With the ‘Northern Loop”, you will get to visit the most spectacular scenery in this region of Vietnam. Drive to Mai Chau for its picturesque landscape, en-route enjoy the beautiful scenery of green meadows, tea farms and lush orchards. Visit the French Prison in Son La before heading off to Dien Bien Phu and see the former battlefields here. Enjoy your time in Sapa, the former French Hillstation and stroll around Bac Ha Sunday market – the largest scale market of the hill tribes in the northern region. Visit Ma Tra village and Ta Phin village after conquering a 3-hour trek between the tranquil mountains of Lao Cai. Admire the breathtaking rice terraces in Mu Cang Chai and meet various indigenous ethnic minority groups.
- Day 1: Hanoi – Mai Chau
- Day 2: Mai Chau – Son La
- Day 3: Son La – Tuan Giao – Dien Bien Phu
- Day 4: Dien Bien Phu – Phong Tho – Lai Chau
- Day 5: Lai Chau – Tam Duong – Sapa
- Day 6: Sapa – Bac Ha Sunday Market
- Day 7: Sapa – Ma Tra and Ta Phin Villages
- Day 8: Sapa – Mu Cang Chai
- Day 9: Mu Cang Chai – Nghia Lo
- Day 10: Nghia Lo – 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.
Hanoi – Mai ChauDay 1
You will meet your private guide and driver at your hotel in Hanoi and begin the adventure. Embark on a four-hour scenic drive through the picturesque countryside of green paddy fields and spectacular mountains to the town of Mai Chau; home of the Thai minority. Set in an idyllic valley, hemmed in by hills, Mai Chau is a world away from Hanoi’s hustle.
Arrive Mai Chau around midday and check into the boutique Mai Chau Lodge.
Your guide will take you on a walking tour (or cycling if you wish) of Pom Coong and Lac villages. With stilt houses and lush, green rice paddy fields, Ban Lac and Pom Coong are quaint and serene ethnic Thai villages with many lovely and hospitable inhabitants. During the walk, you will be introduced to a local family. Have conversations on their life, festivals, and culture of the natives.
Continue your day to visit Mo Luong caves and Chieu caves. Two natural cavern systems with thousand-year-old stalactites and stalagmites are mother nature’s magnificent works of art. Filled with mineral structures of all shapes, sizes, and colors, these caves give you the feeling similar to that you get wandering into an ancient world of primitive creations. Such a unique experience cannot be ignored by those adventurous at heart.
You also pay a visit to Thai ethnographic museum. More than 1000 items on display are closely tied to the Thai’s everyday life. You will get to see hunting tools, ritual costumes, bowls, dishes, antique coins, musical instruments, hundreds of years old books, and so on. These authentic pieces of history represent the development of Thai culture over centuries.
Being one of the famous chef Gordon Ramsay’s destinations on his trip to Vietnam, Mai Chau offers an array of exotic native food. Tonight you will enjoy a delicious home-hosted dinner. Delight your taste buds with traditional dishes and try some rice wine made in the village.
After dinner, you will return to Mai Chau Lodge to attend a traditional dance show performed by the White Thai
Overnight in Mai Chau
Mai Chau – Son LaDay 2
After breakfast, you will depart Mai Chau for a three-hour drive to Son La. Stop en route to visit the lively Pa Co Sunday Hill -tribe Market and take a walk in the neighboring village of Sa Linh.
Continue to drive, you will pass Moc Chau Plateau where you can see acres of green meadows for grazing cows, tea farms and lush orchards.
Arrive in Son La and check into your hotel. The remainder of the day is free for you to explore the area. Son La is a mid-sized town, one of Vietnam’s most ethnically diverse and home to more than 30 different minorities, including Black Thai, Meo, Muong and White Thai.
Overnight in Son La
Son La – Tuan Giao – Dien Bien PhuDay 3
After breakfast and check out of the hotel, your private guide will take you to the old French Prison of Son La and the Museum where Vietnamese political prisoners were held during the French Colony (same idea as the Hoa Lo Prison, also known as the Hanoi Hilton).
