Trails of Vietnam

14 days
from
$2,085 AUD
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4.5 / 5 from 55 reviews >
Moderate
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Trip code: 
AOF
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Culture
Min age:
16
Group size:
5–16

On foot, in the saddle, with paddle - active the length of Vietnam

Whether it's kayaking beneath towering cliffs in the South China Sea, cycling by vibrant green paddy fields in the Mekong Delta or trekking amongst colourful hilltribes, this dynamic trip allows us to interact with the local people and environment in a way we couldn't by vehicle alone. We get a great insight into everyday life as well as seeing all the major sights. Of course all this activity needs fuelling, which gives us the perfect excuse for sampling the superb Vietnamese cuisine.

Highlights

  • Cruise and kayak along the emerald waters and limestone peaks of Halong Bay
  • Dip into traditional Vietnamese culture by trekking through lush hill tribe villages
  • Walk and cycle on a tour through historic towns Hue, Hoi An and Hanoi
  • Dig a little deeper into Vietnam’s history by crawling through the Cu Chi Tunnels
  • Sample local produce and float through the Mekong Delta by boat

Key information

  • 7 nights comfortable hotels, 1 night standard hotel, 1 night boat with twin share cabins, 1 night standard homestay guesthouse, all en suite. 2 nights basic house/longhouse with dormitory/shared bath, 1 night sleeper train, soft-bed berths
  • Travel by bus, boat, sleeper train and internal flight
  • Reasonable fitness required
  • Remote and city locations visited

What's included

  • 12 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 4 dinners
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Arrival & departure transfers

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
1300 131 564
Call for tailormade trips:
+61 3 9998 9052
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Hanoi.

    Begin your adventure in Hanoi, a city where an unstoppable energy thrives alongside traditional Vietnamese culture and a colonial charm permeates the broad tree-lines boulevards, most noticeably from the faded French architecture. The leader will of course be on hand to point the group in all the right directions, so whether you’re buying baguettes and inexpensive coffee from the grand doorways of a past era, drifting alongside Hoan Kiem Lake or roaming the animated streets, Hanoi offers a delicious first taste of Vietnamese culture. Even crossing one of many manic roads serves as a memorable experience! In the evening, we offer a welcome briefing and an optional group dinner at a local restaurant.
    Comfortable Hotel

  • Day 2

    To Mai Chau; trek through H'mong country; overnight in hilltribe longhouse.

    Transfer to Hoa Binh Province (4 hrs). Travelling up and over the Truong Son Mountain Range affords lush green views, serving as the perfect precursor of the scenery for the following days. Trek through H’mong, around Xa Linh & Tong Dau, and dip into rural Vietnamese culture by visiting villages along the way, most of which adorn colourful national dress. The last stop of the day will be Mai Chau, a picturesque valley made of quilt-like pattern villages and rice terraces, palms, and charming stilt houses. Like Mai Chau itself, we’ll be nuzzled between emerald green paddy fields and soaring cliffs in our overnight stay – the Thai hill tribe longhouse.
    Homestay

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Trek amongst hilltribe villages

    By now the beeping and bustling of Hanoi will be a faint memory, and the day is spent delving deeper into this slice of rural paradise. After taking a short drive to Sam Khoe, there will be a trek back to Mai Chau (approx. 6 hours) into the villages of white and black Thai minority groups. Here, we can spend time learning about their customs and culture.
    Homestay

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Trekking before returning to Hanoi for city tour.

    A short trek will take place back to the roadside via another culturally colourful village. On return, our city tour of Hanoi introduces the many layers of Vietnamese culture and history. Sites include Hoa Lo, the Temple of Literature, and the Old Quarter, the centuries-old soul of Hanoi. Stepping into this commercial labyrinth is not as confusing as it first may seem, but only once you realise that it’s ‘36 streets’ indicate the type of products sold. So why not take a turn down Silk Street, Souvenir Street or even Gold Street? The afternoon is free, perhaps to enjoy the view from a lakeside café.

    If you wish to opt for an optional activity, your tour leader can arrange a viewing of the famous Water puppets, an art form dating back to the 11th century where folk tale and legends are playfully recounted among the sounds of wooden bells, bamboo flutes and cymbals.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    To Halong Bay; cruise/kayak; dinner and sleep on boat.

