Vietnam Explorer

So, you want a full-throttle experience of Vietnam? You sound like a Vietnam Explorer to us, so let’s meet up with your Travel Ninja down south in Ho Chi Minh City and open up the taps on a 17-day adventure you’ll never, ever forget. We are packing a lot into these 17 days but the beauty of Vietnam is going to provide you with boundless energy to see it all from boarding on the sensational sand dunes of Mui Ne, through Nha Trang, up to the iconic town of Hoi An before heading north to the capital Hanoi, saving the very best until last, cruising around the legendary Halong Bay. Oh, not to mention being in food heaven for the entire trip alongside new mates for life!

We’ve perfected the balance between culture, adventure, beaches and parties. A high level of inclusions at a low cost. Think of a Ferrari for the price of a Ford. Highlights, hotspots & hidden gems are crafted into each itinerary with our own TruExclusives. We stay in a variety of different accommodations such as hotels, hostels, homestays, beach huts & even boats. Maximum adventure, minimum hassle.

What's Included

Airport Pickup
(Up to two days before tour)

Travel Ninja
Your Guide! Like travelling with your best friends and one of them happens to know where they're going!

All Transport Included Private Bus Ha Long Bay Boat

16 Nights Accommodation Twin-Share Rooms Hotels Beachside Resort

Lantern Making in Hoi An Bamboo Basket Boat Trip Cooking Class Halong Bay Cruise
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Low Deposit
Stupidly low deposits so you won't have to raid the piggy bank to lock in your trip.
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Free date change
If your plans change, no stress. We allow one free date change up to 60 days before you travel.
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Payment Plans
Have something to look forward to & pay us when you can.
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Unrivalled Support
The best 1 on 1 support before, during and after your trip.
Bucket List
Ha Long Bay
Lantern Making Class
Basket Boat Experience
Dark Caves
Hai Van Pass
Mui Ne Sand Dunes
Vietnamese Cooking Class

Tour Itinerary

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7 Day 8 Day 9 Day 10 Day 11 Day 12 Day 13 Day 14 Day 15 Day 16 Day 17
Day 1


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!

Ho Chi Minh City
Airport Pick Up
Day 2


It’s your first full day in 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 (wait until you see the Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon) 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. One day in HCMC is enough for us TruTravellers, it’s time to hit the road and explore the tropical South. First stop - sandboarding in Mui Ne (you read that right!).

Mui Ne
City Orientation & visit war museum
Group of travellers in front of yellow building on cobbled streets
Group photo in front of tall building - Vietnam
Group by old plane - Vietnam
Day 3


Vietnam is a real all-rounder, but it’s the more rural and exotic parts of the country that will really stand out. Welcome to the southern coastal town of Mui Ne and something to get your pulses racing. Hop on a boogie board and career down the stunning sand dunes (try to scream with your mouth closed!). This is big on fun! Don’t believe us, watch some past TruTravellers tackle it here. After you’ve finished laughing hysterically down the dunes it’s time to take in Mui Ne’s beautiful surroundings via open-top jeep, visit Fairy Stream which is going to blow up on your Instagram, before unwinding that evening with dinner and drinks. You’ll have noticed how much of a laugh your TruFam and Travel Ninja are too.

Sand dunes tour
1x Breakfast
Day 4


We’re making sure you squeeze in as much of Vietnam as possible but we aren’t army drill sergeants, so chill! Enjoy a cheeky lie-in or a lazy morning by the pool. This is also a great chance to remind yourself of who drank a bit too much rum the night before and fell into a hedge. Soak in the gorgeous beach surroundings of Mui Ne, maybe even start a game of beach volleyball (forfeits are highly encouraged) before we’re hopping back on the road, to our next destination - the coastal city of Nha Trang. Once we drop the bags off at our hotel in the city, take to the night markets for more heavenly food and maybe even a cocktail or two.

