AIRPORT PICK UP & TRUFAM WELCOME
Today is the day you’ve been dreaming of. Ho Chi Minh’s international airport is where it all begins. Look out for the smiley driver with a great big TruTravels branded sign with your name on it, they’re with us. They’ll whisk you off to our hotel in the city, somewhere you’ll look back on years from now as the moment you first met your TruFam, that’s what we call our tour groups for reasons that become very obvious. It’s the start of a beautiful friendship with your group, your Travel Ninja and Vietnam as a whole so enjoy welcome drinks and a delicious dinner. Your Vietnam Explorer is finally here!
EXPLORING THE CU CHI TUNNELS
Rise and shine TruTraveller we’ve got a big day ahead! Wear some comfortable shoes as today we’re heading to the Cu Chi Tunnels. Built in the late 1940’s and spreading over nearly 250km, the Cu Chi Tunnels were used for a number of reasons including housing troops, transporting communications and supplies and even laying booby traps before returning to safety inside the tunnels. Don’t be fooled, although the operations of these tunnels sound seamless, some tunnels were so small they were around 80cm wide and 80cm high, meaning for the average human almost impossible to get through. We’ll experience the tunnels up close and personal and explore some of the underground hiding holes. This experience is one not to be missed and gives a real insight into the struggle and challenges of life only 70ish years ago. Early afternoon we’ll head back and grab some lunch before having a relaxing afternoon. In the evening we’ll head to the airport and head to our next destination - Hoi An!
City Orientation & visit war museum
HO CHI MINH WALKING TOUR & WAR MUSEUM
You have the whole day to explore one of the world’s most beautiful and hospitable countries. We start in the iconic and historic city formerly known as Saigon. In spite of the universal welcoming vibes and chirpy nature of the locals, Vietnam’s troubled past is well documented and after taking a walking tour of some of Ho Chi Minh’s most notable spots. It’s time to be astonished at what happened here 50 years ago in the Ho Chi Minh War Museum, which sees half a million visitors a year. Learn the history of the Vietnamese war which spanned over 20 years and still impacts many lives today. We take a walk and view the incredible Independence Palace before continuing on to the cathedral and post office. We finish up by heading to the local food market to try some of the best food around, the local cuisine! Afterwards we’ll freshen up for dinner, drinks and getting to know your TruFam in the busy city of Ho Chi Minh!
HOI AN LANTERN MAKING & TAILORS
Today we wake up in the scenic town of Hoi An. A magical place in Vietnam known for it’s beauty and fun fact is also a World Heritage Site! Hoi An is probably most famous for the Vietnamese lanterns that give the town a surreal, tranquil glow each night. You want one don’t you? Let’s go one better and teach you how to make one! Choose your silk, and learn from the locals on how to turn one of these iconic lanterns into your own one. Don’t worry if you’re shit at arts and crafts, you can always leave the lantern in the dark to hide your shame. Another famous activity in Hoi An is the ability to have clothes made, styled, designed and created exactly how you want them. We visit a local tailors where we’ll see how they create incredible clothing and designs. They'll also gift us a one of a kind reusable and sustainable TruTravels tote bag made from the cut off fabrics. An amazing life long gift from the TruFam and perfect for onward adventures. Afterwards we head to Thinhs, an amazing local coffee shop owned by a Tru friend Tinh who grows his own coffee beans and has some of the best Vietnamese coffee in the country! (In our opinion ;)). We’ll learn the process of developing and roasting the beans before trying our very own coffee! The rest of the afternoon is free to explore as we please!
Latern Making & Visit To Tailors
EXPLORING HOI AN
Today is a free day so snooze as long as you like. Walk alongside the calm river and take in the relaxing ambience of this quieter part of Vietnam or perhaps head to the famous Ba Na Hills, Golden Bridge. It’s an Instagram favourite! With winding roads and small bridges, it’s easy to see why Hoi An is a favourite among travellers so get out and explore! May we suggest a local beach club for sunset cocktails? Go on, you know you want too!
BASKET BOAT EXPERIENCE & BIKE RIDES
Today, we’d give a fun level of 10000/10 and we’re not just saying that. First off we’re taking a morning bike ride through the local countryside and village before arriving at our destination for the afternoon! We’re going to Coconut Woods, which despite the name is actually on 7 hectares (don’t ask us what a hectare is, it might be some sort of squirrel) of water. Ever heard of a basket boat? Well you’re about to have your first experience of one and you are going to laugh yourself senseless on one of these mad cap traditional Vietnamese vessels that have been used to crab fish for centuries. We’ll glide through stunning surroundings before slipping, sliding and splashing a little too much as we show how basket boats are best used. It might not be as relaxing as you’re envisioning but it's sure to get the blood pumping. You’ll work up an appetite and get you nice and hungry for a culinary experience and a half before we stop for some delicious food with the local family. This evening will be our last in Hoi An (until you come visit again) so let’s make it a big one with dinner and drinks on the boardwalk.
