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SOUTH VIETNAM EXPLORER

Price from
US$1,489
(per person)
Duration
7
Days
Tour Type
Tailor-made

HIGHLIGHTS

Hustle and bustle of Saigon City, Viet Cong Cu Chi tunnels, boat ride on the might Mekong Delta, flora and fauna of the Nam Cat Tien National Park
COUNTRIES : Vietnam

Based in and around Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) in the south of Vietnam, this short tour combines the hustle and bustle of city life with the calm and serenity of Vietnam's Mekong Delta and Nam Cat Tien National Park. You'll enjoy a tour of Saigon and the nearby Cu Chi tunnels as well as a boat trip on the Mekong Delta and plenty of time enjoying the wildlife by night and by day in the Nam Cat Tien National Park.

We start this tour of South Vietnam by exploring the nearby Cu Chi Tunnels, which were made famous during the Vietnam War. These tiny, cramped tunnels were home to the Vietnamese resistance, and right under the nose of the American's. There is also plenty of time to explore Saigon, now Ho Chi Minh City, which is a vibrant and colourful metropolis with great bars and restaurants and a nightlife to match.

Next we take to the water with a boat ride on the Mekong Delta. We visit local cottage industries making rice cakes and candies and pass by small villages, rice paddies and fruit orchards. We also visit some of the famous floating markets that make a trip to the delta such a unique and rewarding experience.

Our final stop is the Nam Cat Tien National Park, which is to the east of Saigon. This wonderful national park is blessed with a varied flora and fauna and we spend plenty of time hiking through the forests learning about the things we see. There is also a boat ride across crocodile lake and perhaps a chance to spot the elusive creatures.

We finish back in Saigon were the tour ends. This tour combines well with visits of northern Vietnam, or you can extend your time with a relaxing beach stay or an overland journey or short flight to Phnomh Penh in Cambodia.

You are met at the airport by your guide and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to start exploring the bright lights of Saigon.

  • OVERNIGHT:
    Ho Chi Minh City - 2-star hotel
  • EXTRAS:
    Single room supplement (VETMSV)

Early morning we depart from the hotel and take a speed boat ride along the Saigon River to the Cu Chi tunnels. After watching a short introductory video on the construction of the tunnels, the next hour is spent exploring the maze of tunnels, accompanied by the guide. Also on display are various mantraps and the remains of an American tank as well as numerous bomb craters made by 500-pound bombs from B52 bombers.

Next we take a short drive through the countryside to a cricket farm. Many locals consider crickets a real delicacy and folk lore says the hungry soldiers ate them to help their nutrient-poor diets. At the farm you'll explore the life cycle of these versatile insects and of course you'll get a chance to sample some wrapped up in a tasty spring roll!

After lunch we head back to Ho Chi Minh city where the rest of the afternoon is free for you to relax or explore the city more.

  • OVERNIGHT:
    Ho Chi Minh City - 2-star hotel
  • MEALS:
    Breakfast, Lunch

This morning we drive to Cai Lay a town at the entrance of the Mekong Delta. After a quick safety briefing and gear check, you'll climb aboard your bike and start a 40km ride along a series of paved and dirt paths. Passing through small villages, rice fields and fruit orchards, you will see daily life unfold, wave to the children as they go to school and watch farmers tending to their animals and crops. Next we take a boat ride to see a traditional floating market and visit home-based factories producing rice popcorn and coconut candies.

  • OVERNIGHT:
    Can Tho - 4-star hotel
  • MEALS:
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

It's an early start to the day as we jump on board a small boat and cruise to the Can Tho market, the busiest floating market in the Mekong. Watching the daily ritual of people haggling for goods will take you back in time, then grab a morning coffee at the local floating cafe Next it's back on the bikes to enjoy your last cycling day pedalling along country roads to see a historic communist base. Glide quietly on board a sampan around the base and discover how the communists lived and worked during the war. Afterwards, we drive back to Ho Chi Minh City arriving late afternoon.

