Travel to Vietnam and journey from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City on one of the most fascinating train journeys on earth - aboard the Reunification Express. Out of service for most of the 20th century due to war, the re-establishment of the rail link in 1975 symbolised unity between the Vietnamese people. This trip through Vietnam is far more than just an ordinary rail journey. Chugging along, there's plenty of stops to explore: Vietnam's stately capital Hanoi, the natural wonder of Halong Bay, majestic Hue, charming Hoi An, the beaches and islands of Nha Trang and dynamic Ho Chi Minh City. Experience the scenic, historical, cultural and culinary highlights on this trip through Vietnam. 'All aboard' for a ride you'll never forget!
- Cruise a sea of limestone karsts, blue-green waters, mysterious caves and ancient jungle on a paradise-like Halong Bay boat trip
- Thereâs no view of Vietnam quite like from the back of a motorbike; take a Hue motorbike tour and boat trip down the Perfume River, followed by a unique lunch at a serene nunnery
- Travel like the locals and see Vietnam in a variety of different ways as you catch an exciting mix of transport, including motorbike, basket boat, dragon boat, junk boat, bus and train
- This trip involves a day learning about the local industries and coasting along the winding waterways of the Mekong Delta, the lifeblood and ârice bowlâ of South-East Asia
- With 15 days on this trip youâll spend more time in each location, giving you a great mixture of included activities and free time to explore
- Set sail on Halong Bay
- Ride the Reunification Express
|Physical||Cultural||Max Group Size||16||Duration||15 days|
|Themes||Explorer, Set Sail, The Great Outdoors, Explorer, Make a Difference, Once Upon a Time|
|Category||Silver||The classic small group tour, with some included activities and staying at reasonably priced accommodation.|
Day 1 - Hanoi
Notes: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). If you're expecting to be late, please inform the hotel reception or your booking agent in advance.
Day 2 - Hanoi
The afternoon will be free for you to maybe explore the ancient â36 streetsâ and discover an amazing selection of shops that sell everything from souvenirs to exquisite silk clothing, jewellery and beautifully embroidered tablecloths. Otherwise the Vietnam Fine Arts museum is also well worth a visit. Walking or riding a bike is the best way to explore this town. The shopping is fun and the many lakes and parks provide enjoyable escapes from the city.
In the evening, you'll sit down to a unique water-puppet performance.
Notes: If your trip starts on a Wednesday, your included breakfast hosted by the Blue Dragon Children's Foundation will be this morning, before commencing the day's activities.
Day 3 - Halong Bay
Halong Bay is listed as a World Heritage site and is one of Vietnamâs most spectacular natural wonders. The views of sailing junks navigating past thousands of limestone islands with rocky outcrops in Bac Bo Gulf are nothing short of spectacular. Youâll visit a cave in the area and, in the warmer months, you can enjoy a swim from Ti Top Island Beach. Spend a peaceful night on board, beneath a night sky alive with stars. There's also a dining room and bar where youâll enjoy a sumptuous lunch, dinner & breakfast. The boat has twin-share cabins with air-conditioning and private facilities.
Notes: 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.
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, weâre occasionally using a larger boat (with approximately 12 cabins) or splitting groups across different vessels. An Intrepid group leader will be present on each boat, and the route taken and inclusions on board will remain the same.
Day 4 - Hanoi
Tonight youâll board an overnight train bound for Hue (approximately 12 hours). Although conditions are basic, overnight trains are a rewarding experience. It's an efficient way to travel long distances and a great way to get a sense of the country.
Notes: There are shared hotel rooms available this afternoon if you would like to freshen up or organise your luggage.
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 5 - Hue
Day 6 - Hue
Notes: For those who prefer not to ride motorbikes, please ask your leader to request car transportation between destinations.
Boats along Perfume River may not be available during festival season. During these times, youâll be transported by land to reach the activities.
Day 7 - Hoi An
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 from the 17th to the 19th centuries. Today, parts of Hoi An look exactly as they did more than a century ago and it retains the feel of times past, making it the sort of place that grows on you the more you explore it. On arrival, a walking tour will take you around the major sites of Hoi Anâs charming Old Town, including an historic house (formerly home to a prominent trader), the Japanese Covered Bridge, a Chinese assembly hall and a museum. You will notice a distinctly Chinese appearance to the pagodas and assembly halls scattered along the small streets. A sightseeing pass is included in your tour for you to visit a selection of the major sights as you wish.
Day 8 - Hoi An
Day 9 - Hoi An
Day 10 - Nha Trang
Day 11 - Nha Trang
Day 12 - Nha Trang
Day 13 - Ho Chi Minh City
Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is characterised by a vast array of sights and sounds, a fascinating blend of old and new, East and West where daily life plays out on the streets. 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. Take a guided tour to get a feel for the city to going past the GPO, Reunification Palace, and the Opera house. Stop in at the War Remnants Museum.
With free time these evening perhaps drop by one of Vietnamâs most pulsing markets, Ben Thanh. This is the perfect place to pick up any last-minute snacks, cooking utensils, ingredients, or presents for friends and family before you return home. Perhaps enjoy some of the market fare for dinner as you shop.