DISCOVER VIETNAM TOUR
Chaos and exotica collide in stunning Vietnam. Starting in pagoda-filled Hanoi, we’ll travel south through the stunning limestone cliffs of Ha Long Bay and Ninh Binh, into the imperial city of Hue, before finishing in the colourful streets of Hoi An.
Everyday is packed with awesomeness, but some of our highlights are:
Exploring the sights of Hanoi, including Hoan Kiem Lake and the old French Quarter
Spending a night cruising majestic UNESCO World Heritage Site Ha Long Bay
Morning yoga on the rooftop of your boat
Panoramic views across the Hai Van pass
Swimming at the Elephant Springs or wandering around the beautiful Marble Mountain temples
Giving back with one of Vietnam's most famous NGOs, connecting with communities along the way
Cruising the Perfume River in Hue
Discovering the beautiful streets of Hoi An by bike
A real taste of some world-famous Vietnamese food
With 20 persons per group MAX! The exact cost of this tour is US $1497. This goes towards covering everything from in-country transport and accommodation to project fees and tour related activities (we really do cram it in!). Please note that your international flights are not included.
To secure your spot you pay a deposit of US $250 (you can then pay the rest in weekly instalments or in full 90 days before you travel).
Locations: Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Ninh Binh, Hue, Hoi An
Tour Length: 13 days
Tour Cost: $1497
Finish Date: The tour will end on Wednesday, 13 days after your start date.
Volunteer Work: Community development
Arrival Airport: Hanoi Noi Bai Airport (HAN)
Departure Airport: Da Nang International Airport (DAD)
Group Size: Maximum 20
Minimum age: 18
Going Solo?: Over 70% of those on our tours start off as solo travellers
Available dates: Click here for dates
4 January 2019 (7 spots left)
15 February 2019 (11 spots left)
8 March 2019 (full)
15 March 2019 (7 spots left)
5 April 2019 (full)
12 April 2019 (14 spots left)
3 May 2019 (13 spots left)
7 June 2019 (17 spots left)
5 July 2019 (17 spots left)
2 August 2019 (18 spots left)
6 September 2019 (4 spots left)
4 October 2019 (19 spots left)
1 November 2019 (15 spots left)
6 December 2019 (19 spots left)
3 January 2020 (19 spots left)
21 February 2020 (16 spots left)
13 March 2020 (12 spots left)
3 April 2020 (15 spots left)
1 May 2020 (18 spots left)
5 June 2020 (19 spots left)
3 July 2020 (19 spots left)
7 August 2020 (19 spots left)
4 September 2020 (18 spots left)
2 October 2020 (19 spots left)
6 November 2020 (19 spots left)
4 December 2020 (19 spots left)
- Airport pick-up and transfer on arrival into Hanoi
- An in-depth orientation
- 12 nights of accommodation
- All in-country transport
- 24/7 support from our experienced local guides
- All tour activities
- Heaps of meals!
- Full pre-departure support from our ace travel coordinators
- A flashy Travel Hack packed full of helpful advice
- Donation towards the community development project
Southern Vietnam Bolt-On
Don't stop reading yet... we have one more amazing thing to offer you: The south of Vietnam!
During this extra week we will take you from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City where we'll cruise the Mekong Delta to My Tho before we head back to Ho Chi Minh City.
You'll get to crawl through the Chu Chi Tunnels, part of a near impenetrable VietCong fortress, which where so small that they had to be made wider for the tourists but don't worry we have already thought ahead of how to shake of the claustrophobic feeling: The Mekong Delta! Vast riverlands with huge agricultural fields will soon have you forgotten about how cramped and tight it was in those tunnels.
Interested? Of course you are! Message us on Facebook or via [email protected] and we will supply you with a detailed travel hack and pricing :)
All accommodation will be twin or triple rooms with ensuite western bathrooms and air conditioning, located in the centre of each city (or on board a ship when you are in Ha Long Bay)
Internet: WiFi is available in all guesthouses excluding onboard your ship on Ha Long Bay.
