Vietnam is now one of the hottest holiday destinations in Asia because Vietnam has everything to make your trip a memorable experience such as interesting hisrory, rich and diverse culture, world's top beaches and heritages, traditional values...
Majestic Vietnam tour - 21 days from Sai Gon in brief:
Day 1: Sai Gon arrival
Day 2: Sai Gon - Tay Ninh - Cu Chi tunnels - Sai Gon
Day 3: Sai Gon - Mekong Delta
Day 4: Mekong - Sai Gon - Flight to Da Lat
Day 5: Da Lat tour
Day 6: Da Lat - Drive to Nha Trang beach
Day 7: Nha Trang - Beach
Day 8: Nha Trang - Beach
Day 9: Nha Trang - Flight to Da Nang - Hoi An
Day 10: Hoi An - My Son - Hoi An
Day 11: Hoi An - Free day
Day 12: Hoi An - Da Nang - Hue
Day 13: Hue - Flight to Hanoi
Day 14: Hanoi - City tour
Day 15: Hanoi - Hoa Lu - Trang An Grottoes - Hanoi - Train to Lao Cai
Day 16: Lao Cai - Sapa tour
Day 17: Sapa - Village
Day 18: Sapa - Train to Hanoi
Day 19: Hanoi - Halong Bay
Day 20: Halong Bay - Hanoi
Day 21: Hanoi - Departure
Upon arrival at Tan Son Nhat airport, 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.
After breakfast, enjoy a morning drive through typical southern Vietnamese countryside to Tay Ninh Province in the west of Vietnam. At Tay Ninh, visit the incredible Cao Dai Great Temple, with architecture that could have come straight from a Walt Disney fantasy and where all the major faiths of the world blend together in a unique religious cocktail. In the afternoon, visit the famous Cu Chi Tunnels, an underground tunnel network constructed by Vietnamese resistance fighters 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.
Overnight in 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. Pick up by our driver and guide at your hotel and drive to Can Tho. Boarding at Ninh Kieu pier. Welcome drink, introduction to the ship and crew, check into the cabins. Departure downstream of the Hau river. Lunch on board while en route. Tour near Tra On floating market.
Turning into Nicolai canal, towards the Mang Thit and Co Chien rivers. Rest on the upper deck in a scenery of rice fields, sugar cane, woods on the near banks.
Visit of a village on the banks of river Mang Thit, an opportunity to appreciate the way of life and hospitality of the local inhabitants. Visit of the orchard or rice fields nearby.
Boarding back, complimentary drink as a welcome back on board. Rest on the deck or around the bar enjoying the sunset. The crew will serve dinner while the Bassac is cruising Mang Thit river towards her anchorage point for the night.
The Bassac sets anchor for the night on river Mang Thit.
Overnight on board.
06:30 Departure towards Cai Be. The passengers take their breakfast while enjoying the scenery on the banks.
The Bassac crosses Co Chien river then branches into Cho Lach canal for 30 minutes through the traffic of sand and rice barges, in a scenery of fruit drying facilities and wooden ship building yards.
Arrival in Cai Be, check-out and boarding of a local boat for a tour of Cai Be floating market and handicraft.
Leaving the board at: Cái Bè. Transfer to Ho Chi Minh City's domestic airport for your flight to Dalat with VN 466 SGN 15:25 DLI 16:15. Pick up and transfer to your hotel.
Overnight in Dalat.
Da Lat, the dream Vietnam Holiday for any Vietnamese. Today you will visit some of the most interesting sights of Dalat. You will visit the former "palace" of the last emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty, Bao Dai. You will also visit the very colorful local market, stacked with fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers, grown in planations around Dalat. Thanks to its temperate climate the mountains around Dalat are ideal for growing vegetables and flowers. One of the main attractions for local tourists is the "Valley of Love", worth a visit just for the peculiar sight of Vietnamese cowboys.
