Vietnam Explorer

Group Tour

14 Days From A$5,235

Overview

Vietnam remains one of South-East Asia’s most diverse and intriguing destinations, and with its unique shape – stretching north to south over 1600kms and yet from east to west only 50kms in places – it offers incredible variety in its landscapes, food, architecture and culture.

This trip balances visits to some of the country’s better known and much lauded sights – such as Hanoi, Hue, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City – with some more off-beat places such ...

Read More

HIGHLIGHTS

At a glance

MEALS

13 x Breakfasts
11 x Lunches
10 x Dinners

TRANSPORT

On this tour we will use minibuses, an overnight train, a domestic flight and privately chartered boats in the Mekong Delta and Halong Bay. There will also be opportunity for gentle cycle-rides, some short walks and explorations of the canals of the Mekong Delta by sampan (flat-bottomed boats).

GROUP SIZE

Maximum: 12

CARBON CONTRIBUTIONS

Contributions to carbon offset & tree planting projects for all bookings

EXPERT TEAM

The full services of a Wild Frontiers Tour Leader with local guides where appropriate

ACCOMMODATION

All accommodation as outlined in the itinerary

ACCOMMODATION

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards without the big price tag
Superior
Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

ENTRANCE FEES

All entrance fees for sights mentioned in the itinerary

FITNESS RATING

Low / Moderate

FITNESS RATING

LOW: You should be comfortable walking around towns and cultural sites. May include some optional walks (typically 1-2hrs).

LOW/MODERATE: May be of a long duration and/or involve numerous border-crossings. May include easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-3hrs/day). You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle.

MODERATE: May include several easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-5hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle. Previous experience of similar trips helpful.

MODERATE/HIGH: May involve several days of moderate hiking (up to 3-6 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

HIGH: May involve several days of moderate/strenuous trekking (up to 4-7 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a very fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

Map & Itinerary

Individual departures may vary so please refer to the information in the tour specific links in the Dates and Prices section below

Vietnam Explorer
EXPAND ALL ITINERARY DAYS
COLLAPSE ALL ITINERARY DAYS

DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN HANOI

DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN HANOI

Accommodation will be available from early afternoon today even though the suggested group flight does not arrive until the evening.

Acoustic Hotel or similar

DAY 2: HANOI

DAY 2: HANOI

With ochre-coloured colonial buildings, tree-lined boulevards and scenic lakes, Hanoi is full of charm. Today we’ll start our tour of the city by visiting Ho Chi Minh's House, Tran Quoc Pagoda (Hanoi’s oldest) and the tranquil Quan Thanh Temple. Later we’ll drop in on the Hoa Lo prison aka Hanoi Hilton and learn of its use as a place for holding both Vietnamese nationalists (during the days of the French) and later American POWs. At the end of the day we’ll watch a water- puppet show - a uniquely northern Vietnamese art form depicting scenes of rural life and famous local stories.

Acoustic Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 3: HANOI – HALONG BAY

DAY 3: HANOI – HALONG BAY

Heading east, we’ll drive to Halong Bay, where we’ll board our privately chartered boat. Despite its undeniable and understandable popularity, it is still possible to find more secluded areas of the bay and during our time here our cruise will explore the striking limestone formations that give the bay such character and have contributed to its worldwide renown. Although there will be ample time for relaxing on the sundeck, kayaking or swimming (weather permitting) there will also be time to visit local fishermen in the nearby villages. In the evening, for those that wish, there will be the chance to take part in a pre-dinner Vietnamese cookery class on board the boat.

Privately chartered boat – Bhaya or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4: HALONG BAY – OVERNIGHT TRAIN – DONG HOI

DAY 4: HALONG BAY – OVERNIGHT TRAIN – DONG HOI

After some time to explore this stunning destination (with perhaps the chance of an early morning Tai Chi class) we’ll return to the jetty and drive back to Hanoi in time to take our overnight train south aboard the Reunification Express towards Dong Hoi.

Overnight train – 4-berth cabins
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5: DONG HOI – PHONG NHA NATIONAL PARK

DAY 5: DONG HOI – PHONG NHA NATIONAL PARK

Disembarking from the train this morning, we’ll leave the coast and head inland up into the hills and the landscapes that make up the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003. We’ll explore Paradise Cave, only open to the public since 2010 and said to be one of the longest dry caves in the world. We won’t be exploring its full extent (at over 30kms!) but we’ll have the chance to marvel at the breath-taking size of its cathedral-like interior replete with colossal stalagmites and stalactites. After a simple lunch at a local eatery, we continue exploring the surroundings on a half-day biking adventure around Bong Lai village and the peaceful countryside. We’ll cycle along quiet village paths and roads, passing picturesque rice paddy fields and small hamlets.There will be plenty of photo opportunities along the way so we can take our time to soak up this stunning area.

