All senses will be engaged on this active exploration of the natural and cultural treasures of Vietnam.
Vietnam Trip Overview
Our exploration of one of Southeast Asia's most interesting countries begins in the southern capital of Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, where we explore poignant war sites such as the Cu Chi Tunnels. In the following days, you'll discover sacred caves, relax aboard longboats on scenic rivers, cruise Ha Long Bay in a traditional junk, immerse yourself in historic towns, and peruse evening markets with your expert local guide. Our journey ends with Hanoi, long called the “Paris of the Orient.”
Vietnam Tour Itinerary At a Glance
Days 1-2: Ho Chi Minh City. Explore the former city of Saigon, from the Chinese quarter of Cholon, to the Reunification Palace and Cu Chi Tunnels. We'll discover that this city and its surroundings have many stories - both ancient and modern - to tell. Enjoy dining on Vietnamese specialties and learning about the incredible variety of dishes, flavors, and spices from south to north.
Days 3-4 Hué. Explore the life and times of Vietnam's greatest Emporer, Tu Duc. Visit the Citadel, Imperial Palace, and Forbidden Purple City. Enjoy a sunset boat ride on the Perfume River.
Days 7-8: Ha Long Bay. Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ha Long Bay while on an overnight cruise on a luxury traditional junk.
Days 9-10: Hanoi. Tour historic and cultural sites of Hanoi including Ho Chi Minh’s house, the One Pillar Pagoda, Temple of Literature, and the city’s Old Quarter. Dine at renowned restuarants featuring a fusion of Asian and colonial influences. On the morning of Day 10 you may depart from Hanoi at your leisure.
The Boundless Journeys Advantage:
- A passion for travel. Simply put, we love to travel, and that is woven into every one of our journeys.
- Unique, award-winning itineraries. Our flexible, hand-crafted journeys have received accolades from the world’s most revered travel publications.
- Insider connections. There is simply no substitute for traveling with a knowledgeable insider.
- Small groups. We tread softly, and our average group size is just 6-8 guests.
- Flexibility to suit your travel style. We offer both small-group departures and Private Collection trips, so that you can choose which works best for you.
- Customer service that goes the extra mile. There is no request that is too big – or too small – for our staff to handle.
- Sustainability. We are committed to traveling responsibly – striving to preserve traditions and cultures around the world, and to protect fragile natural habitats.
Trip Rating (1 Easiest - 5 Most Strenuous)
Adventure travel may involve exotic destinations, unusual levels of physical exertion, and activities that may be new to you. We want to make sure that you choose the adventure that's right for you from our many one-of-a-kind trips. Each trip is rated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the easiest, and 5 being the most strenuous. A few of our trips have had a “+” added to the number, indicating something that falls in between. Our Trip Ratings may be found on the trip schedule and on our website. Our detailed itineraries provide additional information on what to expect on the trip you are considering (detailed itineraries are available by mail, fax, or e-mail; or you can find them on our website, www.boundlessjourneys.com).We encourage you to call one of our travel experts with any questions or concerns that you may have. We are always happy to assist you in any way that we can.
Our easiest trips are generally hotel-based cultural and nature journeys that typically offer light activity. Optional walks and hikes (approximately 2 to 4 hours) through gentle terrain with little elevation gain or loss. Altitude is typically not a factor on these tours. Other activities, such as snorkeling or sea kayaking, are optional. Examples: Indochina, Vietnam, Egypt, Galapagos Islands, Botswana, Tanzania.
EASY TO MODERATE 2
Hotel nights and/or deluxe, safari-style camping. Walking, hiking (approximately 3 to 5 hours), kayaking, or other activities on most days. Trails and paths are through rolling countryside, with occasional steep trails with up to 1,000 feet of elevation gain. Many of our hotel-based walking trips are in this category. Examples: Tuscany & Umbria, Sicily, Morocco, Palau, Iceland, Turkey, Festivals of Bhutan, Costa Rica.
Full day hikes (approximately 4 to 6 hours) most days on unpaved trails and paths through hilly terrain with typical elevation gains and losses of 1,000 to 2,000 feet. There may be occasional short steep sections of trail. Examples: Chile, Scotland, Spain, Bhutan & Nepal.
MODERATE TO STRENUOUS 4
Full day hikes (approximately 5 to 7 hours) through mountainous terrain with significant elevation gains and losses (2,000 to 3,000 feet). Terrain may be rugged with uneven footpaths. The average altitude is generally no more than 12,000 feet. Options are limited. These trips typically involve some camping or simple accommodations. Examples: Tour du Mont Blanc, Peru Trek, Bhutan Chomolhari Trek..
