Explore Vietnam by Train and Boat Tour

Explore Vietnam by Train and Boat on this 13 day tour. Led by locals and taking you to meet the real people this is an authentic Vietnam tour.

Explore Vietnam by Train and Boat Tour

As you may expect from a country that is long and skinny, there’s plenty of variety on when travelling around Vietnam. Explore the emerald paddy fields and white-sand beaches, modern cities and ancient pagodas, limestone islands that loom dramatically out of the sea. Discover vast caves, craggy mountains, and friendly minority communities with their elaborate tribal costumes and age-old customs.

Travel to Vietnam and you are certain to be welcomed with traditional warmth and some curiosity. Mix into this some of the region’s most famous cuisine, and you'll soon see why so many people visit Vietnam more than once!

Day 1 – Arrive in Hanoi

Welcome to Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. On your arrival you will be met and greeted by our local guide. You then head straight to your beautiful hotel, to check-in and have some time to relax. Depending on your arrival time, you can enjoy your free time to explore the ambiance of Hanoi.

This evening, after your group-meeting with your leader, head-out to have a traditional dinner at the home of 3 generations of Hanoi family.

Overnight at the Thang Long Espana Hanoi Hotel or similar (D)


Day 2 – Discover Hanoi

Peel back the layers of Hanoi on a guided city tour. Visit the most important sites such as the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first university where the scions of noble houses were trained to become mandarins. Take a tour of the Museum of Ethnology and get a deeper understanding of the complex ethnological make up of Vietnam life. During your city-tour, you will have the chance to discover the charm of the Old Quarter where you can observe the daily life of thousand small shops and some very beautiful temples, an entire part of Hanoi’s life. On your way to the Temple of Literature, you will also pass by some very beautiful buildings in the colonial quarter of the city. The afternoon is free with a range of unique optional experiences available.

Overnight at the Thang Long Espana Hanoi Hotel or similar (B)


Day 3 – Halong Bay

This morning we will head straight to Halong Bay and check-in to the cruiser. We will spend the night onboard, staying in the most isolated part of the bay. After having our lunch on board, your discovery adventure will start. Take to the water and explore in a kayak if you wish and spend your night relaxing in the silence of the bay.

Overnight on Oriental Sails or similar (BLD)


Day 4 - Heading to Hue

Wake up with the sun and enjoy the quietness of the bay. Watch  the small sampans of the local fishermen zigzagging to catch their fish, much as they have done for a thousand years. After breakfast, we will have some time to enjoy the bay before heading back to Hanoi. There maybe time for a bit more exploration of Hanoi before we head to the railway station to take the overnight train to Hue.


Please note: The conditions are basic on these trains and hygiene standards may be lower than what you’re used to at home. However overnight trains are one of the best ways to brush shoulders with the locals. Most trains have a dining carriage serving simple food, but some travellers like to take some of their own food along for the journey.


It is wonderful to wake up early and observe the nature along the railway tracks. You will find it very beautiful and peaceful especially in the early morning. If you are lucky, you will be able to see hundreds of kids in their uniform heading to school.

Overnight Train (BL)


Day 5 - Imperial Hue

Arriving at Hue in the morning and we will stop by your hotel to drop your luggage off and to refresh before heading out for a local breakfast. Right after the breakfast, hop on the back of motorbike to explore the Hue countryside and visit the Emperor’s tomb with a  stop for lunch at a Buddhist pagoda. In your free time you might like to visit Dong Ba Market which offers locally made goods, fresh produce and tantalizing street food. This is a good place to try the specialties enjoyed by Emperor Nguyen such as the banh khoai royal rice cake.

Overnight at Alba Hotel or similar (BLD)


Day 6 - Step back in time in Hoi An

Today, wake up early for breakfast before heading to the Imperial Citadel. This fortress houses the Imperial City and the citadel-within-a-citadel, the Forbidden Purple City. This icon was almost completely destroyed during the Vietnam War, and the ruins and holes left by bombs are a reminder of the destruction caused by the war. This coastal train ride is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the world by Conde Naste. Discover the Old Quarter of Hoi An on foot and learn the interesting history of the city. You will be amazed by the harmony of the Old Quarter despite the different influences from Japan, China and Europe. Interesting sites to visit include the Japanese covered bridge, the ancestral temples of various Ming Dynasty descendants, and heritage listed ancient houses. Hoi An is a chilled and relaxing destination but also a haven for fashion lovers. Consider bespoke suits, shirts and dresses. Have your favourite outfit copied in the fabric of your choice!

