This ‘Vietnam Southern Discovery’ is tailor-made in order to give you the most authentic experiences as you travel through this region. See the juxtaposition of Ho Chi Minh City, where historic sites lie next to the new skyscrapers. The metropolis is best known for its fast-paced life and always buzzing with energy. Discover Cu Chi Tunnels and the unique Cao Dai sect. Glide along the rivers of Mekong Delta, see its famous floating markets and small villages and visit the cities of Can Tho, Soc Trang and Vinh Long. Stay with the locals and learn about their way of life, which is closely connected with the canals, waterways and boats.
- Day 1: Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) – Arrival
- Day 2: HCM City - Full day City tour
- Day 3: HCM City – Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels
- Day 4: HCM City – My Tho – Can Tho in Mekong Delta
- Day 5: Can Tho - Soc Trang – Can Tho
- Day 6: Can Tho - Vinh Long - Overnight in Local Home stay
- Day 7: Vinh Long - Ho Chi Minh City
- Day 8: 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.
Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) – ArrivalDay 1
Upon your arrival, your private guide and driver will meet you at the airport and accompany you to your hotel. The remainder of the day will be at your leisure to explore the city.
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 (HCMC)
HCM City - Full day City tourDay 2
HCM City is characterised by a vast variety of sights and sounds.
After breakfast, your private tour guide and driver will collect you from the hotel and take you on a guided tour around the city through the mazes of streets to the major attractions of the city. You will first visit the War Remnants Museum, The Reunification Palace, and pass by the former American Embassy (now the American Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City). You will also visit the Notre Dame Cathedral, the City General Post Office as well as Dong Khoi Street where the City Opera House is located. Enjoy lunch at one of the city’s many fine Vietnamese restaurants.
Continue to visit Giac Lam Pagoda. This is Saigon’s oldest pagoda dating back to 1744 and one of the finest in Vietnam. It will then be followed by a short drive to Cholon (An Dong market), including the Thien Hau Pagoda. Cholon actually means Big Market – a claim that is well justified as Vietnam’s largest market, the Binh Tay is situated here. Return to our hotel in the late afternoon.
Overnight in HCM City
HCM City – Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi TunnelsDay 3
Leaving the city behind, you’ll drive through pleasant countryside before arriving at Cu Chi. Before entering the tunnels, you’ll watch a short introductory video showing how the tunnels were constructed. Spend the next hour exploring the maze of tunnels. Also on display are various mantraps and the remains of an American tank, as well as numerous bomb craters made by 500-pound bombs, dropped by B52 bombers.
Continue your trip by proceeding to Tay Ninh, near the Cambodian border, is home to the unique Cao Dai sect, whose patron saints include Joan of Arc, Victor Hugo and Winston Churchill to name a few. The religion is an odd mix of Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism and Christianity. The trip to Cao Dai Holy See in Tay will allow us to experience the grand mid-day service. This will tell us of a strangest religion in the world.
Leaving the temple, you will enjoy lunch in a simple local restaurant. Then you will be driven 3hrs (100km) back to HCM City.
Overnight in HCM City
HCM City – My Tho – Can Tho in Mekong DeltaDay 4
The Mekong Delta is the southernmost region of Vietnam and is sometimes referred to as the rice bowl of Vietnam producing three harvests per year. The fertile Delta is also famed for its tropical fruits and flowers. Traditional transportation in the Delta is by boat along with a vast network of canals and channels. Boating along these canals and visiting the floating markets always proves to be a fascinating and rewarding experience.
Today, leaving the bustling HCM City, you’ll wind our way through the lush gardens and farm to the township of My Tho. Upon arrival, you will embark on the boat trip to visit the Islands. You will pass by the fishing villages, orchard gardens before you disembark your private boat to visit Thoison Island including the local house, bee farms, coconut-making base and enjoying the local music which is very interesting.
After having lunch at a local restaurant, you’ll continue with the drive to Can Tho city which is considered to be the heart of the Mekong. Arrive and check into our hotel. The remainder of the day will be free for exploration of Can Tho City.
Overnight in Can Tho
Can Tho - Soc Trang – Can ThoDay 5
Start your day with a boat trip along the endless waterway of the mighty Mekong River to Cai Rang Floating Market. There will be hundreds of boats loaded with fruits, vegetables, and fish jostling for trade. Sellers advertise their wares by crying out across the waters. You will witness the lush orchards of Can Tho before making your way to another floating market at Phong Dien market. Leaving the Phong Dien Floating Market and soaking up the scenery that stretches out on all sides you drive along the creeks and canals to Soc Trang where you will visit the famous Khmer, Clay and Bat Pagodas.
