- 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 & lantern making class
- Day 6: Hoi An free morning – Transfer to Danang – Hue
- Day 7: Hue full day discovery, home-hosted dinner at a royal family
- Day 8: Fly to Ho Chi Minh City, Ho Chi Minh City half day sightseeing
- Day 9: Ho Chi Minh City: Day trip to Ben Tre/ Mekong Delta
- Day 10: Cu Chi Tunnels – Ho Chi Minh 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
A warm greeting awaits at Hanoi’s Noi Bai International airport; your private guide and driver will meet you OUTSIDE the arrivals lounge and transfer you (45 minutes) to your hotel in downtown Hanoi.
While every effort is made to have your room available upon arrival, check in time is at 02:00 pm; your room may or may not be ready before this time. Your tour guide will provide additional details regarding your stay, and you will be able to ask any questions you may have. The rest of the day is at leisure.
You have time to relax at your hotel and adjust to the pace of Hanoi before heading out for a relaxing spa treatment in one of the best spa’s in town if interested. The best way to start a journey and to get rid of the jetlag.
Overnight in Hanoi
Hanoi – Full-Day City TourDay 2
For early risers: This morning walk to Hoan Kiem Lake – one of the major spots in the city served as a focal point for its public life – for a chance to witness the early morning of Hanoi, participate in the Taichi groups and back to the hotel for breakfast.
This morning, you will visit one of the “must see” museums in Hanoi: Founded in 1987 as an entity within the Vietnam Women’s Union, the Women’s Museum exhibits more than 25,000 objects and documents that mirror the diversity of Vietnam’s culture and the contributions of its women to the country’s society and ongoing development.
Then, you continue to Dong Xuan Market, originally constructed in 1889 and rebuilt in 1994, was once the scene of fierce fighting between the Vietnamese and the French but today is a bustling wholesale center.
Leaving the market, you will go on a cyclo tour through Hanoi’s Old Quarter. Explore the Old Quarter at a casual pace so you can enjoy the scenery and take photos. This is a place you must see to experience Hanoi, where you will find shopping and cultural/historical sites all wrapped into one.
The rest of the afternoon is free at leisure. Discover the many shopping opportunities in the old quarters of Hanoi.
Overnight in Hanoi
Hanoi – Halong Bay – On board a junk boatDay 3
Halong Bay is your destination today. Your private guide and driver will collect you from the hotel and take you on a 3.5-hour 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 Haling 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 – Flight to Da Nang/ Hoi AnDay 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 and drive back to Hanoi.
12.00: Your driver takes you back to Hanoi & transfer to the airport for your flight to Danang. Upon arrival, meet with your guide and drive to the hotel in Hoi An (about 45km ~ 1hr) for check-in and relaxation.
Overnight in Hoi An
Hoi An – Walking Tour & lantern making classDay 5
This walking and lantern making tour gives you a quick but consistent insight of Hoi An Ancient Town and allows you to get in touch with your creative side, as well as provides you with the opportunity to take part in an important aspect of the Vietnamese culture.
After breakfast, your tour guide will pick you up at the lobby of the hotel, to go to the center of Hoi An city where you will visit the town’s major attractions such as Hoi An Museum, Ancient Houses, Assembly Hall with Chinese influence, handicraft workshops, and the Japanese Bridge.
Move on to the house of a lantern craftsman. There, you can observe the lantern craftsman’s technique before hands-on work through each stage of lantern making under the guidance of the enthusiastic craftsmen: from bending it into a frame, cutting cloth, gluing, to completing lanterns. Before this trip concludes, you will have your own lantern created by your own hands. This is the perfect souvenir for you to show off your craftsmanship upon your return home. Once you have a well-crafted lantern, you will return to the hotel.
Enjoy the rest of the day to relax, shop or simply stroll around to take in the delightful ambiance. You might want to have a look at the local shops because this little town is world famous for its silk tailors. The talented ladies can tailor you a dream dress for a fair price within hours. As an alternative, you can head to the nearby beach to get some sun.
Overnight in Hoi An
Hoi An free morning – Transfer to Danang – HueDay 6
The morning will be free for strolling in the town, lazing on the beach, or whatever takes your fancy.
In the afternoon, we depart from Hoi An for a 4-hour journey to Hue. Today we will enjoy one of the most scenic drives on our trip as we climb over the stunning Hai Van Pass (Ocean Clouds Pass) enjoying the spectacular scenery and views of the coastline below. Our journey to Da Nang will keep us entertained as we pass mile after mile of undeveloped beaches, travel past villages, and at times drive alongside the tracks of the famous Reunification Railway.
