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Opening hours
  • Monday 9am - 5pm BST
  • Tuesday 9am - 5pm BST
  • Wednesday 9am - 5pm BST
  • Thursday 9am - 5pm BST
  • Friday 9am - 5pm BST
  • Saturday 8.30am - 5pm
  • Sunday Closed
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Highlights of Vietnam - Private Tour

Vietnam - Trip code PTQVN Discovery
Days 10
Deposit From €160
Price from €1598
Flights not included
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Why book this trip?

In just 10 days, this private tour encompasses the very best that Vietnam has to offer. Using a range of handpicked hotels, you will experience lush landscapes, discover harrowing history and sample incredible fresh food.

  • Halong Bay - Cruise around the island cliffs on a traditional junk boat
  • Hoi An - Take a cookery course or try out traditional lantern making.
  • Saigon - Learn about the resourcefulness of the Viet Cong at the Cu Chi Tunnels, visit an underground weapons bunker and explore old Saigon's bustling back alleys
  • Included meals

    Breakfast: 8

    Lunch: 1

  • Trip staff

    Boat Crew

    Driver(s)

    Local Guide(s)

  • Transport

    Boat

    Car

    Flight

  • i

    Accommodation

    9 nights comfortable hotel

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    Trip pace:

    Moderate

Itinerary

Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.

Day 1 - Trip begins in Ho Chi Minh City

Still commonly referred to by locals as 'Saigon', the city is the largest in Vietnam and the country's commercial hub. You will find an eclectic mix of the traditional and the new, where pagodas and markets compete alongside the trappings of Vietnam's newly discovered entrepreneurial spirit.

You will be met on arrival at Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN) by a local guide, and driven to your centrally-located hotel, approximately a 30 to 40 minute journey. There are no activities planned today, so feel free to arrive in Ho Chi Minh City at any time. For those booking their own flights, you will just need to let us know your flight details no later than three weeks prior to departure, in order to be met on arrival.

Many museums in Vietnam are closed on Mondays, so we advise you to take that into account when booking, if there is something that you particularly want to visit.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Swimming pool available

Meals Provided: None

Day 2 - Visit to the Cu Chi Tunnels; afternoon walk in Old Saigon

No visit to Ho Chi Minh City would be complete without exploring something of its tragic recent history, and the poignant reminders of what the Vietnamese refer to as the American War can still be seen amongst many of the buildings in the city. You'll explore something of this today. Take a short drive with your local guide out to the infamous Cu Chi Tunnels in the morning. Originally started during the French occupation of the country, the tunnels went on to achieve notoriety during the Vietnam War, when they formed an amazing underground command base for 10,000 Viet Cong troops and were a major part of the Tet Offensive. This area was the centre of intense fighting during the war, much of it falling prey to the incessant carpet bombing, napalm and defoliants utilised by the Americans in an attempt to dislodge the Viet Cong from their underground shelters. There is little evidence of any of that now and the landscape has returned to something of its pre-war beauty, but exploring the tunnels of Ben Dinh and Ben Binh gives some idea as to the conditions that the Vietnamese and their American adversaries had to endure. Be warned, the tunnels are low and narrow and can be claustrophobic.

In the afternoon, walk around the central sights of Ho Chi Minh City with a local guide, taking in the Notre Dame Cathedral and the GPO building as well as some of the old Colonial hotels such as The Rex. Drive to the Independence Palace (renamed the Reunification Hall) and the graphic War Remnants Museum, where you will learn about the Vietnam War from a very different view point to that of Hollywood.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Swimming pool available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 3 - Morning flight to Danang, drive to Hoi An and afternoon tour of the Old Town

Transfer to the airport for a short flight to Danang in Central Vietnam, meeting a local guide on arrival to continue the journey by car to Hoi An. Given the early hour of arrival at the hotel you might not be able to check-in, so the plan is to store bags and then embark on a walking tour of Hoi An. First colonized by the Portuguese in the 16th century, by the 17th and 18th centuries Hoi An had become one of the busiest international trading posts in southeast Asia and, even today, it still retains the engaging charm of a medieval port, with many of its old buildings superbly preserved. Highlights include the Phuc Kien Assembly Hall, a pagoda dedicated to the worship of Buddha originally built by the Vietnamese people in the 16th century and the 400 year old Japanese covered bridge. End at the colourful riverside market, which is a perfect setting for you to continue exploring solo.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 4 - In Hoi An, free day to enjoy the Old Town, visit nearby beach or hire bicycles to explore surrounding countryside

