Build Your Own Trip

Overview

  • Day 1: Arrive in Hanoi/ Private transfer from airport to the hotel
  • Day 2: Hanoi City Tour – Streetfood Tour
  • Day 3: Hanoi – Morning Drive to Sapa – Afternoon Sightseeing
  • Day 4: Explore Ma Tra Village – Overnight Train Back to Hanoi
  • Day 5: Hanoi – Ninh Binh – Hoa Lu Ancient Capital – Tam Coc
  • Day 6: Hanoi – Halong Bay – Overnight on board
  • Day 7: Halong Bay – Hanoi
  • Day 8: 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.

Arrive in Hanoi/ Private transfer from airport to the hotel

Arrival at Noi Bai International Airport, collect your luggage process through custom. Your private tour guide and driver from Indochina Pioneer will be waiting for you outside the baggage claim/ customs area to transfer you in a private vehicle to the hotel downtown.
Evening, you will enjoy Welcome Dinner before driving back to the hotel for an overnight stay.

Note: For the Vietnamese Visa on Arrival, please make sure you have 2 passports sized 4 cm x 6 cm photos and $25 for the stamping fee.

Overnight in Hanoi
Meals: (_/_/Dinner)



Hanoi City Tour – Streetfood Tour

After breakfast, we dive into the sights, sounds and smells of Hanoi. Your guide and driver will collect you from the hotel lobby to start your trip with a visit to the Ho Chi Minh complex on the site where he declared Vietnam’s independence in 1945 and see the reverence with which Vietnamese people treat their “Uncle Ho”. Other sites that we will visit with our local guide include House 54, Stilt House, Presidential Palace, and the One Pillar Pagoda.

Continuing on our journey through Hanoi we drive to the Museum of Ethnology, to learn more about the cultural diversity of Vietnam’s ethnic minorities. Established by the Vietnamese government in 1997, the museum provides us with a fascinating insight into the diverse cultures, customs, and lifestyles of the 54 ethnic groups that inhabit Vietnam.

After the visit to the Museum, we will have Pho for lunch at Pho Huyen, 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, we visit the Temple of Literature. Originally built in honor of Confucius by Emperor Ly Thanh Tong in 1070, a university was added to the grounds six years later. The university provided education to the royal family and children of the aristocracy or “mandarins”. The University remained here until Emperor Gia Long moved the countries administrative capital from Hanoi to Hue in the 18th century.

Return your hotel for some rest before starting the evening local food discovery.

17:00 – 20:30
We start our walking tour at Hanoi’s largest covered market, Dong Xuan. Along the perimeter of the market, dozens of street hawkers sell a staggering variety of produce from live seafood to exotic fruits and spices. Your expert English-speaking local guide will give you an insight into the intricacies and traditions of Vietnamese food culture including details on ingredients and historical backgrounds of popular northern dishes.

Walking through the maze of bustling streets that make up Hanoi’s Old Quarter, we tempt our taste buds with the famed Hanoi dish Banh Cuon at a local eatery. Watch in awe as the skilled chefs demonstrate for you how this tasty dish is put together. Continuing into the atmospheric heart of the Old Quarter, we wander past street stalls and quiet residential lanes where you can observe local life that has changed little since Hanoi was founded over 1000 years ago.

Our next stop is Banh My 25 shop “French Baguette”, a little food stall with a few typical tiny Vietnamese chairs on the sidewalk where we enjoy the delicious and fresh baguettes while observing the neighborhood.

Move on to Hanoi Food Culture at Phat Loc Street, where we sample some Bun Cha consisting of vermicelli, herbs and grilled pork. At this Hanoi’s best kept secrets, a hidden café we will watch the demonstration and then try some egg coffee, a scrumptious local delicacy.

Continue to other food stalls in Hang Bo and Ho Hoan Kiem Street where we try some dishes such Che “Vietnamese style pudding” and Nom “papaya salad with beef”.

It’s then time for dessert as we venture down a small alley to join in the local tradition of feasting on fresh fruit served in a cup and smothered with crushed iced – this specialty is one not to be missed!

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



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 rainforest 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
Meals: (Breakfast/Lunch/_)


Explore Ma Tra Village – Overnight Train Back to Hanoi

After breakfast at the hotel, you begin the day with a 3km trek through the breathtaking landscape to Matra village, where you will come across the impressive ruins of a church dating back to the French occupation in the early 1900s. Take a minute to explore this intriguing sight and take some photos.
Enjoy picnic lunch on the way.
You will have free time to discover the Sapa town on your own. Later afternoon, collect your luggage and transfer to Lao Cai station for night train back to Hanoi.

Overnight on train / Share in 4 berths cabin (4 people per cabin)
Meals: (Breakfast/Lunch/_)



Hanoi – Ninh Binh – Hoa Lu Ancient Capital – Tam Coc

Arrive at Hanoi station around 5 am. Pick up and transfer to the city to have Breakfast. Continue driving to Ninh Binh province to discover the ancient capital of Hoa Lu, well-known for its enchanting scenery and history. Visit historic temples from past dynasties, enjoy a serene boat ride along Ngo Dong River, and join a cycling tour through the idyllic countryside.

