Vietnam from North to South

From Hanoi to Saigon, a cultural and colourful tour of Vietnam




From $1,860 Land only

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Holiday Overview


  • Cruise UNESCO listed Halong Bay aboard a comfortable Junk
  • Unique 4-day trek through traditional villages and rice paddies
  • The imperial palaces of Hue and the lantern lit bridges of Hoi An
  • Experience life on the Mekong Delta and the Perfume River

Wander the ramshackle, smoky streets of historic Hanoi and trek amongst verdant rice terraces in the North and experience the exotic delights of the Mekong Delta and the nightlife of vibrant Saigon in the South on our comprehensive and colourful discovery holiday in Vietnam. We start out in the 1000 year old city of Hanoi, the former capital of French Indochina, where we explore the maze like streets of the ‘Old Quarter' from our well positioned hotel. Travelling inland to spend 4 days in a beautiful reserve area close to the border with Laos, we trek between friendly villages in the Pu Luong National Park, meeting the local people and experiencing first hand the rural life of these remote and intriguing communities - where the fields are still ploughed by water buffalo and irrigated by wooden water wheels. For this section of the holiday we have arranged overnight stays as guests of three different villages. We also explore the forest of impressive limestone spires at Tam Coc, known as Halong Bay on land, both by bicycle and by way of a sampan cruise on the network of canals. Then it's out to iconic Halong Bay, for some great seafood and a night on a comfortable and traditional junk boat. We begin our journey south with an overnight journey on the famous ‘Reunification Express' sleeper train, an experience not to be missed! Arriving in Hue, we cruise the Perfume River in search of ancient imperial palaces and pagodas before helping to prepare dinner in a cookery class. Heading on, we enjoy a night in charming Hoi An, known for its beautiful, lantern lit bridges and skilled tailors. After a short flight to Saigon, now known as Ho Chi Minh City, this unforgettable holiday signs off with a stay in comfortable bungalows on the atmospheric Mekong Delta, where we hike through lush orchards, take a boat tour and learn about life in the ‘rice bowl of Vietnam'. As a grand finale, we return to bustling Ho Chi Minh City where we've time to take in its evocative mix of ancient pagodas and modern skyscrapers, whilst sightseeing and hunting for last minute souvenirs!

Is this holiday for you?

This is primarily a touring and sightseeing holiday at low elevation, which includes a continuous, but gentle, 4-day trek through the forest, farmland and hill-tribe villages in a nature reserve close to Quan Hoa. On the 4-day trek, each day's walk will be between 4 and 6 hours and overnight stops will be in simple homestay accommodation. Several means of transport are used during this holiday, including road, train, plane, bicycle and boat. The combination of different means of travel and the variety of accommodation used will mean a degree of flexibility will be required, although this diversity is part of the charm of this trip. Please note that cycling helmets may not be available for some of the short cycling tours and we do recommend that you take your own..

Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Meet at the group hotel in Hanoi. A single timed transfer from Hanoi Airport is provided.
  • Hanoi exploration and evening water puppet show.
  • Drive to the Pu Luong Nature Reserve and trek to Ban Hang.
  • Trek via the villages of Eo Gen and Dong Dieng to Kho Muong village.
  • Trek through rice paddies to the ‘Thai’ village of Huou.
  • A short trek to the road head at Pho Doan and transfer to Tam Coc.
  • Explore the limestone outcrops of Tam Coc by sampan, rowing boat and bicycle.
  • Drive to Halong Bay and begin two day junk cruise.
  • Morning cruise, return to Hanoi and take the Reunification Express to Hue.
  • Arrive at the ancient city of Hue, Perfume River cruise and cookery class.
  • Sightseeing tour of the ‘Forbidden City’. Transfer to Hoi An.
  • Early morning exploration of Hoi An, fly to Saigon, and transfer to the Mekong Delta.
  • Walking tour and sampan cruise on the Mekong Delta, return to Ho Chi Minh City.
  • Departure day. Morning city tour of Saigon. A single timed transfer to HCMC Airport is provided.
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The LAND ONLY dates and prices are for the itinerary, joining in Hanoi and departing from Ho Chi Minh City. For clients making their own flight arrangements, please note that this trip joins and departs in different cities. Please refer to the 'Joining arrangements & transfers' section in the trip dossier for further details.

