Vietnam Classic Tours

Vietnam Discovery - 20 days

Number of days: 20

Price from: 00$

Tour type: Private Tour

Departure: Daily

Start from: Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) or Reverse

Highlights: Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Cuchi Tunnels, Mekong Delta, Nha Trang, HoiAn, Hue, Hanoi, Halong Bay, Sapa

Take the time for an in-depth journey through Vietnam that spans the entire length of the country. Explore more of the Mekong Delta with an overnight stay in a farmer’s house and enjoy the sunset and sunrise from your junk boat in Halong Bay. This tour combines the sights, sound and smells of the city and the countryside.

  • Overview
  • Trip Itinerary
  • Accommodations
  • Travel Info
  • Trip Map
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  • DESTINATIONS 

    Saigon – Vietnam’s most cosmopolitan and vibrant city
    Mekong Delta – ‘Rice basket of Vietnam’ and home to many living, working and travelling along the river
    Nha Trang – Home to tranquil beaches and has a thriving fishing industry
    Hoi An – Discover this charming UNESCO World Heritage listed site
    - Hue – The country’s former imperial capital
    Hanoi – Exploration of this charming, historical centre and its French provincial influences
    Halong Bay – Vietnam’s ‘jewel in the crown’; the stunning beauty of the 3,000 islets of the Gulf of Tokin.
    -

    Sapa – the picturesque mountains, known for its rugged scenery, rice terraces and ethnic diversity


    ACTIVITIES

    Cultural Tours / History & Archaeology Tours / Museums & Galleries / Caves / Music / Shopping / Walking Tours / Boating & Sailing / Trekking / Hiking


    TRIP AT A GLANCE


    Day 01: Arrive Saigon

    Day 02: Saigon

    Day 03: Saigon to Mekong Delta

    Day 04: Mekong Delta to Saigon

    Day 05: Saigon – Cu Chi & Tay Ninh

    Day 06: Saigon to Nha Trang

    Day 07: Nha Trang

    Day 08: Nha Trang to Hoi An

    Day 09: Hoi An

    Day 10: Hoi An – My Son

    Day 11: Hoi An to Hue

    Day 12: Hue to Hanoi

    Day 13: Hanoi

    Day 14: Hanoi – Duong Lam Village

    Day 15: Hanoi to Halong Bay

    Day 16: Halong Bay to Hanoi to Sapa

    Day 17: Arrive Sapa
    Day 18: Sapa
    Day 19: Sapa to Hanoi
    Day 20: Hanoi - Departure 

    Tour includes:

    - 16 nights hotel accommodation on a twin/double-share basic with daily breakfast
    - 1 night on boat in Halong Bay
    - 2 nights on the night train in soft berth A/C cabin: Hanoi - Sapa - Hanoi

    - Internal flight tickets: Saigon-Nha Trang, Nha Trang-Danang, Hue-Hanoi (economy class) including fuel charge & Airport taxes.

    - Meals as mentioned in the itineraries: Vietnamese food, Asian Food basic.

    - All landed transfers within the tour by air-conditioned vehicle, including pick-up and drop-off at airports on arrival and departure days

    - English Speaking Tour guide. Other languages on request

    - Boat trips as per program

    - All entrance and sightseeing fees

    - All taxes & services charge.

    Tour does not includes:

    - International airfare and airport tax in Vietnam

    - Beverages and other meals do not indicate in the program

    - Visa fees to Vietnam

    - Early check-in and late check-out at all hotels

    - Massage onboard

    - Travel insurance

    - Personal expenses (laundry, telephone, shopping...)

    - Tipping/ Gratuities



  • DETAILED ITINERARY:

    Days 1: Arrive Saigon
    Up on your arrival in Saigon, you will be met at Saigon airport in the arrivals hall by our guide Then, you will transfer (45 minutes) to your hotel and leisure time on your own to relax and recover from jet-lag. Overnight in Saigon.
    Meal: None.



    Day 2: Saigon
    Sightseeing in downtown Saigon involves approx. 4hrs on foot over the whole day. Visit the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Central Post Office and the War Remnants Museum. Easy sightseeing and shopping time at Ben Thanh Market; watch your valuables in this area.

    Note: There are graphic pictures in the War Remnants Museum that some people might find upsetting.

