Our children's prices are now up to 25% lower than the adult cost for Exodus-operated guided trips, and that goes for ages up to 16 years!


Chopsticks & Coconuts Family Holiday

14 days
incl. taxes
Activity level:
Trip code: 
Ways to Travel:
Family Group, Private Group Adventures
Family Tours
Group size:

A north to south Vietnamese family adventure

From the spectacular limestone seascape of Halong Bay to the frenetic streets of Saigon, Vietnam is a country full of interest and surprises. The cities are an assault on all the senses: noisy, colourful, aromatic and totally absorbing. We tour Hanoi by cyclo and have the option to see a water puppet show. We have quieter time also, snorkelling at Whale Island, exploring the fascinating Mekong Delta by boat and cycling past vibrant green paddy fields near Hoi An. We also have the chance to enjoy the superb Vietnamese cuisine and practise our chopstick skills (try the fried scorpion if you dare!).


  • Two nights on a tropical island, snorkelling in turquoise seas 
  • Learning and sampling the secrets of delicious Vietnamese cuisine
  • Sightseeing by cyclo (bicycle taxi) and also by bike
  • A night in a village homestay
  • Magical boat rides and kayaking around scenic Halong Bay, the Eastern Sea and Mekong Delta
  • Crawl through the Cu Chi war tunnels
  • Beaches and swimming pools
  • Two internal flights to maximise your time at destinations

Key information

  • 10 nights hotels, all en suite, 1 night boat, 1 night homestay, night sleeper train
  • 13 days sightseeing, boat trips, kayaking and exploration
  • Travel by private minibus, boat, bike, train and 2 internal flights
  • Countries visited: Vietnam

What's included

  • 12 breakfasts,2 lunches and 3 dinners
  • All accommodation (see accommodation section)
  • 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:
1 800 267 3347
Call for private group trips:
1 800 267 3347
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.

People, Places & Planet

We work hard to create trips which improve life for the people and places we visit, and look after the planet we explore. Find out more about our sustainable travel ethos and practice here, and find out about the work of the Exodus Travels Foundation here.

Some sustainable travel highlights of this trip include:


How this trip helps improve life for local communities.

  • The use of a local guide means our customers will be well informed about local traditions, and cultural and social sensitivities.
  • This trip brings income and opportunity to the destination community through the inclusion of locally-owned hotels and restaurants, the emphasis on eating locally produced food and support of other local enterprise.
  • In Hanoi, we encourage groups to have a communal meal at KOTO, which is an NGO that provides a two year course in hospitality, English and life skills training to groups of 16-22 year olds from disadvantaged backgrounds. Students also receive accommodation, food, medical check-ups and treatment whilst they are being trained. Many of the 400+ graduates have gone on to continue developing their careers at KOTO restaurants or have gained employment elsewhere with their training so this is a great initiative to support.
  • There is also the option to see a traditional folk dancing or water puppet show in Hanoi. This encourages local customs to continue and creates employment opportunities.
  • In Hoi An, we also stop by a shop called ‘Reaching Out’, which sells gifts handmade by artisans with disabilities – helping them to develop their talent and independence.
  • Guests will have the opportunity to stay overnight and eat a delicious home cooked meal in a local homestay guesthouse in the Mekong Delta.
  • We do a lot to celebrate the cottage industries on this tour, as this is not only a way to directly benefit the locals but it is also hugely fascinating and enjoyable for travellers. For example, in the Mekong Delta, we visit a lot of these small businesses and factories which sell handmade coconut sweets, rice paper, soya bean sauce and popped rice amongst other things.


How this trip helps protect and conserve local landscapes and nature.

  • By travelling in a small group, led by a local guide, we ‘tread lightly’ to minimise our impact on local resources and the environment. On this trip, part of the itinerary is located in the Mekong Delta and we stay one night in a local guesthouse homestay.
  • Our trips adhere to ABTA’s industry-leading animal welfare guidelines to ensure the best possible practices with regard to working animals and wildlife viewing. Our animal welfare policy can be found here.
  • We work with our partners on the ground to proactively eliminate or reduce waste, for example eliminating all single-use plastic water bottles and instead providing refills for re-usable bottles.
  • We provide clients with a re-usable tote bag at the start of the tour (locally made in Hanoi), offering an alternative to single-use plastic bags and a souvenir to take home!


