Best of Thailand & Vietnam Trip Notes
Immerse in the stunning beauty and charming culture of Vietnam and Thailand in this 15 day journey packed with cultural discovery, picturesque scenery, ancient history and mouth-watering cuisines. Sail the serene waters of UNESCO World Heritage-listed Halong Bay. Explore the imperial cities, ancient wonders, and rich war history of Vietnam. Kick back and relax with two domestic flights through Vietnam to save on transit time before beginning your Thailand journey in the vibrant Bangkok. Prepare to be amazed as you step back in time in the ancient kingdom of Sukhothai and Ayutthaya and take in the lush scenery of Northern Thailand. Complete your journey in awe at an elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai.
Duration : 15 Days
Destination : Thailand / Vietnam
Start/Ends in : Bangkok / Ho Chi Minh City
Group Size : 13-35 People
Age Req. : 18+
Trip Theme : In-Depth Explorer,Overland
Hotels : 5 & 4 Star
Departs : All Year Round
Why you will love this tour
- * Hit all the unmissable highlights of Vietnam and Thailand throughout this 15-day adventure through lively cities, floating villages, lush countryside towns, and ancient wonders of the world.
- * Stay in carefully selected hotels with all breakfasts, 4 lunches and 1 dinner included. Plus, enjoy two included domestic flights to save on travel time in Vietnam.
- * Follow your local guide on an included city tour to the highlights of Hanoi, Hue, Ho Chi Minh, Bangkok, Ayutthaya, Sukhothai, Chiang Rai and more.
- * Spend a day cruising along the lush green wetlands and floating villages of the Mekong Delta! Keep an eye out for some tasty local dishes sold by the smiley locals.
- * Learn of war history, historic dynasties, and captivating cultures as you explore small villages and ancient cities throughout Vietnam and Thailand.
- * Shape your South East Asian adventure with unforgettable optional extras including kayaking in Halong Bay, guided Hoi An tours on vintage Vespas, Vietnamese cooking classes, Cu Chi Tunnel tour, or visit the Gold Hand Bridge for epic panoramic views and photo opportunities!
- Prepare to be mesmerised as you end your tour feeding and bathing elephants at an elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai.
The group welcome meeting with your guide and other travelers is held around 18:30 at the hotel lobby on Day 1 of your tour unless otherwise notified.
The meeting point for the tour is :
Grand Mercure Atrium – 4 Star – Bangkok
Address: 1880 New Petchaburi Rd, Bang Kapi, Huai Khwang, Bangkok 10310, Thailand
Phone : +66 2 718 2000
Emergency Number: +44 (0) 208 099 75 36
Finishing Point :
The finishing point for the tour is :
Paragon Saigon Hotel – 4 Star – Ho Chi Minh City
Address: 22-24 Thi Sách, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh 70000, Vietnam
Phone : +84 90 986 06 98
Emergency Number: +44 (0) 208 099 75 36
Cham Museum: Dedicated to this period and the Champa existence which began predominantly in the coastal area. Housing the largest exhibition of Cham sculpture in the world.
Can Cau Saturday Market: One of the most fascinating open-air markets in Sapa, the market is located 20 km North of Bac Ha and just 7 km south of the Chinese border.
Cu Chi Tunnel: The Chu Chi Tunnels are part of a massive war museum in Ho Chi Minh. They offer a sneak-peek at the underground life of Vietnamese soldiers back in 1948.
Dog Island: Dog Island is close to the west of Dau Go Grotto and is one of 1969 islands in island complex, it is the symbol of peaceful sea and safety for sailing junks in the bay.
Dong Ba Bustling Market: The Dong Ba Market traces it provenance way back in Hue history. Historically, the market stood outside the Hue Citadel and was the largest commercial center.
Flag Tower: Flag tower is one of Hue monument complex. After being constructed under Emperor Gia Long’s reign. The flag tower consists of two parts including tower and the flag pole.
Ga Choi Island: Ga Choi Island (Fighting Cock Island), which is no doubt one of the most unique and popular features that has appeared as symbol of Halong Bay.
