- Day 1: Arrival Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
- Day 2: Ho Chi Minh City Tour – Cu Chi Tunnels
- Day 3: HCM City – Day trip to Ben Tre - Evening flight to Da Nang/ Hoi An
- Day 4: Hoi An - Walking tour of the Ancient Town
- Day 5: Hoi An/ Da Nang – Flight to Hanoi
- Day 6: Hanoi City Tour
- Day 7: Hanoi – Halong Bay – Overnight on board
- Day 8: Halong Bay – Hanoi
- Day 9: Hanoi - Departure
- 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.
Arrival Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)Day 1
Upon arrival, you will be welcomed by your private guide and transferred to your hotel in Ho Chi Minh city (previously known as Saigon). The remainder of the day is free for you to explore and orient yourself in this busy city before our welcome dinner in a Vietnamese restaurant in downtown Saigon.
Note: For the Vietnamese Visa on Arrival, please make sure you have 2 passport sized 4 cm x 6 cm photos and $25 for the stamping fee.
Overnight in HCM City
Ho Chi Minh City Tour – Cu Chi TunnelsDay 2
Your private guide and driver will take you on a guided tour to see the major attractions of the city. You first start with the War Remnants Museum and The Reunification Palace, and you will pass by the former American Embassy (now the American Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City). Continue to visit the Notre Dame Cathedral, the City General Post Office as well as Dong Khoi Street where the City Opera House is located. End up our morning with a delicious bowl of noddle soup for lunch at Pho 2000, a famous noddle shop where president Bill Clinton and his daughter Chelsea ate lunch during to there visit to HCM City back in the year 2000.
After lunch you will be transferred to the legendary Cu Chi Tunnels, a Viet Cong Stronghold during the American War between 1965 and 1975. First constructed in 1948, during the French Resistance War, the tunnels were expanded by the Viet Cong, with the help of the local people, into a complex underground network stretching over 250 km. A visit to this place will offer you an insight into the war when Vietnamese determination and loyalty to their country overcame the hardships of the times and eventually brought the war to an end. After the tunnel tours you will return to the City.Overnight in HCM City
HCM City – Day trip to Ben Tre - Evening flight to Da Nang/ Hoi AnDay 3
After breakfast your private guide and driver drive you through the lush farming land to Ben Tre town. Upon arrival you will embark on a motorized boat trip around the scenic Ben Tre River, viewing various local industries along the way. During the boat ride you will stop to visit the small local factories where bricks and sleeping mats are made. Take a leisure walk along the village lanes visiting the local homes to try dry fruits, taste honey tea while enjoying a local Tai Tu music show.Continue your morning tour to visit a coconut mill workshop where the local delicacy of coconut candy is produced and a range of coconut husk and fiber products are skillfully handcrafted. You next take a small sampan through palm-fringed back canals, gliding peacefully along the hidden waterways surrounded by immense variety of tropical plants. The quiet, rural setting is a welcome and restorative retreat to the frenetic buzz of Saigon which seems far, far away.Have some fun by sitting in the back a Motor Cart (xe lôi) passing rice and vegetable orchard farms while meeting with the local people. Stop at a local restaurant by the riverside for lunch. Here you will sample some of the most delightful cuisines of the Mekong region.Afternoon
After lunch you will return to the docks where the vehicle will await you for your transfer back to Ho Chi Minh City. Then you are taken to the Airport for a short flight to Da Nang/ Hoi An.Overnight in Hoi An
Hoi An - Walking & Lantern making toursDay 4
This walking and lantern making tour gives you a quick but consistent insight of Hoi An Ancient Town and allows you to get in touch with your creative side, as well as provides you with the opportunity to take part in an important aspect of the Vietnamese culture.
After breakfast your tour guide will pick you up at the lobby of the hotel, to go to the center of Hoi An city where you will visit the town’s major attractions such as Hoi An Museum, Ancient Houses, Assembly Hall with Chinese influence, handicraft workshops, and the Japanese Bridge.
Move on to the house of a lantern craftsman. There, you can observe the lantern craftsman’s technique before hands-on work through each stage of lantern making under the guidance of the enthusiastic craftsmen: from bending it into frame, cutting cloth, gluing, to completing lanterns. Before this trip concludes, you will have your own lantern created by your own hands. This is the perfect souvenir for you to show off your craftsmanship upon your return home. Once you have a well-crafted lantern, you will return to the hotel. Spend the remainder of the day at leisure.
Overnight in Hoi An
Hoi An/ Da Nang – Flight to HanoiDay 5
After breakfast and check out at late morning, your private guide and driver pick you up to the airport for a short flight to Hanoi. Arrive and transfer to the hotel in downtown to check in.
Your tour guide will meet you again and take you to Bong Sen Theater to attend the unique traditional Water Puppet Show dating back for a thousand of years. After that you will have a chance to dine in one of many restaurants in town meeting your Tour Consultant.
Overnight in Hanoi
Hanoi City TourDay 6
After breakfast with your private guide and driver you begin your day with a visit to the Ho Chi Minh Complex, which includes the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, his house on stilts and his Museum. One of Vietnam’s oldest pagodas with its unique architecture, One Pillar Pagoda, is also at the same site. Another hour will be spent to see the Temple of Literature, which is known as the very first university of Vietnam (established in 1076!).
Lunch will be served in a Vietnamese restaurant where you sample some of the finest Hanoi cuisine.
After lunch you will visit the Vietnam Ethnology Museum where you can learn about the cultures, beliefs, distributions and the development of Vietnam’s 54 ethnic groups.
Continue on to Hoa Lo Prison (ironically called Hanoi Hilton) and then head to Hoan Kiem (Sword Restored) Lake to see Ngoc Son Temple. It is then followed with a walking tour through the narrow alleyways of the Old Quarter visiting the Old House at Ma May Street, Dong Xuan Market, Bach Ma temple and stopping at a local coffee shop at Hang Giay Street to enjoy delicious Vietnamese Style Coffee and watching the world goes by.
After the walking tour you return to the hotel and spend the rest of the day at leisure.
Overnight in Hanoi
Hanoi – Halong Bay – Overnight on boardDay 7
Halong Bay is your destination today. Your private guide and driver will collect you from the hotel and take you on a 4.5 hour 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 Haling 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
Halong Bay – HanoiDay 8
Wake up with the sunrise, join a Tai Chi lesson on 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
Hanoi - Departure dayDay 9
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 availability of ground services. Please click on REQUEST A FREE QUOTE (above) and supply the required information, enabling us to send you your personalized quote within 24 hours!
Note: Amendments CAN be made to this tour to suite your requirements.
- 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
Why to visit Vietnam
Where to Go
When to Go
Obtain a Vietnam Visa
How to Book a Tour
Packing and Luggage Allowance
Why to visit Vietnam
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.
Where to Go
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
When to Go
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.
Obtain a Vietnam Visa
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.
- To apply for your VOA please email us the following information:
- Arrival and departure dates
- Full passport details:
- Passport number
- 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.
The citizens of the following countries do not need a visa to enter Vietnam for a certain amount of time:
- 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)
- 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
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.
How to Book a Tour
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 and Luggage Allowance
Packing Checklist – Be sure to check them all 😉
- 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
- Insect repellent
- Refillable water bottle with filter
- 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
- Ear plugs & eye mask
- Sleep sheet for home stays / trains
- Lightweight travel towel
- Local language phrasebook