VIETNAM FAMILY HOLIDAY
To Vietnam - 12 Nights
- 12 Nights
- 20% OFF* TRIPS DEPARTING IN 2023!
Price per person
With great food, lush scenery and lots of warm, friendly locals, the whole family will fall in love with Vietnam. Sail beautiful Halong Bay. Delight at water puppets in Hanoi. Learn about rich emperors in Hue. Get a new outfit tailor-made in Hoi An. Maybe even take a dip in the Vietnam East Sea. With so much to share and do together, you'll experience the culture, flavours, and highlights of a Vietnamese adventure your family will always remember.
The arrival transfer is only valid if arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-trip accommodation through us. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking, or at a minimum 14 days prior to travel, as we may not be able to confirm a request made within 14 days of travel.
Embark on a full-city tour of town. You will visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Museum, and the tranquil Temple of Literature – an oasis of calm in the heart of town. Also head to the Museum of Ethnology to learn more about the diverse heritage of Vietnam. Enjoy some lunch at KOTO restaurant, an excellent establishment and longtime friend of Intrepid which lives by the philosophy of ‘know one, teach one’. It supports the underprivileged local youth by giving them a chance at making a career in the hospitality industry. In the evening, sit down to a traditional water puppet performance. This northern tradition, dating back nearly a thousand years, is performed alongside traditional Vietnamese music that employs drums, wooden bells, horns and bamboo flutes.
Please note that the Ethnology Museum is closed on Mondays. If you are on a departure that falls on a Monday in Hanoi, you will visit the Vietnamese Women’s Museum instead. If you are arriving into Hanoi before the trip departs, we highly recommend you take the time to visit the Ethnology Museum in your own time as it is a real highlight.
Travel by minibus to the spectacular World Heritage-listed site of Halong Bay (approximately 4 hours). The bay is a breathtaking secluded harbour, with some 2,000 limestone islands jutting out of the waters of the Bac Bo Gulf. Board your private boat and cruise among the dramatic limestone peaks. There’s an opportunity to swim in the famous Vietnam East Sea and explore caves filled with stunning stalactites and stalagmites. Spend a peaceful night on board, beneath a sky alive with stars. Your sailing junk has twin-share cabins that have air-conditioning and private facilities. There’s also a dining room and bar.
Notes: Due to recent, unforeseen changes by local authorities, many boats are no longer permitted to stay overnight on the bay. This has resulted in a boat shortage. To ensure Intrepid travellers are all accommodated, a larger boat, usually with 12 cabins, may be used, and passengers may be split across multiple boats. An Intrepid group leader will be present on each boat, and the route and onboard inclusions will remain the same.
Enjoy breakfast on the boat this morning and perhaps head out for an optional early morning kayak. Return to Hanoi by bus (approximately 3.5 hours). From there you will board an overnight train bound for Hue. As the former imperial capital of Vietnam, Hue holds the treasures of Vietnam’s royal past. It’s a curious mix of bustling streets and tranquil settings. Although conditions are basic on your train journey, overnight trains are a classic South East Asian experience and the best way to travel long distances with the locals. Lie back and enjoy the ride! Most trains have a dining carriage serving simple food, but it’s a great idea to stock up on fresh bread, cheese and fruit before you head off.
Notes: Sleeper trains typically have four-berth compartments (occasionally six-berth, depending on seasonal variations) which have bench seats that convert into sleeping bunks. A sheet, pillow and blanket are provided, although some travellers prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. On occasion, passengers of different genders will be required to share a compartment and there will be occasions where you’ll be sharing with local travellers or travellers who are not part of your group.
In order to safely participate in the optional kayaking children must be a minimum of 8 years old. All kayaks are two seater and the experience will last for approximately 1-1.5 hours. Note that kayaking is restricted to designated zones within the bay.
Welcome to Hue! Your leader will help you chose a local, tasty breakfast option this morning after you disembark the overnight train. Afterwards, you will take a visit to Thien Mu Pagoda, which is considered by many to be the unofficial symbol of Hue. It’s an active Buddhist monastery originating in 1601. One of the most poignant displays here is a car belonging to a former monk who, in 1963, drove to Saigon and set himself alight to protest against the treatment of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese regime.
You will have some free time to explore on your own before an afternoon cyclo tour. Journey through the streets of Hue, travelling around the citadel, passing through the local fruit and vegetable markets before stopping over at Ho Chi Minh’s house.
Delve further into the fascinating former capital today. You will visit the Imperial Citadel, which is the best-preserved remnant of a large citidel and Royal centre that once existed on this fortified site. The unique fortifications are fascinating, even though much of this place has sadly been destroyed by war. The foliage-covered ruins make for an interesting couple of hours of exploring. You will visit the Forbidden Purple City, which was almost totally wiped out during the Tet Offensive in 1968. The gaping holes left by bombs give an idea of the shocking destruction wreaked upon the country during the war. You will visit one of the royal tombs, that of Emperor Tu Duc, and see the central lake set amid a grove of frangipani and pine trees. There is also the chance to visit the tomb of Minh Mang. Its lush forest backdrop and impressive architecture make it perhaps the most majestic of all the royal tombs.