  • OVERNIGHT:
    Ho Chi Minh City - 2-star hotel
  • MEALS:
    Breakfast, Lunch

Today we make the four hour drive to Nam Cat Tien National Park and upon arrival, check-in to the guest house and enjoy lunch.

In the afternoon we'll hike through the park and discover the great diversity of Nam Cat Tien's botanical wildlife. The walk takes approximately two hours and covers a distance of around 6 km.

After dinner, we board a jeep for wildlife spotting by night. The number of animals we are likely to see can vary depending on season and habits. Normally, we can see more animals in the dry season (December through April).

  • OVERNIGHT:
    Nam Cat Tien National Park - Lodge
  • MEALS:
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today we wake early to the sounds of the forest and take a short speed-boat ride to Tien Island to learn more about how endangered animals are being kept before being released back to their natural habitat. You'll have the opportunity to talk with a local expert to learn more about their works protecting the animals.

After lunch we'll take a short drive into the forest and hike for another hour to Crocodile Lake, where you'll enjoy a boat ride - and you might even spot some crocodiles! In the evening we'll return to the lodge to enjoy dinner.

  • OVERNIGHT:
    Nam Cat Tien National Park - Lodge
  • MEALS:
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast you'll go for a one hour hike before being picked up and transferred back to Ho Chi Minh City. Depending on your flight time you'll have some free time today before we transfer you to the airport for your flight home.

  • OVERNIGHT:
    N/A
  • MEALS:
    Breakfast
  • EXTRAS:
    Extra day in Ho Chi Minh - post-tour
Included:
  • All accommodation as stated in the itinerary
  • All transport and transfers
  • 24-hour airport arrival & departure transfer service
  • Services of a local tour guide during sightseeing and activities
  • Admission fees, with instruction where necessary
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary

Excluded:
  • International flights (available on request)
  • Visas fees (Currently waived for GB nationals. We can arrange a pre-registration VISA letter for other nationalities - you will still need to pay for visa stamp fee upon arrival into the country, at customs check in counter, at a cost of $45 per person together with 2 passport photos. Please contact us for more information about the cost of this letter as prices vary depending on nationality.)
  • Travel insurance (compulsory, available on request)
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Drinks, snacks, tips and other personal expenses (e.g. laundry)
  • Tips for tour guides and drivers
  • Any other items not mentioned above
The hotels and accommodations listed below are the ones we use most often on this tour. From time to time we may exchange these for similar properties at the same level. In general, specific hotels cannot be guaranteed on our group tours, but you may select your preferred options if you are booking a tailor-made trip.
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Local rating
Our rating
Silverland Boutique Hotel
Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

Centrally located in central Saigon, Silverland Boutique Hotel is just opposite the tall Bitexco Financial Tower. A 5-minute walk from Ben Thanh Market, it has free Wi-Fi, a spa and a sauna.


Centrally located in central Saigon, Silverland Boutique Hotel is just opposite the tall Bitexco Financial Tower. A 5-minute walk from Ben Thanh Market, it has free Wi-Fi, a spa and a sauna.

Silverland Boutique Hotel is 750 yards from Independence Palace, Central Post Office and Notre Dame Cathedral. Tan Son Nhat Airport is a 20-minute drive away.

Air-conditioned rooms come with a cable TV, minibar and tea/coffee making facilities. Some rooms feature a spa bathtub. Free bottled water is provided.

The hotel has a business centre that provides free fax and photocopying services. Friendly staff can assist with sightseeing arrangements and ticketing services. Laundry and dry cleaning can be done by the hotel.

The hotel's restaurant serves both Asian and Western dishes all throughout the day. Room service is available 24-hour daily.

District 1 is a great choice for travellers interested in nightlife, markets and shopping.

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Local rating
Our rating
Victoria Can Tho Resort
Can Tho, Vietnam

This 4-star resort is located in a quiet area in Can Tho City, close to Can Tho town. The resort is ideally situated on the banks of the Hau River.


This 4-star resort is located in a quiet area in Can Tho City, close to Can Tho town. The resort is ideally situated on the banks of the Hau River.