MOST STRENUOUS 5
Full-day trekking (approximately 6 to 8 hours) through rugged mountainous terrain with steep climbs and descents and one or more of the following present: elevation gains and losses of as much as 4,000 feet, altitude that exceeds 12,000 feet, and rugged uneven footpaths. These trips typically offer few options and include camping.
Traveling To and From
Most Convenient Airport for Arrival:
Nov tour: Hanoi International Airport, Hanoi, Vietnam (airport code HAN)
Dec tour: Tan Son Nhat International Airport, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (airport code SGN)
Meeting Time and Place:
Nov tour: Hanoi International Airport, upon the arrival of your international flight on Day 1 of the tour.
Dec tour: Tan Son Nhat International Airport, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam on Day 1 of the tour.
Most Convenient Airport for Departure:
Nov tour: Airport transfers to Tan Son Nhat International Airport, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam will be provided.
Dec tour: Airport transfers to Hanoi International Aiport, Hanoi, Vietnam will be provided.
Departure Time and Place:
Day 10, at your leisure. Airport transfers will be provided.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Boundless Journeys’ trips are designed for energetic and flexible individuals who like to be active and have a spirit of adventure and a positive attitude. Cultural Explorer is rated 1+, easy with some moderate options on a scale of 1-5 (with 5 being the most strenuous). The walks on this trip are day walks with some vehicle support. Much of the walking will be flat terrain, in and around villages, towns and temples, 4-6 hours per day, broken up by rest and meals.
Preparing for this Trip
It is very important that you realistically assess your physical condition with regard to the demands of this trip. The more well-prepared you are for the activities on this trip, the more you will enjoy yourself! Please engage in moderate aerobic activities (walking, jogging, cycling) for at least 30-45 minutes several times a week for 4-6 weeks before the trip. If you live in a flat area, try to incorporate some stairs into your workout, or use a treadmill with varying incline capability. Consult your doctor before undertaking any new fitness program.
During our trip, you will likely experience a range of weather conditions, as various locations fall within different climate zones. While Hanoi will be relatively cool, Ho Chi Minh City will be warmer. The range of temperatures you might expect to encounter is listed here:
October: 84°F - 71°F
November: 76°F - 66°F
December: 71°F - 59°F
January: 68°F - 55°F
February: 67°F - 60°F
March: 73°F - 63°F
Ho Chi Minh City:
October: 87°F - 76°F
November: 87°F - 74°F
December: 87°F - 72°F
January: 88°F - 72°F
February: 90°F - 73°F
March: 92°F - 76°F
You can obtain more detailed weather information at www.weatherbase.com.
When to Go
The cooler dry season lasts from October to March. In October and November, arriving just after the rainy season, you’ll have the benefit of being there for the newly greened trees and rice paddies, as well as the much clearer air quality that can be expected at this time of year. December through March remain much drier and a bit cooler than during the summer months. However, it is possible to have some rain at any time of year.
Vietnam Tour Accommodations
Overview: Deluxe, first-class hotels, ideally located, and a deluxe Ha Long Bay junk (a traditionally rigged Asian sailing vessel). All with private baths and many amenities.
Note: The sequence is in reverse for our November tour. Please inquire for further details.
Nights 1 & 2 : Rex Hotel
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Strategically located in old downtown Saigon, Rex is a luxury heritage hotel dating to early 20th century when it originally opened as a French garage. For over 80 years, the Rex has been a landmark, as well as a witness of the ups and downs of the city’s history.
Nights 3 & 4: La Résidence Hôtel and Spa
La Résidence Hôtel and Spa in Hué, Vietnam is an enchanting boutique hotel on the banks of the Perfume River, overlooking the former Imperial Citadel.
Nights 5 & 6: Life Resort
Hoi An Town, Vietnam
Located in the French colonial quarter of Hoi An, this tranquil property has landscaped gardens and is situated on the riverbank, just a few minutes walk from the center of town. All rooms have a bedroom, living area and private porch.
Note: We regularly use Life Resort, although for our December tour we are booked at Victoria Hoi An Beach Resort. Please inquire when booking.
Night 7: Paradise Luxury Cruiser
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
This traditionally rigged Asian sailing vessel offers the highest standards for services and amenities on Ha Long Bay. This junk has 12 cabins, stylishly decorated with an antique Asian motif. There is also a restaurant, lounge, and sundeck offering uninterrupted views of the bay.