Golden Hand: Known as the Golden Bridge, it stands 1,400 m above sea level above the Ba Na hills, offering majestic panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.
Hanoi: Known for its centuries-old architecture and a rich culture. At its heart is the chaotic Old Quarter, where the narrow streets are roughly arranged by trade.
Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum: Discover the life and legacy of Ho Chi Minh in a vast complex that constitutes the famous One Pillar Pagoda, the Vietnam leader’s gardens and residence.
Hoi An: Ho An Ancient Town is and exceptionally well-preserved example of a South- East Asian trading port dating from te 15th to 19th century.
Imperial City of Hue: The ancient Hue was recognized by UNESCO as one of the World Heritage Sites. This city is the cradle of Vietnamese culture and used to be the national capital.
Marble mountain: The Marble Mountains are a cluster of five hills made from limestone and marble in Da Nang. It’s also a well-known pilgrimage site with peaks, caves, tunnels, and temples.
Ngoc Son Temple: The temple is dedicated to General Tran Hung Dao (who defeated the Mongols in the 13th century), La To (patron saint of physicians), and the scholar Van Xuong.
One Pillar Pagoda: Built of wood on a single stone pillar, the pagoda is designed to resemble a lotus blossom, the symbol of purity, rising out of a sea of sorrow.
Royal Tombs of Khai Dinh: The monument is a synthesis of Vietnamese and European elements. Most of the tomb’s grandiose exterior is covered in darkened weathered concrete.
Temple of Literature (Van Mieu): Having gone through several destruction and restorations, the Temple of Literature still retains its original features. Signifying a hallmark of education in ancient Vietnam and its great value to the Vietnamese people.
Thien Mu Pagoda: Thien Mu Pagoda (namely Heaven Fairy Lady Pagoda), also known as Linh Mu Pagoda, is one of the most fascinating and ancient pagoda in Hue city.
War Remnants Museum: This interesting and well-curated museum is a must-do for ant visitor to Saigon given the impact of the American War, as it is known in Vietnam.
Bangkok: Bangkok, Thailand’s famous capital, also knows as a large city with ornate shrines and vibrant street life. The boat-filled Chao Phraya River feeds it’s network of canals.
Kanchanaburi: Lying at the source of the Mae Klong River, the majestic bodies of water in Kanchanaburi are amongst the most spectacular defining characteristics of the town.
Ayutthaya: The history of Ayutthaya dates back to the supposed foundation in 1350, although some temples in the marvelous ancient city have been known to exist before then.
Lopburi: Lopburi is a province in the central region of Thailand. The province is divided into 11 administrative districts, and Mueang Lopburi District is the capital.
Phitsanulok: The ancient city of Phitsanulok has a long history dating back to the Khmer era, generally called “Muaeng Song Kwae” with reference to the two rivers passing through it.
Sukhothai: A town founded in the 13th century on the fringe of the Khmer Empire. The exact year is unknown, but according to the Fine Arts Office it was between 1238 and 1257.
Chiang Mai: Chiang Mai is home to hundreds of elaborate Buddhist temples, including the 14th-century Wat Phra Singh and 15th-century Wat Chedi Luang.
Chiang Rai: Chiang Rai is an idyllic town famous for its magnificently ornate White and Blue Temples. It also has a taste of indigenous culture with the cozy Akha Village.
Elephant EcoValley: That might happen to you, too! Experience elephants up-close while feeding and bathing them. Learn about herbal treatments and make their vitamin balls.
Please note that the itinerary may be subject to small changes depending on the conditions during the tour. Alternative accommodation of similar standards may be used depending on the group size and hotel availability.
