Vietnam

Vietnam will never cease to amaze you. From breathtaking natural beauty, picturesque rice fields, the world's most spectacular cave systems in Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park to the karst rock formations in Halong Bay. Don't forget the beautiful beaches along its 3000 km long coastline. Get acquainted with Vietnam's 4000 year old culture: discover its French heritage in atmospheric Hoi An or sample Vietnamese delicacies in cosmopolitan Saigon.

Crossing the street in downtown Hanoi or Saigon is an adventure in itself: it can take you 10 minutes to find a gap in the constant flow of mopeds and cars. Vietnam is a very safe country, people are friendly and energetic, and the food is amazing. This Travel will be truly unforgettable.

Dates & Prices
Departure Date Arrival Date Duration Price Tour leader
01/12/2019 21/12/2019 21 days € 2.819,- Stefan
01/12/2019 09/12/2019 9 days € 1.296,- Stefan
10/12/2019 21/12/2019 12 days € 1.728,- Stefan
19/01/2020 30/01/2020 12 days € 1.728,- Brenda
11/10/2020 31/10/2020 21 days € 2.819,- Stefan/Brenda
11/10/2020 19/10/2020 9 days € 1.296,- Stefan/Brenda
20/10/2020 31/10/2020 12 days € 1.728,- Stefan/Brenda

Itinerary

Samsara Vegan Travels - Travel route Vietnam 21dSummary
Vietnam is a vast country. The southern tip is 1650 kilometers from the northern border with China. To make it possible to see most of the many interesting places in, we have made a 21 day tour that runs from Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) in the south, to Hanoi in the North. For those of you who cannot take such a long time off to travel, we have cut the tour into two pieces of respectively 9 and 12 days.

The 9 and 12 day travels are identical to the itinerary of the 21 day travel, split in two parts. The 9 day travel will take you from Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) to Hoi An. The 12 day travel will take you from Hoi An to Hanoi.

(For departure from and arrival in Hoi An, the international airport of Da Nang (the 3rd largest airport in Vietnam) is conveniently located 45 min from Hoi An.)

Samsara Vegan Travels - Travel Route Vietnam 9d Samsara Vegan Travels - Travel Route Vietnam 12d

Day 1 & 2 – Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City)

Samsara Vegan Travels - Vietnam - Saigon CathedralOur Vietnam Travel will start in the morning of the first day. If you have not spent the night in our hotel in the city center, you are expected to arrive there no later than 09.00 am for an introduction and to meet your fellow travelers.

It is up to you when you want to arrive in Myanmar. If you want to arrive a few days before the tour starts, we will gladly help you to arrange a hotel room for you.

After a brief introduction, we will start exploring the city on foot. The official name of the city was changed to Ho Chi Minh City in 1976, but most people still call it Saigon. The city center itself is actually still called Saigon, as signs will tell you.

Saigon has an ideal layout to explore on foot. It is a city of contrasts: you can wander through beautiful lanes and avenues with colonial French architecture but also explore flashy skyscrapers and luxury malls. Most people in Saigon will use a moped for transportation. The large numbers of cars, mopeds, scooters and pedestrians present a particular challenge when you want to cross the street.

For lunch we have selected a nice restaurant with great vegan food. You are of course free to choose your own location.

The second day in Saigon is a free day, to spend however you want. If needed, your tour leader can recommend interesting places to visit (temples, parks, malls, museums, etc.). If you want to visit places further away from the city center you can use a taxi or public bus. Or you can join a karaoke session on a street corner...

Day 3 – Mekong Delta

Samsara Vegan Travels - Vietnam - Mekong delta floating marketToday we will make our way South toward the Mekong Delta, the so called 'rice bowl' of Vietnam. In this most densely populated part of Vietnam we will discover the area by boat, floating around the numerous waterways, canals and streams. Everywhere you look, there are fields full of vegetables, which will be sold on one of the many floating markets. At the end of the day we will make our way back to Saigon.

Day 4 – Saigon to Da Lat

Samsara Vegan Travels - Vietnam - Da Lat

From Saigon we will drive North up into the mountains that make up the border area with Laos. The final destination today is Da Lat, a colonial town with elegant French colonial villas. Da Lat is also the honeymoon capital of Vietnam. Our hotel is close to the city center.

