Vietnam: Hike, Bike & Kayak Vietnam

Vietnam: Hike, Bike & Kayak

Vietnam

Biking
Hiking
11 days
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Overview

The spectacular valleys and mountains of Vietnam were simply made for exploration. Put on your hiking shoes and get ready for this immersive journey that gets away from the bright lights of Hanoi and under the skin of Vietnam's bucolic countryside. In between trekking and cycling past lush landscapes, stop in at local villages and learn about traditional life with memorable homestay experiences. It’s not all mountains and trails either, with an opportunity to kayak across the majestic waters of Lan Ha Bay and spend a night in a waterside resort. Prepare to be led off the beaten track. NEW UPDATES FOR 2019This will become an 11 day trip in 2019. We will add one night to Cat Ba Island, meaning two nights will be spent there.

Map

Itinerary

Day 1Hanoi
Xin chao. Welcome to Vietnam! Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. The meeting is generally followed by an optional group meal out at one of Hanoi's fantastic eating spots. If you have time before the meeting, head out and discover Hanoi. It's a good idea to take a hotel business card so you can find your way back.
Day 2Hiking in Sapa
After breakfast climb board a private bus to Sapa, a town in the Hoàng Liên Son Mountains of northwest Vietnam. This journey will take approximately 5 hours. From the Sapa market, venture out on a short trek (approximately 2.5 hours) through the surrounding valleys to visit a village called Cat Cat. This is home to the H’mong people, who emigrated from China 300 years ago. In the evening, settle into your hotel in Sapa for the night.
Day 3Hiking in Lao Chai
Savour the dramatic landscapes and panoramic views of rural Vietnam on a trek from Lao Chai to Ta Van. You'll pass by terraced farms ripe with corn and rice, over bubbling brooks and through bucolic villages. Stop for a picnic lunch before heading on to our home stay with a local family in the evening. The total trek today is around 10 kilometres (6.2 miles).
Day 4Hiking in Su Pan
This morning trek to Su Pan before taking some time to rest your feet on a bus ride back to Sapa. In the afternoon the group returns to Hanoi (approximately 5 hours). Maybe get a bird's eye view of the city from a rooftop bar and unwind with an iced coffee.
Day 5Cycling in Hanoi
Vietnam's capital is best explored on foot, which is why the group will head out on a city walking tour. See the final resting place of Vietnam's revered revolutionary at Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum and Museum before stopping by the Temple of Literature. Although the shrine was originally built in the 11th century, and is therefore considered to be the city's oldest temple, the current structure and shrine to Confucius actually dates from the 18th century. In the afternoon, have a practice on your bike with a warm up cycling trip around Hanoi's West Lake.
Day 6Cycling in Mai Chau
Leave behind the Hanoi hustle first by vehicle, then jump on your bike and and journey to the clean air of the Mai Chau valley (approximately 60km / 37mi). There are great photo opportunities along the way – stop at a vantage point to take in the view of Mai Chau, home to a variety of minority groups with their own unique culture and languages. Along the way, there's also the opportunity to help local farmers plant rice seeds into the fields. Arrive in Mai Chau and head to the village of Pom Coong, where your local guide will introduce you to your hosts for lunch, and provide information on the region's people, their lifestyles, customs and culture. Lunch is a traditional affair with examples of local cuisine on offer. This is a great opportunity to experience the local area, chat with your hosts, and gain a real insight into life in this fascinating and picturesque region. After lunch, take some time to relax before saddling up for a cycle trip to nearby villages. Back at the homestay, relax with a cold drink while watching the sun set over the peaceful mountains. Alternatively, for the food lovers, why not help your host cook dinner!
Day 7Cycling in Ninh Binh
After breakfast set out again on your bike on a cycle from Mai Chau to Ninh Binh, a region well known for its green valleys, karst mountains and conservation areas. Today's ride will cover approximately 70 kilometres in total.
Day 8Cat Ba Island
Catch a bus this morning from Ninh Binh to Hai Phong then jump on a ferry to Cat Ba Island, which sits at the southeastern edge of Halong Bay. Lan Ha Bay, where Cat Ba can be found, is part of Halong Bay with the additional attraction of numerous white-sand beaches. The total travelling time today is approximately five hours. Check in to your peaceful, hilltop accommodation and enjoy a free afternoon taking it easy in a hammock, or opt to keep the pace up with a hike or trip to the beach.
Day 9Kayaking around Cat Ba Island
Explore the waters and limestone karsts of Lan Ha Bay on a full-day boat trip. Get up close and personal kayaking beside the tree-clad outcrops, with lunch onboard also included. Halong Bay's World Heritage designation was extended to the Cat Ba Archipelago thanks to its similar aesthetic value, and the scenes of turquoise water and junk boats are quintessential Vietnam. No-one will judge you for taking a selfie here. Spend a second night on Cat Ba, with the evening free to visit the local restaurants and bars.
Day 10Hanoi
Say goodbye to Cat Ba Island and head back to Hanoi (approximately five hours). Arrive in the late afternoon, and perhaps head down to the markets for some last-minute souvenir shopping or to pay a visit to one of the city's many museums. Both the Fine Art Museum and Museum of Ethnology are great choices. In the evening, why not organise an farewell dinner with your group and toast the end of this active adventure.
Day 11Hanoi
Your active adventure comes to an end today and there are no activities planned, but there's plenty to see if you'd like to continue exploring Hanoi or further afield, including an Urban Adventure discovering Hanoi's street food by night.

