Halong Bay

Edits: Pho, Fun & Sun in Vietnam Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
Destinations:
Vietnam
Programmes:
Exodus Edits
Trip Code:
EOV
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Leisurely / Moderate

You are reasonably fit, enjoy the outdoors and are looking for some exercise. Some previous experience is preferable for activity based trips.

10 Days Flight Inclusive
10 Days Land only
Ages: 30s and 40s

Trip Overview

Embark on an enriching ten-day journey through Vietnam. Your mind will expand as you learn about Vietnam’s history and crafts. Your body will be invigorated by feasting on nourishing food, kayaking through a karst landscape and cycling through rural Vietnam. Your soul will be soothed by tai chi and yoga. You’ll see the best of Vietnam’s cities and countryside and return home realigned, with a head bursting with unforgettable memories of this multifaceted land.

Edits trips are for those in their 30s and 40s. We also have a range of trips for everyone, including our similar trip Vietnam Adventure, or you can view our full range of Edits trips.

At a Glance

  • Eight nights in comfortable resorts and boutique hotels
  • One night afloat in twin-share cabins

Trip Highlights

  • A blend of urban and rural explorations, both on and off the beaten tourist paths of Vietnam
  • Hands-on experiences, learning crafts and getting under the skin of local life
  • Time as a group, and time to explore independently

Is This Trip for You?

  • A busy but physically easy-going itinerary that visits some of the main highlights of Vietnam
  • Travel by private air-conditioned minibus and two internal flights
  • Solo room accommodation available on request (not available for 1 night on overnight boat in Halong Bay)

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Min group size:
6
Max group size:
16

Itinerary

Land Only

Start City:
Hanoi
End City:
Ho Chi Minh City

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Good Morning Vietnam

    The capital of Vietnam, Hanoi, is ready to welcome you when you arrive. Get acclimatised and familiarise yourself with the city by wandering the tree-lined avenues.

    There’s a group welcome meeting then you’ll dine at KOTO (Know One, Teach One), a well-established training restaurant for disadvantaged youths. You’ll be served a blend of Vietnamese, South-East Asian and Western foods.

    Meals included:
    Dinner
  • Day 2

    Start the day right with yoga and tai chi

    You’ll set an early alarm today, but (blissfully) there’s no commuter slog ahead. Instead, you’re off to Hoan Kiem Lake for a Tai Chi and Laughing Yoga session. Mind and body aligned, you’ll feast on pho, a Vietnamese soup, for breakfast before setting off on a walk around Hanoi’s Old Quarter where you’ll sample egg coffee.

    You’ll try bun cha for lunch, a local speciality dish of noodles, broth and meat served alongside some greens.

    Later, there’s wine tasting in store, led by local expert Thang. You’ll hear his far-flung traveller tales where he discovered global alcohol-making processes. Then learn how he has introduced teas to enrich the taste of his wines. 

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch
  • Day 3

    Discover the majesty of Halong Bay

    After breakfast, you’ll make the four-hour journey by road to Halong Bay. A spellbinding sight, this is where thousands of limestone pillars rise from an emerald-hued sea. You’ll set sail through the karst scenery with lunch served on board and later enjoy sunset cocktails and dinner. You’ll sleep onboard tonight, sharing twin-share cabins with en-suite facilities.

    Please be aware that the boat trip on Halong Bay can be subject to short notice change if certain adverse weather conditions develop during your trip.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 4

    Hello Hue

    Rise with the sun for tai chi onboard before breakfast. Afterwards, you'll kayak past ethereal grottoes before jumping back on board to cruise back to the mainland and head to the airport for a short flight to Hue (pronounced ‘hway’) on the banks of the Perfume River. As the ancient home of the Nguyen emperors, Hue claims to be the true cultural and historic centre of Vietnam.  

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Explore ancient Hue. Visit the Peaceful Bamboo Family

    There’s a historic immersion lined up today. First, you’ll visit the Imperial City of Hue, a complex of the emperor’s residence, palaces, shrines and state buildings. Although it’s a fraction of what was once here (it was badly bombed in the wars that afflicted Vietnam), it’s a fascinating glimpse into Vietnamese history.  

