- Day 1: Ho Chi Minh City – Arrival
- Day 2: Ho Chi Minh City tour
- Day 3: HCM City – My Tho – Can Tho (Mekong Delta)
- Day 4: Cai Rang Floating Market – Flight to Da Nang/ Hoi An
- Day 5: Hoi An - Walking tour of the Ancient town & Boat trips
- Day 6: Hoi An – Free Day
- Day 7: Hoi An/ Da Nang – Flight to Hanoi – Evening walking and food tour
- Day 8: Hanoi City Tour
- Day 9: Hanoi – Transfer to Bac Can – Babe Lake Discovery
- Day 10: Ba Be Lake – Cao Bang – Ban Gioc Waterfall
- Day 11: Cao Bang – Hanoi
- Day 12: Hanoi – Halong Bay – Overnight onboard
- Day 13: Halong Bay – Hanoi
- Day 14: Hanoi – 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.
Ho Chi Minh City – ArrivalDay 1
Your private tour guide will meet you at Ho Chi Minh City’s (HCM City) Tan Son Nhat airport and will escort you by private car to your selected hotel in HCM City. Your knowledgeable guide will be happy to answer any questions along the way, and will assist you with check-in and registration at the hotel.
The rest of the day will be yours to explore at your leisure. Your guide will recommend excellent options for your preferred cuisine – we highly recommend trying HCM City 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 Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City tourDay 2
After breakfast, your adventure in Vietnam begins as private tour guide picks you up for a tour around HCM City to visit the city’s historical landmarks. Below are the recommended sites, but of course, your guide will be happy to modify the list based on your preferences. Your visit includes;
– the Reunification Palace (the former Presidential Palace), which was once headquarters for the Saigon government during the War
– the War Remnants Museum, which displays relics from the War
-the Notre Dame Cathedral
– the General Post Office (GPO), considered as the best example of classical French colonial architecture in HCM City
For lunch, your private tour guide will take you to a local Vietnamese restaurant to try authentic Vietnamese cuisine.
Following lunch you continue to visit other sites such as the Jade Emperor’s Pagoda, the famous Ben Thanh Market, the colonial style City Hall (formerly the Hôtel de Ville de Saigon) and the Opera House where you may attend the A O Show tonight.
Evening Optional Activity (booking upon request)
Your tour guide will take you back to the Opera House to watch the A O, a one-of-a-kind show with optical illusions, amazing choreography, powerful acrobatics, and traditional music that takes place at the Saigon Opera House. Appreciate the exterior of the French-designed Saigon Opera House before venturing inside this architectural gem.
Overnight in HCM City
HCM City – My Tho – Can Tho (Mekong Delta)Day 3
After breakfast and check-out your private guide and driver will collect you from the hotel and transfer to My Tho/ Ben Tre town where you will embark on a motorized boat trip around the scenic Tien River, viewing various local industries along the way. 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 HCM City which seems far, far away.
After lunch at a local restaurant by the riverside you’ll reboard the boat to head back to My Tho and start the drive through the fields and towns of the Mekong to Can Tho city, stopping at the Vinh Trang Pagoda if time permits. Spend the evening at your leisure seeing the town by foot or pedicab, or find a quiet place for a cocktail by the river.
Overnight in Can Tho
Can Tho – Ho Chi Minh City – Evening flight to Da Nang/ Hoi AnDay 4
Today you will rise early to witness a beautiful sunrise and visit one of the world’s largest floating markets at Cai Rang. Take a water taxi ride and watch the fascinating scene, as Mekong Delta life goes on all around, the market is made up of a hundred or more boats, selling all manner of goods to customers who arrive on all kinds of river craft. This is not your everyday market.
Leaving the market you will return to the shore where your driver will transfer you to Can Tho Airport for a short flight to Da Nang
Upon arrival at Da Nang Airport, you will be picked up and taken to your hotel in Hoi An to check in. The remainder of the day is free at your leisure.
Overnight in Hoi An
Hoi An - Walking tour of the Ancient town & Boat tripsDay 5
After breakfast, your private tour guide will pick you up and take you to the old merchant town of Hoi An. You will spend the morning on a walking tour winding through the narrow streets of the Ancient Quarter.
