Trails of Vietnam

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4.6 / 5 from 75 reviews >
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Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailor Made Adventures
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On foot, in the saddle, with paddle - active the length of Vietnam

Whether it's kayaking beneath towering cliffs in the South China Sea, cycling by vibrant green paddy fields in the Mekong Delta or trekking amongst colourful hilltribes, this dynamic trip allows us to interact with the local people and environment in a way we couldn't by vehicle alone. We get a great insight into everyday life as well as seeing all the major sights. Of course all this activity needs fuelling, which gives us the perfect excuse for sampling the superb Vietnamese cuisine.


  • Cruise and kayak along the emerald waters and limestone peaks of Halong Bay
  • Dip into traditional Vietnamese culture by trekking through lush hill tribe villages
  • Walk and cycle on a tour through historic towns Hue, Hoi An and Hanoi
  • Dig a little deeper into Vietnam’s history by crawling through the Cu Chi Tunnels
  • Sample local produce and float through the Mekong Delta by boat

Key information

  • 7 nights comfortable hotels, 1 night standard hotel, 1 night boat with twin share cabins, 1 night standard homestay guesthouse, all en suite. 2 nights basic house/longhouse with dormitory/shared bath, 1 night sleeper train, soft-bed berths
  • Travel by bus, boat, sleeper train and internal flight
  • Reasonable fitness required
  • Remote and city locations visited
  • Countries visited: Vietnam

What's included

  • 12 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 4 dinners
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Arrival & departure transfers

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 


  • Day 1

  • Day 2

    Arrive Hanoi.

    Begin your adventure in Hanoi, a city where an unstoppable energy thrives alongside traditional Vietnamese culture and a colonial charm permeates the broad tree-lines boulevards, most noticeably from the faded French architecture. The leader will of course be on hand to point the group in all the right directions, so whether you’re buying baguettes and inexpensive coffee from the grand doorways of a past era, drifting alongside Hoan Kiem Lake or roaming the animated streets, Hanoi offers a delicious first taste of Vietnamese culture. Even crossing one of many manic roads serves as a memorable experience! In the evening, we offer a welcome briefing and an optional group dinner at a local restaurant.

    May De Ville Old Quarter Hotel or similar, Comfortable Hotel

  • Day 3

    To Mai Chau; trek through H'mong country; overnight in hilltribe longhouse.

    Transfer to Hoa Binh Province (4 hrs). Travelling up and over the Truong Son Mountain Range affords lush green views, serving as the perfect precursor of the scenery for the following days. Trek through H’mong, around Xa Linh & Tong Dau, and dip into rural Vietnamese culture by visiting villages along the way, most of which adorn colourful national dress. The last stop of the day will be Mai Chau, a picturesque valley made of quilt-like pattern villages and rice terraces, palms, and charming stilt houses. Like Mai Chau itself, we’ll be nuzzled between emerald green paddy fields and soaring cliffs in our overnight stay – the Thai hill tribe longhouse.

    Sung village or similar, Homestay

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Trek amongst hilltribe villages

    By now the beeping and bustling of Hanoi will be a faint memory, and the day is spent delving deeper into this slice of rural paradise. After taking a short drive to Sam Khoe, there will be a trek back to Mai Chau (approx. 6 hours) into the villages of white and black Thai minority groups. Here, we can spend time learning about their customs and culture.

    Da Bia village or similar, Homestay

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Trekking before returning to Hanoi for city tour.

    A short trek will take place back to the roadside via another culturally colourful village. On return, our city tour of Hanoi introduces the many layers of Vietnamese culture and history. Sites include Hoa Lo, the Temple of Literature, and the Old Quarter, the centuries-old soul of Hanoi. Stepping into this commercial labyrinth is not as confusing as it first may seem, but only once you realise that it’s ‘36 streets’ indicate the type of products sold. So why not take a turn down Silk Street, Souvenir Street or even Gold Street? The afternoon is free, perhaps to enjoy the view from a lakeside café.

    If you wish to opt for an optional activity, your tour leader can arrange a viewing of the famous Water puppets, an art form dating back to the 11th century where folk tale and legends are playfully recounted among the sounds of wooden bells, bamboo flutes and cymbals.

    May De Ville Old Quarter Hotel or similar, Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    To Halong Bay; cruise/kayak; dinner and sleep on boat.

