Most visitors to Vietnam are overwhelmed by the sublime beauty of the country's natural setting: the Red River Delta in the north, the Mekong Delta in the south and almost the entire coastal strip are covered with brilliant green rice paddies.

 

There are some beautiful beaches along the coast, soaring mountains and some dense tropical forests in inlands.  Vietnam also offers an opportunity to see a country of traditional charm and rare beauty rapidly opening up to the outside world.  Vietnam has two World Natural Heritage sites: Halong Bay and Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park.

 

Vietnam features a warm humid subtropical climate with plentiful precipitation.  It has typical tropical climate where summers are hot and humid, and winters are relatively cool and dry. Summers, lasting from May to September, are hot and humid, receiving the majority of the annual 1,680 millimetres (66.1 in) of rainfall.  The winters are short, relatively dry, and mild, while spring can bring light rains.

 

Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam and the second largest city after Ho Chi Minh city. It has estimated population nearly 6.5 million (2009).  October 2010 officially mark 1000 years of the establishment of Hanoi.  On this occasion, Hanoi has been named by Frommer's travel guide as one of the world's "Top Destinations 2010".  Ho Chi Minh City also known as Saigon is the largest city in Vietnam.  The city center is situated on the banks of the Saigon River, 60 kilometers from the South China Sea.

 

Climate & Weather
Vietnam stretches over 1,800 km from north to south, with an area of 332,000 square km, Vietnam's topography varies from coastal plains to mountain ranges, therefore weather patterns in the principle cities are very different.
North: Winter lasts from November to April, with temperatures averaging 10 - 16C, fog and drizzle in January - March. Summer begins in May and lasts until October, with an average temperature of 30C, heavy rainfall and the occasional violent typhoon.
Center: Central Vietnamexperiences a transitional climate, with heavy rainfalls between November and December and dry, hot summer months. Typhoons are quite common in coastal areas between July and November.
South: Temperatures are fairly constant through the year; 25C - 30C. Seasons are determined by the rains - the dry season runs from November to April and the wet season from May to October. The hottest period is March and April.
Highland areas: In the hill resorts of Dalat (1,500 m), Buon Me Thuot and Sapa, nights are cool throughout the year, and in the winter months, October to March, it can be distinctly chilly with temperatures falling to 0C. Even in the hottest months of March and April the temperature rarely exceeds 26C.
More details on weather, please visit:http://www.wunderground.com


Customs and Formalities
All visitors to Vietnam must fill in declaration forms and show their luggage to customs officials on request.
Visitors can bring with them unlimited amounts of foreign currency, objects made of gold, silver, precious metals and gemstones or plated with silver or gold, all of which must be declared in detail on the customs forms. Commercial Video films and printed materials that are considered offensive are normally confiscated and sent to Ministry of Culture for inspection.
Goods prohibited to import: weapons, ammunition, explosives, military technical equipment, drugs, toxic chemicals, debauched and reactionary products, firecrackers of all kinds, toys with negative impacts on the dignity education, social security and safety, cigarettes beyond the stipulated quantity, etc.
Goods prohibited to export: weapons, ammunition, explosives, military technical equipment, antiques, drugs, toxic chemicals, wild animals, rare and precious animals and plants, documents related to the national security, etc.

 

What to bring
Bring as little as possible. Keep in mind that you can and will buy things in Vietnam, so do not burden yourself. If you do forget to bring any ‘essential’ items, it’s quite likely that they can be bought in Vietnam, at least in the cities.

Currency, Exchange and ATM
The local currency is the Dong (abbreviated "d" or VND). Bank notes are 100d, 200d, 500d, 1000d, 2,000d, 5,000d, 10,000d, 20,000d, 50,000d, 100,000d & 500,000d. Coins are 200d, 500d, 1000d, 2000d and 5000d.
Further details on exchange rate, please visit: http://www.vietcombank.com.vn/en/Exchange%20Rate.asp
Money and travelers cheques, particularly U.S. Dollars, can be exchanged at banks, hotels and authorized money- exchangers. It is advisable to carry U.S. Dollar bills in small denominations.
Credit cards are generally only accepted in major hotels, and in some up-market shops and restaurants in major cities. ATM facilities are readily available now in major cities

 

Heath Requirements
No actual vaccinations are officially required. Visitors are advised to check with their doctor or travel immunization clinic regarding the advisability of inoculation against typhoid, tetanus, hepatitis A & B and Malaria.
Those visitors taking medicine for certain conditions such as diabetes or heart problems should make sure that they carry these medications in their hand luggage at all times in case the main luggage should be delayed.
It is recommended that all travellers take out comprehensive Personal Travel Insurance to cover personal belongings, in case of accident or illness etc.

