Vietnam activity vacation

“Trek to hill tribe communities, tour Saigon and Hanoi on foot, and cycle to the markets and monuments of Hue; whatever your pace, this is an excellent introduction to Vietnam.”

Highlights

Hanoi | Mai Chau | H'mong regions | Thai hill tribe villages | Halong Bay | overnight train to Hue | Hoi An | Cu Chi Tunnels | Ho Chi Minh City | cycle rides and kayak tours | fly from Danang to Ho Chi Minh | Cai Be | Can Tho | floating markets

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Date
Price
Basis
15 Dec 2016
US $ 1705
excluding flights
Full
 
23 Dec 2016
US $ 1705
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Full
 
06 Jan 2017
US $ 1655
excluding flights
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27 Jan 2017
US $ 1655
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Full
 
17 Feb 2017
US $ 1655
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Full
 
21 Feb 2017
US $ 1655
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24 Feb 2017
US $ 1655
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03 Mar 2017
US $ 1655
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31 Mar 2017
US $ 1655
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07 Apr 2017
US $ 1655
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28 Jul 2017
US $ 1655
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11 Aug 2017
US $ 1655
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15 Sep 2017
US $ 1655
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29 Sep 2017
US $ 1655
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06 Oct 2017
US $ 1655
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20 Oct 2017
US $ 1655
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03 Nov 2017
US $ 1655
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10 Nov 2017
US $ 1655
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24 Nov 2017
US $ 1655
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15 Dec 2017
US $ 1655
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22 Dec 2017
US $ 1655
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05 Jan 2018
US $ 1745
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19 Jan 2018
US $ 1745
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09 Feb 2018
US $ 1745
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23 Feb 2018
US $ 1745
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09 Mar 2018
US $ 1745
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23 Mar 2018
US $ 1745
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20 Jul 2018
US $ 1745
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03 Aug 2018
US $ 1745
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17 Aug 2018
US $ 1745
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05 Oct 2018
US $ 1745
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19 Oct 2018
US $ 1745
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26 Oct 2018
US $ 1745
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02 Nov 2018
US $ 1745
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16 Nov 2018
US $ 1745
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23 Nov 2018
US $ 1745
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07 Dec 2018
US $ 1745
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21 Dec 2018
US $ 1745
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Our top tip:
Sleeping bag liners, hand sanitiser and cushioned cycling shorts are all worth considering as are day packs with in-built water pouches. Pack light as there are plenty of chances to do laundry as you travel.
Trip type:
Small group. Avg 12. Min age 16.
Activity level:
Moderate. Cycle, trek, kayak.
Accomm:
7 nights comfortable hotels, 1 standard hotel, 1 boat in twin share cabin, 2 nights longhouse, 1 sleeper train.
Included:
Accommodation, transport, listed activities and tour leader.
Meals:
12 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 4 dinners.
Solos:
Welcome. Single rooms available with surcharge (hotels only).
Vouchers
Accepted
Vacation type

Small group vacation

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, traveling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week vacation, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travelers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your vacation time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travelers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your vacation.

Solo travelers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those traveling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travelers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travelers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travelers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travelers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Vietnam activity vacation

Local Craft & Culture:
We do a lot to celebrate the cottage industries on this tour, as this is not only a way to directly benefit the locals but it is also hugely fascinating and enjoyable for travelers. For example, we have some time shopping in Mai Chau, where we can support local villages by purchasing handmade crafts, such as cloth, scarves and accessories made from coconut shell. In Mekong, we visit a lot of these small businesses and factories which sell handmade coconut sweets, soya bean sauce, popped rice and popcorn amongst other things. There is also the option to see a traditional folk dancing or water puppet show. This encourages local customs to continue and, of course, creates employment opportunities.

Accommodation & Meals:
We will spend most nights in comfortable hotels and also in some more unique accommodation such as a houseboat, a local longhouse, a sleeper train and a village guesthouse. This combination of locally run hotels and accommodation providers contributes directly to the community as staff are from the area and food is grown and sold locally. Where meals are not provided, your guide will be able to point out several smaller restaurants, cafes and markets. Clients often enjoy the floating markets at Cai Rang the most, as this is the biggest and most lively market at in the Mekong Delta. It is a maze of hundreds of boats with fresh produce from fruit and vegetables to fish and meat where we can really get an authetic view of local life.

A Fair Deal:
We work closely with our local operator and ensure that all of our guides are local and that in exchange for their expertise that they are paid and treated fairly. Our leaders and guides have been trained in responsible travel and actively encourage our suppliers, drivers, and other members of our team to respect the environment, protect the culture and support the local economy. They have also completed Child Safe training which enables them to take positive action should they encounter children at risk as well as educating clients re child protection within tourism.

Charity:
In Hanoi, we encourage groups to have a communal meal at KOTO, which is an NGO that provides a two year course in hospitality, English and life skills training to groups of 16-22 year olds from disadvantaged backgrounds. Students also receive accommodation, food, medical check-ups and treatment whilst they are being trained. Many of the 400+ graduates have gone on to continue developing their careers at KOTO restaurants or have gained employment elsewhere with their training so this is a great initiative to support.

UK Office:
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.

Group Size:
This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.

Reviews of Vietnam activity vacation

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.

I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 25 Apr 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Homestay in the Makong Delta and Ho An.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


It's a very ambitious agenda....so make sure you are down for all the driving and biking and hiking in very hot weather.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


I don't know.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Good not great. Some suggestions for you: biking on city streets in Hue was not fun.....I recommend you change the biking to paths or quiet country roads. Also 40 kilometers in very hot weather was not fun.....I would also have liked a walk along the paths in the Mekong River Delta....the biking was so fast that we didn't have time to take pics or absorb the scenery.

Read the operator's response here:

We are sorry that Carolyn was not entirely satisfied with her vacation. It is a busy itinerary however in order to see the length of the country, and the many highlights Vietnam has to offer, in just two weeks this pace is necessary. We are looking into alternative routes for the cycling in Hue and would like to thank Carolyn for raising this concern re cycling on the streets.

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