    Early start and 4 hour transfer to Halong Bay. A boat awaits us, ready to cruise along the legendary Halong Bay, otherwise known as ‘where the dragon descends into the sea’. Legend has it that Halong Bay’s islands were formed by a dragon’s plunge into the waters. Carving crevasses on its way, the dragon left what is now roughly 3000 exquisitely eroded limestone peaks rising from emerald waters. Soak up the enigmatic atmosphere this karst scenery creates, before kayaking to places inaccessible by boat (weather permitting). A sea food lunch is served on board, and the evening is yours to unwind upon tranquil waters. The night is spent in twin share cabins with en suite facilities.
    Overnight Boat

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    Cruise then return to Hanoi; overnight train to Hue.

    As the boat continues to cruise along the majestic peaks, there will be new opportunities to immerse ourselves in Halong Bay’s mystical quality. After returning to port, we will transfer to the train station and board the Reunification Express for the overnight train ride to Hue.
    Overnight Train

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Sightseeing by bicycle in Hue.

    Arrive mid-morning in the cultural and historical centre of Vietnam, Hue. Brimming with charisma, Hue has impacted several poets in its time and serves as a reminder of Vietnam’s imperial glories. In the afternoon, jump on one of the local bikes and cycle to the Imperial Citadel and Thien Mu Pagoda to peep into the life of Nguyen emperors. With walls six miles in length, the Imperial Citadel is the most outstanding sight in town. We will explore the palaces, halls of the Mandarins and the remains of the Forbidden Purple City, once only open to the emperor, his eunuchs, and of course his concubines. Emperor Tu Duc's tomb will be the last stop of the day - standing amidst a lake and a boundless pine forest, this tomb is deemed the most extravagant mausoleum of the great Nguyen Emperors and one of the most beautiful pieces of royal architecture in Vietnam.

    Gold Hotel or similar, Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Cycle to Thanh Toan local market; drive to Hoi An.

    Take a picturesque cycle-ride past villages and rice paddies to the small village Thanh Toan and indulge in its legendary market. Travelling as the locals do, it's easy to discover the sights, sounds and smells of the villages surrounding Hue. Following this, a 130km drive to Danang will pass through the beautiful peninsula of Lang Co, situated between the crystal waters of a lagoon and the Eastern Sea, as well as the awe-inspiring Hai Van pass, known as the ‘Pass of the Ocean Clouds’. Once in Da Nang, climb the Marble Mountains and uncover the large caves used by the Viet Cong as a hospital base during the war. Rewarding views stretching over My Khe beach and the surrounding countryside will be waiting for you once you reach the mountain peak, the latter of which makes up our next spot, Hoi An.

    Cycle approx. 15km on flat and mostly even terrain

    Hoi An Silk Boutique Hotel & Spa or similar, Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Walking tour of Hoi An; free afternoon.

    Embrace the sleepy ambiance seeping through Hoi An on our walking tour of Hoi An, Vietnam’s original European trading port dating back to the mid-sixteenth century. Often described as a living museum, Hoi An boasts more than just grace and atmosphere. Wooden merchant houses and pagoda-style temples line the streets, architecturally reflecting the Japanese, Chinese and European influences on the town. The afternoon is free to enjoy what many call their favourite town in Vietnam, and it’s easy to see why. Take a boat trip on the Thu Bon River, relax by the riverside, meander around the thriving riverside markets, or indulge in shops famous for their silk and tailoring of clothing - bring a picture if you'd like anything made! Alternatively, why not hire a bike and make your way through Hoi An’s pretty countryside towards Cua Dai beach, past markets, schools and villages. (5km)

    (Walking tour approx 3-4 hrs)

    Hoi An Silk Boutique & Spa or similar, Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 11

    Fly to Saigon; afternoon visit Cu Chi Tunnels.

    Transfer to Danang airport and fly to Saigon (approx. 70 mins), a city full of chaotic thrills. A 1.5 hr drive will then take us to the Cu Chi tunnels. Crawl through the infamous and intricate system of tunnels and experience the spirit of guerrilla warfare! Used by the Viet Cong during the war for its escape routes as well as living quarters, the network covers 3 levels and approximately 240km of tunnels. Although they were traditionally very narrow, they have now been widened to allow an extensive exploration of the system. Even so, claustrophobes should feel free to bask outside in the sunshine if they do not wish to take part!

