Hampshire Hikes & Historical Sites
Bring intriguing coastal trails and history alive in South Hampshire
An memorable adventure, exploring Vietnam - from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi.
What does this mean?
Tour codes: 47700
Easy countryside walking with plenty of breaks, normally taking up the whole day. You are unlikely to walk more than 6 miles and the cumulative ascents and descents will be gradual and range from minimal to 300m. Some days of this holiday will be dedicated solely to sightseeing (or include an element of sightseeing). To enhance your experience, a knowledgeable local guide will accompany your small group for part (or the majority) of the holiday.
Scratch just beneath the surface of this country and we will quickly discover how authentic Vietnam is; a potpourri of beautiful landscapes and vibrant cities, striking coastlines, sandy beaches and welcoming locals. A Vietnam where ancient custom sits happily alongside the modern and where the street is still the heart of social gatherings. Colourful floating markets bob on the river, vendors sell local delicacies, laundry is washed alongside the riverbank, and market squares are busy with gossip being shared. Immerse ourselves in the sights, sounds and smells of Vietnam.
This trip encapsulates the magic of Vietnam: the conservative north, the rich heritage of the imperial cities, coastal scenery and the vibrant life of Ho Chi Minh City (formally Saigon).
We enjoy a guided tour of Ho Chi Minh City with its beautiful French colonial buildings, visiting the Reunification Palace, the General Post Office and colourful market, finishing off the day with dinner in a local restaurant. We will visit the Cu Chi tunnels which were used by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. Next is the ancient town of Hoi An where we visit the UNESCO site of My Son and visit some villages to get better acquainted with the locals.
We travel over breathtaking Hai Van Pass to the Imperial City of Hue and take a trip on the Perfume River, before continuing to the city of Hanoi where we enjoy a full day of guided sightseeing. We move on to the attractive Mai Chau Valley to walk in the tropical countryside.
Halong Bay is next, for an extensive cruise amongst the distinctive 3000 limestone islands and iconic ‘stacks’ forming this quite remarkable scenic phenomenon. Be sure to watch the sun rise over the bay from the deck. We continue to Sapa, oriented to make the most of the spectacular views emerging on clear days. Sapa overlooks a dramatic valley, with mountains towering above on all sides. Here we enjoy some magnificent walking in lush countryside, before returning to Hanoi.
NOTE: Our 22 January 2022 departure will be in Vietnam during Tet (Lunar New Year) Holiday. Our itinerary will operate normally during this time, and in fact you may enjoy the extra experiences on offer.
Click the button below for a detailed Holiday Information Sheet containing all the particulars about this trip.
NOTE: Itineraries and Holiday Information Sheets can vary by a specific date chosen
Itinerary & Travel
Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised programme, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we may unfortunately need to withdraw a tour that is currently confirmed to operate and we therefore reserve the right to cancel your booking. We would always do our utmost to give you plenty of notice should we have to do this. Selected elements of this tour, including local attractions and restaurants, may change at late notice. Please ensure you have valid insurance cover before you travel.
We depart the UK on our overnight flight to Ho Chi Minh City via Bangkok.
We arrive in Ho Chi Minh City and transfer to our hotel to relax awhile before taking a walking tour of the city. We will take a stroll toward the Saigon River along Dong Khoi Street, which figured prominently in Graham Greene’s famous novel, The Quiet American, to the Saigon Opera House, a commanding building completed in 1901. Shelled during World War II, it was used to shelter French citizens fleeing North Vietnam in 1954, the year Vietnam earned its independence from France. We will walk by Notre Dame Cathedral, Reunification Palace, where a North Vietnamese tank crashed through the gates in 1975 to end a war that killed an estimated 58,000 Americans and 3 million Vietnamese, the Post Office building which still displays its obvious French inheritance and Times Square. We walk back to the hotel along the river bank. This evening we will have dinner in the hotel.