How we seek to keep the carbon footprint of this trip low.

  • Read about Exodus Travels’ Planet Promise here, including our rewilding and carbon compensation commitments for every customer who travels.
  • We choose to travel on the overnight train from Hanoi to Da Nang as opposed to taking an internal flight.
  • Accommodation and restaurants in the itinerary use locally-sourced food which has not been transported long distances.
  • Vegetarian and vegan options are available at some accommodation and restaurants.

Tips for sustainable travel on this trip

  • Leave no trace: We do all we can to ensure we leave no rubbish behind in the wild and beautiful places we visit; we ask that you do the same. If there are no recycling facilities in-country, we’d ask you to consider bringing recyclable materials home with you.
  • Plastic waste reduction: Please bring your own re-usable water bottle on this trip; filtered water will be provided where tap water is not drinkable.
  • Cultural respect:
    • Please remember that you will be expected to cover your legs and arms (to the elbow) during visits to temples and sacred sites so packing a sarong or other suitable clothing is recommended. Also remember to remove hats when visiting a sacred site.
    • Do not rest your chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice as this symbolises the burning of incense (which is usually reserved for times of mourning).
    • One should not show the soles of their feet or touch someone’s head, both are considered disrespectful.


  • Day 1

    Start Hanoi

    The day is free to recover from the flight or stroll amongst broad tree-lined avenues dating from the French period. There is a faded colonial charm where baguettes and good coffee are sold from doorways of grand buildings of a past era. There will be a welcome briefing this evening with your leader followed by an optional dinner at a local restaurant, where your children will have their first opportunity to practice their chopsticks skills.
    May De Ville City Centre Hotel or similar

  • Day 2

    Morning tour of Hanoi including a cyclo tour around the Old Quarter; afternoon free. Evening at Hanoi's famous water puppet show

    This morning we take a city tour, which will include a visit to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum area to see his 'House on Stilts' and visit the One Pillar Pagoda. We'll also visit the Temple of Literature and the Hoa Lo Prison (also known as the 'Hanoi Hilton'). Afterwards we enjoy a cyclo (bicycle taxi) ride through the Old Quarter, with its '36 Streets' where each street is home to shops sell particular products - e.g. 'silk street', 'gold street', 'paper street' and 'souvenir street'. The remainder of the day is at leisure to stroll around the Hoan Kiem Lake, stopping for a coffee or ice cream at one of the many cafes surrounding it. In the evening there is the option to enjoy a performance of Hanoi's famous water puppets.
    May De Ville City Centre Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    To Halong Bay; cruise/kayak among spectacular limestone formations; dinner and sleep on boat

    We make an early start for the approximate 4 hour journey to Halong Bay. This is one of the most stunningly beautiful sights in South East Asia with roughly 3,000 limestone peaks rising directly from the clear emerald sea. We cruise amongst this amazing karst scenery, stopping to have a go at kayaking, allowing us to get to places inaccessible by boat (weather permitting), and enjoy a seafood lunch on board. In the late afternoon we watch the sun go down and enjoy another lovely meal before overnighting on the boat in twin share cabins with en suite facilities.
    Overnight Boat

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Cruise then return to Hanoi; overnight train to Da Nang

    We continue to cruise around Halong Bay this morning before returning to port. We then drive back to Hanoi, and transfer to the train station and board the Reunification Express for the overnight train ride to Da Nang, over 600km to the south.
    Overnight Train

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Explore caves at Marble Mountain; drive to Hoi An for walking tour

    This morning on arrival in Da Nang we drive the short distance to Marble Mountain where we explore the large caves which were used by the Viet Cong as a hospital base during the war. From the mountain peak, there are fantastic views over My Khe Beach and the surrounding countryside leading on to Hoi An. We then drive on to the World Heritage site of Hoi An, the original European trading port in Vietnam dating back to the mid-16th century. It is now a living museum, with attractive wooden merchant's houses and pagoda-style temples with Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and European architectural influences. It is also a marvellous place to wander around and enjoy the thriving riverside market. We take a walking tour of the old town and visit the Japanese Bridge and Chinese Assembly Hall.