    Day 3: Saigon to Mekong Delta
    Remember to take insect repellent and sun protection for your overnight stay in the Mekong, as it is hot and humid here throughout the year. Drive 3-4hrs (150km) to Vinh Long, where we will meet our local Mekong Guide (it is a Government regulation that every foreign group be accompanied by a Mekong Guide). You will travel by a motorised, wooden boat between the islands and perhaps smaller, paddle boats in the canals. Sightseeing involves hopping on and off the boats, often on unsteady and slippery surfaces, sometimes without handrails or assistance, and up to 2 hours on foot to see sites on different islands. The cruise will finish at a local house where you will be staying tonight. You  may  have  the  opportunity  to  assist  the  family  in preparing tonight’s dinner.
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

    Note:  The home stay includes dormitory style accommodation, with each passenger provided with a fold- up/camp bed, linen and mosquito net. Basic shower and western style toilet are available outside the house. The itinerary of this section is subject to change based on the location of the actual house used for the overnight accommodation.



    Day 4: Mekong Delta to Saigon
    Continue sightseeing around the canals and then return to Vinh Long and drive back to Saigon by car. Overnight in Saigon.
    Meals: Breakfast.

    Day 5: Saigon – Cu Chi & Tay Ninh
    Remember to take insect repellent today as mosquitoes are more common in the Cu Chi district. Transfer 2 hours (70km) to Cu Chi. Sightseeing here involves 2 hours on foot on uneven mud  paths  through  the  bush  and,  if  you  choose,  crawling through some of the tunnels.
    Transfer 1.5 hours to Tay Ninh to the ‘Holy See’ and watch some of the Cao Dai service. Then drive 10 minutes to a local restaurant for lunch; the meal is simple but this is the only suitable restaurant in the area. Transfer 3 hours (100km) back to Saigon. Overnight in Saigon.
    Meal: Breakfast and Lunch.

    Note: At the Cu Chi Tunnels you will be given the opportunity to shoot a range of guns at your own expense (example AK47, M16). If you decide to do this, please be aware that the level of noise is extremely high  and  although  ear  muffs  are  available,  they  may  not provide the level of protection required. It is recommended you bring ear plugs from home if you would like to participate.



    Day 6: Saigon to Nha Trang
    Transfer to the airport for your flight to Nha Trang (flight duration 1hr 10mins). Drive 25 minutes from the airport to a local restaurant for a late lunch. After lunch, transfer to your hotel for check-in. The rest of the afternoon is free at your leisure. Overnight in Nha Trang.
    Meals: Breakfast and Lunch.

    Day 7: Nha Trang
    Cruise through the islands off Nha Trang. Boarding your boat may involve navigating your  way  over  and  through other boats, moored between it and the dock, sometimes without handrails, ladders or assistance from staff. These cruise boats’ are old fishing boats which have had benches and seats fitted for tourist groups. They are quite basic but have ample room for the group to sit and relax while cruising. The deck has a roof providing shade. We will return to the hotel in the mid afternoon. Overnight in Nha Trang.
    Meals: Breakfast and Lunch.



    Day 8: Nha Trang to Hoi An
    Transfer to the airport for your flight to Danang (flight duration 1hr 15mins); the closest airport to Hoi An.  There is easy sightseeing at  East  Beach,  formerly  known  as  China Beach. At Marble Mountains there are some uneven stone steps and it can get hot. If you are unable to complete this activity, you  will  have  to  remain  with  the  driver/coach. Watch your step inside dark and damp caves. Drive 30 minutes to our hotel in Hoi An and check-in. Overnight in Hoi An.
    Meals: Breakfast.

    Day 9: Hoi An
    Spend at least 2 hours on foot around Hoi An Old Town. The afternoon is free at your leisure. Overnight in Hoi An.
    Meals: Breakfast.



    Day 10: Hoi An – My Son
    Remember to take insect repellent and sun protection this morning, as it can get hot and humid in My Son Valley. Drive approx. 1hr to the entrance of My Son Sanctuary. From here you will drive a further 10 minutes to the Cham Ruins. Sightseeing here involves 2 hours on foot on uneven mud paths through the bush. Return to Hoi An this afternoon. Overnight in Hoi An.
    Meals: Breakfast.

    Day 11: Hoi An to Hue
    Drive for approx. 4hrs (140km) over the Hai Van (Cloudy) Pass to Hue. This is a winding and steep but scenic road along the coast. Take a cyclo to the Imperial Citadel. Each  cyclo  takes 1  passenger and  is  operated by  a  cycle driver behind the carriage. There is 2hrs of easy sightseeing at the Citadel, which is mainly in the open so remember your hat/sunscreen etc. Cruise along the Perfume River to Thien Mu Pagoda. Spend 45mins on foot at the Thien Mu Pagoda where there are steep and uneven steps without handrails. Overnight in Hue.
    Meals: Breakfast.



    Day 12: Hue to Hanoi
    Sightseeing around the Royal Tomb of Minh Mang this morning involves approx. 1hr on foot. Spend 45 minutes on foot at the Thien Mu Pagoda; there are no handrails at this destination. Transfer to Hue airport for your flight to Hanoi (flight duration 1hr). Transfer (1hr drive) to the hotel and check-in. Overnight in Hanoi. 
    Meals: Breakfast.