Overnight at the Hoi An Central or similar (B)


Day 7 - Cycle Hoi An countryside

Enjoy your breakfast, before gathering in the lobby to start a relaxing bicycle tour around the Hoi An countryside. Stop by a noodle maker who supplies hand-made noodles for the whole town, sample rice wine at a local home brewer, enjoy local snacks favoured by generations of locals and return to the town by boat. At 5pm, we gather once again in the lobby of your hotel, before we head out for a unique local food experience in Hoi An.

Overnight at the Hoi An Central or similar (B)


Day 8 – A free day in Hoi An

There are no activities or excursions arranged for today. Enjoy your free day wandering around to explore Hoi An’s hidden charm or consider visiting My Son Sanctuary – the most important Cham

site in Vietnam. This evening, you will head to Danang for the night train to Nha Trang.

Overnight Train (B)


Day 9 - Island Getaway

On arrival in Nha Trang, it is about a two-hour transfer to Whale island, an isolated island in the Ninh Van bay. Whale Island is one of the most beautiful islands in Vietnam with untouched and peaceful scenery. It has an area of about 40ha and is uninhabited. There is only the one resort with 31 rooms on the island and staying here has been compared to being castaway on a desert island. We will have time to relax, to sun-bath or you may want to explore the small trek paths. For the more active, a range of water activities are offered by the resort.

Overnight at the Whale Island Resort (BLD)


Day 10 – Overnight Train to Saigon

Enjoy a lay-back day on the island. In the late afternoon, we will depart and take an overnight train to Saigon.

Overnight Train (B)


Day 11 - Cu Chi Tunnel by boat

On arrival in Saigon, we head out to explore the most recent history of Vietnam through-out the most important sites of the city. Start your tour at the Central Post Office, a beautiful and unique colonial building with a dome built by Gustave Eiffel before he built his famous tower in Paris. Observe Notre Dame (under renovation) before heading to the Reunification Palace. From there, you will stop by the War Remnants Museum to learn about the war which is known by Vietnamese as the American War. Enjoy a local lunch then head to Cu Chi Tunnels right outside of the city, a unique underground city built during the American War.

Overnight at the Dyn Opera Hotel or similar (BL)


Day 12 - Life on the Mekong Delta

Head out of Saigon this morning to explore the mighty Mekong delta. A journey of three hours will drive you to the heart of the peaceful countryside. Discover daily life as it goes on right in front of you as we explore on a river-cruise. We stop by the different sites and get to observe in detail the different artisanal workshops. Enjoy a local lunch prepared by an experienced cook before hopping

on a sampan to explore the small canals and to feel the peace of the countryside. This evening we have a farewell dinner.

Overnight at the Dyn Opera Hotel or similar (BLD)


Day 13 – Depart Saigon

No activities are planned for today. Check out at your leisure and you will then be transferred to the airport to catch your return flight.


Get in touch with Our Local Tour to book the Explore Vietnam by Train and Boat Tour

Departure Dates

23rd April to 5th May 2023

13th August to 25th August 2023

19th November to 1st December 2023

Price - £1855 per person (based on two people sharing)

Single Supplement - £175

Contact us for a private option of this tour.

Included in the Explore Vietnam by Train and Boat Tour

  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • Air-conditioned vehicle transfers throughout.
  • Overnight train Hanoi – Hue day 4
  • Day train Hue – Danang day 6
  • Overnight train Danang – Nha Trang day 8
  • Overnight train Nha Trang – Saigon day 10
  • Accommodation for 9 nights in hotels as described or similar
  • Overnight boat in Halong Bay - 1 night
  • Meals as mentioned
  • English speaking guide throughout for group of 4 or more

Not Included in the Explore Vietnam by Train and Boat Tour

  • International travel to the start and end point - contact us for information and flight options
  • Any airport taxes
  • Travel Insurance
  • Any visa requirements
  • Drinks
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Tips for drivers and guides
Government Travel Safety Advice

We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice. Please refer to the COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. 

Visa and Passport Information

Passport validity

If you are visiting Vietnam, your passport should be valid for 6 months from the date you arrive.

A number of British nationals have been refused entry and exit due to their passport being damaged. Make sure your passport is in good condition before arriving in Vietnam. Being refused entry can result in significant cost and a long stay at the airport.




If you want to stay in Vietnam, you should only do so legally and with the right visa and permission to stay. If you wish to remain in Vietnam as a tourist for longer than 15 days there are two visa options:


  1. Book a tour with a travel agent in Vietnam requesting that the agent applies for a visa pre-approval letter for your travel to Vietnam. On receipt of the pre-approval letter by the Vietnamese Embassy your agent will inform you when to collect your visa from the Embassy;
  2. Apply for an e-visa online through the online portal. E-visas are issued for stays of up to 30 days, single entry only. Use of the e-visa is limited to certain entry/exit points which you must select at the time of application. You cannot make any amendments once your application is completed.

