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

Client reviews

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.

Excellent 98%
Very good 2%
Average 0%
Poor 0%
Terrible 0%
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
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
goodtravel
fort 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.

Feb 13, 2016
Trip Advisor
baaccook
Australia, Brisbane

"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.

Feb 19, 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