Day 1 : Hanoi
Xin chao! Welcome to Vietnam. This adventure kicks off with a group meeting at 6 pm. Look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, maybe arrive a day early so you're able to attend. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. At the meeting have your insurance details and next of kin information ready for collection. Because this trip doesn’t spend much time in Hanoi, why not arrive a day or two early to see the sights? Check out your reflection in beautiful Hoan Kiem Lake, wander along shaded boulevards or relax in a public park with some delicious street food (spring rolls inside rice paper rolls, anyone?). Museum-wise, why not visit the Mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh, drop into the serene Temple of Literature or get arty at the city's Fine Arts Museum. Tonight, maybe grab a street-side stool and a fresh bia hoi and watch the motorbikes zoom by with your new mates. Accommodation Hotel (1 night) Optional Activities Hanoi - Citadels, Karsts & Cycle Urban Adventure - USD88 Hanoi - Village Discovery by Bike Urban Adventure - USD33
Special Information: Surviving the overnight sleeper train: * Make nice with the locals. Offer them a Pringle and they’ll probably share their entire homemade banquet * Break out the noise-cancelling headphones because there’s bound to be some snorers on board * Know at least one card game you can teach your new mates
Day 2 : Cat Ba Island
Travel by bus and ferry (approximately 3.5 hours) to Cat Ba Island, the largest island in the UNESCO-listed Halong Bay. With thousands of little limestone islands scattered around, this area is one of those quintessential Vietnamese scenes in which bright green water is dotted with traditional junk boats and limestone karsts. Take a cruise around Lan Ha Bay with lunch on the boat, then get up close and personal with this other-worldly landscape by kayak. Stay overnight on Cat Ba Island and enjoy a dip at one of the beaches and a cold beer. Accommodation Hotel (1 night) Included Activities Cat Ba Island - boat trip on Lan Ha Bay Cat Ba Island - kayaking Meals Included Lunch
Day 3 : Hanoi - Overnight Train
Wake up to the purr-fect scenes of Cat Ba and the bay and enjoy some free time at the beach. Go for a swim, kick back with a book or take a long, romantic stroll along the sand which will probably be neither long (it's an island) nor romantic (it's morning and mornings are not romantic). In the afternoon, head back to Hanoi and jump on the overnight train to Hue (approximately 12 hours). This may be your first time on an overnight train in Asia and trust us, the first time is always special. It's an experience. Accommodation Overnight sleeper train (1 night) Meals Included There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information: Although conditions are basic, overnight trains are a true Intrepid experience and the best way to travel long distances with the locals. Sleeper trains typically have four-berth compartments (occasionally six-berth, depending on seasonal variations and group configuration), which have bench seats that convert into sleeping bunks. A sheet, pillow and blanket are 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 travellers who are not part of your group. Most trains have a dining carriage serving simple food, but some travellers take the opportunity to stock up on fresh bread, cheese and fruit prior to departure.
Day 4 : Hue
Arrive in Hue, the former imperial capital of Vietnam. You have today free to explore. You could easily spend a couple of hours exploring Hue’s massive walled citadel and the Forbidden Purple Palace that's enclosed within it. Perhaps jump on board a Dragon Boat and enjoy a cruise up the Perfume River to visit the Thien Mu pagoda. You could also check out Dong Ba Market, which offers locally made goods, fresh produce and some tasty, tasty street food. This is a good place to try the grub that Emperor Nguyen used to feast on (banh khoai royal rice cake – can you taste the royalty?). If you like being on two wheels then maybe cycle out to one of the royal tombs such as the tomb of Emperor Tu Duc (one of the most excellent remaining examples of its kind), or set off on an optional motorcycle tour of the sights in Hue and some surrounding villages. Accommodation Hotel (1 night) Optional Activities Hue - Perfume River cruise & Thien Mu Pagoda - VND220000 Hue - Hue Royal Street Eat by Cyclo Urban Adventure - USD40 Hue - Hue Discovery Urban Adventure - USD78 Meals Included There are no meals included on this day.