Today we have an early start. Plan on leaving the hotel at about 08.30. First we visit the Cu Chi Tunnels. The cramped tunnels were central to some of the war’s strategic operations, including the famous 1968 Tet Offensive, and they didn’t escape damage. American bombers dropped huge quantities of bombs leaving tell-tale craters behind. The tunnels served not only as living quarters, but as supply routes and hospitals for thousands of guerrilla fighters. Many Viet Cong died there from malaria and other diseases. Today they are viewed by some as a testimony to the Vietnamese people’s resiliency. On returning to Ho Chi Minh City we will have some free time to relax or explore further.
Today we fly from Ho Chi Minh City to Danang and travel by road to Hoi An. The drive takes about 1 hour. On arrival we can relax at the hotel or take a quick introductory stroll to include a visit to see how silk is made using methods used for hundreds of years.
Today we’ll explore Hoi An old town, a former trading port that welcomed Chinese, Dutch, French, Japanese, Portuguese and Arab merchants from the 16th to the 18th Centuries. Now one of Vietnam’s most charming coastal towns, Hoi An is home to some of the country’s most beautiful ancient architecture. We walk through streets lined with honey-yellow buildings and arrive first at Chua Ong Pagoda. We visit the Japanese Covered Bridge - one of Hoi An’s most iconic structures. We will enjoy lunch accompanied by a cooking demonstration at a restaurant specialising in traditional Hoi An delicacies. Afterwards, we head out toward Cam Thanh Village, a small community located in the outskirts of central Hoi An. Here we will take a short walk to a small village home to meet a local family and take the opportunity to interact with them and learn about their home. On the nearby river we will take a bamboo basket boat (something like a coracle) to visit a water coconut forest and then board a larger boat to return to central Hoi An.
Today we visit My Son, the former capital of the ancient Cham civilization. The Cham people ruled central Vietnam from the 2nd - 13th centuries and their kingdom once stretched into what are now Laos and parts of Cambodia. The ruins have decayed over time, but the former Hindu temples are still impressive. My Son is perhaps the longest inhabited archaeological site in Indochina. Unfortunately, much damage was done to the site by US bombing during a single week of the Vietnam War. We should get back to the hotel mid afternoon. Later you might enjoy a short trip to the beach from the hotel or even hire a bike and cycle. Your tour leader will advise.
We transfer by road to Hue. It takes 3 hrs to cover the 120km. This afternoon we will visit Minh Mang and Khai Dinh tombs. These impressive tombs were built in honour of the memory of two Nguyen emperors. Both are set in stunning surroundings, they are differently styled and are well worth visiting. Our local guide will bring everything to life for us.
This morning is spent in Hue, the Vietnamese capital during the Nguyen Dynasty 1802-1945. The ruins of the city’s regal past can still be seen inside the Citadel and the Imperial City. Created in the 19th century, the Imperial City was modelled on the Forbidden City in Beijing and holds many palaces and temples inside its giant walls. Many of the buildings have been damaged by war over the years but are now being restored to their former glory. We spend some time wandering through the citadel before taking a boat trip along the Perfume River, visit Thien Mu Pagoda. In the afternoon, we fly north to Hanoi. On arrival we will go to dinner in a local restaurant before going to the hotel to avoid eating too late in the day.
Exploring Hanoi, we start at the fascinating Ho Chi Minh complex and botanic gardens. After we visit the Temple of Literature, an ancient collection of courtyards, gardens and architecture built in homage to the Chinese scholar Confucius. Considered the oldest university in Vietnam, the Temple of Literature dates back nearly one thousand years! We will have lunch in a restaurant specialising in traditional Hanoi delicacies. After we walk through some of the Quarter’s 36 streets named for the products historically sold here. Along the way, we pass by some of the only remaining streets that continue selling the goods of their namesake, including Tin and Bamboo Street. Heading through labyrinthine back alleys well off the tourist trail we will see Hanoi at its authentic best. We peer into temples and traditional houses and hear the stories of the ancient city and meet the people who call this fascinating city home. Our final stop is at Ngoc Son Temple on the tiny island on the lake.
