Build Your Own Trip

Overview

  • Day 1: Hanoi – Arrival – Evening Food Tour and Nightlife Experience
  • Day 2: Hanoi Morning Sightseeing – Visit Bat Trang & Van Phuc handicraft Villages
  • Day 3: Hanoi – Day trip to Xuan Thuy National Park
  • Day 4: Hanoi – Transfer to Ha Long Bay
  • Day 5: Halong Bay – Hanoi – Shopping Spree
  • Day 6: Hanoi City – Free time – 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.

Hanoi – Arrival – Evening Food Tour and Nightlife Experience

Arrival at Hanoi’s 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/ custom area to transfer you in a private vehicle to the hotel in downtown. While every effort is made to have your room available upon arrival, check in time is at 02:00pm; your room may or may not be ready before this time. Your tour guide will provide additional details regarding your stay, and you will be able to ask any questions you may have. Have a rest before the exciting evening food adventure and nightlife experience at 17.00.

17.00 – 20.30
Your private guide will collect you at the hotel and take you out for the Evening food tour.

We wander past street stalls and quiet residential lanes where we can observe local life that has changed little since Hanoi was founded over 1000 years ago. This will bring us lots of sights and sounds of the evening in Hanoi.

During our walk we will have plenty of opportunity to interact with the locals and sample various street food such as Banh Cuon (Vietnamese Steam Rice Rolls), Banh My (Vietnames baguettes), Nom Du Du (papaya Salad with beef), Bun Cha (grilled pork with vermicelli) and especially the amazing Egg Coffe. You also 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: (_/_/Dinner) – Halal Food Available Upon Request



Hanoi Morning Sightseeing – Visit Bat Trang & Van Phuc handicraft Villages

At 5:00 am, your tour guide will greet you at your hotel. From the hotel we will travel by taxi to the famous flower Quang Ba market where hundreds of different kinds of flowers are being sold in bulk to the flower shop keepers. From there we transfer to Long Bien bridge where, underneath is one of the biggest and busiest fruit markets in the country. Both these markets are only seen in the early morning!

Next we will travel on foot and see the Old Quarter begin to wake up. You will see street side markets preparing for the morning. We’ll make our way to Hoan Kiem Lake to witness, and maybe even take part in, people, young and old, exercising, doing tai chi, and jogging. As the sun rises, the light becomes perfect, take every opportunity to snap some of the best photos of your trip!

Finish the tour at your hotel around 8:00 am. Have breakfast and a rest before half day trip to Bat Trang & Van Phuc handicraft villages.

Bat Trang Pottery Village is located in the south east of Hanoi, passing Chuong Duong Bridge turns right and go about 10 km along the dike of Red River. You will have the chance to soak deep into the local life. On the basis of tradition pottery technique, Bat Trang pottery workers have taken abused-propagated greatly the progress of science technology into every stage in making pottery. It has made many types of top class pottery, that is useful and beautiful and it upgrades the sense of pottery art. You also have time for shopping before transferring to Van Phuc village, which has been well-known for its “Lua Van” or silk weaving craft. Silk of Van Phuc is of high artistic value. Drive back to Hanoi in the late afternoon.

Overnight in Hanoi
Meals: (Breakfast/_/_) – Halal Food Available Upon Request



Hanoi – Day trip to Xuan Thuy National Park

Leave Hanoi in the morning we drive 4 hours to Nam Dinh Province, 150 km south-west of Hanoi in the coastal zone of the Red River Delta.

Around midday we arrive Xuan Thuy National Park, formally known as a Nature Reserve of the area and later became Vietnam’s first Ramsar site, for the conservation of wetlands.

We embark on a boat trip to discover the wetland. After a one hour boat trip through the National Park we arrive at a Clam Hut where we will be served a delicious seafood lunch. We can rest and relax in the Hut for a while before transferring back to the mainland. From here we will be picked up and driven to discover the local villages. A bicycle ride can be arranged upon your request.

Drive along country lanes at a peaceful pace viewing local life we pause to see farmers toiling in their rice fields using centuries of farming practices. We also stop to visit the local fish-sauce workshop. Our guide will tell us about the traditional methods of making this delicious sauce. Riding back we will see ancient houses, catholic churches and the Agriculture Museum. If time permits we will visit the salt fields to watch the locals making salt, here you can try to become a salt-farmer!