– Chua Ong Pagoda
– The Assembly Hall
– The 200-year-old Tam Ky house
– The Japanese Covered Bridge
– Attend the traditional music show
– And the local markets
After lunch at a local Vietnamese restaurant, you will embark on a short boat trip to visit Thanh Ha handicraft ceramic village, and Kim Bong Carpentry Village, famous for its carpentry and traditional woodworking products.
The rest of the day will be yours to explore at your leisure. Try your hand at bargaining with the shop-keepers! Hoi An is famous for its tailors, where a whole new wardrobe can be made to measure in 24 hours or less, at very reasonable prices.
Overnight in Hoi An
Hoi An – Free DayDay 6
Today will be your absolute free day. Relax in the serenity of your resort, visit the Old Town again and get some clothes or shoes made at the tailor shops.
Or you can spend your day on the beach sunbathing or swimming in the ocean.
Overnight in Hoi An
Hoi An/ Da Nang – Flight to Hanoi – Evening walking and food tourDay 7
After breakfast and check-out you are collected by your private driver at the hotel and Transferred to Da Nang airport for a short flight to Hanoi.
Your private driver will pick you up at Hanoi’s Noi Bai airport and take you to your hotel to check in. Free to relax afterwards.
Your tour guide will meet you again and take you on a cycle/ rickshaw ride through the French Quarter to admire the well preserved colonial buildings and boulevard streets with sidewalk cafes and shops. After the cycle rickshaw ride, you will take a walking tour through the narrow alleyways of the old streets in the Old Quarter and discover the multitude of items sold here.
During our walk we will have plenty of opportunity to interact with the locals and sample various street food such as Banh Cuon (Vietnamese Steam Rice Rolls), Banh My (Vietnames baguettes), Bun Cha (grilled pork with vermicelli and herbs), Nom du du (papaya salad) . We also enjoy a bowl of special Noodle soup (called Pho) which is a favorite of Hanoi residents.
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!
Your local guide will then take you to one of Hanoi’s best kept secrets, a hidden café. This hard-to-find café is one of the few left in the city that still serves egg coffee, a scrumptious local delicacy that we will sample. Or, if coffee is not your style, a cold beer awaits!.
Overnight in Hanoi
Hanoi City TourDay 8
After breakfast, your private tour guide will pick you up and take you on a full-day city tour of Hanoi as part of your Vietnam travel package. Below are the recommended sites, but of course, your guide will be happy to modify the list based on your preferences.
– Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum and the Presidential Palace
– Ho Chi Minh’s private home, a wooden stilt-house surrounded by lush gardens
– The One Pillar Pagoda, an important symbol for Hanoian
– Huu Tiep Lake and the Downed B-52
– Vietnamese Women’s Museum
After lunch at a local Vietnamese restaurant you will continue to visit;
– Temple of Literature (a Confucius temple considered the first National University of Vietnam)
– Hoa Lo prison (known as the “Hanoi Hilton” during the American war)
– A stroll around the iconic Hoan Kiem Lake
– Ngoc Son Temple
– A performance of the traditional water Puppet Show, a typical northern Vietnamese art form
Overnight in Hanoi
Hanoi – Transfer to Bac Can – Babe Lake DiscoveryDay 9
After breakfast, you will be picked up by your guide and driver for the journey to Ba Be Lake, a drive of approximately 150 miles (230 kilometers). Along the way you will pause to visit a Tay minority community, the second largest ethnic group in Vietnam.
Continue on to Ba Be National Park where you will embark on a boat ride along the Nang River, with time to explore Ba Be Lake, the caves of Puong Grotto, the rapids of the Dau Dang waterfall and tiny Widow Island. You will enjoy a picnic lunch by the waterfall.
Finish the boat trip and transfer to a Tay people village called Pac Ngoi where you will stay overnight at a local thatched house. After check-in and short rest, you will take a walk around the village, meet and interact with the local people.
Tonight you will enjoy dinner cooked and served by the family. You may want to join them in the cooking activity. This is a great fun.
Overnight in Ba Be Lake
Ba Be Lake – Cao Bang – Ban Gioc WaterfallDay 10
After breakfast, depart for a scenic drive to Cao Bang close to Vietnam’s northern border with China. Along the way, you will be introduced to the Nung people in the village of Phuoc Sen, a small village famous for the production of farming tools. Like the Tays, the Nungs largely live by farming the terraced rice paddies that you will see all around.