Victoria Can Tho Resort blends colonial-style architecture with modern comforts. It is set amidst gardens with exotic plants, where guests can relax while enjoying meals or drinks.

Victoria Can Tho is only a 20-minute drive away from the new Can Tho Airport, which links Hanoi to the Mekong delta.

The resort's Victoria Spa is situated by the river, offering 7 treatment rooms where guests can enjoy a variety of massages, from the traditional Vietnamese massage, to a full-length therapeutic massage.

The Victoria Can Tho's restaurant overlooks the Hau River, with both indoor and outdoor seating areas. Guests are served European and Vietnamese cuisine, prepared by the hotel’s French chef.

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Local rating
Our rating
Forest Floor Lodge
Nam Cat Tien National Park, Vietnam

Forest Floor Lodge is a unique Eco hotel and resort situated situated in Nam Cat Tien National Park 150 km north of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) Vietnam offering unique luxury hotel accommodation.


Forest Floor Lodge is a unique Eco hotel and resort situated situated in Nam Cat Tien National Park 150 km north of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) Vietnam offering unique luxury hotel accommodation. directly on the perimeter of the famous Nam Cat Tien National Park providing the perfect location for bird watching and those with an interest in wildlife.

Forest Floor Lodge provides quality deluxe accommodation meticulously designed to compliment the local habitat and built with the least possible environmental impact.

Accommodations include our popular deluxe tented accommodation purpose built African style tents built upon reclaimed wooden structures accessed by elevated walkways lightly touching the forest floor. Each tent comes as standard with bathroom, bedroom and large balcony over looking the beautiful Ben Cu Rapids. Also we have splendid traditional wooden lodges set under the forest canopy and studio lodges.

Our Hornbill bar is the perfect location to relax and unwind serving Vietnamese and western cuisine with ingredients sourced locally wherever possible and include home-made preserves fresh bread from the Forest Floor ovens, ice cold beers and smooth cocktails.

Situated on the edge of the river the Hornbill bar offer glorious views and perfect for birding or simply relaxing with a quiet game of snooker or taking in the scenery of Nam Cat Tien National Park.

Our tours are designed to include all that you need to enjoy a really special time in the destination you're visiting. However, we do also offer some extra options to complement the tour and add some additional sightseeing or activities, or some extra time at either end of the tour.

All accommodation based options (e.g. Single supplements, extra nights, cruise upgrades) should be booked and paid for in advance so that we can make the appropriate arrangements. Other options may either be booked and paid for in advance or while you are on the tour, though we recommend booking in advance to ensure there are no issues with availability.

Many options are priced the same throughout the year, but some may incur single or high season supplements - full details are given on the tour reservation form or on request.

 Single room supplement (VETMSV)
Price from
US$209
per person



Single room supplement (VETMSV)
Min numbers: 1 person

This option books a single room in all the accommodation throughout the tour. Room shares are not available on this tour, so if you are single traveller then you will need to add this option to your booking.


This option books a single room in all the accommodation throughout the tour. Room shares are not available on this tour, so if you are single traveller then you will need to add this option to your booking.

Note: The price shown is a low season price. Slightly higher prices may apply during high and peak seasons - the exact price for your dates will be shown on the online booking form and is always available on request.

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South Vietnam Explorer tour notes

The detailed Tour Notes below have been written to give you some more detailed information about how the tour runs, what to expect, and how to prepare for your holiday. We recommend downloading an up to date copy of these shortly before you travel in case of any changes.

Our trips feature a mix of different transport options. We want you to feel like you’re really experiencing the country you’re travelling through, but at the same time we want you to finish journeys refreshed enough to enjoy the next stage of the tour.  With this in mind we use public transport where we think it offers a good local experience – this may include 2nd class overnight sleeper trains, local buses and local ferries. We also use private transportation including jeeps, rickshaws or pickup trucks, and mini buses for sightseeing tours where required.

