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Incense giving, Vietnam

Vietnam Adventure

14 days
from
$1,545 USD
incl. taxes
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Traveller ratings
4.7 / 5 from 149 reviews >
Trip code: 
AOV
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Culture
Group size:
5–16
Min age:
16

Discover North and South Vietnam

This trip encapsulates the magic of Vietnam: the conservative north, the rich heritage of the imperial cities, coastal scenery and the vibrant life of Saigon and the Mekong Delta. We come face to face with an outgoing culture, where so much goes on in the streets: eating, washing, socialising, buying and selling or impromptu games. This intoxicating parade of Vietnamese daily life may leave us with our strongest memories, as much as the superb landscapes and amazing cuisine.

Highlights

  • Boat trip around stunning Halong Bay
  • Hanoi city tour including the Old Quarter
  • In Hue visit the Imperial Citadel, the Thien Mu Pagoda and the Tu Duc Mausoleum
  • The historic trading town of Hoi An
  • Crawling through the Cu Chi war tunnels
  • Exploring the Mekong Delta by boat
  • Experiencing mouth-watering cuisine

Key information

  • 10 nights comfortable hotels
  • 1 night boat with twin share cabins
  • 1 night standard guesthouse homestay to experience 'Mekong Delta' hospitality
  • 1 night sleeper train, soft-bed berths
  • Group normally 5 to 16, plus leader

What's included

  • 12 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 2 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:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade 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.

Responsible Travel

John Penge

Tourism can be a real help to local communities, providing income, positive cultural exchanges and a financial incentive to protect their natural environment. Ours is a 'total approach' to responsible tourism, covering everything from the way we plan and operate our trips to the practices of Exodus as a company. 

As much as possible, we try to use accommodations that are locally owned and staffed to ensure that our visit is directly contributing to the community. We also get to enjoy a delicious home cooked meal when we stay overnight at the homestay guesthouse and have the opportunity to foster friendship over food.

During the free afternoons in Hoi An, clients can plan a visit to ‘Reaching out’, a social enterprise that provides opportunities for people with disability to learn skills as artisans and gain employment so that they will be able to fully integrate with their communities and lead independent lives. Purchasing handmade gifts from them is a form of support to local production and its worthy cause.

When in Hanoi, we strongly 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 16-22 year olds from disadvantaged backgrounds. Many of the graduates have gone on to continue developing their careers at KOTO restaurants or have gained employment elsewhere with their training making it a great initiative to support.

In March 2019, Exodus Travels launched the Exodus Travels Foundation where we support initiatives all around the world. But it cannot exist without travellers who care. Get involved or learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus here

Itinerary

Hanoi
to
Saigon
  • 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. 

    This evening there will be a welcome briefing followed by an optional group dinner at a local restaurant.

    May de Ville City Centre Hotel or similar

  • Day 2

    City tour

    In Hanoi we take a sightseeing tour of the city that includes a visit to the Temple of Literature; the site of the oldest university in Vietnam with over 2000 graduates, Hoa Lo Prison & the Old Quarter of the city with its '36 Streets' where each street is home to shops selling particular products - e.g. 'silk street', 'gold street', 'paper street' and 'tourist souvenir street'. Another stop is the grounds of the Presidential Palace where Ho Chi Minh refused to live in the grand structure for symbolic reasons. We visit his traditional Vietnamese stilt house here. 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; overnight on boat

    We make an early start for the approximately 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 and enjoy a seafood lunch on board. We overnight on board in twin share cabins with en suite facilities.

    Overnight Boat

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Cruise; return to Hanoi; overnight train to Hue

    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 Hue, 500km to the south.

    Overnight Train

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Arrive Hue; sightseeing

    Arriving mid-morning in Hue we transfer to our hotel. Hue claims to be the cultural and historical centre of Vietnam, and there is plenty to see. The most outstanding sight is the Imperial Citadel with walls six miles in length. Inside are the palaces and halls of the Mandarins, and the remains of the Forbidden Purple City, where only the emperor, his eunuchs and concubines were allowed. The Forbidden Purple City was almost totally destroyed during the Vietnam War's Tet Offensive, but the foliage-covered ruins are still atmospheric and the gaping holes left by bombs give an idea of the destruction wreaked upon the country during the war.

    This afternoon we visit the Imperial Citadel and the famous Thien Mu Pagoda. The pagoda was a centre for anti-government protest in the early 1960's and it houses the Austin car that transported a monk, Thich Quang Duc, to Saigon in 1963 where he burned himself in protest against the president. The photograph of his self-immolation was printed in newspapers all around the world. We continue our journey to visit the mausoleum of Tu Duc, one of the most extravagant mausoleums of the great Nguyen emperors who ruled Vietnam from Hue between 1802 and 1945.