Nha Trang
Beach Day
1x Breakfast, 1x Lunch
Day 5


Nha Trang, we’ll be back to you in a day or two but we’ve got a date with paradise and we’re not wasting a second. The next couple of days are going to be a bit special, welcome to Ninhvana - an idyllic tropical haven, jutting out from Vietnam’s east coast and only an hour away from Nha Trang. This is what backpacker paradise looks like (you’ve watched the tour video, right?!). There are at least a billion different things to enjoy here (Disclaimer: This is an estimate) so let your Travel Ninja guide the way. You can go kayaking off the coast, brave a cliff jump or get super Zen with yoga, massages and paddleboarding. Don’t worry if you don’t squeeze it all in today, this is our little oasis and we’re not going anywhere just yet.

Kayaking, trekking, yoga & paddle boarding, massages
1x Breakfast, 1x Lunch
Day 6

ninhvana beach hideaway

All of the above activities are still on the cards, not to mention bike rentals to explore the area, a gentle hike for some spectacular views and hanging out with a bunch of would-be strangers that have quickly become some of your closest mates. That’s the TruFam for ya! That evening we’re going to grab some dinner together, share each other’s best pictures and videos from a couple of days to cherish and a few guaranteed funny stories (what happens in Ninhvana…). Time for beers, we think!

Kayaking, trekking, yoga & paddle boarding, massages
Day 7


Relaxed, refreshed and with a delirious smile on your face, we say goodbye to wonderful Ninhvana today, but not before one more morning soaking up your surroundings (and ok, maybe one last game of beach volleyball seeing as the last game was so close!). That afternoon, we’re heading back to Nha Trang when you have one critical job of selecting your van DJ - one of the highest honours of any TruTravels tour. Nickelback will not be tolerated, especially as we’re catching a night bus! Our next stop is one of Asia’s most Instagrammed places - the lantern ladened town of Hoi An.

Hoi An
night bus
1x Lunch
Day 8


Time for a yawn and a stretch, the longest leg of our 17-day tour is now behind us and you’re halfway through Vietnam. Welcome to Hoi An, a town so iconic that UNESCO decided the entire town is worthy of a World Heritage Site. We’ll get you checked-in with minimal fuss and have a major breakfast feast ready on arrival. You’ll likely be most familiar with Hoi An for the famous and surreal tranquility as the entire town is lit up in the glow of thousands of silk lanterns. 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. That evening is yours to explore Hoi An however you like, but we suggest a stroll along the canals, or along Bang Beach (make of the name what you will).

Hoi An
Lantern making
1x Lunch
Day 9

BASKET BOATs in coconut woods

Today is a seriously fun one! First off we’re taking a morning bike ride around Hoi An, race ya! That’ll get you nice and hungry for a culinary experience and a half because we’re cooking with a local family for lunch. In 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. 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.

Hoi An
Crab fishing, basket boat trip
Day 10


Don’t let the name fool you, we're doing the legendary Hai Van Pass, made famous by Top Gear in open top 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 Imperial City. Post hotel check-ins and chill out, we’re heading out, out to explore Hue’s nightlife where we’re all about the local beers, the rice wine and feeling like royalty.

Open top jeeps on Hai Van pass
1x (B), 1x (L), 1x (D)
Day 11


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. Cameras out for this one! After exploring the walled gardens and the aptly named Perfume River which flows through it, it’s time wave goodbye to Hue and onto the next destination - Phong Nha. Your check-in times will be at a world record pace by now so it’s a race to the bar for some cocktails on arrival that evening.

phong nha
Imperial city visit & cooking class
1x Breakfast, 1x Lunch
Day 12


It’s been three days since we experienced a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so let’s fix that shall we? Welcome to Phong Nha, more specifically Phong Nha National Park which is home to one of the world’s largest cave systems - 31km long, with a 72ft high entrance and commonly known as Paradise Cave. We’re spending the day exploring the caves and even ziplining through them, wooooo! We will be almost guaranteed to get filthy, (if you haven’t already!) but it’ll be worth it. After cleaning ourselves up and grabbing a bite we are heading back on the road, next stop is the best of the lot - Hanoi and a certain bay you may have seen pictures of before.