Trip title

Vietnam: Hike, Bike & Kayak

Trip code

TVXA

Validity

Validity: 01 Jan 2019 to 31 Dec 2019
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Introduction

The spectacular valleys and mountains of Vietnam were simply made for exploration. Put on your hiking shoes and get ready for this immersive journey that gets away from the bright lights of Hanoi and under the skin of Vietnam's bucolic countryside. In between trekking and cycling past lush landscapes, stop in at local villages and learn about traditional life with memorable homestay experiences. It’s not all mountains and trails either, with an opportunity to kayak across the majestic waters of Lan Ha Bay and spend a night in a waterside resort. Prepare to be led off the beaten track.

Style

Original

Themes

Active Adventures

Transport

Private Vehicle,Bike,Boat

Physical Rating

3

Joining point

La Sante Hotel & Spa

Joining point instructions

Intrepid can assist with pre-booking an arrival transfer from the airport - enquire with your agent. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your departure. If you have pre-booked an arrival transfer you will be met as you exit the Terminal Hall by a transfer representative holding an Intrepid sign. If you cannot find your transfer representative, or if your flight is delayed, please call our hotline on +84 903 117 770. Please note that neither the driver nor any representative should ask you for additional payment. Metered taxi ranks are available outside the airport entrance. Exit the Customs Hall and walk through the airport exit gates A4 and A5 on level 1. You will find Noi Bai Airport Taxis (+84 4 3886 8888) readily available. Noi Bai Airport Taxi drivers wear a yellow uniform shirt. Taxi fare to your hotel in town will cost approx. VND350,000.00 in total. Please note these taxis won't use a meter, but generally charge a fixed fare. Please avoid taxi touts who tell you that they have a metered taxi parked outside the airport.

Finish point

La Sante Hotel & Spa

Finish point instructions

Intrepid can assist with pre-booking a departure transfer from the airport - enquire with your agent. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to the start of your trip. If you have pre-booked a departure transfer your leader will advise your pick up time the day before your trip ends. Taxi fare from your hotel to the airport will cost approx. VND260,000.00. Please ask your leader or hotel staff for assistance in arranging a taxi.

Important information

1. Please provide your full name exactly as per passport at the time of booking (including any middle names listed on your passport) for local transport tickets. Ticketing fees may apply for amendments to details within 45 days of departure, and in some cases you will be required to cover the cost of issuing a new ticket. 2. A single supplement is available on this trip, subject to availability. Please contact your sales agent if you would like to book this. Please note the single supplement excludes day 2 (Sapa homestay) and day 6 (Mai Chau homestay) where you will be in shared accommodation. 3. Bicycle hire is included in your trip price. Please advise your height at time of booking so as we can organise a suitable sized bike. We are unable to hire bike helmets locally so please bring your own bike helmet from home.

Group leader

All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

Safety

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:

Visas

As a general rule most countries expect that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Your consultant will contact you when this is required. Take a copy of the main passport pages and other important documents with you, and leave another copy at home with family or friends. Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time. VIETNAM VISA: Most nationalities are required to obtain tourist visa in advance to travel to Vietnam. When obtaining your visa you should allow 3 weeks for processing with your nearest embassy or consulate, the cost is approximately US$60 to US$100. Please check with your embassy or consulate for further requirements. Some nationalities are exempt from visas for a stay of a maximum of 15 days, including British, German, French, Spanish and Italian citizens travelling to Vietnam (for all purposes). This exemption period is currently effective until 30 June 2021, and is based upon meeting all conditions prescribed by Vietnamese laws. If you are planning on staying in Vietnam for longer than 15 days you will need to obtain a visa extension in advance (please contact your relevant Consulate or Embassy). Please also check requirements if you plan to re-enter Vietnam. An eVisa is available for some nationalities including passport holders from Australia (from 2018), France, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States of America, valid for a single entry of a maximum of 30 days stay in Vietnam. For information on obtaining an eVisa visit the immigration website: https://evisa.xuatnhapcanh.gov.vn/ Evisas take up to 3 days to be processed. You will need a clear electronic copy of your passport data page and passport photo, and to make a non-refundable payment as outlined on the immigration website. Keep the customs and immigration form you receive on arrival, as you need it to complete exit formalities on departure. If your visa application asks for a point of contact, please write: Intrepid Vietnam 5th floor HiPT Building, 152 Thuy Khue Street, Thuy Khue, Tay Ho, Hanoi, Ph +84 4 3715 0996. Most nationalities do not require a letter of invitation for Vietnam but if you do need one, please contact your sales agent for more information.

