meals: (Breakfast/Lunch/_)



HCM City – My Tho – Can Tho

Morning
After breakfast, your private tour guide will pick you up and take you to My Tho town. Upon arrival, you will embark on a motorboat and heading out on the mighty Mekong to Con Qui Islet. In contrast to many of the overly visited Mekong islands, we choose Con Qui for its quieter, less crowded, and more authentic slice of Mekong life. Enjoy a walking tour through this green and unspoiled island. Make some stops for photos and glimpses and of the daily lives of local villagers.

You’ll then take a small boat as you are rowed quietly along the thick mangroves of Vam Xep, a small canal with little village houses dotted along its sides. Get off the boat to enjoy some honeyed tea at the ‘Coconut Artisan’ village to check out the workshops where a range of coconut husk and fiber products are skillfully handcrafted.

You next take a small sampan along Vam Chua canal, 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. Finally you stop for lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon
Reboard the boat to head back to My Tho and continue the drive through the fields and towns of the Mekong to Can Tho city, stopping at the Vinh Trang Pagoda if time permits.

Evening
Spend the evening at your leisure seeing the town by foot or find a quiet place for a cocktail by the river.

Overnight in Can Tho
Meals: (Breakfast/Lunch/_)



Can Tho – Cai Rang Floating Market – Flight to Da Nang/ Hoi An

Morning
Rise early for a boat trip to the Cai Rang market, the biggest floating whole-sale market of the Mekong region. Here you will have a chance to practice your bartering skills! The market is filled with small boats darting through the water as vendors sell their wares.

Continue along narrow canals, stopping at a fruit orchard to taste some of the succulent fruit in season before making a short walk to Ba Bo Bridge (water level allowing).

Get back to the City where you continue to visit Binh Thuy old house and then transfer (20 minutes) to Can Tho Airport to take a short flight to Da Nang.

Upon arrival in Da Nang, your private tour guide and driver will take you on a short drive to the nearby Hoi An Ancient Town. After the hotel check in you will have the rest of the day at your leisure.

Overnight in Hoi An
Meals: (Breakfast/_/_)



Hoi An – Walking Tour of the Ancient Town

After breakfast, your private tour guide will pick you up and take you on a half-day walking tour of Hoi An through the narrow winding streets of the Ancient Quarter. From the 16th to the 18th century, Hoi An was a thriving international commercial port. Today it is a quaint riverside town popular with tourists for its eclectic architecture, tailor shops, and cafes.

Visits:
– Chua Ong Temple
– The Assembly Hall
– The Japanese Covered Bridge
– The Phung Hung ancestral house
– Hoi An Central market

Afternoon
Spend the rest of the day however you wish in Hoi An as you experience a real vacation in Vietnam. Sunbathe on the beach, go shopping, or become familiar with the quaint streets of Hoi An.

Overnight in Hoi An
Meals: (Breakfast/_/_)



Hoi An – Hue

Morning
After breakfast and check out, your private tour guide will pick you up for the drive to Hue (travel time approximately 4 hours) via Da Nang. During this drive, you will stop to visit the famous My Khe Beach, otherwise known as China Beach was once a popular R&R spot for US soldiers. Continue your scenic road journey over the stunning Hai Van (Ocean Clouds) Pass which offers panoramic views of the coastline below.

Afternoon
Upon arrival in Hue, you will take a city tour of the highlights in Hue.

Visits:
– The ancient walled Citadel and the Imperial Enclosure, a former home to the Nguyen Dynasty, the last monarchy in Vietnam.
– The Forbidden Purple City
– Dong Ba market, where locals purchase their fresh produce

The rest of the day will be yours to explore at your leisure.

Overnight in Hue
Meals: (Breakfast/_/_)



Hue – Flight to Hanoi

Morning
After breakfast, your private tour guide will pick you up for an adventure on a dragon boat cruise on the Perfume River. During the cruise, you will visit the Thien Mu (Heavenly Lady) Pagoda with its characteristic seven-tiered tower. You will also see the Austin car which took Monk Thich Quang Duc to Saigon where he famously set himself on fire in 1963 as a dramatic protest against the unfair treatment of Buddhists by the Diem regime.

In the last part of the cruise, you will visit the Emperor Tu Duc Mausoleum, considered one of the most beautiful and picturesque works of architecture of the Nguyen Dynasty. This large mausoleum took only 3 years to construct and reflects a mix of Asian and European styles.