Flights SHOULD NOT be booked until you have received your booking confirmation and the trip is showing 'Guaranteed to Run' or 'Limited'.

BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee*

* Against Land Only services.

Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • airport
  • point
  • trip direction
  • transfer
  • internalflight

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet at the group hotel in Hanoi. A single timed transfer from Hanoi Airport is provided.

    Meet at the group hotel in the Old Quarter of Hanoi where we meet our local guide. A single group transfer is provided timed to the arrival of the preferred group flights. KE Land Only package services begin in the afternoon with a tour of the city. After a short walk from our hotel to the Old Quarter of Hanoi, we will explore this fascinating area on foot with our guide. The Old Quarter, consisting of around 35 streets is essentially the original pre-20th century Hanoi. Prior to the modern age each street was known for a particular trade and the street names still reflect this. Although only a few of these streets now carry on this tradition, the architecture still conjures up this former era. The centre of the Old Quarter is Hoan Kiem lake and we will take a relaxing stroll around the lake before enjoying a ‘Welcome’ dinner at a local restaurant – our first chance to sample real Vietnamese cuisine.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals d

  • Hanoi exploration and evening water puppet show.

    The morning is free for further independent sightseeing or to enjoy the ambience of the "Old Quarter" and the Hoan Kiem lake. Early risers will be rewarded with quiet streets and the sight of groups of prople in the local parks going through their Tai Chi exercises. After lunch we have a guided tour to the Tran Quoc Pagoda and the Temple of Literature which is one of the world's oldest universities founded in the 10th century. In the evening we will go to see the fascinating Water Puppet Theatre show either before or after our dinner.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals b

  • Drive to the Pu Luong Nature Reserve and trek to Ban Hang.

    After breakfast at the hotel we will visit the Ho Chi Min complex which includes his house on stilts, the presidential palace and the mausoleum. We then board our tour bus for the highly scenic 100 mile drive through North Vietnam’s spectacular karst outcrop scenery and lush vegetation, to the mountains separating Vietnam from neighbouring Laos. It will take around 4 or 5 hours to our lunch at Mai Chu to and a further half hour from there to reach Quan Hoa near the Laotian border. On arrival our bags are distributed for carriage and we set off on a 3 hour trek through the Pu Luong Nature Reserve to Ban Hang Village where life proceeds very much as it has done for centuries. Here we spend the night as guests of the village.

    • Accommodation Homestay

    • Meals bld

    • Time 3 hrs walking

  • Trek via the villages of Eo Gen and Dong Dieng to Kho Muong village.

    We have a full day of trekking as we explore the on foot, trekking through rice paddies and lush jungle vegetation. We pass through the hill-tribe the villages of Eo Ken and Dong Dieng with their surrounding terraced hillsides and we stay overnight in Kho Muong Village.

    • Accommodation Homestay

    • Meals bld

    • Time 6 - 7 hours walking

  • Trek through rice paddies to the ‘Thai’ village of Huou.

    Staying as guest of the local village will give us a real insight into the lives of these simple and engaging people. Close to this village is a large cave inhabited by bats. The cave is approximately 30 minutes walk from the village and after breakfast we will visit the place for ourselves. Following this walk to the bat cave we will continue with our main trek, once again following a trail through a landscape of verdant foliage interspersed with rice terracing as we pass through busy villages. One of the highlights of a trek in this area is the interaction with the many friendly inhabitants. Today we will see several examples of the irrigation systems and water wheels used to lift water to the rice paddies. After 5 – 6 hours trekking we arrive at our final homestay village at Huou which is mostly inhabited by people of Thai origin.

    • Accommodation Homestay

    • Meals bld

    • Time 5 - 6 hours walking

  • A short trek to the road head at Pho Doan and transfer to Tam Coc.