    Park View Hotel or similar

  • Day 6

    Cycle tour to local market; free afternoon

    This morning we will take a cycle ride out to the Thanh Toan bridge and a nearby local market. Travelling as the locals do, we discover the sights, sounds and smells of the villages surrounding Hue. Riding past rice paddies and small villages we arrive at Thanh Toan, a small village that is home to a legendary market. There will be time to explore the market stalls, before heading back to Hue for a free afternoon to further get to know this historical centre or to simpy relax by the riverside and absorb the local sights. This morning's cycle is a leisurely ride (approx. 15km) on flat and mostly even terrain. There is the option to journey to the village by motorbike as a pillion passenger for those who would rather not cycle (there will be a small extra charge paid locally).

    Park View Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Journey to Hoi An via Da Nang

    Leaving Hue, our 130km journey drives through the beautiful peninsula of Lang Co between the crystal waters of a lagoon and the South China Sea, and then passes over the spectacular Hai Van pass ('Pass of the Ocean Clouds') where the views are stunning. In Da Nang we first stop at the Cham museum where there are altars, statues and decorative works collected from Hindu and Buddhist temples and towers from the Kingdom of Champa that flourished between the 7th to 17th centuries in Central Vietnam. We then climb 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 China beach and the surrounding countryside leading on to Hoi An where we spend the next three nights.

    Le Pavillon Hoi An Boutique or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Walking tour of Hoi An; free afternoon

    This morning will include a walking tour 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 and great silk clothes shopping.

    This afternoon is free, one popular option is to jump on a bike for a ride through the countryside past local markets, schools and villages before continuing on to Cua Dai beach (5 km).

    Le Pavillon Hoi An Boutique or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Visit My Son; free afternoon in Hoi An

    This morning we will visit My Son, the Cham civilisation's spiritual home, where Cham kings were buried as early as the 4th century. Although wartime bombing has destroyed much of the site, there are a number of interesting stone towers and sanctuaries. Upon returning to Hoi An the rest of the afternoon is free to carry on enjoying this historic town.

    Le Pavillon Hoi An Boutique or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Fly to Saigon; walking city tour

    We drive to Da Nang and then fly to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), 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. This afternoon's walking city tour includes a visit to the Ben Thanh Market, Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral and War Remnants Museum. The Museum has an interesting photographic record of the Vietnam/American War. Please be aware that some images at the museum are very graphic.

    Huong Sen Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 11

    Visit Cu Chi Tunnels; free afternoon

    Today we leave the city behind us and head north to visit the infamous Cu Chi tunnels. Used by the Viet Cong during the war, the network covers 3 levels and approximately 240km of tunnels. Traditionally these were very narrow but some areas have been widened to allow tourists to explore the system. Claustrophobes may prefer to stay outside in the sunshine! In the afternoon we return to Saigon and the rest of the day is free for individual exploration.

    Huong Sen Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 12

    Mekong Delta boat ride; overnight in homestay guesthouse

    In the morning we drive to Vinh Long (approx. 2.5-3 hrs) in the Mekong Delta, known as the 'rice bowl' of Vietnam. This region produces most of Vietnam's fruit, sugar cane and coconuts. We take a boat trip on the mighty Mekong River to Cai Be. Recently, 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.

    En route we pass many orchards and friendly locals also travelling by boat. We stop to see some small cottage industries such as rice paper and coconut candy, getting a chance to sample the local produce along the way. The evening is tranquil as we have dinner on an Island and enjoy some 'Delta' hospitality. We spend the night sleeping at a simple homestay guesthouse built in the style of a local house. Bedding, a mosquito net and a small towel are provided.

    Mekong Homestay Guesthouse

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 13

    Walk through fruit orchards; 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 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.

Extend Your Trip

Angkor Wat Extension (from Saigon)

Code: XOF

'Discovered' enmeshed in the Cambodian 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 2021. All other nationalities require a visa to enter Vietnam and this must be obtained prior to departure. For further information see here 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. 

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 2 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.

Weather

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.

If you go to Cambodia for the Angkor Wat extension, the weather will be hot and humid all year round. The dry season is late October to May and the monsoon is normally between May and October; though there is an obvious transitional time between those settled periods.

The dry season is as it sounds, with hot days and generally clear skies, though you can expect the odd shower. The monsoon is characterised by short, sharp bursts of rain and is generally overcast all day though this does not detract from the enjoyment of the place; you just need to take an umbrella or buy a cheap local poncho!

Saigon

Hanoi

Is this trip for you?

