Days
15
Price from
€2,495EUR

From south to north, Vietnam is a kaleidoscope of wonderful people and picturesque landscapes. Imagine learning the mysteries of the Viet Minh in Ho Chi Minh City or exploring the beautiful lakes and boulevards of Hanoi - and what better way to get to know the locals than to be their guests on a Mekong Delta homestay? Experience historical temples, visit Vietnam's spectacular coastline, enjoy delicious banquets and explore lively cities.

Independent Journeys

Independent travel, without the stress. Peregrine’s Independent Journeys are a range of Peregrine's best-selling group tours, available for 1-3 people. They depart on any day and are accompanied by a Peregrine guide in each location and 24/7 support from the local Peregrine office.


Start
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Finish
Hanoi, Vietnam
Country
Vietnam
Style
Independent Journeys
Theme
Explorer
Code
PAVVJ
Physical rating
Ages
Min 5
Group size
Min 1, Max 3

Why we love this trip

  • This is an 'independent' version of one of Peregrine's most popular trips. Enjoy your own exclusive departure, with the flexibility to chose your start date.

  • On a trip spanning both south and north, you'll experience the breadth of Vietnam's wonderful people, history and landscapes – from the mysteries of the Viet Minh in Ho Chi Minh City to the beautiful lakes and boulevards of Hanoi

  • Meet locals and get to know Vietnamese culture and hospitality first-hand with a Mekong Delta homestay

  • Get up close and personal with Vietnam's historic temples, spectacular coastline and delicious cuisine, all with an extra touch of comfort

Is this trip right for you?

  • On this Independent Journey you will have expert local guides in each destination. You will be unescorted for flights and vehicle transfers between destinations, however all the arrangements will be taken care of, and your local guide will meet you at your hotel.

  • Your homestay will be more basic than your other accommodation. While homestays can vary, be prepared for camp beds with mosquito nets in a dormitory style with shared facilities. However, most travellers find that this experience is the best way to connect with locals, and a real highlight.

  • This trip includes and overnight sleeper train. Carriages have compartments with four bunk style beds, with basic bedding provided. Shared amenities are located at the end of each carriage. While conditions on board are basic, not only are you able to wake up in a new location, you can also experience travelling like a local.

  • There is a fair amount of walking involved, with included walking tours in the downtown areas of each city, as well as in the caves in Halong Bay.

  • A boat trip from Nha Trang is included, riding in a smaller basket boat, with the opportunity for snorkelling. Let you leader know if you have any concerns about water-based activities.

  • Vietnam average temperatures vary greatly between South and North. While there is no best time of year, it's best to check the seasonal patterns on our country information page to gauge what the weather will be like and to pack layers to tackle this disparity in weather.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 May 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City where you'll be met and transferred to your hotel. There are no activities planned until you meet your local guide this evening (who will be collecting your travel Insurance details and next of kin information). If you have time, get out and acquaint yourself with the city beforehand. Otherwise, this evening enjoy a welcome dinner at one of the city's excellent eateries.
Accommodation
  • Millennium Boutique Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Sit down to a leisurely buffet breakfast at KOTO this morning. This restaurant is designed to give disadvantaged youth an education in hospitality. Then you'll drive south to Cai Be for a boat cruise along the intricate and beautiful waterways of the Mekong Delta. En route you'll stop and visit an orchard and sample some local tropical fruit, and visit some local cottage industries. As the sun starts to drop, continue to your homestay, your place of rest tonight. Here you will enjoy a beautiful home-cooked meal of local specialties.

Notes: The sleeping arrangement is a dormitory-style room with single camp beds. Bedding and mosquito nets are supplied. Keep in mind that the bathrooms are very simple and will only have cold water available. We do rotate the homestays to share business around, so amenities may vary slightly. While accommodation tonight is basic, typically our travellers find that the experience of seeing life in a local community is more than worthwhile.
Accommodation
  • Homestay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mekong Delta - Sightseeing tour including cottage industries
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today is an early start, as after breakfast you will be taken to visit the bustling Cai Be floating market, a place awash with colour and activity. Mingle with the locals and browse the stalls at this delightfully unconventional bazaar. You will then return to Ho Chi Minh City for an afternoon tour of the city, where daily life plays out on the streets and the dynamic atmosphere is a fascinating blend of old and new, East and West. Your leader will take you to the Reunification Palace, formally the Presidential Palace and the site of South Vietnam’s surrender in 1975, before visiting the War Remnants Museum. The tour will also allow you to admire the exterior of the many beautiful French colonial buildings around the city, including the main post office, Notre Dame Cathedral and the former Hotel de Ville (city hall).
Accommodation
  • Millennium Boutique Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Reunification Palace
  • Ho Chi Minh City - War Remnants Museum
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi Tunnels
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning you will head out of the city to the nearby Cu Chi Tunnels. Cu Chi is the name of the district that covers the extensive network (approximately 200 kilometres) of underground tunnels dug by the Viet Minh and later expanded by the Viet Cong. The tunnels contained hospitals, accommodation and schools, and were used for refuge, storage and as a military base for the Viet Cong close to Ho Chi Minh City. A section of the tunnels has been widened to allow visitors to enter and get a feel for what the life underground must have been like (please note that this will be hot and sweaty, and claustrophobic for some). Return to Ho Chi Minh for some free time this afternoon. This evening you will travel like a local, boarding an overnight train for Nha Trang (approximately 9 hours).