    Early start and 4 hour transfer to Halong Bay. A boat awaits us, ready to cruise along the legendary Halong Bay, otherwise known as ‘where the dragon descends into the sea’. Legend has it that Halong Bay’s islands were formed by a dragon’s plunge into the waters. Carving crevasses on its way, the dragon left what is now roughly 3000 exquisitely eroded limestone peaks rising from emerald waters. Soak up the enigmatic atmosphere this karst scenery creates, before kayaking to places inaccessible by boat (weather permitting). A sea food lunch is served on board, and the evening is yours to unwind upon tranquil waters. The night is spent in twin share cabins with en suite facilities.
    Overnight Boat

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    Cruise then return to Hanoi; overnight train to Hanoi.

    As the boat continues to cruise along the majestic peaks, there will be new opportunities to immerse ourselves in Halong Bay’s mystical quality. After returning to port, we will transfer to the train station and board the Reunification Express for the overnight train ride to Hue.
    Overnight Train

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Sightseeing by bicycle in Hue.

    Arrive mid-morning in the cultural and historical centre of Vietnam, Hue. Brimming with charisma, Hue has impacted several poets in its time and serves as a reminder of Vietnam’s imperial glories. In the afternoon, jump on one of the local bikes and cycle to the Imperial Citadel and Thien Mu Pagoda to peep into the life of Nguyen emperors. With walls six miles in length, the Imperial Citadel is the most outstanding sight in town. We will explore the palaces, halls of the Mandarins and the remains of the Forbidden Purple City, once only open to the emperor, his eunuchs, and of course his concubines. Emperor Tu Duc's tomb will be the last stop of the day - standing amidst a lake and a boundless pine forest, this tomb is deemed the most extravagant mausoleum of the great Nguyen Emperors and one of the most beautiful pieces of royal architecture in Vietnam.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Cycle to Thanh Toan local market; drive to Hoi An.

    Take a picturesque cycle-ride past villages and rice paddies to the small village Thanh Toan and indulge in its legendary market. Travelling as the locals do, it's easy to discover the sights, sounds and smells of the villages surrounding Hue. Following this, a 130km drive to Danang will pass through the beautiful peninsula of Lang Co, situated between the crystal waters of a lagoon and the Eastern Sea, as well as the awe-inspiring Hai Van pass, known as the ‘Pass of the Ocean Clouds’. Once in Da Nang, climb the Marble Mountains and uncover the large caves used by the Viet Cong as a hospital base during the war. Rewarding views stretching over My Khe beach and the surrounding countryside will be waiting for you once you reach the mountain peak, the latter of which makes up our next spot, Hoi An.

    Cycle approx. 15km on flat and mostly even terrain
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Walking tour of Hoi An; free afternoon.

    Embrace the sleepy ambiance seeping through Hoi An on our walking tour of Hoi An, Vietnam’s original European trading port dating back to the mid-sixteenth century. Often described as a living museum, Hoi An boasts more than just grace and atmosphere. Wooden merchant houses and pagoda-style temples line the streets, architecturally reflecting the Japanese, Chinese and European influences on the town. The afternoon is free to enjoy what many call their favourite town in Vietnam, and it’s easy to see why. Take a boat trip on the Thu Bon River, relax by the riverside, meander around the thriving riverside markets, or indulge in shops famous for their silk and tailoring of clothing - bring a picture if you'd like anything made! Alternatively, why not hire a bike and make your way through Hoi An’s pretty countryside towards Cua Dai beach, past markets, schools and villages. (5km)

    (Walking tour approx 3-4 hrs)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Fly to Saigon; afternoon visit Cu Chi Tunnels.

    Transfer to Danang airport and fly to Saigon (approx. 70 mins), a city full of chaotic thrills. A 1.5 hr drive will then take us to the Cu Chi tunnels. Crawl through the infamous and intricate system of tunnels and experience the spirit of guerrilla warfare! Used by the Viet Cong during the war for its escape routes as well as living quarters, the network covers 3 levels and approximately 240km of tunnels. Although they were traditionally very narrow, they have now been widened to allow an extensive exploration of the system. Even so, claustrophobes should feel free to bask outside in the sunshine if they do not wish to take part!
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 11

    Cycle ride to Cai Be; visit handicraft workshops; drive to Can Tho.

    Arrive in the small market town of My Tho after a 1.5 hr drive. After hopping onto our bikes we will follow the Mekong River through quiet back roads towards Cai Be (approx. 30 km). Known as the ‘rice bowl’ of Vietnam, the Mekong Delta produces the majority of Vietnam’s tropical fruits, some of which you will have a chance to sample, as well as sugar cane and coconuts. Transfer back to Can Tho to relax and soak up the atmosphere of this quiet riverside town, or explore the maze of backstreets and wide boulevards.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 12

    Boat trip to floating markets; cycle ride; boat trip to island homestay.

