Build Your Own Trip

Overview

  • Day 1: Hanoi – Arrival
  • Day 2: Hanoi – Full-day City Tour
  • Day 3: Hanoi Outskirt – Cooking Class
  • Day 4: Hanoi – Sapa
  • Day 5: Sapa – Nam Cang & Nam Nhu
  • Day 6: Sapa – Bac Ha Sunday Market – Drive back to Hanoi
  • Day 7: Hanoi – Halong Bay – On board a junk boat
  • Day 8: Halong – Hanoi – Flight to Hue
  • Day 9: Hue – Full-day City Tour
  • Day 10: Hue – Hoi An
  • Day 11: Hoi An Outskirt Biking – Cooking Class
  • Day 12: Hoi An/ Da Nang – Flight to Ho Chi Minh City (HCM City)
  • Day 13: HCM City – Mekong Delta (Vinh Long, Can Tho)
  • Day 14: Can Tho – Cu Chi Tunnels – HCM City
  • Day 15: HCM City – Free day
  • Day 16: HCMC – Departure

Full Itinerary

[*Notes]

- 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 – Arrival

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 private 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 cyclo tour through the alleys of the bustling Hanoi Old Quarter or the “36 Streets” and  a traditional water puppetry performance. This is a great way to watch the local daily life and culture.

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 Tour

Morning
Today with the help of your private guide, driver and private vehicle you will get to explore the town’s major attractions.  In the morning you will taken to a famed local restaurant to enjoy Vietnamese Banh Cuon for breakfast. Banh Cuon (literally “rolled cake”) is a dish from northern Vietnam. It is a crepe-like roll made from a thin, wide sheet of rice flour filled with ground pork, minced wood ear mushroom, and other ingredients.

After that, your private tour guide will take you to visit Ho Chi Minh Complex which includes Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum, his former stilt-house residence, the Presidential Palace and the Ho Chi Minh museum.

The next stop will be The Temple of Literature which originally built as a temple to Confucius; this is the site of Vietnam’s first university dating back to 1076.
Lunch will be served with Bun Cha- grilled pork meatballs served with rice vermicelli.

Afternoon
In the afternoon, you will visit the Museum of Ethnology, which is widely acknowledged as the best of this country and has an extensive display dedicated to Vietnam’s 54 Ethnic minority peoples. Your tour guide will take you for a walk around the Old Quarter. Here you will have a chance to check out the vegetable market where Hanoians buy their daily good.

Evening
Dinner will be served in Anh Tuyet restaurant. Anh Tuyet – the owner of the restaurant, a famous chef in Ma May street (Hanoi’s Old Quarter), is known to many people for her delicious dish of “grilled honey chicken. Tuyet had won many cooking awards for her outstanding Hanoi authentic cuisines. The rest of the evening will be yours to explore at your leisure.

Overnight in Hanoi
Meals: (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)



Hanoi Outskirt – Cooking Class

Morning
After breakfast, your private tour guide will pick you up and take you out of Hanoi in a private vehicle and onto some beautiful country roads before reaching Van Giang village to learn the basics of preparing refreshing and nuanced Vietnamese dishes.

A scenic hour drive through the lush Red River Delta brings us to the charming village of Van Giang. You will enjoy a cup of green tea as get acquainted with the hosts and hear the village’s history. Spend the rest of your morning learning to cook a few traditional Vietnamese dishes, before sitting down to enjoy the delicious meal you’ve prepared with your new family.

Afternoon
After lunch you stroll around the village to see Mrs. Trang neighbors and by chance visit some local handicraft workshops then drive back to the hotel, where the rest of the day will be yours to explore at your leisure.

Overnight in Hanoi
Meals: (Breakfast/Lunch/_)



Hanoi – Sapa

Morning
After breakfast and check out, you will depart Hanoi for a 05 hour journey to the former Hill Station of Sapa, with your private driver. At mid-day you will arrive and check into the hotel. Lunch will be on your own.

Afternoon
After lunch you are picked up again by your private guide and driver and transferred downhill to Lao Chai and Ta Van village. At the village you will have a chance to visit the local homes and learn about their everyday life; especially you will take part in cooking our dinner tonight with some of typical hill tribes’ dishes.