Why we love it

Gain a greater insight into life in northern Vietnam with an itinerary that explores not just Hanoi but also heads out into the countryside

Is this trip right for you

This trip has a number of activities to get your pulse going. Whilst prior training for each activity is not necessary, a moderate level of fitness will help you to get the most out of the included activities. The hike in the hills of Sapa is approximately 10 kilometres (6.2miles) in total, on sometimes steep and uneven terrain. You will spend 2 days on your bike, riding to Mai Chau and Ninh Binh, with approximately 60-70 kilometres of cycling each day. The cycling in these areas is relatively flat and you will have time to get used to your bike in Hanoi before departing. There are 2 nights of homestay on this trip in Sapa and Mai Chau. Accommodation will be multishare rooms, with simple bedding and shared bathroom facilities. While accommodation is simple, the warm welcome and home-cooked meals will be comforting after a day of exercise. Kayak around secluded islands in Lan Ha Bay to explore this world renowned scenery. While this bay is generally sheltered, this is sea kayaking so you will need to be confident on and in water for this activity.

Health

All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared. DENGUE FEVER: Rare instances of dengue fever have been reported in this region. This virus is transmitted by mosquitoes. There is no vaccination against it, but there are preventative measures that you can take such as wearing long clothing and always using repellent. Please note that this mosquito is most active during daylight hours however care should be taken at all times. ZIKA VIRUS: There have been reports of transmission of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in this region and we advise all travellers to protect themselves from mosquito bites. Given possible transmission of the disease to unborn babies, and taking a very cautious approach, we recommend all women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant to consult with their doctors before booking their trip.

Food and dietary requirements

While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though. INCLUDED BREAKFASTS: At hotels you’ll often have a buffet with choices of Vietnamese and Western food. At homestays you will have more basic breakfasts of local foods, eggs, bread, jam, tea and coffee. Take away breakfasts for early starts may be very simple such as a piece of fruit and a bread roll. DIETARY REQUIREMENTS: Check out this guide to eating in Vietnam for vegan, vegetarian, gluten & peanut free travellers: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/vegan-vegetarian-gluten-free-vietnam/ FOOD ALLERGIES: Travelling in South East Asia with a food allergy? We have some advice for you here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/travelling-food-allergies-south-east-asia/

Money matters

SPENDING MONEY: When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document). MEALS NOT INCLUDED We recommend USD170 for meals not included. CONTINGENCY FUNDS: We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you have access to an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result there may be some extra costs involved. VIETNAM: You can use your credit/debit card in ATMs, which are common throughout Vietnam. These machines dispense cash in VND (Vietnamese dong). Credit/debit cards aren’t accepted for small payments in Vietnam so please ensure you have VND cash to cover daily expenses. Clean banknotes in small denominations are most useful. There is no need to bring lots of cash with you unless you prefer not to use ATMs. You can obtain VND cash prior to arriving in Vietnam, through normal outlets such as banks and currency exchange offices.  TIPPING If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. Although can be difficult to source we advise you to carry small notes of local currency each day to make tipping easier. The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers: Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up to the nearest US$1. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill. Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest US$2-US$3 per day for local guides. Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however we suggest US$1-US$2 per day for drivers. Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$2-US$4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service. In total, we recommend you budget approx US$5-US$10 per day of your trip to cover tipping. At your group meeting on Day 1, your tour leader will discuss with you the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your group leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This is often the easiest way to avoid the hassles of needing small change and knowing when and what is an appropriate amount to tip. Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult. The suggested tipping amount for this trip is $25 USD (can also be paid in VND) Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$2-US$4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service. Commissions: Unfortunately, commissions in exchange for recommending particular shops or restaurants are an ingrained part of the tourism industry. Rather than turning a blind eye though, we’ve tried to legitimise the practise with a centralised fund. Moneys are collected from recommended and fully vetted suppliers and funnelled back into our business. This keeps the trip cost low (for us and for you) and makes sure you only get the best experiences. If you’re unhappy with any places your leader recommends, or feel the quality of the trip is being compromised in any way, please let us know in your feedback.

What to take

What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage, although you won't be required to walk long distances with it (max 30 minutes). Many travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are also convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips. Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:

Climate and seasonal

TET (20-24 January 2020, 11-16 February 2021): Tet is Vietnam’s New Year festival which takes place in late January/early February based on the lunar calendar and is the most important celebration of the year. While this can be a fascinating time to be in Vietnam, you do need to be prepared for some businesses to be closed, tourist sites to be very busy and for transport to be packed as many Vietnamese are travelling around the country. Although we do our best to run trips during Tet as per the scheduled itinerary, it is likely that there will be some changes to transport, accommodation or order of destinations visited. Due to the high demand on tickets at this time, flights and overnight trains may on occasion need to be replaced with day buses. We will aim to communicate any known changes prior to your departure. WET SEASON: Flooding is common across Vietnam during rainy season (June-December) and could also lead to landslides. Typhoons are also common during this period. During these months there may be disruptions to transport and some activities or destinations may need to be changed as a result at short notice. CLIMATE & CLOTHING: For the majority of the year, the temperature in Vietnam is normally warm and humid, particularly from Hoi An southward. North of here, it can be cool between late November and March. If travelling at this time it is advisable to bring some some warmer clothing, particular if in the Central Highlights or Sapa.