    Early start for a boat trip along the Bassac River towards Cai Rang, the largest and liveliest floating market in the Delta. Float through a maze of boats, rife with fruits, vegetables and plants and watch the techniques locals use to make a living. One includes attaching their produce on to long poles and hanging them above the boat, enabling them to showcase their items to buyers from all angles and distances. Since you’ll be witnessing authentic trading in full swing, there will be countless opportunities for you to capture traditional scenes on camera. Following breakfast at the hotel, cycle to Vinh Long through rural villages and scenic landscapes (approx. 40 km). Reaching the end of the day, we will be transferred by motor boat to an island in the middle of the Mekong River for overnight at a simple guesthouse built in the style of a local house. Bedding, a mosquito net and a small towel are provided.
    Guesthouse

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 13

    Cruise to Cai Be; to Saigon for afternoon city tour.

    Cruise by boat along the Cai Be Floating Market and stop to visit small cottage industries manufacturing local products such as popped rice and popcorn. Return to Saigon, a city once devastated by the Vietnam War, and now a bustling free market city. A combination of old and new diversifies the city with temples standing defiantly among zooming scooters and modern developments. The Reunification Palace is one of the stops on our city tour, famous for its 1960s architecture and slightly garish appeal as much as its association with the fall of Saigon in 1975. Another stop is the War Remnants Museum, housing a vivid collection outlining the horrors of modern history and warfare and effects on innocent civilians. Be aware that these records of the Vietnam War are often very graphic. Heading to the romantic Catholic Notre Dame Cathedral throws yet another light on Saigon.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    End Saigon.

    You are free today to relax or go ahead with individual sightseeing. Either way, the city is yours to enjoy – sample the street food, bargain your way through local markets, indulge in modernized shopping malls, or simply engross yourself in the whizzing motion that is Saigon.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Extend Your Trip

Angkor Wat Extension (from Saigon)

Code: XOF

'Discovered' enmeshed in jungle in 1860, Angkor, the ancient capital of the powerful Khmer empire, is one of the finest archaeological sites in the world, and not one to be missed. Built between the 9th and 13th centuries, the wonderfully preserved sprawling complex of temples and palaces is on a par with any great monument of the world with magnificent towers, sculptures and bas‐reliefs. During this four-night extension you will also see all the key sites of Phnom Penh, a fascinating city undergoing a huge amount of change. You will travel between the sites in a private car or minibus, depending on how many people take part in the extension, accompanied by an English‐speaking local guide. In the evenings, you will be free to enjoy the town. This trip extension is offered at the end of your AOF or AOV trip so you will fly direct from Saigon to Siem Reap to start the extension. The detailed itinerary can be found here

Please ask your sales consultant for more details.

Essential Info

Visas

Vietnam

A visa is no longer needed for British, German, French, Spanish and Italian citizens travelling to Vietnam (for all purposes) for a period of up to 15 days, and on the basis of meeting all conditions prescribed by Vietnamese laws. The visa exemption period will end on 30 June 2018. All other nationalities require a visa to enter Vietnam and this must be obtained prior to departure. For further information see http://www.exodus.co.uk/assets/travelink/Vietnam.pdf or the FCO site and check under Vietnam / 'Entry Requirements'.

Vaccinations

Vietnam

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Tetanus, Polio, Typhoid, Hepatitis A and Diphtheria.
The risk of malaria is slight, but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Eating and Drinking

12 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 4 dinners are included.

Thanks to it's tropical climate, the long coast and the gigantic range of mountain, Vietnam is blessed with numerous varieties of culinary offerings and consequently maintains its reputation as one of the healthiest cuisines in the world that still packs a punch with delicious fresh and fiery flavours. Vietnamese food relies on fresh fish, vegetables, rice and a whole myriad of verdant herbs and spices; lemongrass, ginger, basil and lime all play an important role in the cuisine. The Chinese and French influence is felt throughout the country where you are just as likely to be offered a Banh Mi (stuffed baguette) as you are a hot steaming bowl of Pho (noodle soup). Each dish is prepared with the Asian principle of Wu Xing in mind (the five elements) meaning that the perfect combination of spicy, sour, bitter, salty and sweet is the ultimate aim. Be sure to also seek out the national beverages; Vietnamese coffee is served iced and sweet with condensed milk, a real sugar and caffeine hit, and beer hoi (local beer, brewed daily) is served on most street corners in the North out of large plastic jugs that are perfect for sharing.
Food is cheap in South East Asia and you can generally avoid spicy dishes if you wish. Western food is available almost anywhere. With dishes ranging from fresh seafood to exotic curries, Vietnam offers incredible cuisine, often sold in animated and colourful markets.