    In the afternoon, you’ll visit the Peaceful Bamboo Family, an uplifting community for children with learning disabilities. You’ll have lunch in their biodynamic garden, see their lacquer painting workshop, and have the chance to buy handmade incense and jams.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch
  • Day 6

    Get to know Hoi An and try your hand at lantern making (optional)

    After breakfast, you’ll take a private bus to Hoi An, once a major trading port that has retained its old-world charm. You’ll have a walking tour of the Old Town, drinking in the history of the 800 centuries-old buildings. Later, there’s an optional lantern making class. (additional cost) if you wish to participate or free time to relax or explore.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Cycle to Tra Que Vegetable Village for dinner

    After a morning that’s all yours, in the afternoon you’ll take a leisurely bike ride to Tra Que Vegetable Village. Observe how the locals live and grow their produce, then visit a chef’s home to feast on a spread of the regional dishes.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
  • Day 8

    Get swept up in Saigon

    Tear yourself away from Hoi An – today you’re bound for Saigon, or Ho Chi Minh City, as it’s now known. You’ll take a short flight to this vibrant, chaotic city. Prepare for an assault on your senses: the relentless racket of scooters and a riot of colourful markets. You’ll take a guided visit to the moving and powerful War Remnants Museum. It’s a horrifying but enlightening insight into the atrocities that afflicted this nation.

    Tonight, you’ll join the throngs of scooters on a street tour by Vespa. You’ll be guided to the less-explored pockets of the city to try the best of Saigon’s street food.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
  • Day 9

    Visit the Cu Chi tunnels

    You’ll visit the Cu Chi tunnels today, an intricate system of underground tunnels that wind for 120 miles. Used by the Viet Cong, the network has living areas, weapon factories, field hospitals and kitchens. On the tour, you’ll hear about the impact the wars had on the local communities.

    Above ground, your day continues with a cooking class at the Spice Garden restaurant under the expert guidance of a local chef. Having devoured your creations, you’ll return to HCMC. Tonight, there’s an optional dinner and drinks for a fitting farewell to your group before preparing to return home tomorrow.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch
  • Day 10

    So long, Saigon

    After a final breakfast in Ho Chi Minh City, a transfer will take you to the airport for your flight home.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

Accommodation

Hotels and Boat

La Belle Vie Hotel, Hanoi

A modern hotel with stylish guestrooms (think polished hardwood floors), marble reception and a rooftop pool.

Syrena Cruise, Halong Bay

A 34 cabin ship styled in Vietnamese hardwood. Each cabin has a with large, picture window. There’s a restaurant on board and a sundeck that’s a prime spot for sunset. Solo room accommodation is not available on the boat, rooms are twin-share.

Thanh Lich Royal Boutique, Hue

A smart hotel with lovely rooms, ideally positioned for adventures through Hue. See the city skyline from the hotel’s pool.

Le Pavillon Hoi An Paradis, Hoi An

A stylish boutique hotel in the centre of the ancient town, with bags of facilities including a rooftop pool and spa.

Sila Urban Living, Ho Chi Minh City

A sleek and modern apartment-style hotel, where each spacious room has a kitchenette.

Where a solo room is available, paying for a solo room only guarantees a room for single use. It does not always mean a twin or double room will be provided for solo occupancy.

Please note that a member of the group may be allocated a solo room by default if the make-up of the group means there isn’t anyone for them to share with. Paying the supplement in advance is the only way to guarantee a solo room.

Solo supplements cannot be refunded retrospectively.