We spend the day exploring the ancient pagodas and villages of northern Vietnam, seeing first-hand the unique culture of the Red River Delta. We visit the ancient village of Duong Lam - the only village in Vietnam listed as a national heritage monument. We take a walking tour through the village, passing by ancient temples and through narrow winding alleyways. We enjoy a traditional lunch at a local home. Later we continue to Tay Phuong Pagoda, dating back to the 8th century, but rebuilt in 1632, the Pagoda is the perfect example of Sino-Vietnamese architecture. Next, we visit Thay Pagoda - the Pagoda of the Heavenly Blessing. Sitting at the foot of Sai Son Mountain, the complex is dedicated to the Thich Ca Buddha, and dates from the 11th Century. It remains one of the most important sites for pilgrims in Vietnam and is famous for its connection to the ancient art of water puppetry. We spend time exploring the ornate chambers and ancient courtyards, before making the short climb, using some challenging steps, up the hillside to enjoy commanding views over the countryside. It is recommended to wear comfortable shoes and clothing and to cover your knees and shoulders when visiting pagodas. Tonight, we are entertained by the Tonkin Show with dinner.
Today we travel to Mai Chau. The drive from Hanoi to Mai Chau takes about four hours to cover the 145km but the lush scenery will keep us entertained. This afternoon we take a gentle trek to Lac and Pom Coong, two villages of the Thai ethnic group. We meet the villagers and enjoy a chat over a cup of tea to learn about their culture and traditions. Tonight, we will enjoy dinner followed by traditional dancing by members of the local ethnic-minority group.
This morning we will walk to villages of the local ethnic minority group to learn some more about their lifestyle and farming methods. You'll enjoy lunch before returning to our hotel for some free time before dinner.
After breakfast we drive to Ninh Binh, about 4 hrs by road. We visit Trang An, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its outstanding natural beauty and the scenic karst formations which contribute to its reputation as being the “Halong Bay on land”. We board a small boat and meander down the river while passing through a series of caves. We enjoy the sounds of soaring birds overhead and paddling along the crystal-clear waters of the river, jagged limestone hills jutting skyward above the rice paddies.
Today, we drive to Halong Bay where we board our traditional junk boat and set sail through UNESCO World Heritage Halong Bay. We can admire the endless islands and jungle-clad limestone pillars whilst enjoying lunch and a cruise briefing. We pass by the distinctive formations of Chicken Rock, Finger Islet and Frog Islet on our way to south east Halong Bay. In the afternoon, we visit the aptly named 'Surprise Cave' and admire the stunning stalagmites and stalactites. There is plenty of time to relax on the junk's sun deck, take advantage of the Spa services and sip a cocktail or two, before a cooking demonstration in the evening. Learn to create traditional Vietnamese dishes with the boat's own chef and try more delicacies at dinner. Later, you can even decide to use your time by taking the opportunity to try your hand at squid fishing before the day is done! Tonight we stay on the Bhaya Classic boat.
Please note luggage space is limited on board so you should take an overnight bag on the boat. Our main luggage will remain securely locked on the bus overnight. We will be reunited with your luggage on returning to land the next morning.
We advise an early start today with a Tai Chi session on the sundeck, as the sun rises over the bay. After a light breakfast, we have the opportunity to visit Bright and Dark Cave by row boat. We will enjoy a final extravagant brunch before sailing back to the harbour to be reunited with our luggage. From Halong we will drive back to Hanoi. The weather in northern Vietnam can be slightly cooler with a higher possibility of rainfall so please pack appropriately for various weather conditions. There should be some free time available later in the afternoon to take a further stroll in Hanoi.
