The Essence of Vietnam
- Fri 7th March 2025

Max Participants:
16
Location:
Vietnam  
Date:
Fri 7th March 2025
Start Time:
2:00pm
End Time:
10:00am approx
Duration:
14 days
Meals:
12 Breakfasts 5 Lunches 4 Dinners
Non-Member Cost:
$3995.00 per person
Member Cost:
$3895.00 per person
Deposit Required:
$500.00
Single Supplement:
From $750.00 per person
Visa Information:
Vietnam (Updated Sat 3rd June 2017)
Tagged:
overseas vietnam
MAKE A BOOKING

Vietnam is an old favourite of ours, having visited many times over the years. Chaotic, Charming, Crazy & Colourful, it's a destination you're sure to fall in love with.  

We're so very excited to be heading back in 2025 and look forward to sharing the essence of this beautiful country with you all.  Travelling from North to South you will experience plenty of diversity within each region ..... Climate, culture, local food, history, environment, landscape and more! 

Our tour starts in Hanoi the capital of Vietnam, known for it's charming old architecture and rich culture.  At its heartbeat is the chaotic Old Quarter, where narrow streets are roughly arranged by trade, making it very easy to shop for specific items, ie: if you are looking to buy a pair of shoes, just make a bee line for 'shoe street'' and you're spoilt for choice!   

 
Following on from there, we head south-west of Hanoi to "pretty as a picture" Pu Luong Nature Reserve, a popular weekend getaway for locals with relatively few foreign visitors. This is a place of calm and here we spend time immersing ourselves in rural village life, rice fields, palm groves and waterfalls. We then head to UNESCO World Heritage-listed Halong bay where we enjoy a 2 day cruise on a traditional junk boat exploring the waterways and beautiful limestone islands.

 

Moving into central Vietnam, we enjoy the freedom and time to explore two absolute gems!  Ancient Hue the formal capital of Vietnam steeped in history and unique cultural traits... many stories to be told. Hoi An with it's mix of eras and styles from wooden Chinese shophouses and temples, to colorful French colonial buildings, ornate Vietnamese houses and the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge with its pagoda.

Our tour then takes us to Ho Chi Minh City, the dynamic heart of Vietnam, where we explore its vibrant streets, local hangouts and foodie scene on the back of a Vespa ..... A fitting way to end our adventure in Vietnam!

By joining Adventurous Women in Vietnam you can expect a more relaxed pace of travel, plenty of 'not to be missed' inclusions on the itinerary, small groups, local expert knowledge, some of the best foodie experiences you will ever have in South East Asia, flexibility with our 'freedom to explore' options that are designed to cater for individual needs and those of the more independent traveller without compromising safety, inviting 3 or 4 star accommodation with plenty of local character ..........lots of laughter, good times and oodles of adventure!

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Gallery

Boats on the Hoi An River
Scootering Saigon
Keeping Cool
Ao Dai in Hoi An
Among the karsts
Spinning a yarn
Lantern Town
Every day life on the streets
Ha Long Bay
Example of our Stilt House Pu Luong Retreat
Hiking around the villages
Pu Luong Lodge
Bia Hoi
Tombs and Temples of Hue
Fresh Pinapple
Vietnam Street Vendor
Vietnam Street Vendor

Location

Please note map locations and route are approximate only

Highlights

● Crusing the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Site of Halong Bay on board a traditional "Junk"

● Our Pu Luong Nature Reserve Cultural Experience

● Exploring the Old Quarter & Temple of Literature in Hanoi

● Lunch at KOTO, a not-for-profit social enterprise that empowers at-risk and disadvantaged youth

● Visiting UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Imperial City of Hue

● Travelling on the Overnight Sleeper Train from Hanoi to Hue

● The diversity, colours and stunning architecture of Hoi An (Lantern Town)

● Our Vespa 'Saigon at Night Foodie Tour'

● Small Group Travel & Freedom to Explore

Itinerary

Your tour starts today in Hanoi the capital of Vietnam, known for its charming old architecture and rich culture. On arrival at the hotel, you will be met by our Adventurous Women Tour Host who will assist you with the check-in process, provide you with a map of city and give you some tips on how to spend the rest of your leisure time today.

