DETAILED TRIP NOTES
Are you wondering if this is the right trip for you? We want you to enjoy your trip with us so please consider the following points carefully before booking your trip.
You will cover quite a lot of distance on this trip. There will be a total of 3 internal flights over the course of the trip as we make our way around this amazing country, we have chosen to fly between locations to maximise your time in the places we visit. The flights we will be taking are relatively short in duration, approximately 1-hour long.
For the most part the trip is easy going, however there is some walking involved. We will have regular walking tours in the cities we visit as well as some off-road walking in the process of getting to and from the sights we will be visiting on any given day. On a scale of 1 to 5 this trip comes in at “2”.
We visit the Cu Chi tunnels on this trip a truly fascinating place that gives you as real insight of how life was during the wars. The tunnels can get a little claustrophobic as they are very small. The Cu Chi tunnels are completely optional.
The weather in Vietnam can get very hot and humid. If this is a concern, please check online for the average monthly temperatures http://www.holiday-weather.com/country/vietnam/
Physical rating 2 out of 5.
The Royal Hotel Saigon is situated in District 1 of Ho Chi Minh City, ideally located for sightseeing. All rooms have air conditioning and are fully equipped with modern facilities. royalhotelsaigon.com
Royal Hotel Saigon
133 Nguyen Hue Avenue,
Ho Chi Minh City,
Phone: +84 24 3822 5914
We will do everything we can to offer you the most enjoyable holiday experience possible, however we recognise that due to the locations we visit and the sometimes unpredictable nature of travel that there are times when things can go wrong.
If any issues occur during your trip your local representative or group leader will do everything they can to resolve the problem and ensure that any negative impact on the remainder of the trip is mitigated.
If your group leader or our local partner is unable to resolve the problem to your full satisfaction then you should ask them to discuss the issue with their manager.
If you experience a genuine emergency or crisis then you can call our team by telephone on: 01942 733977
ONCE YOU RETURN HOME:
Within thirty days of your trip being completed you may provide us with online feedback. We welcome all feedback but would remind you that it is difficult for practical assistance to be offered after the conclusion of any trip.
For general enquiries and comments you may contact us via the following page: http://www.lunatravel.co.uk/contact-us/
Noi Bai International Airport is approximately 13 miles from the hotel. Transfer to the airport can be arranged through the hotel if required.
Hanoi Babylon Garden Hotel
25 – 27 Lo Su Street,
+84 24 3974 5678
We do everything we can to ensure that the information published in our brochures is accurate but it is sometimes necessary to update an itinerary during the year to include new information gained from our research, or the comments of past travellers. This possibility means that the final itinerary may vary slightly from your brochure. To avoid any inconvenience please review and print out the latest copy of your ‘Essential Trip Information’ a few days before you travel.
We operate trips to the region throughout the year, and seasonal changes to timetables or inclement weather may result in alterations to advertised transport routes and the timing of events included at each location, so please be prepared for the possibility of modifications to your itinerary.
If you discover any changes that raise queries please get in touch. We want to ensure that you enjoy the best possible travel experience with us.
On some trips, alongside the day-to-day itinerary we have made available a variety of optional activities. The list of available activities isn’t exhaustive and is intended as a guide of what may be available in each location. The quoted prices are the approximate entrance fee to each site and do not include the costs of transport or a local guide unless this is specifically mentioned.
All listed activities are subject to availability and given the limited time available at each location it may not be possible to include every activity.
Some of the activities listed may be classed as medium or high risk activities. For these activities we have carefully assessed the credentials and safety protocols of those with whom we partner. It may be possible for you to find the same activity available at a lower price from an alternative operator at the destination, however, we are unable to vouch for the quality or safety of any operator other than those listed in our promotional material. If an activity is not listed above it has not been assessed by us and our team will be unable to help you to book the activity. If you choose to engage in any activity not listed above you do so on your own discretion and at your own risk.
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.
Once you have completed your booking for the trip we will get in touch via email to request your passport information for your internal flight tickets. If you could get this information sent over to us as a matter of urgency that would be great.
If you would like your own room on the trip a single room supplement is available, subject to availability. On day (12) we will be spending the night on a boat, this is shared accommodation.
3 internal flights are included on this trip. The luggage allowance is 20kg with a carry on up to 7kg. If for any reason your luggage is in excess of the stated allowances you will be responsible for any charges which you will need to pay directly to the airline during check-in.
Generally, most countries require that your passport has a minimum of 6 months remaining on it before expiry.
