Vietnamese Highlights

Code: VNWHW

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Activity types:

  • Culture
  • Food & drink
  • History
  • Hotel plus

Level

  • Easier
More information

Difficulty indicator

Difficulty is measured on many factors such as distance, ascent/descent, terrain, weather and more. There's no magic formula, but from our experience we use yellow for easy, orange for medium and red for hard. Challenger holidays require a high level of fitness and stamina.

More about difficulty levels

From £2,719.00 - 14 to 16 nights

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Prices are per person

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Holiday overview

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Journey south to north, discovering Vietnam’s variety of landscapes, cultures, sights and flavours. Visit the Mekong Delta and enjoy a dragon boat trip on the Perfume River. Discover historical Hanoi by rickshaw then glimpse traditional life on walks through rice terraces, rolling hills and villages in the hill country of Sapa. Admire the beauty of Halong Bay and cruise through islets and traditional fishing villages.

Holiday highlights

  • Cruise on Halong Bay and stay overnight
  • Modern history such as the Viet Cong tunnels at Cu Chi and the ‘frozen in time’ Reunification Palace
  • Historic cities and ruins of the coast – Hoi An, My Son and the imperial city of Hué
  • Excellent walking in the northern hill tribe areas around Sapa, with an overnight train journey
  • City walks in Ho Chi Minh City, Hue and Hanoi to discover contrasting but distinctly Vietnamese places
  • Excellent hotels, all 4- and 5-star city hotels or resorts
  • Delicious Vietnamese cuisine

Price includes

  • 11 nights' accommodation in en-suite rooms, plus 1 night on board train, and 2 nights' en-suite cabin on our luxury boat 
  • Full Board from dinner on arrival to breakfast on departure, except for 1 lunch on the free day in Hanoi
  • A full programme of guided walks led by a local tour director, local guides, and HF Holidays’ leader
  • All sightseeing and entrance fees
  • Internal flights and travel by air-conditioned coach/minivan and train journeys
  • Tips

Accommodation

 

Our accommodation, though varied, is all of a high standard - using 4 and 5-star hotels throughout. 

The highlight has to be our two nights' cruising on our deluxe Paradise boat amidst the stunning setting of Halong Bay. 

In Ho Chi Minh City we stay at the Pullman Saigon Centre located in the heart of the city near to Notre Dame Cathedral and Reunification Palace. The modern rooms offer stunning views of the city or the Saigon River, and the hotel has the highest rooftop bar in the city.

Our hotel in Hoi An is the Hoi An Beach Resort, a 4-star hotel located a little out of town by the river and the beach. Large rooms are designed in a chalet style, and there is a pool, large restaurant and bar, as well as the large beach.

In Hué, we stay at the Pilgrimage Village, a wonderful boutique hotel located in quiet countryside outside Hué. Rooms are thatched bungalows designed in a traditional Vietnamese style yet with full modern conveniences, and are set around a large pool and beautiful tropical gardens. The hotel is a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World group.

The Pan Pacific (formerly Sofitel Plaza Hanoi) is our base in the capital. This is a large 5-star hotel with an excellent central location close to Hoan Kiem Lake. The hotel has large rooms and the extensive range of facilities expected from a hotel of this rating.

In Sapa, we stay at the Victoria Hotel, a lovely 4-star resort hotel, perched on top of a hill overlooking the valley, in the style of a traditional mountain chalet with wooden furniture and a cosy fireplace. Rooms offer a touch of local authenticity with traditional handicrafts yet provide the comfort of an international hotel.

 


On occasion we may need to change the accommodation listed above. If this happens, your replacement accommodation will be of the equivalent standard or higher. In the rare instance this is not possible, we will contact you in advance.

 

Itinerary

Download trip notes

Walks are between 1-4 miles (1.5-6.5km) with some gradual ascent on some days. There will be a choice of walks around Sapa on one day, with the harder walks up to 9 miles (14.5km) with up to about 1,500 feet (450m) of ascent. 

Day 1: To Ho Chi Minh City - Fly from London Heathrow to Ho Chi Minh City.

Day 2: Ho Chi Minh City - Morning arrival and transfer to the hotel for a stay of 3 nights. Take an afternoon walk through the city to Reunification Palace, with its interesting and turbulent history.