Finally, you will make short ride on the last part of the "cremailliere" railway to the village Trai Mat.
Overnight in Da lat.
After breakfast, we drive to Nha Trang. Check in on arrival and free at leisure for the rest of the day.
Overnight in Nha Trang.
Nha Trang is best Vietnam beach destination. This morning, we do the morning boat trip to visit some of the nearby islands where you will have the opportunity to swim and snorkel in the clear warm waters. After a fresh seafood lunch, return to shore. In the afternoon, explore Nha Trang at your own pace.
Overnight in Nha Trang.
Nha Trang is Vietnam’s best-known Vietnam beach destination with miles of white sandy beaches, swaying coconut palms and wonderful fresh seafood restaurants, a perfect break during your Vietnam Tours. Day free at leisure, water sports abound including parasailing, jet skiing, water skiing and relaxing boat trips to the outlying islands. If you prefer to keep your feet dry then hop into a taxi or take a cyclo for an exploratory trip around Nha Trang.
Overnight in Nha Trang.
After breakfast, our Vietnam tour guide and driver in Nha Trang will transfer you to the airport for your flight to Danang. From here transfer to Hoi An, a major Asian trading port in the 17th and 18th centuries with a relaxed lifestyle that has changed little over the years.
Check in, free at leisure and overnight in Hoi An.
After breakfast, we invite you an interesting visit to My Son Holy land, once the spiritual capital of Champa Kingdom that dominated South East Asia for nearly a thousand years and occupied most of the central parts of Vietnam from 2nd century to 16th century with very rich in history and culture. Contemplate its remarkable red brick towers and sanctuaries dating from between the 7th and 13th centuries. My Son is interesting Vietnam Tours for the ones who want to learn about Vietnam History, Vietnam Culture, Vietnam Architecture.
Drive back to Hoi An, we end today's beautiful Hoi An Tour with the visit to the former merchants' homes, the 400 year-old Japanese Covered Bridge, Phuc Kien Pagoda and the colourful riverside market.
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.
After breakfast, leave Hoi An for Hue, the last imperial capital of Vietnam, well-known for magnific architecture, pagodas and royal tombs laid in small villages and surrounding hills and one of the most popular cities for all the Vietnam Tours. En route have a look at the famous Danang Beach and visit Cham Museum which contains the finest collection of Cham sculpture in the world. Upon arrival in Hue, visit the Imperial Citadel, the Purple Forbidden City.
Overnight in 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. After breakfast, our tour startswith the 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. Transfer to Hue's airport for the short flight to Hanoi. 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.
Overnight in Hanoi.
After breakfast, we continue our Majestic Vietnam Tour to visit Hoa Lu which was the capital city of Vietnam under the Dinh Dynasty between 968 and 980 AD and ancient sanctuaries and tombs can still be seen today. Apart from the historical importance, the area is naturally beautiful, referred to many as the “dry Halong Bay,” with limestone peaks and fertile green valleys. After lunch, take the amzing boat trip to visit Trang An grottoes whichis a gathering of 31 valleys, 50 cross-water caves, and home to 600 kinds of flora and over 200 kinds of fauna, many of them in the Red Book of Vietnam. While rowing through Trang An grotto in the quiet, fresh air of the highlands, with only the sound of birds and the oars stirring the clear water and surrounded by magnificent forested mountains upon which graze white goats, visitors enjoy a heaven on earth. Returning to Hanoi in the afternoon and board the night train to Lao Cai.
Overnight on train.
Arrive in the early morning in the border town of Lao Cai where it's a short transfer to 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 at a local restaurant, 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.
Free at leisure and overnight in Sapa.
