Traveling by train through the length of the country is a great way of seeing Vietnam as the local people, offering you an unforgettable local life experience. It is a way of becoming part of the scene and shedding the perspective of the detached onlooker. Trains will take you from North to South or v/v passing by several major attractions along the way, including the picturesque ancient town of Hoi An, the awe-inspiring Hai Van pass, the former Imperial capital of Hue, the scenic coastal area of Quy Nhon, Nha Trang and the vibrant metropolis of Saigon. Train conditions will vary but for the most part will be of a comfortable standard. The scenery is particularly breathtaking and you will have the chance to meet a multitude of people from farmers to ethnic hill tribes, as well as a host of smiling children along the way.
Vietnam holiday by train in brief:
Day 1: Hanoi arrival
Day 2: Hanoi - city tour - train to Lao Cai
Day 3: Lao Cai - Market tour - Sapa
Day 4: Sapa tour - Lao Cai - Train to Hanoi
Day 5: Hanoi - Halong Bay
Day 6: Halong Bay - Hanoi - Train to Hue
Day 7: Hue Tour
Day 8: Hue - Da Nang - Hoi An
Day 9: Hoi An - Free day
Day 10: Hoi An - Da Nang - Train to Sai Gon
Day 11: Sai Gon - City tour
Day 12: Sai Gon - Cu Chi - Sai Gon
Day 13: Sai Gon - Cai Be floating market - Can Tho
Day 14: Can Tho - Sai Gon
Day 15: Sai Gon - Flight to Phu Quoc island
Day 16: Phu Quoc island
Day 17: Phu Quoc island
Day 18: Phu Quoc island - Flight to Sai Gon - Departure
Upon arrival, our private Vietnam Tours guide and driver will welcome your Vietnam Holiday, pick up and transfer to the hotel for check in. Hanoi, a city where the exotic chic of old Asia blends with the dynamic face of new Asia. Where the medieval and modern co-exist. A city with a blend of Parisian grace and Asian pace, an architectural museum piece evolving in harmony with its history, rather than bulldozing through like many of the region’s capitals. Hanoi is where imagination becomes reality. Free at leisure.
Overnight in Hanoi.
Hanoi is choice for any Vietnam Tours. Today we enjoy a full day Hanoi city tour of this charming capital city including the mausoleum of the nation's founder Ho Chi Minh (close on Monday & Friday), the Presidential Palace, the Ho Chi Minh's house on stilts, the One Pillar Pagoda, the Temple of Literature, the impressive Ethnologic Museum, the beautiful West Lake, the Tran Vu Pagoda, the peaceful lake of the Restored Sword.
Late afternoon we take a cyclo tour for a short excursion through the bustling old quarter streets named after the specific goods once offered for sale at these places. In the evening, we end Hanoi city tour with a fantastic traditional water puppet show.
At 8.00 pm, we will transfer you to the train station for your night train to Lao Cai.On board the train - shared 4 berths soft sleeper shared 4 berths cabin (private cabin is on request)
The markets in the Northern Vietnam are always the colorful meeting places for the hill tribes, spotlight for any Sapa Tours and of course, your unique Vietnam Tours experience. Minority people come down from the mountains to sell their products, or just for catching up on the latest news, gossip, drinking away troubles or seeking for lover. In the morning, your private tour guide and driver meet you at the train station. This morning, we have arranged a mini hotel for you to have shower and breakfast before driving to visit one of the areas weekly markets;
Can Cau Market - Saturdays
Bac Ha Market or Muong Hum Market or Muong Khuong Market - Sundays
Cao Son Market - Wednesdays
Lung Khau Nhin Market - Thursdays
Coc Ly Market - Tuesdays
After the market visit, depends on which market/tour, we will arrange additional visit and then drive to Sapa in the afternoon. Check ina dn free at leisure.
Overnight in Sapa.
Sapa, In the terraced hills and mountains of this area, the monotony of the expansive green landscape is enlivened by the colours of its hill tribe population. It is here you will find hands stained with colour from fabric dyes and shades of blue, red and green intricately embroidered and stitched into jackets, waistcoats, pants, skirts, caps, purses and leggings.