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

  • All breakfast, four lunches and four dinners are included
  • Vegetarian food is widely available, however the offering will be fairly similar in most places
  • There are plenty of opportunities to try Vietnam’s excellent and distinctive food, with menus that balance salty, sweet, sour and hot flavours

Joining Instructions

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

Exodus Edits offers FREE airport arrival and departure transfers on any flight for this trip, for both Land Only and Flight Inclusive clients. Unless specified otherwise, the transfer will be to the Exodus Edits start (or pre-tour) hotel and from the end (or post-tour) hotel, and will be on the date on which the tour starts/ends; transfers to other hotels in the same city and/or on different dates may attract an extra charge. Transfers may be shared with other Exodus Edits customers on the same flight, or on a flight with similar arrival times. All those taking advantage of the free airport transfers must provide full flight details for both arrival and departure in advance. 

We know that the unexpected can happen. Your plane may get delayed, or things just don’t go to plan. If you miss your tour departure, check with the hotel to see if your tour leader has left you a message with details of how to catch up with your group. If not, call our emergency number (you will find it on the final joining instructions) and our team will help you. Don’t forget that you are responsible for any extra travelling expenses incurred if you miss your tour departure.

Flights

Remember, flights aren’t automatically included in your trip. If you’d like the Exodus Edits team to help you find some good options, give us a call on +44 020 8772 3837.

Location start:
Hanoi
Location end:
Saigon

What to Take

Essential Equipment

  • Refillable water bottle
  • Swimsuit
  • A couple layers for cooler nights
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunglasses & hat

Water Included

Plastic bottles are a big issue in many countries where recycling isn’t yet widely available; they often end up in landfill sites or get burnt, both processes are harmful to the environment and we would like to reduce our impact here. For your trip we provide an alternative to single-use plastic bottles in order to reduce the amount of plastic used. This means that safe drinking water will be available throughout so all you need to do is bring a bottle to re-fill along the way. Please add this to your packing list!

Practical Information

Passport

Vietnam

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for 6 months beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

Vietnam

**UPDATE 11.03.2020** The below visa advice is not valid at the current moment in time. If you are booked to travel to Vietnam within the next month, Exodus will contact you with further information when it becomes available.

A visa is no longer needed for British, German, French, Spanish and Italian citizens travelling to Vietnam (for all purposes) for a period of up to 15 days, and on the basis of meeting all conditions prescribed by Vietnamese laws. The visa exemption period will end on 30 June 2021. All other nationalities require a visa to enter Vietnam and this must be obtained prior to departure.

For further information please check the FCDO site and check under Vietnam / 'Entry Requirements'. If you have any questions about whether you need a visa for your trip please contact the Customer Operations department.

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Vaccination

Vietnam

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Tetanus, Polio, Typhoid, Hepatitis A and Diphtheria. The risk of malaria is slight, but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice.

Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, we therefore strongly recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

As we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Exodus Edits

Local Time

Vietnam's Timezone:
Asia/Ho_Chi_Minh +07 (GMT +07:00)

Electricity

Vietnam's Electricity:

220 volts AC, 50 Hz. In Vietnam all sockets are generally dual US (2-pin plug) /Euro (2-pin type) compatible but it is worth having both adapters with you.

Money

Vietnam's Currency

The national currency of Vietnam is the Vietnamese Dong (VND), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (September 2021) of approximately 31,000 to the GBP, 22,800 to the USD, 17,900 to the CAD, 26,800 to the EUR, 16,700 to the AUD and 16,100 to the NZD.

You can obtain Vietnamese Dong before travel or by using an ATM or changing money upon arrival.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

To cover any additional costs, including meals not included in the itinerary, we recommend a spending budget of GBP 300/ USD 385/ AUD 565

Tipping

  • Tipping is customary in Vietnam. Although entirely at your discretion, it is usually expected. To recognise the help of drivers, local guides, hotel staff and others, a tipping kitty shared with your group can work well. We suggest a contribution of GBP 29/ USD 37/ AUD 55 per person
  • Our local staff are paid well and fairly for their work with Exodus. If you wish to tip your group leader in appreciation of their help and friendliness, we recommend GBP 20- 30/ USD 25- 38/ AUD 38- 55 per person

Responsible Tourism

We work hard to create trips which improve life for the people and places we visit, and look after the planet we explore. Find out more about our sustainable travel ethos and practice here, and find out about the work of the Exodus Travels Foundation here.

