Trans - Vietnam Train Journey - 18 days

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Trans-Vietnam Train Journey - through stunning landscape named among Asia’s best by Tripadvisor

It won't be the most convenient or comfy train ride of your life, but a trans-Vietnam journey will always be an unforgettable experience.

Trans-Vietnam Train Journey - 18 days

Itinerary Overview

This unique train journey offers amazing experiences throughout Vietnam. The Reunification Express, known as the Thong Nhat Railway, traverses more than 1,726 kilometers (1,072 miles) between Hanoi and Saigon, the country’s two biggest cities. On the way along Vietnam, you will stop at most major travel destinations, and join most interesting activities. Vietnam’s north-south railway is listed by the British travel guide, Lonely Planet, as one of 10 world’s ‘most amazing’ train journeys for 2019. Join now for fun!

Highlights

  • Sit and enjoy romantic scenery and rural landscapes along coastal towns on the train
  • Enjoy scenic rice terraces of Sapa and explore its cultures of ethnic groups
  • Explore the Mekong Delta culture and lifestyle
  • Observe the unique way of trading at floating market where barges loaded with fruits and vegetables gather for the early morning trade
  • Experience a slow pace of life when you walk around the impossibly atmospheric Ancient Town of Hoi An
  • Spend the night on boat that cruise between the limestone peaks of Halong Bay while feasting on sumptuous meals on board

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: HANOI BY NIGHT - STREET FOOD

Pickup at the airport upon arrival. Free to relax at your hotel till late afternoon for street food tour.

18:00 - 21:00: Hanoi by Night, Street food tour

We start our excellent street food walking tour at your hotel in old quarter of Hanoi along the perimeter of the market, dozens of street hawkers sell a staggering variety of produce from live seafood to exotic fruits and spices. Your expert English-speaking local guide will give you an insight into the intricacies and traditions of Vietnamese food culture including details on ingredients and historical backgrounds of popular northern dishes. We eat as we go, trying seasonal fruits and sampling a tasty French-inspired snack from a street cart.
Walking through the maze of bustling streets that make up Hanoi’s Old Quarter, we tempt our tastebuds with the famed Hanoi dish Banh Cuon at a local eatery. Watch in awe as the skilled chefs demonstrate for you how this tasty dish is put together. Continuing into the atmospheric heart of the Old Quarter, we wander past street stalls and quiet residential lanes where you can observe local life that has changed little since Hanoi was founded over 1000 years ago.
Our next two snack stops are at outdoor barbeque stalls. We sit down with the Hanoi locals and sample various meat, vegetable and bread specialties that are flame grilled over hot coals for extra flavour. It’s then time for dessert as we venture down a small alley to join in the local tradition of feasting on fresh fruit served in a cup and smothered with crushed iced and condensed milk – this speciality is one not to be missed!
Your local guide will then take you to one of Hanoi’s best kept secrets, a hidden street food restaurant to taste top ten street foods in Hanoi is Banh My Hanoi, Vietnamese Rice Wine and famous Egg Coffee. This hard-to-find café is one of the few left in the narrow street inside the old quarter of Hanoi. Or, if coffee is not your style, a cold beer awaits!. At the end of the trip you are free to continue exploring the area or your guide will assist you with directions or a taxi back to your hotel.

Note*:

  • The hotel room will be available at 2:00pm, and in case that you would like to secure an early-check in, an additional charge will be applied.
  • Please be advised that both international and domestic might be crowded at sometimes during the day, so in case that you arrive and cannot find our representatives, please be presented at Pole No.16 outside lobby A2 (International) or Lobby of domestic arrival (Domestic flight) and contact us, so we could easily search for you
  • Meals: Dinner
  • Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi.

DAY 2: HANOI - CITY TOUR - NIGHT TRAIN TO SAPA - 9 HOURS

Free in the morning.

In the afternoon, half day tour to visit Hanoi. We start with visit to President Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum (Outsite). We also visit the famous One Pillar Pagoda nearby. Leaving the President's complex, we continue to visit the Temple of Literature (Van Mieu). Although several Van Mieu can be found throughout Vietnam, the most prominent and famous is that situated in the city of Hanoi, and was functioned as Vietnam's first university

Finally, visit the Hoa Lo prison. Free time to relax till transfer to the station for night train to Sapa.

