|Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam|
Prepare for sensory overload in Indochina. All your accommodation and travel is taken care of, plus there's a local tour guide at hand. We do a full loop starting and finishing in the melting pot of Bangkok through Cambodia and Angkor Wat, Vietnam and Hoi An, Laos and Luang Prabang. Ancient or modern, busy or relaxed it's completely up to you.
Your trip starts today with your arrival in Bangkok. No activities are planned until your evening group meeting, so you may arrive at any time. Please check the noticeboard in the hotel lobby, located on the ground floor, for a notice containing details of your tour. This will advise you of your tour guide’s name, telephone number and the time and location of your group meeting. Normally this meeting takes place around 6pm. Until your meeting we encourage you to get out and discover the delights that Bangkok has to offer, including Thailand’s famous cuisine. Make sure that you take a hotel business card so that you will be able to find your way back to the hotel.
We depart Bangkok and drive 4½ hours to the town of Aranya Prathet, before continuing to the Thai-Cambodian border town of Poipet. After crossing, we sling our packs (and ourselves) into local mini-vans for an adventurous and bumpy road journey to Siem Reap. The Angkor complex of temples is without doubt one of the most astounding archaeological sites in the world. Scattered over an area of 200 square kilometres, only Egypt’s Nile Valley can compare to this vast array of ancient monuments. The ancient city of Angkor served as the royal centre from which a dynasty of Khmer kings ruled one of the largest, most prosperous and sophisticated kingdoms in the history of South East Asia. With a history covering over 600 years from 802 to 1432, the kings of Angkor at the height of their power ruled over a territory that extended from the tip of the Indochina peninsula northward to Yunnan and from Vietnam westward to the Bay of Bengal. In your time here you can hire a local tour guide to take us on a day-long tour of Angkor, visiting the South Gate of Angkor Thom, Bayon, Elephant Terrace, Baphoun, the Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas, Terrace of the Leper King, Ta Prohm and of course the fabulous Angkor Wat. Alternatively you can just hire some local transport and wander through the ruins at leisure. You have the option of doing just the above highlights and returning to Siem Reap or extending your exploration and visiting the rose-coloured temple of Banteay Srei, located about 30 kilometres north of Siem Reap. Getting there means over a very rough and dusty road, but it’s all worthwhile as this is considered to be the best preserved of all of Cambodia’s temples. Another option is to hire a local site guide and travel out into the countryside to discover facets of rural life that have changed little since the kings of Angkor ruled over the land. Generally local site guides won’t cost you much and he or she will take you around the villages and explain local industries and the peoples’ way of life. Ask your tour guide to help to arrange any of the above optional tours. Siem Reap also has quite a bit to offer and an enjoyable afternoon can be spent wandering around town visiting its market, shops and restaurants. If the muscles are a little tight after all the exploring, you may like to have a soothing massage at the blind institute.
We leave Siem Reap by bus and make our way to Phnom Penh. En route, we stop at the town of Skuon, where the local inhabitants are noted for their love of eating spiders! Later, we follow the Tônlé Sap River, passing through fishing villages and travelling past farming communities. The source of the Tônlé Sap River is the shallow Tônlé Sap Lake, the largest of South East Asia’s lakes. Numerous streams feed it and it then drains into the Mekong River just south of Phnom Penh. During the wet monsoon season of June to November, the high waters of the Mekong River reverse the flow of the Tônlé Sap River and increase the size of the lake from about 2,600 to 10,400 square kilometres, as the river flows back into the lake. As it begins to recede again, the lake’s huge stocks of fish are easily trapped in nets and bamboo traps or simply caught in the branches of trees. In the 1950s and 1960s, Phnom Penh was one of the finest cities in South East Asia. Despite the wide-scale destruction that took place after the Khmer Rouge emptied the city in 1975, Phnom Penh still manages to exude some colonial charm from a bygone era. Particularly down on the palm-fringed riverfront where a number of French-era shops and villas still exist and the spires of the Royal Palace pierce the skyline. In Phnom Penh you can hire a cyclo for a sightseeing tour of Phnom Penh to include the Royal Palace and the infamous Tuol Sleng Prison. Also known as Security Prison 21 (S21), Tuol Sleng is a former high school that was transformed into a detention and interrogation centre. An estimated 14,000 to 20,000 Cambodians accused of being traitors were tortured to death or sent to their execution from here. You can then travel further afield and hire a taxi to take you out to visit another reminder of the Khmer Rouge atrocities. Just as horrifying, the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek are situated 15 kilometres southwest of Phnom Penh. An estimated 17,000 people met their death here at the hands of the Khmer Rouge. A stupa-like tower of skulls was erected here in 1988 as a reminder of the atrocities that took place. After these sobering experiences you could visit the Central Market. Located in an old French colonial building, it’s a good place to look for clothing or sarongs. The rest of the day is free to further explore Phnom Penh city by ourselves. There’s plenty to see including the Silver Pagoda, the temple of Wat Phnom, the National Museum and the French Quarter.