Laundry: You can use the local laundry services that are quick, cheap, and good!
Loads of breakfasts are included throughout, plus a traditional welcome meal in Hanoi. Your lunch whilst volunteering is also included and we'll throw in a farewell meal on the last evening!
DAY 1 (FRIDAY): ARRIVAL DAY
Stretch your legs and find that Bamboo logo in the crowd outside your terminal because the tour begins now. Whether you're flying, bussing, or sailed for six months under the tutelage of a 10th generation Magellan, our staff will greet you and take you to your hotel, a quaint B&B in the heart of Hanoi, where you can shower (re: you better shower if you sailed), relax, or get lost in the city-center. The day is yours.
In the evening, for those up to it—and not too jet-lagged—we’ll have an informal meet-and-greet over some dinner and a few drinks, where we’ll get to know each other and ease any stresses you may have about the trip--the drinks tend to help.
DAY 2 (SATURDAY): CITY TOUR
Pagodas tower over Hanoi, a resilient, proud city, whose complex history extends beyond recent wars and into periods of the French aristocracy and Chinese authenticity. The day begins with a walking tour, where we’ll leisurely wander through the back alleys and into the colourful markets and temples that dot this lake-littered inlet.
Following the tour, our day together concludes with a proper Vietnamese welcome meal, complete with the most elegant spring rolls, pho, and, of course, a tipple or two. Those who don’t want the night to end can join us on Beer Street where a cheeky drink becomes four far too quickly.
Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner
DAY 3 (SUNDAY): HA LONG BAY
Just a jaunt outside of Hanoi, amid emerald waters, rainforests, and limestone cliffs is Ha Long Bay, an outdoor-lover's paradise. Here, we’ll dive into the water for some swimming, kayaking, and, if you’re like us, endlessly reapplying sunscreen.
At sundown, we’ll turn up the romance and enjoy a beachfront dinner and bayside sunset, a sunset so spectacular it will stay with you forever...
*Note: We can't prove it will stay for you forever, but we can promise you'll be moved.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
DAY 4 (MONDAY): HA LONG BAY TO NINH BINH
Those who missed the sunset last night can redeem themselves this morning with a breathtaking sunrise straight out of an Enrique Iglesias music video.
The rest of the morning will be spent splishing and splashing and general lakeside lounging until we head out to Ninh Binh, our base for exploring Vietnam’s UNESCO-winning grottoes.
Meals Included: Breakfast
DAY 5 (TUESDAY): BIKE TOUR AND RIVER CRUISE
The sleepy town of Ninh Binh may consist of little more than locals sipping beers at cafes along the sidewalks, but the town itself is surrounded by quintessentially Vietnamese limestone scenery.
After breakfast, we’ll hop on our bikes and cycle into the tropical countryside toward Tam Coc, a river that would be all over your Instagram feed if people knew about it. There, we’ll board a row-boat, and, with the soundtrack of the river lapping against our oars, we’ll succumb to the riverside’s lush rice paddies and limestone ledges that seemingly continue forever.
We may even throw a little surprise into the mix, just whisper the words dragon mountain to our guides, and they will show you a hidden gem that has been said to be one of the tour highlights.
In the evening, with eyes exhausted from the imagery, we’ll take a night bus to Hue, where we’ll begin our first volunteering excursion.
Meals Included: Breakfast
DAY 6 (WEDNESDAY): RIVER CRUISE AND VOLUNTEERING ORIENTATION
Arriving in Hue as fresh as one can be after an eight-hour bus ride, we will first head to the hotel and rinse off the stench that only a sweaty night on a bus can produce.
The former seat of Imperial Vietnam, the reign of emperors can still be felt in this historic citadel, where crumbling ancient walls greet modern, Euro-chic boutiques. Hue’s charm, however, lies along the Perfume River, where we’ll board a private boat for a sail downstream to Thien Mu Pagoda, the largest such in Vietnam.
