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The Grand Tour of Vietnam, 19 days from £3880 pp (& no visa!)
By: Bamboo Travel
The Vietnamese authorities have recently extended the amount of time that tourists can spend in the country without visas, from 15 to 45 days, which is good news for those who wish to enjoy longer trips.
Southeast Asia specialist tour operator Bamboo Travel offers a choice of 28 recommended itineraries to Vietnam – either exclusively in Vietnam or multi-country trips – from 14 to 24 days in duration.
One of the more popular trips – which can now be taken without the bother of having to apply for a visa – is the 19-day Grand Tour of Vietnam (https://bambootravel.co.uk/
The private tour provides a chance to discover the very best of Vietnam, covering the entire country, from the wild mountains in the far north overlooking China, to the Mekong Delta bordering Cambodia.
The holiday commences with two days discovering the charms of Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, located in the Red River Delta in the north of the country, and whose history dates back to 257BC.
From Hanoi, travel through the Red River Delta to the Gulf of Tokin and the emerald waters of Halong Bay, for an overnight cruise aboard an Indochina Sails boat (activities on the cruise are on a shared basis). There will also be the opportunity for swimming on a quiet beach or sunbathing on the sundeck.
Following the cruise, return to Hanoi and board the well-appointed Victoria Express train for the overnight journey to Sapa.
Spend the next three days visiting colourful markets and hill tribe villages, and exploring stunning mountain scenery.
The trip continues with a three-night stay by the beach in Hoi An in central Vietnam, a great base for exploring the UNESCO heritage site of Hoi An Ancient Town and enjoying some R&R.
The penultimate leg of the trip is an extended stay in the Mekong Delta to experience the frantic trading at Indochina's largest floating market, with the option of exploring local villages and farms by bicycle.
The holiday ends with a short stay in Saigon with a guided tour of the Cu Chi Tunnels before flying home.
The holiday costs from £3880 pp (two sharing) including flights, all transportation, 13 nights' B&B, (plus four lunches and one dinner), overnight cruise and sightseeing/
Bamboo Travel (020 7720 9285, www.bambootravel.co.uk)
Mick Thompson, Travel Dog PR