Phong Nhan Lakehouse Resort or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6: PHONG NHA NATIONAL PARK  - DMZ - HUE

DAY 6: PHONG NHA NATIONAL PARK  - DMZ - HUE

Today’s journey sees us heading south via the demilitarized zone (DMZ). The area south of the DMZ was the scene of some of the bloodiest battles during the war and the zone was established as the dividing line between North and South Vietnam. There are various places of military significance here including the Vinh Moc Tunnels and parts of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Today’s visit offers a sobering reminder of how recently Vietnam was involved in major conflict and how far it has come since then. Later this afternoon we’ll continue our journey, aiming to arrive in Hue late afternoon.

Mondial Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 7: HUE

DAY 7: HUE

Hue served as an imperial capital to the Nguyen Lords, a feudal dynasty which reigned from the 17th to the 19th century and today retains much of its royal charm. We’ll have the day to explore some of the city’s fascinating sights including the Imperial Citadel, a UNESCO listed site and the Thien Mu pagoda, which stands on the riverbank with its seven-storey tower. We’ll also visit the elaborate Khai Dinh Royal Tomb, whose architecture and atmosphere showcase elements of eastern art and western designs.

Mondial Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 8: HUE – BACH MA NATIONAL PARK - HOI AN

DAY 8: HUE – BACH MA NATIONAL PARK - HOI AN

Today we’ll head up into the Bach Ma National Park which is known as one of the most bio-diverse areas of South-East Asia. Within its steep mountains and dense forests, the area is home to a wide variety of animals and plants and was a popular weekend getaway during the days when Vietnam was a French Colony. With our local expert we plan to take a 3-hour walk (approx. 8kms) along trails through sub-tropical forest which will take us to the magnificent Ngu Ho Lake and Do Quyen waterfall. Late in the afternoon we continue to Hoi Ann where we will be staying for the next three nights.

Cozy Savy Boutique Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 9: HOI AN

DAY 9: HOI AN

After having a leisurely start this morning, we will embark on plan to take a walking tour of Hoi An. This once prosperous trading port has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is without doubt one of Vietnam's gems. These days it is a delightful small market town, known throughout the region for its beautiful silk paintings and boasting well-preserved buildings, pedestrianised streets and unique cuisine, allowing visitors a glimpse of its illustrious past. We will have time to stroll through the Old Town, and look at the many handicrafts, antique shops and galleries, strongly influenced by Vietnamese, Chinese and Japanese culture.

Cozy Savy Boutique Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 10: HOI AN

DAY 10: HOI AN

Today has been left free for you to revisit Hoi An’s narrow lanes and old merchants’ houses at your own pace, or alternatively to relax on the white sandy beach.

Cozy Savy Boutique Hotel or similar
Breakfast

DAY 11: HOI AN – DANONG – HO CHI MINH CITY – MEKONG DELTA

DAY 11: HOI AN – DANONG – HO CHI MINH CITY – MEKONG DELTA

A short drive will take us to Danang from where we’ll fly to Ho Chi Minh City. On arrival we’ll have lunch at a local Pho restaurant then transfer to our bus and drive for about 90mins, partly through the lush surroundings of rice paddies and fruit farms towards Ben Tre, one of the country's southern provinces, situated in the Mekong River Delta. We’ll overnight in a charming converted villa by the water’s edge.

Mekong Lodge or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 12: MEKONG DELTA - HO CHI MINH CITY

DAY 12: MEKONG DELTA - HO CHI MINH CITY

This morning we’ll board our privately chartered boat to cruise through the magnificent scenery of the Mekong Delta. As we go, we’ll stop at local houses to learn more about the use of coconuts in making household goods, as well as stopping at a small brick workshop where the community still uses centuries-old traditional methods to make the bricks by hand. We’ll also explore some of the quieter parts of the Delta by bicycle and on foot as well as taking to rowing sampans to discover the wonderful maze of small canals. We’ll return this afternoon to Ho Chi Minh City for our final two nights in the country.

Hotel Majestic or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 13: HO CHI MINH CITY

DAY 13: HO CHI MINH CITY

The former city of Saigon is the country’s commercial centre and, with over eight million inhabitants and four million motorbikes, it’s a city that never sleeps. However despite the well-documented hustle and bustle, Saigon retains its connections with the past and today we’ll take a walking tour to admire some of the city’s historic landmarks. These include Rue Catinat, where we’ll discover some beautiful French colonial buildings; the splendidly restored exteriors of the Opera House and the former Hotel de Ville; and the Notre Dame Cathedral, which was based on the original in Paris. We’ll also visit the War Remnants Museum for a vivid glimpse of the war seen through local eyes. In the evening we’ll go out for a final sumptuous dinner in this mesmerising city.

