|Saigon, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam||Saigon, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam|
The fertile region known as 'Cuu Long', or the Mekong Delta, is the ricebowl of Vietnam. It is here that the mighty Mekong River finishes a journey that began in the high Tibetan Plateau. The Delta was once part of the Khmer kingdom and became the last region to be settled by the Vietnamese. The area offers much to the traveller. Its incredible scenery, fascinating rural lifestyles and friendly people can be best seen and experienced from the waterways and small canals that serve as the region's main 'highway' for transportation.
Locals in their shallow wooden boats, stacked high with mountains of vegetables, fruit, rice and fish ply their wares on the river, making this section spectacular for culture and scenery. Lush local paddies beside the delta make it a veritable cornucopia, justly renowned as the ‘rice basket’ of Vietnam. Cruising the delta gives you a real sense of the river’s significance to South East Asia and is one of the most enjoyable ways of taking Indochina’s lively pulse.
Accommodation: Asian Ruby Hotel or similar, HCMC
Arrive in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) where you are met and transferred to our centrally located hotel. You meet your tour leader and the rest of the group today. We have a pre-trip briefing which is generally followed by an optional group meal out at one of Saigon's many fantastic eating spots.
Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 dinner
Accommodation: Local island village homestay or similar
Today you travel south to the Mekong Delta. Along the way you stop to see the various fascinating local industries. A highlight is cruising in a boat around the small canals in the Mytho region, which is a great way to observe the local lifestyle close-up. We transfer boats to be paddled in a traditional wooden sampan through the small canals. In the afternoon, return to the motor boat for a visit to a bonsai garden, a nursery farm and a pottery workshop. You arrive on an island near Vinh Long, where you will stay overnight in a local homestay, a small house situated on the waterways and surrounded by fruit gardens. The facilities here are basic, with everyone sleeping in a large communal room, but the experience is unique in that it offers you a chance to live the way the local people do (for one night at least!). All bedding is provided including mosquito nets. We have the opportunity to take a local bike ride around the island or relax in a hammock and soak up the local way of life before enjoying dinner cooked by a local family - watch out for the rice wine!
Meals included: 1 breakfast
Accommodation: Asian Ruby Hotel or similar, HCMC
There are several interesting walks to enjoy in the surrounding village near our villa. A trip to Vinh Long enables you to explore the lively floating markets at Cai Be, which is also a base for the local boat-building industry. We make our way back to Saigon by boat and road via Cai Be. We arrive in Saigon at roughly 4pm which is just in time to join our main Vietnam tour.
This extension can only be booked in conjunction with a Vietnam tour.
• The services of Peregrine's expert English-speaking local tour leader throughout the Extension, and a local guide.
• Return transport Saigon to Mekong Delta, with a stop to see local industries.
• Boat cruise around small canals in the Mytho region.
• Overnight villa homestay on an island on the Mekong Delta. Accommodation in a large communal room with beds (all bedding provided including mosquito nets). Dinner cooked by a local family and opportunities for a bike ride and a walk in the surrounding village.
• Motor boat rides in Cai Be with visits to a UNESCO-recognised old traditional wooden house, a bonsai garden, a nursery farm and a pottery workshop.
• Traditional wooden sampan cruise through small canals.
• Trip to Vinh Long to explore the floating markets at Cai Be.
• Walk through Buu Chau Buddhist pagoda and the surrounding village.
• Visit to a crocodile farm and to cottage industries.
• Arrival transfer.
Stay overnight in a local homestay, a small house situated on the waterways and surrounded by fruit gardens. Sleep in a large communal room - your chance to live the way the local people do for one night! Take a local bike ride around the island, go for a walk to the surrounding village or simply relax in a hammock soaking up the local way of life before enjoying a delicious dinner cooked by a local family.
International flights, departure taxes, visas, other meals, any optional additional tours or activities during free time, insurance, tips and items of a personal nature.
Vaccinations may be required for this trip. Talk to your doctor about the up-to-date information for this region.Visas and Permits
It is your responsibility to ensure you have all required visas for your trip. Rules and regulations governing the issuance of visas are constantly changing, and vary for different nationalities and you should check visa requirements with your travel agent or relevant consular authority well before travel.