Weather

In much of Vietnam, the weather will be hot and humid with temperatures ranging from 28ºC to 34ºC in the day, and a little cooler at nights. Vietnam offers a range of seasons between the north and south. Hanoi is cool in autumn, and gets chilly between November and February, with drizzly rain (10º- 20ºC). The south up to Hue has a distinct dry season between December to April and a rainy season from May to November, where short heavy bursts of rain with bright sunshine in between is common. There is no ideal time to visit Vietnam; weather can be described as pleasant all year round, but due to the shape of the country it is unlikely that the weather will be perfect for the entire duration of the trip. The dry season, between November and April, is characterised by hot days and mostly clear skies, but expect the odd shower. The monsoon period running from May to October is generally overcast with short and sharp bursts of rain, but this can be a very atmospheric time to travel – just bring an umbrella or a cheap local poncho! April and October are transition months

Is this trip for you?

This is an action packed holiday with activities that include cycling, kayaking and trekking so a good level of fitness is required.The weather can be hot and humid and cold in the winter months in the north around Hanoi and Halong bay. Some of the days can be fairly long with early starts as there is a lot to see in the time you are there. Travel time is kept to a minimum although there are a few longer drives but there is time for sightseeing. Whilst choosing this trip please note that some of the accommodation will be basic but is clean and tidy.

Call for general departures:
1300 131 564
Call for tailormade trips:
+61 3 9998 9052
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels, Boat, Guesthouse, Longhouse & Sleeper Train

You will spend 7 nights in comfortable hotels, 1 night in a more standard hotel, 1 night aboard a boat with twin share cabins, 1 night in a guesthouse, 2 nights in a local longhouse and 1 night on a sleeper train. The accommodation is generally good quality, but you should also be prepared for a couple of basic nights. Two nights of this active adventure will be spent in traditional hill-tribe longhouses. We trek through native Dzao and Muong country to our overnight destinations of Sung Village and Da Bia Village where we will dine on local food and sleep as the locals do in wooden longhouses. This is communal living in the most authentic way. Hosted by hospitable local families we will gain a real insight into rural Vietnam.

Single rooms are available for hotel nights only for a supplement, please enquire for prices. Please advise the sales team at the time of booking if you require a single room.

Call for general departures:
1300 131 564
Call for tailormade trips:
+61 3 9998 9052
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call for general departures:
1300 131 564
Call for tailormade trips:
+61 3 9998 9052
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed October 2017
    Cat Conley

    Great trip

    Great trip but a lot of time traveling. Which if you can sleep on buses is great as gives you a chance to catch up. It really is a on the go all times trip. But the locations and different cities is worth it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Loved the kayaking especially in the rain.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader Lam was great. Good sense of humour, and the patience of a saint.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I think this trip is accessible to all. I would recommend taking an umbrella. Buying a waterproof case/pouch for phone for the kayaking. Pack of cards. Small hold-all for all the home stays. Most of us just had backpack which we needed to use for walking so ended up with stuff in platic bags.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Well worth doing. I got to see all of Vietnam in a short time.
  • Reviewed September 2017
    Deb Norman-pawley

    Wow!

    This trip is non stop.. you see and do so much with a fun, knowledgeable guide. There is nothing we were not happy with...brilliant experience

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Not sure I could chose one but probably the war tunnels ..

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Such fun from start to finish and worked tirelessly to ensure everything was good..so knowledgeable and passionate too...

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just do It! .. ideal for single travellers too

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    2nd exodus trip and both have been amazing ..
  • Reviewed September 2017
    Deb Norman-pawley

    Wow!

    This trip is non stop.. you see and do so much with a fun, knowledgeable guide. There is nothing we were not happy with...brilliant experience

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Not sure I could chose one but probably the war tunnels ..

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Such fun from start to finish and worked tirelessly to ensure everything was good..so knowledgeable and passionate too...

