Vietnam tailor made holiday, North to South

A tailor made tour of Vietnam from north to south, including overnights on sleeper trains and a junk boat tour of Halong bay.
Hanoi Mai Chau Valley sleeper train to Lao Cai Sapa Halong Bay night on board a junk boat in Halong Bay Hue Hoi An bike tour of countryside near Hoi An Chu Chi Tunnels Ho Chi Minh City
£2809 including UK flights
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17 Days
Tailor made
More info
Price including airport tax, private transfers, accommodation, tours and meals where indicated.
Prices vary according to standard of accommodation & season & are per person based on 2 people sharing on bed & breakfast basis
Make enquiry

Description of Vietnam tailor made holiday, North to South

A wonderful tour of Vietnam taking in the wonders of the north and south of the country. Explore the hill-tribe region of Sapa in the north with its cool climate and breathtaking sweeping vistas. Visit Hanoi and the countryside surrounding it. Spend a night on a luxury cruise boat in Halong Bay with its wonderful limestone karst formations and clear waters. Take a visit to the historic town of Hue with its Imperial Citadel and rich heritage before relaxing on the white sand beach at Hoi An. End with a quick stopover in the capital Ho Chi Minh City to check out the city and the Cu Chi Tunnels just outside it.

This tour is with your own English-speaking guide. The knowledgeable local guides will accompany you for the duration of your trip. This holiday can be tailor-made to your individual requirements by travel experts with intimate knowledge of the destination. We offer a complete tailor-made service allowing you to decide when you go, where to stay and what to do. We can arrange holidays with or without flights. The choice is yours.


Day 1:Depart the UK with Vietnam Airlines and fly non-stop overnight to Hanoi.
Day 2:On arrival, transfer to your hotel. Overnight Melia hotel Hanoi (or similar).
Day 3:This morning you will be collected for your half day city tour of Hanoi. You will visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the newly UNESCO registered Temple of Literature and the One Pillar Pagoda. Evening at leisure. Overnight Hanoi [B].
Day 4:Today you will be collected early for the scenic drive to Mai Chau Lodge. Here you can enjoy a buffalo cart ride or a trek to the nearby Thai villages. In the afternoon, take a gentle walk along the village road to the neighbouring village of Xo. Overnight Mai Chau Lodge [B/L/D].
Day 5:This morning you are free to maybe join in the 2hr cycling or walking trek through the Mai Chau Valley where you will likely meet the local hill tribes going about their daily routines. Return to Hanoi after lunch and the railway station for the overnight train to Lao Cai, the border town to Yunnan. Overnight onboard in tourist class sleeper cabin [B/L].
Day 6:Arrive into Lao Cai train station this morning and transfer up to Sapa and the Topas Ecolodge. Here you will have the rest of the day to explore the region at leisure or simply relax in the quiet surroundings of the lodge. Please speak to the Lodge guide for information on walking trips in the region. Overnight Topas Ecolodge [B/D].
Day 7:Today is at leisure again to explore the region - please discuss with the Topas Eco Lodge staff about different treks you can partake in for the day. Overnight Topas Ecolodge [B/D].
Day 8:Today is at leisure until your transfer back to Lao Cai train station for the overnight journey back to Hanoi. Overnight on board [B].
Day 9:Arrive back into Hanoi early morning. Transfer to Halong Bay for your overnight onboard your junk boat. Cruise around the Bay enjoying the opportunity to kayak, swim or just relax and watch the limestone karst formations go by.Enjoy swimming or kayaking if you wish. Overnight onboard with a special 5 course dinner [B/L/D].
Day 10:Tai Chi on the back deck is available for the early risers. Continue to cruise through Halong Bay, including a stop on a secluded beach. Transfer onwards back to Hanoi for the overnight train to Hue in a 4 berth shared tourist class sleeper cabin. Overnight onboard [B].
Day 11:Arrive into Hue in the morning. Transfer to the Pilgrimage Village, Hue. Rest of the day at leisure [B].
Day 12:This morning join a boat trip on the Perfume River to Thien Mu Pagoda, one of the oldest ancient architectural structures for religious worship in Hue. Drive via the Hai Van Pass to Hoi An and your relaxing beach break. Overnight Hoi An [B].
Day 13:This morning, enjoy a tour by bicycle (or walk) into the very heart of rural Hoi An for a special insight into the everyday life of a local village community. The short bicycle ride through the deepest countryside of the village will be one of the highlights of your time in Vietnam – this unique glimpse into the rural lives of the villagers is a sight that very few other visitors will see. Overnight Hoi An [B].
Day 14:Full day at leisure at the Palm Garden Resort & Spa [B].
Day 15:Today you will leave Hoi An and fly down to Ho Chi Minh City. Upon arrival transfer straight to the Cu Chi Tunnels complex for a fascinating tour of the underground complex. Afternoon at leisure. Overnight Ho Chi Minh City [B].
Day 16:Day at leisure for some last minute shopping or sightseeing before transferring to the airport later this evening [B].
Day 17:Flight back to the UK.