Note*:

  • Late checkout at the hotel is not included.
  • Our tour guide will not accompany during the train trip
  • Train schedule is subject to change depending on availability
  • Private compartments on request at surcharge.
  • Train journeys are part of a great local experience. Cabins are shared with other local passengers (unless private cabin is requested and all berths paid for - with supplement). Restrooms at either end of the carriages.
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Accommodation: Overnight Train to Sapa

DAY 3: Y LINH HO - LAO CHAI - TA VAN VILLAGES TREKKING

Sa Pa is a quiet mountain town and home to a great diversity of ethnic minority peoples. Most of the ethnic minority people work their land on sloping terraces since the vast majority of the land is mountainous. Their staple foods are rice and corn. Rice, by its very nature of being a labour intensive crop, makes the daily fight for survival paramount. The unique climate in Sapa has a major influence on the ethnic minorities who live in the area. With sub-tropical summers, temperate winters and 160 days of mist annually, the influence on agricultural yields and health related issues are significant.

05:30 ~ 06:00: Arrive at Lao Cai Train Station. Pick up at the train station and transfer to Sapa. Early check in upon arrival is possible upon room occupancy (Surcharge applicable). Breakfast and Relax for a while to get ready for our full day tour.

9.30am: Meet up your local guide and start trekking for 6km of walking down to the south east of Sapa along the side of Muong Hoa valley to Y Linh Ho village of the Black H’mong. A 2 km-trekking down to Lao Chai village, through terraced rice fields to Ta Van village of the Dzay minority people. On the way, we would have chance to learn about the local agriculture producing customs and daily lifestyle. We have lunch at a local family, offering you a worth chance to learn about the local house architecture, which is full of their daily life styles and exclusive custom.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation: Homestay at Dzay Local House

DAY 4: TA VAN - GIANG TA CHAI - SU PAN - BAN HO

After pancake made by your host family, we continue to discover Giang Ta Chai village, then Su Pan villages of the red Dzao minority. After picnic lunch, we keep on hiking to Ban Ho, the village lies within a beautiful valley, home to the Tay minority people who have their traditional house on stilts and we will spend the night here.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation: Homestay at Tay Family

DAY 5: BAN HO - NAM TOONG - SAPA - HANOI BUS (5 HOURS)

2km walking to a very nice waterfall discovered and named “the Lavie” by the French during the colonial time in Vietnam. Enjoy swimming then go up to the mountain to visit a small hamlet of the Red Dzao people called Nam Toong, then get back to Ban Ho before get to Sapa by Car. Shower before bus ride back to Hanoi. Arrive Hanoi in in the evening.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi.

DAY 6: HANOI - HALONG BAY - NIGHT ON BOARD

08h00: Pick up from your hotel in Hanoi. Drive to Halong City through the paddy fields in the Red River Delta.
10h00: Stopover on the way for a refreshment break
12h00: Arrive at Tuan Chau wharf – Break and photography time
12h30: Board the Cruise for departure. Welcome drink will be served
13h00: Lunch is served while cruising through the bay
15h30: Visit exciting Cua Van fishing village. The village is free of busy roads and streets, electric lights, houses and high rise buildings. Instead, there are only herds of little boats and rafts. You will have the chance to discover the traditional culture and customs of the fishermen.
16h30: Enjoy kayaking or swimming (if the weather permits).
17h00: Back on board and continue cruising.
19h00: Dinner is served.
21h00: Take some leisure time to enjoy chatting at the bar or enjoy some night fishing.

Note*: the itinerary and activities on board would vary depending on the boat you choose. Please see the choice of boat in Hotel Inclusions.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation: Halong Bay Cruise

DAY 7: HALONG BAY - HANOI - HUE OVERNIGHT TRAIN JOURNEY - 12 HOURS

07.00: Coffee and tea will be served
08.00: Continue cruising
08h15: Visit splendid Sung Sot Cave
09h00: Check out and enjoy a fantastic cruise on the bay, passing Dinh Huong Island, fishing villages, Ga Choi Island, Dog Island and Sail Island.
09.30: Buffet brunch (breakfast/lunch) while cruising back through Halong Bay to the pier
11h30: Arrive at the pier. Time to say goodbye to the crew.
12.00: Return from Halong to Hanoi. Arrive Hanoi at about 17pm. Shower at small hotel before transferring to the station for overnight train to Hue.

Note*: the itinerary and activities on board would vary depending on the boat you choose. Please see the choice of boat in Hotel Inclusions.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation: Overnight Train to Hue

DAY 8: HUE CITY TOUR

Arrive Hue at 10am.

Today, we will spend a full day touring Hue city. Our visiting sites includes Old Imperial City, Flag Tower, Thien Mu Pagoda, Royal Tombs of Minh Mang and Khai Dinh. The tour ends with your self exploration of Dong Ba bustling market then free for personal activities in Hue.

