Vietnam Experience

An epic adventure through Vietnam’s best bits

14-21 days

from £769

Trip Highlights

  • Catch a water puppet show and enjoy the nightlife in Hanoi
  • Trek through the rural villages and incredible rice terraces of Sapa
  • Cruise the famous emerald waters of Halong Bay
  • Discover Ninh Binh – one of the most picturesque areas of northern Vietnam
  • Bike through the beautifully quaint and quirky streets of Hoi An
  • Extend your trip to include a beach stop in Nha Trang and visit the legendary Cu Chi Tunnels in Ho Chi Minh

Trip Summary

Vietnam is a fantastically diverse country packed full of colourful culture, history, and charm. From its loud and jumbled cities to its serene and peaceful countryside, there’s a little slice of Vietnam for everyone to fall in love with. On this trip you’ll get to discover the best of Hanoi’s vibrant city streets, trek through Sapa’s mesmerising rice terraces, stay with the H’mong people of Lao Chai, cruise through iconic Halong Bay, explore beautiful Ninh Binh, visit Vietnam’s tallest religious structure in Hue, and take an enchanting bike ride through the streets of Hoi An.

If that doesn’t satisfy your wanderlust, how about an additional week to laze on the sandy shores of Nha Trang and a chance to discover the story behind the Cu Chi Tunnels and the crazy streets of Ho Chi Minh City? All in, this is an epic adventure you won’t forget in a hurry.

Interested and want to find out more? Download more trip information and detailed itinerary HERE!

Trip Info

Day 1: Arrival

Welcome to Vietnam! Today you’ll be met at Hanoi Airport by one of our friendly team, who will take you to your accommodation in the city centre. Depending on your arrival time, you’ll get a chance to relax and freshen up after your flight before meeting up with your tour guide and the rest of the group for a welcome get together over a few drinks. 

Day 2: Hanoi

We’ll kick today off with an orientation so that you can get your bearings and find out all about the activities we have planned. Then we’ll head into town for a walking tour and visit the scenic Hoan Kiem Lake, the Temple of Literature, and the Ho Chi Minh Complex. In the evening we’ll watch a traditional water puppet show before enjoying a delicious meal in the city’s old quarter, then it’s off to Beer Street for a few drinks.

Day 3: Head to Sapa

A bright and early start today, we’ll be hopping on a bus to Sapa – home to the famous terraced rice fields of the Muong Hoa Valley. When we arrive we’ll head out on a trek through the rural villages to meet the locals and learn more about traditional Vietnamese life.   

Day 4: Lao Chai village

After breakfast we’ll be making our way over to the beautiful rural village of Lao Chai to get a taste for local life and the customs of the H’mong people. A great off the beaten track experience away from overly touristy areas, we’ll be staying with local families in the community to feel fully immersed in village life. Get to know your hosts for the evening and enjoy some traditional food before watching the sun go down.

Day 5: Explore Sapa

Heading back to Sapa this morning, you can look forward to exploring the rich landscape of this mountain town in more detail. Climb the mighty Ham Rong for breathtaking views of the villages and valleys beneath it, visit the picturesque Holy Rosary Church, otherwise known simply as Stone Chruch, or chill out in Quang Trong Square. We’ll then check out of our accommodation, grab a bite to eat, and make our way back to Hanoi.

Day 6: Transfer to Halong Bay

It’s another early start this morning as we make the journey to Vietnam’s extraordinary Halong Bay. On our arrival we’ll set off on a cruise through the iconic emerald waters dotted with imposing limestone islets, and you’ll even get the chance to kayak if you don’t mind getting wet! In the evening we’ll sit down for a group meal while watching the sunset, and might even take part in a bit of karaoke if we’re feeling brave!

Day 7: Kayaking and swimming

This morning will be all about water activities, and you’ll have the opportunity to kayak and swim around the beautiful bay before we head back to the mainland. In the afternoon we’ll be making our way to Ninh Binh to check in to our accommodation and check out our surroundings. In the evening get together with the rest of the group and see what everyone wants to do – why not go and sample the local cuisine followed by a few drinks?

Day 8: Ninh Binh

You’ll be able to get out and really explore Ninh Binh today, so grab the opportunity and hop on a bike for a proper look at the town and surrounding countryside. We’ll make time for a cruise along the Tam Coc river – notably one of the most picturesque spots in northern Vietnam, and take in the truly enchanting views. In the evening we’ll board the night bus to Hue.