Inclusions & Exclusions
The tour price covers the following services:
Accomodation : 4 Star Hotels, Traditional Junk Boat
Meals : 14 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 1 Dinner
Transportation : A/C coach or mini-bus, flights, speedy boat from Chau Doc to Phnom Penh
Guide : Services of experienced Travel Talk local guides licensed by the Ministry of Tourism
Sightseeing : Akha Village, Ayutthaya, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Elephant EcoValley, Kanchanaburi, Lopburi, Phayao Lake, Phitsanulok, River Kwai
River Kwai Bridge, Sukhothai, Sukhothai Archaeological Park, War Cemetery & Museum, Wat Doi Suthep, Wat Rong Khun, Wat Rong Suea Ten
What is NOT included in the tour price?
- Any flights not mentioned above
- Travel insurance
- Meals not stated above
- Items of a personal nature
- Tips & gestures
- Entrance fees to the sights and museums
- Optional activities
- Other services not stated in the itinerary
Hotels & Accommodation
Solo travellers will be roomed with another solo traveller of the same gender in a twin or triple room, or can upgrade to a solo room by paying the single supplement. You may choose the solo room option when booking online or contact us to arrange a private room. Your tour leader will allocate rooms upon arrival at the starting hotel in accordance with the rooming lists, last minute changes may not be guaranteed.
Thien Thai Hotel – HANOI – 4 STAR
Thien Thai Hotel offers luxurious and modern accommodation in Hanoi’s Old Town and a short 15-minute walk from Hanoi Old City Gate and Hoan Kiem Lake.
TRADITIONAL JUNK – HALONG BAY – SUPERIOR JUNK
Sleep on board a traditional-style boat and set sail through hundreds of limestone islands that rise dramatically from the emerald waters of the bay.
Royal Riverside Hotel – HOI AN – 4 STAR
Located on the bank of the romantic Thu Bon River, Royal Riverside Hoi An Hotel is a short walk from Hoi An’s ancient town and offers elegant rooms with river view.
Moonlight Hotel- HUE- 4 STAR
Moonlight Hotel features a panoramic picture of Hue City, Perfume River, Trang Tien bridge and Hue citadel.The hotel offers a SPA center & indoor pool.
Paragon Saigon Hotel – Ho Chi Minh – 4 STAR
Enjoying a prime location in the heart of the vibrant Ho Chi Minh City, Paragon Saigon Hotel features modern rooms & a rooftop pool and leads the way in imaginative and creative interior design.
Centara Riverside Hotel – CHIANG MAI – 4 STAR
Discover Thailand’s breath-taking north at Centara Riverside Hotel, where the warmth of local traditions combines with quality. The hotel is situated in the heart of the city, only a few steps from Ping River.
LALUNA HOTEL RESORT – CHIANG RAI – 4 STAR
Laluna stands apart from the crowd with a unique feel. A collection of 79 spacious bungalows hidden away from the main road and nestled within a tropical paradise.
CLASSY HOTEL – BATTAMBURG – 4 STAR
Set across the river from Downtown, this relaxed hotel features an outdoor swimming pool, an in-house restaurant, and sensational views over the Sangker River.
PATTARA RESORT & SPA – PHITSANULOK – 4 STAR
Pattara Resort and Spa is the first and only resort in the center of Phitsanulok. It’s rooms are surrounded by nature in a private atmosphere. Every room can access to the infinite swimming pool.
FELIX RIVER KWAI RESORT – KANCHANABURI – 4 STAR
Felix River Kwai is the legendary riverside garden retreat of Kanchanaburi, built with local hard redwoods, mountainous rocks and terracotta tiles sealed to create a comfortable homey ambience.
Grand Mercure Bangkok Atrium – BANGKOK – 4 STAR
Grand Mercure Atrium is located in the heart of dazzling Bangkok. The hotel is conveniently situated and at the same time, offers serenity with its outdoor pool & weel-being center.
Essential Information: Thailand
Passport & Visas
Visas to enter Vietnam are compulsory for most tourists. An eVisa is available to many nationalities. Processing times and fees vary per application location, nationality and travelling dates. eVisas are typically issued for a maximum of 30 days, single entry, and cost 25 USD.
Further to this, 24 nationalities are not required a visa for touristic visits up to 15 days, which include United Kingdom and EU passport holders.
