Vietnam Family Holiday Comfort

Tour Commences: Hanoi | Tour Finishes: Ho Chi Minh City | 13 day itinerary | From £1,240pp

With its friendly locals, delicious food and incredible scenery, Vietnam is the ideal place for a family adventure. Stroll the winding streets of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, laugh yourself silly at the water puppet theatre at Hoan Kiem and see ancient temples and pagodas alongside modern houses from a cyclo. Barter with stallholders at a floating market, explore the Forbidden Purple City and eat all the pho you can handle. With 13 days to adventure from the towering limestone karsts of Halong Bay to the frenetic markets of Ho Chi Minh City, you and your gang will get all the highlights of vivacious Vietnam in one neat package.

Why you’ll love this trip

  • A cyclo tour of Hanoi is an excellent introduction to bustling inner-city Vietnam, and the novelty of travelling on these three-wheeled wonders is a thrill for all ages
  • There’s a perfect balance of included activities and free time, which is ideal in atmospheric destinations like Hoi An. Tailored threads, cooking class or beach day? Your choice
  • Halong Bay is more than an amazing and unique natural wonder – it’s a proper escape from the world around you. Sleep under the stars on a comfortable cruise boat and enjoy a sumptuous lunch and dinner on board
  • By dining at KOTO in Hanoi, you and your family will not only feast on delicious northern specialties, you’ll be supporting a cause that helps support disadvantaged youth with careers in hospitality
  • Gain a real insight into village living with a special homestay in the Mekong Delta. You’ll access the homestay by water, and will be learning about daily life and laughing with the locals in no time

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 - 2: Hanoi

Xin chao! Welcome to Vietnam. You will be transferred from the airport to your hotel, and your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 5pm. Afterwards, enjoy a welcome dinner with your fellow families. Hanoi is famous for its beautiful lakes, shaded boulevards, verdant public parks and thriving Old Quarter. The latter is a veritable architectural museum piece that feels like a 1930s provincial French town – a great place to explore today if you have time.

Embark on a full-day tour of the city. You will visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Museum, and the tranquil Temple of Literature – an oasis of calm in the heart of town. Also head to the Museum of Ethnology to learn more about the diverse heritage of Vietnam. Enjoy some lunch at the KOTO restaurant – an excellent establishment and long-time friend of Intrepid which lives by the philosophy of ‘know one, teach one’. It supports underprivileged local youth by giving them a chance at making a career in hospitality. In the evening, sit down to a traditional water puppet performance. This northern tradition, dating back nearly a thousand years, is performed alongside traditional Vietnamese music that employs drums, wooden bells, horns and bamboo flutes.

Day 3: Halong Bay

Travel by minibus to the spectacular World Heritage-listed site of Halong Bay (approximately 4 hours). The bay is a breathtaking secluded harbour with some 2000 limestone islands jutting out of the waters of the Bac Bo Gulf. Board your private boat and cruise among the dramatic limestone peaks. There’s an opportunity to swim in the famous Vietnam East Sea and explore caves filled with stunning stalactites and stalagmites. Spend a peaceful night on board, beneath a sky alive with stars.

Day 4 - 6: Hue

Enjoy breakfast on the boat this morning and perhaps head out for an optional early morning kayak. Return to Hanoi by bus (approximately 3.5 hours). From there you will board an overnight train bound for Hue. As the former imperial capital of Vietnam, Hue holds the treasures of Vietnam’s royal past. It’s a curious mix of bustling streets and tranquil settings. Although conditions are basic on your train journey, overnight trains are a classic South East Asian experience and the best way to travel long distances with the locals. Lie back and enjoy the ride! Most trains have a dining carriage serving simple food, but it’s a great idea to stock up on fresh bread, cheese and fruit before you head off.

As the former imperial capital of Vietnam, Hue holds the treasures of Vietnam’s royal past. It’s a curious mix of bustling streets and tranquil settings. As well as the Imperial Citadel, you will visit the Forbidden Purple City, which was almost totally destroyed during the American War’s Tet Offensive. The gaping holes left by bombs give an idea of the destruction wreaked upon the country during the war. Thankfully the ruins are now World Heritage protected and being restored.

Enjoy a dragon boat cruise along the Perfume River to visit the royal tomb of Emperor Tu Duc. The tomb is set amongst 12 hectares of parkland that has been carefully decorated with frangipani and pine trees, tranquil lakes and impressive architecture – much of which survived the ravages of time and war. While you’re here, take the opportunity to learn a little more about this figure who opposed the French involvement in Vietnam. You can also try your hand at making incense sticks and see how Hue’s unique conical ‘poem’ hat is made from palm leaves. You will also visit Thien Mu Pagoda, considered by many to be the unofficial symbol of Hue. It has been an active Buddhist site since 1601. In the afternoon, pay a visit to a local non-government organisation that supports Hue’s deaf and mute community by providing training, employment, support and a place to connect with others. Take part in a traditional paper flower making class with members of the community – this exercise is conducted in silence using body language and sure to be a special experience the whole family will remember.

Day 7 - 9: Hoi An

Travelling by bus (approximately 4 hours), head south through coastal rice paddies before traversing the spectacular Hai Van Pass. You’ll all be treated to some stunning mountain scenery en route. After a brief visit to the beautiful China Beach, arrive at Hoi An. Recently declared a World Heritage site, Hoi An and its delicate beauty is being restored and preserved. Known as Faifo to early Western traders, it was one of South East Asia’s major international ports during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Today, parts of it look exactly as they did more than a century ago – it’s the sort of place that grows on you the more you explore it.