Early evening the whole group will meet together in the lobby of the hotel where introductions will take place and we meet with our local Vietnamese Guide. Our guide will provide a brief overview of the whole tour and the plan for the following day. You will need to bring your passport and a copy of your travel insurance to this meeting, as the guide will be collecting all these details from you, to assist with arrangements surrounding internal flights, train travel etc.

After the meeting, we'll head out to a local restaurant in the Old Quarter to enjoy our first group meal together.

Meals: None included

Accommodation: Comfortable Hotel in Hanoi

After breakfast, we leave for Pu Luong Nature Reserve, via a breathtaking mountain pass where we enjoy panoramic views of the whole valley below.

Just before lunch time, we arrive at our Stilt House accommodation which is located right in the heart of local Don Village.... Here we marvel in awe at the captivating panoramic views and tranquil setting. After enjoying a delicious lunch, we then have the freedom to explore village life, interact with the locals, walk around working farmland and rice fields and get to know more about the local culture within this area.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Communal Stilt House - Pu Luong Nature Reserve, Don Village

This morning we enjoy an easy guided walk around a beautiful valley of tumbling rice terraces, through small paths shrouded in vegetation to slowly reveal picturesque Uoi village sitting at the base of a towering mountain....a photographer's dream!! We continue walking down hill to a local home, where we take rest, before continuing to either walk or cycle around Lan Village. If time permits, we will visit a local family where we can learn about their traditional brocade weaving (not guaranteed). Walking through the rice paddies and another village to explore more the landscape surrounds, until we are met by our private vehicle and transferred back to our lodgings for lunch.

The afternoon is at our leisure giving us the opportunity to relax and really immerse ourselves in the tranquility.

Included Activities: Guided Walk

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Communal Stilt House - Pu Luong Nature Reserve, Don Village

After breakfast, we make the journey back to Hanoi where we stop in and have lunch at KOTO restaurant ... This is always a 'must do' experience for Adventurous Women when visiting Hanoi. KOTO, which stands for "Know One, Teach One", began as a humble banh mi stall in the Old Quarter in 1999. Its purpose then was to provide disadvantaged street children with essential skills to find stable jobs. Over time, the outfit expanded to its own training centre and a larger restaurant near Hanoi's Temple of Literature, where trainees could practice in a professional kitchen and serve nourishing meals to tourists in the capital. Now an organisation in it's own right, KOTO is dedicated to developing the hospitality careers of disadvantaged youth.

After lunch, we take a guided half day city tour including: The Temple of Literature - famous for being the first university of Vietnam, the Ho Chi Minh complex including the traditional stilt house and respected One-Pillar Pagoda and the outside of Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.

It's then time to check into the hotel, freshen up and meet with your Adventurous Women Host for a little exploration of Hanoi by night. Plenty of activity and options on offer including; a visit to Beer Corner (Ta Hien) to drink a ridiculously cheap bia hoi (fresh beer), eating amazing street food, taking in a water puppet show, exploring the shop houses, cool bars and winding alley's of the Old Quarter.

Included Activities : Half Day City Tour - The Temple of Literature, Ho Chi Minh complex, One-Pillar Pagoda and the outside of Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Comfortable Hotel in Hanoi

After breakfast at the hotel, we head off in our private vehicle to the gem of the north, Halong Bay, known by locals as "The Bay of the Descending Dragons".

Arriving at the harbour, we board our traditional 'junk' cruise boat and explore this stunning bay which is made up of thousands of limestone karsts, sandy beaches, caves and floating villages. Our time in the bay is very relaxing as we enjoy a lovely leisurely lunch on board the boat, chill out on the deck with a cocktail or mocktail, stop en-route to visit a grotto showcasing spectacular stalactites and stalagmites and generally immerse ourselves in all the wonder of this UNESCO World Heritage Listed Site.