HAI VAN PASS IN OPEN TOP JEEPS
Don’t let the name fool you, we're doing the legendary Hai Van Pass, made famous by Top Gear in open top war jeeps not a van, yeah! Leaving Hoi An will be emotional but once we get out on the open road you’ll see some of the most spectacular scenery anywhere in Vietnam on the way to the city of Hue. We’ll stop on the way for some snaps, some lunch and maybe even a cheeky dip in the tropical waters before reaching the idyllic Hue. Pack a swimsuit! Today is spent, wind in hair, music blasting and driving along this world famous epic route. A once in a lifetime activity ya feel? We’ll arrive late in the afternoon and it’s hotel check-in and chill! Later in the day we’ll be heading out to explore Hue’s nightlife where we’re all about the local beers, the rice wine and dancing the night away. Good food and delicious drinks pending.
COOKING UP A STORM!
Did you know Hue was once the home of Emperors? The remnants of their reign can be seen all over the city, none more so than within the walls of the Imperial City itself. So today we’re immersing ourselves in it all. We head along the perfume river and arrive at a tranquil garden. Sit back and relax as it’s here we’ll be spending the day! Are you ready to cook up a storm? We’ll be learning how to cook the delicious Vietnamese food we’ve been devouring for the past week and have loved so very much. No pressure TruFam. Slice and dice away and enjoy every bite of your hard work culinary masterpiece. It’s been an incredible day so we wave goodbye to Hue and head onto our next destination - Ninh Binh!
NINH BINH IS CALLING
Ninh Binh is known as the Halong Bay on land and for good reason, it’s breathtakingly beautiful. We arrive and jump aboard small boats and paddle through untouched caves and around small surrounding islands. Look around and you’ll see emerald green forestry and rice paddies galore. Absolutely stunning. Afterwards we’ll head to Tam Coc valley, here you’ll find limestone hills dotted amongst the luscious trees. One of the best nature destinations in all of Vietnam and 1 not on the typical touristy trail. The afternoon is free to chill but if the TruFam are up for it, we can hop on bikes and cycle around, stopping for water breaks and those all important insta shots. If you didn’t take a pic did you even go right? We’ve saved the best till last and around mid afternoon we head to the epic Hang Mua viewpoint, with around 500 steps to the top, you know it’s going to be incredible. After updating our instastory, sending 100 pictures in your WhatsApp chat and really taking in the magic of Vietnam we head back for dinners, beers and an incredible sunset over the mountains!
HALONG BAY CRUISING
Today we’re going to arguably the most iconic place in Asia - this is Halong Bay and it’s almost certainly been your screensaver at some point in time. A bright green sea, 1,600 limestone islands dotted throughout the bay, this is a labyrinth of genuine paradise and wonder. We leave Ninh Binh early in the morning before travelling to Halong Bay and joining our boat for a night under the stars. Lunch is served to the most breathtaking backdrop imaginable after we’ve boarded and settled in. Today we set sail into paradise, the POA? Kayaking, viewpoints, beaches, the lot! We told you your stay in Halong Bay would stay with you forever. After a day on the water, we head back aboard and learn how to make mouth wateringly tasty spring rolls. The evening is spent watching the sun go down on the open deck, looking up at the stars and sharing a beer or two with your TruFam. Does it get better than this?
1 X Breakfast, 1 X Lunch, 1 X Dinner
IDYLIC HALONG BAY VIEWS
Wake up, rub your eyes, no you’re really here. Take in your surroundings before heading onto the open deck for some breakfast and a large coffee. Huge limestone rock formations in amongst teal waters and luscious green forestry surround us. There’s no place in the world like Halong Bay, so sit back, relax and enjoy the 360 degree views. We’ll spend the afternoon relaxing and swimming before we say goodbye and make our way to Vietnam’s capital - Hanoi! The late afternoon is free so head out and explore! In the evening we meet up for dinner, drinks and head out to see Hanoi’s incredible nightlife!
THE HUSTLE & BUSTLE OF HANOI
It’s been 12 days since this wonderful adventure through Vietnam began and by now you’ll have covered over 1,600km of great times, great laughs and great people. Just because the capital of Hanoi is the last stop of your Vietnam Explorer, these dreamy couple of weeks are anything but finished. Hanoi is chaotic, vibrant an absolute experience in itself. Time to explore, right? But not before sampling one of Vietnam’s favourite beveragino’s, a traditional egg coffee. Just trust us they’re pretty good. We’ll head for a demonstration on how this delicacy is made. Do they use real eggs? Who knows. The rest of the day is all yours to explore. Whatever side of Hanoi you like, whether that’s the Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi’s gorgeous Opera House or the countless other mega snappable spots in the city. It’s an incredible day. In the evening we get dressed up for our large BIG night out with the TruFam!
CHILLED OUT, CHECK OUT
It’s a day for sore heads and emotional goodbyes as we’re at the end of the tour. Fear not though, this may not be the end of your adventure and if not our Travel Ninjas know Southeast Asia like the back of their hand and can advise you on what and where to next. If it is time to depart this part of the world then allow yourself to be sad about it, but promise us you’ll come back for more? It’s a very easy promise to keep in truth. You’re now a lifelong member of the TruFam and by now, you’ll know how big a deal that is. See you soon!