Simply Vietnam

Simply Vietnam

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10 Days From

$1320

$1148

Simply Vietnam

10 Days Starting in Ho Chi Minh City and ending in Hanoi

Visiting: Ho Chi Minh City, Củ Chi, Da Nang, Hội An, Hue, Hanoi, Hạ Long Bay

Tour operator:

Explore!

Tour code:

QVN

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

4 - 14

Physical rating:

Medium, Moderate

Age range:

16-

Special diets catered:

Vegetarians, Vegans

Interests:

Cultural, History

Activities:

Sightseeing, Walking

From:
$1320
$1148 Operator discount: -$140 Exclusive Tourhub Discount: -$32 -13%

NB: Prices correct on 24-May-2024 but subject to change.

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Tour Overview

This short break encompasses the best of Vietnam in just 10 days. Using local transport and staying in simple hotels, we experience lush landscapes, discover harrowing history and sample incredible fresh food.



Hanoi - Wander through the bustling narrow streets of the Old Quarter.

Hoi An - Take a cookery course or try out traditional lantern making.

Mekong Delta - Meander along palm-lined canals and barter for exotic fruit.

Highlights

  • Hanoi - Wander through the bustling narrow streets of the Old Quarter.

  • Hoi An - Take a cookery course or try out traditional lantern making.

  • Mekong Delta - Meander along palm-lined canals and barter for exotic fruit.

Itinerary

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Day 1: Join Trip In Ho Chi Minh City; Afternoon Orientation Walk In Old Saigon

Location: Ho Chi Minh City

Accommodation: Hotel

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.



For those arriving on time today our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 4pm for the welcome meeting and to take us on the walking tour. The tour will take in some of the central sights of the city, including the Opera House (formerly South Vietnam National Assembly), Hotel de Ville, Notre Dame Cathedral and the impressive French style edifice that is the GPO building.



If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you will need to arrive into Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN), which is 30 to 40 minutes\ from the hotel.



Please note that if you wish to join the afternoon orientation walk today, you must arrive at the hotel by 1.30pm. If you are booking your own flights, we recommend giving yourself at least 30 minutes\ to clear the airport. From the airport to the hotel is around 30 minutes\ drive, so therefore the latest your flight can arrive is 1pm. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information by note left at the front desk.

Day 2: In Ho Chi Minh City; Optional Visit To The Cu Chi Tunnels Or A Boat Trip In The Mekong Delta

Location: Củ Chi

Accommodation: Hotel

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 the buildings and artefacts of the old US Embassy, as well as the remarkable Reunification Palace and the emotive War Crimes Museum, which contains a fascinating, and at times chilling, reminder of the cost of the Vietnam War on the people themselves. Another option is to join an excursion out to the infamous Cu Chi Tunnels. 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.

A full day's visit to the colourful Mekong Delta can also be organised, to witness locals barter for fresh produce at a floating market and to take a sampan through the small narrow waterways of the Delta.

Day 3: Morning Flight To Danang, Drive To Hoi An And Afternoon Tour Of The Old Town

Location: Da Nang, Hội An

Accommodation: Hotel

This morning we transfer to the airport for our short flight to Danang in Central Vietnam. On arrival in Danang we will continue our journey by charter bus to Hoi An. On our way we pass the popular beach resort of My Khe, better known as China Beach, an area that during the Vietnam War was popular with the American GIs on RnR. Given the early hour of our arrival at the hotel we might not be able to check-in so we plan to store our bags, have breakfast (not included) 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. We end at the colourful riverside market, a perfect setting for exploring, the rest of the day is free to enjoy as you wish.

Day 4: In Hoi An, Free Day To Enjoy The Old Town, Visit Nearby Beach Or Hire Bicycles To Explore Surrounding Countryside

Location: Hội An

Accommodation: Hotel

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.

Day 5: Drive Along The Coast Via Hai Van Pass To Hue; Free Afternoon

Location: Hue

Accommodation: Hotel

This morning sees us heading 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 us 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.