Notes: Overnight trains are not renowned for their opulence, but this is a true local experience, and the best way to cover a long distance in Vietnam. The trains are usually made up of four berth compartments with sheets and blankets provided. Some travellers prefer to bring their own sheets, but this is up to you. There is a chance that you will share your berth with people of different sexes and, on occasion, with people outside of your travel group. There is a simple dining cart on the train, but it can be wise to stock up on bread, fruit or other snacks prior to departure.
Accommodation
  • Overnight sleeper train (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Arrive in Nha Trang early this morning. After an early hotel check-in, meet your new local guide and enjoy a free day exploring this idyllic seaside town. With palm trees, white-sand beaches and a hip cosmopolitan atmosphere, Nha Trang is often referred to as the Cannes of the Orient. Perhaps treat yourself and soak in a natural mud bath at one of the nearby spas. You may also like to venture to the Po Nagar Cham Towers, which date back as far as the 7th century and are still active sites of worship.
Accommodation
  • Stella Maris Nha Trang Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Nha Trang - Boat trip including lunch
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today you will venture out on a boat to explore this beautiful coastal landscape and the islands nearby. From the main boat, you will take basket boats to shore and visit a fishing village. There's also the chance to snorkel in the pristine water, feast on a fresh seafood buffet lunch (included) and sit back, relax, and enjoy the sunshine on the deck of the boat.
Accommodation
  • Stella Maris Nha Trang Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Take a short flight to Danang (approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes). From here you will embark on a short minibus ride to Hoi An (approximately 1 hour). Hoi An was originally a Cham port town, but has been influenced by a myriad of traders from various cultures. With its charming low tiled houses and tranquil feel, this is a delightful town to walk around. You'll notice a distinctly Chinese appearance here, with pagodas and assembly halls scattered along the small lanes. This evening, perhaps wander through the paper lantern-lit streets and dine at one of the busy riverside restaurants.
Accommodation
  • Sincerity Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hoi An - Ancient town walk and entrance ticket
Optional Activities
  • Hoi An - Countryside bicycle hire - VND40000
  • Hoi An - Hoi An Boat & Bike Urban Adventure - USD51
  • Hoi An - My Son Cham day trip - USD35
  • Hoi An - Hoi An Walking & Cooking Class Urban Adventure - USD49
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning you will take a tour of the unique town of Hoi An, influenced over the years by myriad traders from various cultures. Originally a busy Cham Port, the town also has Chinese influences scattered about, with pagodas and assembly halls found down the streets. For a small town it has a liveliness alongside its charm and serenity. The tour will take you down the streets of low tiled buildings, taking in a historic house (formerly home to a prominent trader), the Japanese Covered Bridge, a Chinese assembly hall and a museum. The afternoon is free for you to enjoy more of delightful Hoi An and the surrounding area. Your leader will be able to help with suggestions for extra activities in Hoi An.
Accommodation
  • Sincerity Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Enjoy a day at your leisure today. Hoi An is renowned for its specialist tailors, so perhaps take this opportunity to get some clothing made from some quality local fabrics. If you feel like getting active, a lovely beach is located just nearby and is easily accessible by bicyle (these are easily rented). Or take a tour to My Son Cham to explore the ruins that date back to the 4th century. You might like to visit a local workshop to learn how to make your own rice paper. A Vietnamese cooking class too is a great way to familiarise yourself with some age-old culinary techniques, not to mention the beauty of feasting on the fruits of your own labour.
Accommodation
  • Sincerity Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Depart beautiful Hoi An today for Hue, the former imperial capital and hub of Vietnam's historic past. En route you'll pass through the Hai Van Pass – a scenic mountainous stretch of highway with views across Lang Co beach. You will also make a stop at this beach to stroll the shore or take a dip if you like. Arrive in Hue and discover its eclectic mix of frenetic streets and peaceful beauty. You will visit the Imperial Citadel, including the Forbidden Purple City. The latter was almost completely destroyed during the Tet Offensive in the Vietnam War, but its humble, foliage-covered ruins remain a testament to its proud history. Here you'll gain some insight into the horrific damage endured during the war.
Accommodation
  • Cherish Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hue - Imperial citadel
  • Hue - Perfume river cruise and Thien Mu Pagoda
  • Hue - Royal tomb
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take a boat cruise on the Perfume River before visiting the Thien Mu Pagoda, the unofficial symbol of Hue. The Pagoda is an active Buddhist monastery that dates back to 1601. You will also enjoy lunch at a local nunnery or monastery. This not only allows you to sample some of Hue’s famed vegetarian food, but also offers a chance to learn about Vietnamese Buddhism. You will also visit the elaborate royal tomb of Emperor Tu Duc, with its beautiful lake, frangipani and pine trees.
Accommodation
  • Cherish Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Fly from Hue to Hanoi today (approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes) and meet your transfer upon arrival into Hanoi airport, which will take you to your centrally located hotel. Your Hanoi local guide will meet you at your hotel. You will then enjoy a guided half-day tour of the city. Enchanting Hanoi stands in contrast to its southern counterpart - relaxed rather than frantic, full of lakes and parks to escape to, where walking or riding a bike is the best way to explore. The tour will take in the major sites, including the Temple of Literature, One Pillar Pagoda, and the former residence of Vietnam’s most famous revolutionary, Ho Chi Minh. Be taken through the ancient '36 streets' and discover an amazing selection of shops that sell everything from souvenirs to exquisite silk clothing, jewellery and beautifully embroidered tablecloths. In your free time, the Vietnam Fine Arts museum is well worth a visit. This Museum is considered as one of the crucial museum in maintaining and promoting the treasure of cultural, artistic heritages of Vietnamese ethnic communities. In the evening, you'll sit down to a unique water-puppet performance.
Accommodation
  • Thien Thai or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hanoi - Water puppet show
  • Hanoi - Temple of Literature
  • Hanoi - One Pillar Pagoda & HCM stilt house
Optional Activities
  • Hanoi - Hoa Lo 'Hanoi Hilton' Prison - VND30000
  • Hanoi - Museum of Ethnology - VND40000
  • Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum and Museum - VND80000
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you will leave Hanoi and drive north (approximately 3 hours) to the famous Halong Bay. You can leave your luggage behind at the Hanoi hotel and pack an overnight bag for staying on the boat. Halong Bay is listed as a World Heritage site and is one of Vietnam’s most spectacular natural wonders. The views of sailing junks navigating past thousands of limestone islands with rocky outcrops are nothing short of spectacular. You will travel to Bai Chay (Halong City West) where you will board a boat for an exploration of the bay, enjoying a seafood lunch and dinner (non-seafood also available), as well as spending a night on board. We visit a cave in the area and, in the warmer months, you can enjoy a swim in the bay. You may also have the chance to do some kayaking (optional and extra cost involved) while on Halong Bay.

