The Tour Price displayed here is for the tour only and does not include international flights. Our flight prices are very competitive, please ask for a quote when making your bookingAll departures for this trip are guaranteed.
This trip is an overland trip run in an overland truck. In addition to paying for your trip, you're require to make a separate payment to your tour leader at the start of the trip, usually in USD. Kitties are flexible and change as prices are updated. Therefore you should check the latest kitty amount on this website before you depart.
A kitty is a group fund which covers all accommodation, meals while camping (not in hotels) and activities listed as included. It's a system unique to overlanding to provide the maximum flexibility and best value on the road (you get everything at cost price!). The kitty is your money, not ours, so any amount left over is divided among the group as a refund.Close
|Trip Code||Start Date||End Date||Currency||Kitty|
|TVSR||Saturday 20 Jul 2013||Saturday 03 Aug 2013|
|TVSR||Wednesday 24 Jul 2013||Wednesday 07 Aug 2013|
|TVSR||Saturday 03 Aug 2013||Saturday 17 Aug 2013|
|TVSR||Wednesday 07 Aug 2013||Wednesday 21 Aug 2013|
|TVSR||Saturday 10 Aug 2013||Saturday 24 Aug 2013|
|TVSR||Saturday 17 Aug 2013||Saturday 31 Aug 2013|
|TVSR||Wednesday 21 Aug 2013||Wednesday 04 Sep 2013|
|TVSR||Saturday 24 Aug 2013||Saturday 07 Sep 2013|
|TVSR||Saturday 31 Aug 2013||Saturday 14 Sep 2013|
|TVSR||Saturday 07 Sep 2013||Saturday 21 Sep 2013|
|TVSR||Saturday 14 Sep 2013||Saturday 28 Sep 2013|
|TVSR||Wednesday 18 Sep 2013||Wednesday 02 Oct 2013|
|TVSR||Saturday 21 Sep 2013||Saturday 05 Oct 2013|
|TVSR||Wednesday 25 Sep 2013||Wednesday 09 Oct 2013|
|TVSR||Saturday 28 Sep 2013||Saturday 12 Oct 2013|
|TVSR||Wednesday 02 Oct 2013||Wednesday 16 Oct 2013|
|TVSR||Monday 07 Oct 2013||Monday 21 Oct 2013|
|TVSR||Wednesday 09 Oct 2013||Wednesday 23 Oct 2013|
|TVSR||Saturday 12 Oct 2013||Saturday 26 Oct 2013|
|TVSR||Monday 14 Oct 2013||Monday 28 Oct 2013|
|TVSR||Wednesday 16 Oct 2013||Wednesday 30 Oct 2013|
|TVSR||Saturday 19 Oct 2013||Saturday 02 Nov 2013|
|TVSR||Monday 21 Oct 2013||Monday 04 Nov 2013|
|TVSR||Wednesday 23 Oct 2013||Wednesday 06 Nov 2013|
|TVSR||Saturday 26 Oct 2013||Saturday 09 Nov 2013|
|TVSR||Wednesday 30 Oct 2013||Wednesday 13 Nov 2013|
|TVSR||Saturday 02 Nov 2013||Saturday 16 Nov 2013|
|TVSR||Wednesday 06 Nov 2013||Wednesday 20 Nov 2013|
|TVSR||Saturday 09 Nov 2013||Saturday 23 Nov 2013|
|TVSR||Wednesday 13 Nov 2013||Wednesday 27 Nov 2013|
|TVSR||Saturday 16 Nov 2013||Saturday 30 Nov 2013|
|TVSR||Monday 18 Nov 2013||Monday 02 Dec 2013|
|TVSR||Wednesday 20 Nov 2013||Wednesday 04 Dec 2013|
|TVSR||Saturday 23 Nov 2013||Saturday 07 Dec 2013|
|TVSR||Wednesday 27 Nov 2013||Wednesday 11 Dec 2013|
|TVSR||Saturday 30 Nov 2013||Saturday 14 Dec 2013|
|TVSR||Monday 02 Dec 2013||Monday 16 Dec 2013|
|TVSR||Wednesday 04 Dec 2013||Wednesday 18 Dec 2013|
|TVSR||Saturday 07 Dec 2013||Saturday 21 Dec 2013|
|TVSR||Wednesday 11 Dec 2013||Wednesday 25 Dec 2013|
|TVSR||Saturday 14 Dec 2013||Saturday 28 Dec 2013|
|TVSR||Monday 16 Dec 2013||Monday 30 Dec 2013|
|TVSR||Wednesday 18 Dec 2013||Wednesday 01 Jan 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 21 Dec 2013||Saturday 04 Jan 2014|
|TVSR||Monday 23 Dec 2013||Monday 06 Jan 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 28 Dec 2013||Saturday 11 Jan 2014|
|TVSR||Monday 30 Dec 2013||Monday 13 Jan 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 01 Jan 2014||Wednesday 15 Jan 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 04 Jan 2014||Saturday 18 Jan 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 08 Jan 2014||Wednesday 22 Jan 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 11 Jan 2014||Saturday 25 Jan 2014|
|TVSR||Monday 13 Jan 2014||Monday 27 Jan 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 15 Jan 2014||Wednesday 29 Jan 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 18 Jan 2014||Saturday 01 Feb 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 22 Jan 2014||Wednesday 05 Feb 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 25 Jan 2014||Saturday 08 Feb 2014|
|TVSR||Monday 27 Jan 2014||Monday 10 Feb 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 29 Jan 2014||Wednesday 12 Feb 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 01 Feb 2014||Saturday 15 Feb 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 05 Feb 2014||Wednesday 19 Feb 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 08 Feb 2014||Saturday 22 Feb 2014|