    Asian Ruby Luxury (Asian Ruby 1) or similar, Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 12

    Cycle ride to Cai Be; visit handicraft workshops; drive to Can Tho.

    Arrive in the small market town of My Tho after a 1.5 hr drive. After hopping onto our bikes we will follow the Mekong River through quiet back roads towards Cai Be (approx. 30 km). Known as the ‘rice bowl’ of Vietnam, the Mekong Delta produces the majority of Vietnam’s tropical fruits, some of which you will have a chance to sample, as well as sugar cane and coconuts. Transfer back to Can Tho to relax and soak up the atmosphere of this quiet riverside town, or explore the maze of backstreets and wide boulevards.

    Saigon Can Tho Hotel or similar, Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    Boat trip to floating markets; cycle ride; boat trip to island homestay.

    Early start for a boat trip along the Bassac River towards Cai Rang, the largest and liveliest floating market in the Delta. Float through a maze of boats, rife with fruits, vegetables and plants and watch the techniques locals use to make a living. One includes attaching their produce on to long poles and hanging them above the boat, enabling them to showcase their items to buyers from all angles and distances. Since you’ll be witnessing authentic trading in full swing, there will be countless opportunities for you to capture traditional scenes on camera. Following breakfast at the hotel, cycle to Vinh Long through rural villages and scenic landscapes (approx. 40 km). Reaching the end of the day, we will be transferred by motor boat to an island in the middle of the Mekong River for overnight at a simple guesthouse built in the style of a local house. Bedding, a mosquito net and a small towel are provided.

    Mekong Guesthouse or similar, Guesthouse

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 14

    Cruise to Cai Be; to Saigon for afternoon city tour.

    Cruise by boat along the Cai Be Floating Market and stop to visit small cottage industries manufacturing local products such as popped rice and popcorn. Return to Saigon, a city once devastated by the Vietnam War, and now a bustling free market city. A combination of old and new diversifies the city with temples standing defiantly among zooming scooters and modern developments. The Reunification Palace is one of the stops on our city tour, famous for its 1960s architecture and slightly garish appeal as much as its association with the fall of Saigon in 1975. Another stop is the War Remnants Museum, housing a vivid collection outlining the horrors of modern history and warfare and effects on innocent civilians. Be aware that these records of the Vietnam War are often very graphic. Heading to the romantic Catholic Notre Dame Cathedral throws yet another light on Saigon.

    Asian Ruby Luxury (Asian Ruby 1) or similar, Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 15

    Free morning; evening depart.

    For those on the group flight, this departs in the evening and arrives in the UK the following day. You are free today to relax or go ahead with individual sightseeing. Either way, the city is yours to enjoy – sample the street food, bargain your way through local markets, indulge in modernized shopping malls, or simply engross yourself in the whizzing motion that is Saigon.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 16

Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Extend Your Trip

Angkor Wat Extension (from Saigon)

Code: XOF
Price per person: £839.00
Mandatory Single Supplement: £340.00

'Discovered' enmeshed in the Cambodian jungle in 1860, Angkor, the ancient capital of the powerful Khmer empire, is one of the finest archaeological sites in the world, and not one to be missed. Built between the 9th and 13th centuries, the wonderfully preserved sprawling complex of temples and palaces is on a par with any great monument of the world with magnificent towers, sculptures and bas‐reliefs. During this four-night extension you will also see all the key sites of Phnom Penh, a fascinating city undergoing a huge amount of change. You will travel between the sites in a private car or minibus, depending on how many people take part in the extension, accompanied by an English‐speaking local guide. In the evenings, you will be free to enjoy the town. This trip extension is offered at the end of your AOF or AOV trip so you will fly direct from Saigon to Siem Reap to start the extension. The detailed itinerary can be found here

Please ask your sales consultant for more details.

Essential Info



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 FCO 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.



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. 

Eating and Drinking

12 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 4 dinners are included.