We’ll keep the day restful because the hard work begins tomorrow.
Meals Included: Breakfast
DAY 7 - 9 (THURSDAY - SATURDAY): VOLUNTEERING
There’s an old Vietnamese proverb: If you put in the work to sharpen the steel, it will eventually turn into needles.
So, if you haven’t stretched since middle school, we recommend channeling your 7th-grade gym teacher and practicing your arm-circles because today we’ll be working.
Because our community development projects rely on that most in-need, your tour could include anything from building chicken farms and constructing houses to putting in water filtration systems or even preparing communities on sustainable food and development initiatives.
The work generally involves dirty hands, dirty knees, mud-toothed smiles, and an overwhelming sense of accomplishment having witnessed the transformation of “steel into needles.”
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.
DAY 10 (SUNDAY): TRANSFER TO HOI AN
Gripped with emotion, pride, and whatever the word for I-can’t-believe-we-just-helped-so-many-Vietnamese-people, we’ll bus down to Hoi An, a city famed for its Old Town and Japanese-style pagodas.
The winding roads through the mountains offer a near-endless panorama of steep, stony facades along with the occasional waterfall. If the weather’s kind, we’ll stop at Elephant Springs, a secluded waterfall where, if you couldn’t have guessed it, elephants once bathed, or we’ll visit Da Nang, a hiker’s dreamland in the Marble Mountains.
All being well, we should arrive just in time for a shower and a romantic stroll into the old town of Hoi An.
Meals Included: Breakfast
DAY 11 (MONDAY): BIKE RIDE AND BASKET BOATS
Fully rested from volunteering, today begins with a bike ride through historic Hoi An and into the quiet Vietnamese countryside.
We’ll cycle past rice paddocks and roaming buffaloes to the waters surrounding the city where our basket boat awaits. The sail around the town to an island just off the main drag.
Here, we’ll mingle with some locals and challenge them to Con Quay and a few other traditional Vietnamese games.
The day concludes with a smooth ride back into Hoi An, where the rest of the day is yours for exploring—be it bargaining at the Chinese shop houses, dining on Bahn Xeo, or, our personal recommendation, make your own Asian-style lantern.
Meals Included: Breakfast
DAY 12 (TUESDAY): FREE DAY
We’re taking off the Bamboo ball-and-chain and letting you into the wild world of Hoi An.
Packed with yellow, French colonial-era buildings, feel free to window-shop at the cutesy boutiques, lounge street-side in many of the coffee shops, book yourself a cooking class at the famous Green Mango restaurant, or trek down to An Bang Beach for some sun, some R&R, and a cocktail or two.
Just get back to the hotel in the early evening so we can get together for our final group meal, where we’ll toast to Vietnam. Mot, hi, ba, yo!
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
DAY 13 (WEDNESDAY): DEPARTURE DAY
Do do we even want to address the good-bye?
The trip may have lasted thirteen days, but it’s thirteen days that last a lifetime in memory. We’ll snap one final group photo, which we’ll then keep under our pillow case to look at late at night, teary-eyed and smiling, and remember our journey together.
Beyond that, we’ll help you arrange any transport to your next stop—be it the airport, bus terminal, shipyard, dragon’s den, wherever. Safe travels.
Meals Included: Breakfast
1 - WHAT ISN'T INCLUDED?
In short - anything that's not on the "What's included?" list in the info pack! The main things you'll absolutely need to get that aren't included are:
International flights - we have people join us from all over the world so we leave these flexible so you can choose the departure airport and airline that suits you best.
Travel insurance - you can choose your own travel insurance or we can organize this for you. You can find details on the travel insurance here and will be able to add this onto your booking when you pay your program fee.
Visas - depending on the passport you hold you may need to get a visa before you travel. Please see below for more info on visas.