Individual travellers are responsible for obtaining a valid visa for their trip. National entry requirements are subject to change at any time, so it is recommended that you check the appropriate consular website for your destination to ensure that you are aware of the relevant visa information for your nationality. If you are unfamiliar with the process of obtaining a visa your consultant will be able to point you in the correct direction to obtain the visa you need.
Processing a visa application may take several weeks so it is important that you determine whether a visa is required and what the requirements are as soon as your trip is booked, so your visa application will be processed in good time for you to travel.
Most nationalities are required to obtain the appropriate visa in advance before travelling to Vietnam. Please allow 3 weeks to process your visa with the nearest Vietnamese Embassy.
Certain nationalities are exempt from visas for a maximum stay of 15 days. This includes British, French, German, Italian and Spanish. The exemption is effective until the 30th June 2021 and is subject to meeting all conditions prescribed by Vietnamese law. For a stay greater than 15 days and a maximum of 30 days you can get an e-visa online before travel. Please note e-visas are limited to certain entry & exit points.
Before travelling you should speak to a medical professional for the latest medical travel information and to determine whether any anti-malarial precautions or other vaccinations are required. We recommend that all travellers should bring with them any medical equipment they will require for the duration of the trip, including spare glasses if needed, and a first aid kit for any minor injuries, as it may not always be possible to find these things at the destination.
To participate fully in the trip all travellers will need to be in good physical health. Before selecting a trip please read the itinerary thoroughly and determine whether you will be able to cope with all the activities and methods of travel described there.
Please be aware that if, in the opinion of our designated local guide or group leader a traveller is not able to finish the itinerary without risking injury to themselves or others, we reserve the right to exclude that traveller from part or all of the trip without issuing a refund.
NOTE: Our leaders are unable for legal reasons to administer any drugs, including paracetamol.
During your trip with us you will have an opportunity to experience some of the exciting food choices available at your destination. Some basic breakfasts have been included on this trip. These may include pastries or toast/bread, butter and jam, tea/coffee or juice. However, to allow you the flexibility to select the menu, location, and dining companions most appealing to you not all meals have been included in the price of the trip. While our groups do tend to choose to eat together the majority of the time there is no obligation for you to do so if you prefer to eat elsewhere. If you would like some direction on the most suitable eating places your group leader will be able to suggest some restaurants you may want to try.
SPECIAL DIETARY NEEDS:
Wherever it is possible to do so we will cater for special dietary needs, but there may be occasions when those with special requirements need to carer for their own needs. Vegetarians may find the menu more restricted than they are used to at home as vegetarianism is competitively rare in the region and the available vegetarian menu choices tend to be more basic. Vegetables, salads, soups, fruits, yoghurt, eggs, bread and cheese should all be freely available, but more advanced options may be more difficult to source. Vegans and anyone on a gluten-free diet will find this region particularly challenging and should consider supplementing their meals with items purchased from the local supermarkets and markets.
HOTEL (14 NIGHTS), BOAT (1 NIGHT)
The type of accommodation listed in your day-to-day itinerary is intended to act as a guide. There may be rare occasions when alternative accommodation is used due to a shortage of available rooms at our normal accommodation. We will try to select alternative accommodation of a comparable standard if this situation arises.
TWIN SHARE BASIS
Unless indicated in the itinerary all your accommodation is provided on a twin share basis. From time-to-time there may be occasions when facilities will need to be shared rather than being provided en-suite.
We always request that our hotels have our booked rooms prepared in advance of our arrival, but there may be times when this isn’t possible, especially if we are arriving before the usual check-in time. If we are unable to check-in immediately upon arrival we will be able to store our baggage before exploring the destination.
PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
If you have purchased accommodation for use either before or after the group trip you may be asked to change rooms for these additional dates.
HALONG BAY CRUISE
The boat has twin share cabins with air conditioning and own private facilities. The boats we use typically have around 20 cabins, they also have a dining room on board.
It’s not uncommon in Vietnam to have a hotel room with no windows, or have windows with that really dont have a view. This is down to high population density in the larger cities. We will always do our best at check in to get the best rooms with windows but we cant always guarantee a successful outcome.
Hotels in Europe do not normally provide refrigerators or kettles in the rooms. The accommodation with which you are provided may not always include air-conditioning or private en-suite facilities.
Ferry, Public bus, Taxi, Metro
TRANSPORT IN EUROPE
Half the fun of travel is the travelling itself, that’s why we like to travel the local way – whether that means mingling with commuters on a train in Spain, cycling past a historic chateau in France, or encountering the world’s most extravagant public transport system on the Moscow Metro. In Europe, you are guaranteed to travel by genuine local public transport wherever possible, which puts you right in the centre of the action.