Thanks to it's tropical climate, the long coast and the gigantic range of mountain, Vietnam is blessed with numerous varieties of culinary offerings and consequently maintains its reputation as one of the healthiest cuisines in the world that still packs a punch with delicious fresh and fiery flavours. Vietnamese food relies on fresh fish, vegetables, rice and a whole myriad of verdant herbs and spices; lemongrass, ginger, basil and lime all play an important role in the cuisine. The Chinese and French influence is felt throughout the country where you are just as likely to be offered a Banh Mi (stuffed baguette) as you are a hot steaming bowl of Pho (noodle soup). Each dish is prepared with the Asian principle of Wu Xing in mind (the five elements) meaning that the perfect combination of spicy, sour, bitter, salty and sweet is the ultimate aim. Be sure to also seek out the national beverages; Vietnamese coffee is served iced and sweet with condensed milk, a real sugar and caffeine hit, and beer hoi (local beer, brewed daily) is served on most street corners in the North out of large plastic jugs that are perfect for sharing.
Food is cheap in South East Asia and you can generally avoid spicy dishes if you wish. Western food is available almost anywhere. With dishes ranging from fresh seafood to exotic curries, Vietnam offers incredible cuisine, often sold in animated and colourful markets.


In much of Vietnam, the weather will be hot and humid with temperatures ranging from 28ºC to 34ºC in the day, and a little cooler at nights. Vietnam offers a range of seasons between the north and south. Hanoi is cool in autumn, and gets chilly between November and February, with drizzly rain (10º- 20ºC). The south up to Hue has a distinct dry season between December to April and a rainy season from May to November, where short heavy bursts of rain with bright sunshine in between is common. There is no ideal time to visit Vietnam; weather can be described as pleasant all year round, but due to the shape of the country it is unlikely that the weather will be perfect for the entire duration of the trip. The dry season, between November and April, is characterised by hot days and mostly clear skies, but expect the odd shower. The monsoon period running from May to October is generally overcast with short and sharp bursts of rain, but this can be a very atmospheric time to travel – just bring an umbrella or a cheap local poncho! April and October are transition months

Is this trip for you?

This is an action packed holiday with activities that include cycling, kayaking and trekking so a good level of fitness is required.The weather can be hot and humid and cold in the winter months in the north around Hanoi and Halong bay. Some of the days can be fairly long with early starts as there is a lot to see in the time you are there. Travel time is kept to a minimum although there are a few longer drives but there is time for sightseeing. Whilst choosing this trip please note that some of the accommodation will be basic but is clean and tidy.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


Hotels, Boat, Guesthouse, Longhouse & Sleeper Train

You will spend 7 nights in comfortable hotels, 1 night in a more standard hotel, 1 night aboard a boat with twin share cabins, 1 night in a homestay guesthouse, 2 nights in a local longhouse and 1 night on a sleeper train.

The accommodation is generally of good quality, but you should also be prepared for a couple of basic nights. Two nights of this active adventure will be spent in traditional hill-tribe longhouses. We trek through native Dzao and Muong country to our overnight destinations of Sung Village and Da Bia Village where we will dine on local food and sleep as the locals do in wooden longhouses. This is communal living in the most authentic way. Hosted by hospitable local families we will gain a real insight into rural Vietnam.

En suite facilities are not available on the night at the homestay guesthouse in the Mekong Delta, the 2 nights at the traditional hill-tribe longhouses or the overnight sleeper train journey. During the overnight sleeper train journey, you will be accommodated in soft-bed berths.

Please be advised that the accommodation listed in each location on the day to day itinerary are the standard hotels used. However, there may be some departures where groups stay at similar hotels of the same standard and quality.

Single supplements are available (on request) and only available for 8 nights of the trip (hotel nights). Please advise the sales team at the time of booking if you would like to request a single supplement.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Street Market in Hanoi

From spectacular caves and staggering karst formations to mouthwatering street food and complex cultural traditions,

Embracing a healthy lifestyle can be a challenge, but if you’re going to keep it up there’s got to be more to it than

  • Reviewed March 2019
    Martin Wiselka

    Trails of Vietnam

    This was an action packed adventure holiday with different places to visit and activities each day. The itinerary allowed time for homestays in three different places including a very remote and rural hill farm and the homestays, trekking and cycling activities helped us to understand the country better and meet some of its wonderful people. There were so many photo opportunities in each destination. The trip truly allowed us to experience the varied climate, cultures and cuisine of Vietnam, including opportunities to sample some excellent home cooked local meals. The activities were moderately strenuous and the Leader always ensured that everyone was happy and included.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cycling in the countryside around Hue visiting the local market seeing people tending their fields, water buffalo taking a bath and herding ducks across the road. Staying at the mountain homestay sharing a house with the local family

