For departures after 31 December 2014 this trip has variations.
Please click here for details.
|Hanoi||Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam|
VietNOM! As you slink from old-world Hanoi to ancient Hue and on to pretty Hoi An, beachy Nha Trang and bustling Ho Chi Minh… you will quickly realise that the Vietnamese know a thing or two about delicious food. Pho, bahn mi, rice paper, oh my!
Surviving the overnight sleeper train:
• Make nice with the locals. Offer them a Pringle and they’ll probably share their entire homemade banquet
• Break out the noise-cancelling headphones because there’s bound to be some snorers on board
• Know at least one card game you can teach your new mates
TRIP CHANGES FOR 2015:
From 1st January 2015 this trip will operate with the following changes:
- visiting Halong Bay with a night in a hotel in order to continue to be able to include Halong Bay on a budget trip in the face of rising costs of overnighting on the boat.
- taking an overnight train from Hoi An to Nha Trang instead of the day train in order to give more free time to spend in Hoi An. This means that we will have one less night in Ho Chi Minh city at the end of the trip.
- boat trip in Nha Trang will be an optional activity based on feedback that travellers would like more free time for their own activities there.
- As we will only have 1 day in Ho Chi Minh and from feedback that the activity is not enjoyed by all pax, the Cu Chi Tunnels Urban Adventure will be available as an optional activity.
- to bring this trip in link with the global Basix style, daily breakfasts are no longer included.
Meals included: 1 breakfast
No, you’re not seeing things. The hundreds of Vietnamese moving in slow motion on Hoan Kiem Lake are just doing tai chi. Bring back a one-off souvenir from the propaganda shop on Hang Bac.
The Perfume River doesn’t smell that great. Your Dragon Boat doesn’t breathe fire. And the Forbidden Purple City isn’t purple. These things happen.
Meals included: 3 breakfasts
Keep working on your bum groove during the long drive to Hoi An. If you’ve been wearing the same shirt every day, why not hit one of the same-day tailors and get yourself something new. If not for yourself, then for the people in your group who have to stare at you every day.
Meals included: 2 breakfasts, 1 lunch
Two full days to catch some rays, swim, snorkel and pig out on freshly caught seafood. Then it's back on the Reunification Express for one last ride.
Meals included: 2 breakfasts
Your hotel is smack bang in the hot zone, surrounded by friendly locals, to-die-for pho and Ben Thanh Market. Don't eat too much if you want to squeeze into the Cu Chi Tunnels.
• Gecko’s expert English-speaking local tour guide throughout the tour.
• Reunification Express journeys – Hanoi to Hue (overnight), Danang to Nha Trang (day) and Nha Trang to Ho Chi Minh City (overnight).
• Sightseeing (including entrance fees where relevant): Hanoi - One Pillar Pagoda, Temple of Literature and Hoa Lo Prison (Hanoi Hilton); Hai Van Pass; Hoi An’s ‘Old Town’; and Cu Chi Tunnels.
• Local ‘shopping’ bike ride around Hue and Dragon Boat cruise up the Perfume River to visit Thien Mu Pagoda (with option to cycle back through the countryside).
• Day cruise in Nha Trang, with a freshly-caught seafood lunch included (non-seafood options available).
• Free time to explore Hanoi, Hue, Hoi An, Nha Trang and Ho Chi Minh City.
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.
We have chosen a selection of some great optional activities to enhance your travel experience. You will need to cover any additional costs yourself. The below list is not exhaustive and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination.
Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed below have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
When you are taking a tour through South East Asia, you will be tempted at times to draw comparisons between the countries you visit. 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.
At some of the tourist sites and in the cities it is possible you will come across beggars. This can prove an uncomfortable encounter especially for inexperienced travellers. There are many genuine beggars, however there are also those who find the lifestyle easier than working and these people often see tourists as easy prey. As a general rule, if you feel the impulse to give, you should be discreet in the giving. Never make a show of it, as you will attract a crowd, which brings with it its own set of problems. There are often charities that take care of the needy and it may be wise to give to them rather than to individuals begging.
In places you should dress conservatively to avoid attracting unwanted attention and so as not to offend the local population. This is especially applicable to women travellers. Dress rules also apply at many of the religious sites.
Local Tour Guides
By employing and training local site 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 guide’s friendship, humour, passion and intimate knowledge of the region will be key factors in making your holiday a success.
Tet Holiday Period
Please note that Vietnam is a developing country whose infrastructure may differ from what you expect in your homeland. 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) Is a time where 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. Please check with your booking agent when Tet is this year.
A single supplement is available on this trip. On the following nights a single room is not available:
Day 2 Overnight train
Day 8 Overnight train
Local Emergency Contact
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, the Geckos Vietnam office can be reached on Tel: +84 903 117 770
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!
21 October 2014