Day 9: Hue

Arriving in Hue this morning, we’ll get checked in to our accommodation to freshen up and have some food. Afterwards we’ll jump on a boat for a scenic tour down the Song Huong River, better known as the Perfume River now, thanks to the film Full Metal Jacket. Afterwards we’ll visit Thien Mu Pagoda – Vietnam’s tallest religious building at seven storeys high. We’ll round the day off with a walking tour of the city and spend the evening enjoying Hue’s vibrant nightlife.

Day 10: Explore Hue

Today your time is your own, so plan your day around the things you’d like to see most in the town. You could visit the Minh Mang Tomb set deep in Hue’s bright green forest, visit the walled Imperial City, or go and check out the pretty setting around the Thanh Toan Bridge. Later, head to the night market to practice your haggling skills.

Day 11: Head to Hoi An

Making our way to historic Hoi An today, we’ll travel down the famous Hai Van Pass – a scenic winding route framed by a fortress of mountains. If the weather’s good we’ll stop at a secluded waterfall or the Da Nang Marble Mountains on the way.

Day 12: Biking and boating

Today we’ll head out on a bike tour through the streets of Hoi An. A mish-mash of French colonial architecture, wooden Chinese shop fronts, temples, and canals, this colourful town is both quaint and charming. In the afternoon we’ll board a traditional basket boat to try out crab fishing before having a bite to eat and spending a chilled out evening at the hostel.

Day 13: Free day in Hoi An

It’s a free day today, so make the most of being in a great location to explore. The old quarter is packed full of pretty yellow buildings and interesting shops, with lots of tailors, jewellers, and really good patisseries. Book yourself on to a hilarious cooking lesson at Red Bridge Restaurant, or if the sun’s out take a trip down to An Bang Beach for ultimate relaxation on the sands.  

Day 14: Farewell or travel on

For those leaving the tour today, you’ll need to make your way to your departure airport – your tour guide will be able to help you organise travel.

If you’re staying on, you’ll have a free afternoon to continue your exploration of Hoi An, or just kick back and relax if you prefer. We’ll catch the night bus to Nha Trang this evening.

Day 15: Nha Trang

We’ll arrive in Nha Trang in the morning and check in to our accommodation before getting out and about to have a look around. Known for its sweeping sandy beaches, you might want to grab a sun lounger and relax for the day, or you could join in with the group’s optional activities and experience a traditional Vietnamese mud bath or go on a trip to the local water park. In the evening head into town for a few drinks with everyone.

Day 16: Boats and beaches

We’ve got a brilliant boat excursion lined up for you today! Once we’ve set sail you’ll have the opportunity to sunbathe on deck or jump overboard and swim or snorkel through the turquoise waters. It’s a great way to view Vietnam’s coastline and top up your tan at the same time!

Day 17: Head to Da Lat

Today we’ll be making the journey to Da Lat – the idyllic jungle region known as the ‘City of Eternal Spring’ for its consistent temperate climate. We’ll check in to our accommodation on arrival and take the rest of the day easy in preparation for more adventures tomorrow.

Day 18: Tropical trekking

Sensible footwear at the ready – we’re heading into the thick vegetation of Da Lat’s forests today on a trek up to Lang Biang Mountain. We’ll be rewarded with stunning views across the region as we climb, so make sure you have your camera with you.  

Day 19: Ho Chi Minh City

Making the journey to hectic Ho Chi Minh today, we’ll arrive at our city accommodation in the afternoon, freshen up, and then head out to explore the bustling backpacker hub. Ho Chi Minh is a crazy clutter of colourful market stalls, precarious overhead wiring, and scooters (so many scooters!), but it’s a fun place to explore and try new things, so venture out with the group and try out some delicious street food, grapple with the crowds and find some bargains on a shopping trip, or visit one of the many absorbing museums.

Day 20: The Cu Chi Tunnels                           

We’re visiting the legendary Cu Chi Tunnels today for an incredible insight into the ingenious tactics of Asian warfare. This huge underground network of tunnels was used by Viet Cong soldiers – Vietnam’s famous army of guerrilla warriors during the war, and you’ll get a taste for the conditions in which these fearless people (women and children as well as men) fought. Afterwards you’ll have some free time – go and check out Ben Thanh Market, or head to Pub Street for a meal and a few drinks.

