Reflections of Vietnam


An ever-changing country sprouted from tradition and a long line of invaders, Vietnam offers unsurpassed cultural experiences and natural sights. Cycle through lush countryside, taste beautifully spiced food and get to know the locals in the Mekong Delta.

Places Visited

New Zealand - Hanoi (4N) - Sapa (1N) - Halong Bay (1N) - Hoi An (3N) - Saigon (2N) - Can Tho (1N) - Mekong Delta (1N) - New Zealand

Days 1-2: Fly to Hanoi
Fly overnight with Singapore Airlines to Hanoi, Vietnam’s colonially influenced atmospheric capital. Depending on your time of arrival, the rest of the day is yours to start soaking up the local culture.
Days 1-2: Fly to Hanoi
Day 3: Discover local Hanoi
Start your day with a visit to the Ho Chi Minh complex and the Ethnology Museum to learn about the country’s ethnic groups. Next visit the home of a water puppet artist where you will have the chance to participate in the creation of the puppets and experience a private performance. Tonight, discover Hanoi’s street side night life and taste the varied flavours of Vietnamese street food such as Pho Cuon and Banh Xeo – a truly local way of eating dinner!
Day 3: Discover local Hanoi
Day 4: Temple of Literature & Lao Cai
This morning you may choose to get up early and pay a visit to the fabulous flower market in Quang Ba, and see the Tai Chi at Truc Bach Lake – an oasis of peace and daily life in the centre of Hanoi. Visit the Confucian Temple of Literature and the Old Quarter before boarding your overnight train to Lao Cai.
Day 4: Temple of Literature & Lao Cai
Day 5: Sapa Minority Village
After an early morning arrival and breakfast, transfer to beautiful Sapa. Today you will trek through luscious, stepped rice paddies and hills for approximately five hours. En route, visit small villages to rest and meet the residents, ending your walk at Ta Phin Village of the Red Dao minority.
Day 5: Sapa Minority Village
Day 6: Sapa Trekking
Your Sapa adventure continues today with approximately six hours of walking through the rice terraces, visiting the H’Mong Village of Y Linh Ho and Cat Cat Village. On the way, take in the marvellous landscapes of the Muong Hoa and Sa Seng valleys. Tonight, board the train for the overnight journey back to Hanoi.
Day 6: Sapa Trekking
Day 7: Overnight on Halong Bay
Drive to Halong Bay where you will board a traditionally designed junk boat for a serene and unforgettable cruise on the glassy, limestone studded waters of Halong Bay. Pass by quaint fishing towns, taste freshly caught seafood, and take a swim in the cool waters of the bay. Watch the sun set behind the limestone karsts from the deck of the boat, cocktail in hand.
Day 7: Overnight on Halong Bay
Day 8: Tai Chi and Cave Exploration
Start your day with a calming yet invigorating Tai Chi session on the deck of your junk boat, and take in the stillness or the morning as you gently set sail. Explore the inquisitive formations of a nearby cave and enjoy lunch on board before cruising back to the dock and driving to Hanoi.
Day 8: Tai Chi and Cave Exploration
Day 9: Discover Hanoi by Bicycle
Discover Hanoi from the saddle of a bike as you cycle along the back roads and alleys of the Red River. Stop by small hamlets, cycle through bonsai and flower gardens and visit Chem Communal House – existing for over ten centuries. Its intricate designs are a reminder of the long history of Vietnam. Cycle back to Hanoi, pedal along the shores of West Lake and past the Imperial Citadel.
Day 9: Discover Hanoi by Bicycle
Day 10: Hoi An Walking Tour
Fly to Danang and drive to Hoi An, where you will spend an afternoon wandering the beautiful, charming, flower covered streets of this ancient town. Walk past Chinese traders’ homes, visit local artists and walk through the 16th century Japanese Covered Bridge. Arguably Vietnam’s friendliest town, Hoi An is always a favourite for relaxed exploration.
Day 10: Hoi An Walking Tour
Day 11: Rural Hoi An by Bicycle
Jump back on your bike today and wheel through the scenic rice paddies outside Hoi An. Pay a visit to local farmers where you can try your hand at traditional farming techniques – look out for water buffalo! Enjoy a calming boat ride to a peaceful fishing village, where you can try fishing net making and paddling unique bamboo basket boats. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure.
Day 11: Rural Hoi An by Bicycle
Day 12: Cham Island Paradise
Cruise a sapphire sea to the idyllic Cham Island. Arriving at Lang Village, you’ll take a relaxed stroll and learn about the island’s history. Enjoy amazing sea views on the way to Chong Village – if you’re lucky the monkeys might make an appearance. There’s time to take a swim in the sea, relax on the white sands and take a seafood lunch before returning to Hoi An.
Day 12: Cham Island Paradise
Day 13: Saigon Walking Tour
Fly to dynamic Saigon, where modern high-rises rub shoulders with ancient temples. Take a tour of Saigon’s busy streets, from the colonial Notre Dame Cathedral and French colonial Post Office, down former Rue Catinat to the Hotel Continental made famous in the ‘Quiet American’ movie, before taking a final stop at the Caravelle Hotel’s beautiful rooftop bar for panoramic views of the city.
Day 13: Saigon Walking Tour
Day 14: Mekong Delta by Rickshaw
Head south to Ben Tre. Ride a rickshaw (xeloi) past quiet rural villages and verdant fields before boarding a boat to drift through small backwater canals. Drop into local workshops where you can chat to the locals before visiting a boat-building household and residence of a former Viet Cong Soldier who survived two years fighting the Khmer Rouge. Arrive at your homestay in the afternoon and take the time to wander around the village.
Day 14: Mekong Delta by Rickshaw
Day 15: Cycling in the Mekong
After breakfast visit the colourful Cai Thia market, then cycle along small paths through orchards and thatched houses stopping to chat with local farmers on the way. Enjoy a garden lunch with fresh fruit, rice wine and traditional music, before transferring to Can Tho.
Day 15: Cycling in the Mekong
Day 16: Cai Rang Floating Market
Pay a morning visit to the famous Cai Rang floating market, taking in the scenery and locals going about their daily business along the canals. Take a relaxed cycle through quiet and isolated countryside before returning to Saigon.
Day 16: Cai Rang Floating Market
Day 17: Depart Saigon
The day is at leisure before boarding your overnight flight to New Zealand.
Day 17: Depart Saigon
Day 18: Arrive New Zealand
Arrive home today.
Day 18: Arrive New Zealand