After breakfast, take a morning walking tour of Sapa for a visit to the busy market where Red Dao, Black & Flower H'Mong, Tay and other ethnic minority people converge from the surrounding countryside to sell their silverware and handicrafts, and to buy provisions. After that, we will do one of the most beautiful Sapa Tours by driving along beautiful Muong Hoa valley to visit Lao Chai and Ta Van village of the Black H'mong and the Day people where you can enjoy fresh air, amazing scenery of the imposing mountain range, trek down world's most beautiful terraced rice fields, visit some local families on the way and learn unique culture and life of these ethnic groups. Back to Sapa by private car then we take you back to Lao Cai for for the train back to Hanoi. We hope that you have enjoyed your Sapa Tour with us. We say goodbye and see you again.
Overnight on the train.
Pick up from the train station, this morning, we have already arranged a room in a mini hotel for you to have shower and breakfast before driving to Halong Bay (165km), Vietnam most scenic sight, a recognized World Natural Heritage Site and highlight of any Vietnam Tours. Upon arrival, board your traditional wooden junk. Welcome drink on board. After a relaxing break, enjoy a delicious seafood lunch while cruising through the wonderful Ha Long bay visiting its amazing grottoes and caves. Opportunity to dive off the boat and have a pleasant swimming in the deep blue water of East Sea before relaxing on your sun deck to view a Halong sunset. Dinner on board with excellent fresh seafood.
Overnight on board.
People said that your Vietnam Tours would not have been done without a trip to Halong Bay and a romantic night on Halong Cruise. People describe Halong Bay as majestic and mysterious, inspiring and imperious and words alone cannot do justice to the natural wonder that is Halong Bay. Imagine 3000 or more incredible islands rising from the emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin and you have a vision of breathtaking beauty. Halong Bay is pure art, a priceless collection of unfinished sculptures hewn from the hand of nature. It is absolutely true when you get up early to catch the sunrise on the bay, doing Ta Chi on sundeck and relax with a cup of hot coffee or tea when the boat cruising to explore more of Halong Bay. All make your Vietnam Holiday with full sweet memory. Back to Halong city, end of your beautiful Halong Bay Cruise at around noon where our private guide and driver are waiting for the transfer back to Hanoi.
Free time until transfer to Hanoi’s Railways Station for overnight train to Hue.
Hue is one of places, which has many cultural heritages. Up to now, there is no place like Hue remaining a lot of originally historical vestiges as in this ancient Capital City and an enjoyable stop for your Vietnam tours. Pick up from the train station, after breakfast, our tour starts with the visit to Imperial Citadel before taking the beautiful boat trip on the romantic Perfume River and visit Hue's best-known religious site-Thien Mu Pagoda and the Mausoleum of former emperor Minh Mang in a tranquil setting of gardens and lakes. In the evening, enjoy dinner, then take boat trip along Huong River and enjoy Hue Traditional Music Show.
Overnight at hotel in Hue.
After breakfast, we drive to Hoi An, a major Asian trading port in the 17th and 18th centuries whose architecture and relaxed lifestyle has changed little over the years and for sure, Hoi An is the most favorite destination for all kinds of Vietnam Tours. This scenic drive passes through the fishing village of Lang Co before climbing over the Pass of Ocean Clouds. Along the way, stop in Danang to visit the Cham Museum which contains the finest collection of Cham sculptures in the world. Upon arrival in Hoi An, free to take walking tour of the Hoi An ancient town centre.
Overnight in Hoi An.
Hoi An Ancient Town – The most interesting break for any Vietnam Tours and no Vietnam Tours maker would skip, is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. Its buildings and its street plan reflect the influences, both indigenous and foreign, that have combined to produce this unique heritage site.
Day free to cycle through rice paddies in the countryside of Hoi An ancient town, shop for souvenirs among the antique shops and art galleries, or just sit at sidewalk cafes and soak up the atmosphere of this quaint town. Or relax on the white sandy beach of the famous Danang Beach.
Overnight in Hoi An.