Sleeper trains:
The sleeper trains in Vietnam are of a good standard and are popular with tourists. Each carriage has its own steward who ensures the train is kept clean and tidy. You will stay in a 4-berth cabin with 3 other passengers. Supplements can be paid to book a private cabin. Bedding is provided onboard the train. The berths are on two tiers and we cannot pre-book lower tier berths. A ladder is provided but you therefore need a reasonable degree of mobility to climb up to the top tier berths.

The tour includes a 24-hour arrival and departure airport-hotel transfers service in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh (Siem Reap if extension is booked) airport and all other transfers.

We want to give you as much flexibility as possible when it comes to booking your holiday with us. So, to take account of people with varying travel plans, we don’t include your international flights in the main tour price. We are however very happy to book your flights for you and our ATOL (UK flight sales license) covers all holidays booked together with a flight from the UK.

Please contact us with your preferred dates and departure airport and we’ll give you a selection of airlines, times and fares to choose from. Your airport arrival & departure transfers are included on the first and last days of the tour whether you book your flights independently or through us. Our VIetnam tours start and finish in either Hanoi airport (HAN) or Ho Chi Minh airport (SGN).

If you are booking a tour that combines Vietnam and Cambodia we may not include the connecting flight between the two countries in the tour price (see the inclusions/exclusions or extension option sections for details). This flight can often be built into your main international flight ticket, or we are happy to book this flight for you separately if you prefer – please contact us and we will advise you on available airlines, times and prices.

The tour price includes entrance fees to all the tourist sites mentioned in the itinerary.  You will need to cover the cost of entrance to any other extra sites that you may wish to visit.

Tipping is not part of Vietnamese culture but has become customary but not compulsory in the tourist and service industry. Tipping is always optional, and any amounts paid should reflect excellent service. You may therefore wish to tip your guide and driver at the end of the tour.  You should not feel obliged to tip any particular amount, and should consider your personal budget. We are often asked to provide a guide however, and can suggest that approx. USD 5-10 per person per day would be appropriate for your guide(s).

Passports should be valid for at least six months after your departure from the country. Please do not bring an almost full or almost expired passport. Visa arrangements are the responsibility of the traveller, and requirements are subject to change by the local authorities.

British citizens (plus Japan, South Korea, Denmark, Russian, Sweden, Norway, Finland, , France, Germany, Italy, Spain) are currently subject to a visa exemption scheme, so no visa is required for stays in Vietnam of up to 15 days. Other nationalities and those staying longer in Vietnam will need to obtain a visa in advance. As this isn’t always convenient we offer the option of obtaining a visa on arrival approval letter which means that you can then purchase you visa on arrival in Hanoi, however if you try to board the flight without this letter or a visa you’ll be refused board. Please contact us regarding the cost of this as it does vary depending on your nationality.

If you would like to book a place on this tour, please complete the online reservation form on our website (via the Dates & Prices tab on the tour page). You can pay your deposit or full balance online, or just hold a reservation if you prefer. We will then contact you with more details about how to complete your booking. Payments may be made by debit or credit card (subject to a card processing fee), or by making a bank transfer or posting us a cheque/bank draft. Full details will be provided in your booking confirmation email. Please contact us if you would like any more information or have any questions before making a booking.

We are a UK registered company and an ABTA Member (Y4447) and you can be confident when booking with us that your money is safe and protected.
If you book a flight departing from the UK from us with your tour, or if you live in the UK and your tour includes domestic flights, then your entire package is ATOL protected by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL number is 10467.
Additional financial protection is also provided through International Passenger Protection for passengers not booking flights.
Please see our website or booking conditions for more information.

It is impossible not to have an impact on the local environment, cultures and eco-systems when you travel. However, it is very possible to try and ensure that these impacts are as limited, or positive as possible. We are committed to ensuring that we try to leave our host countries in a better state than we found them and encourage and assist our travellers to help us with this.
The following are a few simple tips that require very little effort on your part but which will help ensure that any effect you have on the locations you visit is positive rather than negative.