In the evening, we're treated to an evening meal prepared by the crew on board, afterwards you may wish to head up to the upper deck and enjoy a little social time or head off to your well appointed cabin and retire for the night.

Included Activities : Halong Bay Overnight Cruise and Activities

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Twin Share Cabin, Traditional 'Junk' Boat

Rise and Shine and join a Tai Chi session on the sundeck in the morning with a light breakfast consisting of tea, coffee and pastries afterwards. After breakfast, you can enjoy the rest of your time on board to soak in the sun and relax on the deck while taking in the surrounding landscape. We then have brunch brunch on board at around 11.30am, before meeting our transfer back to Hanoi to check in to the hotel.

The balance of the day is at your leisure and your Adventurous Women Host will provide you with some options to fill your time, including: Water Puppet Theatre, a visit to The Vietnamese Women's Museum, enjoy a massage, shop till you drop as you explore all the shopping streets, try an egg coffee at a local cafe on Train Street, visit the city's oldest church ...the Parisian inspired St Josephs Cathedral and the list goes on!

Included Activities : Tai Chi Session, Halong Bay Cruising

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Comfortable Hotel in Hanoi

Most of today is allocated as a 'freedom to explore' day in Hanoi to enable you with the opportunity to see more of the city on your own terms. We understand that everyone has different interests and agenda's.... Some may like to spend their time picking up last minute souveniers or shopping, some may wish to go for a walk around beautiful Hoan Kiem Lake, admiring the mysterious Temple of Jade Mountain, joining in a local Tai Chi or Laughing Class. Some may just wish to wander, drink coffee, take photo's and get to know the city a little better.

Later in the afternoon we regroup later back at the hotel to freshen up and grab a snack, before our transfer to Hanoi Railway Station to catch the overnight train to Hue (we have a day use room available for our disposal - up to four in each room).

The overnight train is an adventure in itself and one that generally brings about a lot of laughter and frivoloty among our Adventurous Women groups. You will understand why when you experience it for yourself!!

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Sleeper trains typically have four berth compartments with bench seats that convert into sleeping bunks. A sheet, pillow and blanket are provided, although some travelers prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. Food is best purchased before boarding the train - Your Adventurous Women Host will explain why and how best to go about this.

After rockin' and rollin' overnight and waking up to the sounds and sights of rural life, we arrive in Hue around midday, where we enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, before checking into our hotel. After a short rest, we join our local guide for a visit to The Imperial Citadel - The home of Vietnam's last royal dynasty, the Nguyen Dynasty (1802 - 1945) and Hue Royal Antiques Museum - a collection of ornaments from the Nguyen dynasty. We wrap up the day by visiting An Cuu Market which offers locally made goods, fresh produce and tantalizing street food. This is a great place to try the specialties enjoyed by Emperor Nguyen such as the banh khoai royal rice cake.

Afterwards, it's back to the hotel for rest and relaxation and maybe a dip in the pool, before heading out for drinks and dinner with your Adventurous Women Host.

Included Activities: Imperial Citadel, An Cuu market

Meals: None included

Accommodation: Comfortable Hotel Hue

Today is a "freedom to explore" day and we're providing a few choices in regard to how you may wish to spend your day in Hue - all are optional and at your own expense. Your Adventurous Women Host and local guide will assist in making arrangements for you and the rest of the group, according to the activities chosen.

As an example of what's on offer:

**EXPLORE HUE'S ANCIENT TOMBS AT YOUR OWN PACE (approx $49 AUD - 4/5 Hours)

set your own departure time with your private driver (4 per car) and spend as much time as you want at each site without feeling rushed. Walk around tombs to ancient Vietnamese emperors like Minh Mang, Khai Dinh, and Tu Duc, and visit the iconic Thien Mu Pagoda.