Please note that visa requirements can and do change. It is essential that you confirm requirements with the nearest relevant embassy or check with your travel agent before you travel. At the time of writing, a visa for is required by most travellers visiting and/or transiting Vietnam including Australians, New Zealanders, Americans, British and Canadians. All other nationalities should check with the Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate in their country for up-to-date visa information. Your visa must be obtained prior to the commencement of your tour, as visas are not normally issued to travellers on arrival in Vietnam. In fact you will are likely to be denied boarding your aircraft bound for Vietnam without a visa.
You are required to have travel insurance before heading off on a Peregrine trip. Insurance can be organised by your Peregrine representative or your travel agent.Responsible Travel
Our Responsible Travel ethos is at the heart of everything we do, from getting the basics right like respecting local cultures and the environment, to initiating projects that make positive contributions to communities, to our staff’s fundraising efforts and offsetting our carbon emissions.
Please visit our Responsible Travel (http://www.peregrineadventures.com/rt) page for more information.
Our Pre Departure Information or Travel Dossier (provided upon booking a trip) provides tips on how you can show respect for the local customs and culture in the country you are travelling in.
The information listed above is a brief description of some things you may need to consider when booking a trip. Once a tour is booked you will be provided with a link to your Travel Dossier which will contain detailed Pre Departure information.
There are a number of books which make interesting reading and provide insight in the history, politics and culture of the country. Suggestions are: The Quiet American- Graham Greene The Sacred Willow-Duong Van Mai Elliot Paradise of the Blind-Duong Thu Huong Vietnam: Yesterday & Today -Ellen Hammer One Crowded Hour- Tim Bowden Catfish and Mandala-Andrew X Pham Hitchhiking Vietnam-Karin Muller Vietnam- Lonely Planet A Bright Shining Lie-Neil Sheehan (on the Vietnam-American War)
This trips is only available as an add-on for travellers who have booked a tour in Vietnam.
Local Tour Leaders
By employing and training local guides to lead our group holidays, there is a two-fold benefit. Firstly, we provide employment opportunities for the local community. Just as importantly is the benefit to you, the traveller. Your tour leader’s friendship, humour, passion and intimate knowledge of the region will be key factors in making your holiday a success.
Tipping has become an accepted part of tourism in South East Asia. Your tour leader will be able to advise you in this area; however, as a guideline we would recommend tipping 10% of the total bill in restaurants and a small tip to hotel bellboys for carrying your bags.
At you pre-tour briefing your tour leader will discuss with you the idea of running a tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then the tour leader pays the tips and keeps a record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour is returned to group members. This is often the easiest way to avoid the hassles of needing small change and knowing what is an appropriate amount to tip.
It is customary to tip your tour leader, at the end of the trip, if you are happy with the service. A minimum tip of US$2 per day, from each member of the group, is the usual amount expected.
Infrastructure and Tet Holiday Period
Please note that Vietnam is a developing country whose infrastructure may differ from what you expect in your homeland. Expect poor road conditions and be prepared for some inconveniences due to such things as restaurants or tourist sites being closed and our regular transport services not always being available, especially so during the Tet holiday period (Vietnamese New Year).
During Tet (Vietnamese New Year), most businesses will be closed as Vietnamese people usually spend this period returning to their homes and celebrating with their families. This will involve a major burden on all forms of transport, and despite booking in advance, tickets for planes and trains especially are extremely difficult to obtain. Even if bookings are obtained, transport services during this period will be overcrowded and heavy delays are to be expected, so you will need to make sure that you pack your sense of humour. In order to facilitate your travels during the Tet period, we may need to substitute your train/plane journey with a private bus trip, if required.
This is an 'adventure' trip and we hope to expose you to all aspects of Vietnamese culture. Please be open-minded.
The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please keep this in mind when you read it and check with us if you want to be sure about something. The document was correct at time of printing, but you can check online for the most up to date version. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!
3 August 2012