|TVSR||Monday 10 Feb 2014||Monday 24 Feb 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 12 Feb 2014||Wednesday 26 Feb 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 15 Feb 2014||Saturday 01 Mar 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 19 Feb 2014||Wednesday 05 Mar 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 22 Feb 2014||Saturday 08 Mar 2014|
|TVSR||Monday 24 Feb 2014||Monday 10 Mar 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 26 Feb 2014||Wednesday 12 Mar 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 01 Mar 2014||Saturday 15 Mar 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 05 Mar 2014||Wednesday 19 Mar 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 08 Mar 2014||Saturday 22 Mar 2014|
|TVSR||Monday 10 Mar 2014||Monday 24 Mar 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 12 Mar 2014||Wednesday 26 Mar 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 15 Mar 2014||Saturday 29 Mar 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 19 Mar 2014||Wednesday 02 Apr 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 22 Mar 2014||Saturday 05 Apr 2014|
|TVSR||Monday 24 Mar 2014||Monday 07 Apr 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 26 Mar 2014||Wednesday 09 Apr 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 29 Mar 2014||Saturday 12 Apr 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 02 Apr 2014||Wednesday 16 Apr 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 05 Apr 2014||Saturday 19 Apr 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 09 Apr 2014||Wednesday 23 Apr 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 12 Apr 2014||Saturday 26 Apr 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 16 Apr 2014||Wednesday 30 Apr 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 19 Apr 2014||Saturday 03 May 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 23 Apr 2014||Wednesday 07 May 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 26 Apr 2014||Saturday 10 May 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 30 Apr 2014||Wednesday 14 May 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 03 May 2014||Saturday 17 May 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 07 May 2014||Wednesday 21 May 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 10 May 2014||Saturday 24 May 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 14 May 2014||Wednesday 28 May 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 17 May 2014||Saturday 31 May 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 21 May 2014||Wednesday 04 Jun 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 24 May 2014||Saturday 07 Jun 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 28 May 2014||Wednesday 11 Jun 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 31 May 2014||Saturday 14 Jun 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 04 Jun 2014||Wednesday 18 Jun 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 07 Jun 2014||Saturday 21 Jun 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 11 Jun 2014||Wednesday 25 Jun 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 14 Jun 2014||Saturday 28 Jun 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 18 Jun 2014||Wednesday 02 Jul 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 21 Jun 2014||Saturday 05 Jul 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 25 Jun 2014||Wednesday 09 Jul 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 28 Jun 2014||Saturday 12 Jul 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 02 Jul 2014||Wednesday 16 Jul 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 05 Jul 2014||Saturday 19 Jul 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 09 Jul 2014||Wednesday 23 Jul 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 12 Jul 2014||Saturday 26 Jul 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 16 Jul 2014||Wednesday 30 Jul 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 19 Jul 2014||Saturday 02 Aug 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 23 Jul 2014||Wednesday 06 Aug 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 26 Jul 