** BIG DAY OUT HUE - MOTORBIKE TOUR WITH LUNCH ( approx $95 AUD per person)

This adventure will be taken on the back of a motorbike. You'll have your own driver who will take you first on a drive around the Imperial Citadel, then to the Thien Mu Pagoda This site dates back to 1601 and is still an active Buddhist monastery. Break up your sightseeing with a dragon boat cruise on the Perfume River before getting back on your motorbike and riding to a special lunch spot at a convent where you'll enjoy a delicious vegetarian feast. After lunch, drive to the royal tomb of Emperor Tu Duc, set amid a lake, frangipani bushes and pine trees.

**STREET FOOD TOUR (approx $55 AUD pp - half day)

take a half-day to dine like a true local in the Imperial City. You'll taste more Hue delicacies than you count, from che to banh beo to bun bo hue to banh khoai and a little cool off with some local beer. You'll walk away with an understanding of what makes Vietnamese street food so fresh, so experiential, *and* so festive.

**HUE SPECIALTIES COOKING CLASS (approx $50 AUD pp)

You will be picked up from our hotel, taken to the Hue local market to buy the ingredients required for cooking, then it's back to the kitchen to prepare, cook and eat the food..YUM! This tour runs from 9.30am to 1.00pm and includes an english speaking guide, local market visit, 1 drink during the class, eat the food you cook for lunch, take home the recipes.

This evening you are invited to join your Adventurous Women Host at one of her favourite restaurants in Hue, where you will sample the fusion between traditional French & Vietnamese cuisine.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Comfortable Hotel Hue

This morning, we will depart by private vehicle for Danang via the scenic Hai Van Pass, where we enjoy the spectacular panorama of the central coastline from the summit, before arriving in the pretty 'Lantern Town' of Hoi An.

After checking into our hotel and having a short rest, we join our local guide for a walking tour around the ancient town. As the national trading center in the 16th century, Hoi An is home to the diversity of ancient streets and homes, we'll admire ancient houses built in Chinese, Japanese, French and European architectures. We'll stroll around the unusual cobblestone streets, visiting the hundered year old Japanese Bridge and Phuc Kien Hall.

Our local guide will also provide the opportunity for us to stop at a local Tailor to take a look at the garments they have on offer and so that you can have something made for yourself should you wish too. We recommend if having garmets tailored, you take the opportunity today to place your order today, as a couple of days are required for the work to be completed including a fitting and any adjustments that may need to be made.

Your Adventurous Women Host recommends that if you have a favourite piece of clothing or pair of shoes in your wardrobe and you'd love to have it replicated, bring it to Vietnam .. the tailoring and leather work in Hoi An is fabulous!!

Included Activities: Hoi An walking tour

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Comfortable Hotel Hoi An

We've purposely added two "freedom to explore" days into the itinerary while based in Hoi An, given previous guest feedback received. Hoi An is such a lovely place to while away time, relax and explore at your own pace..... it's friendly, chic, atmospheric and extremely easy to find your way around. Of course your Adventurous Women Host and Local Guide will always be there to offer you support and advice on things to do, or ensure you're buddied up with another Adventurous Woman or two in the group, should you not feel comfortable wandering by yourself.

We've list just a few of the options available to you if you're looking to fill your days:

**MR GREEN MANGO HANDS ON COOKING CLASS (approx $60 AUD pp)

Exploring the taste and smell of Vietnamese central coastal town of Hoi An with the local chef at his home is a truly great experience. You will be firstly escorted to a local market and explore the vibes of life and fresh markets, shop for the ingredients. Upon arrival to the chef's home, you be taken through a culinary journey with hands-on demonstrations and stories behind the yin and yang elements unveiling the secret of home-cooked Vietnamese meals. Enjoy the fruits of your success to appreciate the efforts and amazing skills as a farewell meal to your passionate and friendly chef.

