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Real Vietnam

From €875pp tour-only
Depart From
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Departure Date
Regular departures throughout the year
15 Days
From €875pp tour-only
Enquire Now

Ready, set, Pagoda on a trip through the real Vietnam.

From Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi, experience authentic Vietnam on this 15-day tour. See how the locals live on on the Mekong Delta, get your beach on in Tuy Hoa and discover history and yum yums galore in Hoi An and Hue. Drift the emerald waters around Cat Ba Island by boat and go for a snoop through any of Hanoi's many markets. This is the make-em-jealous, full-on, once-in-a-lifetime trip up the coast of Vietnam you've been waiting for. Ready, set, pagoda.

Why you'll love this trip

  • There's nothing quite like getting to see what local life is like by staying in a guesthouse on the Mekong Delta. You'll be feasting and gossiping with the locals in no time
  • Where better to enjoy loads of free time than in the coastal city of Tuy Hoa, which features irresistible beaches and crazy-good snorkelling
  • Get your bike on (get on a bike) in pretty Hoi An, the best way to see the town and surrounding countryside. Also, the food here? Completely delicious 
  • Hue is a historical city with a lot of pizazz. Wander around a citadel-within-a-citadel and dare to gaze upon the Forbidden Purple City (it's not forbidden just to LOOK)
  • It's taken 400 million years for Phong Nha to look this good, so you'd better take advantage – explore a spectacular scene of caves, underground rivers, and caverns big enough to sail into
  • Limestone karsts, blue-green waters, mysterious caves and super ancient jungle - Cat Ba Island feels a lot like paradise.
  • Vietnam is the perfect destination for first-time travellers.
  • This trip includes three overnight train journeys, each one taking up to 12 hours. You'll be sharing a cabin with three to five other people and amenities with the rest of the carriage. Although the rides are long and the conditions basic, this is an awesome way to see Vietnam and travel alongside the locals.
  • You'll be staying in a simple local guesthouse in the Mekong Delta, with basic bedding, dorm-style rooms, shared amenities and cold water only. Although the accommodation is basic, this is an authentic experience of life on the Delta with some delicious Vietnamese home-cooking!
  • Vietnamese roads can be hectic and intimidating to cross. Never fear - your leader will show you how to do it like a local in Hanoi's Old Quarter.
  • This trip is for travellers who appreciate a bit of independence. You'll get plenty of free time in each location to make your own choices and do your own activities. Your leader will always be there to give you tips and suggestions.

This trip is for 18 to 29-year-olds

  • Some of our under-30 travellers prefer to get around with people their own age. If that’s you, you’re in the right place!
  • Over 29? We’ve got hundreds of other great adventures to choose from for solo travellers, friends, families, food lovers, hiking enthusiasts, and more. Please ask us for details.


Day 1: Ho Chi Minh City

Xin chao! Welcome to Vietnam. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is characterised by a vast array of sights and sounds, and is a fascinating blend of old and new, East and West. The huge number of people rushing about their daily lives in Vietnam's largest city gives it a dynamic atmosphere and the French influence is evident in the excellent baguettes and coffee on offer. Much of city life takes place on the busy streets lined with shops, stalls and vendors, who have their wares spread out on the footpath and sell everything from soup to sophisticated electronics.

Accommodation: Hotel (1 night)

Optional Activities

  • Ho Chi Minh City - War Remnants Museum - VND40000
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Reunification Palace - VND40000
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Ho Chi Minh Discovery Urban Adventure - USD53
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Cyclos & Markets Urban Adventure - USD41 

Day 2: Mekong Delta

Head down to the Mekong Delta and visit unexplored Ben Tre where coconut is everything and anything. The fertile delta is famous for its abundant harvests of tropical fruits and flowers as well as boating along the canals. On arrival, we board our private boat and cruise along the maze of waterways to visit some local cottage industries. Then head to our overnight local guesthouse along the water.

Accommodation: Guesthouse (1 night)

Included Activities

  • Mekong Delta - Boat cruise and guesthouse

Meals Included: Lunch | Dinner

Special Information: We'll be sleeping on simple camp beds in dorm-style rooms with all meals included. Bedding and mosquito nets are provided. Shared toilet and bathroom facilities are basic.

Day 3: Mekong Delta - Overnight Train

Rising early to the sounds of the delta coming alive, we enjoy a simple breakfast before boarding our boat, and catching a bus back to Ho Chi Minh City. Enjoy some free time in Ho Chi Minh City to go check out a few more sites or some tasty street food snacks. Late this afternoon board an overnight train to Tuy Hoa, a beach town on the central coast (approx 11 hours). Although conditions are basic, overnight trains are all part of the experience and the best way to travel long distances with the locals.