Today we drive to Sapa (around 5 hours). On arrival we will have lunch, and then visit the small Giay village of Ta Van, in the breath-taking Muong Hoa Valley. Here we can enjoy a scenic walk through the tranquil rice terraces towards the Black H’mong village of Lao Chai. Marvel at the cascading paddy fields that cling to the mountainside and take in one of Vietnam’s most panoramic views before arriving at the home of Ms Moo, a local Black H’mong lady. Soak in the view whilst learning more about the traditional life and culture of the Black H’mong people and enjoying a traditional H’mong herbal foot bath! Afterwards we head over to nearby Lao Chai village where you will learn the art of Batik painting. The beautiful textiles of the Black H’mong are famous around the world and Batik is a traditional part of H’mong culture. Under threat from modernisation, Batik is now only practised by a handful of villagers. Join a hands-on master class led by a local expert and take your creation home! You will be supporting a sustainable tourism project that supports local women and ensures this amazing art form is handed down to the next generation. The tour concludes with a stroll to the main road before transferring back to Sapa town. Please note the mountain trails can become slippery in wet weather.
Today we travel north of Sapa town to the quiet valleys and gorges surrounding the village of O Quy Ho. The shallow winding valley sits in the shadow of Indochina’s highest peak, Fangsipan Mountain (3143m), and on clear days you can enjoy superb views of the range. We pass by Oolong tea farms before joining a local footpath that clings to the contours of the rice terraces and takes you gently down the valley past grazing buffalo and working farmers. We walk along ancient stone paths and hear the story of the Black H’Mong migration to these mountains centuries before. We travel back to Sapa town in the early afternoon and enjoy lunch at the Hill Station - sampling traditional mountain dishes from Vietnam's far north.
You'll have a chance to visit one of Sapa's famous markets. After we travel to the northern edge of the town to Hoang A Tuong’s palace, otherwise known as the outlandish Vua Meo. Constructed by the French in 1921 in an unusual ‘oriental baroque’ style, it resembles a hybrid between an exotic church and a French chateau, and was used to entertain the Flower H’mong chief Hoang A Tuong. And afterwards, head to Trung Do Village, home to the Tay ethnic minority group, and wander around this rustic yet charming hamlet. We settle down for a tasty lunch prepared by a local Tay family and get a glimpse of village life.
From Sapa we drive back to Hanoi where we will stop at a hotel with access to day rooms. Here we can shower and change before continuing to Hanoi Airport for our flights back to the UK via Bangkok.
We arrive back in the UK.
Departure dates for your selected tour
22nd Jan 2022 - 10th Feb 2022 (19 Nights)
12th Nov 2022 - 1st Dec 2022 (19 Nights)
Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday across all departure dates. Please refer to the Itinerary for more detail about each night's accommodation for each departure date.
In a restored 1930s building overlooking the Saigon River, the Grand Hotel Saigon is close by the city centre. Featuring city or pool views, rooms offer free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs, minibars, and tea & coffeemakers. There's a casual buffet eatery, an international restaurant with a piano, plus a posh lobby bar and a rooftop cafe with panoramic city views. There's also an outdoor pool with a poolside bar.
Set in tropical gardens and on the site of a historic silk-weaving village, Hoi An Silk Village Resort is close by Hoi An old town, a heritage site and preserved port. Airy, elegant rooms feature balconies or terraces, plus sitting areas, satellite TV, free Wi-Fi, and tea & coffee making facilities. There's also an atmospheric floating restaurant, an outdoor pool, spa, and silk-weaving workshops with showroom.
The contemporary EMM Hotel Hue is 2 km from the Imperial City and Dong Ba Market. It offers modern rooms with wood floors, free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and minifridges, plus tea & coffee making facilities. Amenities include an outdoor pool surrounded by a wooden deck with sun loungers, plus a bright restaurant/bar with a poolside terrace.
Set in central Hanoi, Sunway Hotel offers understated rooms with free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, safes and tea & coffee making facilities. Amenities include a fitness centre, sauna, steam room, an elegant restaurant and lounge with a bar. Breakfast is buffet style.
Surrounded by farmland, Mai Chau Lodge sits by the shore of Mo Luong Lake. The warmly decorated rooms offer mountain or valley views, balconies, Wi-Fi, and tea & coffee making facilities. Amenities include an outdoor pool with a bar, plus an airy restaurant with exposed wooden beams. A spa and a sauna are available.