We drive to the coast and arrive at Sihanoukville, a place that has been earmarked as Cambodia’s main beach resort development. It’s early days yet and we have the chance to get a feel for this quiet location by enjoying a relaxing afternoon on Occheuteal Beach or wandering across to nearby Otres Beach, Sokha Beach or Independence Beach. Further afield is Victory Beach - another beach popular with travellers. The more active can wander down and explore the town centre, but please be prepared for the fact that this town is very hilly and spreads over quite a large area. Sihanoukville was formerly known as Kompong Som before it was renamed in honour of the recent king.
From Sihanoukville we travel by private van via Kep and on to Phnom and the Cambodian-Vietnamese border point at Trinh Bien. Please note that a Vietnamese visa must be obtained prior to joining this tour as it is impossible to obtain one at the border. At the border crossing, we say goodbye to our Cambodian tour guide and meet our Vietnamese tour guide. We then continue by road around the base of Sam Mountain and on to our final destination, Chau Doc - an active trading town due to its proximity with the border. The market area runs along the riverfront and sells black market goods smuggled in from Cambodia. Being on the water allows us to see the interesting lifestyle of many of the local people. Homes are built over metal netting and their inhabitants are kept busy producing enormous amounts of food to feed the thousands of fish being bred here. This afternoon you can arrange for an optional boat cruise on the Bassac River, a tributary of the Mekong, where you can visit a Cham village, a mosque and a floating fish farm, as well as witnessing a demonstration of the local handicraft of silk weaving.
We travel on to our final destination and Vietnam’s largest city, Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City). Our journey by road will take between 6 to 7 hours and we should arrive in the mid to late afternoon. In order to explore Saigon you will need to stay an extra day or so after your tour ends. Your tour guide can advise you of things to see and do. One option is to take an excursion to the north of Saigon to visit the Cu Chi Tunnels. The city itself has many attractions including the Reunification Palace, War Remnants Museum, Ben Thanh Market, Notre Dame Cathedral and the adjacent Gustav Eiffel-designed Central Post Office, which are all within walking distance of your hotel. However, to make the most of your time, you might like to consider hiring a ‘cyclo’ (bicycle rickshaw). The going rate is approximately 80,000 VND per hour, but make sure you negotiate a price before setting out. In the evening we have the chance to go out on a final night on the town and Saigon is the ideal place to do this, with many dining and nightlife options available.
You have a free day to discover the attractions of Vietnam’s largest city and your tour guide is on hand to advise you of things to see and do. One option is to take an excursion to the north of Saigon, something that would have been considered risky business 30 odd years ago. Today the peaceful farming communities around the former Viet Cong stronghold of Cu Chi Tunnels belie the horrors of the Vietnam War. Begun by the Viet Minh and later expanded by the Viet Cong, these tunnels were constructed to for guerrilla fighters to conduct covert operations and then quickly hide from the enemy. There are reputed to be around 200 kilometres of underground tunnels within the area and in some places they even managed to penetrate the perimeters of nearby US military bases. In some places you are actually be given the opportunity of crawling through a section of the tunnels and learning how the brave men and women of Cu Chi built underground hospitals, kitchens and meeting rooms during their struggle for a unified Vietnam. If you just plan on staying in Saigon, the city has many attractions. The Reunification Palace, War Remnants Museum, Ben Thanh Market, Notre Dame Cathedral and the adjacent Gustav Eiffel-designed Central Post Office are all within walking distance of your hotel. However, to make the most of your time, you might like to consider hiring a ‘cyclo’ (bicycle rickshaw). The going rate is approximately 80,000 VND per hour, but make sure you negotiate a price before setting out. In the evening we board our overnight train bound for Nha Trang.