Depart Son La you will head off for Dien Bien Phu with lunch in Tuan Giao town. The scenery along the way here is stunning, with approach roads scything through thick forests and steep terrain.
You will continue your journey through the wonderfully picturesque Pha Din Pass before arriving in Dien Bien Phu. Check into your hotel and enjoy your own time of leisure.
Dien Bien Phu is a little town that sits in the heart-shaped Muong Thanh Valley, surrounded by heavily forested hills. Dien Bien Phu plays a star role in Vietnam’s modern history. It was in the surrounding countryside here, on 7 May 1954, that the French colonial forces were defeated by the Viet Minh in a decisive battle, and the days of their Indochina empire became numbered.
Overnight in Dien Bien
Dien Bien Phu – Phong Tho – Lai ChauDay 4
Begin your new day with a visit to the local market where you will meet the charming White Thai Minority in their traditional costume exchanging their farm products.
After that, with your guide, you will discover the former French battlefields including the A1 Hill, General De Castries’s Bunker, War Museum, Muong Thanh Airbase, and the War Memorial.
Leaving Dien Bien Phu you will drive for five hours to Lai Chau. For this stretch of your journey, the roads will be fairly rough and uneven. However, the stunning view is worth it. Also, there is plenty of opportunities to see the colorful hill-tribes of Northern Vietnam such as Flower Hmong, Black Thai, and Black Dzao.
Continue to drive and stop in Phong Tho, a small town for lunch at a local restaurant.
Arrive in Lai Chau in the late afternoon and check into the hotel. The remainder of the day is free at your leisure. You can stroll around the town and visit the local market.
Overnight in Lai Chau
Lai Chau – Tam Duong – SapaDay 5
After breakfast, you will depart Lai Chai for a three-hour drive to Sapa. The road is a little bit bumpy at times, but the rough route is quickly compensated by magnificent mountains covered with deep valleys, thick rain forests, and lush plantation.
The drive to Sapa takes you up to Tram Ton (Heaven Gate Pass), the highest pass in Vietnam. From here you can enjoy a bird-eyes view of the enormous picturesque Muong Hoa valley and Fansipan Mount (considered as the rooftop of Indochina; Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia).
Continue to visit the nearby Silver Waterfall and then proceed to the gate of Hoang Lien national park, where you will take a short hike access into the jungle to visit the Love Waterfall. The area is covered by lush green forests and beautiful water falling from the rocky cove. Enjoy a great time by listening to the sound of the waterfall, deep your feet into the cool water that makes you feel very relaxing. Leave the waterfall by walking back to the vehicle and then transfer to Sapa town.
Arrive and check into your hotel in downtown Sapa. Spend the rest of the day at your leisure. Established as a hill station by the French in 1922, Sapa today is a must-visit destination in the Northwest. This is northern Vietnam’s premier trekking base, from where hikers launch themselves into a surrounding countryside of cascading rice terraces and tiny hill-tribe villages that seem a world apart.
You can stroll around the town, visit the Old French Church or climb the Dragon’s Jaw Mountain where you can enjoy the panoramic view of the Old town below.
Overnight in Sapa
Sapa – Bac Ha Sunday MarketDay 6
After breakfast, you will leave Sapa for a 3-hour drive journey to the remote town of Bac Ha town where the colorful Sunday Hill-tribe market is located. Nestled deep in the mountains, Bac Ha town is a quiet backwater Monday to Saturday, but by Sunday crowds of locals from thousands of surrounding villages descend on the town for the colourful Sunday market. Here you will have a chance to meet some of Vietnam’s 54 ethnic minority groups.
Upon arrival, you will discover the lively market with your tour guide. The market itself is a kaleidoscope of color, noise, and culture, where locals in an array of traditional dress barter for cows and show off delicately embroidered and embellished designs. Wander, camera in hand, and soak in the lively atmosphere while fending off the persistent sellers. The scent of fresh herbs and fragrant, strong tobacco wafts among the tented stalls and the overpowering smell of animals drifts down from the live market above.