Today is free to wander through the historic heart of this World Heritage Site at your leisure. An early morning visit to the fish market presents a riot of noise and colour that is perfect for some great photo opportunities and some choice local interaction. You might also like to pay a visit to the Japanese Bridge, Hoi An's emblematic symbol, believed to have been constructed to quell the violent rumblings of a restless monster, or perhaps explore the traditional wooden houses and Chinese temples that line the streets. There are numerous tailors shops in Hoi An providing an incredibly cheap and quick service and almost all visitors have at least one item made before they depart. Hoi An is also a great place to hire a bicycle as the roads are relatively quiet. There's a good beach just a few kilometres from the town or alternatively why not set out to explore nearby villages. Cooking classes are yet another option available in this popular traveller's hangout.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 5 - Drive along the coast via Hai Van Pass to Hue; free afternoon

Head along the coastal road towards the historic setting of Hué, crossing part of the Truong Son Mountains and travelling via the Hai Van (Sea Cloud) Pass. This stunningly scenic region once marked the boundary between Vietnam and the Champa Kingdom to the south and the journey should get you into the old imperial city around lunchtime, after which the rest of the day is free for personal exploration. Once the capital of Vietnam and an inspiration for poets and artists alike for centuries, Hué is divided by the waters of the Perfume River, which separate the city's 19th century citadel from the suburbs that radiate from the eastern shore and, even today, its easy air of leisurely ambience makes it one of the most engaging cities in the country to explore.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Swimming pool available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 6 - In Hue, cruise along Perfume River; Afternoon flight to Hanoi.

Take a morning tour with your guide today. Cruise along the Perfumed River, paying a visit to the iconic Thien Mu Pagoda, home to the oldest monastery in the city whose 21m high tower has become something of a symbol for Hué. Dedicated to the Manushi- Buddha, the existing temple was constructed in the middle years of the 19th century, under the auspices of the Emperor Thieu Tri, and within its confines you can find a number of superb Buddhist statues, as well as an enormous cast bell that weighs in at over 2000kg and is reputed to be audible over 10km away. Farther afield, amongst the forested landscapes of the Perfume Valley, you can find the Royal Tombs of the Nguyen kings, and visit the mausoleum of Emperor Tu Duc.

Later this afternoon, drive to the airport and fly to Hanoi, Vietnam's vibrant and historic capital. You'll be met by a guide and transferred to your hotel.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 7 - Morning free in Hanoi. Afternoon drive to Halong Bay.

Vietnam's capital is famous for its rich culture, bustling life and colonial influences on their centuries-old architecture. Little lakes dotted around the city are encased by busy streets and secret alleyways, which are waiting to be explored. With the morning free to explore, visit the Ethnology Museum or Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum and museum (closed on Mondays). The city showcases superb French architecture from its colonial days, with large tree-lined boulevards and low-built mansions and houses. Your local guide will provide you with a map of the Old Quarter should you wish to walk through the narrow lanes of this fascinating district, where the streets are named after various crafts or specialties: Paper Street, Silk Street, Basket Street and so on. The shops themselves have very narrow frontages but are actually quite deep; they are known locally as tube shops. On the pavements food sellers sell noodles, snacks and stir-fries from shoulder panniers, all adding to the charm of this historic quarter of the city.

In the afternoon, transfer by road towards the Bay of Tonkin on Vietnam's northeast coast. Your destination is the breathtaking setting of Halong Bay, one of Vietnam's, and indeed Southeast Asia's, most spectacular natural attractions, whose staggering beauty has seen it listed as one of the eight natural wonders of the world. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Halong Bay presents a quite extraordinary vista of hundreds of limestone islands (over 1600 at last count) that rise from the jade green waters of the bay like the scales of some great submerged dragon. Indeed Halong means 'where the dragon descends to the sea' and local legends tells of a time when this rugged landscape was created by the pounding tail of a mighty dragon as he ran from the mountains into the glittering waters of the bay below.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Swimming pool available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 8 - Cruise through the turquoise waters aboard a traditional junk boat; Return to Hanoi

This morning, board a junk and set sail, threading your way through a flotilla of boats, junks and wooden sampans as they ply their way across the gentle waters of the bay. The plan for today is to sail through this stunning seascape, stopping off to swim and visit some of the limestone caverns that pepper the landscape, as well as enjoying a traditional seafood lunch. Disembark in the late afternoon and drive back to Hanoi.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast & Lunch

Day 9 - In Hanoi; free day with option to visit the French Quarter or Hoan Kiem Lake

Architecturally styled like a French provincial town, with tree-lined boulevards and substantial low-built houses, Hanoi is a wonderfully nostalgic city to enjoy and amongst its more interesting sights are the charming One-Pillar Pagoda, the Temple of Literature and the Presidential Palace. Ho Chi Minh was a spartan-living and scholarly man, who chose not to live in the Presidential Palace itself, but instead preferred a simple teak 2-storied stilt-house specially built for him in the grounds. You can visit his museum and this austere mausoleum, said to resemble that of Lenin in Moscow, or perhaps taking another walk through the engaging streets of its Old Quarter. The city's French Quarter is a great place to explore by bicycle, its grandiose colonial architecture offering up a rich contrast to the more frenetic pace of the old city, whilst those looking to discover something more of the colonial wars might like to pay a visit to the Museum of Vietnamese Revolution or the Military History Museum.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 10 - Trip ends in Hanoi

Your trip ends today, and you will be taken to the airport to meet your international flight. There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Noi Bai International Airport (HAN) at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day, luggage storage facilities are available at the hotel.