Day 21: Departure

Time to say our final farewells as everyone prepares to head home today. Get your tour guide to help you book your transport to the airport, swap contact details, and start dreaming of your next adventure.

Accommodation & Meals

You’ll be staying in a few different types of accommodation during your trip, which will consist mainly of simple but comfortable guesthouses and hostels. You’ll be sharing a room with members of the same sex from your group on a twin or triple share basis, with the exception of your accommodation in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, where you’ll be staying in dorms. If you are travelling with a friend or partner, let us know when you book so we can make arrangements for you to stay in the same room.

17 breakfasts, 5 lunches, and 4 dinners are included in the price of your trip. Meals outside of those included on the itinerary are yours to choose from the variety of cafes, restaurants, diners, and street vendors available. Vietnamese food is delicious, so take the opportunity to try out as many dishes as you can.

Eligibility & FAQ's

The minimum age for this trip is 18.

You will need a visa to enter Vietnam, which you should obtain before travelling. Most UK citizens will qualify for an e-visa, which can be applied for online. You must have at least six months’ validity remaining on your passport from the date you plan to return home. 

Please note Vietnamese visa rules are subject to change without prior notice, so please do check visa requirements at the time of your trip.

Is There A Laundry Service At The Accommodation?

Some hostels and guesthouses will offer laundry facilities for a small fee, but check with your guide to find out which offer the best and most cost effective services as some charge per item, rather than kilo, which is an expensive way to clean your clothes. It’s worth bringing travel wash or biodegradable soap with you so you can do your own washing if necessary.

How Much Spending Money Should I Bring With Me?

Vietnam is relatively low-cost as far as food and drink is concerned, so a rough budget of around 3500000VND-4500000VND/£120-£150 per week should be plenty to keep you fed and watered, but you’ll more than likely want to try out a few optional activities and have some extra cash for souvenirs, so make sure you budget for this.

Do I Need To Bring A Sleeping Bag With Me?

No need to pack a sleeping bag, all bedding will be provided at your accommodation.

Whats Included

  • Airport transfer on arrival
  • All accommodation
  • 17 breakfasts, 5 lunches, and 4 dinners
  • Transport between destinations
  • Transport between included activities
  • Hanoi city orientation
  • Hanoi walking tour
  • Hanoi water puppet show
  • Trek to Cat Cat village
  • Ha Long Bay cruise
  • Ninh Binh bike tour
  • Perfume River cruise
  • Pagoda visit
  • Waterfall visit/Marble Mountains visit
  • 24/7 emergency support

Extension inclusions:

  • Nha Trang beach time
  • Nha Trang boat trip
  • Trekking in Da Lat
  • Cu Chi Tunnels excursion

What's Not Included

  • Flights Insurance
  • Vaccinations
  • Visas
  • Meals not included on the itinerary
  • Optional activities

Flights

You should arrange your flights to arrive at Hanoi International Airport (HAN), also known as Noi Bai, on your programme start date.

14 day trip

The 14 day trip finishes in Hoi An on your programme end date (day 14 of the itinerary). The nearest airport to Hoi An is Da Nang International Airport (DAD). You are free to depart at any time on this day. Your transfer to Da Nang Airport is not included but your guide will be able to give you information and advice on arranging this. 

21 day trip

The 21 day trip finishes in Ho Chi Minh City on your programme end date, you are free to depart at any time on your programme end date. You should arrange for your flight to depart from Ho Chi Minh City (SGN). Your transfer to Ho Chi Minh City Airport is not included but your guide will be able to give you information and advice on arranging this. 

To arrange your flights, contact our fantastic flights team on 01892 277037 or email them at [email protected] They will be able to search for the best flight offers to your chosen destinations, so you can plan and organise your trip in one place. Just make sure you give them your full name, as stated in your passport, along with your chosen departure dates, return dates, and any other details you want to include.

Reviews

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Overall Rating 10/10

(43 Reviews)

Ben White

How would you rate your overall experience?

Please rate the service received from our team before departure

Please rate the service provided by the team in country

How do you rate your arrival overseas and orientation (if applicable)?

How worthwhile was any volunteering in your trip (only if applicable)?