After lunch at a local restaurant, you will drive downhill and begin a short walk to Trung Do Village which is home to the Tay minority. Here you will visit a traditional Tay house and then travel by boat through this amazing countryside to Bao Nhai Village. Finish the boat trip you will return to Sapa for the second night.
Overnight in Sapa
Sapa – Ma Tra and Ta Phin VillagesDay 7
After breakfast, you will meet your tour guide and begin the day with a 3km-trek through the breathtaking landscape to the village of Suoi Ho, home to H’mong minority. Along the way, you can enjoy beautiful views over endless rice terraces, and you will have plenty of opportunities to take photographs.
Continue your hike toward the stunning village of Matra. You will pass the impressive ruins of a French Catholic church built in the early twentieth century. Take a few minutes to explore this intriguing sight and take some photos as you wish.
Your hike will grow deeper until your arrival at Ta Phin Village, inhabited by another Red Dzao ethnic minority tribe, with their beautiful traditionally embroidered outfits and practice of shaving their hair and eyebrows as a sign of respect. Also in Ta Phin village, the black H’mong minority live their own way with no cultural mixture.
You will visit a Red Dzao family and over a cup of tea, have a chat with them learning about their lifestyle. Enjoy a delicious lunch cooked and served by the family.
After lunch, you have time to stroll around the village, take pictures and do some fun shopping. The Red Dao people are known for their expertise in herbal medicine as well as the usage of plants from the land to treat many illnesses. If you’re a bit sore from the activities of the day, sample a traditional herbal bath made by a local Dzao specialist, famous for its therapeutic qualities.
Leaving Ta Phin you will be picked by your private driver and taken back to your hotel in Sapa. The remainder of the day will be free at your leisure.
Overnight in Sapa
Sapa – Mu Cang ChaiDay 8
After breakfast, you will depart Sapa and embark on a four-hour drive to Mu Cang Chai, home to breathtaking rice terraces. CNBC (the US-based media Site) describes Mu Cang Chai as a remote gem of Northern Vietnam and it’s in CNBC’s 2020 travel list.
During the road drive, you will make a short stop to visit villages of Muong Khoa, Muong Kim and Na Kim where you can see various indigenous ethnic minority groups.
Arrive Mu Cang Chai around midday and check into the beautiful Mu Cang Chai Lodge. After that, your guide and driver will take you to Kim Noi village, home to the Black Thai Minority. Here you will enjoy a delicious home-hosted lunch. Following lunch is a leisurely walk around the village.
Return to Mu Cang Chai Lodge in the late afternoon where the balance of the day is free at your leisure. Enjoy the lodge facilities and comforts.
Overnight in Mu Cang Chai
Mu Cang Chai – Nghia LoDay 9
Mu Cang Chai, deep in the valleys forged by the waters of the Red River, a series of colorful mountain villages are encircled by fields of towering rice terraces. The fields are agricultural feats of precision — rugged mountains blanketed with emerald stairways that, seemingly, ascend to the heavens above.
After breakfast, you with your guide you will enjoy a trekking tour to visit the breathtaking rice terraces which cover more than 2,200 hectares of land in Mu Cang Chai, of which 500 were designated as national heritage sites by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in 2007. That land is shared by the three villages — La Pan Tan, Che Cu Nha, and De Xu Phinh — and are must-see spots for any traveler in the region.
You will also trek through a couple of the H’mong hill tribe villages where you meet and interact with the locals, learning about their interesting daily life and culture.
After enjoying a picnic lunch your guide and driver will transfer you to Nghia Lo town. En route, you will stop to visit Tu Le Valley. Again enjoy spectacular rice fields and take plenty of pictures.
Arrive in Nghia Lo in the afternoon and check into the Le Champ Resort. The resort bungalows in the traditional local style decorate the mountainsides. Spend the rest of the day at your leisure. Enjoy the resort’s hot spring and watch the beautiful sunset.