This trip is rated Activity Level 2- Leisurely/Moderate

This is a busy itinerary that visits the main highlights of Vietnam. We travel by private minibus and we take one internal flight to allow you to experience as much as possible of this beautiful and diverse country in a short space of time. The weather can be hot and humid and cold in the winter months in the north around Hanoi and Halong Bay. Please be advised some of the days can be fairly long and tiring, with long travel days.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade 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.

Accommodation

Hotels, Boat, Homestay Guesthouse & Sleeper Train

You will spend 10 nights in comfortable hotels, 1 night aboard a boat with shared cabins and 1 night will be spent in a homestay guesthouse. All hotels and twin shared cabins on the boat have en suite facilities. All of the hotels have either fans or air conditioning.

En suite facilities are not available on the night at the homestay guesthouse in the Mekong Delta or the overnight sleeper train journey. During the overnight sleeper train journey, you will be accommodated in soft-bed berths (usually 4 to a berth).

Please be advised that the accommodation listed in each location on the day to day itinerary are the standard hotels used. However, there may be some departures where groups stay at similar hotels of the same standard and quality.

 Single supplements are available (on request) and only available for 10 nights of the trip (hotel nights). Please advise the sales team at the time of booking if you would like to request a single supplement.

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade 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.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade 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

Embracing a healthy lifestyle can be a challenge, but if you’re going to keep it up there’s got to be more to it than

  • Reviewed April 2019
    Cindy Cochrane

    Exceedingly Good Trip

    it was a fantastic holidays exceeding all our expectations.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The 2 cycling trips in Hui and Hoian were exciting and memorable. Cycling in busy Hui city was an experience compared to non. Visiting the organic farms in Hoian demonstrated the fundamentals and the source of the freshness and originality of the Vietnamese cuisines. The trip to Me Son visiting the Champa kingdom and seeing the ruins gave me a different historical and religious perspectives about the country which I knew little about before the visit.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Quan was an excellent tour guide and group leader. He provided second to non travel customer service. Travel and visits were arranged like a well oil engine, everything went smoothly. Although the itineraries were structured he listened and tapped into the needs and desires of our group and would alterer to suit. He was very generous with information. Apart from the factual historical facts he also accompanied these with his social commentaries giving a personal and fascinating perspectives into the country from someone who has lived through the tremendous political and social changes of his country.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Fabulous and worthwhile experience for first time visit to Vietnam as the journey from Hanoi to Saigon gave a very comprehensive exploration of the country geographically, culturally, historically and politically not to mention the different and changing cuisine during the travel.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I am a serious foodie so perhaps the comment here only applies to people who seriously seeking eating experience during the trip. I found personally my foodie experience wasn't sufficiently challenged. Quan did make excellent eating recommendations which were highly appreciated by majority of the group. But I found the places we went to cater a more European fusion type palate and not sufficiently authentic for me. But i did found some exceptional places to indulge my eatings.
  • Reviewed April 2019
    Mervyn Jupe

    Don't understand this

    Well organised and very good well informed guides. Very comprehensive trip. Grateful for arriving a day early and leaving a day later arrangements - accommodation & airport transfers. Excellent accommodation. Very variable activities - some included (cycling) and some optional (kayaking, cooking) Hoi An - too touristy. Saigon - uninteresting. Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hue, My Son, Tunnels, Mekong delta, Angkor temples, Floating villages - all excellent. Phnom Penn s21 prison and nearby "killing fields" - very harrowing. Meals - some were relatively expensive and I found with a good breakfast that I only needed a snack at lunchtime if eating a full meal in the evening.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    see above

    What did you think of your group leader?

    see above

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't need passport photos for Angkor complex pass. They take your photo when getting your pass.
  • Reviewed April 2019
    Gary westwater

    Vietnam Adventure

    Our Vietnam Adventure was indeed an adventure - having such a varied itinerary - but not over-organised - with interesting places visited - travel by boats and train- and activities such as bicycling and kayaking-and crawling through tunnels. Staying in excellent hotels - and overall led by a very competent, entertaining and knowledgeable guide - who looked after us, without being imperious

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Climbing up Marble Mountain and seeing the cave used as a hospital by the Viet Cong

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for an active holiday with enjoyable - but long - days

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No
  • Reviewed April 2019
    Erica Brown

    Loved it!

