- Day 1: Hanoi – Arrival
- Day 2: Hanoi – Full-Day City Tour
- Day 3: Hanoi – Halong Bay – On board a junk boat
- Day 4: Halong Bay – Hanoi – Flight to Da Nang/ Hoi An
- Day 5: Hoi An – Walking Tour
- Day 6: Hoi An – Boat trips
- Day 7: Hoi An/ Da Nang – Flight to Nha Trang
- Day 8: Nha Trang – Boat trips
- Day 9: Nha Trang – Free-day
- Day 10: Nha Trang – Flight to Ho Chi Minh City – Cu Chi tunnels
- Day 11 - 13: HCMC – Phan Thiet – Mui Ne
- Day 14: Mui Ne – HCMC – 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 – ArrivalDay 1
Your private tour guide will meet you at Hanoi’s Noi Bai airport and will escort you by private car to your selected hotel in Hanoi (travel time approximately 1 hour). Your knowledgeable guide will be happy to answer any questions about your Indochina holiday itinerary along the way, and will assist you with check-in and registration at the hotel.
Lunch and dinner will be on your own, but your guide will recommend excellent options for your preferred cuisine – we highly recommend trying Hanoi cuisine for a true immersion experience.
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 Hanoi
Hanoi – Full-Day City TourDay 2
After breakfast, your private tour guide will pick you up and your tour of Vietnam starts with a full-day city tour of Hanoi. Below are the recommended sites, but of course, your guide will be happy to modify the list based on your preferences.
– Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum
– Ho Chi Minh’s private home, a wooden stilt-house surrounded by lush gardens
– The One Pillar Pagoda, an important symbol for Hanoians
– The Temple of Literature (a Confucius temple considered the first National University of Vietnam)
Lunch will be served at a local restaurant
After lunch, your full-day city tour continues.
– Museum of Ethnology, among the finest of Vietnam’s museums where we will observe many interesting and memorable exhibits, photographs and typical house designs inhabited by some of the 54 ethnic people in Vietnam
– A stroll with fascinating cyclo (rickshaw) around the iconic Hoan Kiem Lake and Hanoi’s vibrant Old Quarter.
– A performance of the traditional water puppet show, a typical northern Vietnamese art form.
After finishing the tour, you will be transferred back to your hotel for some short rest, the remainder of the day will be yours to explore at your leisure.
Overnight in Hanoi
Hanoi – Halong Bay – On board a junk boatDay 3
After breakfast and check out, your private tour guide will pick you up and take you through the rich farmlands of the Red River Delta to the legendary Halong Bay (travel time approximately 4 hours). Halong Bay is an area of great natural beauty, with sparkling waters studded with thousands of islets covered in rich green foliage, sheer cliffs and mystical caves. There will be a stop en route for photos and refreshments.
You will arrive at the docks around midday, and you will board a traditional wooden junk boat for a relaxing and unforgettable cruise around the breathtaking and unique limestone mountain islands, a most idyllic way to travel in Indochina. A sumptuous local seafood lunch will be served as you cruise this spectacular bay.
You will visit one of the most stunning caves of Halong Bay, and there will be a stop at Ti Top beach, where you can take a refreshing swim in the waters of this quiet beach, or sunbathe on the sundeck. There will also be an opportunity to take a short trek to a nearby summit for a panoramic view of the bay. You will return to your boat to spend the night, after a delicious dinner served on board.
(Note: Program may differ slightly based on your selected cruise ship. An extra night can be added to the program. If your time is flexible, we highly recommend it).
Overnight on board
Halong Bay – Hanoi – Flight to Da Nang/ Hoi AnDay 4
Wake up early if you can to see the sun rise over the spectacular horizon, reflected in the pristine waters of the bay. Relax and enjoy your breakfast while sailing around this natural wonder. Once the boat has docked, you will be driven back to Hanoi’s Noi Bai airport for a short flight to Da Nang. Snacks are provided en route.
Upon arrival at Da Nang airport, your private tour guide will take you to your hotel in Hoi An to check in. The rest of the day will be yours to explore at your leisure.
Overnight on board
Hoi An – Walking TourDay 5
After breakfast, your private tour guide will pick you up and take you on a half-day walking tour of Hoi An through the narrow winding streets of the Ancient Quarter. From the 16th to the 18th century, Hoi An was a thriving international commercial port. Today it is a quaint riverside town popular with tourists for its eclectic architecture, tailor shops, and cafes.
– Chua Ong Pagoda
– The Assembly Hall
– The 200-year-old Tam Ky house
– The Japanese Covered Bridge
– Hoi An market
During the walk, you will also have a chance to attend a cultural show with traditional music and dance performances. The rest of the day will be yours to explore at your leisure. Hoi An has an abundance of tailors who can produce a custom suit in 24 hours or less, at very reasonable prices.
Overnight in Hoi An
Hoi An – Boat tripsDay 6
You will be picked up at 4:45 AM (optional) from your hotel and embark on a morning boat trip to Duy Hai Village. At this village, you could watch the fishermen bring in their catch from a night at sea on the river delta, where ocean and river meet; and witness how locals smoke and dry the fish. There is ample opportunity to capture the morning light spilling across the water, to get shots of light filtering through the fish smoking chamber and plenty of countryside greenery to give you contrast.