Day 5 & 6– Nha Trang

Samsara Vegan Travels - Vietnam - Nha Trang beach

Today we will drive a few hours to get to Nha Trang, the beach capital of Vietnam. The remainder of the day and the next day are for you to enjoy the kilometers of beaches, the turquoise sea, the palm trees and the impressive shore-front with numerous restaurants, clubs and resorts. The inland streets house an array of fine restaurants including a number of vegan restaurants. You can spend you time relaxing on the beach, take a mud bath in a luxurious spa or take a nice long walk on the beach. Our hotel is not far from the beach..

Day 7 – Nha Trang to Quy Nhon

Samsara Vegan Travels Vietnam Mui Ne Tropical Beach

We will continue our way further North with our own bus. We will spend the night in Quy Nhon, a prosperous seaside city with a great sandy beaches.

Day 8 & 9 & 10 – Hoi An

Samsara Vegan Travels - Vietnam - Hoi An after sunset

Another bus ride and we arrive in Hoi An, a graceful and beautiful old town with a beautifully restored (with help of UNESCO) old town. At set times the waterfront is made moped free which makes walking around even more enjoyable. Hoi An has a very large culinary variety and plenty of vegan restaurants to enjoy a nice meal. If you are interested in joining a cooking class (vegan, of course), this will be the place to do it. There is much to see and do in Hoi An, so we will spend two full days here. In the old town you will find numerous Japanese merchant houses, ancient temples, houses and of course art centers and boutiques. Take a bicycle and just roam around, or follow one of the designated routes.

On day 9 of our tour some travelers may join us for the Northern leg of this Travel. Travelers who have only booked the Southern leg of the Vietnam travel, will leave the group after today.

Day 11 & 12 – Hue

Samsara Vegan Travels Vietnam Hue Royal PalaceHue is only a few hours north of Hoi An, our hotel is right in the city center. Once the political capital of Vietnam, it houses the beautiful Citadel, located on the Perfume River. In Hue you will find a mixture of traditional and modern day buildings, temples, pagodas and palaces. Take time to explore the city center and Citadel on foot, or take bicycle to get further away, with some nice temples and pagodas along the Perfume River.

Day 13 & 14 – Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park

Samsara Vegan Travels Vietnam Fields of Phong Nha Ke Bang National ParkFrom Hue it is a few hours drive to Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park, which houses the larges cave systems on the planet. The largest cave of them all, Son Doong, was only discovered in 2009. The small town of Phong Nha is a little off the beaten track and does not offer all the amenities that the tourist hotspots have, but it is certainly worth it. There are plenty of activities to choose from, ranging from visiting one of many caves (of course) to strolling or cycling around to discover the natural beauty of the landscape. The national park, which borders on Laos, houses the oldest karst mountains in Asia. Depending on availability we will either take the night train, or will be leaving by bus the next morning.

If we take the train from Phong Nha, we will arrive in Tam Coc in the morning. Otherwise we will take a bus and will arrive in the afternoon. Our hotel is in the town center from where you can take a little boat that will take you on a beautiful tour. The boats are powered by people who paddle with their feet (so they have their hands free to update their Facebook page).

Day 15 & 16 – Tam Coc

Samsara Vegan Travels Vietnam Tam Coc TempleIf we take the train from Phong Nha, we will arrive in Tam Coc in the morning. Otherwise we will take a bus and will arrive in the afternoon. Our hotel is in the town center from where you can take a little boat that will take you on a beautiful tour. The boats are powered by people who paddle with their feet (so they have their hands free to update their Facebook page).

Day 17 - Endangered Primate Rescue Center

Samsara Vegan Travels - Vietnam - EPRCToday we will visit the Endangered Primate Rescue Center in Cuc Phuong National Park, where you can do some volunteer work, if you want. We will receive a special tour around the park where all activities will be explained to us. After you can help prepare food for the primates or do other chores around the park.

Day 18 & 19 – Hanoi

Samsara Vegan Travels - Vietnam - Tran Quoc pagoda in Hanoi

After a few hours in our bus, we will reach the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi. In comparison with Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi has stayed more traditional and authentic. The skyline is certainly not dominated by flashy high-rise buildings. The atmosphere is relaxed and it is a great city to explore on foot.