With fabulous sunny weather for most of the year, clear blue water surrounding a string of offshore islands and a beach that spans the whole length of the city, it is little wonder that Nha Trang has become Vietnam's premier beach resort. A steady increase in tourism has brought with it a much-needed boost in facilities and Nha Trang's diverse range of restaurants serve up seafood that is as good as anywhere else in Vietnam. We have plenty of time to enjoy the sun during our time in Nha Trang. One option is to book on a boat tour and head out on the water for a cruise around the islands. Bring your towel and swimmers because there is the opportunity for swimming and snorkelling. Lunch is usually provided on these day trips and you may also get the chance to go for a splash in the waters off one of the sandy island beaches or book a ride on a ‘basket boat’ and visit one of the local fishing villages. Those opting not to go on the day trip can just laze on the beach on town. On the evening of day 4 we board our overnight sleeper train and head north to Danang. (Please note that this is a local train and conditions on board are generally quite basic. Breakfast on board the train the following morning is not always available, so it is recommended that you purchase some breakfast supplies before leaving Nha Trang.)
There is no rail link into Hoi An so we jump off the train at Danang and drive the remaining distance to Hoi An. It should only take us about 45 minutes and on the way we pass the massive former US airbase that was in 1968 the busiest airport in the world, with all manner of aircraft coming and going in support of South Vietnam's war effort. The ancient and historic town of Hoi An was for three centuries one of the most important sea ports in central Vietnam, visited by sailing ships from all over the world seeking trade in silk, ceramics, spice etc. In the late 19th century, the Tu Bon River, linking the port to the open sea, silted up and became unnavigable to large vessels. Trade moved up the coast to Tourane, now modern-day Danang, and Hoi An went back to being a sleepy little fishing and rice farming community. Today Hoi An's fortunes are once again riding on the crest of the wave as Vietnam's number one tourist destination. This is largely due to the fact that the old town's narrow streets are packed with a brilliant blend of Chinese, Portuguese and Japanese styles of architecture and has changed little from its heyday as a major port of trade. In your free time you can do your own ‘tour’ of the Old Town, where you can visit an ancient house, a Chinese Assembly Hall, the famous Japanese Covered Bridge and a local historic museum. You may wish to rent a bicycle and set off to explore the surrounding countryside, take a boat trip on the river, relax on the nearby beach, enjoy the wonderful cuisine on offer at some of the town's numerous cheap cafes or have some clothes made. Hoi An has nearly 100 silk shops offering same day service for tailor made clothes at unbelievably low prices. If you'd like to learn more about the Kingdom of Champa, the ancient ruins at My Son can be visited inside half a day. Here you can see more than 70 historic monuments spread over a large area.
This morning we jump onto the local bus one last time for a three to four hour drive to Hue, travelling through a region of Vietnam that is blessed with magnificent coastal and rural scenery. Shortly after we've forged our way through the busy streets of Danang where Highway 1 begins its winding ascent through the Hai Van Pass or 'Pass of the Ocean Clouds'. On the other side of the pass we stop at Lang Co Beach for a short break before crossing over another two small passes to arrive in Hue around lunchtime. Under the reign of the Nguyen Dynasty emperors, Hue served as Vietnam's capital from 1801 to 1945. Dripping with history, and often with rain, Hue has a certain serene and classic character that sets it apart from all other provincial centres. In Hue it is recommended that you spend a couple of hours exploring Hue's massive walled citadel and the Forbidden Purple Palace that is enclosed within. The Citadel's splendid Ngo Mon Gate gives little hint of the wholesale destruction that has taken place inside at the hands of various occupying forces. The bloody Battle of Hue during the 1968 Tet Offensive all but finished it off. The Vietnamese, with the help of UNESCO and other non-government organisations, are hard at work restoring and rebuilding what remains. Sadly it may never be returned to its former glory, but it's still a fascinating insight into Imperial Vietnam. Tickets to enter the Citadel are available at the main gate opposite the flag tower and cost approximately US$4 per person. If you wish to explore further afield you can book on a tour that takes you on board a 'Dragon Boat', where you enjoy a leisurely cruise up the timeless Perfume River to one of Hue's most beautiful landmarks, the Thien Mu Pagoda - with its symbolic tiered tower. After visiting the pagoda, you re-join your boat and continue to the Tomb of Emperor Tu Duc (1847-1883), the fourth emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty. Constructed between 1864 and 1867, it was more of a pleasure garden than a tomb and the Emperor Tu Duc used it as his second residence. The interesting thing is that it is not known if Tu Duc is actually buried here. No one has yet discovered his burial site and the treasures that must lie within. Not as extensively damaged during the Vietnam War as Hue's Citadel, Tu Duc's Tomb remains a significant reminder of the opulent lifestyles enjoyed by the Nguyen Dynasty emperors. There are many royal tombs in the vicinity and another option is to hire a bike and cycle through the magnificent countryside to visit them. In the late afternoon of Day 8 we transfer to the train station and board the 'Reunification Express' for our overnight train journey to Hanoi. (Please note again that breakfast on board the train the following morning is not always available, so it is recommended that you purchase some breakfast supplies before leaving Hue.)