The Emeralda Resort is situated just outside Ninh Binh town. Rooms have wood furnishings and terraces. All feature free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TV and minibars and tea & coffee makers. Amenities include 3 refined restaurants and a sleek wine bar, as well as a poolside bar, and indoor and outdoor pools. There's also a spa and a gym.
Bhaya Classic boats are constructed in a classic oriental style. They are traditional long wooden boats with 15-20 cabins. Each boat has four decks and is newly refurbished but still maintaining classic decor. There is a restaurant and a bar area. The spa area offers a unique open-air zone where you can relax with the quiet sounds of Halong Bay whilst receiving a relaxing massage. The top deck offers a sundeck with wooden loungers where you can relax and enjoy the scenery. There is a library and equipment for fishing, kayaking and swimming. Cabins are equipped with en suite shower, toilet, air conditioning, mini bar, slippers, life vest and fire extinguisher. There will be a safety briefing before setting sail for the night.
Set in the verdant Sapa Valley, the Sapa Highland Resort is a French Colonial-style building just outside Sapa town. Rooms feature free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and minifridges, tea & coffee making facilities and balconies. Amenities include 2 warm restaurants, a spa, indoor pool and a gym.
This is a grade 3 walking holiday where we can expect half and full days of walking with a maximum of 6 miles of walking a day. Some of the walking is in conjunction with the sightseeing programme in towns, cities and other sites of interest. Our half days will consist of 3 hours of walking whereas our full days will be up to 5 hours of walking. The paths are generally good with minimal ascents and descents. The more remote paths can become muddy and slippery after rainfall. As this holiday is heavily influenced by sightseeing, we will be taking a leisurely pace to allow us plenty of time to enjoy the places we visit. This is also a pioneer holiday as tourism is relevantly new in Vietnam. Alterations to hotel bookings, rescheduled or cancelled flights do sometimes occur and hence changes to the itinerary can take place without prior notice. Some aspects of the holiday may be more basic but the experience and stories to tell will be worth it.
The Vietnam Adventure is a great holiday experience but the country’s relative newness to tourism enforces us to apply a ‘Pioneer’ grade. Alterations to hotel bookings, rescheduled or cancelled flights do sometimes occur and hence changes to the itinerary can take place without prior notice.
Much of the walking is in conjunction with the sightseeing programme and this is in towns, cities and around other sites of interest. When separate walks are taken, the duration is no longer than around 2hrs.
Local Transport Costs
All local transport costs in conjunction with the advertised activity programme are included in the holiday cost. There may be occasions where additional visits or excursions are added to enrich your experience, these will be paid for locally by you if you choose to participate. Local transport can be a mix of private hire coaches, taxis, local buses and ferries depending on the itinerary.
A range of local excursions and activities may be available to book at your destination through a local operator. We have no involvement in such activities or excursions which are not run, supervised or controlled in any way by us. Your contract will be with the local activity supplier and we accept no responsibility for their actions or omissions.
When budgeting for your holiday, you will need to consider drinks, any meals not included in the holiday price, non-included entrance fees, optional excursions you may choose to participate in locally and any souvenirs or additional services such as laundry. A general guideline for lunches and drinks is £10-£20 per person per day.
Currency in Vietnam
The currency in Vietnam is the Dong. It can be ordered in the UK before you travel or obtained from ATM's locally.
Although entirely at your own discretion, tipping is an important aspect of tourism and hospitality life and expectations are fairly high. In order to simplify tipping, we strongly recommend that you allow your leader to take care of making sure tips are given to hotel and restaurant staff & to local guides and drivers. This will be done using some funds provided by us together with, if you wish, a contribution from you, which he/she will collect during the holiday.
Your tour leader makes the world of difference to your holiday and ours are as passionate about discovering the world on foot as you are. They're resourceful, organised and widely travelled. They will handle all the local administration and other needs that might arise to ensure that you don't have to worry about planning your days and you can enjoy your holiday. Although leading group holidays, they won't forget that every group is made up of individuals. Each tour leader has their own individual style, talents and professional backgrounds and all are trained, qualified, experienced and dedicated to making your holiday as enjoyable, interesting and inspiring as possible.
