This trip is designed to showcase the best that Vietnam has to offer in 12 days. There will be a good mix of culture, natural beauty, adventure and relaxation. From the sophisticated charm of the capital city of Hanoi, we’ll take a luxury overnight “junk cruise” on the spectacular turquoise waters of Halong Bay. We then fly to central Vietnam to visit some of the most laid-back, beautiful towns in Asia and relax on stunningly picturesque beaches. Then, we explore southern Vietnam including the Cu Chi Tunnels, the Might Mekong River Delta, and Saigon – the city that never sleeps. Leave your stresses behind- everything has been expertly planned by your Backwoods Adventures trip leader. A trip like this is best enjoyed when all you have to worry about is having a great time!
- The capital city of Vietnam is Hanoi, home to over 7 million people.
- The official currency of Vietnam is the Vietnamese Dong.
- There are 7 UNESCO World Heritage sights in Vietnam
- Son Doong Cave, the largest known cave in the world, was discovered in 2009 in the Phong Nha Ke Bang Park.
- Vietnam is one of the top rice-producing countries in the world. They also rank 2nd in coffee production (behind Brazil).
- Vietnam’s economy is growing quickly, with GDP increasing by roughly 6% per year. Unemployment is below 2%, and less than 6% of Vietnamese citizens live below the poverty level.
- The U.S. lifted its economic embargo on Vietnam in 1994, and Vietnam became a member of the World Trade Organization in 1994.
- Most high-end packs and luggage are manufactured in Vietnam, since they currently have the best facilities and skilled workforce for this type of production.
Day 1 (May 10, 2016): Arrive in Hanoi. Catch a private group transfer from Noi Bai International airport to our hotel in Hanoi, the bustling capital of Vietnam. The afternoon is yours to relax and explore one of the most interesting and culturally diverse cities in the world. Meet the guides and your fellow travel companions for a welcome dinner at a nice restaurant in Hanoi.
Day 2 (May 11, 2016): Today, we’ll have breakfast at the hotel and then take a tour of Hanoi with our local guide. Hanoi is Vietnam’s capital city. The city is 1,000 years old and home to seven million people. We’ll visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the One Pillar Pagoda, Tran Quac temple, the Temple of Literature, and the Old Quarter of Hanoi.
Day 3 (May 12, 2016): After breakfast, we get picked up at our hotel and drive through the Red River Delta to the famous UNESCO World Heritage Site, Halong Bay. Here, we’ll board a luxury “junk ship” for an overnight cruise through the turquoise waters. We’ll enjoy fresh seafood, explore traditional fishing villages, hidden grottos and ancient caves, then have cocktails and dinner on the deck of the boat as the sun sets into the Gulf of Tonkin.
Day 4 (May 13, 2016): Wake up and enjoy the scenery in Halong Bay or take a Tai Chi class on the deck of our boat. Then, you can choose to take a Vietnamese cooking class or an excursion to a secluded island for a swim. We’ll have brunch on our way back to shore. We will then take a short flight from Hanoi to Hue, where our hotel awaits.
Day 5 (May 14, 2016): We’ll wake up in Hue and visit the incredible Citadel of Ancient Monuments, take a bike ride through the Old City to Tinh Tam Lake; go to the Mu Pagoda, and the Khai Dinh’s Tomb. Then, we’ll take our time to enjoy the Hue night market.
Day 6 (May 15, 2016): An easy day sees us driving to the prettiest of all Vietnamese towns, Hoi An. En route we will visit Lang Co Beach, a fishing village and drive through the famous Pass of Ocean Clouds. The afternoon allows us to soak up the sun at the wonderful Cua Dai Beach.
Day 7 (May 16, 2016): Breakfast will be served at the hotel and afterwards we’ll explore the enchanting time-capsule town of Old Hoi An on a walking tour with our guide. The town is home to silk markets, Vietnamese food stalls, and talented street performers– all of which are sure to charm you. Then spend the afternoon further exploring the town on your own or head back to Cua Dai Beach to relax.
Day 8 (May 17, 2016): After breakfast, we head to the airport for a quick flight to Ho Chi Minh City. After you arrive we’ll get you to your hotel and then you can spend the evening exploring the bustling city of Saigon: the city that never sleeps.
Day 9 (May 18, 2016): Today, we’ll visit the Cu Chi Tunnels, a major part of the Vietnam-American War and a fascinating day trip – explore the mysterious tunnels, find hidden doors and once-deadly traps. After lunch we’ll go back to Ho Chi Mihn City (Saigon) and spend the afternoon either visiting the War Remnants Museum or the Reunification Palace, whichever you prefer.
Day 10 (May 19, 2016): We’ll travel to the amazing Mekong Delta passing through the town of My Tho en route to the regional capital Can Tho. We’ll enjoy a river boat cruise, lunch in an orchard, a bicycle ride and at the end of the day, the night market.
