Vietnam Express Southbound
Vietnam Express Southbound

Highlights: - Hanoi - Halong Bay - Hue - Hoi An - Ho Chi Minh City


Other departures: Manchester - £1675, Birmingham - £1655, Glasgow - £1675, Edinburgh - £1795, Southampton - £1815, Newcastle - £1655


Itinerary:


Day 1: Hanoi
Welcome to Vietnam. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. We'll be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you bring these details to provide to your leader. 


If you arrive early into the capital of Hanoi, there’s plenty to see and do. Consider booking the Hanoi Highlights Urban Adventure with an expert local guide to introduce you to the city. Start by visiting the Temple of Literature, drop into a traditional tea house, and learn the stories of the Hoa Lo Prison museum. This tour concludes at Hoan Kiem Lake, surrounded by modern office buildings and ancient Buddhist temples. Or take it at your own pace and wander the Old Quarter and admire the city’s French-colonial architecture, relax in a park, or enjoy some street food.


Accommodation: Hotel (1 night)


Optional Activities available at an extra charge:
Hanoi - Women's Museum
Hanoi - Museum of Ethnology
Hanoi - Hanoi Highlights Urban Adventure
Hanoi Urban Adventure - Citadels, Karsts & Cycle
Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum and Museum


There are no meals included on this day.


Special Information:
You may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend the group meeting and have time to explore Hanoi. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability)


Day 2: Halong Bay
Travel by private minibus to the spectacular World Heritage site of Halong Bay in the Gulf of Tonkin (approximately four hours). The bay is dotted with sandy coves, grottos and 1,600 limestone islands, which have been formed over millennia by wind and water erosion. Board a private boat and cruise the bay, exploring island caves and perhaps even enjoying a swim from Ti Top Island Beach during the warmer months. To end the day, spend a peaceful night aboard the boat beneath the night sky. 


Your wooden junk-style boat has twin share cabins with air-conditioning and private facilities. There's also a dining room and bar to enjoy lunch, dinner and breakfast.


Accommodation: Overnight boat (1 night)


Included Activities:
Halong Bay - Overnight boat cruise


Meals Included: Full Board


Special Information:
It is recommended to pack a smaller overnight bag to take to Halong Bay for ease of boarding and disembarking. You can store your main luggage in Hanoi for tonight.


Swimming in the bay from the boats is not permitted by the local authority.


There are restrictions on the number of boats that are permitted to stay in the bay overnight, sometimes resulting in a shortage. To ensure all Intrepid travellers can enjoy the experience of a night on the water, occasionally you will stay on a larger boat (with approximately 12 cabins) and share your boat with another group. Or your group may be split across different vessels, in which case an Intrepid group leader will be present on each boat, and the route taken and inclusions on board will remain the same.


Day 3: Hanoi/ Overnight Train
Return by boat to Ha Long, and at approximately midday travel by bus back to Hanoi. Arrive late this afternoon, and use free time to shop, explore the sights or just relax. Later tonight board an overnight train to Hue.


Accommodation: Overnight sleeper train (1 night)


Meals Included: Breakfast


Special Information:
There are shared day use hotel rooms available this afternoon in Hanoi if you would like to freshen up before the overnight train. There is one room provided between up to 6 members of the group. Single supplements do not apply to day rooms. 
Sleeper trains typically have four-berth compartments (occasionally six berths depending on the season), which have bench seats that convert into sleeping bunks. A sheet, pillow and blanket are provided (although some travellers prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet). Most trains have a dining carriage serving simple food, but you may like to stock up on some food supplies before departure.


Day 4: Hue
Arrive into Hue at approximately 11 am and transfer to the hotel. 


Once the imperial capital of Vietnam, Hue holds the treasures of the country’s royal past. You’ll have free time in the morning to rest or explore. The bustling Dong Ba Market is a great place to sample some of the foods that once graced the Nguyen emperors' tables, such as banh khoai (royal rice cake). Reunite with the group to visit the war-damaged ruins of the Hue Imperial Citadel complex, which once contained temples, state houses and the emperor’s palace.


Day 5: Hue
Today, tour the sights of Hue on the back of a motorbike driven by a local guide. Explore the ruins of the Forbidden Purple City, once reserved for the personal use of the Emperor and his concubines, but almost totally destroyed during the Vietnam/American War. Visit the 17th-century active Buddhist monastery of Thien Mu Pagoda. During the visit you’ll see the car of a former monk who drove to Saigon in 1963 to set himself alight to protest the poor treatment of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese regime. 