Day 3: Cu Chi Tunnels - Travel out of the city to Cu Chi, and see amazing network of tunnels dug by the Viet Cong. This afternoon enjoy a walking tour of Saigon, including the cathedral of Notre Dame, Vinh Nghiem pagoda, and the historic Chinese district of Cholon.

Day 4: Mekong Delta - Head south out of the city towards Ben Tre, on the Mekong Delta. Visit coconut growers and experience daily life here. Take a boat cruise and enjoy a local lunch.

Day 5: To Hoi An - Fly to Danang and drive to the picturesque old port of Hoi An (2 nights), visiting the Cham museum en route.

Day 6: My Son & Hoi An - Visit to the ancient city of My Son for walks in the Holy Valley area, a 4th century religious sanctuary. Return to Hoi An for a walking tour of its ancient winding streets, once the biggest port in Asia, a centre of the spice trade and meeting point between Chinese, Japanese, and European traders.

Day 7: To Hué - Travel up the coast, stopping for a walk at the Marble Mountains for scenic coastal views. Arrive in the ancient Imperial capital of Hué (2 nights), and take a boat trip on the Perfume River to Thien Mu pagoda.

Day 8: Hué - Enjoy a walking tour of Hué’s ancient city, visiting the Royal Citadel, the Forbidden Purple City and Dong Ba market.

Day 9: To Hanoi - Fly to Hanoi (1 night). Take a walking tour of the capital to the Temple of Literature, including a cyclo ride around the fascinating old quarter. Evening visit to the water puppets show.

Day 10: Hanoi & to Sapa - Morning visit to Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum, then travel into the countryside around Hanoi and explore the limestone hills around the ancient Thay Pagoda. Take the new highway into the hill country to Sapa (2 nights).

Days 11- 12: Sapa - . Walk by the rice terraces, narrow rivers and the beautiful scenery of the Muong Hoa valley to Tavan village. Visit the local market and take the night train (2-berth cabins) back to Hanoi.

Days 13-14: To Halong Bay - Early morning arrival in Hanoi, breakfast and freshen up at a hotel. We then drive to the coast, stopping in rural villages on the way, to the extraordinary scenery of Halong Bay. Board the well-appointed Bhaya Junk for a cruise around the bay (2 nights), stopping off for a short walk on one of the islands or enjoy a relaxed kayak, with islets dotted all around. We overnight on the junk in the peaceful waters of the bay.

Day 15: Halong Bay & to Hanoi - Wake to the beautiful scenery of Halong Bay and cruise through the waters. Afternoon return to Hanoi (1 night).

Day 16: Hanoi - Return flight to the UK.

Day 17: Arrive London 


Extend your stay - Angkor Wat extension (2016 only)

Extend your holiday and visit Cambodia’s famous Angkor Wat. 

Day 16: Leave the group in Hanoi and fly to Siem Reap, Cambodia (2 nights). We transfer to our hotel, the 4* Navutu dreams, dinner will be taken at a local restaurant this evening. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included).

 Day 17: Visit Angkor Thom, the South Gate, Bayon Temple and much more before exploring the most famous of the temple complexes – Angkor Wat. Enjoy sunset from the top of the Phnom Bakheng Hills before dinner and a traditional Khmer dance show. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included)

Day 18: A morning boat ride on Tonle Sap lake to see the floating villages before an afternoon flight takes us from Siem Reap to Ho Chi Minh city for our late evening flight home. (breakfast and lunch included).

Our accommodation is at the beautiful Navutu Dreams Resort & Spa, just minutes away from the archaeological park of Angkor Wat. All rooms are ensuite, with king sized beds, a living room, air-conditioning, satellite TV, wifi, and a private verandah. The hotel has 2 swimming pools and a spa.

(We have not included tips in your Angkor Wat extension package)

Please note, there will be no HF Holidays' leader on the extension to the main tour, but you will be accompanied by an English-speaking guide

General Information

Passport
Your passport should be valid for at least one month after visa expiry to enter Vietnam.

Visas
Up to 30 June 2017 British passport holders do not need to apply for a tourist visa for stays of up to 15 days. This means you do not need a visa for our Vietnamese Highlights tour. If you are planning to stay longer than 15 days, a tourist visa is required  to enter Vietnam. The visa must be obtained beforehand from the Vietnamese consulate: Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, 12-14 Victoria Road, London, W8 5RD www.vietnamembassy.org.uk

You should retain the yellow customs form on entry to Vietnam, this is required for exit. 