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader Tan Nguyen was outstanding and ensured that everything occurred like clockwork in the complicated itinerary. He went out of his way to include everyone and ensure that everyone was enjoying their holiday and did everything with a smile on his face and great sense of humour.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This was a very active holiday with many new experiences every day. Requires moderately strenuous physical fitness and activity. Padded cycle shorts recommended. Climate very varied, from surprisingly cold in the northern mountains to sweltering heat in the Mekong delta.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Vietnam is an amazing country and this trip helps you to experience its culture and highlights. Highly recommended.
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Penny Daffarn

    Brilliant holiday

    This is a packed 2 weeks, travelling the length of Vietnam on a huge range of transport. Coach, airplane, overnight train, boat, kayak, bikes and hiking. We got up close and personal to real Vietnam people, staying several nights in home stays.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the sunset from a boat in Halong Bay.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Bao, was always smiling, and competently managed the logistics of this complicated trip. The next mode of transport was always there waiting for us!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The trip notes say walking boots, but not really necessary, stout shoes would be fine and then you don't have to carry heavy boots around. There are several times when we had to take overnight bags, once even for 2 nights, so plan for this. Cycle helmets are available, so again, not really necessary to bring your own. Book yourselves on the all the optional trips, they are all worthwhile. The exchange rate is around 29,800 dong to the GBP, we found it very useful to have a print out of some key amounts to get our heads round the prices! This is a busy trip, but not too physically challenging, the hiking and cycling are at a moderate level. It is very hot in Saigon, so be prepared.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Fabulous trip, well organised and a real insight into today's Vietnam
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Charles Smith

    An Assault on the Senses

    It's a while since we have done this sort of trouble, engaging, demanding yet with the luxury of a private guided tour. 10 hours on a Dreamliner and you are plunged into the teeming chaos of Old Quarter Hanoi. A mixture of sharp modern and decrepitude, high-tech phones and spiders web cables. And the motorbikes! There are 45 million and they are either on the road or blocking the pavement thus making road walking essential but dangerous. From the steamy challenges of Hanoi to Sa Pa at a cool 1600 meters. Virtually nothing remains of the old French hill station; in 20 years a whole new tourist city has arisen with hundreds of hotels. The contrast with the surrounding ethnic villages is stark: Red Dzao women with shaved eyebrows and foreheads elaborately attired in traditional bright embroidered outfits live in large, rudimentary cedarwood houses. Mud floor, three open fires without chimneys, one for cooking, one for the rice vodka still and yet another for curing hams. No windows and lit by a single bulb, pigs and chickens wandering at will. Below are the perfectly contoured rice fields, vegetables at the base plus odd quirks like orchid, cardamom and salmon farms. Government has provided concrete roads, schools and health centres. Satellite dishes, mobile phones have arrived and motorbikes have replaced horses.... Almost all of that in the last 10 years. See it now before it is gone.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Driving towards Nirvana: It takes a while to get used to the nature of driving in Vietnam. We had four different drivers and we remain in awe of the challenge that they faced and the way it was met. The infrastructure was wrecked after the American war and many other priorities existed before roadbuilding could begin. It is a very long thin mountainous country much of it above 1000m so roadbuilding is a challenge even if you can afford the machinery. Roads are still being upgraded, from tracks to single lane and that means long sections of road works. Rainfall is high and washouts frequent. There are 45 million motorbikes in a country of 97 million people. In cities they drift across lanes, driving illegally and in the countryside wobble about carrying astonishing loads or families of four. So driving requires that you learn horn-speak: one means 'be aware'; two means 'I am coming through'; three means 'wake up, or we'll both be in trouble!' Yet it is all done with tolerance, patience and a complete lack of aggression. Only possible where the overriding ethos is Buddhist. European attitudes would wreck the system. Bad parking is tolerated, water buffaloes, dogs, chickens, even babies patiently driven around. We did not see an accident and the cars are not dented. Low speed limits are adhered to and are part of the safety solution. Progress in both senses of the word is slow but you get there and may even learn something about achieving Nirvana.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    This was a private tour and we had three different guides all of whom were good, knowledgeable and well-organised. All timings were adhered to and we appreciated the high level of service.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    A Sunday market in Bac Ha was a highlight; there are not many places in the world where you will see 1000 water buffalo for sale together with the stunning mix of ethnic costumes from the surrounding villages. Ideally we would recommend travelling up on Saturday night from Hanoi on the overnight sleeper train and then being driven direct to the market from there. If you only have limited time and want some experience of ethnic tribes the journey out from Hanoi to Mai Chau is only a few hours yet enables you to see village life, craft skills and a vast range of agriculture. The Muong people are charming, welcoming and do not push their sales pitch to hard!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The Green Tangerine restaurant in Old Quarter Hanoi is truly outstanding. Also in the old quarter we stayed in the Essence hotel which we would recommend and dined twice at their sister hotel a couple of blocks away. It has more atmosphere than the dining room at the main hotel. Both these hotels are linked to Aira boutique hotel in Sa Pa which we would also strongly recommend. It's a bit outside the city but has good views and a great sense of peace
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Jo Brown