  • Don’t prejudge: Things in different countries will almost certainly be different. That doesn’t make them worse or inferior, just different.
  • Communicate: Don’t expect locals to speak your language. Take the trouble to learn a few words or phrases of the local language. Don’t worry about sounding silly. Most locals are patient and accommodating and appreciate you making the effort to communicate in their language.
  • Conserve energy: Be careful not to waste valuable resources. Use local resources sparingly. Switch off lights, air-conditioning and fans when you leave the hotel room and don’t waste water. Remove superfluous packaging. Many countries have far less efficient waste disposal systems than ours. Remove packaging from newly acquired items before leaving home.
  • Don’t litter: No matter how untidy or dirty the country you’re travelling in may look to you, avoid littering, as there is no need to add to the environment's stress. Many of the countries we visit have a tough challenge dealing with rubbish and waste. Please consider taking home as much plastic waste as you can (e.g. water bottles).
  • Choose environmentally friendly products: By using environmentally friendly (bio degradable) sun creams, shampoos and detergents you can help reduce pollution.
  • Respect local customs and traditions: As you are a guest in these countries, you should also comply with the local customs. If you are friendly and well mannered, the locals will reciprocate and it will only enhance your experience. It’s important to follow dress and behaviour guidelines especially when visiting religious or sacred sites (your tour leader will advise you how best to do this).
  • If a client commits an illegal act the client may be excluded from the tour and Encounters Travel shall cease to have responsibility to/for them. No refund will be given for any unused services.

All porters are employed and equipped following guidelines set by the International Porter Protection Group (IPPG).

You can stay in touch with us online by following us on Facebook and Twitter. We post updates on relevant travel news in our destination countries, special offers and discounts and other interesting travel related news and information.
www.facebook.com/encounterstravel
www.twitter.com/encounterstravl (yes, without the 'e')

Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our tours and needs to cover personal accident & liability, medical expenses and repatriation, travel delay & abandonment. We also strongly recommend that you take out cover against cancellation and lost/stolen baggage. Personal medical insurance does not normally provide sufficient cover and is generally not suitable for travel on our tours. You will not be able to join your tour if you have not provided us with details of your insurance or if you arrive without cover in place (no refunds will be due in this event). More information...

You may arrange your own insurance, or you can take advantage of a comprehensive policy that we can arrange for you through Endsleigh Insurance which has been designed to be suitable for our tours. The policy is available to travellers of all nationalities and you do not need to live in the UK  to take out the policy. For full details of cover provided, prices and to apply for one of our policies, please complete travel insurance application form.

Note: Any country that borders the Mediterranean is considered as 'Europe' for the purposes of travel insurance (including Turkey, Israel, Egypt and Morocco). If you are doing a tour that visits one country in 'Europe' and one that is 'Worldwide' (for example, an Egypt and Jordan tour), then you need a 'Worldwide' policy. When completing the form you should enter your travel dates including any extra days involved in overnight flights or connecting travel between your home and the tour. Our policies are not able to cover any extra time or activities other than your tour and options booked with us and your travel to & from home.

If you plan to arrange a hot air balloon flight locally, or do some scuba diving during your tour, you should check the small print in your policy to make sure these are covered (these are covered in our policy). Please also check the maximum altitude that you will be reaching and that full cover including emergency evacuation is provided up to this altitude.

IMPORTANT:  We must have your travel insurance details (policy number and type of insurance) before you depart or you may not be allowed to join the tour.  If you haven't told us already, please let us know the details when you can. You should take a paper copy of your insurance policy with you as you may be asked to show this at the start of the tour.

You should ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including emergency evacuation and repatriation.

Recommended vaccinations and other health protection measures vary according to the country you are visiting and where you are travelling from. We recommend you contact your GP/medical practitioner or a travel clinic for current information on vaccinations needed for your destination. You should ensure that you are up to date with vaccines and boosters recommended for your normal life at home, including for example, vaccines required for occupational risk of exposure, lifestyle risks and underlying medical conditions. In addition, additional courses or boosters normally recommended for the countries in this region are:

Thailand: Additional vaccinations: Hepatitis A, Tetanus. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from or having transitted through an infected area.
Vietnam: Additional vaccinations: Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from an infected area.
Cambodia: Additional vaccinations: Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from or having transitted through an infected area.
Laos: Additional vaccinations: Diptheria, Poliomyelitis, Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from an infected area.