Nights 8 & 9: Sofitel Legend Metropole
On Condé Nast Traveler’s prestigious 2010 "Gold List" as one of the best hotels in Vietnam.
This French-colonial style building has stood proudly in the heart of Hanoi since 1901. The hotel has a rich history and lovely rooms, a recently built spa, and swimming pool.
Vietnam Tour Itinerary
Please note that the itinerary presented here is for our December 30 - January 8, 2014 departure. If you are interested in our November 11-20, 2013 departure, the itinerary will be in reverse order. Please inquire for a detailed itinerary.
Ho Chi Minh City
Next we visit the One Pillar Pagoda and the Temple of Literature. Built after King Ly Thai To’s vision of a bodhisattva sitting on a lotus in 1049, the lotus-shaped One Pillar Pagoda sits atop a pillar jutting out of a lily pond. Soon after the temple was built, the King’s wife gave birth to a son, and today childless couples visit the pagoda to make prayer offerings. The Temple of Literature is perhaps Hanoi’s best-preserved ancient site. Also built in the 11th century, Van Mieu, as it is known in Vietnamese, served as the national university for 700 years.
- Nov 11–20, 2013
- Dec 30, 2013–Jan 08, 2014
2013 Land Cost
$4,195 per person
Accommodations (hotels, tents, cruise cabins) are based on double occupancy. A single supplement may be charged to participants who specifically request single accommodations, subject to availability. We have made every effort to eliminate or greatly reduce this cost for most of our scheduled small-group departures; however, these savings are limited to two single supplements per departure. Therefore, the first two single participants to reserve will receive the savings. This is not applicable to our Private Collection journeys.
If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we will try to match you with a roommate of the same gender. If you reserve at least 90 days ahead and a roommate is not available, you will only be charged a “forced” single supplement in the amount of 50% of the standard single supplement (unless otherwise noted in the detailed itinerary).* Single accommodations are limited so you are encouraged to reserve early!
*This does not apply to cruises in the Galapagos Islands or Antarctica. Please see these trip pages for more details.
Ho Chi Minh City-Hué; Danang-Hanoi
- Expert leadership
- All accommodations, including an overnight on a deluxe traditional junk on Ha Long Bay
- Private, air-conditioned ground transportation
- All meals except one lunch and two dinners
- Entry fees
- All activities as noted in the itinerary
Please complete the following information to request a reservation. A trip deposit of $500 per person is required to confirm your reservation (payable by check or major credit card). Once we receive your request we will contact you within one business day to confirm availability and answer any questions you may have.
About our guides
With a Boundless Journeys guide, your experience is that of friend and local adventurer. We believe strongly in working with local guides, experts in the areas to which we travel, and they hold the keys to unlocking the hidden delights of your chosen destination. Although you will never know they are at work – the mark of a truly great leader – our guides make magical things happen and add a dimension to your trip that you could not experience on your own.
Over the years we have forged bonds with some of the best guides in the world, and we typically work with a small team of guides in each region. You will be informed of the guide for your trip one month prior to your departure.
Elske de Vries: Elske was born in Surabaya, Indonesia, and later raised in a small village in the Netherlands, giving her a unique perspective on global culture and travel. Currently living in Bangkok and working as a tour leader in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia, Elske loves introducing guests to new experiences. When not working, she enjoys exploring Asia with her camera in hand. Throughout your travels in Vietnam, Elske will be joined in each region by a local guide to further enhance your experience.
What other guests have said about our guides in Vietnam:
"Our guide was the best! She was just so good in every way ― very knowledgeable and easygoing. I wanted to visit a hospital and she arranged that too. She did an A+ job! This was a trip of a lifetime. I have wanted to go to Vietnam and Cambodia for 35 years and this was everything I wanted to see and more. I would highly recommend this trip for anyone who is interest in Vietnam as it was very well planned and included everything one could want to see and do! It was the dream adventure of a lifetime and I will tell all my friends to take a Boundless Journeys trip.” – S.H., Keene, NH
Picture Yourself Here:
Exploring the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Ha Long Bay, Hué, and Hoi An
Immersing yourself in Hanoi, the "Paris of the Orient"
Discovering poignant sites of war history, from Cu Chi Tunnels to China Beach
Perusing markets and indulging in authentic Vietnamese cuisine with its blend of French and Asian influences
- Nov 11–20, 2013
- Dec 30, 2013–Jan 08, 2014
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