Trip Overview

Experience Vietnam’s vibrant past and present on this 11-day cultural adventure in February 2019 from North to South, through some of the country’s most historic, evocative, and colorful locales.

You’ll begin in Northern Vietnam, in Hanoi, where a guided walking tour will take you through the narrow, vibrant streets of the historic French Colonial Quarter and past Ho Chi Minh’s imposing mausoleum. You and the other adventurous women on the trip are sure to be impressed when you meet the founder of the Cúc Handmade Project, a fashion textile designer which helps Thai women earn a living wage. Dinner at a lively, local Vietnamese restaurant will be a treat for all your senses. The next day, a biking tour around Hanoi offers you more opportunities to uncover unique neighborhood highlights, like the water puppet theater. A homemade Vietnamese dinner accompanied by traditional music adds true local flavor.

Next, head to the water for three days of private boat cruising along the shores of North Vietnam. Kayak with one of the new friends on your trip around Cap La Island (where you’ll catch glimpses of the traditional fishing village that clings to its shores) and through the picturesque hidden lagoons near Cong Dam. You’ll explore coastal caves on foot and by kayak, and even row through a Vietnamese floating village, visiting a school that bobs atop the water.

Traveling south, you explore Hue in Central Vietnam, where you’ll visit the Imperial City, a colorful traditional walled estate with quarters for the Empress, the Emperor’s mother, and the Emperor’s concubines. At Khai Dinh’s Tomb you’ll marvel at the silent soldier statues keeping guard over the remains of the last emperor of Vietnam. You’ll finish your journey in glorious Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City), where you’ll visit the stately Reunification Palace and the soaring spires of the Notre-Dame Basilica. A private chauffeured motorbike tour through the city will give you a taste of its lively life – literally. You’ll enjoy a variety of street food along the way, and see which of your travel companions has the most adventurous palate!

Wrap up your Vietnam trip in Southern Vietnam with a boat tour showcasing the thriving river-based economy within the Mekong Delta. Marvel at the hidden forests of mangrove thronging the shoreline, and enjoy bird and wildlife viewing on your hike through the Mekong’s jungle to a local crocodile reserve.

This in-depth Vietnamese adventure in February 2019, by boat, bike, and foot, will bring you in touch with authentic Vietnam today, enhanced by appreciation of its history from yesterday.

Main Attractions

  • Pedal your bike along the narrow streets of Hanoi and enjoy lunch in a local home
  • Visit the Cuc Handmade project, a local organization helping Thai women earn a living wage in Vietnam
  • Cruise and kayak in Ha Long Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay
  • Dive into the flavors of Vietnam during a morning cooking class
  • Discover the biodiversity of the Mekong Delta in the Can Goi UNESCO Biosphere Reserve

What You'll See and Do

  • Anthropology
  • Bicycling
  • Boat Cruise
  • Cooking Class
  • Cultural Exploration
  • Historical Sites
  • Kayaking
  • Local Delicacies
  • Sightseeing
  • UNESCO Site
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Women-To-Women Exchanges

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Saturday, February 23, 2019 – Arrive in Hanoi
You will be met outside of baggage claim and transferred to your hotel. If you are arriving in Vietnam early, meet in the hotel lobby at 2:00pm.

Stretch your legs on a walking tour of Hanoi, exploring the past and present of the city. Pass Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum and wander the French Quarter learning about the history of the city along the way. Spend some time with Ms. Cúc this afternoon, founder of the Cúc Handmade project, which helps Thai women earn a living wage.

Enjoy a group welcome dinner in a lively, local restaurant.
Dinner

Overnight: Hotel de L’Opera

Day 2

Sunday, February 24, 2019 – Hanoi
Pedal the small paths through a neighborhood on the outskirts of Hanoi and along the Red River. This is not a difficult ride, but you’ll take it slowly (14 miles over about three hours) – when you explore by bike you can see areas that you can’t get to by car.

Have lunch in your host’s home, which includes a delicious selection of Vietnamese food for you to taste.

Explore on your own this afternoon. You could visit the water puppet theater, explore the local galleries near your hotel, or simply just enjoy a coffee while watching the whirlwind of life around you.

Enjoy dinner in a local home. Your hostess will serve delicious Vietnamese cuisine. You’ll meet her father, who will play the Dan Bau, a traditional single-stringed instrument.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Hotel de L’Opera

Day 3

Monday, February 25, 2019 – Hanoi to Bai Tu Long Bay
Leave Hanoi this morning and drive about three and a half hours to Bai Tu Long Bay. Enjoy seeing scenes of Vietnamese daily life along the way.