Hotel Majestic or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 14: TOUR ENDS IN HO CHI MINH CITY

DAY 14: TOUR ENDS IN HO CHI MINH CITY

The tour ends with breakfast at the hotel.

Breakfast

PRIVATE HOLIDAYS: DATES DON’T FIT?

All group tours can be taken on a private basis.

Additional Details

Responsible Travel

Responsible travel and sustainable tourism are fundamental ideas that Wild Frontiers has been committed to since our birth. It is our strong belief that these words should not be simply ‘tagged on’ to itineraries and websites but should be at the very core of each trip, and our adventures are therefore designed with the local people, culture and eco-system in mind. We believe that a successful trip not only delivers a unique and unsurpassable journey for our clients, but that it also benefits the peoples whose lands we are privileged to visit. For more information, please see our responsible travel page.

KOTO - Know One, Teach One

On this tour you will enjoy lunch at KOTO restaurant.  This restaurant and hospitality training centre gives at-risk and disadvantaged young people the opportunity to break the poverty cycle by learning useful workplace skills.  The students in the KOTO training programme study catering and hospitality, English and gain essential experience working at KOTO restaurant.

Getting There

If you would like us to send you a quote for the suggested tour flights or on any alternative flight that may suit you better, please let us know, noting that for our US clients, we will most likely refer you to one of our preferred partners. For this trip our suggested flights from the UK (subject to change) are shown below.

If you wish to arrange your own flights you are completely free to do so and in this case we can arrange any transfers or supplementary accommodation that you may require. However please note that if you are planning on making your own flight arrangements, we recommend that you first check with us to see if the trip is guaranteed. We then suggest that you purchase flights that are flexible and ideally refundable as due to the nature of adventure travel, itineraries and destination accessibility can change at any time. For more information, please refer to our booking conditions.
 

Flight Code Departing Arriving
TG 917 London Heathrow (LHR) 21:35 Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) 16:00
TG 564 Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) 17:30 Hanoi Airport (HAN) 19:20
TG 551 Saigon Airport (SGN) 10:05 Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) 11:30
TG 916 Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) 13:20 London Heathrow (LHR) 19:35

Visas

Visas are necessary for many of the destinations we travel to and while we aim to provide you with the most up-to-date information, requirements frequently change and as such for the latest advice we advise that you check with the relevant embassies or contact our recommended visa agency, Travcour www.travcour.com 

Before departure UK passport holders currently do not require visas for Vietnam for visits of up to 15 days. For visits up to 30 days, e-visas will be required. More details can be found here - https://evisa.xuatnhapcanh.gov.vn

Non-UK passport holders or non-UK residents should contact the relevant embassies for individual requirements.

Further details will be sent out to you on booking, however ensuring that correct and valid visas are obtained remains the sole responsibility of the client.

Extensions

If you have more time available, why not arrive early to adjust to a new time zone or just to get a feel for the country before your tour starts? Or alternatively you might choose to allow a few extra days after the tour to relax or to undertake some further exploration.

The choice is completely yours and we can usually arrange anything from simply additional accommodation and transfers to full tailor-made itineraries.

Below is just a small sample of what you could do. Please contact the office for more details and to discuss your individual requirements.

Northern Vietnam

If you have more time on your hands why not extend your trip pre-tour to visit some of the tribal areas of Vietnam’s far north. Sapa may be the best known town of the region but places such as Ha Giang can offer a more off-the-beaten-track experience. Allow 3-6 days.

Phu Quoc

If you fancy some R&R after your trip then a short flight from Ho Chi Minh City will take you to the island of Phu Quoc which, although developing quickly, still offers an quieter beach experience to the better known resorts of Nha Trang. Allow approx. 3 days.

Cambodia

Neighbouring Cambodia may be best known for the amazing temple complex of Angkor Wat near Siem Reap, but for those with more time there is much more to discover here from the capital Phnom Penh, with its colonial charm and eerie reminders of the Khmer Rouge to the river dolphins of Kratie. Allow 3 – 14 days.

Laos

Less well-known than its neighbours, Laos is a friendly and fascinating country with much to offer from the ancient capital of Luang Prabang in the north to the picturesque 4000 islands in the south and everything in-between. Allow 7 – 14 days.

Governmental Travel Advice

Many governments issue advice which highlights potential hazards their citizens might experience when travelling abroad. We strongly suggest you refer to your country’s particular advisory site before booking and contact us if you have any queries or concerns. Click to follow links to the advice of the British Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) or the US State Department.