Tourists to Vietnam can only apply for 30-day tourist visa. Tourist visas currently cannot be extended. Paid or volunteer work, missionary work, or other activities not related to tourism are not allowed under tourist visas.




At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.


General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.


While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Further information is available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).



If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines.

If you’re taking prescription medication into Vietnam, carry it in your hand-luggage with a copy of the prescription. If it has a total import value greater than US$100, you should declare it at customs. Some specific medicines can be hard to find in Vietnam and many medications on sale are counterfeit.


Vietnam has restrictions on medicines which it classifies as “addictive” or “psychotropic” medicine. These include medicine that can be used for the treatment of addiction, to treat anxiety, depression, insomnia and other conditions. The rules say that you must not have more than the quantity prescribed by a doctor for 7 days (addictive medicine) or 10 days (psychotropic medicine). The prescription should be in English or Vietnamese and include your name and age and list the name, volume and dosage of the medicine(s). It must also include the doctor’s signature or address. If you’re unsure if your medication falls within these categories or if you need to bring in more medication than is usually allowed you should contact the Vietnamese Embassy in advance of travelling.


Medical treatment

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 115 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.



The healthcare system in Vietnam is resilient and effective for the majority of medical care across the country as a whole. However, there are differences in capacity and capability between medical services in cities and some rural areas. More complicated treatment may require evacuation to a central hospital (in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City). The most complex medical cases may require evacuation to another country. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation. Complete the next of kin details in the back of your passport.

What to bring on your Explore Vietnam by Train and Boat Tour


We advise packing lightweight cotton garments. Ladies may need to have their shoulders and legs (to below the knee) covered when visiting certain sites, so please pack accordingly. A lightweight, fold up raincoat or poncho is advisable. Bring along a sleep sheet if taking an overnight sleeper train in Vietnam. These also can be easily purchased in Hanoi at an approx. cost of USD$5.


Comfortable walking shoes in addition to flip flops/thongs

Luggage while on your tour

Please allow yourself one main piece of luggage and a day-sack. Remember, you are expected to carry your own baggage, so don't overload yourself, a soft wheely bag may be easier to manage than a suit case. Bring along an overnight bag, if your tour includes a night aboard a boat in Halong Bay. 


We recommend a sunhat, sunscreen, a torch, DEET based mosquito repellent and antihistamine cream plus a waterbottle and Universal travel adaptor.



The local currency is Vietnam Dong (VND). Most payments are made with Vietnamese Dong, but US dollars can be directly used for some hotels, restaurants, tours, or other services. You may see the prices for food, drinks, and souvenirs in Ho Chi Minh City's airport are all in US dollars. Only change money at official money exchange counters with a clear sign showing this status. Changing money elsewhere is illegal and while higher rate may be on offer you may risk losing your money. Credit cards are widely accepted but, in rural areas particularly, you should carry cash as a back-up. It may be difficult to cash travellers’ cheques. ATMs are widely available in major cities and tourist areas.

Use of electronic devices

Vietnam operates on a 220V supply voltage and 50Hz. They use a 2 Pin Round plug.

Traveller Safety

Vietnamese law requires everyone to carry photographic ID at all times. You should carry a photocopy of the pages from your passport with your personal details and visa for ID, and leave the original document in a safe place. Penalties for possession, distribution or manufacture of drugs can be severe. Anyone found in possession of even a small amount of drugs can face the death sentence. Crimes like sex offences can attract very long prison terms, or a death sentence. The Vietnamese legal system is not well developed and the standard of prisons is very poor.

It’s illegal to buy, sell, kill or collect protected wild animal or plants. Vietnam is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Those caught buying or trafficking these items could be prosecuted and receive lengthy prison sentences or fines.


Never take photographs near military installations.

Weather in Vietnam

Tropical cyclones affect the eastern coastal regions. In addition to strong winds, the associated rainfall frequently leads to flooding and disruption to transport. The season normally runs from May to November, but tropical cyclones can occur outside this period. Monitor approaching storms on the National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting website and follow the advice of the local authorities, including any evacuation orders. 


Vietnam has a tropical monsoon climate which produces large amounts of rain in short periods of time over and above rainfall associated with cyclones. Localised flooding, flash floods and landslides are common and care should be taken if trekking in rural and mountainous areas.


Time Zone 

Vietnam (GMT +07:00)

Internet Availability

Internet and wifi are available almost everywhere in Vietnam. About 98% of all hotels and hostels has Wi-Fi, and only in very remote places such as eome national parks will it not be standard. Many cafes and restaurants also have WiFi. The speed of internet in cities is normally pretty good, but usually not fast enough to stream.


Ready to book or need more information?

Then get in touch with our expert travel consultants now. We can help you with tailormade options, best times to travel and much more...