Day 11 (May 20, 2016): We’ll take a leisurely boat trip in the morning to explore the photogenic tributaries of the Lower Mekong river, then visit the vibrant Cai Răng floating market. See how the popular Vietnamese dish, rice vermicelli soup, is made and enjoy a delicious meal. Then transfer back to Ho Chi Minh City. We’ll enjoy a farewell dinner in a nice restaurant in Saigon to wrap up our adventure.
Day 12 (May 21, 2016): You have free time in the morning until your private car arrives to take you to the airport for your next destination.
Pants (zip-off pants can be very useful)
Shorts (mid-thigh or longer, quick-dry)
Short-sleeved shirts (synthetic or merino)
Long-sleeved shirts (synthetic or merino)
Undergarments (avoid cotton)
Socks – We recommend merino wool
Sock liners (optional)
Synthetic/wool long underwear (top and bottom) – Sapa only
Fleece jacket or wool sweater
Down or synthetic insulated jacket—Sapa only
Waterproof pants (recommended for Sapa)
Sun hat with brim
Warm hat for trek (Sapa only)
Lightweight gloves for trek (Sapa only)
Sturdy, comfortable hiking shoes.
Watersport sandals (ex: Tevas, Chacos, or Keens)
Tennis shoes, sandals, and/or flip flops for around town
Luggage / Gear
Rolling luggage or duffel
Day pack with rain cover (20-30L) – this makes a great carry-on!
Luggage tags and luggage locks (for storing luggage at hotels)
Packing organizers for gear/dirty clothing/accessories (optional)
Money belt, security pouch, document organizer (optional)
Water bottles and/or water reservoir for pack (for Sapa)
Note: Store electronics in sealed water-proof bags.
Camera, lenses, memory cards
Headlamp or flashlight
Tripod (consider if needed)
Cell phone (activate international plan prior to departure)
Music player and headphones (optional)
Airline tickets, e-tickets
Medical insurance card
Travel Insurance Information
Shampoo, conditioner, gel
Hairbrush, comb, mirror, hair ties
Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss
Moist towelettes (handi-wipes)
Lip balm with SPF
Packable, Quick-Dry towel (microfiber)
Nail clippers, file, brush
Insect repellent (30-50% DEET)
Q-tips (as desired)
Sewing kit (as desired)
Feminine products (not readily available in Vietnam)
Cosmetics (as desired)
Pain reliever (in original packaging)
Band-aids / blister treatment (moleskin/equivalent)
Disinfectant, antiseptic cream, antibiotic ointment
Diarrhea medicine (talk to doctor)
Antibiotics (talk to doctor)
Prescription drugs (talk to doctor)
Sunglasses, floating strap (recommended)
Eyeglasses, contacts, solution (as needed)
Pocket knife/multi-tool (checked luggage, not carry-on)
Notebook, pencil and pen
Cash, credit cards
Banner/flag/sentimental item to hold up in important places
Packing for the flight (some reminders and suggestions!)
Books, magazines, e-reader
Music player and headphones
Cell phone + charger
Toiletries (3 ounces/container, 1 quart clear bag)
Water bottle (empty through security)
U-shaped neck pillow
Eye shades, ear plugs
Melatonin or other sleep aid
Compression socks (to help with circulation)
Group airport transfers, all hotels and accommodations (double occupancy), all transportation within Vietnam (boat, airplane, car, etc), expert local English-speaking guides, U.S.-based Backwoods Adventures guide, all meals, all excursions, sightseeing fees, purified water, and local taxes.
International airfare from your home destination into Hanoi and out of Ho Chi Mihn City, alcoholic beverages, personal souvenirs, extra snacks or drinks, extra services such as laundry, massage or internet, guide tips, tourist Visa and travel insurance.
The focus of this trip is on culture, and food is one of the best ways to showcase the local culture. We strive to provide the best meals available in the area in which we are staying. We do not skimp on meals because we understand that well-fed travelers are happy travelers!
A current U.S. passport is required for entry into Vietnam. We recommend that your passport be valid for at least 6 months beyond the end date of the trip. A tourist visa is also required to visit Vietnam. We will help facilitate this process for you when you put down your deposit for the Vietnam trip.
We will stay in 4-star hotels throughout the trip. We also spend one night on a luxury “junk boat” in Halong Bay. We strive to choose the best hotels based on friendliness, location and quality for the area.
FROM OUR TRAVELERS
“Thanks for being the best guide ever. Your encouragement, concern, and professionalism has made this trip a truly wonderful experience. I wish you all he very best in all that you do and hope to see you soon. “
“I hope this weekend goes as well as last week. You, Joe and Billy were excellent hosts and instructors. I had a wonderful time. Thanks again for all your patient coaching and kind words. “
“Thank you for offering such an amazing life experience. From the beginning with Joe and Mike’s emails, to the store’s support on outfitting, to the actual trip, it was an overall very positive experience. I highly recommend this trip to those with a passion for wanting the challenge of this mountain.”