- Day 1: Hanoi – Arrival
- Day 2: Hanoi – Full-Day City Tour
- Day 3: Hanoi – Mai Chau
- Day 4: Mai Chau – Hanoi
- Day 5: Hanoi – Halong Bay – On board a junk boat
- Day 6: Halong Bay – Hanoi – Train to Hue
- Day 7: Hue – Full-Day City Tour
- Day 8: Hue – Hoi An
- Day 9: Hoi An – Half-Day Biking Excursion
- Day 10: Hoi An – Free Day
- Day 11: Hoi An/ Da Nang – Flight to Nha Trang
- Day 12: Nha Trang – Boat trip
- Day 13: Nha Trang – Flight to Ho Chi Minh City (HCM City)
- Day 14: HCM City – Binh Tien Farmstay
- Day 15: Binh Tien Farmstay – Cu Chi Tunnels – HCM City
- Day 16: 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.
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. Your knowledgeable guide will be happy to answer any questions along the way about your Vietnam Cambodia tour package, and will assist you with check-in and registration at the hotel.
After checking in, if you are interested, your guide will take you on a walking tour through the alleys of the bustling Hanoi Old Quarter or the “36 Streets”. This is a great way to watch the local daily life.
For your dinner, 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 02 week holiday starts when your private tour guide picks you up for 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.
– The Ho Chi Minh complex which includes the Mausoleum, where you can see the remain of Ho Chi Minh- the founding father of the unified Vietnam
– Temple of Literature (a Confucius temple considered the first National University of Vietnam)
Lunch will be served at a local restaurant, giving you a chance to sample some of Hanoi’s cuisines. Vietnamese food is one of the world’s most delightful cuisines.
After lunch, your tour continues.
– Hanoi Zoological Garden where you will be able to see different animals.
– A stroll around the iconic Hoan Kiem Lake
– A cycle rickshaw ride through Hanoi’s French Quarter, characterized by wide tree-lined streets, majestic French buildings and side-walk cafes
The rest of the day will be yours to explore at your leisure.
Overnight in Hanoi
Hanoi – Mai ChauDay 3
Morning (pick up at 8:00 AM)
After breakfast and check out, your private tour guide will pick you up and take you for a 04 hour drive to Mai Chau through a spectacular mountain range. This is an authentic hill tribe region and a fantastic base for treks and home stay adventures. Most houses you see here are elevated 10–12 feet off the ground in order to avoid water damage and shelter animals from the elements.
Upon arrival you will check into local homestay or resorts, rest and relax afterwards.
The afternoon is yours to explore the surrounding villages on foot, meet the local people and learn about their lives raising crops and livestock. Enjoy a home-hosted dinner and perhaps afterwards you will join in a traditional dance performed by the local artists.
Overnight in Mai Chau
Mai Chau – HanoiDay 4
After breakfast and checkout, you will enjoy a bicycle tour to explore the local market and nearby villages. You will also visit the Quan Y (Soldiers) cave before returning to your hotel/ homestay for check out.
In the afternoon, you will depart Mai Chau for a 04 hour trip back to Hanoi. You will stop en route to visit the picturesque Giang Mo Village where the Muong minorities live and enjoy lunch with a local family.
You will return Hanoi in the late evening.
Overnight in Hanoi
Hanoi – Halong Bay – On board a junk boatDay 5
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, one of the highlights of your vacation package in Indochina (travel time approximately 4 hours).
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 sumptuous local seafood lunch will be served as you cruise this spectacular bay.
As you cruise among hundreds of islets and discover unspoiled pockets of the bay, you will also visit a limestone cave to see its many unique rock formations. You may choose to swim in the emerald waters of the bay, or take a kayak to explore the bay.
You will return to your junk boat to watch the sunset, with cocktails available for purchase from the bar, followed by a sumptuous dinner. You will spend the night onboard the junk, in a cabin with an ensuite bathroom.
(Note: Program may differ slightly based on your selected junk boat’s itinerary. An extra night can be added to the program. If your time is flexible, we highly recommend it!)
Overnight on board
Halong Bay – Hanoi – Train to HueDay 6
You could rise early this morning to see the fabulous sunrise on deck before breakfast, followed by taking a small bamboo boat to visit Luon Cave. Once you return to your boat, you will continue your cruise around and through the limestone karts formations. Lunch will be served on board before you bid a farewell to Halong and leave for Hanoi around midday.