Sapa is the Queen of the Mountains, overlooking a beautiful valley, lofty mountains towering over the town on all sides. Sapa Tour is gateway to another world of mysterious minority cultures and luscious landscapes and great choice for Vietnam Tours maker to arrange Vietnam Culture Tours, Vietnam Trekking Tours, Vietnam Homestay Tours... After breakfast, we will do one of the most beautiful Sapa Tours by driving 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 family on the way and learn unique culture and life of these ethnic groups. Back to Sapa by private car, free at leisure for the rest of the day. Overnight in Sapa.
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, drive 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
In the late afternoon, your Sapa tour guide and driver transfer you back to Lao Cai to catch the night train back to Hanoi. We hope that you have enjoyed your Sapa Tours with us. We say goodbye with sincere thanks and looking forward to welcoming you again for your coming Vietnam Tours and Sapa Tours. 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 and highlight of any Vietnam Tour, a recognized World Natural Heritage Site.
On arrival in Halong Cruise
12:15: Transfer by tender to the Indochina Sails boat – enjoy Welcome Drink. Receive cruise briefing and check in to cabins and begin cruise.
13:00: Lunch - deluxe Vietnamese and International Set Menu.
Massage service is available beginning after lunch and throughout the cruise.
14.30: Arrive at Titop Island. Enjoy swimming, relaxing on the beach and climbing the steps to the top of the mountain on the island for fantastic views and photo opportunities. Water and towels supplied. We will spend about 45 minutes on the island.
15.15: Transfer back to the boat and sail for approximately 45 minutes to our second destination - the Bat Cave area.
16.15: Arrive at the Bat Cave area. There are two programs to choose from at this time. One option is a 40 minute kayaking program to the nearby Bat Cave and lagoon and surrounding waters. Kayaking is $10. per person unless already booked as part of your package. Water is supplied.
The second option is to visit the largest floating fishing village in Halong Bay. We will travel to the village on the tender and tour the village for approximately 20 minutes.
18:30: Arrive at Luon Bo area - anchor for overnight.
19:00: Dinner - deluxe Vietnamese & Western Buffet or Set Menu Dinner.
20:30: Evening activities include: film entertainment in the dining room at approximately 9:15, board games and playing cards are available, join squid fishing from the boat with our crew, massage services are available. Also at this time we offer, when possible - depending on weather conditions, an excursion to a nearby squid fishing boat. We travel by tender and you will be able to board the squid boat and see how the local fishermen catch squid and other fish, the excursion lasts about 45 minutes.
21:00 – 23:00: Happy Hour! Buy one drink - get one free (wine excluded). End of program for Day One.
Overnight on board.
6:45: Coffee, tea and breakfast pastries served in the dining room.
7:00: Arrive at the Surprise Cave area, there is a small fishing village here. Relax onboard. You may join Tai Chi instruction on the sundeck at 7:00, duraion about 30 minutes.
8:00: Transfer by tender to the Surprise Cave. Walk up the 100 steps to the entrance of the cave and tour on foot for approximately 45 minutes.
9:00: Upon return to the boat take time to freshen up and please check-out of cabins. Please leave heavy luggage outside of the cabins (staff will transfer to the pier). Depart for Bai Chay/Halong pier.
9:30: Enjoy Breakfast Set Menu or Buffet served in the dining room. Settle bills in the dining room after breakfast.
10:00: Relax on the sundeck or in the dining room and enjoy the bay scenery as we approach the pier.
10:45: Arrive at Bai Chay/Halong pier.
11:00: Transfer by tender to the pier. Pick up by our driver and transfer to Hanoi.
Free time at leisure for you to wrap up your memorial Vietnam Holiday until our private guide will see you off at the airport. We hope that you have enjoyed your Vietnam Tours with us and look forward to organizing your coming Vietnam Tours.
Indochinavalue says goodbye and see you again!!!
• 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 inportant 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 andentertainment 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 siteand 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 inHalong 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 themeal 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 flightinformation (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, creditcards, 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 willhave 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 partiessuch 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 inTipping 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 VietnameseImmigration 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 beused 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. Onemedium 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 VietnamMany 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 isalways 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