A couple of rules

Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking, and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption. The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips. By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund. If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information.

Feedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

Emergency contact

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip. We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager. You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete. For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/ For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local operator on the number below. Intrepid's Vietnam Office: +84 903 117 770

Responsible travel

We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller ELEPHANT PERFORMANCES & ELEPHANT RIDING: While we respect each individual’s decisions while travelling, Intrepid does not include elephant rides or unnatural performance activities on any itinerary, and we recommend you bypass these activities should they be offered to you during your stay. Professional wildlife conservation and animal welfare organisations, including the World Animal Protection (formerly the World Society for protection of Animals) advise that contrary to common belief, captive elephants remain wild animals and despite good intentions, unfortunately many venues are unable to provide the appropriate living conditions elephants require and this ultimately impacts their well-being. While there is some merit in the argument that the money that you pay for the activity goes towards keeping the elephants and their mahouts employed, we know that it also fuels demand for elephants to be captured in the wild or captive bred. We thank you for your support in improving the welfare of these majestic creatures. Further information is available on the below link: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/au/elephants-welfare

The Intrepid Foundation

Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed more than AU $6 million to over 100 community organisations since 2002. Did you know that tourism is one of the biggest contributors to the global economy, making up 1 out of every 10 jobs? That’s why we support local projects that create meaningful jobs and give people the skills they need to work in the destinations we take you to. And it’s why we exist – to make it easy for travellers to give back to the communities and places they’ve been in an effective and meaningful way. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation are matched by Intrepid Group dollar for dollar (up to AU$10,000 per donor and AU$500,000 in total each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And because Intrepid Group covers all administration costs, every cent goes directly to the projects. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information about the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or visit our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/ Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in Vietnam include: * Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation rescues kids in crisis throughout Vietnam. https://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/blue-dragon-childrens-foundation * KOTO is a restaurant and vocational training program that is changing the lives of rural and underprivileged youth in Vietnam. https://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/koto For more information, or to make a donation please visit: https://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/page/projects

Accommodation notes

OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances. TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on our different trips than your own. CHECK-IN TIME Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination. PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights. WINDOWLESS ROOMS: Some hotels in Vietnam have windowless rooms, or windows that don't necessarily have a view. This is often due to high population density in large cities, however local building standards also don't require rooms to have windows. We do request rooms with windows, however please be aware that they may not always be available or allocated to our groups.

Transport notes

LONG TRAVEL DAYS There are some long travel days and some of the transport can be quite cramped and without air-conditioning. CYCLOS & TAXIS On this trip we may use a local style of transport called a cyclo. These small, motorised three wheeled vehicles are a common form of transport across Vietnam and do not have seatbelts. Regular metered taxis are also common in Vietnam and readily available in most destinations. OUR BIKES - VIETNAM We use Giant Rincon Disc bikes on this trip. These bikes are mountain bike-style with flat bars, front suspension and 24 gears. For more specific information please see https://www.giant-bicycles.com/int/rincon-disc-2016 SUPPORT VEHICLE On the cycling section of this trip there will be a support vehicle as secondary transport for travelling longer distances, avoiding hazardous areas to cycle, as a backup should we have any incidents and of course an option for those that would prefer not to cycle for an hour or a day. These vehicles range from a minivan in most regions up to a full sized coach or overland vehicle in others. Your main luggage is transported in the support vehicle.

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader. If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php

Your fellow travellers

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. SINGLE TRAVELLERS: Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.

Itinerary disclaimer

ITINERARY CHANGES: Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

Accommodation

Homestay (2 nights),Hotel (7 nights),Resort (1 night)

Safe Booking

Do I have to book in advance?

  • Yes, we encourage you to book this trek in advance.
  • For day activities, we recommend you to book 48 hours before the tour.
  • For multi-day packages, the earlier you book, the more significant is the chance that you can participate in the journey.


When do I have to pay?

  • We have a "book now, pay later" policy. Due to this process, we don't ask for any bank card details.
  • We created our booking system to be convenient and secure for you.
  • The provider will contact you and discuss the payment with you later.


What other fees do I have to pay?

  • There are no hidden fees on Trekhunt (like booking fee, cancellation fee, etc.).
  • We don't charge you any additional fees.
  • We offer this tour precisely with the same price and conditions as the provider.


Is booking secure?