The above information can change at short notice. For up to date health information & vaccination requirements we recommend that you contact your medical practitioner or a travel clinic.

Malaria: Vaccinations are not available against Malaria, which is a disease transmitted by mosquitoes that can be very serious and sometimes fatal. You should avoid mosquito bites by covering up bare skin with clothing such as long sleeves and long trousers and applying insect repellents to exposed skin. When necessary, sleep under a mosquito net. Mosquitoes are most active during and after sunset. You should consult with your GP/medical practitioner/travel clinic about the most appropriate malaria prophylactic medication to take for the regions you are visiting.

Yellow Fever: This disease is spread by infected mosquitoes that bite during the day. A Yellow Fever Certificate of vacinnation may be required as a condition of entry depending on which country you are arriving from, or that you have travelled or transitted through recently (including connecting flights with stopovers of over 12 hours). You can view a World Health Organisation map of areas where the virus is present in monkeys and therefore a potential risk to humans. Please ensure you have this certificate with you and to hand if necessary.

Please inform us of any pre-existing conditions such as diabetes or asthma and any prescription medicine you may be taking. We also need to know about any food allergies or physical disabilities that you may have.

Sockets are two round or flat pronged and 220 volts (Type A, B, C). Universal adaptors are available in most airport shops if you don’t have one already. Standard European adapters will work fine, though sometimes they may feel a little loose in the sockets. All hotel rooms have electrical sockets where you can re-charge cameras, phones etc. Hair dryers are normally available on request from the hotel reception if not in your room already.
If you have US appliances (110 volts) you will need a voltage converter as well as a plug adapter.
The time in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos is GMT plus 7 hours. Daylight saving adjustments are not observed.

It is important when considering and preparing to travel anywhere in the world that you have a good understanding of the country you are visiting, its laws and customs, and the possible risks and situations that may occur. This includes specific risks related to your itinerary (eg. does it involve water & can you swim, are you fit enough for the activities included), as well as more general risks such as terrorism and natural disasters.

General details and links to more information about health risks, visa requirements, money, and travel insurance are given in these tour notes. We recommend that you re-read all these before your departure as well as the small print of your travel insurance policy so you know exactly what is covered and what is not.

You should take copies of your important travel documents with you and ideally also store them online securely as a backup. Make sure that you have given us your emergency contact details and told that person where and when you are travelling. Ensure you take enough money with you and that you have access to emergency funds.

Finally, you should read through and stay updated with the current official government travel advice for your destination. We are registered partners with the UK Foreign Office's 'Know Before you Go' campaign which provides further useful and invaluable information.

'Know Before you Go' campaign

South Vietnam Explorer dates & prices

Seasonal prices for this tour are given below. We can also customise the itinerary to fit your personal requirements. Please contact us for details and prices
Season Start Date Season End Date Price (P/P) Offer Price Note
12 Dec, 2016 16 Dec, 2016 US$1489 - - Book now
17 Dec, 2016 05 Jan, 2017 US$1559 - - Book now
06 Jan, 2017 30 Apr, 2017 US$1529 - - Book now
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VIETNAM Reviews
Service

Posted Jun 09, 2016
I haven't traveled yet, so it is a bit premature to be giving a rating. That being said, I have been exceedingly impressed with the service I have received to date. No pushy salesmanship just quick and complete answers to all my questions. It shouldn't be hard to give this sort of service, but I have found it lacking elsewhere. And the itinerary looks to be the best for the time we have, really allowing us to see the places we are visiting instead of seeing how many places we can cram in - but I will be able to comment better on that after the trip.
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Service

Posted Apr 14, 2016
Ant was extremely patient with us and worked really hard to come up with an itinerary which gave the whole family what we were looking for. We can't wait!
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