Most other nationalities require a visa to enter Vietnam. Please enquire at your nearest Vietnamese embassy or consulate.

Dress Code for Cambodia

The Cambodian authorities have issued a dress code for visiting Angkor Wat and other religious sites. Visitors should not wear skirts or shorts above the knee or tops that reveal bare shoulders; visitors not following the dress code are liable to be refused admission to the sites.

Health advice

Before booking, you should check with your doctor to see if any health precautions are needed. The following websites provide a wealth of information on travelling and health: www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk www.traveldoctor.co.uk

Vaccines: Diphtheria, Hepatitis A, Typhoid & Tetanus vaccinations are recommended. Malaria and Rabies prevention are sometimes recommended too. There have been reported cases of Dengue fever, you should use suitable insect repellent and wear appropriate clothing to avoid being bitten.

Climate
Vietnam’s climate varies from south to north, and from lowland and coastal areas to highland and mountain regions. There are also distinct seasons in the far north of the country. In general our holidays are during the drier season.

Temperatures in the south of the country rarely fall below 20°C, with daytime temperatures in the high 20’s. Further north temperatures are lower, but even in Hanoi the average daily temperature is usually in the high teens.  There may be some light rainfall in the central coastal area during our visits.

In the higher mountain areas temperatures during the day are ideal for walking, and rarely drop to freezing at night.

Money
The Vietnamese unit of currency is the Dong (VND). It is easy to exchange foreign currency at banks, hotels and exchange bureaux and ATM’s are available in the major tourist locations. Credit cards are in increasingly common usage. Traveller’s cheques are not advised.

Time

GMT +7

Tipping
Prices for holidays include tips. 

For flights information please see the Dates and Prices tab

Leaders

Janet Coles

Janet has been leading in the UK and Europe for 13 years, her favourites being France and Lanzarote as she speaks fluent French and good Spanish. She has led Worldwide holidays in the Caribbean. Janet visited Vietnam and China in 2015 and was fascinated by the difference in cultures between East and West. She is delighted to be returning to Vietnam in February.

Janet is leading 15 February 2017.

Trevor Irvin

Trevor is a retired Chartered Civil Engineer and he has been leading for HF Holidays since 2001, both in the UK and overseas. His main interests include history, geology, geography, architecture and natural history. He is particularly enthusiastic about the diversity of the country and its cultures together with its relatively recent history and is really delighted to be leading the Vietnamese trip again, having led it in 2013.

Trevor enjoys experiencing different cultures and is keen to share this passion with guests so that they have a really memorable holiday.

Trevor is leading our 11 October 2017 departure.

Graeme Jones

Since 2007, Graeme has led many of our holidays both in the UK and Europe, including Italy, Menorca, Austria, the Canary Islands, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus and Montenegro.

He has also travelled extensively in the USA and South Africa, visited the Caribbean islands including Cuba, and trekked to Everest Base Camp, where he had the good fortune to meet Sir Chris Bonington. In 2014, he travelled through Thailand, Cambodia and the length of Vietnam. Closer to home, he has walked the length of the South West Coast Path.

Graeme is leading our 15 November 2017 departure.

Reviews

Date & Rating Customer Review HF Holidays says
8 Dec 2016, 4:18 p.m.

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I was told by *(Feefo removed content) that I needed a Vietnam visa which was not the case. I could have saved over £95.00. Others in our group had been told they didn't need one.
7 Dec 2016, 8:11 p.m.

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We really enjoyed this trip- except that there was no reservation for us at the Vanutu Dream Resort in Siem Reap. Lucky for us there was a room available. The manager of the resort was very accommodating and the local guide also did everything to make it work.

Product review:

Didn't purchase much - not enough time to shop - which is really great. The only trip I have been on which didn't feature shopping. I liked that. thanks
7 Dec 2016, 7:14 a.m.

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No review provided

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There was incorrect information sent out by HF regarding visas. I spent £100 obtaining one only to find other people on the trip had been told they didn't need one. Not what you expect from a reputable travel company.
5 Dec 2016, 4:48 p.m.

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The booking of the holiday was straight forward, with all the necessary documentation received in good time. Everything was covered in the holiday as per the booklet, only a late internal flight meant a couple of things were omitted. Overall very happy with HF.

