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Scenic Vietnam

Trip type: 
Cultural
Adventure level: 
2. Gentle
Max group size: 
16
Avg user rating: 
4
Asia, Vietnam | 17 days
Trip code: 
TVSR
What's included: 

Transport - Overnight train, minibus and overnight boat

Accommodation - Hotels (11 nts), overnight sailing junk (1 nt), overnight trains (2 nts)

Meals - 12 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 1 Dinner

Trip Highlights: 
Beautiful Halong Bay
The beaches and islands of Nha Trang
Scenic rail journeys
see full itinerary >>

Trip Highlights: 
Beautiful Halong Bay
The beaches and islands of Nha Trang
Scenic rail journeys
see full itinerary >>
What's included: 

Transport - Overnight train, minibus and overnight boat

Accommodation - Hotels (11 nts), overnight sailing junk (1 nt), overnight trains (2 nts)

Meals - 12 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 1 Dinner

Trip Overview: 

Hop aboard the Reunification Express for one of the world’s great train journeys on one of our best Vietnam tours. A symbol of unity, you’ll cross the country, from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. Stopping along the way to sail in wondrous Halong Bay, visit the night markets of majestic Hue, be charmed by Hoi An and relax on the famous beaches and islands of Nha Trang. 'All aboard' for a ride you'll never forget on our popular Vietnam tour!

Itinerary: 
Day
1-3
Hanoi

Hanoi

Take an overnight flight - on arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

Xin chao! Welcome to Vietnam.

Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 2.  We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.

Visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum complex, which includes the One Pillar Pagoda and the Ho Chi Minh Museum.

Take a city tour through the ancient '39 streets' to discover an amazing selection of shops selling everything from souvenirs to exquisite silk clothing, beautifully embroidered tablecloths and CDs. Then take in a performance of the famous water puppet theatre.

Included Activities

  • Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum and Museum
  • Hanoi - Water puppet show

Optional Activities

  • Hanoi - Fine Arts Museum - VND20000
  • Hanoi - Women's Museum - VND30000
  • Hanoi - Army Museum - VND20000
  • Hanoi - Temple of Literature - VND20000
  • Hanoi - Hoa Lo 'Hanoi Hilton' Prison - VND20000
  • Hanoi - Museum of Ethnology - VND25000

Accommodation

Hotel (2 nts)

 

Day
4-5
Halong Bay

Halong Bay

Enjoy breakfast with the children of the Blue Dragon Children's Foundation.

Travel by private minibus to the spectacular World Heritage site of Halong Bay (approx 4 hrs).

Halong Bay is a breathtaking secluded harbour with 2,000 limestone islands rising from the emerald waters of Bac Bo Gulf. One of Vietnam's most scenic regions, this area of about 1,500 sq km is dotted with innumerable beaches and grottos, created over thousands of years by waves and wind.

Board our private boat and cruise among the dramatic limestone peaks. There's an opportunity to swim in the famed South China Sea, as well as to explore caves filled with stunning stalactites and stalagmites. Spend a peaceful night on board, beneath a night sky alive with stars. Our sailing junk has twin-share cabins that have air-conditioning and private facilities. There's also a dining room and bar where you enjoy a sumptuous lunch and dinner.

BOAT SHORTAGE:
Due to recent unforeseen late changes by local authorities in Halong Bay a large proportion of boats are now no longer permitted to stay overnight, thus resulting in a shortage of boats. To ensure you can accommodate all our travellers overnight on a boat you are occasionally using a larger boat (approx. 12 cabins) and splitting our groups across different boats. An Intrepid group leader will be present on each boat, and the route taken and inclusions on board will remain the same.

Return to Hanoi by bus (approx 4 hrs), stopping at Dong Trieu Factory to watch locals working on the traditional art of ceramics.

Back in Hanoi there's a chance for more exploration. You can head back to the Old Quarter for a traditional meal of pho or stock up on freshly baked baguettes for the trip ahead.