    Le Pavillon Paradise Hoi An Hotel & Spa or similar

  • Day 6

    Cycle through countryside; free afternoon followed by an evening cooking class

    This morning we jump on bikes for a ride on quiet roads through the countryside past local markets, schools and villages before continuing on to Cua Dai beach (5 km). Please note that we are able to provide child sized bikes for those children who are 120cm and taller. Children riding their own bikes must be aged 7 upwards, for smaller children there will be the option of riding on the back of their parents bike in a child seat or saddle. The afternoon is dedicated to free time at the beach for swimming, or you can take an optional boat trip on the river or relax back in town. In the evening we join an informal cooking class where adults and children alike will learn how to make some of Hoi An's speciality dishes and even participate in rolling your own spring rolls!
    Le Pavillon Hoi An Boutique Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 7

    Fly to Nha Trang; transfer to Whale Island, free time to swim in the turquoise sea

    This morning we transfer to Da Nang airport and fly to the Cam Ranh airport in Nha Trang. We then transfer (approx. 3 hours) to the tropical island retreat of Whale Island. With just one guesthouse on the island and accommodation in beach bungalows, this really is a chance to unwind and relax or while away the rest of the day swimming in the sea. 

    Whale Island Resort or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Cruise around islands with seafood lunch and snorkelling

    We will join a boat trip in the morning for a spot of snorkelling and swimming before a seafood lunch is served. In the afternoon there is the option to visit a local fishing village, see the Whale temple or walk around the island to the viewpoint for a 360 degree view of the stunning mountainous coastline and the surrounding coves and white sand beaches.

    Whale Island Resort or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 9

    Fly to Saigon

    Depending on flight schedules, there may be time for one last dip in the sea before transferring to the airport for our flight to Saigon, officially known as Ho Chi Minh City. This is an exciting and absorbing city where scooters pack the streets and temples stand defiantly alongside modern developments. Devastated by the Vietnam War, it is now a bustling free market city where anything goes.
    Huong Sen Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Excursion to the Cu Chi Tunnels; afternoon tour of Saigon with visits to Reunification Palace and Ben Thanh markets

    In the morning we visit the famous Cu Chi Tunnels used by the Viet Cong during the war the network covers 3 levels and approximately 240km of tunnels. The tunnels were used by the guerrillas as living quarters and escape routes during the Vietnam War. Although originally very narrow, some parts have been widened for the tourists and we have the opportunity to explore parts of the system. Claustrophobes may prefer to stay outside in the sunshine before we return to Saigon. In the afternoon we wander around the city visiting the Saigon River, Ben Thanh market, Reunification Hall and Notre Dame Cathedral.
    Huong Sen Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 11

    Explore the Mekong Delta by boat, visiting a floating market and villages; overnight in homestay guesthouse

    This morning we drive to Cai Be in the Mekong Delta (approx. 2.5 hours). The Mekong, known as 'the rice bowl of Vietnam', produces much of Vietnam's fruit, sugar cane and coconuts. We spend some time at Cai Be from where we begin a Mekong River boat trip passing a floating market and visiting typical riverside villages where we learn about some of the local products for which the Mekong Delta is famous - e.g. popped rice, rice paper & coconut candy. Cai Be floating market is becoming less crowded and smaller as fruit trading is mostly now done by trucks due to the bridge being built. However, this is still a great opportunity to see a local market and the trade being conducted traditionally on a smaller scale. 

    After lunch we continue our journey passing some magnificent countryside and stopping at some small cottage industries. The evening is tranquil as we have dinner on an Island and enjoy some 'Delta' hospitality. We spend the night sleeping at a simple guesthouse built in the style of a local house. Bedding, a mosquito net and a small towel are provided.

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 12

    Morning walk through the island's fruit orchards and navigate small canals in a traditional sampan; return to Saigon

    This morning we take a walk through the fruit orchards and navigate our way through the small canals in a traditional wooden sampan. Later we rejoin our boat to rendezvous with our vehicle for the journey back to Saigon via a little visited Cao Dai temple used by devotees of this strange indigenous religion, which fuses all the great religions of east and west.
    Huong Sen Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    Free day in Saigon or optional visit to Dam Sen water park

    Today is a free day to explore Saigon at leisure or do some souvenir shopping! Alternatively, there is the option (additional cost- payable locally) to visit the excellent Dam Sen Water Park with its slides and rides to allow the kids to let their hair down! Your leader will advise further during the trip for those who wish to do this optional activity.
    Huong Sen Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    End Saigon

    For land only clients, the tour ends this morning in Saigon after breakfast.

