East Vietnam budget holiday
Description of East Vietnam budget holiday
This incredibly good value, small group tour takes you along virtually the length of Vietnam’s 3,000km coastline. Beginning in the captivating chaos of Ho Chi Minh City, you’ll make your way north by boat, bicycle, train and minibus, spending nights in homestays, sleeper trains, boats and small hotels along the way. This not only keeps costs down – but makes for a far more authentic Vietnamese experience – with plenty of opportunities for meeting local people, sampling street food and getting up close to the landscapes and markets.
Departing from chaotic Ho Chi Minh City, you’ll arrive at the mythical Mekong Delta for a cruise and homestay. Halfway up the coast is the UNESCO World Heritage site of Hoi An, a very pretty town which seems to have changed little over the centuries – you’ll want to keep space in your suitcase for handmade lanterns, ceramics and bespoke, tailored clothing. Continue your journey northwards past pagodas and dramatic high passes, with plenty of free time along the way for you to take a Vietnamese cooking class, dragon boat cruises – or just relax on the idyllic tropical beaches. This East Vietnam budget holiday ends in the scenic landscapes of Halong Bay, a natural harbour containing some 2,000 limestone islands. An overnight cruise here is perfect for unwinding after this full on tour, as you sail out to caves and remote beaches, before the emerald waves rock you gently to sleep.
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1 Reviews of East Vietnam budget holiday
Reviewed on 30 Jun 2019 by Jodie Cotterill
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
The most memorable parts of my holiday were firstly swimming and kayaking in Halong Bay. It was unreal and something I would not have done if it wasn't for this tour. The second most memorable part was the motorbike tour in Hue - also
something I would not have chosen to do if I wasn't in a group situation. It
was incredible and so much fun.I would also say that Quang our tour guide for the trip was a memorable part - he was super helpful and nothing was too much trouble for him.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
The one tip I would give to any travelers wanting to do this trip is to budget for all the optional activities offered to you. There wasn't as much free time as I expected due to us being a group of 16 - most of the time the optional activities were discussed and booked for us because of this i.e. discounts for large groups.
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
This one is a hard one to answer. I feel that the intentions were there by having water to refill your water bottle on the bus. However this stopped once we got Hoi An because we no longer had the bus. We ended up buying lots and lots of bottled water in Hoi An until the end of our trip in Ho Chi Min City. I do feel this tour benefited local people as we traveled around and gave tourism to local villages.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
Out of 10 I would say 10 without hesitation. It exceeded my expectations and I experienced so many things that I never thought I would do. It was an incredible trip and I'm already looking at booking my next one.
PlanetAs a global operator, we take our role in the tourism industry very seriously. We recognise the impact that tourism has on local communities and the environment, and we plan and operate all our tours with this front of our minds. We believe that every tour operator must be responsible in the way they conduct their business, to ensure the welfare of all people and the conservation of the environment.
This comprehensive trip from southern to northern Vietnam has been designed to pass through the country as considerately as possible, while maximising the experience of our group. We use local transport where ever possible, from overnight sleeper trains to locally owned river boats on the Mekong Delta, public buses to ferries. Throughout, we stay in small, locally owned hotels reflective of the local flavour, while a night at a homestay in the Mekong Delta is basic but not to be missed. Our visits and other like them are a vital source of income for our hosts.
Across Vietnam, our foundation actively supports five different projects and causes. These include Cuc Phuong National Park’s Turtle Conservation Centre) which specialises in breeding and protecting the country’s 23 native turtle species, including training protection officers, and The Nguyen Nga Centre, offering education, training and work placement opportunities to disadvantaged people and people with disabilities.
PeopleWe are committed to operating in a responsible manner, incorporating the principles of sustainable development in the way we provide our travellers with real life experiences. We believe that responsible travel is about the attitude you take with you and the choices you make when travelling - to respect and benefit local people, their cultures, economy and the environment. For example on trips like this one through Vietnam where dress standards are conservative, particularly outside of the major cities, we recommend our travellers (both female and male) wear loose, lightweight clothing so as not to offend, particularly when visiting religious sites.
All produce used throughout the trip is sourced locally en route. We eat at local restaurants, sample street food from local vendors and encourage our travellers to only purchase souvenirs from local artisans. We visit some fantastic traditional markets on this itinerary so the opportunities to support local craftsmen are plentiful. We even recruit our on the ground team (including the group leader) from the local communities that we travel through. All these elements combine to not only give a fantastic insight into the country and a snap shot of day to day life, but also put valuable financial resources back into local economies, creating jobs and supporting local businesses.
One of the many local initiatives we support across our product range can often be visited on this trip. The KOTO Saigon Training Centre is an organisation providing training in hospitality to former street children. Many groups passing through Hanoi get the opportunity to visit the new KOTO restaurant, staffed by those the project has worked with. The food is great too!
As a company our responsibilities don’t stop when our tours end. Our own in house foundation has been in operation for over 10 years; a not-for-profit fund that has distributed over AU$3 million to more than 70 non-government organisations since 2002, from health care, education, human rights, child welfare, sustainable development and in environmental and wildlife protection. Donations come from our travellers and are then matched by us dollar for dollar.