Leader's Evening Briefing
Each evening, your tour leader will discuss with you the programme for the following day. This will be your opportunity to discuss the details and ensure the planned activities suit your walking ability. If you have concerns on clothing or equipment, this can be discussed then also. If you do not wish to join the organised group programme, please let the leader know.
To enhance your experience, as well as your tour leader, each holiday will be accompanied by a well qualified and knowledgeable English-speaking local guide.
We fly from London Heathrow to Ho Chi Minh City returning from Hanoi via Bangkok both ways with Thai International Airways.
Travel in Vietnam is by road and boat. Please note that the road system is not maintained to the same standard found in Europe, and occasionally detours or delays may occur due to blockages or road works. Even travelling short distances is likely to take considerably longer than you might expect.
If you are joining or leaving the holiday abroad we assume, unless you advise us otherwise, that you will meet the party at the first hotel and leave at the last hotel – please contact us before departure to confirm the hotel details! However, should you wish to join the holiday at Ho Chi Minh Airport or wish to make other alternative arrangements, please be sure to let us know in writing at least 5 weeks before departure.
The Vietnamese have introduced a law that says if seat belts are fitted on a coach the passengers must use the belt. Fines can be levied against the passenger not the driver of the bus.
Booking Your Own Travel Arrangements?
If you wish to organise your own flights from a non-UK or provincial airport or travel by rail or car to your holiday destination, 'land only' reductions are often available. Please contact us for details.
Before finalising any independent travel arrangements, please check with us first - especially if doing so 12 weeks or more before your intended date of travel. If you do intend to join your holiday locally please do tell us at least 14 weeks in advance.
If you are joining and leaving your holiday overseas we assume, unless you advise us otherwise, that you will join and leave the holiday at your hotel.
Although airport transfers are not included for those making their own independent travel arrangements, if you wish to join the group at the overseas airport, depending on your flight arrival time, you may be able to be included on the group's transfer. Please contact us at least 5 weeks before departure for more details.
Please note that your flight must arrive within 30 minutes of the group flight to be able to join the group transfer. We also need your flight number, arrival time and departure point so that the group leader is able to meet up with you.
Luggage Allowance & Travel Documents
For all those booking a flight or rail inclusive holiday, details of your travel arrangements and baggage allowance will be confirmed in your travel documents, sent to you approximately 10 days prior to departure.
Personal Details Check
To ensure that we can accurately administer your holiday arrangements, please confirm that the personal details we hold for you are up to date and that you have provided the information we need to secure your holiday travel and accommodation arrangements. Please check your passport details, date of birth and any other important details necessary for us to properly manage your holiday booking. You can view and update information already provided, and add details not yet asked for, by using the Manage My Booking facility on our website www.ramblersholidays.co.uk, or by calling our Sales and Reservations team on +44 (0)1707 331133. When you receive your booking confirmation please check the details as soon as possible.
A passport is required and should be valid for at least six months after your return from the holiday. Your passport should ideally be kept in the hotel safety deposit boxes at all times. It is a good idea to carry photocopies of the personal details pages of your passport. Should you lose your passport, this may assist with the issue of replacement documents and your return to the UK.
A visa is required for this tour and it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct visa prior to travel.
Vietnam visas can be obtained in person at the embassy in London or by post. the postal service has proved to be quick, efficient and reliable previously. All details for visa application can be found at the Vietnam Embassy website. Please feel to contact RWH Travel if you have any questions or uncertainties.
General Passport Advice
It is a good idea to carry photocopies of the personal details pages of your passport. Should you lose your passport, this may assist with the issue of replacement documents and your return to your home country.
Passport and visa requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements.
Breakfast and dinners are included in the holiday price. We will take breakfasts at the hotels. Dinners will vary between hotels and local restaurants. The meals are a mixture of local Vietnamese and international cuisine. Local restaurants will allow us the opportunity to sample traditional and local food such as Banh Xeo. Eight lunches (as shown in the itinerary) are included in the holiday price and will be taken in local restaurants or as a boxed lunch. Other lunches are not included and are at your own expense. Please note the Vietnamese are not used to catering for vegetarians and although wholesome vegetarian meals will always be provided some may find the food uninspiring. Please see some of the hotel details below for further information. Please note that the water in the hotels is not drinkable but bottled water can be purchased everywhere.