Domestic Flights
If flights are required in your itinerary they are in coach class, unless specified otherwise. Flight timings quoted are local and are subject to change. Domestic flights require a check-in, 1-hour prior to the flight departure.
Carry on luggage is limited to one piece plus a camera. In economy class air travel baggage allowance is 20kg per person.
We cannot be held responsible for the loss or damage to passenger’s belongings. Domestic flights are prone to last minute schedule changes and cancellation without ANY advance notice.

 

AirportTax
Airport departure tax for international flights currently is: US$ 14 from Hanoi & HoChiMinhCity; US$ 8 from Danang
The departure airport tax may be paid in local currency or in US Dollars. Children under 12 years are entitled to have half fare of adult.
Airport departure tax for domestic flights is included in the airfare.

Internet
Vietnam joined the global computer age and internet-service providers are currently operating in most of the Cities. You can access the internet through hotels, Cyber Cafés & Internet/Computer Service Centers. ADSL technology is widely used in major cities.

Language
Vietnamese is the official language of Vietnam. Learning foreign languages, particularly English, is currently popular among young people in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hue, Danang and other cities. Tourist guides are available for English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, Japanese and Russian speakers.

 

Local Time and Working Hour
Local time is GMT + 7 hours.
Governmental agencies work Monday to Friday from 7.30amto 4.30pm(excluding one-hour lunch) and are closed Saturday and Sunday.
Banks are open Monday to Friday from 7.30amor 8am to 11.30amand from 1pmto 4pmand are closed Saturday and Sunday.
Private shops are open from 8 or 8.30amto 9 or 10pm.

Overland Travel
The road system in Vietnamis reasonable in the main urban cities. The drives through the countryside can be a wonderful sightseeing experience. However, it must be noted that the roads are narrow and some may be poorly paved when outside the main cities, and as a consequence the drives can be rough and difficult at times.
The journey timings described in your itinerary are based on the usual amount of time a particular journey will take. However, please appreciate that not all roads can be checked for their condition throughout the year.
Most cars used are manufactured locally by Toyota, Honda and Ford and are for the most part comfortable and ideally suited to local roads. Smoking is not permitted in any vehicle, under any conditions. There is ample opportunity to smoke during photographic, luncheon and sightseeing stops.
If you decide to leave the hotel and go out on your own, there are various means of transport that you may like to take such as taxis or “cyclos”. If taking a taxi or “cyclo”, insist on the meter being switched on before you begin your journey. Due to an effort to stop pollution, most “cyclos” are pedaled as opposed to motor. It is suggested that you carry the name of your destination or hotel written in local language in the event your driver does not understand English. The staff at your hotel can assist you in this regard.

 

Passport and Visa
Travellers to Vietnam are required to hold a passport valid for at least six (06) months beyond the completion of their visit and must contain a valid visa.
Visas are usually issued by the passengers’ home country (against the visa’s approval number), which require the original passport, and 2 photos in order to issue a visa stamp.
Visas can also be obtained upon arrival at Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh Cityand Danang airports (Visa on Arrival), in which case the stamping fee will be quoted separately.
Visas on Arrival can be requested via Vietnam Impressive Travel in connection with the booking of travel arrangements to Vietnam.
Hotels might reserve the right to keep travel documents overnight at the reception for registration purpose.

Food
Vietnam has abundant food supplies and an elaborate cuisine. Cooking is seen as an art and some Vietnamese dishes have achieved international fame, including such traditional dishes as noodle soup (pho), pork sausage (gio lua), spring rolls (nem ran), and fish balls (cha ca). In addition to Vietnamese food, the larger hotels also serve a wide variety of Continental and Chinese cuisine. In the smaller cities, when the hotels only have one restaurant, ordering a-la-carte may involve a slight wait, consequently it is advised that you take advantage of the large and diverse buffets available at these hotels to minimize any delay.
Never drink water from the hotel tap, no matter what category of hotel you are staying in. Bottled mineral water is available at all hotels throughout Vietnam. Do not have any ice in your drinks as this is often made from water that has not been purified.

