The nature, history and culture don’t even scratch the surface on the draw Vietnam has for solo travellers. Especially those in search of a bucket list experience with a Southeast Asian twist! From foodies and beach hoppers, to culture and adventure seekers, it has something for just about everyone. This Vietnamese adventure allows us to delve deeper and open our senses – travelling through cities, villages and natural wonders, discovering Vietnam’s daily local life, traditions and culture.
Depart the UK for your overnight flight to Hanoi, Vietnam.
Welcome to incredible Vietnam! Upon arrival at Hanoi International Airport, we’ll proceed through immigration, collect our luggage and transfer to our hotel in Hanoi for an early check-in.
We’ll have time to get some rest before our tour this afternoon. Vietnam’s cities are known for their chaos, colour and cascading whirl of motorbikes – and a visit will be an experience you won’t forget in a hurry.
We start a walking tour through the old quarter of the city where we visit a local house and take our time talking with the hosts and learning about their family’s life and history. Then we embark on a leisurely ride on a rickshaw around Hoan Kiem Lake with a stopover at Ngoc Son Temple nearby.
Today we continue our tour of Hanoi, beginning with Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum (outside visit) and his personal residence, the One Pillar Pagoda, the Tran Quoc Pagoda and Museum of Ethnology or Museum of History. Afterwards, we will have a lunch at a local restaurant.
In the afternoon, we will visit the Temple of Literature, the first University for the sons of mandarins. Continue to visit Hoa Lo prison; commonly referred to as the Hanoi Hilton, Hoa Lo is famous for the significance it holds within the history of the American war. After that, enjoy a water puppet show in the early evening.
This morning, we depart for the stunning Halong Bay (3 ½ hour drive), located in the Gulf of Tonkin. Undoubtedly one of Vietnam’s most popular tourist destinations, with over 1600 islands and islets, most of which are uninhabited.
Soon after arriving in Halong City, we check-in and board a traditional junk boat, with lunch served on board as we cruise towards the bay.
During the course of the afternoon, we can enjoy some visits and activities, or simply relax on board (possibility to swim in the bay if weather permits). Dinner is served on the boat.
Note: Visits or activities will be slightly different depending on each junk boat’s itinerary. Your tour guide will be replaced by a local guide on board during your cruise.
We begin our day with a relaxing morning Tai Chi Class instructed by a specialist on the deck.
After breakfast, we transfer to a day boat to visit a village nearby and enjoy our time there.
We return to the boat in the afternoon to enjoy some free time on board to relax and indulge in delicious cuisine.
After enjoying breakfast on board, we can enjoy the fresh morning air in the bay. The cruise continues navigating past limestone karsts, many of which form highly photogenic shapes, before disembarking by noon.
Transfer back to Hanoi for a flight to Danang.
(Please note: Internal flight baggage allowance is 20 kg)
Upon arrival at Danang airport, we will transfer to our hotel in Hoi An. (approximately 45 min drive)
Today we explore the charming ancient town of Hoi An, an exceptionally well-preserved example of a Southeast Asian trading port during the 15th to 19th Centuries. Many of the buildings in the town reflect historical architectural styles and the whole town is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The old houses and buildings are simply charming and very photogenic, painted in a yellow-hue with wooden shutters and adorned with beautiful, colourful lanterns. We enjoy a walking tour in the Old Town, and visit Phuc Kien Assembly Hall, the Japanese wooden bridge and visit ancient houses. We conclude with a visit to a lantern making cottage and learn how to make this handicraft.
Lunch is served at a local restaurant.
After your packed day of walking around Hoi An’s ancient town, we head out for dinner and enjoy a stroll along the riverside, which comes alive at night!
Today can be spent however we wish! We can kick back and relax at the hotel, making use of its facilities, such as its pools, bars or even the wellness and spa area.
A personal recommendation would be to hire a bicycle from the hotel and pedal your way through the countryside, surrounded by rice fields being ploughed by water buffalo, all with a goal to get to the beach. Then you can spend the day relaxing on the sandy shores of An Bang Beach.
The more adventurous can take a trip on Hoi An’s famous Basket Boat, where you can meander through a lush greenery of seven-hectare forest filled with water and coconut trees while on board a bamboo basket boat.
After breakfast at the hotel, we take a half day trip to visit the capital and religious centre of the former Champa Kingdom, ‘My Son’ (1 hour drive) located to the southwest of Hoi An. In a lush green valley stand dozens of red brick towers and sanctuaries dating from between the 7th and 13th Centuries. We stroll around the temple complex, rediscovered in the late 19th Century, to learn about the fascinating Cham culture, architecture and civilization. We can notice the strong ties to Hindu divinities, namely Shiva, regarded as the founder and protector of Champa’s dynasties, before returning to Hoi An.
Lunch is served at a local restaurant.
In the afternoon, we transfer to the airport for a fight to Ho Chi Minh City. Upon arrival, we meet our local guide and transfer to our hotel.