2014||Saturday 09 Aug 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 30 Jul 2014||Wednesday 13 Aug 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 02 Aug 2014||Saturday 16 Aug 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 06 Aug 2014||Wednesday 20 Aug 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 09 Aug 2014||Saturday 23 Aug 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 13 Aug 2014||Wednesday 27 Aug 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 16 Aug 2014||Saturday 30 Aug 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 20 Aug 2014||Wednesday 03 Sep 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 23 Aug 2014||Saturday 06 Sep 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 27 Aug 2014||Wednesday 10 Sep 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 30 Aug 2014||Saturday 13 Sep 2014|
|TVSR||Monday 01 Sep 2014||Monday 15 Sep 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 03 Sep 2014||Wednesday 17 Sep 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 06 Sep 2014||Saturday 20 Sep 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 10 Sep 2014||Wednesday 24 Sep 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 13 Sep 2014||Saturday 27 Sep 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 17 Sep 2014||Wednesday 01 Oct 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 20 Sep 2014||Saturday 04 Oct 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 24 Sep 2014||Wednesday 08 Oct 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 27 Sep 2014||Saturday 11 Oct 2014|
|TVSR||Monday 29 Sep 2014||Monday 13 Oct 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 01 Oct 2014||Wednesday 15 Oct 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 04 Oct 2014||Saturday 18 Oct 2014|
|TVSR||Monday 06 Oct 2014||Monday 20 Oct 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 08 Oct 2014||Wednesday 22 Oct 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 11 Oct 2014||Saturday 25 Oct 2014|
|TVSR||Monday 13 Oct 2014||Monday 27 Oct 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 15 Oct 2014||Wednesday 29 Oct 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 18 Oct 2014||Saturday 01 Nov 2014|
|TVSR||Monday 20 Oct 2014||Monday 03 Nov 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 22 Oct 2014||Wednesday 05 Nov 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 25 Oct 2014||Saturday 08 Nov 2014|
|TVSR||Monday 27 Oct 2014||Monday 10 Nov 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 29 Oct 2014||Wednesday 12 Nov 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 01 Nov 2014||Saturday 15 Nov 2014|
|TVSR||Monday 03 Nov 2014||Monday 17 Nov 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 05 Nov 2014||Wednesday 19 Nov 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 08 Nov 2014||Saturday 22 Nov 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 12 Nov 2014||Wednesday 26 Nov 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 15 Nov 2014||Saturday 29 Nov 2014|
|TVSR||Monday 17 Nov 2014||Monday 01 Dec 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 19 Nov 2014||Wednesday 03 Dec 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 22 Nov 2014||Saturday 06 Dec 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 26 Nov 2014||Wednesday 10 Dec 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 29 Nov 2014||Saturday 13 Dec 2014|
|TVSR||Monday 01 Dec 2014||Monday 15 Dec 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 03 Dec 2014||Wednesday 17 Dec 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 06 Dec 2014||Saturday 20 Dec 2014|
|TVSR||Monday 08 Dec 2014||Monday 22 Dec 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 10 Dec 2014||Wednesday 24 Dec 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 13 Dec 2014||Saturday 27 Dec 2014|
|TVSR||Monday 15 Dec 2014||Monday 29 Dec 2014|
|TVSR||Wednesday 17 Dec 2014||Wednesday 31 Dec 2014|
|TVSR||Saturday 20 Dec 2014||Saturday 03 Jan 2015|
|TVSR||Monday 22 Dec 2014||Monday 05 Jan 2015|
|TVSR||Wednesday 24 Dec 2014||Wednesday 07 Jan 2015|
|TVSR||Saturday 27 Dec 2014||Saturday 10 Jan 2015|
|TVSR||Wednesday 31 Dec 2014||Wednesday 14 Jan 2015|
If you want to spot the breathtaking views of 3000 limestone islands rising out the jade coloured waters, then visit the Titop Islands of Halong Bay, Vietnam.