    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.

Combine this trip with

Essential Info



From 15 March 2022, Vietnam has re-introduced visa waivers 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. All other nationalities require a visa to enter Vietnam and this must be obtained prior to departure.

For further information please check the FCDO site and check under Vietnam / 'Entry Requirements'. If you have any questions about whether you need a visa for your trip please contact the Customer Operations department.



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. 

Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, we therefore strongly recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

Eating and Drinking

12 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 3 dinners are included. 

Thanks to the tropical climate, the long coast and the gigantic range of mountains, 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 Vietnam and you can generally avoid the spicier food if you wish. Western food is readily available almost everywhere, with the exception of the night in the Mekong Delta.

Vegetarian food is widely available, however the offering will be fairly similar in most places. Please advise at time of booking if you have any dietary requirements.


The weather will be hot and humid throughout with temperatures during the day usually between 28ºC and 34ºC. It is only a little cooler at nights.

There is quite a range of seasons between the north and the south: the south up to Hue has a distinct dry season between December to April and then a rainy season from May to November when it tends to come in short heavy bursts with bright sunshine in between. Hanoi is cool in autumn, and even gets chilly between November and February (with a drizzly rain).

There is no ideal time to visit Vietnam; it is quite pleasant at any time of year, though due to the shape of the country it is unlikely that the weather will ever be perfect for the entire duration of any trip.

Please be aware that the boat trip on Halong Bay can be subject to short notice change if certain adverse weather conditions develop during your trip. These could occur all year round, but especially in monsoon season (from October to April). Boat trips on Halong Bay are governed by the local authorities who are authorised to make such appropriate safety decisions. If your Halong Bay trip is affected by adverse weather, this could either result in a reduced excursion on Halong Bay for your group, or less likely, the need to re-arrange the itinerary if it is not possible at all to go out on Halong Bay. Whilst this is not a frequent occurrence, our local team and leaders are well equipped to handle such situations and have long offered appropriate options to groups in the instances where this may occur.


Is this trip for you?

Activity Level: 3 (Moderate)

Designed for 13-16 year olds, also suitable for 9-12 year olds. 

Our family activity levels are aimed at children in the primary or ‘Designed for’ age group. We are confident it is also suitable for those in the ‘Also for’ age range, however please note if your child is in this secondary category they may find it a little easier. Please see the family activity levels on our website for further information. When grading our trips we consider multiple factors, such as the pace, the level of activity involved, the amount of time a family will spend travelling and the weather is an important factor too.

This holiday is designed so that you can see the best parts of Vietnam using a mixture of private buses, boats and flights. There is a lot to see in the time you are there, but it is paced so that it doesn't feel too rushed.

Travel time is kept to a minimum in general but there are a few longer drives. There is plenty of time for sightseeing and the trip has numerous stops where we spend two or more nights.

Whilst choosing this trip please note that some of the accommodation will be basic but is clean and tidy. The swimming pools may not be up to western standards.

Locals and other Asian tourists may want to take photos of themselves with your children particularly if they are young, blonde and have blue eyes. You should be prepared for them to do this without asking permission first. You should also be prepared for lots of traffic in the bigger cities like Hanoi and Saigon, where you will have to relearn crossing the street, as things like zebra crossings are not used as they are in the west.

Call for general departures:
1 800 267 3347
Call for private group trips:
1 800 267 3347
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.


Hotels, Boat, Guesthouse & Sleeper Train

During the tour you will spend 10 nights in comfortable hotels (all rooms en suite), 1 night on a boat in twin share cabins (en suite), 1 night standard guesthouse to experience some 'Mekong Delta' hospitality, sleeping 1-3 a room (depending on group size), next to a local house and 1 night sleeper train, soft-bed berths. All the hotels are centrally located. 

Our 2 night stay on Whale Island is regarded as an absolute highlight for many however it is basic. You will stay in bamboo thatched bungalows each with mosquito nets, fans and en-suite bathrooms. The simplicity of island life really makes it idyllic but you should be prepared for it to be a bit different to the hotels used for the rest of the trip. 