 

Post and Telecommunications
A regular international post service is available. In addition Express Mail Service (EMS) is available to more than 50 countries worldwide with a delivery time of 2 to 10 days.
Vietnam has high international telephone charges. It is important to check the exact amount with the hotel before making a call, as hotel surcharges are often imposed.
VOIP calls which help reduce call charges (for most of International calls from any destination within Vietnam and for domestic calls between the main cities of the country) are now available as well pre-paid internet & mobile card can be bought in the major cities.
Service providers for mobile phone network are GSM of Vinaphone, MobilePhone and Viettel while CDMA are EVNTelecom and S-Phone. Numbers begin with 091, 090, 098, 095, 096

Electricity
Electricity in Vietnam mostly runs at 220 V (50 Hz), but often you will find 110V (also at 50Hz). In the south, most outlets are US-style flat pins. In the north, most outlets are the Russian-inspired round pins, which usually carry 220V. Electrical sockets are two and three-prong.

 

Shopping
Foreign visitors to Vietnam have the opportunity to buy souvenirs made of rattan, gold, silver and stone. There is a diverse range of products, from woodenwares such as wooden buttons or sindora beds to lacquer paintings, bowls and chopsticks, bamboo screens and stone tea sets. Woven tapestries, “tho cam” handbags and other handicrafts are produced by the traditional skills of the women of ethnic minorities in such rural regions in the north as Sapa, Mai Chau and Dien Bien.

Bargaining & Tipping
Bargaining is advised to do when visit Vietnam. You should ask the taxi driver or motortaxi (xe om) driver for the price of your travel distance made. The same when you go shopping. When you are surrounded by street sellers, it is better to say no and mind your way.
Tipping is widely practiced and expected
Porters : VND 5.000 – 10.000 per bag
Waiters in restaurants: 5-10% of total bill
Taxi drivers : 10% of total bill
Tour guides :
VND 40.000 per person/per day
Drivers : VND 20.000 per person/per day


All of the above information is accurate at the time of publication.

 

Gently the North
(Mai Chau, Son La, Dien Bien, Lai Chau & Sapa)
Private tour, fixed departure on every Monday
English/French speaking guide
Meals Fullboard
Trip code: VI-905

 


Day 1 (Monday): Hanoi-Mai Chau (L/D)
09h00: Pick up at your hotel in Hanoi, transfer to Hoa Binh with visit of Muong ethnic minority village on the way. Lunch en route. Hoa Binh province, approximately 75 km from Hanoi, is home to several ethnic minorities, particularly the White Thai and Muong ethnic group. Their traditional stilt houses are large structures with palm leaf roofs and polished bamboo floors. The kitchen is located in the center of the house; the cooking as well as the weaving of the colorful tho cam, the material used to make their clothes, takes place there. Arrive Mai Chau Valley. Dinner and accommodation at Villager's House (Note: Shared accommodation/shared bath room)

Day 2 (Tuesday): Mai Chau - Xa Linh - Son La (B/L/D)
Breakfast
Depart Mai Chau for Son La with visit of Xa Linh (Sua) ethnic village of Flower H’mong, it is a village with the settlement of over 100 houses. Culturally, the H’mong people are one of the north Vietnam’s most interesting ethnic minorities, and since the costume of the Flower H’mong people of Sua village is subtlety different from that of the Flower H’mong further north it is well worth making photos here. Lunch at local restaurant at Moc Chau town. Continue road to Son La.  Upon arrival Son La, visit Son La Penitentiary and check in at hotel.
Dinner at local restaurant. Accommodation at simple hotel

Day 3 (Wednesday): Son La - Muong Phang - Dien Dien (B/L/D)
Breakfast at hotel
Departure to Dien Bien with visit of Hin Thai village and Thuan Chau market. On the approach to Thuan Chau, large groups of ethnic people may be seen making their way to and from the market, laden with baskets of goods. Continue road to Dien Bien with cross the most spectacular pass in Vietnam, which is famously named by local people as Pha Din Pass meaning “the Heaven and the Earth” heading to Pa Khoang manmade lake, that is served the Thac Bay hydro-electric plant and the watering purpose of a huge surrounding area. Lunch at Tuan Giao town. Continue to the way to the General Vo Nguyen Giap’s underground headquarter at the height of Dien Bien Phu campaign you will visit the newly – rebuilt bunker of General Vo Nguyen Giap in the Muong Phang Forest. Arrival in Dien Bien Phu and check in at simple hotel. Dinner and accommodation at hotel

Day 4 (Thursday): Dien Bien - Lai Chau (B/L/D)
Breakfast at hotel.
A short visiting of Dien Bien central market before visiting of A1 Revolutionary Heroes’s Cemetery Dien Bien Phu Historic Victory Exhibition Centre, General De Castries’s Bunker, Old Muong Thanh Bridge and Nam Rom river and Dien Bien Phu central market. Lunch at Lien Tuoi Restaurant. Proceed to Lai Chau along the bumpy road. Passing of series of ethnic villages of Kho Mu (Xa), Huoi Chan, and Bung Giat. Arrive in Lai Chau. Dinner and accommodation at simple hotel