Day 6: In Hue, Optional Visit To The Imperial Palace And Cruise Along Perfume River. Catch An Overnight Train North

Location: Hue

Accommodation: Overnight Train

With the better part of the day to enjoy the city, Hué offers a wealth of options to make the most of your time here. You could pay 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. Another alternative is to spend some time exploring the Old Citadel that dominates the left bank of the Perfumed River. Built by the Nguyen dynasty (Vietnam's ruling emperors from the early 1800s to1945), the Citadel has formal moats and impressive ramparts that were constructed to be an exact copy of the Forbidden City in Beijing. During the bloody conflicts of the Vietnam War, Hué was the site of some of the most destructive fighting of the Tet Offensive, most of the Inner City being totally destroyed during the month-long battle in 1968. The vast outer walls and the West Wing remain though and provide an eloquent reminder of the palace's former glory. Farther afield, amongst the forested landscapes of the Perfume Valley, you can find the Royal Tombs of the Nguyen kings, the unique mausoleums of the emperors that provide an ideal destination to explore by bicycle. Later this afternoon we will then head for the railway station to board the overnight train north to Hanoi, Vietnam's vibrant and historic capital.

Day 7: Early Morning Arrival In Hanoi; Drive To Halong Bay To Cruise Through The Turquoise Waters Aboard A Traditional Junk Boat

Location: Hanoi, Hạ Long Bay

Accommodation: Hotel

Arriving in Hanoi in the early hours of this morning we disembark the train and transfer by road towards the Bay of Tonkin on Vietnam's northeast coast. Our 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. On arrival we will board our junk and set sail, threading our 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. Later this evening we disembark from our boat and transfer to our hotel in the Bay.

Day 8: Return To Hanoi; Orientation Walk Of Old Quarter

Location: Hanoi

Accommodation: Hotel

Returning back to Hanoi your tour leader will then take those that wish on a short orientation tour of the city, wandering the streets of the city's Old Quarter, whose narrow streets are named after the various crafts and specialities of the city's artisans: Paper Street, Silk Street, Basket Street etc. This practice dates back to the 13th century, when the city's original 36 guilds established themselves here, adopting a street each to differentiate them from their neighbours. The maze of alleys and streets present a fascinating venue to explore on foot and the area is known for its interesting 'tube' houses, where the narrow frontages give way to long rooms that stretch back from streets, whose pavements are littered with food sellers tempting passers-by with all manner of noodles, snacks and stir-fried delights from shoulder panniers. Later today there may be a chance to witness a remarkable performance of traditional water puppetry, a practice that dates back to the 15th century and is deeply ingrained into the cultural lives of the peoples of the Red River Delta. Set on a flooded stage, the stories tell tales of legendary heroes and everyday life, with dragons and unicorns sharing the stage with ducks and frogs, and even fireworks and naval battles.

Day 9: In Hanoi; Free Day With Option To Visit The French Quarter Or Hoan Kiem Lake

Location: Hanoi

Accommodation: Hotel

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.

Day 10: Trip Ends In Hanoi

Location: Hanoi

The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Hanoi.



There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Hanoi at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day, luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to depart from Noi Bai International Airport (HAN), which is 45 minutes from 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.

What's Included

  • Accommodation

    4 nights simple hotel

    4 nights comfortable hotel

    1 nights simple overnight train

  • Train Tickets

  • Meals – Breakfast Only

    Breakfast: 8

    Lunch: 1

  • All Domestic Transportation (including internal flights)

  • Fully Guided

What's Not Included

  • Tipping and Gratuities

  • Country Entry Visas

  • 1 bottle of Mineral Water per person per day

Why Book this Tour

This highlights tour of Vietnam covers the country from south to north. Travel is mainly by public transport to give an insight into local life, and has a lot of free time factored in. This trip is suited to more adventurous travellers who enjoy independent exploration as well as organised activities and who want a more flexible holiday. This tour combines with our Indochina Encounter (QBK) trip for a more extended exploration of the region.

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Check out our Q&As

  • Can you assist with pre or post tour accommodation?

    Yes

  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

    Yes

  • Are children permitted to take part in the tour?

    No

  • Will I know the names and details of all the accommodation before I depart?

    Yes

  • Is there any free time to explore places during the tour?

    Yes

  • What is the maximum group size?

    16

  • Will there be an escort accompanying this tour?

    Yes

  • I'm going on a walking/cycling trip-do I need to train?

    It will depend on the grade and how fit you already are. Check the trip page for details of the walking or cycling grade and how far you’ll be walking/cycling each day. For moderate or challenging trips in particular we’d recommend doing some walks or cycles before you leave to build up your fitness and prepare you for the distances being covered.