Dark cave, ziplining & kayaking
Day 13


It’s nearly been two weeks 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 and absolutely deafening! You’re not in Kansas anymore. Time to explore, right? But not before sampling one of Vietnam’s favourite beveragino’s, a traditional egg coffee. Just trust us. 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 countless other mega snappable spots in the city.

egg coffee making, walking tour of hanoi
Day 14

HELLO Ha long Bay

Can you believe you only met your TruFam and Travel Ninja two weeks ago?! It’ll feel like a lifelong friendship by now. Today is going to be one of those special days you’ll still remember vividly in 20 years. 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. Lunch is served to the most breathtaking backdrop imaginable and it won’t be long before an afternoon of swimming, snorkelling and all sorts of aquatic high jinx. Followed by a sunset party and a traditional Vietnamese cooking class. We told you your first day in Halong Bay would stay with you forever.

Halong bay
A picture of the boat on Halong Bay at night time
Twin cabin on the boat during the cruise on Halong Bay
A cabin with a double and a single on the boat in Halong Bay
Day 15

Halong Bay Cruising & caves

A full day aboard our private boat awaits you and your TruFam. We’ll drop anchor as and when needed but let’s go Dora The Explorer on this bay, cruising our way through the maze of islands, hidden lagoons, ancient caves and exotic locals including monkeys, lizards, sea eagles and if you’re lucky, sea turtles! Today is about soaking up every single moment, say yes to that sunrise Tai Chi lesson, say yes to exploring the caves by bamboo boat. Tonight is our last night in this incredible place, so let’s make the very most of it.

Halong Bay
Boat trip
Day 16


Don’t be sorry that it’s nearly over, be grateful that it happened. Vietnam has been well and truly explored. You’ve careered down sand dunes, found heaven in Ninhvana, made lanterns in Hoi An, driven the Hai Van Pass and pitched up for 3 days in Halong Bay but today is the last full day that you’re TruFam will be together (until the next one, right?) so cherish every moment. Say goodbye to Halong this morning as we make our way back to the capital for our last night together. What an adventure it has been, when shall we do it again? On your way back to Hanoi you’ll realise that for the rest of your travels, you will automatically compare it to Vietnam. A special country, full of special people, places and now, memories.

bus back to hanoi
Day 17

chilled 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!

Download Trip Notes

Trips Departure Dates



Where does the trip start & Finish?

The trip begins in Ho Chi Minh city and finishes in Hanoi.

Which airport do I need to fly into?

You will need to fly into Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport (SGN) .

What is the closest airport to the end destination?

The closest airport is Nội Bài International Airport in Hanoi (HAN).

How do I get back to the start destination and is this included in the price? If not, how much is it?

No it is not included but we can assist you with booking any transfers you need after the tour. The quickest way is to fly from Hanoi (HAN) to Ho Chi Minh (SGN) which will take about 2 hours and cost around $60.

What kind of accommodation is included on this trip?

The accommodation for this trip is all twin share private rooms and private dorms in hostels.

How much is a pre night’s accommodation?

A pre night’s accommodation is 35GBP, 42EUR, 50USD, 65CAD, 65AUD  for a twin or double bedroom.

Are there any COVID precautions in place for my trip?

Yes! We’re doing everything we can to make your trip as safe and stress- free as possible. All trips are run with enhanced safety and hygiene protocols advised by the FCO (Foreign Commonwealth Office) & WHO (World Health Organisation) including only working with partners who uphold the same standard and are taking the maximum amount of precautions. From switching to private transport where possible to offering private room upgrades, we’ve got all areas covered to ensure your trip is an amazing one! You can read more here.

What happens If I can’t travel due to COVID?

We’re only operating in countries that are open without quarantine and are safe and easy to travel in. That being said if you could no longer travel due to COVID or if something were to arise, we’re offering complete flexibility for our TruTravellers. From free date changes to lifetime deposits. The TruCrew are always here to give you some TLC and to go through your options. Think of us as ya BFF’s, the fun auntie/uncle of the family who loves a drink or your travel guardian angels. Were not fussed.

Is my money protected?

Yep! You will never lose your money. You’re protected. TruTravels is both ABTA and ATOL registered meaning your money is safe. We’re offering free date changes or to keep your deposit on file for as and when you’re ready to travel, 2 months, 2 years or even 20!

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