On day 18 we will organize a walking tour around the city center during which we will visit interesting sites and soak up the atmosphere. The next day will be free for you to enjoy. There is plenty to choose from, depending on what you are interested in.

Day 20 – Halong Bay

Samsara Vegan Travels Vietnam Halong Bay kajakIn the morning, a bus will take us to a boat for an amazing cruise through Halong Bay, a unique and spectacular World Heritage site with thousands of limestone islands and rocks rising up from the sea. We will be cruising and stopping along the way for a swim or to explore a cave. Lunch is included in this trip and will be served on the boat. At the end of the day we will make out way back to the hotel in Hanoi.

Day 21 – Hanoi

Samsara Vegan Travels Vietnam Hanoi City train tracksThis is the final day of our Travel. You can use it to visit the sights you have missed out on, or to buy those last minute souvenirs. Depending on the timing of your departing flight, you can make your way to the airport or enjoy the rest of your time in Hanoi.

Note: In the event of unforeseen circumstances, for example an upcoming typhoon, a broken bus or delayed train, it is possible that the travel program must be adjusted. The final decision will be made by the tour leader.

What is included in the price?

21 days

  • Transport according to program
  • 20 Overnight stays (possibly one on a night train)
  • All breakfasts (except if we take the night train)
  • Dutch+English+German speaking tour leader
  • Boat trip on Halong Bay (including lunch)
  • Visit and entrance to the bear sanctuary or Turtle Rescue Center or Endangered Primate Rescue Center (depending on season)
  • Walking tour in Saigon
  • Boat trip on the Mekong Delta

9 days

  • 8 Overnight stays
  • All breakfasts (except if we take the night train)
  • Dutch+English+German speaking tour leader
  • Walking tour in Saigon
  • Boat trip on the Mekong Delta

12 days

  • 11 Overnight stays (possibly one on a night train)
  • All breakfasts (except if we take the night train)
  • Dutch+English+German speaking tour leader
  • Boat trip on Halong Bay (including lunch)
  • Visit and entrance to the bear sanctuary or Turtle Rescue Center or Endangered Primate Rescue Center (depending on season)
  • Walking tour in Hanoi

Not included:

  • International flights
  • Meals (unless mentioned) (we WILL direct you to vegan restaurants)
  • Entrance fees (unless specifically mentioned)
  • Visa for Vietnam (if applicable)
  • Travel insurance (mandatory)
  • Cancellation insurance (optional)
  • Spending money*
  • Tips**

 

 

*For spending money you should count on an average of € 125,- per person per week. In this amount are included costs for food and drinks, entrance fees, additional excursions and personal tips. Souvenirs are not included in this amount as this very much depends on the person.

**Tipping in Vietnam is common and often a necessary part of peoples income. For common expenses such as tipping in hotels and our bus driver and guide, a joint pot will be used for which a contribution is requested from all participants. For this 21 day journey to Vietnam this will be € 40,-, for the 9 and 12 day travels this will be € 18,- and € 22,- respectively. When you are satisfied with your tour leader, a tip is very much appreciated.

 

Country Information

Climate

The climate in Vietnam is very dependent on where you are. Because the country is elongated, there can be big differences between the north and south. The rainy season runs from May till October but it rarely rains all day; the rain is often limited to 1 to 2 hours a day. The climate in the north is subtropical, in the south it is tropical. In October and December typhoons can occur with abundant rainfall, this may possibly affect the itinerary.Samsara Vegan Travels Vietnam Climate HCMC Samsara Vegan Travels Vietnam Climate Hanoi

Transport

Samsara Vegan Travels Vietnam distances and driving times

Most local transport is done by a private bus. Keep in mind that this is Vietnam and levels of comfort can deviate from what you are used to in your country, caused by factors such as road conditions, weather and local customs. As Vietnam is a very long and stretched out country, distances between destinations are quite far. This will result in some long travel days. We will make plenty of stops on the way for photographs, stretching the legs and possible attractions. To give you an impression of the distances we will be covering, have a look at the table below. Driving times do not include stops.
In the Mekong delta we will use local boats on the canals.
In Halong Bay we might be sharing our boat with other tourists, depending on the size of our own group.