A vegetarian lunch will be served and the remainder of the afternoon will be yours to explore at your leisure.

Evening
You are driven to Hue airport for a short flight to Hanoi. Upon arrival in Hanoi, your private tour guide will take you to your hotel in Hanoi to check in.

Overnight in Hanoi
Meals: (Breakfast/Lunch/_)



Hanoi – Full-Day City Tour

Morning
After breakfast, your private tour guide will pick you up and take you on a full-day city tour of Hanoi. Below are the recommended sites, but of course, your guide will be happy to modify the list based on your preferences.

Visits:
– Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum & the Presidential Palace
– Tran Quoc Pagoda
– Huu Tiep Lake and the Downed B-52
– Museum of Ethnology

Lunch will be served at KOTO (Know One Teach One), where the staff is former street children being trained in culinary and hospitality skills.

Afternoon
After lunch, you will continue to visit Hoa Lo Museum (Hanoi Hilton), Women’s Museum and the Temple of Literature. Then you will take a cycle rickshaw ride through the French Quarter to admire the well preserved colonial buildings such as the Hanoi Opera House and the Sofitel Legend Metropole, as well as the Old Quarter. After the 1 hour cycle rickshaw ride, you will enjoy a performance of the traditional water puppet show, a typical northern Vietnamese art form.

Overnight in Hanoi
Meals: (Breakfast/Lunch/_)



Hanoi – Halong Bay – On board a junk boat

Morning
After breakfast and check out, 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 (travel time approximately 4 hours).

You will arrive at the docks around midday, and you will board a traditional wooden junk boat for a relaxing and unforgettable cruise around the breathtaking and unique limestone mountain islands. A sumptuous local seafood lunch will be served as you cruise this spectacular bay.

Afternoon
You will visit one of the famous caves of Halong Bay, and there will be a stop at Ti Top Mountain, where you will climb to the top for a stunning panoramic view of Halong Bay.

Evening
Take part in a cooking demonstration on board. It is then followed by a scrumptious dinner. For the night activities you can try some squid fishing, unwind on the top deck and enjoy a glass of cocktail. Then return to your cabin for a good night sleep.

(Note: Program may differ slightly base on cruise ships)

Overnight on board
Meals: (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)


Halong Bay – Hanoi

Morning
In the morning, enjoy breakfast on board your junk boat as you take in the scenic treasures of the bay. There will be an opportunity for you to kayak on the bay’s placid waters to access some of the sites inaccessible by the larger boats, including a cave.

Lunch will be provided onboard before arrival back at the dock, where you will be picked up by your private driver and taken back to Hanoi.

Afternoon
After checking into your hotel in Hanoi, the rest of the day will be yours to explore at your leisure.

Overnight in Hanoi
Meals: (Breakfast/Lunch/_)



Hanoi – Departure

After breakfast and a leisurely morning on your own, you will check out by midday and your private driver will pick you up and take you to Hanoi’s Noi Bai airport for your departure flight home.

Meals: (Breakfast/_/_)



Useful Information

This Vietnam 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.

Sightseeing Highlights

  • Visit Ho Chi Minh City landmarks: War Remnant Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral, and Reunification Palace and the Former U.S. Embassy…etc.
  • Explore the legendary network of Cu Chi Tunnels.
  • Discover the famous Cai Rang Floating Market and the Cottage Industries in the Mekong Delta.
  • Take a walking of Hoi An Ancient town, Get some cloth made at the local tailor shops.
  • Visit the Imperial Citadel and the Emperor Mausoleums in Hue.
  • Take a cyclo (rickshaw ride) through the French Quarter, Stroll around the Old Quarter of Hanoi and Hoan Kiem Lake.
  • Spend a night on board an overnight cruise in Ha Long Bay.


Dining Experience

  • 10 hotel buffet breakfasts.
  • 2 dinners and 7 lunches at well-selected restaurants.
  • 1 Cooking demonstration on Halong Bay boat


Travel Highlights

  • Private Tour Guide in each City of visit (Other languages upon request)
  • Private driver with air-conditioned vehicle for daily tours or alternative transportation (such as rail journeys)
  • Hand-picked Restaurants and Hotels. (Specified in each quotation)
  • Entrance Fees/ Admission for all sightseeing. Well selected activities with some possible extra supprises.
  • All airport transfers


What’s Included?

Private English speaking guide, accommodation, private tours and transfer, domestic flights, A/C vehicles, 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.

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