Start your journey by heading south toward Hoa Lu Ancient Capital in Ninh Binh. Your first stops are at the Dinh and Le temples, built in honor of the first and second emperors of ancient Vietnam. Marvel at the temples’ intricate architecture, art, devotional statues, and sculptures.
Next, hop aboard a traditional boat and cruise along the Ngo Dong River to discover Tam Coc, a network of 3 beautiful caves carved naturally by the river. Take time to wander in the stunning landscape with natural limestone formations and paddy fields.

Then enjoy an authentic Vietnamese lunch at a local restaurant in Tam Coc before embarking on a tranquil bike ride through the peaceful countryside. Pedal through native villages and learn more about the history of the land and local culture.

Arrive at Hanoi station around 5 am. Pick up and transfer to the city to have Breakfast. Continue driving to Ninh Binh province to discover the ancient capital of Hoa Lu, well-known for its enchanting scenery and history. Visit historic temples from past dynasties, enjoy a serene boat ride along Ngo Dong River, and join a cycling tour through the idyllic countryside.

Start your journey by heading south toward Hoa Lu Ancient Capital in Ninh Binh. Your first stops are at the Dinh and Le temples, built in honor of the first and second emperors of ancient Vietnam. Marvel at the temples’ intricate architecture, art, devotional statues, and sculptures.

Next, hop aboard a traditional boat and cruise along the Ngo Dong River to discover Tam Coc, a network of 3 beautiful caves carved naturally by the river. Take time to wander in the stunning landscape with natural limestone formations and paddy fields.

Then enjoy an authentic Vietnamese lunch at a local restaurant in Tam Coc before embarking on a tranquil bike ride through the peaceful countryside. Pedal through native villages and learn more about the history of the land and local culture.

Drive back to Hanoi for your overnight stay.

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



Hanoi – Halong Bay – Overnight on board

(No tour-guide for Halong Bay cruise, there is a Cruise Manager to assist all clients on the boat)

Halong Bay is your destination today. Your private driver will collect you from the hotel and take you on a 4.5 hours journey on a scenic road with plenty to see along the way. You may even have some photo opportunities on the way.

Around midday, you arrive at Halong Bay. Board your boat in Halong Bay. Then enjoy a delicious seafood lunch while soaking up the magnificence of the UNESCO Heritage area.

After lunch, you will visit Sung Sot Cave (Amazing Cave) – one of the largest caves in Halong Bay, before climbing Titop Mountain for some panoramic views of the stunning sunset over Halong Bay. You will have our dinner back on your boat and settle in for a relaxing sleep onboard your junk boat.

Note: each junk operates a different itinerary and onboard facilities may vary. Your consultant will be very happy to discuss each option with you.

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



Halong Bay – Hanoi

Wake up with the sunrise, join a Tai Chi lesson on the sundeck. You will then enjoy a buffet brunch on board while continuing to cruise and head back to the shore. Disembark, meet your driver again and drive back to Hanoi.

Arrive Hanoi and check back into the same hotel. Enjoy your last night in Hanoi.

Overnight in Hanoi
Meals: (Brunch/_)



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 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 the 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 suit 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

Client reviews

Excellent 98%
Very good 2%
Average 0%
Poor 0%
Terrible 0%
Dannyboymillard
United Kingdom

"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.

Feb 23, 2016
Trip Advisor
Roger C
Australia, Adelaide

"Excellent 20 day tour of Myanmar with Indochina Pioneer"

This was our first trip to Myanmar . We have traveled to Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos with Lam Duong from Indochina Pioneer in the past and having had such a great trip chose Lam to organise our Myanmar trip.
Lam chose and booked great hotels in Yangon, Kyaing Tong, Kalaw, Inle Lake , Bagan and Mandalay as well as organise excellent tour guides and drivers at those places. We wanted to do a short cruise on the Irrawaddy from Bagan to Mandalay and Lam selected Amara River Cruises which operate small extremely well founded wooden vessels. Our boat Amara 1 was excellent, comfortable and with friendly attentive staff who took us on excursions and provided us with superb food and service.
We also did a memorable balloon flight in Bagan with Balloons over Bagan which Lam organised.
Our tour organised by Lam in Myanmar was superb, we could not fault the guides and the overall balance of the itinerary.
Full marks Indochina Pioneer!

Feb 23, 2016
Trip Advisor
fezcan
Canada, Toronto

"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.

Feb 19, 2016
Trip Advisor
Shangahi
Australia, Bellingen

"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.

Feb 23, 2016
Trip Advisor
shannonrush91
Japan, Okinawa

"Awesome service!"

It was great to have a relaxing vacation and indochina took
Care of everything. Loved Hanoi and Halong Bay!

Feb 20, 2016
Trip Advisor