The hotel(s) listed within this document are examples of standard only. Whilst we strive to deliver the hotel(s) listed within this Holiday Information Sheet, there will be times throughout the year when they change. If this occurs, we will advise you as such. From time to time hotels will change near to departure and you will not be advised until after arriving into the destination. We always aim to provide a replacement of similar standard and location, although we cannot guarantee similar facilities such as pool or bar.
Good quality waterproof walking shoes or trail shoes with a thick, moulded sole with a good tread and a low heel are likely to be all that is required for these holidays. If you are a frequent walker and are comfortable in good quality hiking sandals, these may be adequate for some walks. You can wear lightweight walking boots if you prefer.
General Kit List
Outdoor activities are always safer and more enjoyable if you are prepared.
If you have not travelled with us before the following list might be of use:
This list is not exhaustive and every walker is different and may have their own preference.
Country Specific Kit
Luggage space is restricted on board the Halong Bay cruise boat, so it is not possible to take all bags with us. Our main bags will remain on the tour bus when we board the boat at Halong Bay. Please have an overnight bag for the boat. A day sack will be fine. We will be reunited with our luggage the next morning on landing.
You should be able to lift and carry and handle your own luggage. At some hotels, the coach may have to stop some distance short of the hotel entrance. Also, within some of the hotels themselves, there may be some long walks between the rooms and entrance area which could include some steps.
Travel Documents Checklist
Documents and Information to take with you:
Electricity in Vietnam
The electricity supply is generally 220V at 60 Hz, although some hotels now operate on 110V, or both. Please check what supply is provided before plugging in any electrical device. Please note that any appliance set for 110V will almost immediately burn out if connected to a 220V supply. More information can be found at https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/
Water To Go
An alternative to bottled water from single-use sealed water bottles is filtered water from a refillable bottle containing its own water filter such as a Water-to-go bottle available from www.watertogo.eu. Just fill up from any water source and save the environment from disposable plastic bottles.
We have negotiated an exclusive 15% discount with our partners Water-to-Go for you as a thank you for helping the environment. Please go to their website at www.watertogo.eu and enter the code RWH17 when ordering. In addition, Water-to-Go will match the discount with a donation to our charity, Heart & Sole, which will allow us to continue to make a difference in the countries you visit on our holidays.
Maps, Guidebooks & More
Books: Lonely Planet Vietnam Travel Guide
TV and Films: Long before Hollywood, foreign film makers were attracted to Vietnam's unique natural beauty. Many places in Vietnam can be found in a number of films and TV programmes.
James Bond: Tomorrow Never Dies (1997). The film features Halong Bay and Ho Chi Minh city.
Indochine (1992) is a French film shot mainly in Hue, Haling Bay and Ninh Binh. The film won a Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
Pan (2015) directed by Joe Wright. Vietnam is the real location used to create the fairytale land of Neverland. Halong Bay and Ninh Binh were the main locations used to create the magical shots.
Kong: Skill Island (2017) was mainly shot in Halong Bay and Ninh Binh. The surreal landscape in the film has inspired many tourists to visit Vietnam.
Top Gear: Vietnam Special (2009). The finale of series 12 see's the famous trio, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May travel to Vietnam. The episode features Saigon, Hoi An and Halong Bay.
www.vietnamtourism.com – Vietnam Tourist Office
www.vietnam.travel – Visit Vietnam
www.vietnam-guide.com - Vietnam Travel Guide
The Map Shop
If you cannot find the maps or books locally we recommend:
The Map Shop
5 High Street
Upton upon Severn, Worcs
If you key many of the local places mentioned in this holiday fact sheet into YouTube, you will find a vast array of spectacular footage of the area.
Health requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements at least 6 to 8 weeks before departure. Advice on vaccinations is available from your GP.
