- Day 1: Arrive in Hanoi/ Private transfer from airport to the hotel
- Day 2: Hanoi city – Street Food tour
- Day 3: Hanoi – Halong Bay – Overnight on board
- Day 4: Halong Bay – Hanoi – Fly to Ho Chi Minh city (HCM City)
- Day 5: HCM City - Mekong Delta (Ben Tre) – HCM City
- Day 6: Cu Chi tunnels – HCM City tour
- Day 7: HCM City – 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.
Arrive in Hanoi/ Private transfer from airport to the hotelDay 1
Arrival at Noi Bai International Airport, collect your luggage process through custom. Your private tour guide and driver from Indochina Pioneer will be waiting for you outside the baggage claim/ customs area to transfer you in a private vehicle to the hotel downtown.
Evening, you will enjoy Welcome Dinner before driving back to the hotel for an overnight stay.
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 city – Street Food tourDay 2
After breakfast, we dive into the sights, sounds and smells of Hanoi. Your guide and driver will collect you from the hotel lobby to start your trip with a visit to the Ho Chi Minh complex on the site where he declared Vietnam’s independence in 1945 and see the reverence with which Vietnamese people treat their “Uncle Ho”. Other sites that we will visit with our local guide include House 54, Stilt House, Presidential Palace and the One Pillar Pagoda.
Continuing on our journey through Hanoi we drive to the Museum of Ethnology, to learn more about the cultural diversity of Vietnam’s ethnic minorities. Established by the Vietnamese government in 1997, the museum provides us with a fascinating insight into the diverse cultures, customs, and lifestyles of the 54 ethnic groups that inhabit Vietnam.
After the visit to the Museum, we will have Pho for lunch at Pho Huyen, 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.
After lunch, we visit the Temple of Literature. Originally built in honor of Confucius by Emperor Ly Thanh Tong in 1070, a university was added to the grounds six years later. The university provided education to the royal family and children of the aristocracy or “mandarins”. The University remained here until Emperor Gia Long moved the countries administrative capital from Hanoi to Hue in the 18th century.
Return your hotel for some rest before starting the evening local food discovery.
17:00 – 20:30
We start our walking tour of Hanoi’s largest covered market, Dong Xuan. Along the perimeter of the market, dozens of street hawkers sell a staggering variety of produce from live seafood to exotic fruits and spices. Your expert English-speaking local guide will give you an insight into the intricacies and traditions of Vietnamese food culture including details on ingredients and historical backgrounds of popular northern dishes.
Walking through the maze of bustling streets that make up Hanoi’s Old Quarter, we tempt our taste buds with the famed Hanoi dish Banh Cuon at a local eatery. Watch in awe as the skilled chefs demonstrate for you how this tasty dish is put together. Continuing into the atmospheric heart of the Old Quarter, we wander past street stalls and quiet residential lanes where you can observe local life that has changed little since Hanoi was founded over 1000 years ago.
Our next stop is Banh My 25 shop “French Baguette”, a little food stall with a few typical tiny Vietnamese chairs on the sidewalk where we enjoy the delicious and fresh baguettes while observing the neighborhood.
Move on to Hanoi Food Culture at Phat Loc Street, where we sample some Bun Cha consisting of vermicelli, herbs and grilled pork. At this Hanoi’s best kept secrets, a hidden café we will watch the demonstration and then try some egg coffee, a scrumptious local delicacy.
Continue to other food stalls in Hang Bo and Ho Hoan Kiem Street where we try some dishes such Che “Vietnamese style pudding” and Nom “papaya salad with beef”.
It’s then time for dessert as we venture down a small alley to join in the local tradition of feasting on fresh fruit served in a cup and smothered with crushed iced – this specialty is one not to be missed!
List of street bites and food that you will have:
1, Banh Cuon Thanh Van (Vietnamese Steam Rice Rolls)
Address: 14 Hàng Gà
2, Bia Hơi Hà Nội (Hanoi drought beer with peanuts)
Address: 14 Hàng Đồng
3, Banh Mi 25 (Vietnames baguettes)
Address: 25 Hàng Cá
4, Xôi Chè Bà Thin (Vietnamese style pudding)
Address: 93 Hàng Bồ – Bát Đàn
5, Bun Cha & Egg Coffee (grilled pork with vermicelli/ Vietnamese egg coffee with demonstration).
Address: Hanoi Food Culture, 60 Ngõ Phát Lộc, Hàng Buồm, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
6, Nộm bò khô Long Vi Dung (papaya salad with beef)
Address: 23 Hoàn Kiếm
7, Hoa Quả Dầm (fruit salad)
Address: 17 Tô Tịch
Note: 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
Hanoi – Halong Bay – Overnight on boardDay 3
(No tour-guide for Halong Bay cruise, there is a Cruise Manager to assist all clients on boat)
Halong Bay is your destination today. Your private driver will collect you from the hotel and take you on a 4.5 hours 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 Halong 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 – Hanoi – Fly to Ho Chi Minh city (HCM City)Day 4
Wake up with the sunrise, join a Tai Chi lesson on the 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, you will drive back to the airport for a short flight to Ho Chi Minh city (HCM City)
Pick up and transfer to hotel
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh city
HCM City - Mekong Delta (Ben Tre) – HCM CityDay 5
After breakfast and check out, your private tour guide will pick you up and take you to Ben Tre, located in the heart of the Mekong Delta. The fertile Mekong Delta is famous for its abundant harvests of tropical fruits and flowers as well as boating along the canals. On arrival, you will board your private boat and cruise along the maze of waterways to visit some local cottage industries. Hop on motor-cart to an out of the way village where you might have a chance to peek inside local homes for an insight into rural life seldom seen by the outside world and try some regional specialties for lunch at a local restaurant.
After lunch, you will return to the docks. From here you will drive back to HCM City
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City
Cu Chi tunnels – HCM City tourDay 6
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 noodle soup for lunch at Pho 2000, a famous noodle shop where President Bill Clinton and his daughter Chelsea ate lunch during their 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 tour, you will return to the City.
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City
HCM City – DepartureDay 7
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 the 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 suit 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