Nghia Lo – Hanoi – DepartureDay 10
After late breakfast and check out you will depart Nghia Lo and wind your way back to Hanoi. Along the way, you will stop to visit Suoi Giang Eco-Park, a part of Hoang Lien Son national park, famous for its ancient green tea fields. Take a walk around to learn about the traditional method of processing green teas.
Continue to drive to Hanoi with lunch en route at a local restaurant.
Arrive in Hanoi in the late afternoon and transfer to Hanoi Airport where you board your departure flight or travel on to more adventures, we will help you with the planning.
Inquire this trip
We are a member of:
We are a fully licensed company:
License No: 01-327/2014/TCDL-GPLHQT
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)
- Entrance fees for all mentioned sights visited
- Service Charge & Government Taxes
What’s Not Included?
- Your International Flights 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 email@example.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 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
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.
We had a wonderful 7-day trip last July; Kata was awesome to work with. So professional, reliable and helpful!
"Lifetime of Memories"
Lam did an amazing job putting together an itinerary based on phone/text conversations. We told him the where and what and he did the rest. The accommodations were beyond expectation, the guides were unbelievably friendly, and the places we were taken were spectacular. Having guides and drivers is worth every penny. So much time and money would have been wasted had we tried to accomplish this ourselves.
We got to experience so much more because of our guides local knowledge. Lastly, how great it was not to worry about how we were getting to the next adventure. Had we not used Indochina Pioneer I truly believe I wouldn’t have as many astonishing memories.
"Amazing 30 Day Journey with Indochina Pioneer"
If you are looking for a private tour of SE Asia, look no further than Indochina Pioneer. I recently returned from a 30-day private tour of Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand all arranged by Indochina Pioneer and could not have been happier with everything they arranged for me. They are top-notch from working directly with you on planning your trip, arranging visas, having individuals at the airports to meet and walk you through everything when entering the countries, having amazing tour guides and drivers as well as organizing everything for you on the ground and being there to help you all along the way if you have any questions or problems. My tour was amazing with not only the normal tourist sights, but many off the beaten track sights and with your own guides, you learn so much more from these individuals who actually live in the places you will visit. I can’t recommend this tour agency enough. If you are looking to travel to any of the locations Indochina Pioneer has tours, you must book through them, you will not be disappointed.
"Excellent from the very beginning"
We had 21 days on a private tour and every detail was perfectly arranged. Perhaps, the Spanish speaking skills of guides can ve improved, but overall they were very helpful and committed with their job. I want to highlight the performance of Juan (Hanoi), Miguel (Hoi An), Chao (Ho Chi Minh City) and La (Luang Prabang, Laos).
Hotels were as we asked and the timing for the visits was very good.
I recommend this travel agency!
"Vietnam, Laos & Cambodia"
We are three friends who booked a private 26-day tour of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia with Indochina Pioneer and had an amazing time. Our travel agent, Sally, was not only a great professional, but also an amazing person, personable, sweet and eager to do anything possible to turn our trip into a unique travel experience. She was in daily contact with us, making sure that everything would be perfect for us and she was available 24/7. Everything was beyond our expectations: hotels, activities, guides, transportation, meals, etc. The itinerary itself was set to meet our needs as historians, combining visits to archaeological sites and museums, with leisure activities and cultural events.
There are no words strong enough to recommend Indochina Pioneer and, especially, Sally. Special thanks to Cong, our guide in Hoi An, Lao, our guide in Sapa, Mon, our guide in Vientiane and Vuthi, our guide in Siem Reap. We learned so many things from these amazing, always smiling, intelligent people, not only about the history of their countries, but also about their culture and modern life in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Overall, we feel like we booked a tour and in the end, we got ourselves one-in-a-lifetime- experience.