Upon returning to Hanoi, the remainder of the day may be spent at leisure, before you depart by train for an overnight trip to Hue.
Overnight on A/C train
Hue – Full-Day City TourDay 7
Upon arrival at Hue station, you will be picked up and transferred to your hotel where you may enjoy breakfast and relax at hotel’s swimming pool. At mid-morning, your private tour guide will pick you up for a dragon boat cruise on the Perfume River. During the cruise, you will visit the Thien Mu (Heavenly Lady) Pagoda, the centre of Buddhism in central Vietnam since the early 1600s. Following the cruise, you will visit the Imperial City, a listed UNESCO site – Hue was the ancient capital of Vietnam from 1802 to 1945, under the reign of the Nguyen dynasty. The city is considered a living museum with many historical monuments, imperial tombs, pagodas and temples that educate us on the history of the last feudal dynasty in Vietnam.
A vegetarian lunch will be served by the nuns at a Buddhist monastery. Here, you will have the opportunity to interact with them and learn more about Buddhism.
In the afternoon, you will visit the elaborate mausoleums of Emperors Tu Duc and Khai Dinh, both extravagant complexes of pavilions, temples, courtyards and lakes. You can also walk through the heavily bombed remains of the Imperial Citadel, built along the lines of Beijing’s Forbidden City and from where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled between 1802 and 1945 before returning to your hotel.
The rest of the day will be yours to explore at your leisure.
Overnight on in Hue
Hue – Hoi AnDay 8
After breakfast and check out, your private tour guide will pick you up for the drive to Hoi An (travel time approximately 4 hours). During this scenic drive, you will get to see the stunning Hai Van (Ocean Clouds) Pass which offers spectacular scenery and views of the coastline below. There will be ample stops en route to take photos and there will be a visit to the Marble Mountains.
You will arrive in Hoi An around midday and check in to your hotel. Lunch will be on your own.
After lunch, you we will take a short walking tour through Hoi An’s Old Quarter. From the 16th to 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.
– The Museum of History and Culture
– Phuc Kien Assembly Hall
– The 200-year-old Phung Hung house
– The Japanese Covered Bridge
Do not miss the chance to visit the tailor shops where you can get a new custom-made wardrobe for yourself. The rest of the day will be yours to explore at your leisure.
Overnight on in Hoi An
Hoi An – Half-Day Biking ExcursionDay 9
After breakfast and check out, your private tour guide will pick you up for a leisurely bike ride to Thu Bon River to visit a local fishing village. Ride along country lanes at a peaceful pace viewing local life and pause to see farmers toiling in their rice fields using centuries of farming practices. Peddle our way through palm forests, across bridges, fields of water buffalo….
Take a short break in a local family at Cam Thanh Village before enjoying 1.5 hours ride on Traditional Basket Boat (round boat) in the Water Coconut Palm Forest. Learn how to sail the basket boat and spend your time to catch fishes and “purple crabs” in the Canal.
Continue to ride your bike to Tra Que Organic Vegetable Village where a large variety of vegetable are produced for the local community. At the village, you will be shown the environmentally sustainable practices which the local villagers have used for centuries and is still being used extensively today.
Visit a local family and after a short, informative and fun cooking lesson, we sit down for a delicious lunch. After lunch, you will ride back to our hotel.
Returning to Hoi An, the rest of the day will be yours to explore at your leisure.
Note: In case you prefer to skip the bike ride, you can always request a replacement mode of transportation by motorbike or private car.
Overnight on in Hoi An
Hoi An – Free DayDay 10
Spend the day however you wish in Hoi An. Sunbathe on the beach, go shopping, take a cooking class or become familiar with the quaint streets of Hoi An. There’s something for everyone in the family to do on vacation in Hoi An!
Overnight in Hoi An
Hoi An/ Da Nang – Flight to Nha TrangDay 11
After breakfast and check out, your private tour guide will pick you up and take you to Da Nang airport for a short flight to Nha Trang. This flight will take approximately 45 minutes to arrive at Cam Ranh domestic terminal. Upon arrival, you will take your private transfer to Nha Trang City – a local festival town as well where many Vietnamese local go for a beach break.
Once you check into your hotel, a private bus will take us to Thap Ba Hot Spring Center in the afternoon. This is where you can enjoy a relaxing and therapeutic mud bath and massage.