Day 5 (Friday): Lai Chau - Binh Lu -Sapa (B/L/D)
Breakfast at hotel
Boat trip on Da River to visit one ethic minority village and enjoy the beautiful scenery around the river banks
Depart Lai Chau town to Sapa along the most spectacular scenery on the way leading to Sapa crossing the junctions of Da and Na rivers by the way of the Chinese – built Hang Tom suspension bridge. From here the road weaves its ways northwards through the picturesque and steadily more spectacular Na River valley, past more ethnic villages of White Thai, Kho Mu and later Red and White H’mong minorities. Lunch stop at Tam Duong town. Leaving Tam Duong area, the National Road 4D climbs steadily, affording spectacular views of the surrounding hills. Once over the summit, the road begins its descent towards the town of Binh Lu, immediately you will begin to see groups of Black Dao people, who villages are located in the surrounding hills. Arrive in Sapa and check in at hotel. Dinner and accommodation at hotelI

Day 6 (Saturday): Sapa (B/L/D)
Breakfast at hotel
A full day trekking to discover Sapa begin with visit of Sapa central market followed by 40 minutes walk to Cat Cat village and then walking through the Lao Chai and Ta Van villages of Black H’mong an Dzay people. Lunch at local restaurant. In the afternoon, visit Ta Phin village of Dzao and H’mong. Drive back hotel. Dinner at local restaurant. Accommodation at hotel.

Day 7 (Sunday): Sapa - Muong Khuong - Lao Cai-Hanoi (B/L/D)
Breakfast at hotel
Sunday: A scenic 3-hour drive to visit famous Muong Khuong Market, situated on the border to Yunnan. Every Sunday the otherwise sleepy town is transformed into a bustling place full with various ethnic minorities. Here visitors can meet more of Lao Cai’s colourful Flower H’mong people, plus Nung, Dzao Tuyen, Tu Di and a number of other ethnic groups such as the Thu Lao, the Pa Di, the La Chi and the highly-photogenic Lo Lo. Lunch box by Bagguette and Chocolat restaurant in Sapa. Transfer to Lao Cai station.
Dinner at local restaurant in Lao Cai
By train to Hanoi (soft sleeper 4 berth compartment with air-conditioning ). Overnight trip.

Arrive Hanoi train station at around 04:30 hours the next morning, own arrangement taxi to your hotel or transfer to airport for departure.

 

 


Valid from 01-Apr-2013 to 30-Sep-2014

All prices are per person

 

Single

Twin

 

Standard Class (2 star)

$1935

$1265

 

Superior Class (3 star) *

$2105

$1345

 

*Superior class is with Mai Chau Lodge in Mai Chau and Victoria Sapa in Sapa

Price inclusive

  • Breakfast and accommodation sharing a double room.
  • Pick-ups and transfers by private air-conditioned vehicle as specified in the itinerary above
  • Travel in an appropriate private air-conditioned vehicle with an experienced safe driver.
  • The services of experienced English-speaking guides as indicated in the itinerary
  • Where necessary, entry fees for all visits as mentioned in the programme.
  • Lunches and dinners (as specified in the itinerary)
  • Mineral water and wet wipe
  • Train ticket Lao Cai - Hanoi in 4 person compartment softsleeper with A/C
  • VAT and other taxes
Price exclusive
  • International flight tickets and airport tax.
  • Visas
  • Dinners, except as specified above.
  • Drinks, gratuities and personal expenses.
  • Camera fees (if any)
  • Diving fees
  • Tips
  • Insurance.
Hotels used for Standard class
City Hotel & room type Website
Mai Chau Villager's house Not available
Son La Cong Doan hotel Not available
Dien Bien Muong Thanh hotel Not available
Lai Chau Lan Anh hotel Not available
Sapa Royal or Mountain View, standard room www.royalsapa.com

Hotels used for Superior class
City Hotel & room type Website
Mai Chau Mai Chau Lodge www.maichaulodge.com
Son La Cong Doan hotel Not available
Dien Bien Muong Thanh hotel Not available
Lai Chau Lan Anh hotel Not available
Sapa Victoria Sapa, superior room www.victoriahotels-asia.com/eng/hotels-in-vietnam/sapa-resort

 
A:Available - This tour is available for booking.
R:On Request - This tour is on request only
All prices are per person.
If you are interested, please contact your local agent to make the booking or alternatively email us at reservations@toursite.com.au