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

Travel Team

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10 Jan 2020
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24 Jan 2020
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21 Feb 2020
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13 Mar 2020
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10 Apr 2020
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10 Jul 2020
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31 Jul 2020
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22 Oct 2021
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29 Oct 2021
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10 Dec 2021
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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

Responsible tourism

Vietnam activity vacation

Carbon reduction

Your vacation will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this vacation and how to reduce them.

Environment

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.

2 Reviews of Vietnam activity vacation

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 23 Dec 2017 by

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


Walking in the North amongst the Hill tribe Villages

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


It is full on exhausting!

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


I hope it did help local people, but probably not a great deal. I don't think it reduced environmental impact, it probably makes it worse as new roads are being put in to make access to the far out places more accessible. Our drinking water and reusing water bottles is sadly a joke as the plastic bag and bottle litter from the locals is awful...everywhere.

Not sure that we are helping with conservation other than if feedback is given to the Vietnamese that tourists want to see wildlife, flora and fauna..so that destroying habitats for new buildings for tourism isn't the answer, and that if money can be made from tourism then perhaps less poverty will mean less/fewer killings of birds and animals for food

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


Excellent, well planned and well run. Excellent guide who was informative and fun and very politically correct with some of the travelers who frankly were very rude!

The accommodation was better than I expected, and very good, clean and comfortable, with excellent breakfasts. Than (the guide) chose good restaurants and meals for us to sample. It was all very interesting. The kayaking in Halong bay was not safe as the life jackets were not fitted properly.

The bikes in Hanoi were poor quality...but the experience was fun. The other bikes were great and the cycling was well planned, considering the heat. The rest of the group were all good fun and every one mucked in.

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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