Hanoi is the capital, and it is a place where the old and new world meet. Where French and Asian cultures mix. Still standing are historical towers and temples, there are over 600 that are spread across the city. A visit to the capital is not complete without a visit to the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre. The traditional Vietnamese pit orchestra creates a lively atmosphere that interests people of all ages.
You can have a traditional Vietnamese meal. The blends of herbs and sauces added to pork, chicken and fish create some delectable dishes. If you want a vegetarian meal, then there are many to choose from as a lot of people in Vietnam are vegetarians. One dish is Xoi which is sticky rice cooked in coconut milk. A simple dish yet there are so many varieties that are created.
Vietnam is a chance to escape from the rest of the world and explore for days on end. What more could you want from a place with outstanding views, beautiful food and a friendly welcome.
Hanoi is famous for its tranquil lake settings, French-colonial architecture, ancient temples, delectable cuisine and as the resting place of the revered former leader, Ho Chi Minh.
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1.
Halong Bay is a place of surreal beauty, with ethereal limestone islands jutting out of jade waters and atmospheric caves and grottoes carved out by time. With a vibrant Old Quarter to explore, delicious food to discover and a city where ancient meets modern with ease, no wonder Hanoi is a favourite with travellers.
The journey by minibus to the spectacular World Heritage site of Halong Bay takes approx 4 hrs.
Halong Bay is a breathtaking secluded harbour with 2,000 limestone islands rising from the emerald waters of Bac Bo Gulf. One of Vietnam's most scenic regions, this area of about 1,500 sq km is dotted with innumerable beaches and grottos, created over thousands of years by waves and wind.
Board our private boat and cruise among the dramatic limestone peaks. There's an opportunity to swim in the famed South China Sea, as well as to explore caves filled with stunning stalactites and stalagmites. Spend a peaceful night on board, beneath a night sky alive with stars. Our sailing junk has twin-share cabins that have air-conditioning and private facilities. There's also a dining room and bar where we enjoy a sumptuous lunch and dinner.
Due to recent unforeseen late changes by local authorities in Halong Bay a large proportion of boats are now no longer permitted to stay overnight, thus resulting in a shortage of boats. To ensure we can accommodate all travellers overnight on a boat we are occasionally using a larger boat (approx. 12 cabins) and splitting our groups across different boats. A group leader will be present on each boat, and the route taken and inclusions on board will remain the same.
As the former imperial capital of Vietnam, Hue holds the treasures of Vietnam's royal past and is a curious mix of bustling streets and tranquil settings.
The pace of life is slow and tranquillity prevails in Hue - the former imperial capital of Vietnam. Founded as a royal city in 1687, it's the gateway to the treasures of Vietnam's royal past.
With lantern-lit streets, vibrant markets, skilled tailors, artisan shops, ancient houses, colourful temples and beautiful smiles, Hoi An is a Vietnamese wonderland.
The journey to Hoi An takes approx 4 hours.
Nha Trang is a charming town on Vietnam's southeast coast with pristine beaches, consistently good weather, a vibrant nightlife and excellent diving.