Please rate the accommodation during your stay

Would you recommend Real Gap Experience?

Yes

What were the highlights of your trip?

The biggest highlight of this trip would have to be when we finished volunteering and to see the difference we made in such a small amount of time! Also, the views at Halong bay were amazing! Quad biking in the sand dunes was unforgettable! Would highly recommend paying extra for them!

Is there anything else you would have liked to have added to your itinerary?

Apart from slightly more time at Halong Bay, the trip covers so much in such a short time so I wouldn't add anything!

Tips for other travellers?

Don't pack too heavy because if you're short on clothes you could always buy a few things for very cheap!

Any other comments?

I would highly recommend this trip, everyone on it were so nice and you get to become close with new people! Also I couldn't ask for better tour guides than Jane and D, they were amazing and made the experience so much better!

Amy Baird

How would you rate your overall experience?

Please rate the service received from our team before departure

Please rate the service provided by the team in country

How do you rate your arrival overseas and orientation (if applicable)?

How worthwhile was any volunteering in your trip (only if applicable)?

Please rate the accommodation during your stay

Would you recommend Real Gap Experience?

Yes

What were the highlights of your trip?

Elephant springs and volunteering

Is there anything else you would have liked to have added to your itinerary?

no everything was great

Tips for other travellers?

Don't be scared you will have an amazing time

Kara Wills

How would you rate your overall experience?

Please rate the service received from our team before departure

Please rate the service provided by the team in country

How do you rate your arrival overseas and orientation (if applicable)?

How worthwhile was any volunteering in your trip (only if applicable)?

Please rate the accommodation during your stay

Would you recommend Real Gap Experience?

Yes

What were the highlights of your trip?

volunteering, elephant springs

Is there anything else you would have liked to have added to your itinerary?

looking in the caves in Hue

Tips for other travellers?

cover your legs for bites and plenty of sun cream

Any other comments?

great guides

Sabrina Shilstone

How would you rate your overall experience?

Please rate the service received from our team before departure

Please rate the service provided by the team in country

How do you rate your arrival overseas and orientation (if applicable)?

How worthwhile was any volunteering in your trip (only if applicable)?

Please rate the accommodation during your stay

Would you recommend Real Gap Experience?

Yes

What were the highlights of your trip?

The volunteering was very well planned and such an amazing experience, you really get a feel for the community! Halong bay and Monkey Island were gorgeous places! Of course the quad biking in the sand dunes was insane in Mui Ne!!!!

Is there anything else you would have liked to have added to your itinerary?

A day in Nha Trang instead of 4 in Mui Ne :)

Tips for other travellers?

Don't pack too much!! You don't need any travel wash for clothes, everywhere has cheap laundry service! Bring clothes to go out in :)

Any other comments?

Our tour guides (Jane and D) were two of the most amazing people ever and were so helpful!

Sophia Deen

How would you rate your overall experience?

Please rate the service received from our team before departure

Please rate the service provided by the team in country

How do you rate your arrival overseas and orientation (if applicable)?

How worthwhile was any volunteering in your trip (only if applicable)?

Please rate the accommodation during your stay

Would you recommend Real Gap Experience?

Yes

What were the highlights of your trip?

"Volunteer work: building a shower room for the locals and volunteering in the school The sunset white sand dunes and quad biking. Bike ride in Hoi An and our overnight stay in Ha Long bay."

Is there anything else you would have liked to have added to your itinerary?

None

Tips for other travellers?

"Don't over pack as there's alot of opportunity to buy clothes in Vietnam or get clothes made and bring a pad lock with you as you may stay in large shared dorms.

Any other comments?

Really enjoyed the trip and the group I was with but a huge thanks goes to our two amazing tour guides who were not only helpful but so friendly throughout the trip.

Arthur James

How would you rate your overall experience?

Please rate the service received from our team before departure

Please rate the service provided by the team in country

How do you rate your arrival overseas and orientation (if applicable)?

Please rate the accommodation during your stay

What were the highlights of your trip?