    This morning we have an easy walk of around 2 – 3 hours from Huou Village to Pho Doan following a well-marked trail. Here we meet our tour bus and after taking lunch in a local restaurant, we drive for approximately 4 hours to Ninh Binh on the Red River delta. Here we are treated to a complimentary foot massage which is given by blind people as part of a project which works with the disabled to assist them to earn a living. From Ninh Binh we continue a further 15 minutes to Tam Coc where we check into our hotel.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

    • Time 2 - 3 hours walking

  • Explore the limestone outcrops of Tam Coc by sampan, rowing boat and bicycle.

    The landscape of Tam Coc is simply breathtaking and is known as 'Halong Bay on Land' for the similarity of its massive limestone towers rising abruptly from the fields and network of rivers and irrigation canals. After breakfast we will take a short cycling tour (12km/1-2hrs) to Hoa Lu, the old capital of Vietnam. Here we will visit two temples dating from the 11th century and dedicated to Kings Dinh and Le. After lunch at a local restaurant we will be picked up by our bus and will transfer to Thien Ha Pier where we board our Sampan, which will take us to the four caves of Thien Ha, Buddha, Ghe and Chua. After around 2hrs cruising we will arrive at Pier Linh Coc from where we will take a walking tour to the cave of Jade and the Bich Dong pagoda, around 2km from the pier. Returning to our vehicle we head back to our hotel for a second night.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Drive to Halong Bay and begin two day junk cruise.

    Driving through the heart of the Red River Delta we journey to Halong Bay the famous UNESCO World Heritage Site. At mid-day we check into comfortable cabins aboard our private boat and set sail to explore the fantastic scenery of the bay and some of it's 3000 islands. Almost all these islands are individual limestone towers between 50m and 100m tall rising in spectacular fashion from the ocean and topped with thick jungle vegetation. Many of the islands contain caves and grottos and some have lakes inside, while others have beautiful beaches. This evening we enjoy a special Halong Bay seafood dinner before settling in for a night aboard the boat.

    • Accommodation Houseboat

    • Meals bld

  • Morning cruise, return to Hanoi and take the Reunification Express to Hue.

    This morning after breakfast aboard our floating hotel, we continue our cruise through the bay and then make our way back to the piers at Halong City. In the afternoon we return by vehicle to Hanoi and the rest of the afternoon and early evening is free. Later in the evening we will transfer to the railway station and board the "Reunification Express", the overnight train to Hue. Once on board we find our berth in ‘soft sleeper’ class and make up our beds ready to be rocked to sleep as the train heads south. through the Vietnamese countryside.

    • Accommodation Sleeper Train

    • Meals bl

  • Arrive at the ancient city of Hue, Perfume River cruise and cookery class.

    We arrive in Hue, one of Vietnam's most beautiful cities and the home of the Nguyen Emperors, in the early morning. After taking breakfast in a local restaurant we drive to the Perfume River and board our boat, stopping en route at Dong Ba market to admire all the colourful produce. The boat will be our home for the night and we will have time to settle in, freshen up and shower before we begin our journey down the river. The boat will moor at Sinh junction, Thanh Thien village, the ancient wharf at Bao Vinh, Thien Mu Pagoda, and Van Mieu Temple. Arriving at Thuy Bieu, we moor the boat and go ashore and have a cycle ride around this quiet village, visiting gardens, ancestral temples and a house where incense is produced. Dinner this evening will be prepared by the group, on the riverside, as the sunsets over the river. We will cook under the tutelage and supervision of local experts. After the dinner we return to the boat and stay overnight on board.

    • Accommodation Boat

    • Meals bld

  • Sightseeing tour of the ‘Forbidden City’. Transfer to Hoi An.