The train to Nha Trang takes approx 10 hours. Although long, it's an interesting journey - a chance to check out the stunning countryside, as well as befriend local travellers.
Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is an exciting and dynamic city brimming with street vendors, cyclos, temples, shops and colonial architecture.
Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is characterised by a vast array of sights and sounds; a fascinating blend of old and new, East and West. The huge number of people rushing about their daily lives in Vietnam's largest city gives it a dynamic atmosphere and the French influence is evident in the excellent baguettes and coffee on offer. Much of the city's life takes place on the busy streets lined with shops, stalls and vendors with their wares spread out on the footpath, selling everything from soup to sophisticated electronics.
Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. Our brochure is usually released in November each year. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.imaginative-traveller.com
Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are for entrance only and don't include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Optional activities aren't necessarily endorsed or recommended by Imaginative Traveller nor included in price of this trip. If you do any optional activities, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that your participation is your own decision and doesn't form part of your contract with Imaginative Traveller.
The official currency of Vietnam is Dong (VND).
The most convenient and cheapest way to obtain local currency in is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM). ATMs are now available in most towns and visa cash advances are available in major banks. Foreign currency notes that are old, torn or faded can be very difficult to exchange, clean bills in small denominations are most useful. Traveller's cheques can be difficult to change. The use of credit cards is restricted, mainly to major hotels.
It's not possible to exchange Vietnamese Dong outside the country, so convert or spend all your Dong before leaving.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Imaginative Traveller destinations. Although can be difficult to source we advise you to carry small notes of local currency each day to make tipping easier. Please note we recommend that any tips are given directly to the intended recipient by a member of your group as our group leaders are prohibited from collecting cash for tips.
The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up to the nearest US$1. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill.
Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest US$2-3 per day for local guides.
Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however we suggest US$1-2 per day for drivers.
Your Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$2-4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
In total, we recommend you budget approx US$5-10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
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 traveller is appreciated.
During the rainy months (approx. June to October), our mode of transport can be changed at short notice due to weather conditions.
Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.
Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes.
A single supplement is available on this trip, please ask your booking agent for more information. Please note that on the following nights the supplement is not available:
- Day 3 Halong Bay
- Day 4 Overnight train to Hue
- Day 12 Overnight train to Ho Chi Minh City
Hotel (11 nts), Overnight sleeper train (2 nts), Overnight boat (1 nt)
The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.
Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times when you share a room with passengers travelling on different Imaginative Traveller trips than your own. Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.
If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
Some hotels in Vietnam have windowless rooms, or windows that don't necessarily have a view. This is often due to high population density in large cities, however local building standards also don't require rooms to have windows. We do request rooms with windows, however they aren't always available.
While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
11 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 1 Dinner
Budget for meals not included: USD 250.00
Breakfasts are often simple: eggs, bread, jam and coffee/tea would be most common.
Private minibus, Overnight sleeper train, Boat
All our group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. We endeavour to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.
Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
Located within walking distance to Hanoi's Old Quarter, the newly renovated Hong Ngoc 5 features 35 well appointed rooms, a restaurant serving buffet breakfast, bar and café, and lift. Room facilities include IDD phone, air conditioner, cable TV, mini bar, bathroom with bathtub, and natural daylight
An arrival transfer from the airport is available if arranged at the time of booking. Transfers cannot be arranged on arrival. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your departure. If you plan to arrive earlier, this arrival transfer can only be offered in conjunction with pre-tour accommodation booked through Imaginative Traveller.
Metered taxi ranks are available outside the airport entrance. Go out of the customs hall and walk through the airport exit gates A4 and A5 on level 1, you will find Noi Bai Airport taxis (+84 4 3886 8888) readily available outside. Noi Bai Airport taxi drivers wear yellow uniform shirt. Taxi fare to your hotel in town will cost approx. US$14 (VND230000) in total which. Please note these taxis are not on meter - but generally charge per trip. Please AVOID taxi touts who tell you that they have a metered taxi parked outside the airport.