Enjoy a short boat cruise down the Perfume River before eating lunch inside a nunnery. Finally, visit the lakeside royal tomb of Emperor Tu Duc before heading back to Hue.


Accommodation: Hotel (1 night)


Included Activities:
Hue - Perfume river cruise and Thien Mu Pagoda
Hue - Royal tomb
Hue - Motorbike trip including lunch


Meals Included: Half Board


Special Information:
For those who do not wish to ride on the back of a motorbike, please let you leader know and they will arrange a car (cost included). 
Boats for the Perfume River trip may not be available if you’re travelling during festival periods. During these times you’ll travel by land to reach the activities instead.


Day 6: Hoi An
This morning travel by bus through coastal rice paddies and the spectacular Hai Van Pass. After a brief visit to Lang Co Beach, arrive into Hoi An. Recently declared a World Heritage site, Hoi An was a major international trading port during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Today, parts of the beautifully preserved town retain the feel of centuries past. It's also a shopping mecca, famous for its plethora of tailors. On arrival your leader will take you on a sightseeing walk through the Old Town and visit a handful of the city's major attractions. You’ll will also be given a sightseeing pass so you can further explore select attractions at your leisure.


Accommodation: Hotel (1 night)


Included Activities:
Hoi An - Ancient town walk and entrance ticket


Optional Activities available at an extra charge:
Hoi An - Hoi An Boat & Bike Urban Adventure


Meals Included: Breakfast


Day 7: Hoi An
Today is a free day to explore Hoi An. Browse the town’s cobbled streets and art galleries, or hire a bike and cycle through rice paddies out to Cua Dai Beach. Shop for paintings, ceramics and colourful cloth lanterns in the town’s markets and preserved Chinese shop houses. Perhaps visit one of the hundreds of tailors in the city to get something special made. Hoi An is also known for its delicious regional food, so be sure to enjoy a meal at a riverside restaurant or perhaps partake in a cooking class.


Accommodation: Hotel (1 night)


Optional Activities available at an extra charge:
Hoi An - My Son Cham day trip
Hoi An - Street Food By Night Urban Adventure
Hoi An - Hoi An Walking & Cooking Class Urban Adventure


Meals Included: Breakfast


Day 8: Ho Chi Minh City
Today take a short early morning flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City has a fascinating history and is arguably Vietnam’s capital of commerce and culture. After landing, check in to your hotel and then take a sightseeing bus tour around the city. Pass the Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Opera House, stopping in at the War Remnants Museum to discover some of the sobering stories of the Vietnam/American War.


Accommodation: Hotel (1 night)


Included Activities
Ho Chi Minh City - War Remnants Museum
Ho Chi Minh City - City tour


Optional Activities available at an extra charge:
Ho Chi Minh City - Reunification Palace
HCMC - A O show
HCMC - Saigon Street Food by Night Urban Adventure


Meals Included: Breakfast


Day 9: Mekong Delta/ Ho Chi Minh City
This morning head out on a day trip to explore the Mekong Delta. Board a boat to Ben Tre to visit a coconut candy factory and sample their sweet products. On a tuk-tuk tour around the remote village, learn about local rural life and stop to sample tropical fruits. Eat lunch at a restaurant in the heart of the delta, sampling regional specialties such as the famous Elephant Ear fish. Afterwards, paddle in sampans (small rowing boats) past water coconut trees along the Mekong, and then board a private boat to cruise the delta’s major waterways to My Tho. After the cruise return via bus to Ho Chi Minh City. 


Enjoy a final group dinner at KOTO restaurant, an organisation dedicated to developing the hospitality careers of street kids.


Accommodation: Hotel (1 night)


Included Activities:
HCMC - Mekong Delta day trip including Coconut Candy Factory and Village Tuk Tuk tour
HCMC - KOTO dinner


Meals Included: Full Board


Day 10: Ho Chi Minh City
Your trip ends after breakfast today. There are no activities included and you’re free to depart your accommodation at any time. For those who are staying on and want to explore Ho Chi Minh City further, check out our Urban Adventure day trips.


Optional Activities available at an extra charge:
Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi Tunnel Experience Urban Adventure


Meals Included: Breakfast



Offer Includes

  • Flights from London with Emirates
  • Airport taxes
  • 9 nights accommodation at chosen hotels as per itinerary

Meal Plans

  • As per Itinerary