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Incense giving, Vietnam

Vietnam Adventure

14 days
from
$1,545 USD
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Traveller ratings
4.7 / 5 from 139 reviews >
Trip code: 
AOV
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Culture
Min age:
16
Group size:
5–16

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

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

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. There may even be the chance to try a spot of fishing from the boat too. 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.

    Cherish 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).

    Cherish 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.

    Hoi An Silk Boutique Hotel & Spa 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).

    Hoi An Silk Boutique Hotel & Spa 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.

    Hoi An Silk Boutique Hotel & Spa 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.

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 December 2018
    Carol Sutton

    An amazing experience

    Vietnam is a beautiful country with wonderful gentle people. This holiday gives an insight into the ways of the people who live in the modern world but respect the ways of the old world.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Watching the day to day activities of the Vietnamese people going about their daily lives, the traffic, the scooters, the noise. The abundance of fruit, vegetables and flowers on display at the markets, Also kayaking in the lagoon at Halong bay as dusk was falling and everyone else had left, we watched the monkeys scurrying along the cliffs and it was silent and magical.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Cong was a lovely patient man who was obviously very proud of his country.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do all the optional trips offered to you, or get out and about on your own in the free time parts of this trip. It feels very safe in Vietnam so don't spend any time in your hotel room unless you are asleep!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Nothing to add, the trip was as described in the brochure/website and met all our expectations and more.
  • Reviewed December 2018
    Ian Munro

    Vietnam Adventure beginning 17 November 2018

    This was a fantastic trip, which covered a lot of distance and a wide variety of sights, activities and modes of transport. Our excellent leader, Cong Nguyen, managed the whole trip exceptionally well, ensuring that we had sufficient free time to allow us to relax from the busy schedule of travelling and activities. He was also knowledgeable and genuinely enthusiastic about the history and culture of Vietnam. We learned a lot from him. The standard of accommodation throughout the fortnight was excellent and the friendliness of the Vietnamese people was so welcoming. We even learned how to cross the street - a task which turned out to be a lot less dangerous than it first appeared (well, OK, a little less dangerous!) Finally, everything you ever heard about the fantastic food is correct!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Night time on the boat in Halong Bay, with lights all around us from other vessels. The beauty of Hoi An Getting away from the popular tourist sights and seeing some of the real Vietnam The quality and abundance of the fruit, herbs and vegetables The feeling of bustle, dynamism and progress in the country in general

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Cong was extremely efficient and personable. Our group was the maximum size of 16 and he managed to cater well for everyone's needs and expectations. His knowledge and enthusiasm for his country were clear for all to see and we really enjoyed the insights that he gave us.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Cash machines are much more available than we had expected and quite a number of establishments are happy to take cards. Wifi is widely available. If you like coffee, you'll love it in Vietnam! We found the trip notes to be very accurate , so it's worth studying those along with other feedback comments on this website. The pace of the trip is stated to be 'leisurely/moderate'. While that is undoubtedly correct in terms of the physical activity undertaken, bear in mind that there is a lot of travelling and some fairly long days. Having said that, our leader was adept and giving us free time to relax and the accommodation was always comfortable and pleasant.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We learned a lot more about the French and US wars, the civil war and the subsequent conflict with Cambodia. This country suffered a lot over a period of around 50 years and is making a great job of recovery. Given the enormous damage caused by bombing and use of defoliant chemicals in particular, it is inspiring to see how the Vietnamese have chosen to put the past behind them and to look to the future. Visitors from the US should not be nervous about coming on this trip but should perhaps be ready for some unpleasant revelations.
  • Reviewed December 2018
    Anna Cottle

