Reunification Express holiday, Vietnam

“No ordinary holiday - this is a chance to travel from the north to the south of Vietnam along one of the world's most famous train routes - the iconic Reunification Express.”

Highlights

Hanoi | Halong Bay | Water Puppet Theatre | Overnight river cruise | Motorbike tour of Hue | Hoi An | Hoi An Old Quarter | Nha Trang | Ho Chi Minh City

Description of Reunification Express holiday, Vietnam

This two week Reunification Express holiday is the most wonderful way to travel from north to south of Vietnam and a great way to travel here for the first time. The Reunification Express is an iconic train journey nowadays, out of service for many of the war years, the restoration of this line from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City in 1975 was also part of the reunification of the Vietnamese people after years of war.

The train journey is a hop on, hop off experience and so we actually spend most of our nights in small, locally owned hotels, with two nights on the sleeper train, and one night on a boat. Our holiday starts in Hanoi, the fascinating 100 year old capital city, where we have plenty of time to soak in the atmosphere. From here we head out to Halong Bay, which is where our night on a boat takes place, giving us plenty of time to enjoy the iconic sights of this marine karst landscape, with giant boulder islands emerging from the waters and sun setting over floating villages.

Back on land, we start our rail journey heading south on an overnight sleeper train to Hue, the old capital of the Nguyen Dynasty and where we have two days to explore in detail, some of it from the back of a motorbike. From Hue to Hoi An, by bus this time, where we have a few days to enjoy this town that feels like a leap into the past. Where streets are lit by lanterns, crumbling colonial architecture is still evident, tailors and artisans sell their wares and the car free streets are ever bustling.

We then take another train to the coastal town of Nha Trang, which is more about enjoying sandy beaches, snorkelling around coral reefs and enjoying superb food at waterside restaurants and bars. One more overnight sleeper train journey to Ho Chi Minh City brings this trip to a close, taking plenty of time to enjoy this historic city, formerly known as Saigon, and where can spend hours on end immersed in the likes of Ben Thanh Market, Chinatown, visiting its Taoist temples, the Reunification Palace and the very moving War Remnants Museum. While here, we also take a trip out of town to visit the extraordinary landscapes of the Mekong Delta, where the water dwelling culture is very much in contrast to urban Vietnam, which you can see on a boat trip through the paddy fields and floating markets.

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09 Jan 2021
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Our top tip:
Keep your luggage light and pack your sense of adventure.
Trip type:
Small group, 1-16 adults (min. age 15).
Activity level:
Leisurely.
Accomm:
11 nights hotel, 1 night boat cruise, 2 nights sleeper train.
Solos:
Welcome. Single rooms available (hotels only) with a surcharge.
Meals:
12 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 1 dinner.
Included:
Accommodation, transport, listed activities, tour leader.
Vouchers
Accepted
Holiday type

Small group adventure

What is a small group adventure?
It's a great way to travel! Whether you are travelling on your own, with a partner or with friends, a small group trip is a fantastic way to see the world. You'll travel on a fixed itinerary that has been designed to help you discover the best of region. From the known highlights, the hidden gems that you won't find in the guidebooks.

Itineraries run on set departure dates, accompanied every step of the way by an English speaking local group leader. You chose the itinerary and the date that suits you best and you book on.

Why travel on a small group adventure?
Small groups allow us to explore where larger tour groups can't. Our maximum group size of 16 travellers allows us to use local transport to get from A to B, to visit rural villages, spend time with the locals and even stay at a local home overnight, and it allows us to give our travellers genuine, real life experiences of the countries we are visiting; what you'll be doing and how you'll travel depends entirely on your chosen itinerary.

Is an adventure right for me?
The word adventure means something different to everyone, and our range of trips reflects that. Whether you want to explore local markets, visit out of the way temples and meet local people or go on an early morning safari drive searching for the 'big five', we'll have a trip for you. If you are looking for a physical challenge such trekking the Kokoda Track or summiting Kilimanjaro, we can help with that too.