Finish the tour we wind our way for 4 hours back to Hanoi.

Overnight in Hanoi
Meals: (Breakfast/Lunch/_) – Halal Food Available Upon Request



Hanoi – Transfer to Ha Long Bay – Overnight onboard

08:00
After breakfast you will be collected and transferred for 4 hours (140km) from Hanoi to Halong City and port. As Halong Bay is so popular, there are usually a crowd of boats at the docks -please be reassured that the cruise itself will be scenic and relaxing.

12.00 – 12.30 approx
Arriving Tuan Chau marina. Welcome aboard the cruise. Refresh with our welcome drink. Meet the captain, crew in the cruise briefing. Check into your cabin. Time to refresh and unwind.

Set sail as lunch is served.

Join us for a typical local lunch in the dining room or at the outdoor dining area. Mingling yourself in the stunning views of the Bay and its dramatic limestone islets as we sail through the calm emerald waters heading to Maze cave.

In the late afternoon we arrive at Amazing cave (hang Sửng Sốt), explore the cave and find out how the cave was named Amazing.

Reach to the peak point of the cave for a breath taking panoramic view of the bay.

Back to the boat, our cruise will take you to a stunning tranquilizing isolated lagoon for swimming or just simply relaxing on the boat with our spa service and mingle in the picturesque seascape.
Heading back toward the sleeping area.

In the evening summit on the sundeck watching the sunset, enjoy our pre-dinner local wine appetizer. It’s ideal time to make acquaintance with new friends, sharing your traveling experience or simply watching the sunset.

19:00
A dinner with an authentic Vietnamese menu is served.

After dinner, reward yourself with a large selection of cocktails at our bar, or take for you one of our onboard activities: book reading, games, movies, and squid fishing…

Overnight on board
Meals: (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner) – Halal Food Available Upon Request


Halong – Hanoi – Shopping Spree

7:00 – 8:00
Local breakfast is served onboard.

8:00
– Mingling yourself in the stunning views of the Bay and its dramatic limestone islets as we sail through the calm emerald waters heading to Luon Cave (Hang Luồn)

– Take your option either exploring the cave yourself on kayak or comfortably on bamboo boat rowed by the locals.

9:00
Check out the cabins, at your leisure while your cruise taking you pass by other beautiful highlights in the bay.

10:00
You will join a short class of cooking demonstration, learning how to make spring rolls before an early lunch is served.

12:00
Return to the shore and disembark from the cruise as our crew say farewell. Wind your way back to Hanoi with a stop en route for refreshment.

17:30 – 18:30
Return your hotel for some rest before your guide take you on a walking and shopping tour of the Old Quarter. Along the iconic Hoan Kiem lake and the most exciting shopping part of the Old Quarter including Hang Gai– Hang Bong – NhaTho street, the best place to pick up some high quality, fashionable silk items, lacquer ware, embroidered goods, and ethnic-minority crafts; Hang Dau (Shoes street), where hundreds of shoe-sellers lining. Most of the footwear consists of brand names made at Vietnamese factories that have been rejected as seconds, making them a great purchase with usually only a small imperfection. There are also plenty of fake North Face, Samsonite bags where Hang Dau Street meets Lo Su.

18.30 – 21.30
Be picked up by the private car for a 20-minute drive to Japanese retail giant AEON Shopping Mall. Here you can spend 1 – 2 hours at the huge Japanese food court, shopping for local brand clothes (Cafina, The Blue Exchange and Bata, etc.) at remarkable good price, as well as households and other stuffs. Get back to the hotel at about 21.00.

Overnight in Hanoi
Meals: (Breakfast/Lunch/_) – Halal Food Available Upon Request



Hanoi City – Free time – Departure

Today is on your own leisure. Breakfast is still included and check out is at mid-day.

Depending on your departure time a private driver will collect you from the hotel and transfer you back to the airport for your departure flight.

Meals: (Breakfast/_/_) – Halal Food Available Upon Request



Useful Information

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)

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

WHAT’S EXCLUDED?

  • Your International Flights from and to 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