Police check - as the tour involves spending time with local communities and children, you will be required to provide us with a police check noting any criminal record held against your name. If you have an existing check, we can accept this providing it was issued no more than 12 months before your tour is due to finish. Each country/state has varying procedures on how to obtain a police check so we recommend you contact your local police station to see how you should go about getting one issued.
2 - HOW SHOULD I BOOK MY FLIGHTS?
There are great online resources like www.skyscanner.com or google.com/flights. If you'd like to speak to an agent, you can contact our friends at STA Travel by completing an online form here: https://www.wearebamboo.com/tours/sta-flights.php
ARRIVAL: You need to book a flight that lands into Hanoi Noi Bai International Airport (airport code HAN) on the Friday that the tour starts, between 6am and 8pm. Providing you arrive between these hours on this day, one of our team will be there to meet you on arrival and take you back to the hotel in the city. If you arrive later than 8pm on the Friday start date, we will organize an airport pickup but without a Bamboo representative to meet you, our team will then meet you at the guesthouse.
If you arrive before your Friday start date, you will need additional accommodation. We can book this for you and you will just need to make your own way there from the airport and pay on arrival.
DEPARTURE: This tour will end on the Wednesday two weeks later in Hoi An, with Da Nang International airport being the closest only 30 minutes away, so you need to make your arrangements from there that day. Buses can be arranged to further your travels back to Hanoi, or further south to Ho Chi Minh City. Our team can help you to arrange these once you arrive.
3 - DO I NEED A VISA?
Passport holders of several countries will get a 15-day 'visa exempt' stamp in their passport on arrival into Vietnam free of charge. A quick Google search will tell you whether you need a visa or not.
4 - HOW MUCH SPENDING MONEY WILL I NEED?
This largely depends on you. Most breakfasts throughout the tour are included, along with a couple of dinners, as is lunch whilst you are volunteering. The rest of the meals are up to you and if you are having local meals it will cost a couple of dollars, if you prefer western food it will be more depending on where you eat. A bottle of local beer in Vietnam is around USD $1. You should bring some local currency with you (Vietnamese Dong VND) but you will also be able to withdraw more from cash points in the major cities whilst you are away.
5 - DO I NEED VACCINATIONS?
This depends on your home country and your vaccination history. You should visit a local travel clinic and see what they recommend.
6 - WHEN DOES MY DEPOSIT HAVE TO BE PUT DOWN?
There is no deadline for paying the USD $250 deposit, but we cannot secure your place until we have received this. Places are limited, and this is one of our most popular tours, so we recommend you do this as soon as possible to be sure of a spot. Once we have received your deposit, we will send you a confirmation email. If you do not receive this within 48 hours, please check your junk/spam email folders and let us know if you cannot see it.
7- WHAT ARE THE PAYMENT OPTIONS?
Your final balance is due 90 days before you travel. We will send you an email shortly after you have secured a spot offering you two options for payment. You can either pay the program fee in full (at any point before the date it is due) or you can set up weekly instalments to pay a small amount off regularly until it is paid in full. You can choose either of these with or without travel insurance. Any changes to your trip must be made outside 90 days before you travel.
8 - IS VIETNAM SAFE?
Like any country in the world, there will always be some dangers (even when in your home country!) and it is important to exercise common sense, particularly when in major cities and tourist destinations. However, Vietnam is a very safe country to travel in and around. You'll also be with our experienced team throughout your stay and will be travelling with a group.
9 - WHAT CURRENCY IS THE TOUR IN?
All of our prices are in USD. If you would like to see what this is in your local currency you can use a conversion site such as www.xe.com which will give you the current exchange rate. Please bear in mind that the amount will be taken in USD when you pay and exchange rates will fluctuate.
10 - HOW CAN I BE SURE THIS IS NOT A SCAM?
We have been operating for over 15 years, have placed over 25,000 volunteers and have an experienced team with a wealth of knowledge and passion! But don't just take our word for it - if you visit our website Verifications Page you can see our accreditation and recommendations for different worldwide organizations. You can also visit our Facebook page to see reviews from previous travellers and volunteers.