Also Available

Tailor Your Tour

If you like most of the itinerary which we have suggested but you'd like to change the route and the accommodation, speak to our specialist Tailormade team, who can build your perfect itinerary based around where you would like to go, what you would like to see and how much you'd like to spend. Just call us on 0800 936 3998 and we'll help plan your dream holiday.

Tour prices are per person, twin share departing Auckland. Regional departures available on request. Additional charges: Tipping is payable on arrival in destination (see Additional Price Information below).

Additional Price Information:


Single Hotel Room Option from $950
Single Rail Compartment Option from $650
Land Only (Hanoi to Saigon) 16 days from $3,825 pp twin share
Additional charges: Tipping - US$80 per person (subject to change) payable on arrival.
Tour availability is updated each Monday. While every effort is made to ensure availability status is current, it is advisable to contact our reservations department on 0800 936 3998. Limited seats denotes 4 seats or less available.

A visa is required by all nationalities. A single entry visa should be arranged in advance of travel.
Unlike many other tour operators, we include your entry visas in the price of our tour. We handle the entire visa process – all you need to do is fill out the form and send your passport to us. We are always on hand to help you with any questions or queries you might have when completing the form.

Phone Calls
International and domestic calls can be made from your hotel room. It’s a good idea to check call costs with hotel staff or your local guide before making calls, as this can be expensive. A service charge may also be involved. To call New Zealand – the international access code is 00, followed by the country code 64, then the local area code (omitting the first 0), then the number.
 
Mobile Phones
Mobile phones are quite popular and you will find high quality coverage, with active roaming agreements with most of the service providers. Please make sure you are aware of associated costs and have activated your international roaming prior to departure.
 
Internet & Email
Internet cafes can be found in all major cities and even in some small towns. This is often the easiest and cheapest way to stay in touch. Most hotels have a business centre with internet access, but at a slightly higher rate. Some hotels may have wifi which usually comes at an additional cost and may only be available in hotel lobbies. 

Tipping is an expected element in the tourism industry today and Vietnam is no exception. Many passengers are often uncertain of how much to tip so we have established a tipping system whereby every passenger gives a set amount (in US Dollars) to the National Escort who will distribute the amount appropriately. On multi-country tips, this amount will be paid in stages on arrival in each country. If there is no National Escort, you will need to give your money to your Local Guides and tipping amounts for each city will be shown in your final itinerary. The amount for the kitty is calculated for each tour depending on the length, group size and services used during the trip.
 
For independent passengers, or group passengers with pre/post tour arrangements, you should allow USD5-10 per person per day. We will indicate the tipping amounts in your final documents for guidance.

Shopping can be a fun and entertaining component to any travel adventure.  In keeping with most people’s interests whilst on holiday, your tour will include a reasonable number of opportunities to shop for local goods and souvenirs.
 
We have included visits to establishments that not only provide an opportunity to purchase a locally produced, great-value souvenir; but you’ll witness first-hand how these local products are made, their history and how they support the local economy. We are aware that people like to take home souvenirs, so we endeavour to ensure the shops you visit have a reputation for quality, honesty, and authenticity – we do our best to ensure that you don’t get ripped off. 

The cost of all meals is included in your group tour cost. Breakfast is a combination of local and western food, usually served buffet style at the hotel you are staying in. Lunches and dinners consist of traditional cuisine and are served at reputable local restaurants. As is traditional in this region, lunch and dinner consists of small dishes of local cuisine which is then placed on the table for everyone to share so you can experience the variety of speciality dishes. The amount served is more than ample for the whole group. We aim to cater to the tastes of the majority of people and so the food is not too spicy or unusual in taste.
 
Drinks will be at each tour members’ own expense and paid for at the end of each meal. Beer is widely available and cheap. Western style wine is very expensive to import and is not widely available except at upmarket restaurants. Bottled drinking water, soft drinks, and fruit juices are also widely available – remember that you should only have ice or fruit juices from a trusted restaurant, where they will use boiled or bottled water.
 
Due to the French colonial influence in some Southeast Asian countries, black tea (commonly referred to as ‘lip-ton’ by the locals), coffee, and baguettes are available in most places. However, the local style is to have sweet condensed milk with their tea and coffee. Fresh dairy milk is not usually served but many restaurants will provide this if requested. ‘Cafe Sua-da’ (or iced coffee with milk) is a favourite choice amongst the locals.


Why Book This Tour?

This tour is suitable for those who have a reasonable amount of time and are interested in seeing the main sights and cities of Vietnam. This tour is also suitable for those looking for a more immersive experience and are interested in looking at partaking in more outdoor activities, such as cycling.

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