On arrival in Hanoi we are met by our driver and his vehicle, who will take us on a day trip out to Halong Bay. 'Ha Long' means 'descending dragon' and legend has it that a giant dragon plunged into the ocean at this point, cutting the bay from the rocks as it thrashed its way into the depths. We prefer Mother Nature's version and awe-inspiring Halong Bay, with its 3000 limestone karsts thrusting skyward out of the sea, is one of her finest pieces of work. Our Halong Bay excursion begins with a 3½-hour drive through the fertile Red River Delta to the bayside town of Bai Chay. We board our chartered boat in the late morning and cruise through this most amazing seascape. We have the opportunity to go for a swim before going ashore on one of the islands to explore colourful limestone caves. On arrival in Hanoi we are met by our driver and his vehicle, who will take us on a day trip out to Halong Bay. 'Ha Long' means 'descending dragon' and legend has it that a giant dragon plunged into the ocean at this point, cutting the bay from the rocks as it thrashed its way into the depths. We prefer Mother Nature's version and awe-inspiring Halong Bay, with its 3000 limestone karsts thrusting skyward out of the sea, is one of her finest pieces of work. Our Halong Bay excursion begins with a 3½-hour drive through the fertile Red River Delta to the bayside town of Bai Chay. We board our chartered boat in the late morning and cruise through this most amazing seascape. We have the opportunity to go for a swim before going ashore on one of the islands to explore colourful limestone caves. In the afternoon we return to Bai Chay, where we spend the night.
In the morning we are driven back to Hanoi. Although there has been a settlement here since the 3rd century AD, the city of Hanoi can trace its origins back to 1010 when Emperor Le Thai To moved his capital from Hoa Lu to this site. From the 1880s to World War II, Hanoi was developed as the French colonial capital of French Indochina and many of the old structures in Hanoi were razed to make way for new French buildings. Today the people of Hanoi take a lot of pride in their grand old colonial buildings, and these together with the wide spacious boulevards and tree-lined lakes help make Hanoi one of the most graceful and charming cities in South East Asia. Your time in Hanoi is free for you to make your own discoveries. You may wish to visit the One Pillar Pagoda, which is situated near the Soviet-inspired Mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh. Unfortunately the mausoleum itself is only open for limited hours in the morning and is closed on Mondays. The One Pillar Pagoda was first constructed in 1049 and as such it was Hanoi’s oldest structure. If it doesn’t look that old to you, it’s because the French blew it up in 1954 as a parting gesture and the current building is a replica. You can also check out the Temple of Literature, a wonderful name for a wonderful place. Founded in 1070, it was Vietnam’s first educational institute and a place where candidates for the position of Mandarin were examined. Another interesting site is Hoa Lo Prison, probably better known to most of us as the ‘Hanoi Hilton’. Hanoi’s tallest building now occupies most of the original site, and no, it doesn’t belong to the Hilton Hotel chain, but the eastern wall and a small section of the prison behind have been retained and today serve as a museum. It mostly serves as a reminder of the Vietnamese who were incarcerated here by their French masters. One of the best places to go wandering is the city’s Old Quarter, situated to the north of the Hoan Kiem Lake. It’s a great (and easy) place to get lost in for a couple of hours. However, it’s not too difficult to find your bearings if you remember that its boundaries are the railway line to the west and the north, the Red River to the east and Hoan Kiem Lake to the south
We have a free morning in Hanoi before we board our bus to the city of Vinh, birthplace of Ho Chi Minh. Following the wars with the French and the Americans, the city was so heavily bombed it was left with only two buildings intact! It has since been rebuilt with the help of former Eastern Block nations and today boasts a population of 500,000 people.