Some sustainable travel highlights of this trip include:

People

How this trip helps improve life for local communities.

  • The use of a local guide means our customers will be well informed about local traditions, and cultural and social sensitivities.
  • This trip brings income and opportunity to the destination community through the inclusion of locally-owned hotels and restaurants, the emphasis on eating locally produced food and support of other local enterprise.
  • In Hanoi, the group will have a dinner at KOTO (Know One, Teach One), 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.
  • Whilst in Hue, groups will visit the Peaceful Bamboo Family, an uplifting community for children with learning disabilities. Groups will have lunch in their biodynamic garden, see their lacquer painting workshop, and have the chance to buy handmade incense and jams.
  • In Hoi An, we also stop by a shop called ‘Reaching Out’, which sells gifts handmade by artisans with disabilities – helping them to develop their talent and independence.

Places

How this trip helps protect and conserve local landscapes and nature.

  • By travelling in a small group, led by a local guide, we ‘tread lightly’ to minimise our impact on local resources and the environment.
  • Our trips adhere to ABTA’s industry-leading animal welfare guidelines to ensure the best possible practices with regard to working animals and wildlife viewing. Our animal welfare policy can be found here.
  • We work with our partners on the ground to proactively eliminate or reduce waste, for example eliminating all single-use plastic water bottles and instead providing refills for re-usable bottles.
  • We provide clients with a re-usable tote bag at the start of the tour (locally made in Hanoi), offering an alternative to single-use plastic bags and a souvenir to take home!

 Planet

How we seek to keep the carbon footprint of this trip low.

  • Read about Exodus Travels’ Planet Promise here, including our rewilding and carbon compensation commitments for every customer who travels.
  • Accommodation and restaurants in the itinerary use locally-sourced food which has not been transported long distances.
  • Vegetarian and vegan options are available at majority of accommodation and restaurants.

Tips for sustainable travel on this trip

  • Leave no trace: We do all we can to ensure we leave no rubbish behind in the wild and beautiful places we visit; we ask that you do the same. If there are no recycling facilities in-country, we’d ask you to consider bringing recyclable materials home with you.
  • Plastic waste reduction: Please bring your own re-usable water bottle on this trip; filtered water will be provided where tap water is not drinkable.
  • Cultural respect:
    • Please remember that you will be expected to cover your legs and arms (to the elbow) during visits to temples and sacred sites so packing a sarong or other suitable clothing is recommended. Also remember to remove hats when visiting a sacred site.
    • Do not rest your chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice as this symbolises the burning of incense (which is usually reserved for times of mourning).
    • One should not show the soles of their feet or touch someone’s head, both are considered disrespectful.

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 14 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

 

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

This trip includes time by a lake, river or sea, where there may be opportunities to swim. Swimming results in more tourists deaths than any other activity. All customers should always seek local advice before deciding whether to swim, and are requested to treat the sea with extreme caution if they choose to enter the water. Details on how to keep yourself safe while swimming are shown here.

TRAVEL AWARE – STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

Important Notes

In line with our ‘book and travel with confidence’ promise which allows you to cancel free of charge up to 42 days prior to departure, or transfer to another trip free of charge up to 21 days prior to your trip starting in country,  please be aware that this excludes ‘irrecoverable costs’. Details can be found here: https://www.exodus.co.uk/about-exodus/exodus-booking-conditions

 

For this trip, the irrecoverable costs related to in-country operations are outlined below, if booking flight inclusive your sales agent will confirm the terms related to your international flights at the time of booking.

 

If cancellation occurs 21 days or up to 24 hours prior to departure:

Accommodation/domestic flight & train ticket/portion of pre-paid activities: £441.45 / USD $545.00 / CAD $713.95 / AUD $763.00 / €474.15

 

Costs are accurate at the time of writing in September 2020

 

If you need to cancel your trip because you or a member of your party is diagnosed with COVID-19 or has received a request from the Government to self-isolate, you will receive a full refund less these irrecoverable costs.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.