The main means of transportation in the Greek Islands is by public ferry. These ferries are large car ferries that transport hundreds of people, along with cars and trucks. There are no reserved seats and passengers are free to walk around the ferry freely. Luggage is stored in a designated area on the car deck and is not accessible while the ferry is moving.
Ferry strikes, bad weather and the general unpredictable nature of Greek public transport means you need to be prepared for possible delays and itinerary changes.
The Vietnamese Dong (VND) is the official currency of Vietnam. The US Dollar is widely accepted throughout Vietnam and can be used in the vast majority of major shops and restaurants. 1 GBP = 30416.46 VND.
ATM’s are readily available in most cities and are seen as a reliable way to access funds. It is advisable to talk to your bank in advance of your trip and ensure you are aware of any fees that will be incurred if you use your card overseas. Credit cards are not always accepted in restaurants and stores so you will need to carry sufficient cash to cover your meal costs and other small purchases. Local currency can usually be withdrawn at population centres and amenities such as; major train stations, airports, and city centres. It is advisable to carry emergency cash with you in a major currency in case you discover upon arrival that no working ATM is available. Don’t leave home without memorising your PIN, and make a note of the telephone number you will need to call in case your card is lost or stolen.
CONCERNING YOUR BUDGET:
No two travellers have identical spending habits. Read through your trip itinerary carefully so you know which costs are included and which aren’t and then have a think about your spending habits. You will need to decide a sensible budget for meals, laundry, snacks, shopping, and all the optional activities not included in the price of your trip. It is always a sensible idea to bring slightly more money than you expect to use. You will need to budget for all the meals that are not included in price of the trip, as well as your additional expenses. Based on feedback from past travellers we recommend a total of £400 for these additional meals & drinks but you may choose to spend as little or as much as you wish.
Providing a tip for good service is usually appropriate. It may not be your usual custom but it is valuable for the people with whom you will interact during your trip. Tipping inspires great service and is an established feature of the tourist industry. We suggest the following amounts per person based on established local considerations and feedback from previous travellers. In most cases a tip equivalent to 5% of the total bill will be appropriate. For the duration of your trip there may be times when a local guide is employed in addition to your tour leader, a tip of £2-£3 per day would be appreciated for such a guide. If a local driver is employed for your trip then £1-£2 per day would be appropriate, perhaps more if they are more involved with your group, although you are of course, free to tip more or less, or not to tip at all if you prefer. As a guide we would suggest a budget of between £5-£6 per day to cover tips during your trip.
We always try to plan for every possibility but there will always be situations that we can’t control. We ask that you ensure that you have access to an additional £500 to cover any emergency situations that could arise. Extreme weather, natural disasters, civil unrest or similar occurrences may result in itinerary alterations at short notice. Airport closures, transport strikes or service cancellations can cause changes at the last minute and unavoidably involve additional expenses to allow the trip to go ahead.
Your packing should be determined by the nature of your chosen trip, the time you travel, and the countries you will be visiting. As a general rule you should avoid bringing more than absolutely necessary. On most trips you will need to carry your own bags, and while you won’t need to transport them for long distances it will be easier for you if your bags are smaller and lighter.
Travellers often choose to store their luggage in a rucksack or backpack to make transportation easier. A wheeled suitcase can be helpful although you should ensure that it is fitted with carry straps in addition to wheels as not all surfaces will be suitable for wheeling.
In addition to your main luggage you will also need a bag for carrying items you need during the day, such as a camera and a water bottle.
SECURE YOUR BAGS FOR LOCAL TRANSPORT:
When we travel on local transport your luggage may sometimes be stored in an unattended area or stowed separately from the travelling party so it is essential that your luggage can be locked to secure your belongings.
DON’T FORGET TO BRING A WATER BOTTLE:
Staying properly hydrated is vital to maintaining your health during the trip. If you are concerned about the quality of the water available while travelling then please consider using iodine, micropur or similar water purification techniques rather than purchasing bottled water. You can also being a water bottle with you and use the water dispensers provided at our accommodation to refill the bottle instead of purchasing multiple bottles during your journey. The global sale of bottled water creates a significant environmental problem with each 1 litre bottle consuming 200ml of oil and 2000ml of water just to manufacture the bottle. Once emptied much of the waste material is consigned to landfill or left to pollute the natural environment.
During the summer months it can get very warm and humid in Vietnam. If you are not used to the heat you may find these temperatures uncomfortable. Please consider your physical suitability to the seasonal conditions when deciding what time of year you would like to travel.