**BICYCLE TOUR TO TRA QUE VILLAGE (approx $30 AUD pp)

Riding a bike around Hoi An countryside is a wonderful way to experience the real village life of farmers in Central Vietnam and only about 4kms outside Hoi An is Tra Que vegetable village. You will spend a half day riding/visiting the tranquil village and enjoying the peaceful atmosphere.

**MY SON SANCTUARY (approx $55 AUD pp)

This tour travels by private vehicle about 50km from Hoi An to My Son sanctuary. It comprises many Champa temples, in a valley roughly two kilometers wide, surrounded by two mountain ranges. It was the site of religious ceremony of kings of the Champa dynasty and was also a burial place of Champa royals and national heroes. The My Son temple complex is one of the foremost temple complexes of Hinduism in Southeast Asia and is the

foremost heritage site of this nature in Vietnam. Though the complex has been destroyed over time, you still see many majestic ancient ruins of temples in the area. You will walk around with your guide for 2 hours to see the historic and cultural ruins of the 16th century.

We regroup in the evening and head out to a local restaurant for dinner together.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Comfortable Hotel Hoi An

Today is another "freedom to explore" day and the last day to have pick up any garmets, shoes or leatherwork you may have had made.

Later in the afternoon, you may wish to chill out around the pool or take a bike ride out to An Bang Beach, before we regroup again and head out for dinner in the evening.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Comfortable Hotel Hoi An

This morning after breakfast we are transferred to Da Nang airport to take a domestic flight to Ho Chi Minh city. On arrival, we'll grab a bite to eat at a local restaurant and then check into our hotel, before starting our city tour in the afternoon. During the City Tour, we'll discover the very popular War Remnants Museum, that houses a comprehensive collection of the machinery, weapons, photographs and documentation of the Vietnam wars.

Afterwards we continue admiring the beautiful structures from the French Colonial times, ending with a visit to the historic Central Post Office. Then it's back to the hotel to have a short rest and freshen up before our grand finale adventure ..... A Vespa foodie tour in the early evening!

This is a MUST DO Adventure when in Ho Chi and such a fabulous way to wrap up our tour of vietnam and celebrate as a group. On the back of a vespa, we take an insight into the night life of real Saigon. Zigzagging through backstreets and organized chaotic traffic to different local favourite street food stalls where we enjoy mouthwatering local food and plenty of variety. Our Guide talks us through all the different types of food we are tasting including ingredients used and we eat as we go - seafood, banh xeo, BBQ, fruits, drinks, beers, cocktails... (vegetarian option also available). All the food and drinks are included in this tour so we encourage you to come with a big appetite!!

After our tummies are full, we are taken over the bridge that connects the two sides of the Saigon River where we enjoy a view of city at night. Then we are taken to a very small local cafe bar where the melodius sounds of violin, piano and classical songs of Vietnam, America and Europe are performed of an evening. This is a very intimate, cosy and atmospheric experience, hushed tones, seating only. Often this is where the locals gather for a romantic experience. At the end of the tour, we go up to a rooftop bar for a stunning view of amazing Saigon at night and toast our time in Vietnam!

Included Activities: City Familiarisation Tour, War Remnant Museum, Post Office & Vespa foodie tour

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Comfortable Hotel Ho Chi Minh

There are no activities planned for our final day and after breakfast you are free at your own leisure until your appointed time for your transfer to the airport for your flight home! Your room is at your disposal until 12:00 midday so you're not needing to rush!

Meals: Breakfast

REGISTER NOW

Includes

English Speaking Local Tour Guide/s

Adventurous Women Host

Transport throughout, including domestic flight

Meals as noted on the itinerary

Included activities as per daily itinerary

Adventurous Women Memento

The Adventurous Women Experience .. there's nothing like it!