So many highlights of this trip guys! The time spent on monkey island was unforgettable. The boat trip through Ha Long Bay leaves you speechless (if it's sunny!). The quad biking at sun rise in Mui Ne is something well worth the 4.30am alarm. Make sure you go on the pub crawl there to as the bars/clubs are far better than I expected for a small town and they pick you up in jeeps. I don't think anyone on our trip wasn't impressed with the lantern lit evening in Hoi An with the tailors and restaurants along the river. The Vietcong tunnels/shooting range are very interesting and we had a Vietnam war veteran as our guide. His name was Mr Bin and he was a pure legend.

Is there anything else you would have liked to have added to your itinerary?

The time spent in certain places could be better allocated such as more time in Hoi An and a little less in Mui Ne.

Tips for other travellers?

Pack lightly (You're all going to want to shop in Hoi An) Go on all the extra trips. Have an open mind. Take too many photo.

Any other comments?

The tour guides Jane, Lien and Chloe were excellent, constantly enthusiastic and making the trip run smoothly. I would like to thank them for making the trip a fantastic experience.

Olivia Edden

How would you rate your overall experience?

Please rate the service received from our team before departure

Please rate the service provided by the team in country

How do you rate your arrival overseas and orientation (if applicable)?

Please rate the accommodation during your stay

What were the highlights of your trip?

Quad biking over the white sand dunes, cycling tour in Hoi An, war museum in HCMC and embracing the completely different culture.

Is there anything else you would have liked to have added to your itinerary?

More time in Hoi An and less time staying on the beach in Mui Ne.

Tips for other travellers?

don't overpack as you won't be able to fit everything you pick up on the way back in your bag, try everything you can as it's almost always worth it, eat the local food as it is incredible

Any other comments?

trip wouldn't have been the same without the fab tour guides Lien and Chloe- thank you both so much you have taught me lots about life (love yourself!!!)

Olivia Edden

How would you rate your overall experience?

Please rate the service received from our team before departure

Please rate the service provided by the team in country

How do you rate your arrival overseas and orientation (if applicable)?

Please rate the accommodation during your stay

What were the highlights of your trip?

Quad biking over the white sand dunes, cycling tour in Hoi An, war museum in HCMC and embracing the completely different culture.

Is there anything else you would have liked to have added to your itinerary?

More time in Hoi An and less time staying on the beach in Mui Ne.

Tips for other travellers?

don't overpack as you won't be able to fit everything you pick up on the way back in your bag, try everything you can as it's almost always worth it, eat the local food as it is incredible

Any other comments?

trip wouldn't have been the same without the fab tour guides Lien and Chloe- thank you both so much you have taught me lots about life (love yourself!!!)

Hannah Paish

How would you rate your overall experience?

Please rate the service received from our team before departure

Please rate the service provided by the team in country

How do you rate your arrival overseas and orientation (if applicable)?

Please rate the accommodation during your stay

What were the highlights of your trip?

Cycling around Hoi An, riding the quad bikes in Mui Ne, swimming off Monkey Island, pretty much everything!

Is there anything else you would have liked to have added to your itinerary?

There were a lot of free days, it might be good if there were more excursions to different areas.

Tips for other travellers?

Can I have more than three? Ok, cool: 1) If you're going in the summer, don't bother bringing jumpers etc. You won't wear them. 2) Bring vitamin C tablets. I took one everyday and didn't get ill once. 3) No matter what people tell you, do not save all your shopping for Hoi An, it is very expensive there. 4) Saigon is not as dangerous as people tell you it is. Just be wary of your belongings and you'll be fine. 5) Try everything, even if you're nervous about it. It's called Vietnam Expereince, go have an experience!

Adam Wilkinson

How would you rate your overall experience?

Please rate the service received from our team before departure

Please rate the service provided by the team in country

How do you rate your arrival overseas and orientation (if applicable)?

Please rate the accommodation during your stay

What were the highlights of your trip?

The quad biking in Mui ne was the best activity!

Is there anything else you would have liked to have added to your itinerary?

I thought the itinary was pretty perfect! Couldn't of asked for better!

Tips for other travellers?

Take enough sunscreen! There is laundry places everywhere so don't pack millions of clothes! Bring smarter night clothes rather than just swim shorts like me!

Any other comments?

Everyone on the trip was super nice and I couldn't of asked for a better 3 weeks! The accommodation was much much better than expected! Really good value for money and I would recommend anyone wanting to see all of Vietnam in 3 weeks to go! The guides Chloe, Jane and Lien were super nice and organised the whole way through! Can't ask for better!

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