Continue to driver till we reach Danang, a coastal city in central Vietnam known for its sandy beaches and history as a French colonial port. Da Nang city is part of a long thin peninsula, at the northern tip of which is Nui Son Tra (called Monkey Mountain by US soldiers). Upon arriving in Danang, have a stop to visit the Cham Museum and East Sea Beach before heading to Hoi An. Check into our hotel in Hue and the remainder of the day is ours at leisure.
Enjoy a home-hosted dinner at a restored royal home of Vinh Tu (Tha Om) with a chance to learn about the ancient architecture of a traditional Hue house, with open Q&A to our host, Mr. Vinh who is specialized in Hue ancient wooden architecture, about his living experience. During the meal with typical Hue dishes, you will be facilitated with a light performance of Hue traditional music.
Overnight in Hue
Hue full day discovery, home-hosted dinner at a royal familyDay 7
After breakfast, we are picked up at our centrally located hotel in Hue for a morning walking tour of the colorful Dong Ba market with our local guide. Roaming around the market and chatting with the locals, we can learn about local life and traditional Vietnamese food ingredients.
Our adventures continue to Hue citadel for exploration of the Imperial Capital. We will explore the ancient and atmospheric walled Citadel which contains the former Imperial Palace and the Forbidden Purple City.
Then, we head to a local nunnery for lunch. Experience a fantastic traditional meal at this peaceful retreat and have the chance to interact with the nuns to learn more about Buddhism and gain a unique insight into their daily lives.
After lunch, we continue by bus through stunning rural scenery and stop by an incense stick village. We will then visit the impressive Emperor Tomb of Minh Mang and the iconic Thien Mu Pagoda. End up our day with a relaxing boat ride on the Perfume River.
Please 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 Hue
Fly to Ho Chi Minh City, Ho Chi Minh City half day sightseeingDay 8
After breakfast, check out the hotel and transfer to the airport for the morning flight to Saigon.
Upon arrival at Tan Son Nhat airport, meet with your guide and transfer to downtown with a brief introduction en route (about 8km ~ 20mins).
In the afternoon we visit the Reunification Palace. The war officially ended here on April 30th, 1975 when tank 843 of the North Vietnamese Army crashed through the gates of the home of the President of the Republic of Vietnam. Then we visit the War Remnants Museum, a poignant display of the futility of war. We also stop at the Notre Dame Cathedral and Old Post Office. The post office, built between 1877 and 1883, is an excellent example of classic French colonial architecture. Get back the hotel and spend the remainder of the day at leisure.
Unwind while getting a spa treatment in one of the cities best spas this afternoon.
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City: Day trip to Ben Tre/ Mekong DeltaDay 9
Today your private guide and driver will take you out of Saigon in a private vehicle and onto some beautiful country roads to Ben Tre Town, the heart of the Mekong Delta, popularly known as the “rice bowl” of Vietnam, and is famous for its vast rice fields, orchard farms, coconut trees, numerous waterways and beautiful landscapes.
After approx 2 hour driving through the lush farming land, we arrive at Ben Tre town where we will embark on a motorized boat trip around the scenic Bến Tre River, viewing various local industries along the way. During the boat ride, we will stop to visit the small local factories where bricks and sleeping mats are made. Take a leisure walk along the village lanes visiting the local homes to try dry fruits, taste honey tea while enjoying a local Tai Tu music show. Continue to visit a coconut mill workshop where the local delicacy of coconut candy is produced and a range of coconut husk and fiber products are skillfully handcrafted.
We next take a small sampan through palm-fringed back canals, gliding peacefully along the hidden waterways surrounded by the immense variety of tropical plants. The quiet, rural setting is a welcome and restorative retreat to the frenetic buzz of Saigon which seems far, far away.
Enjoy sitting in the back of a Motor Cart (xe lôi) passing rice and vegetable orchard farms while meeting with local people. Then we head to a local restaurant for a simple lunch, after which we will be driven two hours back to back to Ho Chi Minh City.
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City
Cu Chi Tunnels – Ho Chi Minh City DepartureDay 10
After breakfast, we drive to the Cu Chi Tunnels, created by the Viet Cong to counter first the French and then American forces. Cu Chi Tunnels is 75 km outer suburb of Ho Chi Minh City. This vast network of tunnels, stretching over 250 kilometers is a sobering insight into the dedication of the Viet Cong who lived almost entirely underground in the narrow tunnels.
At the site we have a chance to watch a brief video that will introduce you to the Cu Chi tunnels, followed by a walk through the reserve. Nearby is a chilling demonstration of the traps and weapons used against the American GIs. The Cu Chi tunnels have been made wider and cleaner for western visitors, however, they can still be dark and claustrophobic inside so please keep in mind if you do not like enclosed spaces (it is optional to walk through the dark tunnels).