12 Breakfasts

5 Lunches

4 Dinners

Excludes

International Flights

Transfers to/from Airport - these can be arranged for very little cost if requested

Any visas required

Services not mentioned in the itinerary

Meals and drinks not mentioned in the itinerary

Tips for local guides and drivers

Expenditure of personal nature

Personal Travel Insurance

"Freedom to Explore" Optional activities

Accommodation

In the towns and cities, we stay in comfortable hotels at a 3 star level with private amenities and often plenty of local character.  The rooms are twin share which means you will share a room (in your own bed) with another Adventurous Woman in the group.  At each different destination your Adventurous Women Host will conduct a room draw to allocate room buddies, unless you specifically request to share with a friend.  This is a great way to bond the group, while alleviating any potential annoyances that may come about by sharing with the same person the whole time.  

 

At the nature reserve, the group stay in a communal stilt house which is a wonderful experience (we have this to ourselves and will not be sharing with anyone else).  Again you will twin share in your allocated 'space' with another Adventurous Women group member here.  

 

Train Night - Now this is an adventure!!!  You will be in a cabin with three other Adventurous Women and you could be bottom bunk or top bunk - these are sleeper compartments and are pretty cosy .... but a lot of FUN! 

 

SINGLE ROOM REQUEST - If you wish to have your own room throughout the tour, (except for the train as it's not possible and the boat is on request and subject to availability so we would need to check to ensure this was possible) then we can provide this service for you at additional cost.  Please refer to the Single Supplement Charge as noted on this page.

 


What To Bring/Wear

- Pre-departure information will be provided well in advance to help you plan & prepare

More Information

ADDITIONAL SERVICES AVAILABLE ON REQUEST:

 

Single Supplement - $750.00 per person

Arrival Airport/Hotel Transfers - (1-2 people per vehicle) $85.00 per vehicle

Departure Hotel/Airport Transfers - (1-2 people per vehicle) $65.00 per vehcile

Additional Pre-Night Accommodation at our adjoining hotel SINGLE - $98.00 / TWIN - $98.00

Additional Post-Night Accommodation at our ending hotel SINGLE - $110.00 / TWIN - $110.00 

 

IMPORTANT:

Please provide your full name exactly as per passport at the time of booking OR once you have your passport in hand (including any middle names listed on your passport) for train and flight tickets. 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 new tickets.

This trip includes a domestic flight. Checked luggage allowance is a maximum of 20 kilograms, plus up to 7 kilograms carry on luggage. Any excess luggage charges will need to be paid directly to the airline at check-in.

 

 


By joining Adventurous Women in Vietnam you can expect a more relaxed pace of travel, plenty of 'not to be missed' inclusions on the itinerary, local expert knowledge, some of the best foodie experiences you will ever have in South East Asia, flexibility with our 'freedom to explore' options that are designed to cater for individual needs and those of the more independent traveller without compromising safety, inviting 3 or 4 star accommodation with plenty of local character ..........lots of laughter, good times and oodles of adventure!

No Princess Policy

Princess crossed out

This tour by it's very nature is not designed for the 5 Star Traveller. It is for the girl who has an 'adventurous spirit' and is looking for a unique and rewarding 'experience'! You should be able to adopt a "Go With The Flow" attitude, after-all we are in a foreign country and things don't always go to plan...this will help you chill out and therefore get the best out of your holiday.  You also need to understand that you have booked on a group travel experience where you are expected to be considerate of others. 

 

You will also need to be mobile without assistance - some of the sights require you to be on your feet, navigating steps and uneven surfaces at times. 

Cancellation & Refunds

Notice of cancellation must be in writing, with an email as an acceptable form of communication, directly to Adventurous Women with the following conditions:

Final balance payment is require 75 days prior to travel.

a)  75 days or more prior to departure, your deposit will be forfeited;

b)  between 31 and 75 days prior to departure, we charge a cancellation fee of 70% of the total booking cost;

c)  between 15 and 30 days prior to departure, we charge a cancellation fee of 90% of the total booking cost or;

d) 14 days or fewer prior to departure, we charge a cancellation fee of 100% of the booking cost.

No shows will be treated as a cancellation and will incur 100% cancellation fees.