  • Who will be my travelling companions on the tour?

    We have a wide range of ages nationalities on our small group trips and they come from all walks of life.

  • Should I get travel insurance?

    Yes–it is a condition of booking that you are fully insured when travelling with us

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    At Explore, we're the experts in adventure travel. Our small group adventure holidays have been running since 1981. Today, Explore is one of the most trusted travel companies in the UK with over 500 trips to more than 120 countries.

  • Can I join the tour once it has departed?

    Yes, but there are no concessions for doing so, and we must have a record in your booking advising as such before the trip departs.

  • Am I contributing to any charity by booking the tour?

    Being a responsible company is a large statement, something that has to be entwined within the very fibre of a company. Discover the charities and partnerships we support as part of this at https://www.explore.co.uk/about/sustainability/charities-and-partners

  • What happens if I need to change my holiday date once I’ve booked?

    We want to be as clear as and as honest as possible about what happens if you decide to that you no longer wish to travel on your trip. Our booking conditions have details of the costs you’ll incur when you cancel-these charges depend on how long it is before your planned departure.

  • What is the accommodation like?

    We choose comfortable accommodation in the best locations possible. We opt for small, local and family-run accommodation where we can, as opposed to large chain hotels. We typically use hotels that are the equivalent of European 3-star, and you’ll usually have an en suite room. Occasionally, where we want to get off the beaten trail we may stay in more basic accommodation.

  • What Ethical Travel credentials does the tour company have?

    Sustainability is embedded within the fibre of Explore, it emanates from the inside out. But as we enter a new decade it is clearer than ever that our world needs help, and Explore has created a sustainability strategy based on the 2015 UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

  • What policies are in place for Covid-19?

    Our flexible booking and safety policies mean you're protected before and during your travels with us. Receive a full refund if your trip is cancelled, transfer your trip free of charge up to 10 days before departure minus any irrocoverable costs.

  • Do I need to be very fit to book with you?

    All our trips require some level of active participation. This could be on a cultural trip, trek, safari, expedition or voyage. It is in the interests of all members of the group that everyone should be capable of fully participating in the activities of their chosen trip.

  • What documents will I receive before I travel?

    Final documents will include a comprehensive trip itinerary, climate and country information, budgeting and packing advice visa and passport information and details on optional activities available.

  • Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    Yes on most of our trips. Most trips are based on customers sharing twin-bedded rooms. If you book a group trip as an individual, you will share a room with someone of the same sex. However, on many trips we offer the opportunity to pay a supplement to pre-book a single room, known as our single room option. On some trips a single room will be provided every night, on others it will be provided o

  • Do we have to be vaccinated against Covid-19 to travel

    It’s now a condition of booking a trip with us that customers should have one of the following before they travel - — Be vaccinated against COVID, having received the full recommended course, and allowing enough time for immunity to take effect. Full vaccination includes any booster required to keep the vaccine valid. — Have taken a negative test (rapid antigen or PCR) within 72hrs of departure.

  • Will the accommodation included meet local health and safety regulations?

    Explore will only offer hotels that have specific COVID-19 protocols in place and comply with local government guidelines. We will ensure these measures include; enhanced room cleaning, ventilation, social distancing, regular cleaning and disinfection of high frequency touch points in public areas, food safety, staff re-training and minimising contact within the properties.

Reviews from travellers on this tour

Alan  

Simply Vietnam

Binh,our tour guide was an excellent leader,and to

Binh,our tour guide was an excellent leader,and took particular care of those who were not confident with the traffic,and those having difficulty with the local currency

Robert  

Simply Vietnam

Up to the usual high standard, I look forward to m

Up to the usual high standard, I look forward to my 10th trip with Explore!

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Book with Confidence

  • Free Date Changes

    Explore! allows you to make 1 free date changes, as long as the change is made at least 70 days before the start of the tour.

  • Low Deposit

    Explore! requires a minimum deposit of 10% or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 70 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of explore! charges.

    Up to 70 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 69 days before tour starts: Forfeit 30% of booking price.

    At 41 days before tour starts: Forfeit 60% of booking price.

    At 27 days before tour starts: Forfeit 90% of booking price.

    At 13 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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