If you have time, you may wish to take another wander through the fascinating Old Quarter or stroll along the shore of Hoan Kiem Lake.

Meals Provided: None

Trip information

Climate and country information

Vietnam

Climate

As Vietnam is a long, narrow country from north to south climate conditions vary considerably. The climate can be divided into three distinct patterns between the north, central and south regions. The climate in the north is generally humid and subtropical, although the winter months from November to March can be colder with temperatures from 10 - 15 degrees. Summer months, May to September can be quite hot with temperatures from 30 - 35 degrees. Meanwhile south Vietnam enjoys a tropical climate all year round, with little variation throughout the year (around 27 - 32 degrees), however May to November is the rainy season when short, heavy downpours are quite frequent. Central Vietnam lies somewhere in between. The coastal strip is usually dry and hotter from April to October while November to March is wetter and cooler. A light rain jacket and small umbrella are recommended year round.

Time difference to GMT

+7

Plugs

2 Pin Round

Religion

Mahayana Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism

Language

Vietnamese

Budgeting and packing

Optional activities

The following excursions and/or activities are usually available and may be arranged locally. Estimated costs are provided below for guidance only, are on a per person basis unless shown otherwise, and may depend on the number of participants. Prices quoted are correct as of the date these tour notes were originally issued but may change at any time due to currency fluctuations. Please note: These activities are booked and paid for direct with the supplier and do not form part of your Explore holiday contract.


Hoi An - Marble Mountain US$10 ; Bicycle hire US$ 5; Entrance to Hoi An Old Town US$ 7; Half day cooking class US$ 45; Martial arts show US$70

Hanoi - Water Puppets show from US$ 6; Ho Chi Minh's Stilt House US$ 1.50; Museums US$ 1.50;

Clothing

From December through to February warmer clothing is needed for northern Vietnam, particularly at night. Throughout the rest of the year, days are typically hot and humid, so lighweight clothing is best. Rainwear is essential at all times of year. When visiting religious sites you will need to dress respectfully by covering your knees and shoulders.

Don't forget your swimsuit, as many of the hotels have swimming pools.

Footwear

Comfortable shoes and sandals/trainers for relaxing.

Luggage

20kg

Luggage: On tour

One main piece of baggage and daypack. Remember you are expected to carry your own luggage so
don't overload yourself.

Equipment

A water bottle, insect repellent and high factor suncream are all essential, as are good quality sunglasses and a lip salve with sun protection. Don't forget your swim wear!

Tipping

Local crew
In Vietnam, tipping is a recognised part of life. Some local staff will look to members of the group for personal recognition of particular services provided, and if you feel the service warrants it then it is useful to keep some small denomination notes for tipping and small purchases.

With that in mind, we have provided some guidelines below which are, of course, discretionary:

Driver for a full day - $5USD per person
Local guide for a full day tour - $5-$7USD per person
Boat riders and hotel porters - $1USD

Vietnam

Food and drink

The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.


Dinner price
£9
Beer price
£2.00 - 4.00
Water price
£0.5
Foreign Exchange
Local currency
Dong.
Recommended Currency For Exchange
Carry your money in US$ Dollars cash. You can also take GBP but US$ are easier to exchange. (Dollar bills can be used in some hotels and shops; change is often given in local currency).
Where To Exchange
Most towns.
ATM Availability
There are ATMs virtually everywhere in Vietnam and in Cambodia, though we also recommend bringing cash.
Credit Card Acceptance
Credit card's are widely accepted throughout Vietnam
Travellers Cheques
Travellers cheques are not recommended as they can be difficult to exchange
Transport, Accommodation & Meals

Transport Information

Boat, Car, Flight

Accommodation notes

During this trip we use a range of beautiful hotels with perfect locations to discover Vietnam' historic cities.

In Ho Chi Minh City, stay in the middle of the city, just a short walk away from markets, bars and restaurants. The hotel has a rooftop pool, WiFi, restaurant and bar.
In Hoi An the hotel has an adjoining spa, perfect for relaxing, as well as an infinity pool, traditional gardens and located halfway between the beach and the historic city, with shuttle buses available in both directions.
In Hue, the centrally-located hotel has a swimming pool, WiFi, restaurant and is decorated in a traditional Vietnamese style.
In Hanoi, the hotel is just a few steps away from the Old Quarter, with a rooftop pool, WiFi, restaurant and bar.
In Halong Bay, your hotel has a swimming pool, bar and all the amenities you'd expect such as a TV, WiFi, coffee/tea and restaurant.