  • We created our booking system to be convenient and safe for you.
  • We don't ask any of your bank card details!
  • We only ask you to provide us your name, email and mobile number.
  • We forward this information to the provider, who can send you the tour details.


Don't miss out. We recommend you to book this tour today.

Map

Itinerary

Day 1Hanoi
Xin chao. Welcome to Vietnam! Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. The meeting is generally followed by an optional group meal out at one of Hanoi's fantastic eating spots. If you have time before the meeting, head out and discover Hanoi. It's a good idea to take a hotel business card so you can find your way back.
Day 2Hiking in Sapa
After breakfast climb board a private bus to Sapa, a town in the Hoàng Liên Son Mountains of northwest Vietnam. This journey will take approximately 5 hours. From the Sapa market, venture out on a short trek (approximately 2.5 hours) through the surrounding valleys to visit a village called Cat Cat. This is home to the H’mong people, who emigrated from China 300 years ago. In the evening, settle into your hotel in Sapa for the night.
Day 3Hiking in Lao Chai
Savour the dramatic landscapes and panoramic views of rural Vietnam on a trek from Lao Chai to Ta Van. You'll pass by terraced farms ripe with corn and rice, over bubbling brooks and through bucolic villages. Stop for a picnic lunch before heading on to our home stay with a local family in the evening. The total trek today is around 10 kilometres (6.2 miles).
Day 4Hiking in Su Pan
This morning trek to Su Pan before taking some time to rest your feet on a bus ride back to Sapa. In the afternoon the group returns to Hanoi (approximately 5 hours). Maybe get a bird's eye view of the city from a rooftop bar and unwind with an iced coffee.
Day 5Cycling in Hanoi
Vietnam's capital is best explored on foot, which is why the group will head out on a city walking tour. See the final resting place of Vietnam's revered revolutionary at Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum and Museum before stopping by the Temple of Literature. Although the shrine was originally built in the 11th century, and is therefore considered to be the city's oldest temple, the current structure and shrine to Confucius actually dates from the 18th century. In the afternoon, have a practice on your bike with a warm up cycling trip around Hanoi's West Lake.
Day 6Cycling in Mai Chau
Leave behind the Hanoi hustle first by vehicle, then jump on your bike and and journey to the clean air of the Mai Chau valley (approximately 60km / 37mi). There are great photo opportunities along the way – stop at a vantage point to take in the view of Mai Chau, home to a variety of minority groups with their own unique culture and languages. Along the way, there's also the opportunity to help local farmers plant rice seeds into the fields. Arrive in Mai Chau and head to the village of Pom Coong, where your local guide will introduce you to your hosts for lunch, and provide information on the region's people, their lifestyles, customs and culture. Lunch is a traditional affair with examples of local cuisine on offer. This is a great opportunity to experience the local area, chat with your hosts, and gain a real insight into life in this fascinating and picturesque region. After lunch, take some time to relax before saddling up for a cycle trip to nearby villages. Back at the homestay, relax with a cold drink while watching the sun set over the peaceful mountains. Alternatively, for the food lovers, why not help your host cook dinner!
Day 7Cycling in Ninh Binh
After breakfast set out again on your bike on a cycle from Mai Chau to Ninh Binh, a region well known for its green valleys, karst mountains and conservation areas. Today's ride will cover approximately 70 kilometres in total.
Day 8Cat Ba Island
Catch a bus this morning from Ninh Binh to Hai Phong then jump on a ferry to Cat Ba Island, which sits at the southeastern edge of Halong Bay. Lan Ha Bay, where Cat Ba can be found, is part of Halong Bay with the additional attraction of numerous white-sand beaches. The total travelling time today is approximately five hours. Check in to your peaceful, hilltop accommodation and enjoy a free afternoon taking it easy in a hammock, or opt to keep the pace up with a hike or trip to the beach.
Day 9Kayaking around Cat Ba Island
Explore the waters and limestone karsts of Lan Ha Bay on a full-day boat trip. Get up close and personal kayaking beside the tree-clad outcrops, with lunch onboard also included. Halong Bay's World Heritage designation was extended to the Cat Ba Archipelago thanks to its similar aesthetic value, and the scenes of turquoise water and junk boats are quintessential Vietnam. No-one will judge you for taking a selfie here. Spend a second night on Cat Ba, with the evening free to visit the local restaurants and bars.
Day 10Hanoi
Say goodbye to Cat Ba Island and head back to Hanoi (approximately five hours). Arrive in the late afternoon, and perhaps head down to the markets for some last-minute souvenir shopping or to pay a visit to one of the city's many museums. Both the Fine Art Museum and Museum of Ethnology are great choices. In the evening, why not organise an farewell dinner with your group and toast the end of this active adventure.
Day 11Hanoi
Your active adventure comes to an end today and there are no activities planned, but there's plenty to see if you'd like to continue exploring Hanoi or further afield, including an Urban Adventure discovering Hanoi's street food by night.