Health Advice for Vietnam
No compulsory immunisations are required for visits to Vietnam.
You should be up to date with the usual immunisations recommended in the UK.
Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Diphtheria and Typhoid immunisation is recommended.
You might also like to consider immunisation against Cholera, Japanese Encephalitis, Hepatitis B and Rabies.
Malaria is present throughout the year in Vietnam; please seek advice from your doctor or travel clinic.
Dengue fever and Zika virus also exist in Vietnam; please take normal precautions against mosquito bites. Seek pre-travel Zika virus advice from your health care provider 6-8 weeks in advance of travel, particularly important if you are pregnant or planning pregnancy.
There have been outbreaks of Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) in Vietnam but the risk to humans is low.
Diarrhoea & Boiled Water
Don’t forget to exercise caution with what you eat to avoid upset stomachs and stay away from unpeeled fruit and vegetables, salad and do not have ice in your drinks. Hot, fresh cooked food, where possible, is best.
Hand washing facilities may be poor or unavailable when travelling, we therefore strongly advise you to carry antibacterial sanitizing gel and / or hand wipes at all times and use to them regularly.
Drinking or cleaning teeth in un-boiled water is not recommended. Bottled pure water is inexpensive and widely available in shops, at hotels, and on the coach. Make sure you only buy sealed bottles.
Further Travel Advice
For further advice please visit:
You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.
It is a condition of booking with Ramblers Walking Holidays that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the trip, including all optional activities.
Your travel insurance policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation. Please ensure your policy covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are walking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. Medical and repatriation insurance cover are not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Whoever you insure with, please ensure that you take full details, and ideally the policy itself, with you on holiday and provide our tour leader with your insurer's name, the policy number and emergency assistance contact numbers.
Please note that it is very difficult to obtain travel insurance once your holiday arrangements have started.
Looking for travel insurance cover?
If you have not already arranged cover, please visit SunWorld who offer travel insurance.
SunWorld policies include cover for COVID-19, subject to applicable terms and conditions.
The UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office provides up to date information on security and local laws for travellers, together with current passport and visa information, at www.gov.uk/travelaware. Please take a few minutes to look at the current advice on your planned destination.
Please be aware of what's going on around you, take sensible precautions with your credit cards and passport and avoid displays of wealth such as wearing expensive jewellery or watches. Do not carry more cash on you than you will need for each day, and we recommend that a money belt is used.
We're committed to ethical tourism in all our destinations. Our holidays are designed for you to discover the essence of the country you are visiting. Travelling in small groups not only gives you an up close and personal experience of your destination, but minimises your impact on the immediate environment. We feel that the most important starting point to protect the environment is to be out in it. For more details visit our website.
The Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust
Unlike many tour operators we have our own trust through which RWH Travel’s profits are channelled back into a variety of outdoor, walking-related or environmental conservation projects in the UK. The focus of the Trust’s financial support is Britain’s leading walking charity, The Ramblers, and their role in promoting the benefits and importance of walking to the British public. In addition the Trust welcomes applications for small grants from local organisations in the UK who need support for walking-orientated activities. This includes the establishment of footpaths and bridleways, funding for rebuilding bridges and renovating huts, as well as bursary funding for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for children who could not otherwise afford to do it. Please visit the ‘About Us’ section of our website and click on the Charitable Trust link for more details.
Heart and Sole
We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives. Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way. See our website for more information and details of some of the projects we support.
Please do provide us with a mobile phone contact number. We will only use this to contact you with important information relating to your holiday arrangements.
Do keep your mobile phones switched on and readily available when travelling to the airport or if delayed in transit so that we can contact you with any last minute information relating to your travel arrangements.
As a matter of courtesy, please switch off your mobile phone during walks, or endeavour to minimise its use. Please also try to minimise the use of mobile devices during group meals.
Visas and Passports
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Avg. Rain: 172mm
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Avg. Rain: 289mm
Avg. Rain: 310mm
Avg. Rain: 210mm
Avg. Rain: 98mm
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