Before you leave home you should check that your travel insurance policy will cover you for all of the areas you will be visiting and familiarise yourself with any recently updated advice or safety concerns relating to international travel which have been produced by your national government. You may also want to browse our website safety page for links to any significant travel advisories that may impact upon your trip.
We will work hard to keep you safe during your trip but there are also many things you can do to make life more difficult for potential thieves.
To keep your cash, passport, and essential documents safe we suggest that you consider a money belt or neck wallet for use while travelling. Rather than carry expensive jewellery around with you it is best to leave it at home or to keep it securely in the hotel safe. Providing a lock for your luggage is encouraged to prevent easy access for thieves during those times when your bag is stored out of your sight.
For all designated activities that form part of your agreed itinerary you will be accompanied by your group leader. During your trip there will be periods of free time with opportunities for you to explore the area at your leisure. Your leader may be able to assist you in discovering what is available at a particular location but if you decide to take on any additional activities these do not form part of your agreed itinerary and you must use your own judgement as to the safety and suitability of each activity and the safety standards of the operator.
To learn more about the safety standards you should expect during your trip please take a look at the operational safety policy displayed on our website. We always welcome feedback on how this policy is implemented in the field.
Fire safety standards vary around the world. The local laws which apply to tourist facilities at your destination will be different to those in your home country and not all the accommodation we will use may be equipped with smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, or a designated fire exit.
Not all countries have the same traffic laws. You may find that traffic in your destination country travels on the opposite side of the road to what you have been used to. Please remember to look both ways before attempting to cross any road. You should also consider that the prevailing traffic conditions may be slightly more chaotic than usual. While travelling on the roads you may be required to use transport that does not provide seatbelts, as fitting seatbelts is not always a local requirement.
Travelling always brings with it the risk of petty theft and being targeted by pickpockets especially in areas that receive large numbers of tourists. While thieves are always a concern there are plenty of things you can do to avoid becoming a victim.
If you are walking outside after dark it is advisable to stay in well lit areas and to remain as part of a group as much as possible.
While travelling on the metro or other public transport you should exercise care with your belongings. Try to carry any bags in front of you so that they remain clearly visible at all times. You can also decrease the likelihood of any valuables being lost by keeping them in a money belt and out of public sight.
AVOID THE SCAMS:
Tourists are always going to be a target for anyone perpetrating a scam. Common scams you may encounter while travelling in Vietnam include credit & debit card, gambling, taxi, cobblers, cyclo tour/motorbike. During our welcome meeting we will go over the list and advise how best to avoid them.
Everyone taking part in one of our trips has the right to feel safe throughout the entire journey. We work on the principle of respect towards each other and everyone we will meet on the journey. Violence, either physical or verbal is always unacceptable, as is any sexual harassment between passengers, local operators, or our leaders.
In some parts of the world use of opium or marijuana is culturally acceptable but it is not permitted by any travellers on our trips. No illegal drug use will be tolerated on any of our trips. Not only does having drugs in your possession break the law it also places the rest of your travelling group at risk. Discovery of illegal drugs in the possession of any group member will result in them being permanently removed from the trip.
Any form of sexual misconduct, including the use of prostitutes will lead to your removal from the trip. No sexual relationships, whether or not consensual, between a passenger and a group leader will be permitted. If you ever have cause to feel that inappropriate behaviour is taking place on your trip please do not hesitate to contact us using our emergency phone number.
Travelling as part of a group will expose you to both the pleasures and possible frustrations of spending time with others. Your travelling party is likely to be comprised of a cross-section of people from different cultures and different age groups. We request that you show consideration to the different preferences and needs of the various members of your travelling party and extend patience when their needs must be accommodated.
When travelling with a group please remember your own responsibilities towards others. Try to arrive at any agreed meeting point punctually to avoid keeping the rest of the group waiting. In our experience the trips that work best are those where the inter-group dynamics function well – achieving the right group dynamic requires just a small amount of effort from you.
Note: To maintain the privacy of our travellers we cannot share any personal information or contact details relating to anyone else booked on your trip before departure.
A single supplement is available on this trip
For your own protection we insist that travel insurance is purchased before embarking on any of our trips. You will not be able to join your travelling group until your group leader has seen evidence of your insurance policy and has had sight of your insurance company’s emergency contact details.
Your minimum level of cover must include medical costs including emergency repatriation if required. We would also encourage you to obtain a policy that covers cancellation, curtailment, personal liability, and lost or damaged baggage and personal effects.
Should you choose to take out credit card insurance you will need to provide your group leader with details of the insurer or underwriter, the policy number, and the coverage level, along with the emergency contact number. You should obtain this information from your bank before departing for your trip.