You will stop at a local family where we have some coffee and snacks, then grab your push bikes and ride back to Hoi An. On the way, you will have plenty of opportunities to meet the local and take lots of photos. You will Return to Hoi An by 9h.30am.
After that, you will continue another boat trip on Thu Bon River and enjoy a glimpse of Hoi An Old Town, meet the fishermen along the way and savor the charm of Thu Bon River. You will arrive at Thanh Ha Pottery village and Kim Bong Carpentry village to visit the local workshops where the handicrafts are made. You will get back to the hotel after midday for your leisure time.
After checking in to your hotel, the rest of the day will be yours to explore at your leisure.
Overnight in Hoi An
Hoi An/ Da Nang – Flight to Nha TrangDay 7
After breakfast and a leisurely morning on your own, you will be picked up and driven to Da Nang airport for a short flight to Nha Trang. Upon arrival, you will take your private transfer to the hotel in Nha Trang for check in. Lunch will be on your own.
In the afternoon, you will go to Thap Ba Hot spring to enjoy an exciting mud-bath and massage which is always the highlight of the day. This lasts for about three hour including the medical therapy mud-bath and full-body massage.
After that, you will return to your hotel and spend the remainder of the day to chill out at the beach.
Overnight in Nha Trang
Nha Trang – Boat tripsDay 8
This morning, you will leave to the docks to embark on a boat cruise heading out to Hon Mun Island – the best island for snorkeling where you can see lots of lives colorful corals and fish. After that you will proceed to at a local fishing village on Mieu Island. From here you will go for a walk, meet the locals and learn about their everyday life. You will have lunch on the other side of the Island before our boat brings us back to the docks. After that, you will be taken back to the hotel.
After returning to your hotel, you will spend the remainder of the day to chill out at the beach.
Overnight in Nha Trang
Nha Trang – Free-dayDay 9
The whole day will be yours to explore at your leisure. You could spend this day to chill out on the beach or enjoy the hotel comforts. You can also discover some of the sites in the city such as Cham Ponagar tower, Long Son Pagoda and Dam Market.
Overnight in Nha Trang
Nha Trang – Flight to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) – Cu Chi tunnelsDay 10
Take an early morning flight down to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), still referred to by her colonial era name of Saigon. En route from the airport, visit the famous and astounding Cu Chi tunnels, an important part of Saigon’s war history. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant. Spend the afternoon exploring Dong Khoi and the nearby boutiques, cafés and restaurants.
Overnight in HCMC
HCMC – Phan Thiet – Mui NeDay 11 - 13
You will end your beach holiday of Vietnam with another relaxing stay on one of her many beautiful tropical beaches. From Ho Chi Minh City, the most convenient beach is just a four hour drive from Phan Thiet. Then you will check in at the resort of Mui Ne, regarded as a paradise of dazzling blue waters, golden sand and red dunes. You will spend three fantastic nights here to chill out, relax and enjoy the comfort of the resort.
Overnight in Cham Villas
Mui Ne – HCMC – DepartureDay 14
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 back to the HCMC’s Tan Son Nhat airport for your departure flight home.
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 flights within Vietnam
- 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 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
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.
keith mUnited Kingdom
"Cycling Mekong Delta and sight seeing in Saigon"
Perhaps the best way to explore the Mekong Delta area. Can Tho is a lively overnight stop with well situated lovely hotel. All hotels selected by Indo China Pioneer are well situated but don’t expect western standards in hotels beyond Can Tho. Good combination of cycling and site seeing including boat and ferry trips, workshop visits with good choice of restaurant and roadside stops for fresh fruit.
However the route rarely left normal roads and didn’t appear to be as described in the brochure. Some quiet rural roads followed but others were quite busy, particularly in the vicinity of the small towns we cycled through.
We were concerned that we were not measured for our bikes on the first day which just arrived in the back of the minibus that collected us from our hotel. The frame size for my partner’s bike was much too large for her and it was fitted with a male shaped saddle which caused her considerable discomfort on the first day. The saddle was changed on Day 2 after she refused to continue the holiday with that particular bike at the end of day 1.
The guide did not appear to be completely clear of the route at times and we needed to complete an ‘about turn’ 3 times during the trek which may be why our route didn’t appear to be as described in the brochure. Indo China guides are very knowledgeable and helpful and know many local secret gems to visit but their spoken english can be difficult to follow at times even for me as a native English speaker. Indo China Pioneer specialise in providing tailor made tours for small groups down to 2 in number and flexibility in preparing a holiday programe to suit individual customers requests including the selection of the most suitable hotel using their wealth of local knowledge. Moderately priced boutique hotels are typically chosen.
"Fantastic trip amazing service"
Fantastic trip from start to finish. All our expectations were met and exceeded from the moment we booked the trip with Mr Lam to our last day.
We had one minor problem during our stay and it was sorted immediately with profession
And made our trip the most memorable holiday ever.
Mr Lam customised our trip to suit us and we loved all of our guides and drivers.
We were even lucky enough to be invited to the companies end of year party and got to meet everyone who made our holiday so special. I can’t recommend this company enough and that’s something coming from someone in the tourist industry. Well done indoctrination pioneer.
"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.
goodtravelfort 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.
"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.