After dinner you will return to Sapa for a good night sleep

Overnight in Sapa
Meals: (Breakfast/_/Dinner)



Sapa – Nam Cang & Nam Nhu (the untouched villages)

Morning
You will start our day with a 02 hour drive to the lowest valley of Sapa.  Along the way you will have many chances to see the breathtaking views of the largest terraced paddy fields and cornfields of the Sapa District. Passing Ban Ho village you ascend to My Son Village then Nam Cang Village. Here minorities live, such as Xa Pho, Red Dao and White H’mong.  Stopping at Nam Than Village you will visit a minority home, then cross a suspension bridge. Along the way you will see many waterfalls, together with stunning views of the lowest valley, paddy terraces and Buffalo houses on stilts, while listening to the birds singing in nearby forests.
This wonderful 2 hour trek ends with lunch at a minority stilt house in Thanh Phu Village.

Afternoon
You will return to Sapa while viewing the sun setting over the mountains. The rest of the day will be yours to explore at your leisure.

Overnight in Sapa
Meals: (Breakfast/Lunch/_)



Sapa – Bac Ha Sunday Market – Drive back to Hanoi

Morning
After breakfast and check out, your private tour guide will pick you up for the drive to Bac Ha market (travel time approximately 2.5 hours). Arriving at Bac Ha, you will visit the big market and the colorful ethnic people of the Flower H’mong, Phu La and Dao Tuyen minorities, who gather here to buy and sell their handicraft products. After spending the morning exploring the market, your lunch will be served at a local restaurant.

Afternoon
After lunch you will go downhill to start a short walk to Trung Do Village which is home to the Tay minority. Here you can visit a traditional Tay house. You will then travel by boat through amazing countryside to Bao Nhai Village.

Evening
After the tour you will be transferred for 06 hours more back Hanoi in your private vehicle. You will arrive at Hanoi in around 20:00 and check back in to the same hotel for a good night sleep. Pack up for the trip to Halong Bay.

Overnight in Hanoi
Meals: (Breakfast/Lunch/_)



Hanoi – Halong Bay – On board a junk boat

Morning
After breakfast, your private tour guide will pick you up for a 04 hour adventure to Halong Bay, passing through a number of typical North Vietnamese towns and villages. 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.

Afternoon
After you have finished exploring for the day, you will retire to the junk. You can relax on the top deck using the sun-tanning area or enjoy a refreshing drink from the bar.

Evening
In the evening your cook will prepare a splendid meal comprised of fresh seafood dishes as well as traditional Vietnamese fare as you weigh anchor in the heart of the bay.

Overnight on board
Meals: (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)



Halong – Hanoi – Flight to Hue

Morning
Rising to the tranquil beauty of the bay, you will have time for an early morning swim followed by breakfast. This morning you will continue to cruise around the bay. Lunch will be served on board.

Afternoon
After lunch, you will return to the main harbor before transferring to our awaiting vehicle for a 3-hour journey straight to Hanoi airport for a short flight to Hue. Once you have arrived Hue, you will meet up with your private tour guide and check into the hotel in downtown. The rest of the day will be yours to explore at your leisure.

Overnight in Hue
Meals: (Breakfast/Lunch/_)



Hue – Full-day City Tour

Morning
After breakfast and check out, your private tour guide will pick you up and take you up for a full-day city tour.

Visits:
– Imperial Palace
– Supreme Harmony Palace
– Purple Palace
– Royal Museum
– Thien Mu Pagoda

A typical Buddhist vegetarian lunch will be served at a Buddhist nunnery.

Afternoon
In the afternoon you will visit King Khai Dinh tomb, a masterpiece of interior decoration made by Vietnamese artists in early 20th century. The whole wall inside the mausoleum was plated with broken color china, color glass which made up beautiful patterns of flowers, scared plants, dragon, unicorn, phoenix, and turtle. You will then board a dragon boat, cruising downstream back to the main city and to your hotel.

Dinner will be served at Vuon Y Thao restaurant, which is own and operated by a formal Nguyen Dynasty Royal Lady.

Overnight in Hue
Meals: (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)



Hue – Hoi An

Morning
In the morning, you will head south, driving toward the riverside town of Hoi An. Your five-hour route, hugging the coastline along the South China Sea, serves up breathtaking views that grow even more spectacular as we wind our way up Hai Van Pass (“Pass of the Clouds”). You will drive through Da Nang city, passing by Marble Mountain and China beach before reaching to Hoi An.
After checking into your hotel, you will walk into the main town for a light lunch of Hoi An specialty.

Afternoon
In the afternoon, your private tour guide will take you for a walking tour to the Old quarter. Tonight you will have fun dinner in Hoi An local food market where you could try more Hoi An cuisine.