    Vietnam Adventure trip review

    Fantastic trip. First time that I have been on a holiday alone. I had absolutely no need to worry. Exodus were able to give ages and sexes of other travellers on certain dates when I was booking. I was so lucky with my group, a fantastic mix of ages, some couples, friends and other lone travellers. Everyone got on so well and we all mixed with each other and no one was ever left out. Our group leader Ngoc made the trip as he was a local guide with a wealth of knowledge and experiences that he was always willing to share with the group. He was very attentive to the groups needs and always willing to please. He also had a great sense of humour to keep us all amused. This is a full on trip and it is all go for the 2 weeks but I can't see how else would have seen what we did. There was free time in the afternoons which you can spend alone or with others. Lots of shopping opportunities. I made the most of any extra activities, cycle and boat trips which were great fun. Such fantastic scenery. All flat ground and at a leisurely pace. I would suggest a bit of practice in the Uk first just to get your confidence as the Vietnamese roads can be busy and unexpected to say the least! A must do activity though. I also went on a cooking class where we cooked what we ate, saw the water puppet show in Saigon and saw an acrobatic show as well. All amazing. My advice: Pack light. There were at least 3 opportunities to have washing done cheaply and it came back ironed and smelling fresh. Take clothes that can cope with creases and wick away, travel clothes were my lifeline. It was soooooo hot and humid and I went in the "cooler" month. You sweat as soon as you get out of the hotel so I would rinse clothes in the bathroom too. Take swimwear as we had 3 tiny pools overall on the trip. Take comfortable shoes and sandals. No need to dress up really smart in Vietnam. Be cool and comfortable Make sure you leave space in your case when you leave home as you have to live out of your suitcase and everything gets messed around and difficult to fit back. We all found this. Plus you will buy things that you want to bring home. I took a mixture of Vietnamese dong and American dollars but the Dong was much more useful day to day. Credit cards weren't excepted everywhere. Western toilets everywhere. Take loo roll and hand sanitiser out in your day bag. I spent far to long wondering whether to book this trip, would I like, would I be left on my own, would everyone in the group be nice. I had absolutely no need to worry. I had so much fun, met a fantastic group of people, ate wonderful food and had the most amazing experiences. I would definately recommend this trip to any of my friends and family.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The whole trip. Experiencing a different country, new foods, people and cultures. Amazing scenary. We visited some fantastic temples and I learnt a lot of history along the way.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader Ngoc made the trip as he was a local guide with a wealth of knowledge and experiences that he was always willing to share with the group. He was very attentive to the groups needs and always willing to please. He also had a great sense of humour to keep us all amused.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Fantastic trip. First time that I have been on a holiday alone. I had absolutely no need to worry. Exodus were able to give ages and sexes of other travellers on certain dates when I was booking. I was so lucky with my group, a fantastic mix of ages, some couples, friends and other lone travellers. Everyone got on so well and we all mixed with each other and no one was ever left out This is a full on trip and it is all go for the 2 weeks but I can't see how else would have seen what we did. There was free time in the afternoons which you can spend alone or with others. Lots of shopping opportunities. I made the most of any extra activities, cycle and boat trips which were great fun. Such fantastic scenery. All flat ground and at a leisurely pace. I would suggest a bit of practice in the Uk first just to get your confidence as the Vietnamese roads can be busy and unexpected to say the least! A must do activity though. I also went on a cooking class where we cooked what we ate, saw the water puppet show in Saigon and saw an acrobatic show as well. All amazing. My advice: Pack light. There were at least 3 opportunities to have washing done cheaply and it came back ironed and smelling fresh. Take clothes that can cope with creases and wick away, travel clothes were my lifeline. It was soooooo hot and humid and I went in the "cooler" month. You sweat as soon as you get out of the hotel so I would rinse clothes in the bathroom too. Take swimwear as we had 3 tiny pools overall on the trip. Take comfortable shoes and sandals. No need to dress up really smart in Vietnam. Be cool and comfortable Make sure you leave space in your case when you leave home as you have to live out of your suitcase and everything gets messed around and difficult to fit back. We all found this. Plus you will buy things that you want to bring home. I took a mixture of Vietnamese dong and American dollars but the Dong was much more useful day to day. Credit cards weren't excepted everywhere. Western toilets everywhere. Take loo roll and hand sanitiser out in your day bag. I spent far

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I spent far to long wondering whether to book this trip, would I like, would I be left on my own, would everyone in the group be nice. I had absolutely no need to worry. I had so much fun, met a fantastic group of people, ate wonderful food and had the most amazing experiences. I would definately recommend this trip to any of my friends and family.
  • Reviewed December 2018