If an overnight train is included in the itinerary, we will try to arrange 4-person couchettes, if available. Because train tickets can only be bought 60 days before departure, and preference is given to travelers that take the entire stretch from Saigon to Hanoi, this cannot be guaranteed. We will inform travelers as soon as possible if the train will be included in the itinerary.

Luggage

From a practical point of view, it is best not to bring a hard suitcase, these do not fit well in the luggage compartments of the bus and train (if applicable). The best is to bring a backpack or flexible holdall. Take a careful look at what you want to bring with you, experience shows that you usually have too much with you. You do have to carry your own bag from the bus to the hotel, so do not make it too heavy.

Dress

In Buddhist temples you must cover your shoulder and knees. Dress appropriately in places of worship or cultural significance.

Evenings in Vietnam can be a bit chilly, especially in the northern regions, pack something warm to wear or use several layers of clothing.

Money

The Vietnamese currency is the Dong. Money can be obtained by exchanging euros or dollars at banks, exchange offices or in the hotel. Credit cards are also widely accepted. Taking money from cash machines is also possible, especially in larges cities, with a debit card with Maestro or Cirrus symbol.

We recommend to bring with you a smaller amount of cash in euros or dollars for emergency purposes and to take out most of the money on arrival. You can best do this immediately after arrival at the airport or near the hotel. If possible bring an additional credit and/or debit card for unexpected expenses or emergencies.

Safety and travel advice

For up-to-date information about the security situation in Vietnam, please visit the website of your national government. Travelers who reside in The Netherlands can find relevant information on Nederland Wereldwijd.

Samsara Vegan Travels Turtle

Practical Information

Level of fitness

For this Travel you need medium level of health. Long walks and bike rides are all optional. If you are in good health you can easily participate in this journey. To cover longer distances we use our own bus. Most of the hotels are within walking distance of the city center and restaurants. Taxis are readily available.
Due to the active nature of the trip this journey is not suitable for people with reduced mobility.

Travel documents

You are required to have a passport that is valid for the duration of you stay in Vietnam.

For obtaining a tourist visa for Vietnam you have two options:

Option 1: Apply for a visa at the Vietnamese embassy in your country. You can do this directly by visiting the Vietnamese Embassy's website and filling out or downloading the appropriate forms or by using one of many commercial visa offices you can find online. More information about what type of visa you need, and the costs involved, you can use the following link for Vietnam Visa. Please ensure yourself of the through time for this application, we recommend to submit your request at least 4 weeks before departure. For travelers who reside in The Netherlands, forms can be found at Visumcentrale.

Option 2: Get your visa on arrival at the airport in Vietnam (Visa on arrival). This is the easiest and cheapest way to obtain your visa. Keep in mind though that you have to queue at the airport, which can take more than an hour at busy times. You can apply for your visa on arrival using the following link. As a traveler you are responsible for having the right travel documents.

For emergency purposes make a scan of your passport, visa, and other important documents and mail them to yourself, or put them online in the cloud. So, in case of theft or loss during the journey, you always have copies of your important papers on hand.

Insurance

The costs of health care abroad or an unexpected repatriation can be huge, even in a country like Vietnam. To prevent these high costs, you require travel insurance. Samsara Vegan Travels obligates its travelers to obtain adequate a travel insurance for the full coverage of medical assistance and repatriation and can ask for proof of this insurance. Failure to comply with this requirement can be cause for cancellation in accordance with our Terms and Conditions.

We advise you to take out cancellation insurance, but this is not mandatory.

Vaccinations

When you travel to other countries, it is important to prepare yourself well. For thorough advice on required vaccinations and malaria prophylaxis, contact your family doctor or a clinic specialized in vaccinations. Travelers who reside in The Netherlands can find relevant information on thuisvaccinatie. Starting well on time with a vaccination program is essential as some vaccinations have to be repeated one or more times to be sufficiently effective. Make your 1st appointment at least 6 weeks before departure.