Passport validity entry requirements: Travellers entering Vietnam must carry a passport or travel document with a minimum of 6 months validity remaining.
The travellers are also required to keep their passport copies with them while entering Vietnam.
If you are a citizen of the following countries, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States, you are exempt from a tourist visa and can stay in Thailand for up to 30 days without the need to acquire a tourist visa. All travelers to Thailand must hold a Passport or travel document with a validity not less than 6 months. We recommend checking the legal requirements from https://www.thaiembassy.com/thailand-visa/thailand-tourist-visa
This information is provided as guidance, we strongly advise that you check with the consulate or embassy as this information can change at any time and with little notice. It is your responsibility to make sure that all the required travel documents are ready when travelling.
We are closely monitoring the latest travel updates to Thailand and Vietnam, and following the advice of the UK Foreign Office (FCDO). For the latest travel advice from the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, please visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/thailand and https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/vietnam
We recommend all travellers to check their Government National Travel Advisory prior to their departure:
Australia – https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/
Canada – https://travel.gc.ca/
New Zealand – https://www.safetravel.govt.nz/
USA – https://travel.state.gov/
All passengers travelling with Travel Talk are required to have personal travel insurance before participating in any of our tours. Your guide will collect your travel insurance details on the first day of your trip. It is your responsibility to make sure you have an adequate and suitable travel insurance for you in place, you may read more at https://www.traveltalktours.com/travel-insurance
Health & Safety
The health and safety of our passengers, staff and communities visited is of utmost priority. As we monitor and comply with the official advice from the UK Foreign Office, as well as World Health Organization and government authorities regularly, we have implemented several policies and precautions on our tours for your wellbeing. You may find our Safe Travels Protocols at https://www.traveltalktours.com/safe-travels
Travel Talk Adventures has received the Safe Travels stamp by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), which allows travellers to recognise companies around the world that have adopted health and hygiene global standardised protocols – so consumers canexperience ‘Safe Travels’.
Please make sure to regularly check your Government’s travel advice before travelling and be well-informed of any requirements. Your tour guide will also notify you of the regulations and protocols to follow throughout your trip with us.
Please note that if any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary or possess a potential risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, we reserve the right to remove them from all or part of a trip.
Please consult with your doctor for the latest medical travel information and any vaccinations you may need. We recommend that you bring any personal medical requirements and medications with you as these may be difficult to obtain while on tour.
The best time to visit Thailand is during the dry season between November and April. The weather is warm, and the days are filled with sunlight around this time, offering quality time in the country’s heartland. Thailand experiences its busiest and liveliest time from January to March, hosting numerous cultural events and exciting activities. In the rainy season from May to October, nature is at its finest. The inland forests flourish, and the rivers are majestic, creating the most spectacular landscapes for photography enthusiasts. It is also less busy in popular attractions such as Sukhotai and Lopburi. May to October offers the best time to visit Thailand to experience its cultural jewels. For more, check out our Thailand weather guide.
The weather across Vietnam varies significantly from North to South, making it a year-round destination for avid travelers. In Northern Vietnam, the typically hot and humid summer months fall between May and August. Meanwhile, central Vietnam experiences extended summers from January until August, and South
Vietnam is known for its year-round pleasant temperatures. March to May (Spring) and September to November (Autumn) are considered the best months to visit Vietnam in its entirety due to minimal rainfall and moderate temperatures. If visiting Halong Bay and Sapa in Vietnam’s north – consider traveling between Spring and Autumn to ensure the most picturesque weather conditions with minimal rainfall. For more, check out our Vietnam weather guide.
The official currency of Vietnam is the Vietnamese Dong (VND). The numerous denominations of VND can be confusing for foreigners, so it is worth noting that 25,000 VND converts to approximately 1 USD. Credit and debit cards are accepted at major hotels and tourist attractions across Vietnam but are not accepted for small payments such as snacks. Travel Talk recommends carrying VND cash to cover daily expenses. ATMs are quite common across Vietnam and US dollars can also be used to pay for hotels, restaurants, and some other services in major cities.