    Vietnam Adventure

    I have not been on a group tour in over 35 years and was anxious how it would be traveling with 16 other individuals and a tour guide. I am quite independent when I travel. I was also the only American in a group of 16 people, the others being from England, Scotland and Wales. My fears were put to rest almost immediately. These people all became friends over the two week period - a very cohesive, easy going and adventurous group. Our tour guide, Cong, was amazing - very organized and on top of every little detail, making sure every one of us knew exactly what the day’s schedule would be. Exodus is a very conscious tour company and Cong, whenever possible, made sure our activities supported the people of Vietnam in cities and the rural areas. I learned and saw so much, and though it was at a bit faster pace than I might have gone on my own, it worked. What an amazing country. Each place we visited was different and offered unique insights into the Vietnamese culture. I would highly recommend this tour and Cong, our guide, gets an A+.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    On our bike ride when we were in Hoi An visiting with the veteran from the war with Cambodia. Hearing his story, listening to him sing and watching the awe that our bicycle guide had on his face as he listened to him sing was very special.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Cong was excellent. As said previously, he was extremely organized and kept a close check on each member of the group, making sure we were all doing okay. His attitude was always positive and he gave us insight into the Vietnamese people and culture. His love of his country and his people was evident in all he did and said. He made sure that whenever possible we visited and ate at places that supported the more needy in Vietnam. As I stated, I am used to traveling on my own and pretty independent. At times this may have been a bit difficult for him, but I felt I had enough time on my own and he worked with me allowing me the freedom at times I needed. A wonderful kind and caring guide.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I enjoyed my trip immensely, but I have a couple of issues with some things that occurred prior to my trip. I booked through an agent in the US, as she had helped me with flight information and other details of my trip (I spent 2 l/2 weeks on my own before meeting up with the tour). As a result of that, I had difficulty getting the information I needed from Exodus. One woman in the California office was actually somewhat abrubt and somewhat rude when I tried asking for information (not Sarah). In trying to get information about the necessary Visa’s required, as an American I was offered little information. When I asked I was told to check online as things change all the time. That is fine but I think it really should be emphasized that a Visa might be necessary and it is important to check and see if one is required. That detail is not one that can just be included in with the tons of other information we read online. Some extra notification is necessary prior to the trip. As a result of all that occurred prior to the trip, I was worried about how my experience on the tour would be. I have to say that the tour itself was great. I believe there may be quite a difference in how things are handled in England and the US as most travelers are from the British Isles. I found it quite frustrating and now as an experienced traveler with Exodus, I believe that is not what you want your customers to feel prior to travel.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Asa Marin

    A trip to remember

    This trip was truly an amazing adventure, from start to finish. The itinerary is very diverse, so no 2 days are the same. In my opinion I got to know Vietnam´s history, landscape and culture both through the itinerary and our knowledgeable guide, Bon. It´s been nearly 3 months since I came back from the tour but Vietnam is still in my heart and I would very much like to go back. If not for the beautiful country...then for the delicious food. I would recommend to book the 5 days extension to Cambodia after the trip, the beautiful temples in Siem Riep took my breath away and the gruesome history was informative. Truely a trip to remember.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We had an amazing thunderstorm on Halong Bay that showed the mountains in a mythical way and gave me goose bumps. I loved the bike ride in Hue and Bon always made sure we could communicate with the locals, who were extremely friendly.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Bon was amazing. He was so knowledgeable about the history and so good in telling us stories about every day life and get us to interact with the local. He e.g. arranged for us to have a lunch with a family in Hue, in their home and that was one of the highlight of the trip, for sure. He was very helpful with everything and went above and beyond the call of duty.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Get massage...many massages. It helps you to get the jet lag out and well...it´s just really lovely :) Good idea to bring a sleeping bag linen for the night on the train...and not to expect a great sleep that night. And well...don´t think too much about it, if you want to go to Vietnam than this is the tour!
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Sue Holmes

    Simply Fantastic !

    A memorable experience with a great group of people. Vietnam is a wonderful country with a rich and diverse culture. We travelled from North to South on planes, trains, boats and bicycles and it was great fun. Vietnam offers everything from busy cities, stunning scenery, relaxing boat trips, fantastic food and friendly people. What more could one want?