    Day 13: Hanoi
    Both men and women must dress respectfully for the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, with covered shoulders and knees. When visiting the Mausoleum you must be quiet and show respect. Cameras and mobile phones are  not  allowed. The Mausoleum is closed for entry every Monday and also from September to December. If you  are  travelling during this time you will view the Mausoleum from the outside. Sightseeing in central Hanoi involves approx. 4hrs on foot. Overnight in Hanoi.
    Meals: Breakfast.



    Day 14: Hanoi – Duong Lam Village
    After breakfast, drive approx. 1 hour to Duong Lam Village. Wander around the village which involves 1 hour on foot, including Mong Phu Temple and lunch in an ancient village house. Afterwards visit Mia Pagoda, Ngo Quyen Temple and Phung Hung Temple before driving back to Hanoi. Tonight see a performance of the famous Water Puppets. Overnight in Hanoi.
    Meals: Breakfast.

    Notes: Your Local Guide will confirm the menu for tomorrow’s seafood lunch on board the junk boat tonight, so please mention any food allergies or dislikes to them again before the end of today.

    Day 15: Hanoi to Halong Bay
    Drive 3.5 hours (170km) to Halong City and port, including a 20 minute rest stop. There is usually a crowd of boats at the docks; however the cruise itself will be scenic and relaxing. Boarding your junk boat could involve navigating your way over and through other boats, moored between it and the dock, sometimes without  handrails, ladders  or  assistance from staff. The junk boats have been modelled on the traditional ‘junk’ which was both home and working vessel for fishermen for centuries.  They usually hold about  20 dining passengers (or 18 maximum overnight), have an enclosed dining area and an open deck on the upper deck. We have lunch on board and cruise around the bay before anchoring for the night. Sightseeing includes visiting underground caves on the islands which require climbing up and down steps inside and outside of the caves. A torch is optional as the caves have been lit in colourful lighting. Overnight on boat in Halong Bay.
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.

    Note: Your Halong Bay  cruise  may  be  affected  by  local weather conditions.



    Day 16: Halong Bay to Hanoi to Sapa
    After breakfast, continue cruising the bay before an early lunch. Return to the docks before midday and drive back to Hanoi, from where you will transfer to the station to board your overnight train to Lao Cai station. This journey usually takes 8 hours (over 340km). Wear comfortable clothes on board to sleep on the train and take snacks as none are readily available. The trip can be quite bumpy.
    Meals: Breakfast & Lunch or Brunch.

    Note: You may find yourself carrying your luggage over numerous train tracks to reach your platform and carriage because of the layout of Hanoi station.

    Day 17: Arrive Sapa
    Arrive into Lao Cai station about 05:30am and drive 1 hour (34km) on a winding, mountainous road up to Sapa and check into your hotel or to store your luggage if you room is not available.

    Note: Check-out time in Vietnam is midday so your rooms may not be ready when you arrive. This morning you will commence sightseeing and check-in at the hotel later.

    Over the next two days you will have the opportunity to visit some of the small villages around Sapa to see different ethnic hill tribes. Your Local Guide/National Escort will adjust your itinerary and length of the hikes according to your group’s fitness, interest and physical abilities. The sightseeing involves hiking in occasionally muddy, slippery and steep terrain and driving over rough, unsealed and winding roads.
    After breakfast you will drive 45 minutes to Hang Da. If your visit is between May and October, it will coincide with the local planting and harvest time, a chance to see the local farmers in action. You will walk for approximately an hour on uneven terrain, up and down terrace fields to Hau Thao village, a Black H’mong village. Continue the trek for another hour and 30 minutes, hiking down the Ham Rong Mountainside, stopping for lunch en route. Hike towards Sa Seng village. You will then be transferred back to Sapa. Overnight in Sapa.
    Meals: Breakfast & Lunch



    Day 18: Sapa
    Take a light hike to Cat Cat village and the surrounding areas including the hydraulic power station. You will spend approximately 2 hours on foot, which includes climbing steps without handrails which may become slippery after rain. Overnight in Sapa.
    Meals: Breakfast

    Day 19: Sapa to Hanoi
    Sightseeing involves a light hike over 4 hours to some of Sapa’s hill tribe villages. You will drive for 20 minutes to Suoi Ho village. From there you will follow the buffalo trails to visit Black H’mong people in Ma Tra village. Hike for another hour to Ta Phin village to visit the Red Dao People. Later you will be transferred (1 hour) to Lao Cai railway station where you will have dinner nearby, before boarding an overnight soft sleeper train back to Hanoi.
    Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

    Day 20: Hanoi – Departure
    Arrive at Hanoi station early this morning and transfer to a dayuse hotel to have breakfast and freshen up. Any time before your flight is free at your leisure. You will be transferred from the hotel to the airport, according to the departure time of your international flight.
    Meals: Breakfast

  • Categories of Accommodation


    Value:

    With basic hotels and simple accommodation, this is a no frills option with an adventurous authentic feel. We would normally accommodate your in these in remote areas.