Boat accommodation:
All boats used by Peregrine have twin-share cabins with en suite facilities and air-conditioning. Conditions may be somewhat more communal compared to the usual hotel setting, but spending a night on the bay is such a unique experience. If the weather is obliging, the views at sunset are especially incredible. There are only limited numbers of cabins on each boat, so the Single Supplement does not apply on the Halong Bay cruise, as all accommodation here is on a twin-share basis.
Included Activities
  • Halong Bay - Overnight boat cruise
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
After breakfast at Halong Bay, return by bus to Hanoi (approximately 3.5 hours). Arriving back in the capital, there will be free time to wander around and enjoy some of the city’s attractions you may have missed the first time. Why not stop for a bia hoi (freshly brewed draught beer) at one of the microbars in the Old Quarter, relax at a cafe, shop on Hang Gai Street or perhaps enjoy some afternoon tea at the Metropole Hotel. In the evening, enjoy a final farewell dinner in a Hanoi restaurant.
Accommodation
  • Thien Thai or similar (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Hanoi Urban Adventure - Citadels, Karsts & Cycle - USD88
  • Hanoi - Hanoi Street Food By Night Urban Adventure - USD31
  • Hanoi Urban Adventure - Village Discovery by Bike - USD33
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Your journey comes to an end after breakfast today. Please enquire with your booking agent if you would like to extend your stay in Vietnam, perhaps with an Urban Adventure in Hanoi.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

13 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 dinners

Transport

Boat, Plane, Private vehicle, Sleeper train

Accommodation

Comfortable hotel, Overnight train, Boat, Homestay

Included Activities

  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
  • Mekong Delta - Sightseeing tour including cottage industries
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Reunification Palace
  • Ho Chi Minh City - War Remnants Museum
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi Tunnels
  • Nha Trang - Boat trip including lunch
  • Hoi An - Ancient town walk and entrance ticket
  • Hue - Imperial citadel
  • Hue - Perfume river cruise and Thien Mu Pagoda
  • Hue - Royal tomb
  • Hanoi - Water puppet show
  • Hanoi - Temple of Literature
  • Hanoi - One Pillar Pagoda & HCM stilt house
  • Halong Bay - Overnight boat cruise

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. An airport arrival transfer is included. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking.
2. Passport Details: Please provide your full name exactly as per passport at the time of booking (including any middle names listed on your passport), for internal flights and train 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.

Essential Trip Information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.