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just do It! .. ideal for single travellers too

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    2nd exodus trip and both have been amazing ..
  • Reviewed August 2017
    Liz Crofts

    Breathtaking Vietnam

    A fabulous experience, not least because Vietnam is such a varied and beautiful country with vibrant, hectic cities, enchanting villages and wonderfully welcoming people. This trip gives you the chance to experience all aspects of life in Vietnam and the excellent service you receive from the tour leader means that you can relax and fully appreciate everything on offer.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    LOTS of this trip was inspirational. All the food we ate was phenomenal - if you like cooking I would highly recommend the cooking class in Hoi An which was great fun and educational. Riding through the backwaters and villages of Central Vietnam and the Mekong Delta was wonderful - the best way to see 'real' life for the majority of Vietnamese people. If you get chance to do the additional cycling day then take it! Kayaking at Halong Bay was great fun and the best way to see the limestone cliffs. The people of Vietnam are truly inspirational having been through so much conflict and to be so open and welcoming to tourists.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Cong was absolutely fabulous. He was engaging and knowledgeable, very proud of his country and wanting us to love it as much as he does. He really understood our group and our sense of humour making the (sometimes long) bus journeys more fun! He encourages us to make the most of our time ("you can sleep on the plane!"). Every recommendation he made for experiences, restaurants, laundry, shopping etc turned out to be excellent. We cannot thank him enough and he was a great ambassador for Exodus.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    As our guide advised us... make the most of every second. Yes, it is a full on trip and you will sometimes feel tired. But the travelling was part of the experience for me and I learned a lot just by looking out of the bus window! Mosquito nets are provided everywhere. I only used my cotton sleeping bag liner on the train because it was a bit cold, otherwise it was not needed. Neck pillows did come in handy because of the amount of travelling. The bikes are reasonably good mountain bikes. I did use padded cycling shorts but my husband didn't to no real ill-effect. Don't take a lot of clothes... laundry is available very cheaply at several points on the trip. Almost everywhere we stayed provided soap / shampoo for washing you don't need loads of toiletries (if you are not fussy about what you use). Just take some for the first homestay in My Chau and on the train. They are provided on the boat and in the second homestay.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you want to experience Vietnam, both touristy and non-touristy parts, and want to be a bit active whilst you are there, this is the trip for you. Make the most of every second!
  • Reviewed May 2017
    Kevin & Pauline Patterson

    Trails of Vietnam

    A full on and intensive tour of the many facets of Vietnam, giving a flavour of this extraordinary country. Be prepared for long days, but you will be richly rewarded often seeing parts of Vietnam that other tourists may not see. As always the trip notes are very accurate.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many different and wonderful experiences in this fascinating country.What will stay with us, were the inspirational and continually cheerful people, the delicious food and the manic driving. Just crossing the road is challenging and as for the cycling .....we loved it.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We were SO lucky to have Tham Tu as our leader. What a remarkable young lady she is. So knowledgeable and passionate about her country. She always had a smile on her face, was brilliantly organised and nothing was too much trouble. She always went the extra mile to make the Trails of Vietnam a special experience. How could we forget her making cocktails for us on the train!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take Cycle shorts and / or a gel seat, but there is no need to take a cycle helmet, as those supplied were of good quality. Don't pack too much as there are plenty of opportunities to have laundry done very cheaply and you need the extra space for souvenirs and new clothes of course!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A brilliant trip with a great group of people and an exceptional guide.
  • Reviewed April 2017
    Therese Shannon

    Trails of Vietnam

    I really enjoyed the hilltribe trek. The food at the home stay was excellent.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    our group leader was great. well informed.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    This tour was very busy with many long bus rides.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you bring a padded bike seat!
  • Reviewed April 2017
    Julie Beauley

    Trails of Vietnam

    Once again Exodus did not fail to deliver, the was an amazing holiday covering a vast area of the country. The activities were great and very well organised. Our guide, Tham, was amazing, very knowledgeable, attentive and social. She looked after out every need. The food was great and the local people were very welcoming and happy to help.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I think the local people were the main inspiration. They have turned their country around, stopped living in the past and are building a great place for people to visit and enjoy. The families at the home stays could not do enough for us and welcomed us with open arms in to their homes and were pleased to be able to show us how they lived and worked.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tham was amazing. She is one of very few female guides in her country and has had to work really hard to hold this position. She has done this with grace and a great deal of intellegence. She dealt with everything with ease and professionalism. She was also great fun and made sure we were all happy at all times.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a GoPro or something of that nature as you will not be able to describe the traffic in the cities or the beauty of Kayaking down the river. Photos just don't cut it. I have never seen so many motorbikes carrying so many different things as well as so many people. It is a sight to behold. Make sure you take padded cycling shorts and a gel seat if you have one. The bikes are good and there is no need to take your own helmet as the ones provided are good.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was a fantastic holiday, full on but well worth it. Don't think twice just book it, you'll enjoy every minute.
  • Reviewed March 2017
    Christine Roe