Day free at leisure before we transfer you to Danang for the overnight train to Ho Chi Minh.
Overnight on the train.
Upon arrival at the train station, welcome by our private Vietnam tour guide and driver and transfer to you hotel for check in. Ho Chi Minh, the most exciting city of Vietnam, a mecca of commerce, also a city with a chequered history and a rich culture, its pagodas, museums, public buildings, parks and boulevards make it one of the most delightful Vietnam Tours and cities to visit in Vietnam. Free time at leisure.
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh.
Morning pick up from the hotel for Cu Chi Tunnels tour. Upon arrival in Cu Chi, we visit the incredible underground tunnel network of approximately 200 kilometres hand-constructed by Vietnamese guerillas during the long struggle for independence where you will understand more about the Vietnam War or American War, a must see Vietnam Tour for any tourists to learn about Vietnam past and present days. Afternoon drive back to Ho Chi Minh.
Today we will start our exploration of the Mekong Delta, a major rice producing area. This must be one of the most fascinating riverine deltas in the world. The Mekong splits into nine major arteries. A vast network of rivers and waterways with thousands of ships of all sizes plowing the waters gives the Mekong Delta a very special atmosphere and no doubt one of the most favorite destinations for Vietnam Tours and a smart Vietnam Tour maker would never skip. On arrival, we will make a boat trip to the Cai Be floating Market, visit villages and meet the people of the Mekong Delta. Continue your boat trip to An Binh Island for Lunch in a local family and bike trip in the afternoon. Continue to Can Tho – the heart of Mekong Delta in Vietnam.
Check in on your arrival, free at leisure and overnight in Can Tho.
In the morning, we make the boat cruise to see the Cai Rang floating market (the nicest one with heaps of rowing boats), truly spotlight of your Vietnam Tours where you will enjoy the beautiful scenery and see the daily activities of the locals who live along the Mekong canals and later, you will roam through the village to visit a rice husking mill, a rice noodles making shop which are nice chances to discover the daily life of Vietnamese people in Mekong Delta.. Afternoon drive back to Ho Chi Minh.
Overnight at hotel in Ho Chi Minh.
Free time at leisure for you to wrap up your memorial Vietnam Holiday until Indochinavalue's private guide and take flight back to Ho Chi Minh airport for your departure flight. We hope that you have enjoyed your Vietnam Tours with us and look forward to welcoming you back for your next Vietnam Tours. Indochinavalue says goodbye and see you again!!!
END OF SERVICE
• All transfers and transportation in private air-conditioned vehicle with driver
• Accommodation in twin/double sharing (triple room, extra bed, interconnecting room... are on request)
• Meals as indicated in the itinerary (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)
• English speaking guide (French, Spanish, Russian, Italian Speaking tour guides are available and on request)
• Entrance fees to indicated sights and activities as stated
• Train tickets (if mentioned)
• Boat trips (if mentioned)
• Bottled mineral water during touring days
• Domestic and International FLIGHTS
• Other meals
• Personal expenses
• Expenses for any optional tours or activities during free time
Tour guides who work with us are well-paid, experienced with a university background, eager to exchange our cultures and lifestyles ... with travelers, and have a great passion for their country and understand the personal touch. In some parts such as Sapa, we may use local tour guides who come from the ethnic hilltribes like H'Mong or Red Dao as they know about their land much better than anyone else and this is also the way that Indochinavalue helps the local people a better life.
Tour guide is one of the most important factors to a successful holiday. Indochinavalue understands that a good tour guide needs not only good knowledge on history, culture, good English, French... but also needs to have general requirements and follow our guidelines as below:
1 - Licensed at least for 4 years with work experience.
2 - Guiding does require more than just hanging out in the sun. Guides must be friendly and good with people, organized enough to keep groups or people on schedule, quick on their feet and ready for the inevitable snafus that arises.
3 - Must be an honest broker of their services and able to take criticism.
4 - Should be qualified at some level in health, health care or first aid.
5 - Able to relate to people from a wide range of cultures and backgrounds.
6 - Clear speech and good hearing.