Arrive in the Bay and board your privately chartered boat – just for AdventureWomen – in time for lunch! Motor to the Cap La Islands.

Paddle around Cap La and Tra San in tandem kayaks. Enjoy the sunset on the deck of your boat before enjoying dinner on board.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Private Chartered Boat

Day 4

Tuesday, February 26, 2019 – Bai Tu Long Bay
Cruise to Cong Dam this morning, a small old village. Explore the geology of Bai Tu Long Bay on your way.

Kayak through the hidden lagoons and geological park in Cong Dam. Come close to the steep limestone walls and marvel at the stunningly flat water.

The pathway into the cave is set below the forest canopy and a stone cliff. Once you get inside the cave, you’ll feel like you’ve entered an ethereal wonderland. The ceiling of the cave is covered with a shiny “gem carpet” and numerous sparkling stalactites hang from the ceiling.

Enjoy more time in your kayak this afternoon, exploring the shores of islands and even kayaking into caves!
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Private Chartered Boat

Day 5

Wednesday, February 27, 2019 – Bai Tu Long Bay to Hue
Take a rustic rowboat (four women per boat) to visit Vung Vieng fishing village, a small community 12 miles from the mainland. Some families have been here for generations. Learn how the local fishermen pull in their catch.

Have lunch on board as you finish your cruise back into the harbor.

Fly from Hanoi to Hue this afternoon.

Drive about 45 minutes to your hotel in Hue. Settle in and then enjoy dinner as a group.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Pilgrimage Hotel

Day 6

Thursday, February 28, 2019 – Hue
Focus on women’s culture in imperial life as you explore the citadel today. As a walled Imperial estate, there were strictly enforced codes of conduct for women, including when and where they could be seen.

Visit the Tue Hieu Pagoda, built in a pine forest known for its feng shui and paths designed for meditation. You’ll have an opportunity to sit down and have a conversation with one of the monks and learn from his experience.

After enjoying lunch as a group, you’ll have a chance to relax and enjoy the spa and the grounds of your beautiful hotel.

You’ll meet a local man who lived in Hue during the Vietnam War. He has rebuilt his home and garden in the style of Hue upper class families of the past. You’ll have the chance to talk to him about how life is changing in Vietnam.

His wife is an outstanding cook. She will treat you to some of the traditional dishes developed in Hue originally to entice the Emperor. Make sure you peek into the kitchen – it’s amazing what she can do in the space!
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Pilgrimage Hotel

Day 7

Friday, March 1, 2019 – Hue to Hoi An
Visit Khai Dinh’s Tomb, considered the last emperor to reign in Vietnam. He loved French and Vietnamese art. The tomb itself is a blend of Vietnamese traditions and the modern world.

Leave Hue and head for Hoi An. After about three hours, you’ll stop and have lunch at a beach-side restaurant in Danang on the way. Dip your toes in the water before driving another 30 minutes to Hoi An.

Once you arrive in Hoi An, go for a short walk to learn about this 500-year-old port town with blended architecture and traditions.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Hoi An Historic Hotel

Day 8

Saturday, March 2, 2019 – Hoi An
Learn about the local flavors in your Vietnamese cooking class today. Together, you will visit the market and buy the ingredients for your lunch; the menu is based on the best and freshest produce available that day. While you’re at the market, visit a few restaurants and street food kitchens to taste some local delicacies. Head to the kitchen where you’ll make a three-course meal for lunch. Your group will have a great time preparing this feast!

Explore the city of Hoi An, enjoy the pool, or book a massage. The choice is yours this afternoon!

Hop on a local boat chartered just for your group to explore the palm delta area by sunset. Head back to town for dinner!
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Hoi An Historic Hotel

Day 9

Sunday, March 3, 2019 – Hoi An to Ho Chi Minh City
Fly to Ho Chi Minh City this morning.

Explore Ho Chi Minh City this afternoon. Visit the Reunification Palace, the site of the end of the Vietnam War. See the other major sights of Saigon, or Ho Chi Minh City, including the post office and the Notre Dame Cathedral.

Hop on the back of a motorbike and hang on to your driver as you take off on a street food tour of Ho Chi Minh City. Sample multiple different delicacies, and watch your AdventureWomen friends on other motorbikes as you weave through the city! This is an experience you will never forget.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Pullman hotel

Day 10

Monday, March 4, 2019 – Ho Chi Minh City
Head out from the pier on a speedboat, getting a very different view of Ho Chi Minh City. At the entrance to the Mekong Delta, you’ll stop at a lively local riverside market, where you can absorb all of the colors, sounds, and sights that this area is famous for.