Day 5 : Hoi An
Continue along the coast to Hoi An by private bus (approximately 3 hours). Once in Hoi An, your leader will take you on a walking tour of this unique town which has been influenced over the years by Europe, China, Vietnam and Japan. The town was a major trading port from the 17th century onwards, and its old-school flavour is written all over its architecture. For a small town, it's pretty lively in places. In others, it's chilled out. The tour will take you down the streets that are being restored and look a lot like they did 100 years ago or more. You'll check out a historic house (formerly home to a prominent trader), the Japanese Covered Bridge, a Chinese assembly hall and a museum. Accommodation Hotel (1 night) Included Activities Hoi An - Old Town walking tour Optional Activities Hoi An - Food Adventure Urban Adventure - USD28 Meals Included There are no meals included on this day.
Day 6 : Hoi An
Enjoy a free day in Hoi An. Maybe wander to the Central Market and browse the paintings, woodwork, ceramics and lanterns. Hoi An is also famous for its talented tailors, so if you’ve been wearing the same shirt every day and it's starting to smell like coriander, why not hit one of the same-day tailors and get yourself something new? Or, if you're still feeling adventurous, hire a bicycle and tour the surrounding countryside (this is one of the best ways to experience rural Vietnam). Accommodation Hotel (1 night) Optional Activities Hoi An - Hoi An Walking & Cooking Class Urban Adventure - USD49 Hoi An - Hoi An Boat & Bike Urban Adventure - USD51 Meals Included There are no meals included on this day.
Day 7 : Hoi An - Overnight Train
Lucky you – it's another free day in paradise. You could take a trip out to the My Son temples (World Heritage-listed beauties that reflect the rich cultural traditions of the Cham civilisation), hop on a cruise along the Thu Bon River and or get beachy with a trip to the nearby Cua Dai Beach. Afterwards, board your next overnight train. This one's to Phan Rang, a great beach town on the central coast (approximately 8 hours). Accommodation Overnight sleeper train (1 night) Optional Activities Hoi An - My Son Cham day trip - USD35 Meals Included There are no meals included on this day.
Day 8 : Phan Rang
Arrive in Phan Rang early this morning for two full days of pure relaxation. With pristine beaches and arguably the best weather in Vietnam, Phan Rang is a low-key coastal city where swimming, snorkelling and seafood take priority. It's vibe is more beach beers than beach bars, so slow down and take it easy because this is meant to be a holiday, isn't it? Accommodation Hotel (1 night) Meals Included There are no meals included on this day.
Day 9 : Phan Rang - Overnight Train
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Don't chill too much, there's one last overnight train to catch tonight. Swap the deck chair for a bunk bed and buckle up (metaphorically) for the seven-hour journey to Ho Chi Minh City. Accommodation Overnight sleeper train (1 night) Meals Included There are no meals included on this day.
Day 10 : Ho Chi Minh City
Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City very early (approx. 4am) and transfer to your hotel. Then leave your gear in a day room at the hotel. Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is a whirl of sights and sounds. A blend of old and new, East and West, if you will. You can still see the French influence in the top-notch baguettes and coffee on offer. Compared to the north the food is spicier, sweeter and more varied. Much of city life happens on the streets, which are lined with shops, stalls and vendors whose wares are spread on the footpath – everything from soup to sophisticated electronics. Your leader will take you on a walk through the city to point out the best places and sites. Then you have some free time this afternoon. Well worth the visit are the Reunification Palace and War Remnants Museum. Maybe join your newest and best travel buddies for a celebratory meal and drink tonight on Pham Ngu Lao Street. Accommodation Hotel (1 night) Optional Activities HCMC - Saigon Street Food by Night Urban Adventure - USD35 Meals Included There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information: There are shared hotel rooms available this morning if you would like to freshen up before check in time this afternoon.
Day 11 : Ho Chi Minh City
Your trips comes to an end today. There are no planned activities, and you can depart at any time. As you only have limited time here it is well worth booking additional nights to explore. The Cu Chi Tunnels are an interesting day trip nearby - ask your leader to book you an Urban Adventure to visit. Optional Activities Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi Tunnel Experience Urban Adventure - USD43 Ho Chi Minh City - Mekong Discovery Urban Adventure - VND59 Meals Included There are no meals included on this day.