    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cycling in Hue

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Superb, never stopped smiling. Patience of a saint.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read the trip notes

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Would have preferred 1 less pagoda and another trek
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Sarah Morland

    Trails of Vietnam

    A brilliant trip! Great combination of staying in busy cities, rural home stays and an overnight on a train! Cycling, hiking and kayaking. Sightseeing and culture. A beautiful country and lovely people. Delicious food and everything ran like clockwork!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I think the friendliness of the Vietnamese people and their welcoming smiles and humour.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Bon - our group leader was fantastic. Professional, super-organised, informative and fun. Very kind - and sensitive to everyone’s needs. He was an absolute star.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Margherita Pedroni

    Great experience, amazing food and great group!

    I am very happy with Exodus travel. First time I was using a big organization and a tour operator with a big group. I must say I was positively surprised! The trip was very well managed and well structured as an overall. The local guide did an incredible job and he was the best guide I ever had. The group was great and I was lucky to be with such good people. I have really enjoyed and spend a great time together. I am also happy with the back management of exodus in London. With all the info they have sent and how they have helped me from remote. Only point: to improve the chat online service as I still had to call to make the payment and give my card details on the phone. Maybe add a paypal system or a more user friendly card payment (that accepts cards from outside UK or similar... anyways my credit card payment didn’t go through online and had to call to the UK... which was a bit expensive from Dubai)

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Food! The Marble Mountain Halong Bay Hoi An Delta river (the small boat the guide add the last minute) War museum

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The best! Great guy and amazing service! Very attentive to details. SUPER organized!! Caring and approachable. Honestly I was super happy with him (and I always had small problems with guides, but never with him!!!) Never had such a punctual and exact coordination with transports, busses timings, boats connections etc. Never waited a second, all very smooth. Maybe to be more concise when speaking about the most relevant things of a monument or a site. But all was interesting and adding great information

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring an extra small bag for short nights out in the homestays (and leave the big luggage at the main hotel). Bring a good repellent with deet.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    To improve the bike service in Hue. The one in the south was perfect. But in Hue the bikes were old and not great... but overall it was nice and all manageable.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Judith Ridout

    Vietnam and Cambodia - Tailor made

    Our trip was arranged by Thidara for our family of four - my husband, myself and our two 20-something daughters. We asked for a trip which incorporated sight seeing with some more adventurous activities and some opportunities to do things independently. The itinerary met our brief perfectly. We were able to see the main sights on our list with interpretation provided by our excellent guides and also do kaiaking, cycling and visiting a cave which was off the regular tourist trail. We travelled by boat, overnight train, plane, bicycle, tuck tuck as well as dedicated minibuses with our trusty drivers braving the incredible traffic! It was a fabulous trip which was made all the more enjoyable as all the stress was removed due to the reliability of our guides and the detailed organisation.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The two highlights had to be cruising and kaiaking on Halong Bay and seeing Angkor Wat at sunrise, however learning about the history of both Vietnam and Cambodia was also fascinating. Travelling south by road meant that we crossed the DMZ and could visit the museum there. We also went to the War Remnants museum in Ho Chi Minh. We did a cooking class in Hoy An which was another must do. Our guide helped us out with finding an excellent class which we thoroughly enjoyed.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had four guides during our trip and all were excellent. Helpful, informative and passionate about their country and its treasures. It really added to the enjoyment of the trip that they were able to answer our questions and guide us through the process of getting to know the culture and lifestyle of this fascinating area.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Vietnam and Cambodia are great places to visit. They feel very safe and there is so much to see and do. The tailor made trip worked very well for us as we had our two daughters with us who are 21 and 23. They enjoyed the freedom of being able to choose places to eat in the evenings but were also keen to do all the activities
  • Reviewed September 2018