Then, transfer to Saigon airport for the international departure flight.
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 the 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 flight
- Airport Taxes and Fuel charges
- Entrance fees for all mentioned sights visited
- Service Charge & Government Taxes
What’s Not Included?
- Your International Flight to and from Vietnam
- Vietnam entry Visa Fees (contact us for further information)
- Personal Expenses (such as laundry, telephone, drinks, etc.)
- Any bank fees or charges at your end
- Meals other than those mentioned in the itinerary
- Personal Travel Insurance
- Tips for guides and drivers
How to Plan a successful Trip to Vietnam, Step-by-Step
Why to visit Vietnam
Where to Go
When to Go
Obtain a Vietnam Visa
How to Book a Tour
Packing and Luggage Allowance
Why to visit Vietnam
Vietnam, the S-shaped country, also commonly likened to the shape of a dragon, is located to the west of the South China Sea. The perfect combination of colonial elegance and rustic charm, it guarantees to satisfy all types of travelers with its rich experiences made all the more special by its charming people.
With cities to explore, temples to admire, and green countrysides to roam, there is plenty to see and do in Vietnam. Known as a colorful and diverse country from the wild mountainous north, with its myriad of ethnic communities, to the sleepless city of Ho Chi Minh City (previously known as Saigon) on the edge of the Mekong Delta, it is difficult to pick just one region to visit when coming to Vietnam.
The charming capital of Hanoi is a fascinating mix of fading colonial buildings and national monuments; the scenery of Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is bound to leave you speechless; Hue, home to the old Kings of Vietnam, appears to have been frozen in time for several hundred years with its ancient atmosphere and architecture.
With a 3260km coastline, Vietnam is home to many top-tier beaches; the country’s most unsung beauties. My Khe beach – “one of the most attractive beaches on the planet” as described by Forbes – offers blue skies, smooth white sand, clear & warm water year-round. Phu Quoc island, boasting several luxury resorts, is also a favorite escape for the rich and famous. The abundance of mountains, rainforests, and natural lakes also makes Vietnam a great destination for trekking, hiking, mountain biking, sea and river kayaking, and classic overland tours.
Where to Go
Most popular sites of Vietnam
• Sapa & Mai Chau – visit the hill tribe villages and plantations
• Hanoi – the capital of Vietnam
• Halong Bay – a UNESCO World Heritage site
• Hue – the ancient capital of Vietnam
• Hoi An – the kitchen of Vietnam and paradise on Earth
• Ho Chi Minh City (previously Saigon) – the economic heart of Vietnam
• The Cu Chi Tunnels – walk through the history of the Vietnam War
• Mekong Delta – see the floating markets
When to Go
Even though Vietnam lies entirely in the tropic zone, its climate varies surprisingly from region to region. Therefore this charming land is well-known as an “all-year-around” available destination for travelers.
In the north, from Sapa to Hanoi, there are 4 seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter.
In the central region, from Nha Trang to Hue, sunshine lasts throughout the year, except for the months of November and December when heavy rainfalls occur. Dalat, at an altitude of 1500m, is cooler than the coastal area, particularly from November to March. Da Nang and Hue both experience typhoon activity from mid-October to mid-December when the climate becomes cooler, more overcast and wet.
In the south, from Ho Chi Minh City to Phan Thiet, there are two main seasons: wet and dry. The wet season falls between April and September, with sudden heavy showers that don’t last very long. The dry season spans the months of October to March, with higher temperatures and long days of sunshine, followed by cooler nights.
Obtain a Vietnam Visa
Almost all visitors to Vietnam need a visa to enter the country, although some exemptions apply for citizens of countries with reciprocal agreements with Vietnam. Depending upon the nationality and passport of the applicant, a tourist visa can be obtained at the Vietnamese diplomatic office or consulates in foreign countries. Visas can also be obtained with the help of a licensed Vietnamese Travel Company, known as a “Visa on Arrival”. Visas may be either single-entry or multiple-entry, as requested at the time of application.
Visa on Arrival (VOA)
The easiest way is to get your visa through a licensed Vietnamese Travel Company, such as Indochina Pioneer. We can quickly and efficiently organize your pre-arranged VOA if you wish. Our visa processing fee is a reasonable rate of USD$10 / person only. Except for American citizens who are required to pay a stamping fee of USD$135 to get a 1-year, multiple-entry tourist visa, other nationalities need to pay just USD$25 / person for a single entry and USD$50 / person for multiple entries.