Price information

£2809 including UK flights
Convert currency:
Price including airport tax, private transfers, accommodation, tours and meals where indicated.
Prices vary according to standard of accommodation & season & are per person based on 2 people sharing on bed & breakfast basis
Make enquiry

Departure information

This trip can be tailormade throughout the year and can be adapted to suit your interests, budget and requirements

Travel guides

A patchwork of straw-hatted rice farmers, terraced rice paddies, enchanting bays, glitzy cities, unexplored rainforest and stilt-house villages, our V...

Holiday information

Tailor made tour:
We offer a complete tailor made service allowing you to decide when you go, where to stay and what to do, to create a unique holiday for your individual requirements by our travel experts. We would be happy to telephone you to discuss your requirements and options. Our staff have intimate knowledge of this destination, so do please include your telephone number when you complete the enquiry form.
Our partners behind this holiday promote inclusivity on all their trips and across their business and we are all committed to ensuring travellers face no discrimination on any part of the trip they control.
Dietary requirements:
We can cater for vegetarian and vegan diets.


2 Reviews of Vietnam tailor made holiday, North to South

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 04 Jan 2014 by

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

Experiencing the culture and customs of the Vietnamese people. We both thoroughly enjoyed the cooking class as this gave us the opportunity to walk around a farm, market and cook Vietnamese food under the expert eye of a local chef who explained the rationale behind food etc.

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

You don't need to take many clothes as laundry services are cheap and easily accessible, making luggage lighter. There is good wifi available ensuring you keep in touch.good pair of walking shoes, a lightweight rain coat would be helpful in the north. If travelling north and south, think about the types of clothes needed for the different weather conditions.

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

We feel that using local guides ensured that local people benefitted from our visit.
Unfortunately, we did not realise that an elephant ride was involved (yes, we know that we should have read the itinerary more thoroughly and we did after the second day) as we felt uncomfortable with the metal cage that was used to carry us.

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

8 out of 10. The government run hotel at Buon Ma Thuot, Cao Nguyen Hotel was poorly kept, unclean when there were other options available in the town. The first train trip from Hue to Hanoi we were unprepared for the unclean sheets, although it was identified as an 'experience.' We learnt from this and bought sleeping bag liners for the next journeys although the trains from / to Hanoi / Sapa were much better (clean etc).

Following our visit to the war museum we were taken to shops that had items made by those affected by agent orange etc, and were felt pressured into buying items.

Although the above comments are negative our overall experience was amazing! We loved the people and the variety of Vietnamese countryside. We feel that this trip was a quick tour of the country and would love to return to visit areas we
did not have time to visit (e.g. the national parks) and revisit areas for longer (e.g. a home stay and trek in Sapa).

Read the operator's response here:

We are always deeply saddened and disappointed to hear of any situation where an animal maybe in discomfort or distress for the sake of tourism or exploitation. We no longer offer this tour in our programme for the North to South Itinerary in Vietnam and all of our itineraries are being reviewed or changed in the case of where animals are being used for the entertainment or transportation of clients.