    Standard:

    Standard accommodation equates to a Western 3-star standard, always featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant. Sometimes these are a good affordable choice in cities where accommodation is very expensive, but where being centrally located is a prime consideration.


    Superior:

    Superior accommodation equates to a Western 4-star standard, featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant and often a swimming pool and/or a fitness centre. This is the 'classic' hotel standard we use on most of our group based tours.


    Deluxe:

    Deluxe accommodation equates to a Western 5-star standard, usually featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, excellent service and customer care. India and Southeast Asia have a fabulous array of top notch 5-star properties.


    Luxury:

    Luxury accommodation equates to a Western 5-star plus standard - the creme de la creme. Featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, this accommodation is a cut above the rest. Sheer opulence!

  • VIETNAM

    Visa and Passport
    Except for a number of ASEAN countries a visa is required to visit Vietnam. If your itinerary requires two
    entries into Vietnam then a double entry visa must be obtained. If your trip is postponed or delayed it may be necessary to obtain another visa if your original visa is not valid for your new dates of travel.


    Tourist Visa
    A Vietnam Tourist Visa is valid for the period of 30-days and for a single entry (unless endorsed for a double entry at additional cost). Your passport must be sent to the embassy along with payment with prepaid shipping arrangements with Priority Mail with Delivery Confirmation, FedEx, etc., two completed visa applications and two passport photos. Allow five-business days for processing.

    Visa-on-Arrival
    A Visa-on-Arrival is available if you are pre-approved for the visa. In lieu of a stamped visa in your passport prior to departure a fax from the Department of Immigration is issued and used as your travel document for boarding your international flight to Vietnam. This system has been working for a number of years now and is extremely reliable. Visa-on-Arrival processing charges are normally $25 and a $45 fee is payable directly to Vietnamese Immigration upon arrival.

    Double Entry Visa
    A Double Entry Visa is a Tourist Visa endorsed for a double entry. If your itinerary requires a double entry be sure and obtain the Double Entry Visa.

    Re-Entry Visa
    Re-entry Visas, prior to departing Vietnam, are possible to obtain in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City through authorized agencies for a fee of approximately $25, however it requires one-to-two days and the deposit of your passport. This is not advisable unless your itinerary allows ample time and you remain in the city where the application was filed until the visa is issued. It is strongly advised to obtain a Double Entry Visa prior entering Vietnam.

    Passport Validity Dates
    Your passport must have a validity date of at least six-months remaining after your visit to Vietnam is completed.

    Travel Document Companies
    Unless you live nearby a Vietnamese embassy or consulate or are experienced in dealing with embassies by mail or telephone, it is advised that you use a travel document company to obtain your visa.
    Notes: You can email us at info@privateasiatours.com for more advice on Vietnam Visa information. The service is free of charge. All the emails will be replied within 24h.

    Entry Procedures
    Arrival and Departure Cards are required to be completed upon entry into Vietnam; they will be provided by the airline or at the border gate. The yellow copy of the card will be returned to you and must be submitted when you depart Vietnam; keep it in a safe place. Making a photocopy of it is a good idea and keeping it with your other photocopies.
    If you have been pre-approved for a Visa-on-Arrival simply process though the Visa-on-Arrival lane at immigration.
    Once your visa formalities have been completed claim your baggage and process through customs.


    Duty Free
    One-carton of cigarettes and one bottle of liquor.

    Exit Procedures
    Complete the customs declaration and process through customs then complete the immigration processing where you will be required to return the yellow copy of your Arrival and Departure Card.

    Tendering Passports
    Vietnamese law requires that passports be tendered to the hotel each evening. This may appear odd to Western travelers but until the 1960's a number of European countries required that passports be tendered to the hotel each evening.

    Travel Insurance
    Traveler's Insurance is strongly recommended. A number of companies sell competing policies and it is a good idea to read the fine print and ask questions if you are in doubt. 
    Note: some insurance companies cover travel insurance in their existing policies; check, you may already be covered. Policies have differing benefits for trip cancellation, trip interruption, emergency medical and dental coverage, and emergency medical transportation, lost baggage, missed connections, and accidents.
    Of special note is the emergency medical transportation. This is extremely costly; if you any health condition which may require medical evacuation you should check to see if you are currently covered and if not purchase the insurance. Medical treatment, if required, can be costly and the pay is usually in cash.

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