At midday, you will arrive and check in your hotel room. It’s then followed by lunch at a local restaurant.
After lunch, transfer to Ban Gioc waterfall where you will board the bamboo raft for the most up-close discovery of the most beautiful Waterfall in Vietnam. The trip will continue with a visit to Nguom Ngao limestone Cave which is 2 km away from Ban Gioc waterfall.
Return to the hotel in the late afternoon. Spend your night at leisure.
Overnight in Cao Bang
Cao Bang – HanoiDay 11
After breakfast, you will depart Cao Bang and wind our way back to Hanoi. It is a journey of approximately 185 miles (310 kilometers) through vertiginous rice paddies and remote villages. You will get the chance to stop at an ethnic village known for its tobacco production.
Arrive at Thai Nguyen Province you will visit the Museum of the Cultures of Vietnam’s Ethnic Groups in Thai Nguyen City where you can browse the objects, photographs and exhibits that give a better understanding of the various ethnic groups and their agricultural tools, handicrafts and traditional costumes worn for worship.
Continue on to Hanoi in the late afternoon. Spend the rest of the day at leisure. Stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake, the City Center and do some shopping. Get yourself ready for the amazing boat trip in Halong Bay tomorrow.
Overnight in Hanoi
Hanoi – Halong Bay – Overnight onboardDay 12
After breakfast, you will leave Hanoi for Halong Bay (travel time approximately 4 hours), passing through several Northern Vietnamese towns and villages. There will be a stop en route for photos and refreshments.
Upon arrival, you will be welcomed aboard your traditional junk; designed in the same style as those that have sailed the bay for hundreds of years. You will begin a relaxing and unforgettable cruise through the azure waters of this magical bay, where thousands of sculpted limestone karsts (small islands) crest the waves like dragons’ teeth.
A delicious fresh seafood lunch will be served as you cruise this UNESCO site.
Mid-afternoon, you will arrive at Cua Van fishing village and enjoy a pleasant bamboo row-boat through the village which boasts a museum and a school among the floating homes. After Cua Van village, you will visit Tien Ong cave as well.
You will return to your junk boat to watch the sunset, with cocktails available for purchase from the bar, followed by a sumptuous dinner.
(Note: Program may differ slightly base on cruise ships)
Overnight on board
Halong Bay – HanoiDay 13
Enjoy the magnificent scenery of the bay; if you are an early riser, be sure to take advantage and watch the sun rise over the sea. Engage in an early morning Tai Chi session on the sundeck, followed by breakfast. After breakfast, you will have the opportunity to:
– Go to Soisim beach to swim, or kayaking
– Visit Tam Cung cave, Hon Xep islet and Dau Moi temple
A buffet lunch will be provided onboard before arrival back at the dock, where you will be picked up by your private driver and taken back back to your hotel in Hanoi where you spend your last night.
Overnight in Hanoi
Hanoi – DepartureDay 14
After breakfast and a leisurely morning on your own, you will check out by midday as this mark the end of your 2-week vacation in Vietnam. Your private driver will pick you up and take you back to Hanoi’s Noi Bai 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.
- Watch the Amazing A O Show in HCM City, See the Notre Dame Cathedral
- Enjoy an unique experience stay at Co Co Riverside Lodge
- Discover the immense network of the legendary Cu Chi Tunnels
- Discovery the fascinating Ancient town of Hoi An
- Walk through the little alley streets, Enjoy the food on foot tour of Hanoi Old Quarter
- Take overnight train ride to Sapa, Discover the Hill tribe villages
- Take the overnight cruise trip, Admire Halong Bay’s majestic beauty
- 12 hotel buffet breakfasts.
- 3 dinners and 9 lunches at well-selected restaurants (vegetarian food is upon request)
- 1 street food tour
- Private guide in each City of visit
- Private driver with air-conditioned vehicle for daily tours or alternative transportation (such as rail journeys)
- Hand-picked Restaurants and hotels
- Must-see sightseeing and surprise extras
- All Airport transfers on the first and last day of your guided holiday
Private English speaking guide, accommodation, private tours and transfer, domestic flights, A/C train, some main meals, all entrance fees, tax and service charge.
What’s Not Included?
Your international flights from and to Vietnam, the entry visa to Vietnam, personal expense, tips to guide and driver.
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