As you enter the Delta, the emerald water palms give way to the tall mangrove forests of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Explore the Giant Bat Lagoon by row boat, visit a crocodile reserve, and trek through mangrove jungle, looking for indigenous monkeys and waterfowl. Return to the city this afternoon.

Toast the end of an exceptional trip with your new AdventureWomen friends at the farewell dinner.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Pullman Hotel

Day 11

Tuesday, March 5, 2019 – Depart Ho Chi Minh City
Transfer to the airport for your flights home
Breakfast

 

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686

Traveling to Vietnam



Arrive: Arrive at the Noi Bai Airport (HAN) in Hanoi, Vietnam on February 23, 2019 before noon.

Depart: Depart from the Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN) in Ho Chi Minh City on March 5, 2019. Note that you need to leave the hotel three hours prior to your flight time, so you may not want an early morning flight.

We are happy to help you make your flight and travel arrangements. Please contact us at:

(800) 804-8686 or (617) 544-9393
email: info@adventurewomen.com

If you’d like to do anything prior to or following the AdventureWomen trip, we’d be delighted to help you arrange any trip extensions you’re interested in.

Note: The recent trend in travel is for travelers to finalize their plans much closer to departure time than was customary in the past. While we try to be as flexible as possible booking last-minute registrants, we must release hotel rooms two to three months prior to departure! Please keep this in mind when making your travel plans.

Passports and Visas

For US citizens traveling to or from Vietnam, all travelers must have a valid United States passport. The US Department of State recommends that your passport be valid for at least six months after your expected return.

A tourist visa is required for US citizens visiting Vietnam. You can find more information on how to apply here: http://vietnamembassy-usa.org/consular/visa-application-process

Please note that Vietnam is strict about your entry date. Be sure that the entry date on your application is the date your flight arrives in Hanoi, or you may be denied entry. If you decide to add on a Cambodia extension and fly out of Vietnam, you must get a multiple entry visa to Vietnam.

Activity Level

We rate this trip as Active. Our Active adventures get you on your feet. You should be in good physical condition and be prepared to hike for up to five hours, multiple days in a row, on uneven surfaces with some steep ascents and descents.

We recommend training before your trip (with your doctor’s permission!) to make the most of your adventure. We have a partnership with FitForTrips, a company that will design an individualized fitness plan for you with this itinerary in mind. Best of all, AdventureWomen guests get a 25% discount with the code FITWOMEN. Learn more here.

You should come with a flexible, adventurous, and enthusiastic spirit, and a wonderful sense of humor that adventure travel requires.

Health Considerations

Make an appointment with a travel clinic. There are no immunization requirements for travel to Vietnam, however your local travel clinic may have recommendations for you based on your age, health, and past vaccination history.

For more health information, go to www.cdc.gov/travel and navigate to the page about Vietnam.

Money

The currency in Vietnam is the Vietnamese Dong. US Dollars and Euros are accepted in many hotels, restaurants and shops. To get local currency, we recommend using local ATMs, which are accessible at all stops except while you are on the chartered boat. Visa and Mastercard may be accepted at larger shops, but you will likely be charged a service fee.

Suggestions for Gratuities:

  • Main guide: $10 per person per day
  • Boat crew in Bai Tu Long Bay: $10 per person per day

How to Register

Call the AdventureWomen office at (800) 804-8686 to determine space availability and register for this trip. We can complete your registration, including taking your credit card deposit over the phone.

If you prefer, you can register online by clicking “Sign Up for this Trip” on the trip page.

Please be sure to read the AdventureWomen policies before registering!

Forms and Final Payment

Once you book, you will need to fill out and return to AdventureWomen:

  • Information Form
  • Booking Conditions Form
  • Copy of Flight Information
  • Copy of Issuing Page of Passport (photo page)

Final payment is due to AdventureWomen in a cash form (check, money order, or wire transfer) on or before November 25, 2018.

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686

What's Included

Included

  • Accommodations based on double occupancy
  • Meals as noted in the itinerary
  • All transportation throughout the trip
  • All activities as listed in the itinerary
  • English-speaking guide throughout the trip
  • Bike, helmet, and one bike water bottle per person
  • Drinking water
  • Gratuities for drivers, day trip boats, and porters
  • One AdventureWomen Ambassador

Not Included

  • Round-trip airfare
  • Internal airfare
  • Meals not specified in itinerary
  • Alcoholic beverages, unless otherwise specified
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Visa fee
  • Gratuities for your head guide and live-aboard boat staff

 

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686

Accommodations

Hotel de L’Opera
Located in the center of Hanoi, Hotel de L’Opera is in close proximity to Hanoi’s Opera House and the Old Quarter. A balance of French and Vietnamese architecture and design, each of the 107 rooms is equipped with complimentary Wi-Fi, TV, air conditioning, and stylish furnishings.