During this trip we spend one night on the sleeper train, the best way to travel long distances with the locals! The journey between Hanoi and Da Nang is quite comfortable although despite being first class, it is still primitive. You will be in a 4 man cabin, (occasionally 6 depending on season) and bedding is provided, although some travellers prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. On occasion, passengers of different genders will be required to share a compartment and there will be occasions where you'll be sharing with local travellers or travellers who are not part of your group. Most trains have a dining carriage but people generally stock up on snacks before the journey.

We have endeavoured to select hotels for their location as well as character, and use the best available accommodation in each area visited. There will have en-suite facilities, reliable electricity and water supply, good service and some added amenities.

Most hotels have swimming pools but the homestay in the Mekong Delta does not. There are opportunities to swim at beaches in Hoi An and on Whale Island. 

Single Accommodation

There may be instances when you specifically want a single room. Perhaps a grandparent needs one, or parents of a family of three or five want to ensure they get a bit of space! Single supplements are available upon request (see price details below). Please advise as time of booking. A single room is available on hotel nights only.

Additional Accommodation

Is available in Hanoi and Saigon before and after your trip. Please ask for prices. Due to high demand for rooms there is a chance it may be in a different hotel to the start/end hotel of your trip. Please ask your sales consultant if you wish to book extra nights.

Call for general departures:
1 800 267 3347
Call for private group trips:
1 800 267 3347
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.

Call for general departures:
1 800 267 3347
Call for private group trips:
1 800 267 3347
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 September 2019
    Jennifer Wright

    Absolutely fabulous

    The trip exceeded all expectations. It was full of fun, colour and culture. We saw so much of the country in two weeks. We had amazing experiences- cycling through pretty villages, snorkelling in turquoise sea, kayaking through spectacular scenery, cooking and eating delicious food and relaxing on a tropical island. My son had the holiday of a lifetime and had great adventures with new friends. Also we had the most wonderful tour guide who was sweet, sensitive, capable, knowledgeable and enthusiastic about her country. I can not recommend this trip highly enough. Oh and amazing value for money too.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Kayaking in Ha Long bay, then being taken to a secret beautiful beach to swim. We were all so delighted, and stayed for ages in the beautiful water chatting and getting to know one another.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Absolutely excellent. As I said above - Ashley was sweet, caring, capable, funny, knowledgeable helpful and enthusiastic. We all loved her. I particularly appreciated the fact that I could eat a whole variety of delicious food despite my severe nut allergy. Ashley explained it to chefs everywhere we went. In other countries I have accepted that I need to just eat plain, boring food. But everywhere we went, the cooks made special nut-free delicious food after Ashley had explained.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You have to go - it’s a beautiful country and an extremely well organised trip. Also, I worried about mosquitoes, but we hardly saw any.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I will definitely choose another Exodus trip. I would like to thank the company - what a fantastic holiday we will never forget. Thank you.
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Gilliie Williams

    Excellent Holidays

    Travelled with my 16 and 18 year old for last holiday before University- had a wonderful 2 weeks and made new friends. Everyone was friendly, relaxed ,happy and pleased to socialise. Kids ranged from 11 to 18years but gelled well together. Always some one to talk to. Full on trip but variable in activities. But opportunities to be alone if all too much. Loved it!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Meekong Valley was beautiful , a chance to unwind, relax with the group. Very peaceful, great food, staff were friendly. Would have liked a couple of nights there. Vegetarian restaurant in Hoi Chin Ming City- fantastic

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Doan made our holiday very special. Looked after all of our group, a joy with the kids, very knowledgeable about the places. Pre-empted our requests and coped with our demands. Took us to wonderful places to eat. We wanted to take her home with us.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Arrive a day earlier to get over the jet lag and do some of your own exploring of Hanoi. Take tea bags and cups on the train overnight and sheet sleeping bags. Take lots of sun cream as easy to get burnt when snorkelling or swimming in Whale Island. If you get burnt use aftersun NOT oil or cream. Watch out for the Urchins. Take rain macs as when it rains it pours.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just go!
  • Reviewed August 2019
    David Dunlop

