Build Your Own Trip

Overview

  • Day 1: Hanoi – Arrival day
  • Day 2: Hanoi sightseeing tour & Local food discovery
  • Day 3: Hanoi – Thai Nguyen – Cao Bang
  • Day 4: Cao Bang – Ban Gioc Waterfall – Nguom Ngao Cave – Cao Bang
  • Day 5: Cao Bang – Ba Be National Park
  • Day 6: Ba Be – Hanoi
  • Day 7: Hanoi – Halong Bay & Overnight Onboard
  • Day 8: Halong – Hanoi
  • Day 9: 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.

Hanoi – Arrival day

A warm greeting awaits at Hanoi’s Noi Bai airport; your private guide and driver will meet you in the arrivals lounge and drive you directly to your hotel in downtown Hanoi (travel time approximately 1 hour). 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.

After checking in, if you are interested, your guide will take you on a cyclo/rickshaw tour of the French Quarter where the grand boulevards offer a welcome escape from the busy Old Quarter. You will also pass by the Municipal Theatre (also known as the Opera House), which is based on Paris’ Opéra.

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


Hanoi Sightseeing Tour & Local Food Discovery

Today with the help of your private guide and driver you will get to explore the city’s major attractions. You will also sample Hanoi’s authentic local dishes away from the tourist trails, hunkering down with the locals on the street at a variety of atmospheric food stalls.

Morning: You will start with the Ho Chi Minh Complex including his Mausoleum (Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is closed every Monday & Friday, all afternoons and from late September until December), the Presidential Palace, the historic Stilt house, and the One Pillar Pagoda. From Ho Chi Minh Complex we take a short leisure walk through the small laneways to visit Huu Tiep Lake and the Downed B-52, one of the historical vestiges in Hanoi. We take a short drive to the outskirt of Hanoi to visit the Museum of Ethnology exhibiting the 54 officially recognized ethnic groups in Vietnam. Some of them we will meet during our trip to Sapa.

Today we will have Pho for lunch, 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.

Afternoon: After lunch, you will visit the Temple of Literature, a Confucius temple and also the first University of Vietnam. Continue on to Hoa Lo (so-called Hanoi Hilton), a prison used by the French colonists in Vietnam for political prisoners, and later by North Vietnam for U.S. Prisoners of War during the Vietnam War
Visit Hoan Kiem Lake & Ngoc Son Temple. Enjoy a cup of Egg coffee at Pho Co Café with the stunning view of Hoan Kiem Lake and the surroundings.
End up your adventure day by commencing a Walking and Food tour through Hanoi’s Old Quarter (in contrast to the French Quarter). During the food tour with the help of your personal tour guide, you will have a chance to experience one of the world’s greatest street food cities and unlock the hidden secrets of the Old Quarter and its cuisine.

Notes: The city tour program is flexible. Our guide would be more than happy to adjust the tour itinerary at your needs. You can skip one site or add another if you so wish.

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



Hanoi – Thai Nguyen – Cao Bang

After breakfast, you will be picked up by your guide and driver for the journey to Cao Bang. The journey takes 6 hours driving. En-route, we will visit the Thai Nguyen Museum – located in the center of Thai Nguyen province on the poetic Riverside. It is considered to be a cultural work with large scale and beautiful architecture. 3000 documents and original items on the traditional culture of 54 ethnic groups are exhibited and stored at the Museum.
After lunchtime served in Bac Can, we will continue heading to Cao Bang. On Arrival, check into your hotel and relax at your own leisure in Cao Bang.

Overnight in Cao Bang
Meals: (_/Lunch/Dinner)


Cao Bang – Ban Gioc Waterfall – Nguom Ngao Cave – Cao Bang

This morning, after breakfast, we will take a short visit to the Central Market of Cao Bang. Afterward, we will take a scenic drive to Ban Gioc Waterfall close to Vietnam’s northern border with China. Along the way, you will be introduced to the Nung people in the village of Phuc Sen, a small village famous for the production of farming tools. Like the Tays, the Nungs largely live by farming the terraced rice paddies that you will see all around.
On arrival to Ban Gioc Waterfall, you will board the bamboo raft for the most up-close discovery of the most beautiful Waterfall in Vietnam.
After lunchtime served at a local restaurant, the trip will continue with a visit to Nguom Ngao limestone Cave which is 2 km away from Ban Gioc waterfall. Return to the hotel in the late afternoon. Spend your night at leisure.

Overnight in Cao Bang
Meals: (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)


Cao Bang – Ba Be National Park

After breakfast, we will continue our journey to Ba Be National Park where you will embark on a boat ride along the Nang River, with time to explore Ba Be Lake, the caves of Puong Grotto, the rapids of the Dau Dang waterfall and tiny Widow Island. You will enjoy a picnic lunch by the waterfall.
Finish the boat trip and transfer to a Tay people village called Pac Ngoi where you will stay overnight at a local thatched house. After check-in and short rest, you will take a walk around the village, meet and interact with the local people.
Tonight you will enjoy dinner cooked and served by the family. You may want to join them in the cooking activity. This is a great fun.