Travelling by bus along the Ho Chi Minh trail we cross the border continue to the Lao capital, located on the banks of the Mekong River. Vientiane was originally one of the early Lao valley fiefdoms that were consolidated around the time that Europe was leaving the Dark Ages. Despite early prosperity, Vientiane lost its independence at various times during its history to Vietnamese, Burmese, Siamese and Khmers forces. When Laos became a French protectorate in the late 19th Century, Vientiane was named as its capital. It remains so today, under communist rule. The curious mix of Lao, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, Soviet, French and US influences result in a somewhat exotic atmosphere. This small and laid-back capital is easily explored by bicycle or on foot. Some good options are to walk to the oldest remaining temple in Vientiane, Wat Si Saket, which was constructed in 1818. During your free time, you can further explore Vientiane’s other historical sites, including Haw Pha Kaew, the former royal temple of the Lao monarchy and home to some of the best examples of Buddhist sculptures found in Laos.
On Saturday morning we travel by bus to the village of Vang Vieng, located on a beautiful bend in the Nam Song River (approximately 3.5 hours). During our stay we can cross the river to explore the huge caves that line the West Bank. These caves are riddled with unexplored tunnels and caverns, and there is plenty of time to make our own discoveries or partake in a day-trip of kayaking along the Nam Song or hire bicycles to explore further afield. There are so many options to explore this interesting area.
The winding mountain roas lead us to Luang Prabang in the late afternoon. We have time here to wander the streets and discover this beautiful town, with its gleaming temple roofs, fading French architecture and stunning mountain backdrop. Luang Prabang has been claimed by UNESCO to be ‘the best preserved city in South East Asia’. A recommended option of our three -night stay is a visit to the beautiful Kuang Si Falls. You can trek to the waterfalls (approximately 3 hours), this is a great opportunity to stretch the legs after our bus journey and gives us a chance to do some physical activity. For the more adventerous there is also time to explore the sacred caves of Pak Ou or make a climb up Mt Phousi which is anawesome way to end the day watching the sun set over the Mekong!
After breakfast we transfer to the pier where we board our slow boat for the trip up the Mekong River. The pace is very relaxed - a perfect way to observe the local lifestyle close up. We arrive in the late afternoon at Pakbeng; a colourful village situated at the junction of the Mekong River and the smaller Beng River, hence the town’s name ‘Pak’ meaning ‘mouth’ in Lao. Hmong and tribal Thai's are frequently seen on the main street of Pakbeng, and small vendors along the street sell local textiles and handicrafts. We spend the night in a simple guesthouse. Please be warned that the accommodation standard is very basic, but also bear in mind that you are travelling in a remote area. Please have an open mind and come with an adventurous spirit! We reborad the boat on day 12 and continuing cruising up the Mekong crossing the border over into Thailand and overnight in Chiang Khong. This peacefule riverside town remains an important trading town for teh surrounding hill tribes.
Meals included: 1 breakfast
We travel to Chiang Mai via bus through some beautiful countryside. The days are free to do as you wish, as there is much to see in this northern city, with over 120 temples in the centre alone. A visit to the Tribal Research Institute provides excellent background information on the cultures and customs of the various ethnic groups that inhabit the hill regions of northern and western Thailand and Laos. An excursion to the top of Doi Suthep offers fantastic views over the city and can be combined with a visit to the museum. It’s best to visit Doi Suthep in the morning or late in the afternoon, to avoid the heat of the day, as there are over 300 steps to climb! You may also wish to get a traditional Thai massage or even partake in a cooking class, beware - you eat what you cook! Your tour guide will be able to offer other suggestions for things to see and do during your free time. This evening the Night Bazaar beckons, a shoppers paradise and a great place to practice your bargaining skills. On the evening of day 32 we board an overnight sleeper train which takes us to Bangkok.
The tour finishes on Day 33 at the Bangkok railway station. Your Tour Guide can assist you with onward travel arrangements.
No entrance fees included.
• Gecko’s expert English-speaking local tour leaders throughout the tour, and local guides at some sites.
• Slow boat trip down the Mekong River with a night in a hostel in Pakbeng and a visit to the Buddha statues at Pak Ou Caves.
• Time on the beaches of Sihanoukville.