"Vietnam /Thailand Trip"
Here we are already a week back home in the US from three weeks in Asia. The continued changes/challenges that are occurring all around our world right now are such a strange and unique phenomenon. I hope everything is going alright on your end, both professionally and personally, in regarding the CoVid-19 issues. WOW!
Since we’ve been home….and even while Mary and I were in Asia….we both remarked on repeated occasions about how fortunate we felt to be able to experience the parts of Asia that we did….and do it the way we did! It was only by way of the assistance that you put into place through the guide services and drivers that we could’ve come away with having such a truly FANTASTIC journey!!
I cannot adequately put into words what a benefit it was to have employed your service for this trip. We are tremendously thankful to you for your flexibility in working with us using our itinerary and blending what we had in mind with what additional experiences might complement our plans. Thank you for working on our behalf to get us into the wonderful hotel accommodations in the various areas. To expound on that a bit…. In Can Tho, we stayed at the Lighthouse B & B. Not knowing what to expect about ANYTHING prior to our arrival….then,….becoming aware of the modest way of life…the poverty that exists in that area….we were STUNNED to be treated to such a fabulous place to stay in the LightHouse!!! Beyond all dreams/expectations! MARVELOUS in every single way!! People make such a big difference…and that was so true at the Lighthouse. Despite our inabilities for fluent communication in Vietnamese, the staff at the hotel were so accommodating, friendly and made us feel so welcome. We had the opportunity to meet the owner just prior to leaving…..such a privilege to meet her and express to her our gratitude.
The second place we stayed at was the Riverside Resort in HoiAn. Such a unique, paradise-like place! Again…the PEOPLE! I hate to used the same words again and again, but, so WONDERFUL was that whole experience!! I could easily see coming back to Hoi An and spending a week or more just at that Resort and in browsing around the Old City and surrounding areas of DaNang.
The Liberty Central Hotel in Saigan felt special too. We couldn’t get over at so many of these hotels…..each one of these hotels….the FOOD was beyond remarkable! Such an array of choices and taste sensations! An apparent tradition in Asia is the welcome drink….what a great thing! It is such a nice gesture…not at all expected, and so revitalizing to a traveler/tourist. The people who worked at every single hotel in which we stayed were so warm and accommodating…such easy people with whom to engage.
The Lapis Hotel in Hanoi …..again….more of the same ….just great!
Inasmuch as every Hotel was wonderful…if there was one that was not quite as great as we’d come to expect, it would be the Siam Hotel in Thailand. The room was darker…older, a tad bit less appealing…overlooked less ‘scenic’ things….BUT….once again, the people are what can really make a difference. A gentleman that sits at the door made a recommendation to us for massages….and with the location being some distance from us…he made arrangements for someone from the hotel to take us there!! Unbelievably nice!!
I need to point out also how great the guides were that accompanied us in our travels. Each one was refreshing, energized, informed and all were delightful. We probably connected most with our guide in DaNang though. “Toan” was our guide throughout the area of DaNang. He was SO fun…and connected with us so easily…amazing. We had such a great time with him that we felt like we’d known him for a long long time. He was kind of like a little ‘Mother Hen’ the way he watched out over us…and he had such a terrific sense of humor that we were laughing so much of the time.
It wasn’t my intent in writing to you …to write so much. It’s just flooding from me; all the memories of such an unforgettable time that I will carry in my soul for the rest of my life.
Thank you for taking my texts/calls when we were in the midst of the vacation and seemed to bump into temporary glitches….they all fixed themselves quickly, but I reached out just to create some awareness in case there was a problem of which early awareness could make a difference. Thank you also for encouraging us to maintain the plan to participate in the motorcycle tour with Vietnam Backstreets. Our tour guide was “Boo”….and there was another driver….think his name was “Hue”….”Boo” caused me to forget my worries and trust that I’d be alright riding on the back of his cycle. Both Mary and I had our reservations about doing that part of the tour….and both of us have said to each other how thankful we are that we DID it! LOVED it!!