7 - Must not be a alcoholic or No-alcohol during working time or anytime when on tour.
8 - Tour guide is a nurse to take care of visitors, a boss to keep the right itinerary, a teacher to give information, an ambassador to introduce our country, an entertainer because Indochinavalue's clients want to be entertained in extend, a friend...
9 - Must be on time every time. Being late or delay is unacceptable.
10 - Check flight tickets, train tickets, meals, weather... to make sure things are in order and inform local office if any changes that might effect the tour.
11 - Solve problems with care when there is dissatisfy. Argument should be averted by courtesy.
Kind of vehicle (offered on tour) depends on the size of your group size or your requirements. To ensure your comfort, all cars feature air conditioning and enough room inside. Drivers are local, with years of experience, taking you to your destination quickly and safely.
1 - Our drivers are professional and reliable with at least 5 years of experience, driving safely.
2 - Our drivers are not allowed to hear cell-phone or smoke, chat, drink when driving.
3 - Our drivers must be friendly, helpful with good behavior and attitude.
4 - Our drivers are not allowed to take you to shops unless you ask for.
2 Stars from: US$35 -> US$40
The 2 star hotels are good for budget travelers and sometimes, we have no choice but stay in a guesthouse, mini hotel, 2 star hotel in the remote and mountainous areas. Basically, 2 star hotels will offer good size and clean guest rooms with AC, TV, hot water, shower and private bathrooms
3 Stars from: US$40 -> US$80
The 3 star hotels are good for many travelers because they offer basic needs for a comfortable stay, good size and clean guest rooms with Free access high speed Internet, Welcome baskets and drinking water, Telephone with international dialing, Electronic safe box in room, Hairdryer, Coffee and Tea, Wake-up service, AC, TV, hot water, shower and private bathrooms. On-site restaurants with breakfast included and lunch or dinner at your own pick up. A small fitness center, spa and swimming pool can be expected.
4 Stars from: US$80 -> US$130
Offering a wide range of comfortable boutique hotels are available with shopping, dining and entertainment facilities nearby. Featuring quality service, fully furnished rooms, restaurants, fitness center with spa (and swimming pool in most cases), the hotels are expected to offer an above-average accommodation experience.
5 Stars from: US$130 -> US$200 –> US$ 300
Offering an extensive range of facilities for an excellent experience. Multiple restaurants on site and a wide range of choice for buffet breakfast, good size of swimming pool, fitness center and concierge service round out the experience.
The restaurants we will take you for lunch or dinner are all designated tourist restaurants approved by local tourist administration bureau. They have very good sanitary conditions and the food is prepared fresh and clean.
Note: If you have any special dietary needs, just let your travel consultant know when booking.
Breakfast is included at all hotels and is buffet breakfast with Asian and Western food.
Lunches (if included) are usually set menu at handpicked local restaurant with comfortable dining environment where you can rest assure to taste the local flavor. All restaurants are carefully selected and highly recommended.
Dinners are only included if you stay overnight in a homestay with a local family, on cruise in Halong Bay, Mekong Delta or at some special occasions such as welcome dinner, farewell dinner or on requested. So dinners are at your own choice and arrangement, but our tour guides will always give you good suggestions based on your preferences.
If allergic to some food
We suggest you to list any food or ingredients that you are allergic to and let our travel consultant know. Then your travel consultant will mark them in the guide’s itinerary, so that our guides in different cities can make some preparations and arrangements in advance.
Do our guide and driver join the meal with us?
The tour guides and driver will be at the same restaurants with you, but they will only join the meal when you invite. Sometimes the drivers are shy to join as they usually eat fast and could not understand English talk around the table, so the guide will be with you more often.
Street food tour:
Street foods in Vietnam are very delicious and should you want to taste the specialities of each Vietnam holiday destination, we can arrange a street food tour for you. Please contact us at email@example.com for a detailed tour itinerary and quotation.
How to request a tour package?
To request for a free tour itinerary and quotation, you can just fill out the tour inquiry form at www.indochinavalue.com or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org then give us as much information as possible. One of our experienced travel consultants will get back to you shortly. All changes will be made (free of charge) until the your tour package meets your needs and personal interests.