Trip title

Vietnam: Hike, Bike & Kayak

Trip code

TVXA

Validity

Validity: 01 Jan 2019 to 31 Dec 2019

Introduction

The spectacular valleys and mountains of Vietnam were simply made for exploration. Put on your hiking shoes and get ready for this immersive journey that gets away from the bright lights of Hanoi and under the skin of Vietnam's bucolic countryside. In between trekking and cycling past lush landscapes, stop in at local villages and learn about traditional life with memorable homestay experiences. It’s not all mountains and trails either, with an opportunity to kayak across the majestic waters of Lan Ha Bay and spend a night in a waterside resort. Prepare to be led off the beaten track.

Style

Original

Themes

Active Adventures

Transport

Private Vehicle,Bike,Boat

Physical Rating

3

Joining point

La Sante Hotel & Spa

Joining point instructions

Intrepid can assist with pre-booking an arrival transfer from the airport - enquire with your agent. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your departure. If you have pre-booked an arrival transfer you will be met as you exit the Terminal Hall by a transfer representative holding an Intrepid sign. If you cannot find your transfer representative, or if your flight is delayed, please call our hotline on +84 903 117 770. Please note that neither the driver nor any representative should ask you for additional payment. Metered taxi ranks are available outside the airport entrance. Exit the Customs Hall and walk through the airport exit gates A4 and A5 on level 1. You will find Noi Bai Airport Taxis (+84 4 3886 8888) readily available. Noi Bai Airport Taxi drivers wear a yellow uniform shirt. Taxi fare to your hotel in town will cost approx. VND350,000.00 in total. Please note these taxis won't use a meter, but generally charge a fixed fare. Please avoid taxi touts who tell you that they have a metered taxi parked outside the airport.

Finish point

La Sante Hotel & Spa

Finish point instructions

Intrepid can assist with pre-booking a departure transfer from the airport - enquire with your agent. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to the start of your trip. If you have pre-booked a departure transfer your leader will advise your pick up time the day before your trip ends. Taxi fare from your hotel to the airport will cost approx. VND260,000.00. Please ask your leader or hotel staff for assistance in arranging a taxi.

Important information

1. Please provide your full name exactly as per passport at the time of booking (including any middle names listed on your passport) for local transport tickets. Ticketing fees may apply for amendments to details within 45 days of departure, and in some cases you will be required to cover the cost of issuing a new ticket. 2. A single supplement is available on this trip, subject to availability. Please contact your sales agent if you would like to book this. Please note the single supplement excludes day 2 (Sapa homestay) and day 6 (Mai Chau homestay) where you will be in shared accommodation. 3. Bicycle hire is included in your trip price. Please advise your height at time of booking so as we can organise a suitable sized bike. We are unable to hire bike helmets locally so please bring your own bike helmet from home.

Group leader

All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

Safety

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:

Visas

As a general rule most countries expect that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Your consultant will contact you when this is required. Take a copy of the main passport pages and other important documents with you, and leave another copy at home with family or friends. Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time. VIETNAM VISA: Most nationalities are required to obtain tourist visa in advance to travel to Vietnam. When obtaining your visa you should allow 3 weeks for processing with your nearest embassy or consulate, the cost is approximately US$60 to US$100. Please check with your embassy or consulate for further requirements. Some nationalities are exempt from visas for a stay of a maximum of 15 days, including British, German, French, Spanish and Italian citizens travelling to Vietnam (for all purposes). This exemption period is currently effective until 30 June 2021, and is based upon meeting all conditions prescribed by Vietnamese laws. If you are planning on staying in Vietnam for longer than 15 days you will need to obtain a visa extension in advance (please contact your relevant Consulate or Embassy). Please also check requirements if you plan to re-enter Vietnam. An eVisa is available for some nationalities including passport holders from Australia (from 2018), France, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States of America, valid for a single entry of a maximum of 30 days stay in Vietnam. For information on obtaining an eVisa visit the immigration website: https://evisa.xuatnhapcanh.gov.vn/ Evisas take up to 3 days to be processed. You will need a clear electronic copy of your passport data page and passport photo, and to make a non-refundable payment as outlined on the immigration website. Keep the customs and immigration form you receive on arrival, as you need it to complete exit formalities on departure. If your visa application asks for a point of contact, please write: Intrepid Vietnam 5th floor HiPT Building, 152 Thuy Khue Street, Thuy Khue, Tay Ho, Hanoi, Ph +84 4 3715 0996. Most nationalities do not require a letter of invitation for Vietnam but if you do need one, please contact your sales agent for more information.