Board an overnight train bound for Hue. Although conditions are basic, overnight trains are a true travel experience and the best way to travel long distances with the locals. Sleeper trains typically have four berth compartments (occasionally six berth depending on seasonal variations), which have bench seats that convert into sleeping bunks. A sheet, pillow and blanket are provided, although some travellers prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. On occasion, passengers of different genders will be required to share a compartment and there will be occasions where you'll be sharing with local travellers or travellers who are not part of your group. Most trains have a dining carriage serving simple food, but some travellers take the opportunity to stock up on fresh bread, cheese and fruit prior to departure.

Included Activities

  • Hanoi - Blue Dragon breakfast
  • Halong Bay - Overnight boat cruise

Accommodation

Overnight boat (1 nt), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)

 

Day
6-7

Hue

As the former imperial capital of Vietnam, Hue holds the treasures of Vietnam's royal past and is a curious mix of bustling streets and tranquil settings.

Visit the Imperial Citadel, including the Forbidden Purple City. The latter was almost totally destroyed during the Vietnam War's Tet Offensive, but the foliage-covered ruins are still atmospheric and the gaping holes left by bombs give an idea of the destruction wreaked upon the country during the war.

Enjoy a dragon boat cruise on the Perfume River. The trip includes a visit to Thien Mu Pagoda, considered by many to be the unofficial symbol of Hue. It's an active Buddhist monastery with its origins dating back to 1601. One of the most poignant displays is a car belonging to a former monk who, in 1963, drove to Saigon and set himself alight to protest against the treatment of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese regime. You also visit one of the royal tombs, that of Emperor Tu Duc, with its central lake set amid a grove of frangipani and pine trees, or what many believe to be the most majestic of all the royal tombs, Minh Mang.

Please note, boats for the Perfume River trip may not be available if you are travelling during festival periods. During these times you will instead travel by land to reach the activities.

The bustling Dong Ba Market offers a plethora of goods and foods to see and sample, and it's a good place to try some of the specialities that graced the Nguyen emperors' banquet tables, such as the banh khoai, a royal rice cake.

Included Activities

  • Hue - Perfume River boat ride
  • Hue - Royal tomb
  • Hue - Imperial citadel

Optional Activities

  • Hue - Bicycle hire - VND40000

Accommodation

Hotel (2 nts)

 

Day
8-10
Hoi An

Hoi An

Travelling by bus, head south through coastal rice paddies before traversing the spectacularly mountainous Hai Van Pass. After a brief visit to the beautiful China Beach, arrive at Hoi An (approx. 4 hours).

Recently declared a World Heritage site, Hoi An is being beautifully restored and preserved. Known as Faifo to early western traders, it was one of South-East Asia's major international ports during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Today, parts of Hoi An look exactly as they did more than a century ago and it retains the feel of centuries past, making it the sort of place that grows on you the more you explore it.

It's also a shopping mecca – with much to browse and buy. Choose from original paintings, handcrafted woodwork, ceramics, embroidery, lanterns and more. Hoi An has also become famous for its tailoring, with a great variety of fabrics and tailors to choose from. Bring your favourite piece of clothing or even just a picture, and you'll be able to have it copied.

On arrival, your tour leader will take you on an orientation walk around the Ancient Town, so you can get your bearings.

You have time here to explore the beautifully restored and preserved Chinese shop houses, enjoy the vibrant and busy market, visit Cua Dai Beach, cycle to the rice fields and browse the array of art galleries.

Included Activities

  • Hoi An - Ancient town

Optional Activities

  • Hoi An - My Son Cham day trip - VND800000
  • Hoi An - Thu Bon river boat trip - VND100000
  • Hoi An - Bicycle hire - VND30000

Accommodation

Hotel (3 nts)

 

Day
11-13
Nha Trang

Nha Trang

Transfer to Danang and board a day train to Nha Trang (approx 10 hrs). Although long, it's an interesting journey - a chance to check out the stunning countryside, as well as befriend local travellers.