After lunch at a local restaurant in Soc Trang, you will return to Can Tho. Spend the rest of your day at leisure.
Overnight in Can Tho
Can Tho - Vinh Long - Overnight in Local Home stayDay 6
Leaving Can Tho, you’ll travel across the river to Vinh Long. Here you will board your private boat and cruise along the maze of waterways and canals to Vinh Long. You will stop at the home of a Bonsai gardener for a sumptuous lunch, including the popular dish of “elephant ear fish”.
You’ll continue to explore the delta’s tributaries and canals. As you journey along, you will visit local cottage industries making bricks, ceramic, rice-paper and pay a visit to Van Thanh temple. Your destination will be the home of a local family whose house is built on stilts over the water. The family will be your hosts for the evening and will tell you more about life on the delta.
Overnight in home-stay
Vinh Long - Ho Chi Minh CityDay 7
After breakfast, you will be free to stroll around or ride the bicycle through the local villages. Then check out of the homestay, your guide and driver will take you back to Ho Chi Minh City.
Around midday, you will arrive at the hotel in HCM City. The rest of the day will be free to explore the city or enjoy your shopping at Ben Thanh Night market.
Overnight in HCM City
HCM City – DepartureDay 8
This will mark the end of your trip in Vietnam. Depending on the time of your departure flight, your private driver will pick you up from the hotel and take you to the airport for your outbound flight home. Your driver will ensure that you are taken to the correct gate.
Inquire this trip
We are a member of:
We are a fully licensed company:
License No: 01-327/2014/TCDL-GPLHQT
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
We are committed to giving our customers unforgettable experiences in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and beyond, not just something staged for tourists. Read reviews written by our customers about their experiences in Indochina after they have returned home. These include the ratings and comments on attractions, guides, activities, hotels and food.
Andrew MUnited Kingdom
"Eleven day north to south trip of Vietnam"
Having returned from our tour of Vietnam, which was organised by Miss Elly Do, we cannot thank her and her company enough for making the eleven days in Vietnam exceptional. From the first contact with Elly she was flexible and accommodating to making our tour really special and unique to us. The accommodation that she found in the following cities, Hanoi, Hoi An, Hue and Ho Chi Minh City was beyond excellent. Special note must be made of the Eldora Hotel in Hue, which was above and beyond our expectations.
The tour guides that Elly used for our tour were knowledgeable and adaptable to situations out of their control caused by the Coronavirus. Special thanks to Sunny, our Hanoi guide, who found alternative attractions due to government closures of many popular attractions which did not detract from the highlights of the city. Thanks also to Tran, our Hoi An guide, who made our trip both entertaining and exciting. Thanks also to Cam who’s knowledge of Hue was exceptional and last but not least Jason, our guide in HCMC, his knowledge of the Cu Chi tunnels was outstanding.
The food tour with the XOtours in HCMC is a must for anyone visiting the city. It gives another understanding of the chaos that is driving in HCMC on the back of a scooter, though we did feel safe because of the experienced female drivers, who were friendly and spoke excellent English.
We would, without reservation, recommend Indochina Pioneer to anybody planning a tour of Vietnam who does not want to follow a standard package tour but rather a tour that incorporates your specific interests and needs, from planning through to the experience as a whole.
We are now presented with the problem of topping this trip, however, if we decide to visit any other place in SouthEast Asia we will definitely be using this company’s services.
"Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia"
We, 2 couples, returned from our 18-day private tour just before the Christmas holiday. To say that everything went perfectly would be an understatement. While we had a bit of difficulty getting Kata from Indochina Pioneers to respond to our planning requests, we ended up with what was truly a trip of a lifetime!! All of our tour guides and drivers were truly exceptional. I wanted to give some extra kudos Juan in Luang Prabang and Chesda in Phnom Penh – both were outstanding thoughtful guides. I should mention the others, as each guide was great – Larry in HCMC, Tuan in Hoi An and Hue, Tony in Hanoi and Chai in Siem Reap. All of the hotels we stayed at were top notch. All flights organized by Indochina Pioneer went smoothly. As for the sights and sounds of Southeast Asia – this was truly a life-changing visit. While our itinerary was quite clear as to the activities we would see, we had no idea how extraordinary everything would be. We especially enjoyed our exploration of the various street foods in Hanoi that Tony took us to. While “his” places deviated from the itinerary, they were absolutely fantastic!! Our one night on Halong Bay went by too quickly. We spent 4 nights in Luang Prabang, Laos and found this to be just magical. Siem Reap was just amazing. While Angkor Wat is on everyone’s bucket list, we found that each of the ancient temples was equally magnificent. Although the trip ended on a bit solemn note in Phnom Phen with a visit to the Killing Fields and the accompanying prison, Chesda added a little trip to the market and lunch which, for me, softened things some. Overall, this trip was awesome. The only problem now is finding our next trip – this one’s going to be very difficult to top!! I highly recommend Indochina Pioneer to help you plan your own trip to Southeast Asia.