- To apply for your VOA please email us the following information:
- Arrival and departure dates
- Full passport details:
- Passport number
- Issuing date
- Expiry date
Note: your passport must be valid for 6 months beyond your travel date, and there must be several blank pages left on your passport.
- Once we have received your information, we will secure a Visa Approval Letter for you. This usually takes about 2 – 4 working days (ie. excluding weekends). We will then send you the letter via email or fax. You must present this letter upon boarding your flight. Also, you will need to prepare two photos (6 cm high x 4 cm wide – white background, no glasses, no smiling).
- On arrival at the airport (in Hanoi, Da Nang or Ho Chi Minh City) please find the Visa on Arrival window/counter where you will hand over your passport and photos, and be given a simple form to fill out. Pay the stamping fee of USD$25 for the single entry and USD$50 for multiple entries. The staff at the airport will shortly return your passport with your visa, after which you will be allowed to exit the airport.
The citizens of the following countries do not need a visa to enter Vietnam for a certain amount of time:
- Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Indonesia (maximum stay of up to 30 days)
- Philippines (maximum stay of up to 21 days)
- Japan, South Korea (maximum stay of up to 15 days)
- Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and United Kingdom (maximum stay of up to 15 days)
Unfortunately, citizens of the following countries are ineligible for a VOA and will have to apply at their nearest Vietnamese embassy/consulate :
South Asia – Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka
Africa – Algeria, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa
Starting from February 1st, 2017, the Vietnamese government officially launched the electronic visa plan for foreign tourists of certain countries visiting Vietnam. To apply for an e-visa, please visit http://www.xuatnhapcanh.gov.vn or http://www.immigration.gov.vn. For the list of
countries whose citizens are eligible to apply for an e-visa to Vietnam, click here.
How to Book a Tour
Booking your holiday with Indochina Pioneer cannot be easier! Follow our 3 simple steps:
Step 1: Browse our website www.indochinapioneer.com for tours, cruises and other destination information.
Should you find something that matches your interest, fill in the REQUEST A FREE QUOTE forms. Can’t find something that fits your needs? Then fill the BUILD YOUR OWN TRIP or CONTACT US form and click SUBMIT.
Then sit back! One of our travel experts will get back to you shortly with our customized package and most favorable offer!
In a hurry? Don’t like filling forms? Then call +84 982 116 630 (MR. LAM) or +84 983 145 799 (MR. Quyen). We’re available 24/7 and would be more than happy to talk! Certainly, your request will be carefully noted and a nicely crafted package with a pleasant price will follow!
Step 2: Reviewing/ Customizing our offer!
It’s your holiday so everything should be exactly what you want! We encourage your careful review of what we offer, letting us know what changes you would like to make. We’ll be more than happy to fine-tune the tour to fit best your interests, budget and time! This step may require several emails/call exchanges until perfect!
Step 3: Confirming/Paying/ Packing for the trip!
Once you’re satisfied with the customized tour, please let us know and Indochina Pioneer will need a few working hours to place reservations for all of the tour services. As soon as the availability and reservations of the services are confirmed, we will request a deposit. Please refer our Payment Guide for more details.
Once your deposit is received by Indochina Pioneer, we will send you the service voucher which confirms all the services of the tour and provides ground contact details and a guide for the final payment schedule.
And then you start counting down the day for your most fabulous trip!
Booking Amendment & Cancellations:
Booking Amendment: Flexibility is our strongest point. You can amend your booking even after it is made. Just contact your salesperson or contact us at email@example.com with your booking number. Our reservations team is glad to amend your booking with your preferable alternatives. Please kindly note that you will be responsible for any change of the final price caused by your amendment requests.
Travel smart with Indochina Pioneer!
Packing and Luggage Allowance
Packing Checklist – Be sure to check them all 😉
- Travel documents (passport, visas, travel insurance certificate, air tickets, tour voucher)
- Money (cash, credit card, debit card, traveler’s cheques and money pouch)
- Day pack for your personal needs during the day
- Camera and extra memory cards and batteries
- Cell phone and cell phone charger
- Laptop charger (if you are bringing your laptop)
- Travel plug/international adapter
- Medication (including a doctor’s letter if you are carrying a large amount of medication)
- Prescription glasses / contacts and if necessary, contact lens solution
Best to bring along
- First aid kit
- Insect repellent
- Refillable water bottle with filter
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Comfortable clothing, either light or heavy options, depending on the season you are travelling
- Clothes suitable for visiting temples (long pants / skirts, long sleeved tops)
- Waterproof jacket / raincoat / umbrella
- Hat & sunglasses
- Bathing suit
- Ear plugs & eye mask
- Sleep sheet for home stays / trains
- Lightweight travel towel
- Local language phrasebook