    After an early breakfast on board our boat we head to to explore Hue’s Imperial Citadel, and impressive 19th century fortress built by self proclaimed Emperor Nguyen. The citadel which was surrounded by 8 kilometres of wall and a moat housed several important buildings including the ‘Forbidden City’ containing palaces and courtyards reserved exclusively for the Nguyen Imperial Family. Unfortunately American bombing in 1968 in response to the Tet offensive has destroyed much of the former glories of the Imperial Citadel but several buildings have been restored including Thai Hoa Temple, Can Thanh Temple, The Mieu, and Hieu Lam Cac. Leaving Hue behind us, we travel one of the most beautiful roads in Vietnam; the Mandarin Road to Hoi An. The 3hr drive takes us over the Hai Van Pass (Ocean Cloud Pass), a mountainous highway offering splendid views over the South China Sea. Hoi An, famous for its tailors, bridges and lantern lined river, was recognized by UNESCO as being World Cultural Heritage in 1999. In days gone by, Hoi An used to serve as an active port of trade with the Japanese, Dutch, Portuguese and Chinese people during the 17th and 18th centuries. The streets, houses and architecture remain largely untouched, despite Vietnams recent turbulent history. We will have time to visit the Japanese Covered Bridge and the Tan Ky ancient house before dinner.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Early morning exploration of Hoi An, fly to Saigon, and transfer to the Mekong Delta.

    We will be up early to take in the morning light on the river, before transferring to the airport for our short flight to Saigon. We will be met at the airport by our vehicle and will drive south directly into the Mekong Delta, an extremely fertile region often referred to as the ‘rice bowl of Vietnam. The Delta here is formed by a network of nine major arms and hundreds of smaller branches of the Mekong River. The area is prone to flooding and many of the villages in the Delta are built on stilts. After around 3.5hrs we arrive at one of these river branches known as Tien Giang River, we board a sampan and sail to our overnight accommodation at the lovely Mekong Lodge where we'll spend the night next to the river in charming riverside bungalows, surrounded by beautiful gardens. In the late afternoon, there is time for a walk or cycle tour of the surrounding area.

    • Accommodation Bungalow

    • Meals bld

  • Walking tour and sampan cruise on the Mekong Delta, return to Ho Chi Minh City.

    We board our sampan for a tour of the river and its islands. We stop off at a workshop where we can watch the production of rice wine or 'ruou', rice cakes and paper. Stopping on one of the islands we enjoy spread of the tropical fruits that can be found growing in the surrounding forests and experience a performance of traditional Vietnamese folk music. After taking lunch we drive back to Ho Chi Minh City. Arriving in this vibrant and modern city we check into our hotel and have some time to look around before taking dinner in one of the city’s restaurants.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bl

  • Departure day. Morning city tour of Saigon. A single timed transfer to HCMC Airport is provided.

    In the morning we have a city tour, visiting the temple of the Jade Emperor, the Reunification Palace and the lively Binh Tay Market. The rest of the day is free for independent sightseeing or shopping. Ho Chi Minh City, which is situated on the Saigon River and still known by that name to the majority of its inhabitants, is the economic powerhouse of Vietnam. It is, quite literally, an upwardly mobile city. Each year more sky-scrapers grow and the ancient pagodas and temples are now interspersed with modern shopping malls, stylish restaurants and bars and a typical modern city traffic problem! Despite all this energy and a future-facing population, parts of the city remain timeless and you can still find traditional markets bustling with trade being practised as it has been for an age. The amazing thing about Saigon is that the blend of ancient and modern really works. In the middle of the afternoon a group transfer to the Airport is provided. KE Land Only package services end with this transfer.

    • Meals b

Holiday Information

  • Experienced English speaking local guide
  • Internal flights
  • Single timed group airport transfers
  • All accommodation as described in the trip dossier
  • Meals as detailed in the Meal Plan
  • Ferries and cruise boats and all land transport

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas
  • Some meals as detailed in the Meal Plan
  • Tips for local staff
  • Miscellaneous expenses - drinks and souvenirs etc

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

The group will rendezvous at the group hotel in Hanoi. A single timed transfer from the airport to the group hotel is provided. This transfer will normally depart the airport at 1.30 pm. Individual transfers can be booked through the KE office. Hotel contact details and an emergency phone number will be provided with your booking confirmation.