Afterwards stop into a local non-government organisation that supports Hue’s deaf community by providing training, employment, support and a place to connect with others. Here you’ll meet members of the community and join them for a traditional paper flower making class – a fun and interesting way to get to connect with your hosts without exchanging any words.
Travelling by bus, head south through coastal rice paddies, then traverse the spectacular Hai Van Pass along the mountains en route to Hoi An (approximately 4 hours). Recently declared a World Heritage site, Hoi An is beautifully preserved and exudes a tranquil atmosphere. It’s perfect for strolling around at a leisurely pace, with many beautiful Japanese houses and Chinese temples lining the narrow lanes. Parts of Hoi An look exactly as they did more than a century ago. It’s also a shopping mecca – browse local markets and shops for original paintings, handcrafted woodwork, ceramics, embroidery and lanterns. Hoi An has also become famous for its tailoring, with a great variety of fabrics and tailors to choose from.
After breakfast, head out to spend the morning at Cua Dai beach. This beach is known for its stunning palm-fringed white sand and views of the Cham islands. Transfer back to town and pop into a local restaurant where you’ll learn how to make ‘white rose cake’, one of Hoi An’s most popular street foods. These tasty savoury dumplings are made with rice paper and minced shrimp and named after their resemblance to a white flower. Once your local instructors have taught you how to make these delicious parcels, sit down together and tuck into your creations for lunch. This hands-on experience is one the whole family will enjoy!
Enjoy further free time in this beautiful old town. Perhaps take up a cooking class and learn the secrets of preparing local specialties like cao lau – dark pork broth with thick yellow noodles, sliced pork, bean sprouts, green vegetables and croutons. Street food tours can also be arranged. Alternatively, hire some bikes and take the family out on a cycling trip into the gorgeous surrounding countryside. Another great activity which kids will enjoy is a bamboo basket ride down the waterways of the jungle. For more optional day- and half-day trips, chat to your leader.
Take a short flight to the economic hub of Ho Chi Minh City (approximately 1 hour). Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is characterised by a vast array of sights and sounds – a fascinating blend of old and new, East and West. Check out Ben Thanh Market and experience a delicious local lunch of street food, and enjoy an orientation walk. Afterwards, you’re free to explore the city on your own. Your leader will have plenty of interesting and fun ideas for you and the kids. Consider scooting off on cyclos to Cholon, the Chinatown area of Ho Chi Minh City, for a bit of temple-hopping. Or visit the Vietnamese version of a department store for some serious shopping.
Head down to the Mekong Delta and visit unexplored Ben Tre where coconut is everything and anything. The fertile delta is famous for its abundant harvests of tropical fruits and flowers. On arrival, board your private boat and cruise along the maze of waterways to visit some local cottage industries. This is a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at a different part of the local economy. Then head to your overnight homestay by the water. Be invited into a family home for a true local experience – a chance to see daily life from the inside.
The homestay has simple camp beds in dorm-style rooms, with all meals included. Bedding and mosquito nets are provided.
Life in the delta starts with the sun, so embrace the day early. You will visit a local market before heading back to Ho Chi Minh City for one more night. You should arrive in the afternoon, which will give you time for a final exploration of the city. On Day 13 your trip comes to an end, and you are free to leave at any time. For those who have booked an airport transfer, the leader will confirm your departure time and onward flight details.
Today is your last day and there are no activities planned. You are free to leave at any time. For those who have booked an airport transfer, the leader will confirm your departure time to the airport and your onward flight.
Please note that these trips are for adults and children travelling together and there must be at least one child under 18 with you. Minimum age: 5 years old. Please note that anyone aged under 18 must be accompanied by (and share accommodation with) a parent or legal guardian. A discount of 10% applies on this trip to children 17 or younger at the time of travel. Please provide your full name exactly as per passport at the time of booking (including any middle names listed on your passport), for internal flights and train tickets. A complimentary airport arrival transfer is included; valid if you are arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-tour accommodation through us. You must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel.
This trip starts with a welcome meeting at 5 pm on Day 1 in Hanoi. This trip ends on Day 13 and you are free to leave at any time. Tet is Vietnam’s New Year festival, held annually in late January or early February based on the lunar calendar. While this can be a fascinating time to travel and experience this event, expect some shop closures and busier than usual local transport. Opening hours at some tourist sites may also be affected or closed. Although we make all reasonable efforts to avoid disruption, a flexible approach from the traveler is appreciated. During the rainy months (approx. June to October), our mode of transport can be changed at short notice due to weather conditions.