Private Chartered Boat
The boat we have chartered exclusively for AdventureWomen features comfortable cabins and both indoor and outdoor dining areas. Each cabin is equipped with modern amenities to make your stay comfortable. Enjoy sunset with your group from the sun deck on the top of the boat.

Pilgrimage Hotel
Pilgrimage Village is ideally located in the quiet countryside in a rustic village setting. Surrounded by lush tranquil gardens, you will have the feeling of being out in the country while being close to the famous sites of Hue. Your room combines modern comfort with traditional architectural features with views over the garden or the lily lake.

Hoi An Historic Hotel
The Hoi An Hotel is known for its location, charm, and world-class facilities. The rooms are basic and comfortable, and you will have access to a large outdoor pool.

Pullman Hotel
Located centrally within Ho Chi Minh City, close to Ben Thanh market, Pham Ngu Lao area, the rooms at the Pullman Saigon Centre combine design and comfort. Enjoy panoramic views of the city, as well as free Wi-Fi, a swimming pool, and a spa.

 

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686

What to Bring

As you get ready to pack for your adventure, have a look at The AdventureWomen Store at www.theadventurewomenstore.com - we have picked out our favorite travel clothes and outdoor gear to help make packing easy for you. You can also see our recommendations for this trip on the AdventureWomen Pinterest page.

The weather on this trip can range from a low in the high 50s and a high in the low 90s. The key to packing is to bring lightweight layers, and expect showers and humidity throughout your trip. The trick to staying cool (and warm!) in Asia is layering loose-fitting clothing made of breathable, lightweight fabrics. Anything you wash by hand will dry quickly in an air-conditioned room overnight. Be prepared for air-conditioning indoors.

Clothing and Gear

  • 1 small suitcase or duffel bag
  • 1 small daypack to carry on excursions
  • 3-4 short sleeve shirts
  • 1-2 light-weight long-sleeved shirts
  • 1 sweater or light jacket
  • 1 fleece jacket or vest
  • 2 pairs quick-dry shorts
  • 1-2 pairs light-weight pants
  • 1 rain jacket
  • 1-2 bathing suits
  • 1 pair comfortable sneakers
  • 1 pair sport water sandals
  • 4-5 pairs of socks (thin socks recommended for biking)
  • 1 nicer outfit for dinners at upscale restaurants
  • 1 sun hat
  • Underwear/bras

AdventureWomen Essentials

  • Travel documents (identification documents, airline tickets, money)
  • 2 spare passport photos in case your passport is lost or stolen
  • Write down/print out travel insurance number
  • Locks for your suitcase/duffel bag
  • Travel alarm clock with spare batteries
  • Headlamp or small flashlight with spare batteries
  • Binoculars (8x40/42 models are excellent choices; center focus models are easiest)
  • Digital camera, memory cards, battery charger
  • Sunglasses, case, and strap
  • Spare glasses, contact lenses, cleaner, saline, etc.
  • Money belt or neck pouch
  • Your AdventureWomen insulated bottle (good for hot or cold drinks!)
  • Sunscreen and lip balm with SPF
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Hand wipes/hand sanitizer
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Soap, shampoo, and conditioner
  • Small packet of tissues
  • Tampons and panty liners (avoid plastic applicators)
  • Earplugs: We recommend Mack’s Pillow Soft White Moldable Silicone Snore Proof Earplugs. Available at most drugstores or at www.earplugstore.com
  • Assortment of stuff sacks and Ziploc bags
  • 1-2 bandanas/Buff
  • Reading material/journal and pens

Personal First Aid Kit

  • Prescription medicine you usually take
  • Personal epi pen (if you need one, don’t forget to pack it!)
  • Bandages, Gauze, Ace bandage, blister prevention
  • Antiseptic wipes/spray
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Cotton-tipped applicators
  • Oral rehydration tablets/packets
  • Antidiarrheal medication
  • Mild laxative
  • Antacid
  • Cold remedies
  • Ibuprofen/acetaminophen
  • Eye drops
  • Tweezers, scissors (travel size), safety pins

If you prefer to buy a complete kit, we recommend the Smart Travel first aid kit.

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686