In Hanoi, Saigon and Hoi An we will stay in 3 star hotels, which are in a good location from which to explore. In Tam Coc we will stay in a comfortable, family run 2 star hotel, with a friendly owners - this is the best standard available here. During the 3 homestay nights, we will stay in traditional stilted wooden houses, footwear will be left outside! Each person will have their own foam mattress, with bedding and mosquito net provided - there will be plenty of colourful blankets should the temperature fall in the evenings. Hot water for washing is available and there will be basic bathroom and shower facilities. During the train journey to Hue we use 'soft sleeper' class with four berths per compartment (bedding is provided); a great experience! On board our Junk on Halong bay we will have twin cabins with air conditioning, electricity, private bathroom, and en suite facilities. The Junk has a sun deck, dining room, bar and a friendly crew ready to look after you! On board our boat on the Perfume River we will sleep in comfortable bunks with shared bathroom facilities (hot showers are available). On the Mekong Delta we will stay at the Mekong Lodge, in comfortable bungalows, set in beautiful gardens, right on the side of the river. All accommodation is based on twin-share (except homestay and perfume river boat). If you are travelling on your own, you will be paired with another single traveller of the same sex. Depending on availability, single accommodation for the hotel nights only is available for a supplement.

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

This will be a gourmet experience. Start practising your chopstick technique now, as there are no knives and forks for parts of this trip! Vietnamese cuisine is fresh, fragrant and flavoursome. Typically a selection of dishes or varying flavours will be served together and each person takes a little of each dish – so there will usually be something to please everyone (vegetarians included!) at every meal. A typical meals will include Pho (Vietnamese noodle soup), spring rolls, spiced beef and pork dishes, fish in chilli, tomato served with tofu, stir fried vegetables and rice, with fresh fruit for dessert. On board the junk in Halong Bay we will certainly be treated to a variety of fresh and delicious sea food. You can expect to feast on a A to Z of delicious Vietnamese cuisine during the course of your stay!

All breakfasts are included. All lunches and dinners are also included, except while staying in Ho Chi Min City and Hanoi, though we have included a welcome dinner on day 1 - so you don't have to worry about finding a place to eat after your long journey! You will need to pay directly for a total of 1 lunch and 3 dinners. Please refer to the itinerary in the trip dossier for details of those meals are not included. There is a wide choice of dining options in Hanoi and Ho Chi Min City. Food is not expensive in Vietnam but there are several high end restaurants specifically for tourists. You should budget £2 - £5 per meal (or less if you want to try some delicious street food) or up to £15 for the more expensive restaurants.

Approximately $250-$300 should be allowed for miscellaneous expenses. This amount should be enough to cover the non-included meals, tips to local staff. If you are intending to buy expensive souvenirs, you should budget accordingly (credit cards can be useful in this respect). It is not necessary to obtain local currency (Vietnamese Dong) prior to travelling. Money can be changed easily at the airport or at banks in Hanoi. The group hotel will be able to make small exchanges only. Sterling, Euros and US dollars are acceptable for exchange in Hanoi Hue and Ho Chi Minh City but US dollars are the most convenient currency as they can often be exchanged at smaller places. We recommend that you carry your travel money in cash rather than travellers cheques since you will exchange most of it on the day of arrival and travellers cheques can be difficult and time consuming to change.

A local English speaking tour leader will accompany the group. During the 4-day trek in the Pu Luong Nature Reserve the group will also have the assistance of baggage porters.

Tips are the accepted way of saying ‘thank you’ to your local guides and porters. They do not form part of their wages. KE always pays local crews the best rates of pay, no matter what country they are in and any tips they receive are seen as a personal thank you from group members. For our part, we advise local teams that tips are not a duty or a prerequisite but are a bonus and entirely dependent on the service that was given. For your trek crews we recommend that you give a tip if you feel that their services have met your satisfaction. We suggest that you decide upon tips as a group rather than iindividually and as a rough guide we suggest you allow a total of $80 - $100 to a pool for tipping your crew.