The recommendation has been made to every person I know who may be traveling to Asia to get in touch with INDOCHINA PIONEERS to help them with planning their trip. This trip is like no other I’ve ever taken before, and I’m sure such a trip could never be repeated in future trip that could even begin to compare with this one. Strangely enough, Co-V issues worked in our favor…and the timing was spot on! (GULP!) We arrived in Asia before things had festered up all over the world like they did in the weeks we were IN Asia…and then, we got back to the US just in the ‘nick of time’ before all the stringent restrictions were put into place all over! Who KNEW?!!!!
Just wanted to let you know what a great job you and everyone associated with you did….and how much we appreciated it all.
Thank-you, thank-you, THANK-YOU!!
Ruth Achterhoff-Aust…on behalf of both myself, and Mary Young.
"Great Experience during Corona Virus"
We had a tour in March 2020 which was provided by Ryan Mac. He was very helpful in creating a tour according to our interests and wishes. Hung, our tour guide, was excellent he told us a lot of information about Vietnam, cultural and historical wise. During the tour he also changed plans in consolation with us. Unfortunately, the Corona Virus had made us changed several destinations we have planned to go to.
But he always had an alternative option for us so that we continued our trip but with another great alternative.
All and all we were in very good hands. We can only recommend Ryan, Hung and Indochina Pioneer. We will definitely book a tour by Indochina Pioneer on our next trip in Vietnam. Many thanks!
Jonathan TambioCalifornia, USA
"Multi-Country Tour – UNESCO World Heritage Sites"
An amazing adventure. Mr. Ryan Mac assisted with customizing the UNESCO World Heritage Sites tour for our needs. We weren’t interested in certain tours listed on their brochure, and he suggested different activities for us. 3 different countries, 6 different guides – Soukon in Siem Reap; Oun in Luang Prabang; Vito in Hanoi; Huong in Nha Phong; Trang in Hue/Hoi An; and Kim Sa in Ho Chi Minh City – all different personalities, all professional, knowledgeable, helpful, and friendly. Even though there were a lot of sites to see, activities to do – traveling with an elderly mother, they showed patience and understanding, taking care to assist my mom with large, uneven steps, stairs, and other obstacles that would hinder most mobility-challenged individuals. Our drivers took care to keep us safe on the road as we traveled to and fro, maneuvering through the traffic to get us to our destinations. This was a stress-free, relaxing vacation!. I highly recommend Indochina Pioneer, as well as Mr. Ryan Mac!!!
"Very accommodating, excellent guides"
Kata worked with us to create a tour that went where we wanted to go. We started planning with one of their itineraries, and then asked for a lot of changes to make it own our tour. Kata accommodated every request without a problem. All of the guides were good, some were excellent (Trang in Dalat, Cong in Hue/Hoi An, Vito in Hanoi). The hotels and private cars were all very good. The restaurants they include in the tour are usually higher-end restaurants that make Vietnamese food for tourists. If we were to do it over, we would ask them to take us to more restaurants where Vietnamese people eat, and I’m sure they would have no problem doing that. I have no hesitation in recommending Indochina Pioneer.
Alan TurnerBelfast, United Kingdom
"Top class company"
Booked a 15 tour of Cambodia & Vietnam with these guys. And what a tour it was.
On arrival, they were there at the airport to greet us. And for the following 15 days, the looked after us wonderfully. Every day they were at our hotel with guide and driver in great air con, cars with cold water bottles. We used 5 different guides in various city’s
And each one was great. Well dressed, great local knowledge and very helpful. All on time and happy to change things to suit us. They booked all our hotels and internal flights and paid for all entrances to temples boat trips etc.
They brought us to the airports and helped with check-ins. Nothing was a problem.
I can honestly say it the best tour company we have used in 35 years traveling.
A special thanks to Phuong Nguyen who organised the entire trip for us she was amazing. I changed my mind lots of times and she just adjusted things to suit us.
She even called our hotel in Hanoi to check on us.
What an asset for her company.
Indochina Pioneer is a great company. I would strongly recommend them. 5 stars.