    Holiday to remember

    Lots of activities and visits throughout. Vietnam worth visiting and the trip enabled us to see the real Vietnam as well as the tourist Vietnam. Most of the children fully engaged with the spirit of the holiday.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    One of the children singing ‘all star’ on the bus. It livened up one of the lengthy bus trips. Halong Bay was picturesque. The weather was excellent which resulted in good swimming and kayaking not to mention the photographs from the glorious sunset. Whale Island was beautiful though the weather was windy owing to a nearby typhoon which brought in a lots of debris to the island. Walks around the island are well signed and worth exploring.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ngoc personality and sense of humour drove the trip. He was flexible and understanding and handled all group members diplomatically. He also explained clearly Vietnam’s geopolitical and environmental challenges, the religious and cultural diversity, and the population pressures particularly on housing and incomes. He got the balance right and occasionally fooled parents / children on elements of the trip - in particular the homestay!!
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Patrick Finn

    Forget "coconuts". This one's much more about "chopsticks"!

    Two week family trip going north to south through Vietnam. It's graded 1 for effort, but it moves at a brisk pace and manages to cram in a whole lot of places and activities. There is some 'free time' but this tour gets you up early and gets you out and about. Combining this with the humid and hot weather it can be surprisingly tiring. It is a family trip so we had beach days, canoe-ing, cycling, snorkelling and a trip to a water-park, which were really good fun for everyone. FOOD!!!!. Vietnam is a country with a cuisine (excellent) and food figured prominently in the tour. We ate and drank well and are now very proficient with the aforementioned chopsticks! It is also a country with a complex and troubled history and this was not glossed over. We left with a real feel for the place and its people. It is an amazing place full of very warm and friendly people.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    A trip to the War Remnants Museum in HCMC. This provided a graphic account of events during the Vietnam war. The viewpoint given is not particularly balanced as atrocious acts were known to have been carried out by both sides in this conflict. That being said, the factual information provided and the photographic records displayed give a sobering account of a very dark moment in time. Some of the material exhibited is quite upsetting and this museum is not really a good one for young children. What is particularly inspirational is the contrast between the events of the war and moving forward 40 years to the Vietnam of today. Modern Vietnam seems to have come through it all and is in a pretty good place.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Duy Nguyen was an excellent group leader and the tour was a great success. He clearly knows his job well and gets things organised. He has a degree in history and tourism and is a font of information about his country. No question is ignored and he has considerable patience answering the same series of enquiries from different families! We learned a lot about modern Communist Vietnam as well as its ancient history, colonial conflicts and all things in between. Best of all, he is very good with children. All of the kids on our tour really liked Duy, and he clearly very much enjoyed their company which made the holiday even better than anticipated.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We were advised to consider an extra day at the beginning of the trip to help get over jet lag. We followed the advice - the extra time was nice to get in a bit of extra sight seeing, but we feel that it is really not that necessary. Just turn up Day 1 and get into it!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Vietnam is a long and narrow country and its road infrastructure isn't always brilliant. In order to get the tour moving from place to place there are quite a lot of bus journeys which are often pretty slow. There is an overnight train journey and two flights involved. Consequently and of necessity, there is a fair bit of down time with travelling.
  • Reviewed August 2017
    Helen Belcher

    Fantastic family trip to Vietnam

    I have just returned from the family 'chopsticks and coconuts ' trip to Vietnam .The trip was excellent in every way ..The itinerary was well thought out .We started the trip in Hanoi and ended it in Ho Chi Min city using a variety of transport including an overnight train journey and 2 internal flights

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Halong bay by boat was stunning .We all loved the old town of Hoi An and enjoyed our Vietnamese cookery lesson there .The Cu Chi tunnels were fascinating .

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader Tam was truly outstanding .He worked tirelessly to ensure that we all had a fabulous time .He helped the group to bond and took us to fantastic restaurants to eat .He showed great humour and patience and his local knowledge and English were superb .

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is a busy and varied itinerary with not much free time to laze by the pool but we all loved it .