Overnight in Nha Trang
Nha Trang – Boat tripDay 12
This morning you will leave to the docks to embark on a boat cruise around Nha Trang Bay, with the opportunity to snorkel and swim. During this trip you will also stop at a local fishing village. From here you will go for a walk, meet the locals and learn about the local life. You will also stop at the Aquarium to see the tropical sea creatures, followed by a lunch on Tre Island before your boat brings you back to the docks.
Upon returning to your hotel, the rest of the day will be yours to explore at your leisure.
Overnight in Nha Trang
Nha Trang – Flight to Ho Chi Minh City (HCM City)Day 13
After breakfast transfer to Nha Trang airport for an early flight to Ho Chi Minh City (also called Saigon). When you will arrive, you will check into our hotel before taking a cyclo tour through this dynamic city – the sprawling metropolis that once was the capital of South Vietnam and remains the country’s commercial center as it accounts for approximately 40% GDP
Below are the recommended sites, but of course, your guide will be happy to modify the list based on your preferences.
– The General Post Office
– War Remnants Museum, highlighting the suffering of the Vietnamese people during recent conflicts – not entirely unbiased
– Notre Dame Cathedral considered to be one of the most beautiful buildings in all of Vietnam. It was built in the period 1877 – 1880 by the French architect Bourad.
– General Post Office (GPO), noted for its neoclassical architecture, designed and constructed by the famous architect Gustave Eiffel
The rest of the day will be yours to explore at your leisure. Lunch and dinner will be on your own.
Overnight in HCM City
HCM City – Binh Tien FarmstayDay 14
After breakfast and check-out your private guide and driver will collect you from the hotel and transfer to Long An, a lovely town neighboring to Ho Chi Minh City.
After one hour drive you’ll reach the meeting point where you will be gret by your local guide (Mai Ba Huong Street, Le Minh Xuan Commune). Then commence your 7 km ride on quiet back roads passing by peaceful villages, small canals, big river, sugar cane field and rice paddies. Drop by to visit a family who make incense sticks. Continue to cycle across the Vam Co Tay River, the largest and most important river system of Long An Province. You also make another stop in a local pagoda and try some fruits.
Enjoy a motorboat ride through a canal to a wide lotus field grown by local farmers for living. Chill out, enjoy fresh coconut water picked up on spot by the boat rower. You can even try to collect lotus flower, seeds and roots yourself. The roots you pick up will be used to prepare for a delicious Vietnamese salad.
Back on land, you will take a challenge to cycle over a high bridge, followed by a stop to visit a local primary school (we suggest to view from outside only to avoid distracting the kids from their lesson in class). From here you are transferred straight to Binh Tien Farmstay. Arrive to the farm at around 11:30 where the Host Family greets you with hospitality, lovely smiles and a homemade herbal drink! You are the only guests of honor today.
(Note 1: Cycling option can be replaced with safe motor-biking option through quiet and peaceful village lanes)
(Note 2: For cycling lovers, 25km cycling route straight to Binh Tien can be arranged)
Take our rest by the pond, watch the ducks swinging and surfing over the water lilies or to discover the luxuriant garden with many types of tropical fruit trees, vegetable and flowers before lunch. Your hostess will treat you with special dishes made of local fresh ingredients grown at the farm (you can even join the family preparing the food if you like.) After meal, simply relax or take a nap on one of the hammocks that scattered around the farm or go fishing in peaceful atmosphere.
Continue to discover the surrounding villages by bicycle. On the way, you’ll visit some vegetable farms to buy some fresh ingredients for dinner and visit a fish pole making workshop. Return to the farm, yoy’ll join the hostess prepare for dinner. She will also show you how to cook the local dishes. Dinner is one of the best opportunity you’ll have to sit down with local people and talk about their lives over cups of rice wine.
Overnight at the local Home stay
Binh Tien Farmstay – Cu Chi Tunnels – HCM CityDay 15
After breakfast bid a farewell to the local family, your private tour guide will pick you up and take you on a short drive to Cu Chi Tunnels, where thousands of Vietnamese lived underground during the wars. It was constructed in 1948 during the French resistance war and more was added by the Viet Cong during the American War.
You will return back to HCM City in the late afternoon, giving opportunity to rest and do some final shopping at the Ben Thanh Market. The rest of the day will be yours to explore at your leisure.
Overnight in HCM City
HCM City – DepartureDay 16
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 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)
- 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