Why we love it

Gain a greater insight into life in northern Vietnam with an itinerary that explores not just Hanoi but also heads out into the countryside

Is this trip right for you

This trip has a number of activities to get your pulse going. Whilst prior training for each activity is not necessary, a moderate level of fitness will help you to get the most out of the included activities. The hike in the hills of Sapa is approximately 10 kilometres (6.2miles) in total, on sometimes steep and uneven terrain. You will spend 2 days on your bike, riding to Mai Chau and Ninh Binh, with approximately 60-70 kilometres of cycling each day. The cycling in these areas is relatively flat and you will have time to get used to your bike in Hanoi before departing. There are 2 nights of homestay on this trip in Sapa and Mai Chau. Accommodation will be multishare rooms, with simple bedding and shared bathroom facilities. While accommodation is simple, the warm welcome and home-cooked meals will be comforting after a day of exercise. Kayak around secluded islands in Lan Ha Bay to explore this world renowned scenery. While this bay is generally sheltered, this is sea kayaking so you will need to be confident on and in water for this activity.

Health

All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared. DENGUE FEVER: Rare instances of dengue fever have been reported in this region. This virus is transmitted by mosquitoes. There is no vaccination against it, but there are preventative measures that you can take such as wearing long clothing and always using repellent. Please note that this mosquito is most active during daylight hours however care should be taken at all times. ZIKA VIRUS: There have been reports of transmission of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in this region and we advise all travellers to protect themselves from mosquito bites. Given possible transmission of the disease to unborn babies, and taking a very cautious approach, we recommend all women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant to consult with their doctors before booking their trip.

Food and dietary requirements

While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though. INCLUDED BREAKFASTS: At hotels you’ll often have a buffet with choices of Vietnamese and Western food. At homestays you will have more basic breakfasts of local foods, eggs, bread, jam, tea and coffee. Take away breakfasts for early starts may be very simple such as a piece of fruit and a bread roll. DIETARY REQUIREMENTS: Check out this guide to eating in Vietnam for vegan, vegetarian, gluten & peanut free travellers: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/vegan-vegetarian-gluten-free-vietnam/ FOOD ALLERGIES: Travelling in South East Asia with a food allergy? We have some advice for you here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/travelling-food-allergies-south-east-asia/

Money matters

SPENDING MONEY: When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document). MEALS NOT INCLUDED We recommend USD170 for meals not included. CONTINGENCY FUNDS: We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you have access to an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result there may be some extra costs involved. VIETNAM: You can use your credit/debit card in ATMs, which are common throughout Vietnam. These machines dispense cash in VND (Vietnamese dong). Credit/debit cards aren’t accepted for small payments in Vietnam so please ensure you have VND cash to cover daily expenses. Clean banknotes in small denominations are most useful. There is no need to bring lots of cash with you unless you prefer not to use ATMs. You can obtain VND cash prior to arriving in Vietnam, through normal outlets such as banks and currency exchange offices.  TIPPING If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. Although can be difficult to source we advise you to carry small notes of local currency each day to make tipping easier. The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers: Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up to the nearest US$1. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill. Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest US$2-US$3 per day for local guides. Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however we suggest US$1-US$2 per day for drivers. Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$2-US$4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service. In total, we recommend you budget approx US$5-US$10 per day of your trip to cover tipping. At your group meeting on Day 1, your tour leader will discuss with you the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your group leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This is often the easiest way to avoid the hassles of needing small change and knowing when and what is an appropriate amount to tip. Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult. The suggested tipping amount for this trip is $25 USD (can also be paid in VND) Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$2-US$4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service. Commissions: Unfortunately, commissions in exchange for recommending particular shops or restaurants are an ingrained part of the tourism industry. Rather than turning a blind eye though, we’ve tried to legitimise the practise with a centralised fund. Moneys are collected from recommended and fully vetted suppliers and funnelled back into our business. This keeps the trip cost low (for us and for you) and makes sure you only get the best experiences. If you’re unhappy with any places your leader recommends, or feel the quality of the trip is being compromised in any way, please let us know in your feedback.

What to take

What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage, although you won't be required to walk long distances with it (max 30 minutes). Many travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are also convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips. Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:

Climate and seasonal

TET (20-24 January 2020, 11-16 February 2021): Tet is Vietnam’s New Year festival which takes place in late January/early February based on the lunar calendar and is the most important celebration of the year. While this can be a fascinating time to be in Vietnam, you do need to be prepared for some businesses to be closed, tourist sites to be very busy and for transport to be packed as many Vietnamese are travelling around the country. Although we do our best to run trips during Tet as per the scheduled itinerary, it is likely that there will be some changes to transport, accommodation or order of destinations visited. Due to the high demand on tickets at this time, flights and overnight trains may on occasion need to be replaced with day buses. We will aim to communicate any known changes prior to your departure. WET SEASON: Flooding is common across Vietnam during rainy season (June-December) and could also lead to landslides. Typhoons are also common during this period. During these months there may be disruptions to transport and some activities or destinations may need to be changed as a result at short notice. CLIMATE & CLOTHING: For the majority of the year, the temperature in Vietnam is normally warm and humid, particularly from Hoi An southward. North of here, it can be cool between late November and March. If travelling at this time it is advisable to bring some some warmer clothing, particular if in the Central Highlights or Sapa.