Accommodation: Overnight sleeper train (1 night)

Meals Included: Breakfast

Special Information

Sleeper trains typically have four berth compartments (occasionally six berth depending on seasonal variations and group configuration), 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.

On occasion, passengers of different genders will be required to share a compartment and there will be occasions where you'll be sharing with local travellers or travellers who are not part of your group. Most trains have a dining carriage serving simple food, but some travellers take the opportunity to stock up on fresh bread, cheese and fruit prior to departure.

Shared hotel rooms are available after check out time, shared between up to 6 members of the group, so you can prepare if needed before your train journey.

Day 4: Tuy Hoa

Arrive in Tuy Hoa early this morning for two days by the beach. Though Tuy Hoa is much quieter than its southern neighbours, you'll still find the perfect spot of sand to lay down a towel and plenty of dining options. Check out the Eglise de Mang Lang and Da Dia Reef, or head south to the Mui Dien lighthouse for a nature fix.

Accommodation: Hotel (1 night)

Special Information

Shared use hotel rooms are available at your hotel this morning before regular check in.

Day 5: Tuy Hoa - Overnight Train

Today is all yours! Soak up some more free time on the beach. Board an overnight train late in the evening bound for Danang (approx. 8 hours).

Accommodation: Overnight sleeper train (1 night) 

Day 6: Hoi An

Arrive in Danang and travel by minibus to Hoi An (approx 1 hr). Recently declared a World Heritage site, Hoi An is being beautifully restored and preserved. Known as Faifo to early western traders, it was one of South East Asia's major international ports during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

Today, parts of Hoi An look exactly as they did more than a century ago and it retains the feel of centuries past, making it the sort of place that grows on you the more you explore it. It's also a shopping mecca – with much to browse and buy. Choose from original paintings, handcrafted woodwork, ceramics, embroidery, lanterns and more. Hoi An has also become famous for its tailoring, with a great variety of fabrics and tailors to choose from. Bring your favourite piece of clothing or even just a picture, and you'll be able to have it copied.

Accommodation: Hotel (1 night)

Included Activities

  • Hoi An - Old Town walking tour

Optional Activities

  • Hoi An - cooking course - VND420000 

Day 7: Hoi An

There's no better way to explore the peaceful countryside of Hoi An than by bike. Your leader will take you to places few tourists get the chance to see, past green rice paddies and small creeks, this is a true insight into country living in Vietnam.

Accommodation: Hotel (1 night)

Included Activities

  • Hoi An - Countryside bicycle tour

Optional Activities

  • Hoi An - My Son Cham day trip - USD35
  • Hoi An - Thu Bon river boat trip - VND100000 

Day 8: Hue

Departing Hoi An, we can pass by My Khe Beach before crossing the dramatic Hai Van Pass to the picturesque fishing village of Lang Co. After a quick stop, continue on to Hue (approx 5 hrs including stops). As the former imperial capital of Vietnam, Hue holds the treasures of Vietnam's royal past and is a curious mix of bustling streets and tranquil settings.

Your afternoon is free to go exploring. The Dong Ba market, which sells everything imaginable, is a great place to spend some time. Visit the Imperial Citadel, including the Forbidden Purple City. The latter was almost totally destroyed during the Vietnam War's Tet Offensive, but the foliage-covered ruins are still atmospheric and the gaping holes left by bombs give an idea of the destruction wreaked upon the country during the war.

Accommodation: Hotel (1 night) 

Day 9: Hue

Today is a free day. You might like to take a dragon boat cruise on the Perfume River, and a visit to Thien Mu Pagoda, considered by many to be the unofficial symbol of Hue. It's an active Buddhist monastery with its origins dating back to 1601. One of the most poignant displays is a car belonging to a former monk who, in 1963, drove to Saigon and set himself alight to protest against the treatment of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese regime.

Accommodation: Hotel (1 night)

Optional Activities

  • Hue - Imperial Citadel - VND150000
  • Hue - Perfume River cruise & Thien Mu Pagoda - VND220000
  • Hue - Royal tomb - VND136000 

Day 10: Phong Nha

Jump on the bus and make your way to Phong Nha. On the way there's the chance to check out the Hien Luong Bridge – it's smack bang on the 17th Parallel, so it separated the North from the South during the war. You can also choose to head underground at Vinh Moc, an expansive network of limestone tunnels that locals used as shelters from the bombing. Travel on to Phong Nha and take the afternoon to explore your surroundings. You'll stay just outside Phong Nha Town, and there are loads of optional activities to take advantage of. The town is near Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, an amazing landscape riddled with caves and underground rivers. Maybe take a boat through Phong Nha Cave, or check out one of the spectacular caverns like Paradise Cave.