If you have pre-booked an airport transfer you will be met on arrival, and your driver will be waiting for you as you get out of the customs hall and will be holding a sign bearing your name.
Please note that neither the driver nor any representative should ask you for additional payment.
If you cannot find your pre-booked transfer, or you have any concerns about your transfer, please call our hotline at +84 903 117 770.
Normal check in time at the hotel is after 13:00.
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
If you have pre-booked an airport transfer (where available) and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the starting point hotel, following the Joining Instructions in these Trip Notes. Should this occur, please apply to your travel agent for a refund of the transfer cost on your return.
No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.
Family Inn Saigon Hotel
84A Bui Thi Xuan Street
Ho Chi Minh City
Phone: +84 8 3925 7460
A metered taxi from the hotel to the airport will cost approx. US$10 (VND200,000) and take approx 45 minutes (depending on traffic).
A departure transfer from our hotel to the airport is available if arranged at the time of booking. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your trip start date. If you plan to stay longer, this departure transfer can only be offered in conjunction with post-tour accommodation booked through Imaginative Traveller. If you have booked a post trip airport transfer, please ask your leader to confirm with our local operator the time of departure and meeting place. If you have any problems please call our hotline at +84 903 117 770.
Check-out time from the hotel is 12 noon. If you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel.
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Imaginative Traveller's Vietnam Office can be reached on Tel: +84 903 117 770. For all other enquiries please contact our Reservations department which is open 24 hours, 6 days per week (excluding Sunday).
We also have a dedicated 24 hour telephone number which should only be used once you have left the UK and in the event of a real emergency. Should you need to call the number, we will do what we can to help but please bear in mind that real progress or action may not be possible until normal office hours.
If your flight is delayed or cancelled, please let us know and then make your way to the joining hotel as instructed in these trip notes. If you cannot get through leave a message and a contact number as these will be regularly checked.
Emergency Number: +44 (0) 7985106564
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
Australia: Yes - in advance
Belgium: Yes - in advance
Canada: Yes - in advance
Germany Yes - in advance
Ireland: Yes - in advance
Netherlands: Yes - in advance
New Zealand: Yes - in advance
South Africa: Yes - in advance
Switzerland: Yes - in advance
United Kingdom: Yes - in advance
USA: Yes - in advance
When obtaining your visa you should allow 3 weeks for processing, the cost is approximately US$60 to US$100. Check with your embassy or consulate for further details. Some nationalities are exempt from requiring a visa if their stay is less than 15 days, but if you are planning on staying in Vietnam for longer than 15 days you will need to obtain a visa extension in advance.
Keep the customs and immigration form you receive on arrival, as you need it to complete exit formalities on departure.
If your visa application asks for a point of contact, please write: Imaginative Traveller Vietnam 57A Nguyen Khac Hieu St, Hanoi, Vietnam Ph +84 4 3715 0996.
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader if you may speak to their direct manager.
What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please consider water purification techniques such as iodine or micropur and use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation.
All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Imaginative Traveller reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
Rare instances of dengue fever have been reported in this region. This virus is transmitted by mosquitoes. There is no vaccination against it, but there are preventative measures that you can take such as wearing long clothing, using repellent and being indoors particularly around dusk and dawn.
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Imaginative Traveller itinerary, and Imaginative Traveller makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!
While travelling in this part of the world there is the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
You may stay at hotels with unfenced pools and no life guard on duty.
Some hotel balconies don't meet UK standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.
Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in the western world or from your home country and not all the transport which we use provides seat belts.
While life jackets are generally available on water craft, there may be occasions where they are not provided and child size life jackets are not always readily available. If travelling with children and this safety issue concerns you we will be able to advise alternative methods of transport (where available) for you to travel to the next destination. You can choose to travel independently for this leg of the journey. This would be at your own expense.