Overnight in Hoi An
Meals: (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)



Hoi An Outskirt Biking – Cooking Class

Morning
After breakfast, you will start your biking excursion to the outskirts of Hoi An for the tranquility of countryside life. Those picturesque winding country roads will take you to most unseen part of Hoi An with poetic garden houses and areca trees, rice paddies, then to Tra Que vegetable village.
You will come to a farmer family, learn how they grow vegetable in their garden.

Say goodbye to the host and perhaps cycle to the beach for a swimming. The rest of the afternoon is free to explore the Old Town.

Evening
In the evening, you will attend a cooking class in Morning Glory restaurant. Being one of the first cooking schools in Hoi An, the Morning Glory has garnered a well-deserved reputation over the years for its classes. Owner and founder- Ms Trinh Diem Vy is a third generation chef and native of Hoi whose cooking classes have featured in various publications around the world. You will have lunch at the cooking class.

Overnight in Hoi An
Meals: (Breakfast/_/Dinner)



Hoi An/ Da Nang – Flight to Ho Chi Minh City (HCM City)

Morning
After breakfast, you will be transferred to Da Nang International Airport for a short-flight to Ho Chi Minh City (HCM City).  Upon arrival, with the help of your private guide, driver and private vehicle, you will visit the War Remnant Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the General Post Office. Your light lunch will be light with Mekong Delta specialty Banh Xeo (literally “sizzling cake”) – the Vietnamese savory pancakes made out of rice flour, water, turmeric powder, and sometimes coconut milk (in the Southern regions), stuffed with slivers of fatty pork, shrimp, and bean sprouts and then pan fried.

The afternoon is free for your own exploration of HCM City.

Evening
In the evening, you will grill your own food in a local BBQ village restaurant in HCM City. Enjoy your delicious dinner while surrounded by cheerful locals.

Overnight in HCM City
Meals: (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)



HCM City – Mekong Delta (Vinh Long, Can Tho)

Morning
After breakfast and check-out, you and your private tour guide will set off for a drive through the Mekong Delta to the town of Cai Be, well-known for its floating market. Here you will board your private boat for a cruise along the maze of waterways and canals to Vinh Long.

You will stop at the home of a Bonsai gardener where we are treated exotic tropical fruits and then followed by  a sumptuous lunch with local cuisine, including the popular dish of ‘Elephant ear fish’, before continuing our exploration of the tributaries and canals of the delta.

Afternoon
In the afternoon, you will visit some of the typical family run “cottage industry” such as a brick factory, fish sauce makers, coconut candy makers… Late in the afternoon you will be transferred to Can Tho and enjoy your night in hotel.

Your dinner tonight will be served with some special Mekong Delta food.

Overnight in Can Tho
Meals: (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)



Can Tho – Cu Chi Tunnels – HCM City

Morning
In early morning, you will board the long tail boat to the exciting Cai Rang floating market. Once getting there, you will have the opportunity to enjoy hot served breakfast from vendor boat – an authentic breakfast right on boat, just like hundreds of other Vietnamese on Cai Rang Market. It’s also your time for taking photos, buying some fresh fruits then you will head to the bus and take your ride to Cu Chi tunnel with lunch en-route.

Afternoon
At Cu Chi tunnel, you will watch a documentary film made by Viet Cong in 1969, and then explore the underground tunnel system where Viet Cong guerilla and local people had lived and fight for 10 years of war.

You will arrive back to HCM City hotel late in the afternoon.  The rest of the day is yours to explore at your leisure.

Overnight in HCM City
Meals: (Breakfast/Lunch/_)



HCM City – Free day

Today is absolutely at your leisure for your final shopping and rest.

Overnight in HCM City
Meals: (Breakfast/_/_)



HCMC – Departure

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.

Meals: (Breakfast/_/_)

Useful Information

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.

What’s Included?

  • 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 in 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

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.

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

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.

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.

VOA procedure

  • To apply for your VOA please email us the following information:
  • Arrival and departure dates
  • Full passport details:
  • Passport number
  • Name
  • Gender
  • Nationality
  • 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.

Visa exemptions

The citizens of the following countries do not need a visa to enter Vietnam for a certain amount of time:

Asia

  • 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)

Europe

  • 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

E-visa

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.

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 sales@indochinapioneer.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 Checklist – Be sure to check them all 😉

Essentials

  • 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
  • Toiletries
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Refillable water bottle with filter

 

Wardrobe

  • 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

 

Optional comforts

  • Ear plugs & eye mask
  • Sleep sheet for home stays / trains
  • Lightweight travel towel
  • Local language phrasebook