Reviewed on 04 Feb 2013 by

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

Trip to Halong bay

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

When arriving collect your Visa BEFORE going to the passport control.

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

I think it benefited local people as it brought employment and foreign currency to the country.

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

Exceptional in some places, hotels in the city could be better.

Responsible Travel

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we've screened this (and every) holiday so that you can travel knowing it will help support the places and people that you visit, and the planet. Read how below.

Planet and people

On this tour you will stay in a range of accommodation, including the Mai Chau Lodge, just outside Hanoi, who are committed to sustainable tourism and can boast staff made up of 100% local villagers. The Lodge is involved in training and education of the staff in both hospitality and various trades, providing them with transferrable skills. They also support charity and building projects in the nearby villages of Xo, Van and Panh. The Lodge purchases local products wherever possible and understands the need for sustainability of the region’s resources. To this end, they also engage in a programme of planting native trees in and around Mai Chau.

The Lodge employs local people as trades-people and hospitality staff. Due to the remote location of the Lodge, the management decided to employ locals with a specific trade, ie carpentry, farming etc as full time staff and also train them up as front of house staff and guides. This means that not only have the staff learnt an extra skill in the hospitality industry which they can take into other jobs but the Lodge has full time craftsmen on hand in case anything goes wrong, avoiding the need for them to travel from Sapa.

Any food the Lodge does not grow themselves in their small on-site garden, they source from the local region (this goes for other essentials too), thereby reducing the need for the transportation of goods over great distances and keeps the money in the local economy, which is very important to the poorer hill tribes. Topas Ecolodge works very closely with the local Red Dzao tribe women, and they are currently setting up a small retail unit from which they can sell their handcrafted artefacts safely.

Topas Ecolodge complies with GreenGlobe 21, an environmental certification program, which has legislation requiring environmental and social policy to be reviewed every year. On this itinerary we have deliberately left your time in Sapa ‘at leisure’ to allow you to utilise and pay the local Topas Ecolodge guides directly. Transport to and from Sapa and from Hanoi to Hue is by local train. This not only offers a more authentic Vietnamese experience but also avoids the need for extra road or flight transportation and thus pollution.

The Pilgrimage Village just outside Hue is a small, boutique hotel which, while offering guests a luxurious stay, also offers the chance to get involved in the skills of the local Vietnamese craftsmen and women. The hotel has a dedicated ‘handicraft house’ where guests can create a unique piece for themselves and also buy those made by the on-site artisans, thereby benefitting the locals financially and providing you with a fascinating insight into the artistic traditions of the country and an often unique piece of art.

Our Vietnamese ground agents only employ local guides and drivers to accompany our clients thus keeping the money in the community. As a company they have also committed to moving forward with green initiatives with regards their office administration. This includes little things like going paperless throughout (including the use of e-books and the launch of a staff intranet containing all relevant information to avoid the need for reference guides), using text messages to send instructions to guides to avoid them having to come into the office and the cancelling of brochure production.

Our ground agent also supports 2 charities, Right to Play and the local Vietnamese charity KOTO. KOTO is a not-for-profit restaurant and vocational training program based in Hanoi that is changing the lives of street and disadvantaged youth in Vietnam. KOTO has grown from a small sandwich shop in Hanoi to a 120-seat restaurant and internationally accredited hospitality program that gives young people the start in life that everyone deserves. KOTO graduates complete the program as confident and capable young adults who are able to take control of their own lives. They are highly valued by the hospitality industry in Vietnam and many now work in top hotels and restaurants in Hanoi. Our ground agent supports the charity by providing services and financial support.

They also support the international charity Right to Play, established in the early 1990’s which helps give children a chance to become constructive participants in society, regardless of gender, disability, ethnicity, social background or religion. Through games and sports, they help create social change in communities affected by war, poverty and disease.

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