  • Meals: Lunch
  • Accommodation: Hotel in Hue

DAY 9: HUE - HOIAN SCENIC TRAIN JOURNEY - 3 HOURS

Free in the morning.

In the afternoon, transfer to the station for day train to Hue. Enjoy scenic view of Hai Van Pass on the way. Arrive Hue in late afternoon. Transfer to the hotel and enjoy free time.

  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Accommodation: Hotel in Hoian

DAY 10: HOIAN - MY SON TOWERS TOUR

Pickup at the hotel at 7:50 am, we drive to visit My Son. The My Son temple complex is regarded one of the foremost Hindu temple complexes in Southeast Asia and is the foremost heritage site of this nature in Vietnam. It is often compared with other historical temple complexes in Southeast Asia, such as Borobodur of Java in Indonesia, Angkor Wat of Cambodia, Bagan of Myanmar and Ayutthaya of Thailand. Although badly damaged by bombing raids in the 1960s, the site still has more than 20 structures and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999.

Leaving My Son for boat station and taking a boat trip on Thu Bon river. You could visit the living of the local people and feeling the fresh air. Enjoy the beautiful views along the river. Arrive Hoian in early afternoon. Free time to explore Hoian ancient town.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation: Hotel in Hoian

DAY 11: HOIAN - FREE DAY

Free and easy day for shopping and swimming in Hoian.

  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Accommodation: Hotel in Hoian

DAY 12: HOIAN - NHA TRANG - 10 HOURS

Today, we take day train from Hoian to Nha Trang to enjoy the scenic scenery on the way. Arrive Nha Trang in late afternoon. Pickup and transfer to the hotel.

  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Accommodation: Hotel in Nha Trang

DAY 13: NHA TRANG - FREE DAY

Free and easy day for shopping and swimming at beautiful beach in Nha Trang.

  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Accommodation: Hotel in Nha Trang

DAY 14: NHA TRANG - SAIGON DAY TRAIN JOURNEY - 8 HOURS

Free and easy till transfer to the station for the train to Saigon. Transfer to the hotel in Saigon upon arrival.

  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Accommodation: Hotel in Saigon

DAY 15: SAIGON CITY + CU CHI TUNNELS TOUR

Pickup at the hotel at 7:40 for half day city tour. Our city tour will help you to see the best of Saigon. We visit the historic Reunification palace and War Remnants Museum, followed by the architectural treats of French colonial Notre Dame Cathedral and the post Office. Lunch at local restaurant.

In late afternoon, we head out of town to visit the Cu Chi Tunnels, which is an extensive underground network of approximately 200 kilometers of tunnels dug initially by the Viet Minh and then expanded by the Viet Cong. Here contains hospitals, plus accommodation and schools, and were used extensively for refuge and storage and also utilized as a military base for the Viet Cong close to Saigon. We will then get back to Saigon. Arrive Saigon at about 6pm.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation: Hotel in Saigon

DAY 16: SAIGON - MEKONG WITH HOMESTAY

6.30 AM: Depart for Cai Be by car/van via Trung Luong Express Highway, stopping to take photos in Tan An town overlooking the picturesque flat rice fields.
9.30 AM: On arrival in Cai Be, set off by motor boat to visit the Cai Be floating market and watch the locals trading fruit and many other commodities on board their vessels. Visit a small family business to see how coconut candy and crispy rice popcorn are made. Then wander into the small villages to visit the orchard and fruit plantation, accompanied by traditional southern Vietnamese folk music.
11.30 AM: Keep cruising to a series of small canals to experience the charms of the Upper Mekong Delta. Arrive in Tan Phong island, join to a cooking class. Enjoy your cooking experience and learn how to prepare special Vietnamese dishes. Food cooked by yourself and fresh river food served in the heart of the garden. Relax on the hammocks to get back your energy.
14.00 PM: Cycle around the village path with fruit orchards and bonsai garden. Meet the local islanders to learn more about the local daily life in the Mekong delta.
15.00 PM: Meet our local guide and transfer to the island for the overnight homestay experience with the local people. After meeting your home stay hosts, you're free to walk around the house and village to explore the countryside. You will prepare your own dinner (Vietnamese dishes) with help from your host. Overnight homestay with your hospitable island hosts.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation: Night at homestay in Caibe

DAY 17: MEKONG - SAIGON

After breakfast, you will be visiting Mr Ba Duc's ancient house. It's one of several houses preserved in harmonious combination of two architectural styles: Vietnamese and French, whose shape is unique to the colonial period.
Today, you will also visit a rice husking mill to learn about the procedure for rice production. Mekong Delta is popular for its own unique charm. In Cai Be, a lot of materials are still hand-crafted, such as: "Cham La", the coconut leaves used to weave the roofs of homes. If you want to see how bricks are made, you'll see it here. After lunch at a restaurant serving local cuisine, you will taking back to HCMC by Van/Bus. Trip ends in Hochiminh city around 4:30 PM.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation: Hotel in Saigon

DAY 18: SAIGON DEPARTURE

Today, you are free till airport transfer for departure flight. Trip ends!