How to book a tour package?
As soon as you agree on our proposal, please send us your full name, international flight information (if you have) and your special requirements. We will make reservations and arrange everything then confirm back to you when all done.
- Deposit is a "must". We request 30% of the tour cost. You can pay by wire transfer, credit cards, western union, onepay (online)
- Balance can be made before your arrival or on arrival in cash or by credit cards.
Changes are possible at the last minutes. However, if changes caused extra costs, you will have to pay for. (For examples, hotels, flights, cruises...)
In case of cancellation, we will not apply any charge if we are not charged by the third parties such as hotels, cruises, flights, trains...We will recalculate the costs and resend you the money as soon as possible.
Thanks you Tipping is not mandatory but it is expected in many circumstances for service. You can tip your driver/tour guide more or less or nothing. All depends on the services you receive.
- US$10 – US$ 15 per day for tour guide
- US$7 – US$ 10 per day for driver
- US$1 – US$ 3 per meal for waiter or waitress
- US$2 – US$ 5 for short boat trips/ cyclo/ tuktuk (1 – 2) hours
Note: Please check with your travel consultant before coming and your tour guide if you are to tip someone on tour.
What you get when booking a private tour with Indochinavalue?
1. Private guide, driver and vehicle are for your exclusive use; no matter you are individually, or in a family or friends group. The tour is run exclusively for you without strangers.
2. Every itinerary can be customized to meet your specific interests/ wishes, that is, you can choose your favored hotels, sightseeing spots, the tour length, means of transportation, budget, etc. All are free of charge.
3. Start the tour on any date you want.
4. Escort you from start to finish. All private transfers during the tour are offered, including airport/ train station transfer, hotel-attractions round trip transfer.
5. The sightseeing during the tour could be based on your own timetable and pace. Flexible to change at your short notice.
6. Considerate care and assistance, such as the old, the disabled or families with small kids and children.
7. You can save time and money when traveling with us or your wants meet you budget.
How do I get a visa?
Vietnam Visa On Arrival is available for help. It is legitimated and supported by the Vietnamese Immigration Department. We recommend that you choose visa upon arrival, as picking up visa at the Vietnam int'l airport/ border is quite simple, easy, no additional charges and no fail.
Please provide the following information for us to apply for your visa:
2) Passport number
3) Date of birth
5) Date of arrival
6) Date of issue
7) Date of expire
8) Please make sure that your passport is still valid for 6 months.
Can I use credit cards in Vietnam?
Major credit cards such as Master Card, Visa, Diner's Card, American Express and JCB can be used to purchase goods in large shopping malls and stores in the big and medium cities, to pay for hotel rooms and for meals in some of the fancier restaurants, and to buy plane tickets with them.
- You can use US dollar, Euro in all big cities or at major tourist sites, airports.
- If you are to travel to those small cities or even remote rural areas, only cash in Dong can be used.
Do I need to bring my medical record with me?
Yes, we suggest you take your medical record with you in case that you need it in the event ofan emergency, and please also take with you your doctor's name, address and phone number, emergency contact name and phone number, and your insurance company's name, address and phone number.
Note: You can buy medicines everywhere in Vietnam so do not need to bring medicines from home.
When I finish my tour in Vietnam, if I still have some local money, what can I do?
Upon leaving Vietnam, if you still have some local money, you can change them back to foreign currency with your passport and the exchange memos given by the banks or money exchange counters. So please keep those exchange memos well whenever you change money.
What should we bring along on our trip to Vietnam?
It is best to travel light in Vietnam. One medium sized bag and a day pack will provide more than enough room to carry everything you'll need, and enough space for the things you'll buy in Vietnam.
There are lots of consumer goods in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, so do not worry about running out of something. If you do forget something you can easily find it here. Before you leave home complete the following checklist:
- Lightweight and quick dry clothing is most appropriate for the summer months, and warmer clothing for the winter months. As well, sun hat, swim suit, ultra lightweight rain jacket.
- Travel Documents: Passport, Visa, Travel Insurance, Air Tickets (you should scan them and email them to yourself in case you loose them).