• Free time to explore Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Huay Xai, Luang Prabang, Vientiane, Hanoi, Hoi An, Nha Trang, Saigon, Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.
• Reunification Express sleeper train from Vinh to Hanoi, Hanoi to Hue and Nha Trang to Saigon.
• Nha Trang Beaches
• Hanoi Old quarter
• Halong Bay Boat trip with lunch and local guide
• Trains from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and Danang to Nha Trang.
International flights, arrival and departure transfers, departure and airport taxes, visas, all other meals, all optional tours or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature.
When you are taking a tour that covers 3 different countries, you will be tempted at times to draw comparisons between them. However, you will get the most of your travel experience if you try to understand and respect each culture and the people living there, regardless of whether you preferred the destination you were in previously.
There are some cultural elements that do cross over between countries in South East Asia:
· Patting someone on their head is considered extremely rude and insulting.
· Public displays of affection are not acceptable, especially kissing.
· Losing your temper or showing anger and shouting or yelling will lose respect immediately,
to remain cool, calm and collected at all times is an admired quality
· When visiting temples ensure your shoulders and knees are covered. They are places of
worship please treat them as such.
· The monarchy is held in high esteem in Thailand & Cambodia, please treat them with respect
Local Tour Leaders
By employing and training local guides to lead our group holidays, there is a two-fold benefit. Firstly, we provide employment opportunities for the local community. Just as importantly is the benefit to you, the traveller. Your tour leader’s friendship, humour, passion and intimate knowledge of the region will be key factors in making your holiday a success.
Tipping has become an accepted part of tourism in South East Asia. Your tour leader will be able to advise you in this area; however, as a guideline we would recommend tipping 10% of the total bill in restaurants and a small tip to hotel bellboys for carrying your bags.
At you pre-tour briefing your tour leader will discuss with you the idea of running a tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then the tour leader pays the tips and keeps a record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour is returned to group members. This is often the easiest way to avoid the hassles of needing small change and knowing what is an appropriate amount to tip.
It is customary to tip your tour leader, at the end of the trip, if you are happy with the service. A minimum tip of US$2 per day, from each member of the group, is the usual amount expected.
Please note that any travellers of certain nationalities (ie. Australians, Americans, Canadians, British and New Zealanders) do not normally require a visa for Thailand if flying in and staying up to 30 days. However, travellers will only get 15 days of stay if arriving without a visa at a land border checkpoint from a neighbouring country. Travellers arriving in Thailand this way and planning to stay in the country longer than 15 days should obtain a Thai visa before they leave home. On this particular tour (Gecko's 'Thai-Indochina Loop'), travellers staying on in Thailand longer than 15 days after returning to Thailand from Cambodia will need to obtain a double entry visa to Thailand, as any single entry visa will be considered 'used' upon initial entry to Thailand.
All other nationalities should check for visa requirements with their travel agents. Please note that those nationalities requiring a visa may need to acquire one before they arrive Thailand, as a visa on arrival is not available at certain land borders.
Infrastructure and Tet Holiday Period
Please note that Vietnam is a developing country whose infrastructure may differ from what you expect in your homeland. Expect poor road conditions and be prepared for some inconveniences due to such things as restaurants or tourist sites being closed and our regular transport services not always being available, especially so during the Tet holiday period (Vietnamese New Year).
Tet (Vietnamese New Year) in 2010 is on Sunday 14th February, with that date signalling the start of the Year of the Tiger. The official Tet holiday period for 2010 will be from Saturday 13th February till Friday 19th February; however, disruptions can start as early as 1st February and end as late as the end of February. Most businesses will be closed as Vietnamese people usually spend this period returning to their homes and celebrating with their families. This will involve a major burden on all forms of transport, and despite booking in advance, tickets for planes and trains especially are extremely difficult to obtain. Even if bookings are obtained, transport services during this period will be overcrowded and heavy delays are to be expected, so you will need to make sure that you pack your sense of humour. In order to facilitate your travels during the Tet period, we may need to substitute your train/plane journey with a private bus trip, if required.
This is an 'adventure' trip and we hope to expose you to all aspects of the local cultures. Please be open-minded.
Please note that, on your tour, you may link up with passengers booked on other tours in our Gecko’s Asia program.
The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please ensure that you have the most up-to-date information for your trip. We recommend that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!
11 March 2013