    Insight into how ordinary people in Vietnam live

    I've been to Vietnam before, but this trip was completely different. This time I felt that I was really getting under the skin of the country to understand how ordinary people, rather than emperors or presidents, live. At each of the homestays we had the opportunity to chat with the families we were staying with and to ask them questions about things as varied as their daily working routines, the pressures they faced, family structures etc. and had the experience of staying in a typical family house. In addition to that there was a packed agenda of sightseeing visits, activities and eating that left me happily exhausted by the end of the trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The first homestay was (just) the best part of the trip. The family was so welcoming, so obviously pleased to have us staying with them and so interested in telling us about their lives that it got the trip off to a great start and set the tone for the rest of it. Travelling there, amidst the devastation caused by recent unseasonably heavy rain, was an experience in itself. Close behind this were: the trek from the first homestay to the second, through the hills, with amazing views down mist laden valleys to the lake where the second homestay was, and the dancing with the village dance troupe in the evening at the second homestay (I was grabbed by the village flautist to pair him in the dancing, probably because he thought that as a 64 year old male I would be even worse than he was, but I reckon I - just - edged it!).

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader, Linh Vo, was outstanding. He had a compendious knowledge of Vietnam and its culture, people history and food, which he communicated effortlessly, coupled with personal experiences to bring it to life. His organisation was immaculate: everything that was supposed to happen did happen and at the time when it was meant to happen, with Linh on the phone double and triple checking ahead to make sure that it did. He was clearly well known, popular and much respected in many of the places that we visited, which meant that we got extra-special attention that made a real difference to my experience. He had a great sense of humour and was a terrific person to travel with.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Vietnamese food is amazing. Make a list of all the food you eat, because at the end you will want to look back on it and maybe cook some of it back home, but if you haven't made a list (I didn't) you just won't be able to remember. Make sure you try egg coffee in Hanoi.
  • Reviewed August 2018
    jennifer stephenson

    vietnam adventure

    excellent trip with many highlights and brilliant guide --Son Nguyen

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    meeting the Hill tribe people in North Vietnam and the two home stays which were both lovely

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Son was brilliant and an excellent guide --- was fantastic

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    travel light --dont need to much luggage and move frequently so too heavy a bag is a pain for all concerned ! mosquito repellent is needed as we were bitten quite a bit even though mosquitoes were not immediately obvious - bring a refillable bottle for water go to some spin classes for the cycling --although distance not great it was hard work in that heat =-!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    altogether was a great trip and would recommend i! we would certainly do another exodus trip if we travel to other destinations and felt it was very well organised leader was great and many thanks for looking after us so well!
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Karen Maynard

    Wonderful adventure

    This was our first Exodus trip and we were so impressed. The trip is action packed and Vietnam has so much to offer. There was a reasonable level of activity (walking and cycling and a kayaking trip), combined with a chance to immerse yourself in the culture of the country and meet the local villagers. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to maximise their time in Vietnam and get a really good feel for the country.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We went on a boat overnight on Halong Bay to see the stunning and famous limestone rocks. The sunrise the next morning was breathtaking.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader, Thoa, was fantastic. Nothing was too much trouble and he is a credit to Exodus. He looked after us very well, accomodated everyone's requirements and showed us the best sights and great places to eat and drink with the locals. All the travel arrangements were organised seamlessly and we felt rather spoilt. He encouraged us all to try new experiences and was great company.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This trip is very busy - a new location nearly every day and lots of travelling. This worked really well for our group as there is so much to discover in Vietnam but don't choose it if you want a restful trip. The cycling and walking is manageable if you are active and great if you like variety but probably rather tame if you do walk or cycle regularly as a hobby.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is a great value trip and I would really recommend it. There was quite a bit of rain in the North when we travelled in August and, although it didn't spoil our trip, its unpredictability may affect some activities.

Dates & Prices

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An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.


What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.


2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.


3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.


 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 


Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]


Private Adventures 

Not found the date you’re looking for? We can organise this itinerary as a Private Adventure – just click on the tab above the list of dates and prices, let us know your preferred dates of travel and how many people are travelling, and we’ll do the rest!

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