Today we enjoy a full day exploring the city. We visit the former Presidential Palace, or as it’s known today – the Reunification Palace. Then we will head to the historical heart of the city and visit the Notre Dame Cathedral (outside visit only due to its renovation). The red bricks of the cathedral walls were originally from Paris. From there, we take a short walk to the old Central Post Office. After that, we will visit the best-preserved buildings from the colonial era, the Opera House and the Hotel de Ville now home to Saigon’s municipal authorities. Later, we will continue to the Catinat building. Built in 1927, in an art deco style, it has once again become a hub for fashion conscious Saigonese and contains many designer boutiques, galleries, restaurants and cafés.
Lunch is served at local restaurant.
In the afternoon, we visit the War Remnants Museum, concluding our tour with a visit to China Town’s bustling Binh Tay Market.
After breakfast at the hotel, we leave Saigon for two-hour drive to Cai Be in the heart of the Mekong Delta. We stop visit a Cao Dai Temple on the way.
In Cai Be, we board a ‘sampan’ for a cruise amongst local barges laden with fruit and vegetables. Stopping off at a local home, we’ll participate in workshops making rice ice paste, coconut candies and other specialties.
Followed up with lunch at ‘Le Longanier’ – an Indochinese villa by the river, in a lush tropical garden surrounded by fruit plantations.
We then proceed to Dong Hoa Hiep Island located between Vinh Long and Cai Be. Visiting the Ancient Mandarin House, we head to Vinh Long, passing through beautiful Delta scenery along the Dong Phu Canal. Binh Hoa Phuoc and An Binh island are famous for fruit orchards. We make a stop at An Binh ancient church, or Tam Ho’s nursery garden on the way back. Crossing Co Chien River, we arrive at Vinh Long Pier around 4pm.
An optional short biking tour can be arranged on the banks of the river without charge.
After breakfast, we board a ‘sampan’ to visit the Cai Rang floating market. The floating market is now getting smaller due to the urbanisation. Then, we can spend some time at the fruit orchard and taste fresh local fruits before getting to ‘Hu Tieu’ Noodle Factory to see how noodles are made, ending our morning with a unique encounter with a local family who have been making bamboo baskets for generations.
We then transfer back Saigon and have lunch served at a local restaurant, enjoying the rest of the day at leisure.
After breakfast, we depart for a two-hour drive to Cu Chi, located on the outskirts of Saigon. We visit the Cuchi Tunnels, the immense 250km network of connecting underground tunnels used as part of the Military Campaigns during the Vietnam War. The Tunnels were used by Viet Cong soldiers as hiding spots during combat and served as communication and supply routes, hospitals, food and weapon caches.
Lunch is served at a local restaurant.
We spend the rest of the day enjoying our final hours in the city, thanks to a late 6pm check-out. We’ll then transfer to Ho Chi Minh City Airport for our flight home.
We stay in comfortable hotels throughout as detailed below (or similar)
From 15 March 2022 Vietnam has reintroduced visa waivers for the nationals of 13 countries including the UK. Visa waivers allow for visits to Vietnam for up to 15 days without needing to apply for a visa.
Your passport should be valid for a minimum of 6 months on the date you enter Vietnam.
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.
When checking into a hotel, you’ll have to hand over your passport so that the hotel can register your presence with the local police. Make sure your passport is returned and keep it in a safe place.
The transfer time from Hanoi International Airport to your hotel in Hanoi is approximately 50 minutes, depending on the traffic. The transfer time from hotel in Ho Chi Minh City to Ho Chi Minh International Airport is approximately 40 minutes, depending on the traffic.
We suggest a Group Collection to cover guides, transfer drivers, and hotel staff of £70.00 per person. Your Tour Leader will collect this on your behalf and distribute it accordingly, thus relieving you of the burden of who, when and how much to tip. The tipping of housekeeping will be left to your individual discretion (a small amount left in your room on departure should cover this and would be much appreciated). As is customary, ‘the hat’ will be passed around for the driver and guide on all optional excursions. For any meals that are not included in your itinerary, or taxi fares, your Tour Leader can advise of an appropriate % to add on.
The emphasis is on casual clothing for throughout. Go for light, loose cotton clothing and comfortable shoes or walking boots. Conservative dress is preferred for both men and women. No shorts or vest tops in restaurants. When visiting temples and certain museums dress politely; shorts, singlets, spaghetti straps, skirts, tank-tops and open backed sandals are not acceptable. The dress code would be same for men and women, that is shoulders and legs covered, no hats, and shoes to be taken off.
“I’m sure you will enjoy it, I have been on three solos holidays to date and the people I’ve met have been great.”
“I’ve been travelling with Solos for nearly 20 years, on and off. The reason is for exactly what you want – you meet like minded people… and have loads of fun!”
“I’ve been on loads of trips with Solos over the years and can honestly say you will not regret booking your 1st one!”
“The feeling you have once you go away on your own is worth all the nerves before! I was so very anxious the first time but now having done it 4 times, I love it!”