Once referred to as the 'Cannes of the Orient', Nha Trang's sandy palm-lined beach and island-dotted bay still make an idyllic picture, and a cosmopolitan feel prevails in the town itself.

A highlight for many travellers is our boat trip amongst the islands. From the main boat, you take basket boats to shore and visit a fishing village, snorkel in the turquoise waters, enjoy a seafood buffet, and pass the afternoon lazing in deck chairs or swimming.

Take an overnight train bound for Ho Chi Minh City.

Included Activities

  • Nha Trang - Boat trip

Optional Activities

  • Nha Trang - Boa Dai Villa - VND120000
  • Nha Trang - Mud baths - VND280000

Accommodation

Hotel (2 nts), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)          

Day
14-15
Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City

Upon our early arrival into Ho Chi Minh, you check into our day rooms; these will be shared with your fellow passengers until our own rooms are available at check-in time.

Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is characterised by a vast array of sights and sounds, and is a fascinating blend of old and new, East and West. The huge number of people rushing about their daily lives in Vietnam's largest city gives it a dynamic atmosphere and the French influence is evident in the excellent baguettes and coffee on offer. Much of city life takes place on the busy streets lined with shops, stalls and vendors, who have their wares spread out on the footpath and sell everything from soup to sophisticated electronics.

Experience the hustle and bustle of old Saigon on a city tour and explore some of the city's more interesting sights, including the War Remnants Museum and Reunification Palace.

Head out on a day trip to explore the Mekong Delta. Board the boat to Ben Tre to see coconut candy factory and sample the local candies for which this region is famous. Take the opportunity to Tuk Tuk around this remote village with a tropical fruit stop, and learn more about local rural life. Then visit a nearby restaurant in the heart of the delta, where you can sample some of the regional specialities such as the famous elephant ear fish.

After lunch, board sampans (small rowing boats) and paddle past the many water coconut trees that populate the Mekong Delta. Boarding our main private boat, cruise through more major waterways, arriving in My Tho town. Here our bus awaits to take us back to Ho Chi Minh City.

Visit the famous Cu Chi tunnels. This former Viet Cong stronghold provides an insight into the resourcefulness and tenacity of the Vietnamese people, as well as a unique sense of what underground life was like during the American War.

Included Activities

  • HCMC - War Remnants Museum
  • HCMC - Mekong Delta day trip

Optional Activities

  • HCMC - Reunification Palace - VND30000
  • HCMC - Cu Chi Tunnels - USD25

Accommodation

Hotel (2 nts)

 

 

Day
16-17

Tour ends

Your adventure ends today and you will be transferred to the airport for your overnight flight home.

 

Video highlights

Get a taste for Vietnam on this trip. Watch this video and see the many wonders this country has to offer from Halong Bay to the Mekong Delta.

Train Journey

This is no ordinary train ride. The Reunification Express only re-opened in 1975 after years of war and symbolises unity between the Vietnamese people.  As you chug along from north to south, you’ll not only be treated to the vision of Hanoi, Halong Bay and Hue. But our Vietnam tours will ensure you’ll discover a sense of history.

Halong Bay

The serene beauty of the bay and the staggering limestone karsts that rise up out of the clear waters in Halong Bay is why this UNESCO World Heritage Site is like no other place on earth. On our special Vietnam tour you’ll hop aboard a private junk and cruise around the islands. Then, as night falls, you sleep on board and listen to the waves as they rock you to sleep.

Ho Chi Minh City

Arriving in the economic hub of Saigon, you'll have some free time to explore this intricate city. Time will also be afforded to cruise four stunning islets on the Mekong River. An ideal setting to end your trip.

Our Scenic Vietnam trip is just one of our many Vietnam tours. To find out more visit our Vietnam holidays page.