Overnight in Ba Be Lake
Meals: (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)



Ba Be – Hanoi

After breakfast, we will say goodbye to the house’s owner and driving back Hanoi. The distance is 250km and it takes you 5 hours.

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

Hanoi – Halong Bay & Overnight Onboard

Morning: You will arrive at the Hanoi train station early in the morning where your guide will pick you up and take you to a mini hotel near the station to check in for a couple of hours. Here, you will have the opportunity to take a shower, have some breakfast, and relax after the train ride.
After breakfast, you will leave Hanoi for Halong Bay (travel time approximately 4 hours), passing through several Northern Vietnamese towns and villages. Upon arrival, you will be welcomed aboard your traditional junk; designed in the same style as those that have sailed the bay for hundreds of years. You will begin a relaxing and unforgettable cruise around the breathtaking and unique limestone karsts and islets. A delicious fresh seafood lunch will be served as you cruise this spectacular bay, a UNESCO listed site.

Afternoon: Aboard the junk, you will visit several key locations.
Visits:
– One of the most stunning caves of Halong Bay
– Stop at Titop Beach and take a refreshing swim on this quiet beach or sunbathe on the sundeck; take a short trek to the nearby summit for a panoramic view of the bay
Back onboard the junk, you will watch the sunset and be served a sumptuous dinner, with cocktails available for purchase from the bar. You will spend the night onboard the junk, in a cabin with an ensuite bathroom.

Notes: The program may differ slightly based on the junk cruise’s itinerary. An extra night can be added to the program. If your time is flexible, we highly recommend it.

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



Halong – Hanoi

Morning: You will wake up to see the sun rise over the spectacular horizon, reflecting in the pristine waters of the bay. You may join a Tai Chi class on the sundeck if you wish, before enjoying breakfast. You will continue sailing around the natural wonder of Halong Bay and have lunch onboard, before arriving back at the dock where your private guide and driver will be waiting for you.

At noon: you will transfer back Hanoi. The rest of the day is free at leisure.

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

Let’s check out the Best Deals for this TIME PERIOD. These are Special Offers that can disappear at any time. Book Now before it is too late. Don’t Delay!

Special Promotional Prices (valid: November 9 – November 23, 2018). This deal is applied to all trip starting within Nov 01 and Dec 31, 2018. The quotation currency is USD.

Group Size 1pax 2pax 3pax 4pax 5pax 6pax Single Sup
Mini & 3-Star Hotels
Regular Price $1,705 $1,038 $887 $799 $747 $712 $230
Promotional Price $1,366 $823 $706 $638 $597 $570 $214
4-Star Hotels
Regular Price $1,835 $1,103 $952 $864 $812 $777 $320
Promotional Price $1,496 $888 $771 $703 $662 $635 $304
Boutique Hotels
Regular Price $1,741 $1,056 $905 $817 $765 $730 $248
Promotional Price $1,402 $841 $724 $656 $615 $588 $232

Accommodation:

3-star Hotels

Hanoi: The Hanoian Hotel/ Deluxe room http://www.thehanoianhotel.com/
Cao Bang: Sunny Hotel / Double room http://caobanghotel.com.vn/
Ba Be: Ba Be Lake View Homestay www.tripadvisor.com
Halong bay: Swan Classic Cruise/ Deluxe cabin http://swancruiseshalong.com/

4-star Hotels

Hanoi: Rex Hanoi Hotel/ Executive room http://rexhanoihotel.com/
Cao Bang: Sunny Hotel / Double room http://caobanghotel.com.vn/
Ba Be: Ba Be Lake View Homestay www.tripadvisor.com
Halong bay: Huong Hai Sealife Cruise / Suite Balcony http://huonghaisealifecruise.com/en/

Boutique Hotels

Hanoi: Essence Palace Hotel/ Deluxe window http://essencepalacehotel.com/
Cao Bang: Sunny Hotel / Double room http://caobanghotel.com.vn/
Ba Be: Ba Be Lake View Homestay www.tripadvisor.com
Halong bay: Oasis Halong Cruise/ Deluxe cabin http://oasisbaycruises.com/

Special Benefits Added:

  • Free visa approval letter
  • One free local sim card
  • Special secret souvenir created by Indochina Pioneer.

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)

  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner)
  • Entrance fees for all mentioned sights visited
  • Service Charge & Government Taxes
  • Airport Taxes and Fuel charges

What’s Not Included?

  • Your International Flights
  • 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