After breakfast, head out to spend the morning at Cua Dai beach. This beach is known for its stunning palm-fringed white sand and views of the Cham islands. Transfer back to town for lunch, before spending the afternoon learning how to make wonton cake. This hands-on experience is one the whole family will enjoy!

The rest of your time is left free to relax in this beautiful area. You could take a taxi or make the easy five-kilometre bicycle ride through the rice paddies and shrimp ponds to Cua Dai beach. Alternatively, Hoi An is one of the best places to shop for souvenirs, especially if you’re looking for t-shirts, paintings or ceramics. For those interested in getting clothes tailored, this is definitely the place to shop. You might also like to speak to your leader about arranging a cooking lesson and learn about the many layers of fresh herbs and flavours that can be found in Vietnam’s fresh and tasty cuisine.

Day 10: Ho Chi Minh City

Take a short flight to Ho Chi Minh City (approximately 1 hour). Formerly known as Saigon, this bustling metropolis is full of vibrant sights and sounds; a fascinating blend of old and new. Check out Ben Thanh Market and feast on a delicious lunch of local street food, and take an orientation walk. Afterwards, you’re free to explore the city as you please. Your leader will have plenty of interesting ideas for you and your family. Consider scooting off on cyclos to Cholon, the Chinatown area of Ho Chi Minh City, or for a bit of temple-hopping. Otherwise, you could visit the Vietnamese version of a department store for some serious shopping.

Day 11: Mekong Delta

Head down to the Mekong Delta and visit unexplored Ben Tre where coconut is everything and anything. The journey to Ben Tre is south by private bus (approximately 2.5 hours). The fertile delta is famous for its abundant harvests of tropical fruits and flowers. On arrival, board your private boat and cruise along the maze of waterways to visit some local cottage industries. This is a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at a different part of the local economy. Then head to your overnight homestay by the water. Be invited into a family home for a true local experience – a chance to see daily life from the inside. You’ll be sleeping on simple camp beds in dorm-style rooms, with all meals included. Bedding and mosquito nets are provided.

 

Day 12 - 13: Ho Chi Minh City

Rise early, as the locals do here on the delta. Enjoy a leisurely morning before heading back to Ho Chi Minh City on the bus. On arrival, you’ll have free time to further explore the city at your own pace. This is an opportunity to do anything you might have missed the first time around. District 1 is a great place to walk around with the family. If you’ve fallen in love with Vietnamese food, sample some of the culinary delights you haven’t got around to yet – perhaps some grilled cuttlefish or, for the adventurous, street-barbecued sea snails.

There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time, provided you comply with the hotel’s internal check-out policies.

Important Details

Travellers on Intrepid trips are required to produce proof of full vaccination against COVID-19.

1. Please note that these trips are for adults and children travelling together and there must be at least one child under 18 with you.
2. Minimum age: 5 years old. Please note that anyone aged under 18 must be accompanied by (and share accommodation with) a parent or legal guardian.
3. A discount of 10% applies on this trip to children 17 or younger at the time of travel.
4. Please provide your full name exactly as per passport at the time of booking (including any middle names listed on your passport) for train and flight tickets. Ticketing fees may apply for amendments to details within 45 days of departure, and in some cases you will be required to cover the cost of issuing a new ticket.
5. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement exclude Day 3 (Overnight Boat), Day 4 (Sleeper Train) and Day 11 (Homestay) where you will be in shared accommodation and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
6. A complimentary airport arrival transfer is included; valid if you are arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-tour accommodation through us. You must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel.
7. This trip starts with a welcome meeting at 5 pm on Day 1 in Hanoi. This trip ends on Day 13 and you are free to leave at any time.
8. Tet is Vietnam’s New Year festival, held annually in late January or early February based on the lunar calendar. While this can be a fascinating time to travel and experience this event, expect some shop closures and busier than usual local transport. Opening hours at some tourist sites may also be affected or closed. Although we make all reasonable efforts to avoid disruption, a flexible approach from the traveler is appreciated.
9. During the rainy months (approx. June to October), our mode of transport can be changed at short notice due to weather conditions.

What’s Included:

This 13 day tour starts at £1,240 per person and includes…

  • Meals – 11 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 dinners
  • Transfers – Boat, minibus, overnight sleeper train, plane, private bus
  • Accommodation – Hotel (9 nights), overnight boat (1 night), overnight sleeper train (1 night), homestay (1 night)
  • Complimentary Airport arrival transfer
  • Hanoi – Temple of Literature
  • Hanoi – Water puppet show
  • Hanoi – Ho Chi Minh Complex: Ho Chi Minh, Stilt House and Museum
  • Hanoi – Museum of Ethnology
  • Hanoi – Koto Restaurant lunch
  • Halong Bay – Overnight boat cruise
  • Hue – Imperial City full day tour
  • Hue – Royal tomb of Emperor Tu Duc
  • Hue – Perfume River cruise
  • Hue – Lavin House craft experience
  • Hoi An – Orientation walk
  • Hoi An – Old Town walking tour
  • Ho Chi Minh City – Orientation walk
  • Mekong Delta – Boat cruise and homestay
  • Mekong Delta – Local market visit

Price based on selected departures (please note prices & availability are subject to change).

Please enquire below and one of Intrepid Travel’s destination experts will be in contact to discuss this trip.

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