So what can I expect on this trip?
This is a classic style of small group adventure. You'll find your trip combines a good mix of included activities and free time, with some meals included as per your itinerary. We don't want you to feel chaperoned, it's your holiday not ours. Your group leader will be on hand to assist with organising anything you might wish to do in your free time, but how you spend it is up to you. Anything listed as included in your itinerary will be included in trip price; whereas anything listed as optional will be at an additional cost should you wish to take part.

These trips are great value, including things that you would struggle to organise independently, such as a night at a homestay in a remote village, or local guides around a remote place of interest. Transport will be a combination of private vehicle and public transport, whichever is the most appropriate for the route we are travelling; this might include train, plane, camel, tuk tuk, bicycle, boat…

On a majority of these trips you'll stay in 2-3 star accommodation, locally owned and reflective of the region you are travelling through. All solo travellers will be automatically roomed on a twin share basis with another group member of the same sex, unless you opt to pay for your own room at time of booking. There are no compulsory single supplements for solo travellers willing to share. Single rooms aren't available on camping trips, and you will be expected to help out with camp tasks such as setting up and breaking down your camp.

Can I book my flights with you?
Yes! We are a fully ATOL bonded tour operator meaning that we can book flights from the UK as part of your holiday package. Just ask us for a quote including flights when you make your enquiry.
“'Cheers', in Vietnamese is mot hai ba dzo... I tell my groups they need to practise their Vietnamese every day!”

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Environment
This trip introduces travellers to the wonderful country of Vietnam. Our adventure begins aboard the Reunification Express, which allows you to marvel at the breathtaking scenery as well as to befriend local travelers. On this trip there are also plenty of opportunities to interact with the locals and learn about their way of life, for example we visit the Dong Trieu Factory to watch locals working on the traditional art of ceramics, we also visit some local houses to experience the everyday life of Mekong locals.

We always stay and eat in small-scale locally-owned establishments and every year we audit the places we use to make sure it complies with our Responsible Travel Code of Conduct to ensure minimum environmental impacts. We always use energy saver keys in hotels, for example.

We supports a number of charity projects in Vietnam including the Cuc Phuong National Park Conservation centres, which is dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, breeding, research and conservation of the endangered primates of Vietnam, and the Saigon Children's Charity, who’s mission is to provide the poorest children with the education and training that will give them a fair chance in life.
Community

The Impacts of this Trip

This trip introduces travellers to the wonderful country of Vietnam. Our adventure begins aboard the Reunification Express, which allows you to marvel at the breathtaking scenery as well as to befriend local travelers. On this trip there are also plenty of opportunities to interact with the locals and learn about their way of life, for example we visit the Dong Trieu Factory to watch locals working on the traditional art of ceramics, we also visit some local houses to experience the everyday life of Mekong locals.

As a company, our responsibilities don’t stop when our tours end. We run and support a variety of projects globally, from healthcare, education, human rights, child welfare, sustainable development and environmental and wildlife protection. Our own in house foundation has been in operation for over 11 years; a not-for-profit fund that has distributed over AU$3 million to more than 70 non-government organisations since 2002. Donations come from our travellers and are then matched by us dollar for dollar.

Climate

3 Reviews of Reunification Express holiday, Vietnam

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 01 Nov 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


There were so many! Exploring the Mekong Delta, taking time out in Hoi An and Ha Long Bay stick in the mind.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


The overnight train - you sleep in your clothes so no need to worry about nightwear! Also train facilities are good. You can manage a larger case than the tour company suggest - we took overnighters because they said pack light and struggled for space.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes it did, we met so many local people and we did the best we could by reducing the amount of plastic water bottles used.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent, came home feeling I know so much more about Vietnam, would feel comfortable travelling there again.

Reviewed on 28 Apr 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Watching the crazy traffic on the streets or roads.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Buy the best insurance because there is life threatening cross the street

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


For sure

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?



Reviewed on 26 Mar 2011 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Motorbike tour in Hue, overnight boat trip on Halong Bay.

2. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?
Yes. We stayed in lovely owned hotels, ate in family owned restaurants and visited several charities.

3. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
Excellent. Really enjoyable, a great experience.

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