    This was an excellent tour. We packed a lot in but the pace never felt too much. It was a really good mix of culture, history and activity.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The boat trip in Ha Long bay is stunning, though the bay itself suffers from the 21st century blight of plastic and rubbish at high tide. The cycle trips were a lovely relaxing way to see the countryside; easy paced.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide - Mr Q - was absolutely brilliant, knowledgable and efficient. His advice was always sound and we felt well looked after.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We learned so much about the history of Vietnam - much of it brutal - and its worth knowing that the 'Hanoi Hilton' and the museum in Saigon display some pretty graphic and upsetting images - so be warned.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The accommodation was of a much higher standard than I have experienced on similar kinds of tours (with another company). I highly recommend this trip - we even managed an afternoon on the beach.
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Claire Holmes

    Travel from north to South Vietnam

    What an amazing adventure that we have had with exodus, never been to Vietnam before this was a great way to see the country.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The most inspirational was for us was the trip to Halong bay on the boat, seeing all the islands and the caves. The boat was basic but clean the food was gorgeous and staff where willing to help.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Huy was full of information regarding different places that we visited, he was flexible if we wanted to do our thing i.e having a meal by our selfs.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The over night sleeper train was hard, lack of sleep and noisy.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Alla Neal

    Still OK but not excellent as previous 3 Exodus trips.

    This is my 4th trip with Exodus and the worst. Still OK but not excellent as previous 3 were. We spent too much time in unbelievably noisy polluted cities instead of maybe explore countryside a bit more. Also by returning from Halong Bay (which were fantastic) we lost the whole day sitting in Hanoi lobby to be able to take overnight train and to have a very busy day after this. Train is awful - not possible to sleep, even for someone like me who experienced many overnight trains in Russia. Instead it would be better to take a day train, rest in the hotel overnight and then have the busy day. Cycling inside the city in Hue was not safe, especially considering that more than a half of the group are not experienced cyclists and the amount of traffic grows very fast every year (Ref: Vietnam population doubled in size within last 60 years). But cycling in countryside was lovely. Hotel in Hoi An was miles away from the city centre for no reason - there are plenty hotels closer for the similar rate. And finally our guide kept disappearing for an hour or two and was very vague with his instructions.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Halong Bay

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was a nice chap, but he was not the best exodus guide. He "forgot" about a single lady traveller on the 1st night and had to go back when he remembered (about half an hour later, when we already were sitting in the restaurant). He kept disappearing for an hour or two, was contantly very vague with his instructions and was ignoring questions when you ask him something - it alsways shall be 2-3 times before we get a reply.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Deirdre and Dave Harris

    An amazing trip!

    This was an outstanding and memorable trip which taught us so much about the history, culture and geography of Vietnam. Travelling from north to south, the itinerary was exceedingly well planned and varied - from the variety of accommodation and modes of transport to the experience of both city and rural life. As members of the generation which remembers the Vietnam War on the TV screeens for a decade, it was a profound experience to visit those places where momentous events took place, heightening our awareness of both the suffering, resilience and achievements of the Vietnamese people.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Every day was enjoyable and there were many memorable activities. We particularly liked the tranquillity of Ho Chi Minh’s site in Hanoi, spending the night on the boat on a misty Halong Bay, the Da Nang Museum of Cham Sculpture, cycling through the paddy fields from Hue, visiting the ruins of the My Son valley, sailing on the Mekong Delta and staying in the island homestay. There were opportunities to reflect on the troubled history of the country at Hoa Lo Prison in Hanoi, the War Remnant Museum in Ho Chi Minh City and the Cu Chi tunnels.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Vuong Truong, known to us as V, was an outstanding leader. He was very knowledgeable about the history and the culture of his country and imparted this in a very positive and entertaining way. We travelled in a lovely group of 9 and V’s manner, sense of humour and awareness of people’s needs helped us to bond together from the outset. V’s enthusiasm and positivity were infectious and we had many a laugh. He was always very professional, all arrangements went smoothly and he was good at making minor adjustments to suit individual needs.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for early starts and a full itinerary. Make the most of the optional activities offered. The overnight journey on the train from Hanoi to Hue should be regarded as an interesting experience!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We appreciated Exodus’s commitment to responsible tourism, particularly supporting local employment eg the use of local guides and opportunities to support cottage industries and reducing the use of plastic by always having water available on the buses. We would strongly recommend this trip!
  • Reviewed February 2019
    JUDITH GROOME