For Vietnam, in general, you are advised to protect yourself against the following diseases:

  • Hepatitis A
  • DTP (diphtheria, tetanus, polio)
  • Typhoid
  • Rabies
  • Malaria (advice on malaria prophylaxes for Myanmar varies, depending on itinerary but also country of residence, please show you doctor your travel itinerary)
  • Dengue (no vaccination possible, protection from mosquitoes is advised)

Check with your health and/or travel insurance if costs for travel vaccinations will be reimbursed.

Travel medication

We advise you to bring a modest travel pharmacy containing painkillers, diarrhea tablets, ORS (Oral Re-hydration Salts), disinfectants, anti-histamine tablets and motion sickness tablets of your sensitive for that.
If you are bringing other medication into the country, make sure these medications are permitted and ask your pharmacy to provide you with a list of subscribed medication.

Accommodation

Samsara Vegan Travels AccommodationThe hotels are comfortable and all have private bathrooms and usually air conditioning. Because the exact accommodation can vary depending on the date and group size, we do not send a list. As a general example, rooms will look something like this (no swans were harmed for this photo):

Our advertised prices are based on double occupancy. If you travel alone and would like to have your own room, we will charge you the single's supplement as specified below. If you would like to share a room we will try to find another traveler of the same sex to share your room with. At the time of booking we will charge you the single's supplement, this will be reimbursed if we find a roommate for you.The single's supplement for this travel is € 350,- for the 21 day tour. For the 9 & 12 day tours the supplement is € 185,- and € 195,- respectively.

Rooms are generally fitted with two single beds, unless otherwise requested.

If you would like to arrive 1 or more days early, or would like to extend you stay after the tour has ended we can arrange a room for you in the hotel we are using for the tour. The daily rate for this is € 38,- for Saigon, € 40,- for Hoi An and € 40,- for Hanoi. This rate includes the occupancy for 1 or 2 people, and breakfast. For booking extra nights, you can use the section 'extra nights' in our booking form.

Booking process

The first step to book a Travel is to fill out the booking form as shown on our website. After we have received your application we will send you a confirmation by e-mail as soon as possible, but no later than within 72 hours. The booking is agreed with the submission of the booking form, cancellation is no longer possible without incurring cancellation costs.

All details regarding payment of deposit and the remainder of the travel sum are giving on the booking page.

The Travel is confirmed to depart if at least the minimum number of travelers have made a booking.
Do not book your international flights before you have received a message from us that the departure of the tour is confirmed.

Samsara Vegan Travels Turtle

The Group

Your tour leaders

All travels to Vietnam will be accompanied by a Dutch+English+German speaking tour leader. The tour leader is the first point of contact during the journey. The tour leader has a lot of experience with traveling and gladly answers all your questions, but s/he is not a walking encyclopedia. It is always a good idea to bring your own travel guide for additional information.
For more information on our tour leaders, click here.

See the Dates & Prices for which guide is accompanying you on your tour.

Your travel companions

We travel in small groups, for Vietnam there is a minimum of 6 and maximum of 12 travelers. The Travel is confirmed to depart if at least the minimum number of travelers have made a booking. In some cases Samsara Vegan Travels can decide to confirm the departure, even if the required minimum number of travelers has not been reached.

Samsara Vegan Travels Turtle

Dates & Prices

Departure Date Arrival Date Duration Price Tour leader*
01 December 2019 21 December 2019 21 days € 2.819,- Stefan
01 December 2019 09 December 2019 9 days € 1.296,- Stefan
10 December 2019 21 December 2019 12 days € 1.728,- Stefan
19 January 2020 30 January 2020 12 days € 1.728,- Brenda
11 October 2020 31 October 2020 21 days € 2.819,- Stefan/Brenda
11 October 2020 19 October 2020 9 days € 1.296,- Stefan/Brenda
20 October 2020 31 October 2020 12 days € 1.728,- Stefan/Brenda

*Tour leader may change up until the last minute, due to unforeseen circumstances.

For EU residents, all our Travels are covered by STO Garant (Foundation Take Over - Travel Guarantee). (The information on this website is in Dutch only, for a detailed description in English of the Travel Guarantee, refer to the Terms and Conditions.)