A couple of rules

Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking, and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption. The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips. By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund. If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information.

Feedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

Emergency contact

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip. We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager. You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete. For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/ For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local operator on the number below. Intrepid's Vietnam Office: +84 903 117 770

Responsible travel

We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller ELEPHANT PERFORMANCES & ELEPHANT RIDING: While we respect each individual’s decisions while travelling, Intrepid does not include elephant rides or unnatural performance activities on any itinerary, and we recommend you bypass these activities should they be offered to you during your stay. Professional wildlife conservation and animal welfare organisations, including the World Animal Protection (formerly the World Society for protection of Animals) advise that contrary to common belief, captive elephants remain wild animals and despite good intentions, unfortunately many venues are unable to provide the appropriate living conditions elephants require and this ultimately impacts their well-being. While there is some merit in the argument that the money that you pay for the activity goes towards keeping the elephants and their mahouts employed, we know that it also fuels demand for elephants to be captured in the wild or captive bred. We thank you for your support in improving the welfare of these majestic creatures. Further information is available on the below link: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/au/elephants-welfare

The Intrepid Foundation

Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed more than AU $6 million to over 100 community organisations since 2002. Did you know that tourism is one of the biggest contributors to the global economy, making up 1 out of every 10 jobs? That’s why we support local projects that create meaningful jobs and give people the skills they need to work in the destinations we take you to. And it’s why we exist – to make it easy for travellers to give back to the communities and places they’ve been in an effective and meaningful way. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation are matched by Intrepid Group dollar for dollar (up to AU$10,000 per donor and AU$500,000 in total each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And because Intrepid Group covers all administration costs, every cent goes directly to the projects. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information about the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or visit our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/ Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in Vietnam include: * Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation rescues kids in crisis throughout Vietnam. https://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/blue-dragon-childrens-foundation * KOTO is a restaurant and vocational training program that is changing the lives of rural and underprivileged youth in Vietnam. https://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/koto For more information, or to make a donation please visit: https://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/page/projects

Accommodation notes

OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances. TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on our different trips than your own. CHECK-IN TIME Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination. PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights. WINDOWLESS ROOMS: Some hotels in Vietnam have windowless rooms, or windows that don't necessarily have a view. This is often due to high population density in large cities, however local building standards also don't require rooms to have windows. We do request rooms with windows, however please be aware that they may not always be available or allocated to our groups.

Transport notes

LONG TRAVEL DAYS There are some long travel days and some of the transport can be quite cramped and without air-conditioning. CYCLOS & TAXIS On this trip we may use a local style of transport called a cyclo. These small, motorised three wheeled vehicles are a common form of transport across Vietnam and do not have seatbelts. Regular metered taxis are also common in Vietnam and readily available in most destinations. OUR BIKES - VIETNAM We use Giant Rincon Disc bikes on this trip. These bikes are mountain bike-style with flat bars, front suspension and 24 gears. For more specific information please see https://www.giant-bicycles.com/int/rincon-disc-2016 SUPPORT VEHICLE On the cycling section of this trip there will be a support vehicle as secondary transport for travelling longer distances, avoiding hazardous areas to cycle, as a backup should we have any incidents and of course an option for those that would prefer not to cycle for an hour or a day. These vehicles range from a minivan in most regions up to a full sized coach or overland vehicle in others. Your main luggage is transported in the support vehicle.

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader. If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php

Your fellow travellers

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. SINGLE TRAVELLERS: Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.

Itinerary disclaimer

ITINERARY CHANGES: Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

Accommodation

Homestay (2 nights),Hotel (7 nights),Resort (1 night)

Safe Booking

Do I have to book in advance?

  • Yes, we encourage you to book this trek in advance.
  • For day activities, we recommend you to book 48 hours before the tour.
  • For multi-day packages, the earlier you book, the more significant is the chance that you can participate in the journey.


When do I have to pay?

  • We have a "book now, pay later" policy. Due to this process, we don't ask for any bank card details.
  • We created our booking system to be convenient and secure for you.
  • The provider will contact you and discuss the payment with you later.


What other fees do I have to pay?

  • There are no hidden fees on Trekhunt (like booking fee, cancellation fee, etc.).
  • We don't charge you any additional fees.
  • We offer this tour precisely with the same price and conditions as the provider.


Is booking secure?

  • We created our booking system to be convenient and safe for you.
  • We don't ask any of your bank card details!
  • We only ask you to provide us your name, email and mobile number.
  • We forward this information to the provider, who can send you the tour details.


Don't miss out. We recommend you to book this tour today.

All prices are indicative only and subject to availability and changes without obligation.

Time until next start
62
days
05
hours
:
59
min
:
14
sec

Price

€1,065

Duration

11 days
⚡️ Only two seats left for this date.2020

Sun, Feb 09

Wed, Feb 19

€1,150

Two more seats

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