Non-UK citizens should consult the travel advice of their respective governments.

Key Information

CLIMATE

Vietnam can be visited year round but being such a long country, its climate varies dramatically as you travel from north to south as well as from the coast up into the highlands. From November to March it can be cooler and wetter in the north and central regions, whereas the south sees hotter temperatures and clearer skies. From April to October the north and centre experience rising temperatures during the drier months, whereas the south will be hit by the rainy/monsoon period, sometimes experiencing typhoons in the coastal areas.

IS THIS TRIP FOR ME?

It may sound obvious but Wild Frontiers tours are not always for everyone and it is important to us that the tour you choose is the most suitable. All our tours have a fitness rating as a guideline but you should check the day-by-day itinerary carefully. In certain instances we may ask you to complete a travel questionnaire before confirming your booking in order to ensure your suitability. Should you have any concerns about your ability to partake in any aspect of the tour then please contact the office.

KEY ASPECTS TO CONSIDER

Anyone in a reasonable state of health, with an open mind and a sense of adventure should be perfectly able to cope with this tour, as many of the activities are optional. However, please note that you should ideally be able to undertake some easy cycling on Day 6,  and not have claustrophobia (when visiting the Vinh Moc Tunnels) on Day 7. None of the activities are obligatory, so alternative arrangements can be made for those not wishing to participate.

THE NATURE OF ADVENTURE TRAVEL

We feel that it’s worth pointing out that while we will always strive to stick as close to the stated itinerary as possible, it may be necessary from time to time to make changes to our itineraries or services (due to weather, political and religious influences etc.) and this can happen with little or no notice. This unpredictability can be one of the most exciting aspects of adventure travel and for many of our clients often leads to unexpected highlights as the tour-leader necessarily adapts the tour to the changing conditions. However we are aware that this lack of assuredness may not suit everyone. As such, with the greatest respect, if you are someone who needs to know that everything will happen exactly as planned, we would kindly suggest that perhaps our tours are not for you. Adventure travel can be infectious and once you’ve caught the bug, it is likely to never leave you, but especially if this is your first such tour we would strongly urge you to give us a call if you have any concerns whatsoever about your suitability for this trip.

TRAVELLING SOLO AND SINGLE SUPPLEMENTS

As a company approximately 70% of our clients are solo travellers, so it’s very unlikely you’ll be alone!

Our prices are typically based on twin-share accommodation but single supplements are not compulsory for any Wild Frontiers tour.

If you prefer not to pay a single supplement we’ll pair you with someone else of the same sex for you to share with throughout the trip.

On this trip, if you do opt to pay for a single supplement then please note that it will cover you for all nights of the tour, except on the overnight train and possibly on the Bhaya where there are a limited number of cabins available.

Please note that paying a single supplement entitles you to lone occupancy of a single room. In many cases these rooms will be of the same size as a double/twin room, but in some cases they may be smaller.
 

INSURANCE

Insurance that provides cover for emergency repatriation in case of a medical emergency is compulsory for all tours. You should be aware that due to some of the geographical areas visited and some of the activities included on certain of our trips some standard insurance policies may not always provide adequate cover. As such we strongly recommend that you purchase a policy that adequately covers your trip. If you choose to purchase the Wild Frontiers bespoke policy through Travel & General (currently available to UK residents only) then please note for this trip the minimum required level of cover will be the Standard policy. Please see the Insurance section for more details.

General Information

TOUR PRICE

All our tours are priced on a land-only basis, giving you maximum flexibility when deciding how to get to and from your tour.

DEPOSIT

A £200 (or equivalent) deposit is required to confirm your booking.

PROTECTION FOR YOUR MONEY

For further details please see our travelling with peace of mind page

WILD MILES

This tour will earn you 11494 Wild Miles

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

We believe in a completely transparent approach to pricing with no hidden extras. As such, please note that the following are not included in the cost of the tour.

Visas & Travel Insurance: Visas will always be tour/nationality dependent but travel insurance is mandatory
Tips: Always optional but some guidance will be given in the pre-departure information documents
International Flights: Please ask us for an obligation-free quote for flights which originate in the UK
Airport Transfers: We include complimentary transfers if arriving/departing on the suggested group flights
Beverages & any costs of a personal nature: This will include items such as laundry and souvenirs

WILD FRONTIERS COMMUNITY

If you’re still not sure if this trip is right or just want to see get some different perspectives, then why not have a look at the wide variety of resources we have on our website? Browse our community section to read our blogs, watch videos and find out about our events. 

WHY WILD FRONTIERS?

We are frequently asked what makes Wild Frontiers different from other tour operators. Visit our Why Wild Frontiers page to find out.

INSPIRATION