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Bring a sheet sleeping bag for the overnight train and sea sickness pills for the snorkelling .You can get clothes laundered cheaply so you don't need to bring too many Book this trip...you won't regret it !
  • Reviewed August 2017
    Sara Asquith

    Great Full On Tour of Vietnam

    Just returned from Chopsticks and Coconuts. It's a great, full on tour of Vietnam from North to South. We would never have fitted in so much if we had organised it ourselves. Our guide Tring was excellent at all times. Highlights: For me, yoga by the lake in Hanoi at 5am with hundreds of locals doing T'ai Chi. The Mekong delta's big skies and homestay. For my son (14), the Dam Sen Waterpark in HCMC and Hoi An time. Areas that we wouldn't have missed were Nha Trang as it is mass market tourism there. I'd recommend this trip wholeheartedly. Take lots of bug spray and a whole lot of energy, every day is full on, there's very very little time for rest at all - and when it comes it is really appreciated.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Mekong delta's big skies and slow pace of life. You can only go at the speed of the river!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent, excellent, excellent with both adults and children alike.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take lots of bug spray Vietnamese Dong, not dollars are more widely used
  • Reviewed April 2016
    Matthew Pearce

    Trip of a lifetime

    A fantastically varied trip that highlights the best that Vietnam has to offer. The hotels are great on the whole (special mention to Silk Village in Hoi An), the food is delicious and the people incredibly welcoming. If you have small children, be prepared for them to be patted, kissed, lifted up and posed for hundreds of photos! The pace is quite hectic at times with a few early starts and some long road trips, but the activities more than compensate for this. I would do it again tomorrow!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Snorkelling with my 6-year old twins for the first time in open water in Nha Trang. An amazing homestay in the Mekong, where we were the only guests. Our kids helped to cook the evening meal and the wonderful guide Chinh entertained our kids all evening.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He organised everything, picked some great restaurants that we would not have found ourselves and went out of his way to find some Tiger balm for us in Saigon. We even met his family. Occasionally maybe did not make enough allowances for the extra time required for organising travelling with small children.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If your kids are not great at getting up early without complaint, travelling long distances and moving on frequently, this is probably not the trip for you. The War Remnants Museum in Saigon, although a highlight of the trip and a must-see exhibition, shows graphic pictures of death, mutilation and deformity and in our opinion was definitely not suitable for young children. Other than that, just book it!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Saigon is hot, busy, noisy and not great for small children, and dependent on your Mekong/Cu Chi itinerary is maybe a day too long. Exodus should also consider ditching the Victory hotel in Saigon, which although in a prime location, falls well short of the standard of all the other hotels on the trip (not being able to swim in the pool due to the permanent presence of 25 armbanded adults learning to swim for example).
  • Reviewed April 2016
    Elizabeth Knight

    Chopsticks & coconuts

    An excellent family holiday, the best thing about it was our fellow holiday makers, lots of children who my son made friends plus a brilliant guide. Ps Vietnams not bad either!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Staying at the home stay in the Mekong delta

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Amazing. Nothing was too much trouble for him, fun, informative professional and what he didn't know about Vietnam wasn't worth knowing!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Yes, take 3/4 days to get accustomed to the jet lag before you start your exodus tour.
  • Reviewed August 2015
    Melanie Appleton

    Chopsticks and Coconuts

    A great introduction to Vietnam with my teenage daughter. I want to return now to go the the highlands

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Mekong Delta was amazing The food was exceptional!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Courteous, calm and knowledgeable

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Definitely bring a sheet sleeping bag for the 'first class' train trip. It is just as you would expect in S.E.Asia. Be prepared for the traffic which is constant and watch carefully how the locals cross the road, zebra crossings are not zebra crossing here. I would recommend this holiday for 8 plus, there is a lot of long journeys with this trip and I would think carefully before bringing a five year old.
  • Reviewed August 2015
    Marianne McWilliams

    Vietnam Chopsticks and Coconuts

    Fantastic family holiday with a mix of cultural experiences and activities for children of all ages, including teenagers. It is a busy holiday with quite a lot travel involved, but this is an experience in itself. Travelling with other families worked well and contributed to the enjoyment of the holiday.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Cu Chi tunnels and War Remnants Museum.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was Bao Tran who made our holiday an unforgettable experience. He was always enthusiastic, knowledgeable and patient with us. He went beyond the call of duty even when we/he had "free time" and had valuable suggestions as to what would be best to do.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't worry about your children not having a selection of different types of food to eat - lots of choice and vietnamese food in general was very good. Go to the AO show in the Saigon Opera House and take the Cyclo tour in Ho Chi Minh City.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would recommend this holiday to all families who have a sense of adventure and want their children to see a different way of living. Vietnam is a varied county with lots to see and do and travelling with other families on an organised tour worked well for us - parents & children.

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