Vietnam Off the Beaten Track

Explore Vietnam Off the Beaten Track onthis in depth cultural exploration. This 10 day guided tour will is focussed on showing you the authentic side to Vietnam.

Vietnam off the beaten track tour

X i n c h à o - That’s how to say “Hello” in Vietnam. It literally means “Greetings please”, an interesting quirk of the language that forces speakers to show deference and politeness. Such will be your experience in Vietnam when you head off the beaten track. 

This 10 day tour covers ll the sights you would want to see on any holiday to Vietnam, but it also shows you the real life experiences of the people you meet. This is authentic Vietnam from the movie made in the Mekong Delta, to the Saigon culture of the 60s-70s. Your local guides will take you to places that most tourists have never heard of. Explore an ancient arena where tigers and elephants once fought and get the opportunity to meet with the Muong hilltribes and stay at a local homestay.

This is a private tour that can be arranged for departure at anytime. Internal flights can also be changed to include local trains for those with more time to spend in the country.

Day 1 – Saigon

Welcome to Saigon, a true melting pot in South East Asia. For several centuries, Saigon was a thriving trading port importing and exporting goods with all the great civilisations. Formerly part of the Funan Empire, then Khmer Empire, then a Champa Kingdom. The Nguyen Lords annexed the region during the southward expansion and Saigon became Gia Dinh Citadel. Fast forward to present day, Saigon bear the marks of all those who made it their home.

For those returning to Vietnam, re-acquaint yourself with the chaotic mayhem of city traffic, stop be the Central Post Office, a beautiful unique colonial building with a dome built by Gustave Eiffel before his most famous monument in Paris. The Notre Dame under important renovation right now before heading to the Reunification Palace, a Vietnamese 1960 architecture. Enjoy some Saigon treats before meeting your group for dinner. Your adventure begins.

Overnight at Dyn Opera Hotel or similar (D)


Day 2 - Chau Doc

Chau Doc is the western most province of Vietnam, bordering Cambodia. This area is home to Khmer, Champa and Vietnamese. It was the last province to be annexed by the Nguyen Emperors. We will explore the area and the many historic sites at Nui Sam that bear the mark of that turbulent period. There will be a Rickshaw ride to dinner with our hosts.

Overnight at local homestay (BD)


Day 3 – Chau Doc

This province was once a thriving trade centre with fascinating mix of culture of the Khmer and Champa. Once known as Tay Do or Western Capital. Incidentally, the Mekong Delta is still referred to as the west due to this fact. The fruit and rice basket of Vietnam is home to many storied legends. One of those legends was made into a movie "L'Amant" or "The Lover" by Jean-Jacques Annaud based on the novel of Margueritte Duras. The novel was based loosely on the author's childhood in Indochina Vietnam and filmed in Vietnam. We will visit the house that was featured in the movie. And at the hotel, perhaps we will host a movie night showing "The Lover“. Also included today are a boat ride to a fish farm and a visit to a Cham village.

Overnight at local homestay (BD)


Day 4 – Saigon at night

On your return to Saigon, we will visit the Cao Dai temple and learn about this fascinating religion that combines Buddhism, Taoism, Catholicism, with a dashing of early 19th century western philosophical thoughts. The temple and rituals bear the marks of just about every saints and religious symbolism you might be familiar with. The cross, the eye, the star, the moon. Tonight, explore Saigon like you've never seen it before on the back of restored vintage Vespas. Immerse yourself in the frantic rhythm of this lively city and visit the most panoramic cityscapes before being introduced to the street food culture of Saigon. Saigon is a true melting pot where you can find flavours and influences from India, China, France, Malay, Khmer with a particular interpretation of local herbs and spices. The Vespas themselves are a testament to Saigon culture of the 60s-70s when it was the chosen mode of transport of the young and fashionable.

Overnight at the Dyn Opera Hotel or similar (BD)


Day 5 – Hue

You will take a morning flight to Hue. (Ask about our train option if you have time). On arrival, head out to explore the Forbidden city with a local historian and get an academic perspective. Then you will head to Ho Quyen, an ancient arena where tigers and elephants once fought for the entertainment of court elites. Our next stop is Cafe Gac Trinh, where Trinh Cong Son, a Vietnamese Bob Dylan, spent his early years composing and falling in love. After all the ancient glories, dip your foot into an important pop culture figure of the 1960s and 70s. The evening is free to explore at your leisure.

Overnight at the Alba Hotel or similar (B)


Day 6 – Peaceful Bamboo Family and Imperial Hue Banquet

After breakfast, head out to visit the Peaceful Bamboo Family, a charitable organisation centred around alternative education for people with disabilities. Learn about the teaching techniques used in this wonderful centre. Stop by Lavin Home, a social enterprise, for coffee and enjoy a chilled time in the cafe operated by young deaf-mute people. This is a life affirming morning that you will not forget. The afternoon is free.

In the evening, we will enjoy an Imperial Hue Banquet in the setting of an ancient Lord's house (converted to a luxury hotel). Hue cuisine is considered the pinnacle of Vietnamese cuisine, thanks to the 200 years of Imperial's exacting standard. An Imperial Banquet is something not to be missed!

Overnight at the Alba Hotel or similar (BD)


Day 7 – Hanoi

We will take a flight from Hue to Hanoi this morning. Explore Hanoi in the afternoon and visit art spaces like Dan Do, a contemporary dance theatre space and explore the thriving art scene of the city. This evening, enjoy a show at Hanoi Opera House by Lune Production -an internationally renowned dance theatre troupe that has toured the US and UK. The show is called My Village, which tells the story of a northern Vietnamese music through dance, bamboo and a 20-piece symphony.

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


Day 8 - Muong Hilltribes

This morning after breakfast, take a bus ride (about 3 hours) to Da Bac community. Immerse in the culture of the hilltribes of the Dao and Muong people. Enjoy their unique food and hospitality. Trek through gorgeous mountain and bamboo forest. Wander around the village relatively untouched by modernity. Watch Dao women dye their cloths or join the men in harvesting tea or rice. If you enjoy cooking, you can join in the preparation of the evening's meal or play a game of football with the village youths. Alternatively, just chill out with a few cold beers listening to the sounds of the forest.

Overnight at Da Bac Homestay (BLD)


Day 9 – Return to Hanoi

Enjoy the morning in Da Bia and explore the village of the Muong people. Note the difference in dress and living style here. The Muong people tend to live near rivers and build stilt houses. We will then catch a local ferry back to Thung Nham. On the way back, we will stop by a private Muong museum and view an extensive collection of tribal artefacts and stilt houses of the Muong people. There is time to enjoy a Muong style lunch before we head back to Hanoi. This evening, say your farewells over dinner at beautifully renovated 1920s villa in the typical style of an aristocratic Hanoian family, feasting on authentic 1920s Hanoi style dinner.

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


Day 10 – Depart Vietnam

No activities are planned today and you can check out at your leisure to catch your return flight.



Get in touch with Our Local Tour to book the Vietnam Off the Beaten Track

Departure Dates

Private Tour - Scheduled to your requirements

Price - from £1895 per person (based on two people sharing per room)

Single Supplement - £135

Included in the Vietnam Off the Beaten Track Tour

  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • Air-conditioned vehicle transfers throughout.
  • Accommodation for 9 nights in hotels and homestays as described
  • Flight Saigon - Hue day 5 and Flight Hue – Hanoi day 7
  • Meals as mentioned
  • English speaking station guides (Private guide for a group of 4 or more)

Not Included in the Vietnam Off the Beaten Track 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 Vietnam Off the Beaten Track 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.


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