During the trekking part of this holiday your baggage will be carried by local porters. Your baggage should not weigh more than 15kg. For some sections of the trip you may be asked to ‘decant’ items not required on the trek which will travel by alternative means to your next hotel. We recommend that you therefore bring a second fold away bag to store these items in.

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

Nationals of some EU countries, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa & Switzerland require visas. Visas must be obtained from the embassy of Vietnam in your home country prior to travel.

UK Passport Holders

As of 1 July 2015, British passport holders travelling for tourism or business will be able to enter Vietnam for up to 15 days without a visa.

You’ll still need a visa to enter Vietnam for periods of 15 days and longer and if you wish to re-enter Vietnam within 30 days of your departure. Make sure you get the correct visa for the purpose and destination of your trip.

If you do require a visa the safest option is to get a visa from the Vietnamese Embassy before you travel. If you plan to leave Vietnam and re-enter from another country make sure you get a multiple visit visa.

Applying for your Vietnamese Visa by post

You will need the following:
Your passport (which must have longer validity than the visa by at least one month)
The completed application form, together with one passport photograph taken no more than one year ago.
The visa fee in the form of a POSTAL ORDER or CERTIFIED CHEQUE payable to "THE EMBASSY OF VIETNAM".
Unless you are collecting your passport in person you must add £6 to the visa fee and supply a self-addressed envelope.

Send (BY SPECIAL DELIVERY) to: Embassy of Vietnam, 12/14 Victoria Road, London W8 5RD

Visa Fees

Tourist Visa: single entry = £54, multiple entry = £85
An express service is available for a higher charge.
Please check the visa fee when you make your application, as this can change without warning.

Processing Schedule

Five working days are required to process normal visa applications or two working days for express service after the Embassy receives the applications. You should not make telephone inquiries prior to these time limits.

Alternatively you can apply for your visa in person at the above address. The opening hours of the visa section are 9am to 12.30pm Monday-Friday. Phone: 020 7937 1912, Fax: 020 7937 6108,

Important note: The Vietnamese government advises that a ‘Visa On Arrival’ service is offered at 4 Vietnamese international airports, including Hanoi and Saigon. We suggest that you DO NOTchoose to obtain your visa in this way. Many international airlines don’t recognise the Visa On Arrival system for Vietnam, and we have experienced situations where clients have been denied boarding because they do not have a visa stamped in their passport.

US Passport Holders

The cost for a one month single entry visa is $100 per person. This fee covers the visa stamping fee, visa approval arrangement free and processing fee.

What to submit:


Application form (to be filled online at

Fee in the form of a Money Order (one order per package), payable to the “Embassy of Vietnam”. Applicants applying together may submit the fee in one money order.

2x2 inch Passport photo (to be attached to printed form) (2 photos if applying for a loose leaf visa).

A pre paid return envelope if you want to have your visa mailed back to you. For the safety of your passport, please use a mailing services which provide tracking numbers (USPS Express Mail or FedEx). Please do not use any other mailing service. Applicants applying together may provide one envelope for visas to be returned to the same address.

Send your application to:

Consular Section

Embassy of Vietnam

1233 20th Street, NW

Suite 400

DC 20036

We do keep our information up to date but be advised visa requirements are subject to change. It is recommended that you contact the relevant commission in the case of recent alterations.

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum.

You must bring the following items:

  • Sheet sleeping bag
  • Sleeping bag – 2 season (Nov to Feb departures only)**
  • Hiking boots or comfortable/sturdy walking shoes
  • Daypack 30 litres / 1800 cu in.
  • Training shoes /Sneakers or similar
  • Spare laces
  • Trekking trousers / pants
  • Lightweight waterproof overtrousers / rainpants
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Swimwear
  • Thermal baselayer shirts
  • Casual shirt and/or T-shirts
  • Fleece jacket or warm jumper/sweater
  • Lightweight waterproof jacket
  • Travel clothes
  • Sunhat
  • Warm hat (Nov to Feb departures only)**
  • Thermal gloves (Nov to Feb departures only)**
  • Scarf or neck buff
  • Eyewear – Sunglasses
  • Ear Plugs (for use on overnight train journeys)
  • Headtorch/Headlamp with spare bulb and batteries
  • Sun protection (including total bloc for lips, nose etc.)
  • Water bottles 1 Litre (1 Quart) x2
  • Washbag and toiletries
  • Antibacterial handwash
  • Small towel
  • Basic First Aid Kit including: Antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Immodium), painkillers, plasters and blister treatment, Insect repellent, antihistamine cream and tablets, and re-hydration salts (Dioralite). Glucose tablets and multi-vitamin tablets are a good idea.