Essential Information

Government Travel Safety Advice

We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.

Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.

 

Under 18 immigration guidance

Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.

Price Guarantee

Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions

Visa and Passport Information

Until 30th June 2021 'British Citizen' passport holders can visit Vietnam for up to 15 days without a visa. A visa will be required if you enter after this date or if you wish to re-enter within 30 days of your departure.
For visits of up to 30 days, you can get an e-visa before you travel from https://evisa.xuatnhapcanh.gov.vn

For visits of longer than 30 days you must get a visa from the nearest Vietnamese embassy before travelling to Vietnam. If you want to make a second visit within 30 days of leaving Vietnam, you'll need to get a multiple entry visa to re-enter.

Visa's are required for citizens of the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. eVisa's can be applied for via https://evisa.xuatnhapcanh.gov.vn

Please note that it is a pre-requisite for entry into Vietnam that your passport is valid for a minimum of 6 months from your date of entry

All visa related issues including information for other nationalities should be confirmed with the relevant Embassy prior to departure.


If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
 

Booking conditions

Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.

Transfers

Find out more about Trip Transfer Terms and Conditions before you book.

Booking a land only package with Explore

Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information. 

You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.


Joining Tour Abroad

Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.

The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.  

Free transfers are not available for Self-Guided, Polar, Tailormade or Tours for Churches customers.

If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.  

For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here

Insurance

It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.

Flight information

Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.


Flight Information

You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.

  

Booking a flight inclusive package with Explore

We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.

On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.

Ability to swim

An ability to swim is essential for your safe enjoyment of the water based activities on this trip. If you wish to participate in these activities then we insist that you are able to swim.

Vietnam

Vaccinations

Nothing compulsory, we recommend protection against malaria, typhoid, tetanus, diphtheria, polio and hepatitis A. Consult your travel clinic for latest advice on Malaria and Zika Virus. Although not compulsory travellers may also wish to immunise themselves against Japanese encephalitis. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.

Additional Information

Tour Staff

Unlike our group tours our private journeys do not have a Tour Leader. However, you are still in safe hands as we work closely with our expert local suppliers on the planning and organisation of your holiday to ensure that you have a fantastic time. You'll be met on arrival in Ho Chi Minh City by one of our english-speaking local guides, who will go through your holiday details and answer any questions you may have. The guides throughout your trip are excellent, and will help to bring the destination to life. At times you may travel unaccompanied, for example when on domestic flights, but you will have all the information that you need to explore and there is always the reassurance that you have someone on hand with our 24/7 emergency contact number.
 

Dates, prices and booking

All holidays are subject to availability and prices are subject to change
Mon 17 May 2021 - Fri 31 Dec 2021 Your trip can depart anytime between the above dates. A solo traveller supplement applies, contact us for prices.
PTQVN_2021
€1598
was Save
SINGLE ROOM OPTION
i
+€405
PTQVN_2021

Add a flight with Explore

  • Full Explore refunds in the event of FCDO cancellations or major disruption at your UK departure airport
  • Carbon neutral flights – Gold Standard offsetting included
  • Rearranged flights and transfers in the event of delays, missed connections, or cancellations (including accommodation overseas)
  • ATOL protected
  • No surcharge guarantee
 
Sat 1 Jan 2022 - Sat 31 Dec 2022 Your trip can depart anytime between the above dates. A solo traveller supplement applies, contact us for prices.
PTQVN_2022
€1598
was Save
SINGLE ROOM OPTION
i
+€405
PTQVN_2022

Add a flight with Explore

  • Full Explore refunds in the event of FCDO cancellations or major disruption at your UK departure airport
  • Carbon neutral flights – Gold Standard offsetting included
  • Rearranged flights and transfers in the event of delays, missed connections, or cancellations (including accommodation overseas)
  • ATOL protected
  • No surcharge guarantee
 
Sun 1 Jan 2023 - Sun 31 Dec 2023 Your trip can depart anytime between the above dates. A solo traveller supplement applies, contact us for prices.
PTQVN_2023
€1635
was Save
SINGLE ROOM OPTION
i
+€417
PTQVN_2023

Add a flight with Explore

  • Full Explore refunds in the event of FCDO cancellations or major disruption at your UK departure airport
  • Carbon neutral flights – Gold Standard offsetting included
  • Rearranged flights and transfers in the event of delays, missed connections, or cancellations (including accommodation overseas)
  • ATOL protected
  • No surcharge guarantee
 

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