    A FANTASTIC TRIP

    A fantastic experience. Vietnam is a fascinating country and with this trip you travel from North to South and experience the wealth of the country's geography, history, culture and food. Our trip was enhanced by a really great tour leader (Phuong Le) who was attentive from the start to each and every one of us and made sure that everything ran seamlessly. She had a lovely sense of humour, spoke English proficiently and went out of her way to tell us about all aspects of Vietnam so that we had a great understanding of the history and culture. We had a great group and right from the start we felt at ease with everybody. Lots of laughs and jokes were shared and we are still in touch using a WhatsApp group! The trip is very full on. You move from Hanoi in the north to the wonderful Halong Bay, then you're on an overnight train down to Hue in central Vietnam exploring the Forbidden Purple City and the next day cycling amongst the paddy fields. Then you're in Hoi An with its waterfront beautifully lit with hundreds of lanterns. Here we had time to relax, get the washing done, have a massage, do a cooking course, get some clothes made. The last part of the trip is based in Ho Chi Minh city and it is here were I became much more aware of the violent history of Vietnam, visiting the War Remnant museum (shocking) and then the Cu Chi tunnels. The next day we were on a boat weaving amongst the maze of waterways in the Mekong delta where we stayed overnight in a homestay. The food in Vietnam is fabulous. As I don't eat meat, Phuong went out of her way to ensure that I always had a veggie or fish alternative when we visited restaurants as a group. I have done quite a few Exodus trips but this is one of the best and is very high up in the ranking!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were a few: Halong Bay with its monumental limestone karsts and then visiting the Wow cave. The trip in the countryside Hoi An with its beautiful lanterns along the waterfront Saigon with its modern buildings lit up at night and the preparations for New Year.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Phuong Le is the best. She was extremely efficient and made everything appear to happen like clockwork. She was attentive to everyone in the group and nothing was too much trouble for her. She was passionate about making us aware of Vietnamese culture, language, history, customs and food and her talks on the bus when we were travelling from place to place were interesting and gave us insights into everything Vietnamese. She went out of her way to ensure that we were individually catered for throughout the trip (eg dietary needs) and even helped us by booking taxis for us on our onward journeys, even though we weren't travelling with Exodus.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just go along and enjoy yourself!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Vietnam will be with you for a while after you've come back. You'll want to read up about all the things you've learned.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Jeff Craddock

    A brilliant trip

    Our first visit to Vietnam; what an amazing trip. We had a fantastic tour leader (Phuong Le). It was clear from our introduction that she was determined to take good care of us, make sure that we had a great time, and she was going to Introduce us to the unique life and culture of Vietnam. The trip broke down to a number of very different elements. We loved it all, and would recommend this trip without hesitation

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum and the estate where he lived and worked. A great feeling of serenity and peace in this place; the respect which is afforded to this towering figure of the twentieth century

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fantastic, and key to making this trip so good. Great empathy with the group. Clearly loved her country and culture. Gave us great insights into life in modern day Vietnam

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go for it!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No
  • Reviewed January 2019
    Edina Engelsman

    A fantastic, inspiring and diverse holiday!

    A fantastic holiday with lots of variety, things to do and see with some free time to explore parts of a city yourself. Our guide Khoa was excellent and thanks to him I feel I understand a bit more about the history of Vietnam! Delicious food everywhere!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I loved the variety and had several special moments on this trip. Waking up on Christmas morning on Halong Bay with the sun shining and amazing views was just one of them. Walking around the lake and the backstreets in Hanoi early morning after just getting of the plane. So much to see! I would also recommend the optional visit to the Woman's museum in Hanoi. We enjoyed the overnight train journey to Hue. Really enjoyed the cycle ride in Hue despite the heavy rain and the optional cycle ride in Hoi Ann, which had a lot of surprises, including a ferry ride, going on the river in a basket, eating local snacks. The local guide was very enthusiastic! We left around 2.15 and did not get back to the hotel until 6 pm! Walking around in beautiful Hoi An with all the lights.The acrobatics show on New Year's Eve in Ho Chi Min was amazing. Then afterwards to experience the whole city buzzing for New Year's Eve, which according to our guide, was nothing compared to the crowds at the Vietnamese New Year celebrations! Following our guide through the throngs of people and mopeds to the river for an amazing fireworks display! I found the visit to The Cu Chi tunnels very interesting. It was worth getting their early with a 7 am start after New Year's Eve. The War museum in HCMC was very well put together, although at some point I had to walk out as there was so much suffering displayed. Also loved visiting the Mekong Delta. And of course not to forget the delicious food we had everywhere!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Khoa was an excellent guide. He was very organized, committed, knowledgeable, flexible and had a fun sense of humour. He made sure that everyone was looked after. He did an amazing job at New Year's Eve in Ho Chi Min to guide those ,who wanted to, through the crowds of people and mopeds to get to the river for an amazing fire works display. He also took us to some really nice restaurants and always had some dishes to recommend.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We travelled as a family with 2 teenage sons who loved the holiday despites some early starts!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Looking back the only suggestion I have to Exodus is that I would have preferred one night less in Hue and Hoi An and spend those in the hills north west of Hanoi.

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