Product review:

Overall the holiday was very good, it's a big place to cover, but we saw life as it really is, with it's poverty and struggling people. Many of the locations are becoming quite touristy, but I guess that's to be expected. I was a bit disappointed with the food, much was repeated, only on the boat did we have a choice at the end of the holiday. The lunches were much too large and often a bit late, meaning we didn't really feel like dinner. So a one course lunch instead of eight would be fine. All the hotels were very nice and comfortable. Whilst based at Ho Chi Minh City, getting anywhere is now becoming very time consuming due to the high volume of traffic, this affects the timetable set out by the guides, and can mean us having to be quite flexible. Overall a very enjoyable holiday, quite full on and tiring at times but how else can you see the country. I think all the group had tummy upsets during the holiday, we only drank bottled water so it must be other things causing it (I lost half a stone !). Anyway I have come away with lots of great memories, thankyou.
14 Nov 2016, 8:50 p.m.

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Excellent service

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Excellent holiday, well organised by HF
1 Nov 2016, 4:56 p.m.

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No review provided

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Really well organised, interesting and varied activities and wonderful hotels.
1 Nov 2016, 8:21 a.m.

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Very helpful in clarifying details of the holiday

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The only downside was the train journey which I personally thought was awful
31 Oct 2016, 10:54 a.m.

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Everything went smoothly ... many logistics in executing this tour and nearly all were handled seamlessly.

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Great overview tour of Vietnam. Wonderful accommodations and knowledgeable local guides.
17 Mar 2016, 8:39 a.m.

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An excellent package let down some some 'not so good' bits.

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As above
16 Mar 2016, 5:27 p.m.

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Leader okay. Holiday went well with no hitches.

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Hotels good.Itineray good but a little busy and tiring at times. Too much time was spent eating large lunches, which seemed a little unnecessary.

Read more reviews from feefo

Dates & Prices

Date Description Nights Brochure price Book
15 Feb 2017 VNWHW - Vietnamese Highlights
(Travel included)

Flight - Outbound

VIETNAM AIR

  • Depart: 15 Feb 2017, 11 a.m.
  • Arrive: 16 Feb 2017, 5:45 a.m.
  • Depart from: London Heathrow
  • Arrive at: Ho Chi Minh City Tansonnhat

Flight - Return

VIETNAM AIR

  • Depart: 3 Mar 2017, 1:10 a.m.
  • Arrive: 3 Mar 2017, 7:15 a.m.
  • Depart from: Hanoi
  • Arrive at: London Heathrow
16 £2,949.00 Book Now
16 Feb 2017 VNWHW - Vietnamese Highlights 14 £2,719.00 Book Now
11 Oct 2017 VNWHW - Vietnamese Highlights
(Travel included)

Flight - Outbound

VIETNAM AIR

  • Depart: 11 Oct 2017, 11 a.m.
  • Arrive: 12 Oct 2017, 5:45 a.m.
  • Depart from: London Heathrow
  • Arrive at: Ho Chi Minh City Tansonnhat

Flight - Return

VIETNAM AIR

  • Depart: 27 Oct 2017, 1:10 a.m.
  • Arrive: 27 Oct 2017, 7:15 a.m.
  • Depart from: Hanoi
  • Arrive at: London Heathrow
16 £2,949.00 Book Now
12 Oct 2017 VNWHW - Vietnamese Highlights 14 £2,719.00 Book Now
15 Nov 2017 VNWHW - Vietnamese Highlights
(Travel included)

Flight - Outbound

VIETNAM AIR

  • Depart: 15 Nov 2017, 11 a.m.
  • Arrive: 16 Nov 2017, 6 a.m.
  • Depart from: London Heathrow
  • Arrive at: Ho Chi Minh City Tansonnhat

Flight - Return

VIETNAM AIR

  • Depart: 1 Dec 2017, 1:10 a.m.
  • Arrive: 1 Dec 2017, 7:15 a.m.
  • Depart from: Hanoi
  • Arrive at: London Heathrow
16 £2,949.00 Book Now
16 Nov 2017 VNWHW - Vietnamese Highlights 14 £2,719.00 Book Now

Prices are per person

Information

  • Single room: £720
  • Non-member associate fee: £10 per person

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