- Health requirements, medications, and travel insurance arranged.
- Flashlight, alarm clock, sunglasses, sunscreen, insect repellent, small personal first aid kit, personal toiletries.
- Money: US dollars or travelers cheques and/ or credit card(s).
- Raincoat or umbrella, good hiking shoes are needed for all Footprint trekking trips.
- Camera with charger, extra batteries, and memory cards.
Are there any restrictions on the type of luggage that we bring? Domestic airlines have their weight restrictions. On most domestic and low-cost airlines You may only have one suitcase or backpack, with a maximum weight of 20kg, and one piece of hand luggage, with a maximum weight of (5 – 7)kg. An extra charge for overweight is applied.
There is no actual limit on our trips, but we would suggest you travel light with one suitcase or backpack and one small daypack or small bag which you can access during the day and carry items like your camera, drinking water, toilet paper, hat, sunscreen, etc.
It is essential that you have a lock for each piece of luggage. Without one, railway and airline staff and some hotels may refuse to handle it.
What is the best type of clothing we should bring?
Here is a short checklist of best type of clothing you should bring:
- Shorts and comfortable pants;
- Shirts, t-shirts and maybe some long sleeves shirts (for regions with mosquitos like the Mekong delta);
- Swim suits (for the beaches and Halong Bay);
- Good sandles as well as good shoes if trekking.
Nevertheless, it will really depend on where you travel to, when you plan on travelling, and what you plan on doing. Please note that the weather can be very cold during the winter in the Northern Vietnam (Nov to Mar) and quite cool in the central highlands (Dalat). You will need to bring a good jacket along for this time of the year, the avarage temperature is about 15 oC, but can get as cold as 3 oC.
Tip: Do not worry if you do not pack enough clothes or forget something because you can buy in Vietnam.
Shopping in Vietnam
Shopping in Vietnam: Many tourists can’t help but throw themselves head-first into shopping while in Vietnam. Why? Probably the variety of quality goods and the tempting prices have a lot to do with it. Many low-budget travelers considered Vietnam a heavenly place because in many shopping situations they can bargain the prices down to as much as a third of the original cost.
The list of Vietnamese bargains is seemingly endless and features bespoke tailoring and the national dress, the 'ao dai' from high-quality silk and many other types of material and textiles while many shoppers cannot get enough of the local handicraft, art and jewelry.
How to bargain?
Bargain is not common in some countries, but in Vietnam it really is. In Vietnam, bargaining is always worthwhile. Yet, it is not always due to the fact that the local have a great deal of time and very little money. Bargaining is part of Vietnamese culture as through bargaining people communicate with others, create and build up their relationship, not to mention a form of entertainment.
Rule - 1: It's like the monster ride at the amusement park. If you're not having fun, get off.
Rule - 2: Don't bargain with the first person who approaches you (i.e., when looking for a taxi at the airport.) In general the further you go from the center of action, the cheaper the price.
Rule - 3: Don't be afraid to use walking away as a bargaining tool. You can always come back.
Rule - 4: Don't let pride get in the way of coming back (or Rule #3 is useless).
Rule - 5: If you really want something and the price isn't coming down, give in gracefully. (It's that pride thing again.)
Rule - 6: Don't always assume you're getting ripped off just because you're in a third-world country. Sometimes the price they're asking is the real one.
Rule - 7: Bargaining is a time/ money tradeoff. If you're in a hurry, be prepared to pay for it.
Rule - 8: Ask (Vietnamese) fellow shoppers the price of an item before you begin bargaining.
Rule - 9: Always carry small bills. Otherwise all that work is likely to be for nothing.
Rule - 10: Always bargain in native currency. Conventional wisdom says anyone who has dollars can afford to spend them.
Rule - 11: If possible, keep going back to the same person until you've gotten to know him/ her. Most third world countries have a name for this kind of relationship. The deal is that you offer your business on a regular basis and the seller responds by saving you their best tomatoes
Rule - 12: No matter what your parents told you, when you're bargaining it's perfectly okay to lie