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I loved Halong Bay, Hanoi, Hue and the Mekong Delta.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide Trung was great; knowledgeable, funny and kind. He was passionate about his Country and made sure that we saw as much as possible on our travels. An excellent guide and a lovely man.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Vietnam is changing fast and the old ways are beginning to disappear. I would go sooner rather than later. Go with an open mind and have fun.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Nicci Bennett

    Probably the best holiday ever

    If you are still deciding whether you want to do this trip then stop thinking and start booking. What an excellent two weeks. Our guide Jay was a complete star from beginning to end, a thoughtful but funny guy who just wanted us to have a great time in his brilliant country. Hotels were far better than expected, really good and a couple with pools. The food was just out of this world and the beer cheap. We had meals out with just the two of us but could eat as a group if we wanted. The train journey was an experience not to forget, the Halong Bay boat trip was very restful (more brilliant food) and we loved the home stay in the Mekong Delta (excellent hammocks). My husband loved the cycling and kayaking that was offered. Hanoi traffic was something to experience but we survived getting across the road!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Our guide took us to a Buddhist pagoda run by nuns, we were the only visitors present apart from a couple of other lady travellers. We had the most wonderful vegetarian lunch there and the peace of the place remained with us after we had left.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jay was the perfect group leader. He was enthusiastic, caring, polite and worked very hard to make our group a mutually supportive and inclusive team. He had a good sense of humour, answered questions and sorted everything out. Everything ran like clockwork

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Remember it is a 20k allowance on the internal flight. Pack light as there is lots to buy in Hue

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Dont hesitate to book this trip. Vietnam will always be special to me now
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Theresa Summers

    Beautiful Vietnam

    Having had Vietnam on my travel list for a while, this year I decided to give it a go. And I'm so glad that I did, it is one of the most beautiful countries that I have been to. The scenery is stunning, the countryside is so green and lush; the food is to die for, all full of flavour and so fresh it feels oozes health and goodness; and the people are friendly and helpful. If you've not been I would definitely put it on your list. This tour has it all, big cities, a peaceful overnight in Ha Long Bay, an overnight sleeper train, cultural delights in Hoi An and an overnight stay in the Mekong Delta at a guest house.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Visiting the Cu Chi Tunnels - fascinating to see how they lived and to be able to walk/crouch through the tunnels Visiting the cave in Ha Long bay Taking a cooking lesson in Hoi An Visiting the War museum in Saigon (HCMC) Having dinner with a local family and lunch made by nuns in Hue

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ngoc was a very good leader, who kept us all on track and was ready to flexible enough to make changes to the itinerary if there were adverse weather conditions. He did seem to be overly cautious about making sure we didn't leave anything behind or get robbed, which whilst endearing was a bit over the top on occasions.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack light and make use of laundries make sure you have something to cover your shoulders have an umbrella handy at all times
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Porlyin Rhoden

    Vietnam Adventure is a Great Trip

    This was a fantastic trip and well paced to allow time in each town/ city visited. Our tour leader Trung was outstanding, going out of his way to make sure we were OK. There is a good balance between group activities and free time, to allow you to do your own thing and allowed us to visit places not on the iteneray e.g Ba Na Hills and the Golden Bridge. Vietnam is outstanding and it was good to visit both north and south.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were too many inspirational moments to pick just one! Halong Bay is up there!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Trung was outstanding. He had a beautiful personality, was passionate and dedicated and clearly loved his job and country. If only all tour leads were like him.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is a fantastic tour. Never got bored. The train can be a little cold due to the air con, so bring extra clothing for the overnight trip.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Rachel Hodgkins

    Unforgetable.....

    Just the best trip.... spectacular places with a fantastic group of people and THE best guide... 2 weeks of wonder, spender,remembrance, beauty, sleeper trains, nights afloat, rooftop bars, and fun and laughter all the way.. we met as strangers and left as friends... AMAZING!!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The friendships made

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Trung was by far the best guide we've had. Professionalism balanced with sense of humour and a real feeling of being genuinely cared for. Knowledge oozed out of him from the beauty to the sadness of the places we saw and everything inbetween.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do it!!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I was genuinely sad to say goodbye

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