The official currency of Thailand is the Thai Baht (THB) and 1 USD converts to approximately 36THB. Credit and debit cards are accepted at ATMs across Thailand. There is no need to dispense large quantities of THB prior to arrival in Thailand. Most travellers never require more than 20THB worth of Thai Baht on them at any one time. USD cash is also widely accepted across Thailand; however change is often given in THB. Many businesses will not accept notes larger than 20USD, so we recommend carrying small denominations of both THB and USD. Credit and Debit cards can also be used to pay for accommodation or more expensive services in Thailand’s major cities, however cash remains king. We recommend you do not exchange bulk sums of money at the airport, as the exchange rates are usually more favourable in the major cities. Your tour leader will be happy to help if you need any assistance.
Tipping is not customary in Thailand but is very much appreciated, a small tip can equate to a large portion of the daily wage for service staff. Rounding your bill to the nearest 1 USD equivalent is a small gesture that is greatly appreciated nationwide for good service. You may also consider tipping your leader and driver for outstanding service at the end of your trip.
Eating & Drinking
Vietnamese cuisine is distinct and unforgettable, made famous for its use of tangy herbs and zesty flavours. Traditionally, Vietnamese cuisine is boiled and steamed, rather than stir-fried like Thai and Chinese. Inexpensive food markets, street vendors and casual restaurants line almost every corner of Vietnam’s major cities and small towns – making it extremely easy to find these popular meals and more. Check out our Vietnam food guide for more.
Goi Cuon: Translucent spring rolls packed with greens, coriander and minced pork or shrimp. These traditional spring rolls are served as a starter in most Vietnamese restaurants.
Banh Mi: Known as Vietnam’s most popular street food, Banh Mi is a unique French-Vietnamese sandwich that consists of a toasted baguette with pickled vegetables, pate, butter, soy sauce, cilantro and chillies.
Pho: Considered Vietnam’s signature dish, Pho is comprised of rice noodles in a flavourful soup with meat and various greens, plus a side of nuoc cham, or chilli sauce. A basic bowl is often topped with bean sprouts, lime wedges, fresh herbs, mint, cilantro and onions. The dish is commonly eaten at breakfast by the locals.
Banh Xeo: Like a crepe or pancake, Banh Xeo is made of rice flour, coconut milk and turmeric. The pancake batter is then filled with vermicelli noodles, chicken, pork or beef slices, shrimps, sliced onions, beansprouts, and mushrooms. The sizzling pancake is sold at local food markets and is dipped in peanut sauce.
Bun Cha: Traditional to Hanoi, Bun Cha consists of grilled pork belly, vermicelli noodles, salad and herbs with a side of chilli fish sauce.
Egg Coffee: Unique to Hanoi, Egg coffee is a sweet and delicious beverage made from a coffee base with frothy egg yolk and condensed milk.
Com Tam: Commonly referred to as Broken Rice, Com Tam is a simple but tasty dish of grilled meat, fried egg, salad and pickles. The broken rice element is actually broken grains of rice left over from traditional drying and milling processes. It’s eaten by locals at any time of the day and is a very inexpensive meal costing approximately 1USD.
Thai food is one of the lightest among Southeast Asian cuisines. It makes use of various local ingredients and aims for a harmonious finish. Spices and herbs consist a pivotal part of Thai culinary arts, giving each dish a distinctive aromatic edge. It carries traces from Chinese cuisine, especially in the street food scene, with deep-fries and stir-fries among the most popular snacks. You will love the experience of browsing the food stalls for different flavors and dining multi-course at Thai restaurants. With a large number of regional variations and historical influences, Thai food may be difficult to explore. Check out our Thailand food guide for more.
Guay Teow: It is the classic broth filled with rice or egg noodles and either pork, beef, or chicken. Sadly, vegetarian versions are rare, but you can always ask.
Tom Yum Goong: Tom Yum is famous for its intense spice content, generally featuring lemongrass, galangal, and chili peppers. Lime juice and kaffir lime leaves give the dish a refreshing aroma.
