Vietnam tailor made adventure holiday
Description of Vietnam tailor made adventure holiday
Get off the beaten track and explore remote areas of fascinating Vietnam on this 17-day private holiday. Starting with an exploration of the bustling streets of Hanoi, journey to picturesque Halong Bay to enjoy time to relax in the bay with kayaking or swimming and a sumptuous dinner under the stars onboard a fabulous junk boat.
Board a fun and comfortable overnight train to Lao Cai and drive to the northern hilltribe town of Sapa to enjoy the lush mountain scenery, take a boat ride on the Chay River and enjoy trekking and village visits. Watch the locals at work at the morning market - especially keep an eye out for the colourful Flower H'mong people.
Return and fly south to Ho Chi Minh City for a rather marked change of pace! Drive to Nam Cat Tien National Park to enjoy discovering the flora and fauna and to search for the resident wildlife on both daytime and night time walks. Return to Ho Chi Minh City and visit the well known Cu Chi Tunnel complex and explore the city sights: Notre Dame Cathedral, the historic Post Office and the Opera House.
Finally head even further south to the remote and quiet island of Phu Quoc for a spot of relaxation - the island is often overlooked by many visitors to the country resulting in a relatively relaxed pace of island life, the perfect end to a varied and adventurous Vietnam holiday.
|Day 1||Depart on an overnight flight to Hanoi.|
|Day 2||Land Hanoi and transfer to your hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure to explore.|
|Day 3||Enjoy a city tour of Hanoi taking in the key sights including the One Pillar Pagoda and Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum. Enjoy a traditional Vietnamese coffee with your guide on the banks of the Hoan Kiem Lake while watching the city pass by. (B,L)|
|Day 4||Drive to Halong Bay and board a small junk boat for a night in stunning Halong Bay. Enjoy time to kayak or swim and explore the limestone caves. Return to the boat and indulge in a sumptuous dinner and a sunset cocktail. (B,L,D)|
|Day 5||Explore a local fishing village to learn about life in the bay. After brunch return to the city and enjoy a spot of free time before boarding the overnight train to Lao Cai in Sapa. (B,L)|
|Day 6||Arrive into Lao Cai station and drive north to Sapa town. Enjoy breakfast in town followed by a trek through remote mountain scenery to the hill tribe villages of Cat Cat, a Vun and Cau May. Transfer to the hilltop Topas Eco Lodge for the night. (B,L)|
|Day 7||Explore a morning market today, there are a variety of markets held on different days of the week so which one you visit will depend on when you arrive. The colourful Flower H'mong people can often be found at many of the markets selling their wares. This afternoon enjoy a boat trip on the Chay River to watch the stunning mountain scenery glide by. (B,L)|
|Day 8||Spend today exploring at your own pace. In the evening return to Lao Cai and board the overnight train back to Hanoi. (B)|
|Day 9||Arrive into Hanoi and drive to the airport for the short flight south to bustling Ho Chi Minh City. Enjoy the day at leisure to rest or explore. (-)|
|Day 10||Drive to Nam Cat Tien National Park and check in to the Forest Floor Lodge in time for lunch. This afternoon enjoy a walk through the park to see the flora and fauna before a fun night drive to search for nocturnal wildlife. (B,L,D)|
|Day 11||Take a speedboat to Tien Island this morning and visit the rehabilitation centre located here. Learn a little about the important work that is being done at the centre. After lunch, enjoy a forest hike to Crocodile Lake, board a boat and head out onto the water to search for crocodiles. (B,L,D)|
|Day 12||After breakfast enjoy a short hike before returning to Ho Chi Minh City. Enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure. (B)|
|Day 13||Drive out to the Cu Chi Tunnels today to discover how the Vietcong lived in the tunnels for extended periods during the fighting. From here, return to the city and enjoy a city tour taking in the main sights. (B,L)|
|Day 14||Transfer to the airport and fly to Phu Quoc and transfer to your beachside resort. Enjoy time to relax on the white-sand beach. (B)|
|Days 15-16||Days at leisure to relax or explore the island. (B)|
|Day 17||Return to the airport and fly to Ho Chi Minh City to connect with your international flight back to the UK. (B)|
PlanetOur local agents in Vietnam try their utmost to try and reduce their impact on the environment. They ensure all vehicles are maintained for utmost fuel efficiency and guides are required to turn off vehicles when idling to minimise unnecessary emissions. They create travel itineraries that allow the most energy efficient routes. Where possible, eco-friendly modes of transport (walking tours, cycling, trains, etc) are opted for. They work with their preferred restaurants to offer locally grown and sustainable food items and choose restaurants that support the ban on serving endangered species, for example, shark fin soup.
Our local agents administration offices aim to minimise energy use by setting air-conditioning times and minimum temperatures, turning off lights, computer screens, UPS and printers when not in use. They also aim to reduce the amount of paper used in their offices by doing double sided printing, recycling and streamlining of operation procedures.
Our agents work with their preferred hotel partners to encourage guests to be mindful of the environment by choosing to re-use towels and linen, turn off air-conditioning/lights when not in the room. Also to eliminate unnecessary plastic waste by providing re-fillable purified water containers instead of individual plastic bottles.
The guest bungalows at Topas Eco Lodge are built responsibly: the granite stones were rough cut on site by local masons and all wood used is fully certified. The restaurant and lounge buildings are actually old Tay houses which were purchased from the relevant villages, taken down and re-located to the lodge with all staff involved in the procedure employed from the vicinity. This not only provides income to the villages and local people but also allows guests to experience a genuine Vietnamese home. It also avoided the need to cut down any further trees from the surrounding countryside and in fact the lodge management planted many trees in the surrounding area.
All bungalows are supplied with locally sourced spring water which is cleaned by a traditional method. Waste water is filtered and cleaned and all kitchen and other waste is recycled wherever possible: kitchen waste feeds the animals, plastic bottles and cans are donated to villagers who make use of them around the home. All fresh food is purchased locally for freshness and to provide an extra income. The lodge avoids providing unnecessary electrical appliances such as TVís to avoid an overuse of electricity which is taken from the local Lao Cai substation and can struggle to cope with demand at busy times of year.
PeopleOur local agents are Vietnam owned, managed and run, have been operating in Vietnam for 20 years and have an excellent reputation. Fair salaries are paid to all employees and regular training is provided to support future career development. Only local guides who are aware of local customs and cultures are employed which not only keeps the funds paid to staff within the local community but also helps avoid any potential cultural clashes between visitors and locals. Guides are required to turn off vehicles when idling to minimise unnecessary emissions and where possible, eco-friendly modes of transport are opted for.
This holiday stays in the Topas Eco Lodge just outside the hill-tribe village of Sapa. The lodge is designed with responsible principles and practices in mind. The lodge is 85% staffed by people from the local villages including the Tay, Red Dao and Black Hmong communities. Very few of these people are trained in the hospitality industry or speak much English so the lodge management provide training in both aspects.
Laundry is done by a local family in Sapa which provides them with a necessary income and all guests are encouraged to re-use towels and bedding.