Angela LeerLloydminster, Canada
"Amazing Vietnam/Thailand trip"
My husband and I recently returned from a most amazing 16 day tour of Vietnam and Thailand. Thank you Kata Tran for compiling an itinerary which was the perfect balance of sightseeing, activity, and beach relaxation. There are too many highlights to detail. Know, however, each transfer between destinations was seamless and accommodations were fabulous at each stop. Most remarkable…it never ceased to amaze us that each driver/guide could be so punctual (considering the traffic in some regions), never being even a minute late! The whole Indochina team who contributed to our trip was incredible!
I highly recommend this tour company.
"Trip of a lifetime!"
My husband and I just returned from a 3-week vacation in Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand all booked through Indochina Pioneer. We would highly recommend using this company to book a trip like this. The accommodations we were given were excellent. Our guides were knowledgeable, open and accommodating making our experience more than we could have hoped for. We were able to customize the trip to suit our likes. Lots of beach time! Our communication with our Indochina rep wasn’t the best but was well made up for in the holiday that was created for us.
"Great management and planing : Indochina Pioneer"
This year 2020 started amazingly with 5 days Vietnam (Phu Quoc and HCM City) trip. Its greatly organized by Indochina Pioneer Travel Company. Ms. Elly Do was the planner for our trip. I am very thankful and appreciate her patience and prompt suggestions regarding the trip plan. As the requested vegetarian meal was arranged throughout the trip. Overall it was an awesome experience, greatly managed with the sounding tour guide.
"THAILAND WAS AMAZING – 5 star custom tour"
Thank you Mr Lam Duong for always giving top-notch service. You know what we like and you deliver the BEST Private custom holidays to Cambodia and recently Thailand. Looking forward to our next vacation. HOW ARE YOU GOING TO TOP THAILAND?? It was AMAZING!! We didn’t want to leave!!
"22 day tour of Vietnam and Siem Reap"
My husband, adult children and I have just returned from one of the best trips of our lifetimes. After numerous requests from me to change, add or tweak the day-to-day tours suggested to me, Hang (Lizzie) from Indochina Pioneer found the perfect combination for us. She is a knowledgeable, patient and gifted organizer. I couldn’t be happier with her professionalism and attention to detail. As we toured the country, we were inspired and educated by our guides Nam, Dat, Larry and Pascuale. We hiked through jungles, ate marvelous food, spent time on the waters of Halong Bay and Phu Quoc Island, we rode bikes through villages and explored the busy streets of Hanoi, Hoi an and Ho Chi Min City, we visited temples and war monuments. Every detail was carefully outlined by Hang and if we wanted to make last-minute changes to the day, our guides were happy to accommodate. I would highly recommend Indochina Pioneer. If I have the good fortune to return, I would use them again. Gold stars all around! Well done Hang & team!
We are so grateful to Ryan Mac and the Indochina Pioneer team for organizing the perfect family vacation for us in northern and central Vietnam. We saw places and had experiences we never would have without them. They made the trip easy and fun. We will be using them again!
"Vietnam and Cambodia"
We booked our trip to Cambodia and Vietnam with Indochina Pioneer, and I highly recommend their local expertise and professionalism. This was the first time we have worked with an in-country travel agency for a customized trip, and the partnership helped us create an amazing vacation.
I contacted Indochina Pioneer and was assigned a Travel Specialist, Elly, who worked through our initial trip thoughts and gave us some additional suggestions. She was very responsive, listened to the type of trip that we wanted, and always followed through. Her professionalism built our confidence in a successful trip.
We had the agency set up drivers, tour guides and hotels based on our personal qualifications. Each stop we had a new, local guide who understood the history of the area and helped us navigate to the local sights. Because of the guides, we were able to experience not only the popular tourist areas, but also go to more obscure sights that gave us a local experience.
We really loved the local food tours in Vietnam because our guides took us around the cities to a non-tourist restaurant. We also had three bike trips, so instead of driving and seeing the countryside pass us by, we rode our bikes.
I highly recommend working in Indochina Pioneer for your next trip to Asia!
"Great tour company"
We toured Siem Reap and Hanoi. Our tour guide and driver in Siem Reap were perfect. We were very happy with the hotel choice as well. In Vietnam, we went to Halong Bay on a junk boat cruise. Absolutely perfect!