Pad Thai: Pad Thai is fried noodles usually made with chicken or shrimp and seasoned with peanuts, bean sprouts, sesame, and sweet and sour sauces. You will mostly see it in street food stalls.
Thai Roti: Thai people replace waffles and pancakes with Thai Roti. It is a greasy and mouthwatering sweet dough cooked in street grills at almost every corner in Thailand. It is the signature dessert dish and a favorite quick bite for locals and travelers.
Essentials to Bring & Internet
-Face mask/cover and hand sanitiser enough for your personal use throughout the trip – See more at https://www.traveltalktours.com/safe-travels/
-Travel Documents: Passport, Visa (if required), flight or transport ticket (and photocopies)
-Travel Talk Tour Voucher (printed or digital)Travel Insurance Policy (and photocopy)
-Personal medical kit and medicine
-Money (cash, credit card, travellers’ cheques)
-Reusable water bottle
-Ear plugs and eye mask
-Sun protection – hat, sunglasses, sunscreen
-Comfortable, closed walking shoes
-Wind/water proof jacket
-Warm clothes, hat, and gloves for cold weather
-Sandals, swimwear, shorts for warm weather
Many cafes, hotels and restaurants in cities of Thailand provide free Wi-Fi, but the connection may be spotty or slow. If you wish to use your own 3G/4G Data, be sure to enable data roaming on your mobile. Purchasing a SIM card for the duration of your tour may be a cost-effective alternative. Make sure that your phone is unlocked before you leave home so a local SIM will be compatible. Your local guide will be able to provide advice on where to purchase data SIMs in Thailand.
Etiquette and How to Dress
When travelling abroad it is important to be aware of the cultural etiquette of the destinations you will be visiting. If planning to visit religious or UNESCO World Heritage Listed sites in Thailand and Vietnam, it is essential to remember shorts and skirts above the knee as well as shirts that show bare shoulders are not allowed.
Visitors must dress modestly with long shorts or a long skirt and cover their shoulders and chest. Monks are respected in Thailand and if you wish to take a photograph of a Monk, it is respectful to ask their permission first. Women should not stand or sit too close to Monks, as Monks are forbidden from touching a woman, even for a handshake. While Thai and Vietnamese people are warm, friendly, and patient – following these simple rules on etiquette will ensure your experience in Thailand and Vietnam is met with authentic and pleasant experiences with all the locals.
We have many solo travellers joining our tours. Solo travellers will be roomed with another traveller of the same gender. If you would like a private solo room, please contact us. You may see out solo travels page for more details.
Rules to Follow
We are committed to ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone. We do not tolerate any form of violence (physical or verbal), bullying or harassment involving customers, partners, Travel Talk staff or locals. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a passenger are forbidden.
We will not tolerate any illegal activity, including but not limited to: use and possession of illegal drugs, trespassing, and disrupting public order. If you consume alcohol, please ensure that you drink responsibly and follow the local laws and regulations.
You must follow the advice of your tour leader and local officials regarding health and safety measures. We operate all tours under Safe Travels protocols for the wellbeing of our passengers, staff and communities visited. Please ensure that you have read the https://www.traveltalktours.com/safe-travels/ and are fully prepared for your trip.
If someone is acting inappropriately regarding these matters, please notify your tour leader immediately or contact us on the emergency contact number provided below.
Your tour leader has the right to remove from the group anyone not abiding by these rules, with no right of compensation or refund. See more at https://www.traveltalktours.com/booking-terms/
Please remember that our travellers come from different parts of the world and will have various needs and preferences. Be understanding and patient with your fellow travellers, and always strive to be on time.
We believe that travel is a force for good and show our support through various initiatives and charity organizations, as well as keeping the principals of responsible and sustainable travel at the core of our ethos. These values are engrained in our business culture and the design of our trips just the same. Together with you, we strive to make a positive impact on local people and economies, respecting the local culture, environment, social fabric and customs; encouraging respectful and meaningful cross-cultural exchange. Read more at https://www.traveltalktours.com/responsible-travel/