Accommodation: Guesthouse (1 night)

Optional Activities

  • Quang Tri - Hien Luong Bridge - VND40000
  • Quang Tri - Vinh Moc Tunnels Entrance - VND40000 

Day 11: Hue - Overnight train

Take the day to make the most of your time in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. This World Heritage site and is the oldest karst (which basically means underground eroded limestone) mountain range in Asia. This bad boy is over 400 million years old so there's plenty to explore. Jump on one of the optional activities, or just sit back and take in this stunning scenery. Later today you'll head back to Dong Hoi and hop back on a sleeper train (approximately 8 pm to 5.50 am) – you'll be pro at this now and know exactly what to do.

Accommodation: Overnight sleeper train (1 night) 

Day 12: Hanoi

Arrive in Hanoi very early (approx. 5.30 am) and transfer to your hotel. Then leave your gear in a day room at the hotel. The capital of Vietnam is a charming city with a population of over six million. Hanoi is famous for its beautiful lakes, shaded boulevards, verdant public parks and its thriving Old Quarter, which is an architectural museum piece with blocks of ochre buildings retaining the air of a 1930s provincial French town.

As Vietnam develops to compete with other South East Asian countries, the beautiful Hoan Kiem Lake reflects the contrasts of modern office buildings, old Buddhist temples and the tangle of ancient streets in its still surface. Take a walking tour of the Old Quarter. You'll visit the Dong Xuan market, the biggest wholesale market in northern Vietnam, stroll through the ancient '36 streets' where you can discover an amazing selection of shops selling everything from souvenirs to exquisite silk clothing, beautifully embroidered tablecloths. Your leader will point out some of the unique architecture around Hoan Kiem Lake and the myths and legends of the lake.

Accommodation: Hotel (1 night)

Included Activities

  • Hanoi - Old Quarter Walking Tour

Optional Activities

  • Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh Complex: Ho Chi Minh, Stilt House and Museum - VND80000
  • Hanoi - Fine Arts Museum - VND30000
  • Hanoi - Army Museum - VND20000
  • Hanoi - Women's Museum - VND30000
  • Hanoi - Temple of Literature - VND30000
  • Hanoi - Hoa Lo 'Hanoi Hilton' Prison - VND30000
  • Hanoi - Museum of Ethnology - VND40000
  • Hanoi - Village Discovery by Bike Urban Adventure - USD33 

Special Information: Shared use hotel rooms are available at your hotel this morning before check in.

Day 13: Cat Ba Island

Get ready for some seriously stunning sights after an early morning of travel, taking a bus and ferry to Cat Ba Island. Cruise past bright green limestone karsts while you munch lunch onboard, then get as close as you want with a kayak. There's tonnes of tiny beaches around Cat Ba, so plenty of places to swim, snooze or sunbathe. 

Accommodation: Hotel (1 night)

Included Activities

  • Cat Ba Island - kayaking
  • Cat Ba Island - boat trip on Lan Ha Bay

Meals Included: Lunch

Day 14: Hanoi

Wake up in paradise, maybe starting your morning with a refreshing swim. Make sure you soak up as much sun and sand as possible, because this afternoon it's back to Hanoi via ferry and bus. Tonight you can head out for an optional last dinner with your new friends and spend the evening swapping stories and contact details for the inevitable post-trip catch-up. 


Hotel (1 night) 

Day 15: Hanoi

The trip ends this morning. There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.

Optional Activities

  • Hanoi - Hanoi Street Food By Night Urban Adventure - USD31
  • Hanoi - Citadels, Karsts & Cycle Urban Adventure - USD88 

Price is per adult sharing and includes:

  • Meals: 1 breakfast, 2 lunches, 1 dinner
  • Transport: Boat, Private vehicle, Overnight sleeper train
  • Accommodation: Guesthouse (2 nights), hotel (9 nights), overnight sleeper train (3 nights)
  • Included activities:
    • Mekong Delta - Boat cruise and guesthouse
    • Hoi An - Old Town walking tour
    • Hoi An - Countryside bicycle tour
    • Hanoi - Old Quarter Walking Tour
    • Cat Ba Island - kayaking
    • Cat Ba Island - boat trip on Lan Ha Bay 

Please ask us about adding great value:

  • Fights- we'll find the best fares for your chosen travel date and departure airport
  • Travel insurance
Subject to availability. Terms & conditions apply.

For more information please call us on 021 427 7094 or 01 696 5135, email, request a call back using the red button or submit an enquiry through the form below.

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