Be particularly aware of motorbike bag snatching, especially in the bigger cities, such as Ho Chi Minh City.
Take care when taking part in any activities in the ocean, river or open water where waves and currents can be unpredictable. It is expected that anyone taking part in water activities are able to swim and have experience in open water. All swimmers should seek local advice before entering the water.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
We highly recommend the Imaginative Traveller travel insurance which is tailored specifically for adventure travel and covers ALL activities featured in any of our tours. For more details please go to http://www.imaginative-traveller.com/travel-insurance
Responsible Travel is twofold. It’s about taking people to the places they want to go in a safe and responsible manner but also about respecting and maintaining the natural and often delicate balance of the destination. Economic gain from tourism is often fundamental to a country, but should never be at the expense of its culture or the environment.
Before you depart try to spend some time familiarising yourself with the destination you will be travelling to – their culture and customs. The country dossiers on our website offer detailed information about all the regions we visit. They also include some useful phrases in the local language for you to use on your trip! A few words of the local language can open up many more opportunities for you to interact with the people you will meet.
Although it is tempting to give out pens, sweets and money to people begging, and particularly tempting to give to children, we feel that this encourages a begging mentality and has a long-term negative impact on communities. If someone begging earns more than someone in the same community who works this can discourage local employment. If children regularly bring home money it may discourage their parents from sending them to school.
Always ask permission to photograph local people and respect their decision if they would prefer not to have their picture taken.
Respect local dress codes, especially at religious sites. Our tour leaders are always on hand to give you advice about this. When packing be aware that dress standards are conservative throughout Asia, especially outside major cities. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in the predominantly hot Asian climate. In many rural areas in Asia women will need to wear modest clothing even to swim. Singlets, tank tops and topless sun bathing are all unacceptable. When visiting religious sites men often need to wear long trousers and women a long skirt or sarong.
In many of the countries we visit you might see examples of animal cruelty (for example dancing bears, performing monkeys and snake charmers). Please do not take photographs of this or offer money as it encourages the activity.
Respect the environment you are in. It sounds obvious but do not throw litter, take it with you or use rubbish bins! You may see locals throwing rubbish on the street but do not follow their example!
When shopping in countries where haggling is the norm – enjoy it and only pay what you feel is a fair price for the goods you are purchasing. However, remember that the shopkeeper does have to make a living so do stop once you have reached a price you are happy with. Bargaining should be fun but always remember that a small amount can mean much more to the vendor than to you.
Endeavour to take home souvenirs made locally; the money you spend can be very important to the local communities. However, do use your common sense and don’t buy anything that you think might be made out of endangered animals or plants.
To help keep as much money as possible in the host country - try to eat in locally owned restaurants and order local drinks and produce rather than international brands.
In hotels do be conscious of how much water you are using. Many of the areas we visit regularly have shortages; try not to have hour long showers! Don’t leave lights, air conditioners or fans on when you leave the room – you wouldn’t at home!
Respect the environment you are in, especially when in national parks or reserves. Pay attention to rules about keeping on paths, keeping a distance from animals and not removing any of the natural habitat.
Relax and immerse yourself in the differences of the culture you are in – you’ll be back home in the familiar soon enough (and wishing you were still on holiday!). These cultural differences are part of what makes your experience special.
If you would like to offset the carbon dioxide that will be produced on your flights you can do this on our website (on our Responsible travel page). We work with climatecare, who will reduce the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide that you produce in another part of the World through their emission reduction projects. These projects are low carbon efficient technologies in developing countries and not only serve to reduce emissions but also help to spread the adoption of low carbon technologies and improve the quality of life for local communities. Details of climatecare’s projects can be found on their website.
Please do let us know if you have any comments about responsible travel at firstname.lastname@example.org
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Imaginative Traveller travellers. Imaginative Traveller's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Carbon Offset C02-e 167.00 kgs per pax.
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