The following items are optional:

  • Trekking poles
  • Camera, media, batteries
  • Shorts (should not be worn in temples etc)
  • Penknife (remember to pack sharp objects in hold baggage)
  • Small padlock (to lock trek bag)
  • Cycling helmet***
  • *Mosquito nets are provided throughout the tour, including at the homestay accommodation.
  • **Please bring these items with you for departures from November through to February when temperatures are slightly cooler.
  • *** It may not be possible to provide cycling helmets for all of the short cycling sections of the itinerary. We recommend that you bring your own cycling helmet with you.

A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required. The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice. If you are travelling outside the EU you should have at least 2 blank pages in your passport.

Visa Vietnam

UK passport holders do not require a visa for stays of up to 15 days. For stays of 16 days and over a visa is require. The fee is GBP £54 (Single entry) or £85 (Multi-entry) and you need to apply for it prior to departure. Please download the detailed information document: Visa PDF Vietnam.

We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

The unit of currency in Vietnam is the Vietnamese Dong.

It makes a lot of sense to spend some time before coming on an active holiday getting some additional exercise. The fitter you are, after all, the more enjoyable you will find the experience. This is not a sustained or strennous trip but there is an element of walking including a 4-day trek through hill-tribe villages. You need to be aerobically fit and also comfortable with walking 5 – 7 each day during this trek. Regular hiking is the best preparation but a weekly exercise regime is also useful. Jogging, squash and swimming are good for developing better stamina. Before departure, we suggest that you try to fit in a number of long walks in hilly country

You should contact your GP or travel clinic to check whether you specific require any vaccinations or other preventive measures. You should be up to date with routine courses and boosters as recommended in the UK e.g. diphtheria-tetanus-polio and measles-mumps-rubella), along with hepatitis A and typhoid. Malarial prophylaxis are required. A certificate of yellow fever vaccination is required if travelling from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and for travellers having transited for more than 12 hrs through an airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission. On holidays to more remote areas you should also have a dentist check up. A good online resource is Travel Health Pro.

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

Vietnam has a tropical climate with two distinct monsoon seasons. From May to September the country is dominated by the south monsoon winds and from October to April, the north monsoon is dominant with northerly to northeasterly winds affecting the country. There is a transition period between each monsoon season when winds are light and variable. Vietnam's single rainy season occurs during the south monsoon with June, July and August the wettest months. At this time daytime temperatures are typically in the range of 25 - 30 degrees Celsius. During the north monsoon, northern Vietnam has cloudy days with occasional light rain, while southern Vietnam tends to be dry and sunny. Temperatures during this period are in the range of 25 - 30 degrees Celsius in the south and 15 - 20 degrees Celsius in the north with the occasonal chilly night. Frost and some snow may occur on the highest mountains in the north for a few days a year. During September to January coastal areas can be affected by typhoons in the South China Sea bringing short-lived tropical stoms.

Lonely Planet.: Vietnam. Rough Guide: Vietnam. Vietnam Pocket Guide: Insight Guides Vietnam Handbook: Footprint Handbooks Vietnamese Phrasebook: Rough Guides Hill Tribes Phrasebook: Lonely Planet

Vietnam North and South. Reise Know-How

Reise Know-How Verlag produce a 1:600.000 scale map over two double-sided sheets, Vietnam North and Vietnam South. The maps show road networks and driving distances and symbols highlight places of interest, archaeological remains, temples and museums, viewpoints etc.

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