  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Accommodation: N/A

Download Itinerary

Important Notes:

  • THIS IS OUR DEFAULT ITINERARY AND IS CHANGEABLE DEPENDING ON YOUR INTEREST
  • In case of unpredictable bad conditions of weather in Halong Bay, please kindly understand that the cancellation will be made ONLY by the Management Board of Halong Bay and normally the announcement will be informed in short notice.

Trans-Vietnam Train Journey - 18 days

Hotels & Prices

Hotel Categories

Small Group

01 May - 30 Sept
(Low season)

01 Oct  - 30 Apr
(High season)

Economy (2*)

Hanoi: La Suite Hotel & Spa
Sapa: Panorama Hotel
Halong Bay: Aclass Cruise
Hoi An: Uptown Hoi An Hotel
Hue: Orchid hotel
Nha Trang: The Light hotel
Saigon: Saigon Beautiful 3 hotel
Mekong: Homestay

US$

US$

Superior (3-4*)

Hanoi: Hanoi Noble Hotel 
Sapa: Sapa Vista hotel
Halong Bay: Aclass Stellar Cruise
Hue: Cherish Hotel
Hoi An: Vinh Hung Emerald Resort
Nha Trang: Michelia Nha Trang
Saigon: Tan Hoang Long Hotel
Mekong: Homestay

US$

US$

Deluxe (4*)

Hanoi: Golden Silk Boutique Hotel
Sapa: Sapa Amazing Hotel
Halong Bay: Huong Hai Sealife
Hue: Eldora Hotel
Hoi An: Vinh Hung Riverside Resort
Nha Trang: Michelia Nha Trang
Saigon: Grand Silverland Hotel
Mekong: Homestay

US$

US$

Customize or make it a private tour >>>

 

Notes*:

  • All prices are in USD per adult, in Double/Twin sharing
  • Small group tour - daily departure with max 12 pax (for Halong Cruises, you will join bus by boat companies)
  • In some major cities in Vietnam, hotel rooms may not have windows.
  • Similar hotels are selected if any of above are booked
  • Surcharge will be applied for single traveler or single room request

Important information

What's included ?

Transportation

Car, Cruise, Bus

Accommodation

Hotel/homestay (14 nights), Overnight train (02 nights) Overnight on-board (1 night)

Meals

16 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 5 Dinners
Note*: breakfast is included at the hotel/homestay.

Price Includes

  • Overnights in selected hotels or similar
  • Vietnam visa approval letter
  • Halong bay 2 day Cruise package
  • Local English speaking guides
  • Excursions as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • Entrance fees for sightseeing mentioned in the itinerary
  • Tours and transfers as mentioned, by air-conditioned vehicles (bus and group tour)
  • 5 Train Jourey: Hanoi - Sapa, Hanoi - Hue, Hue - Hoian, Hoian - Nha Trang, Nha Trang - Saigon

Price Excludes

  • Meals and services other than those noted in the itinerary
  • Visa stamping fee
  • Meals and services other than those noted in the itinerary
  • Laundry, telephone calls, and personal expenditures
  • Gratuities for guides, drivers, porters, boat crew, and personal, non-itinerary services

Children Rates

  • FOC for infant under 2 years old
  • 02 - 6 years old without bed: 35% adult rate
  • 06 - 11 years old with extra bed: 75% adult rate
  • 06 - 11 years old in twin share: 90% adult rate
Note*: The rate for children applicable for one child sharing a twin or double cabin with two adults

Cancellation Policy

  • Cancellation received 60 days or more before arrival date: 10% of total rate
  • Cancellation received from 30 days to 59 days prior arrival date: 20% of total rate
  • Cancellation received from 15 days to 29 days prior arrival date: 30% of total rate
  • Cancellation received from 7 days to 14 days prior arrival date: 50% of total rate
  • Cancellation received less than 7 days prior arrival date or No show: 100% of total rate
Note*: Beside above charge, fee of US$100/person is nonrefundable for train tickets

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