    Trails of Vietnam

    This was a wonderful trip - fully of varied activities - cycling, trekking, kayaking and sight seeing . Vietnam is a fascinating country, with so much variety between north and south and lots of interesting history. It is is the right time to go now, before the tourist industry really gets going, especially on the coast near Danang . The people are lovely - so friendly and welcoming - the food is great - very fresh and varied.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hoi An was the loveliest town with its mixture of old France architecture, lots of street traders, great food, river estuary and good beaches. Get a silk dress or suit made overnight. Cycling in the Mekong Delta was a great experience, but HOT. The home stay on an island in the Mekong river was our most peaceful place to stay. Walking by rice fields in the north was great with the hills and mountains in the background. Halong Bay in the north was also beautiful - there are a lot of other boats , but you don't feel it is too touristy yet.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Amazing - Kien was the best leader I have ever had on Exodus. Full of interesting information about Vietnam , a great organiser, caring towards his group members and a great sense of humour.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for the traffic in Hanoi and Saigon - it is manic - it does not stop - but don't panic - walk steadily in a straight line and they will weave round you - they are not agressive drivers, but there are a lot of motor bikes.
  • Reviewed March 2017
    Jane Emery

    We really enjoyed ourselves

    This is a very busy tour with lots of variety. Although a lot of time was spent travelling (as you'd expect from a tour covering 1500 miles in 14 days) a great many different things were packed into the holiday (eg 1000 years of history, food, shopping, cycling, kayaking, walking, boating, caves, puppet show.) Vietnam was more prosperous and sophisticated than I had imagined, with free wi-fi in every accommodation and restaurants. Everything was very clean and well organised. Things ran on time, including the 12 hour overnight train departed on time and arrived early. The people were friendly and smiling.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I found the Vietnames people very inspirational. It is only 40 years since there was almost total devastation in the war. People were very positive and enthusiastic and proud of Vietnam's achievements and that their economy is improving. We saw a lady making fashionable shoes on one the markets and she proudly told us that Vietnam used to import its shoes from China, but now they manufacture their own.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Trinh was excellent. One of the best leaders we've had. Very well organised and always went the extra mile to help and answer questions. He was also good fun.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The only thing I would mention that has not been covered by other reviewers or in the trip notes/advice is that it would have been a good idea to have a neck flap for the cycling. On one of our cycling days (Mekong) it was a sunny 35 degrees.
  • Reviewed February 2017
    Jayne Tomlins

    Trails of Vietnam

    A lovely group, an efficient guide and a varied itinerary, we got to see a lot of Vietnam, a beautiful and exciting country. It was definitely a holiday that left me with some brilliant memories. The only thing which let us down was the rain in Hue and Danang with its consequent inactivity.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were loads of moments but in particular I loved the cycling round the Mekong Delta, lovely food, walking round vibrant Hanoi in the evening and the trekking in the Truong Son mountains. Will always remember singing our hearts out on the overnight train trip from Hanoi to Hue! Also the New Years Eve party in Hue was perfect, with games, karaoke and dancing.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ticked all the boxes! Bac was lovely and bent over backwards to get the most out of our stay in Vietnam.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go for it! It's not too strenuous activity-wise, most of us could have happily done more. I took a more comfortable saddle which I was glad about. In Hoi'An you can get clothes tailor-made for you, so if you have a favourite item of clothing, take it along so they can copy it. Also, laundry can be done at the various hotels so there's no need to take 2 weeks' worth of stuff. Wished I had stayed on a little really, which some members of the group did, as there are some beach resorts close by which are cheap.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Wasn't so keen on the hill-tribe homestay as it seemed a bit of a gimmick The village was a tourist trap,despite beautiful countryside, so why endure below standard bathrooms? Also a lot of time is spend on the coach and there's a lot of packing, unpacking but on the whole I think it's worth it as we saw such a lot and Bac organized lots of optionals, the cookery course in Hoi'An was a good idea to keep out of the rain.

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