Best of Thailand & Vietnam Trip Notes

Trip Overview

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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.

Arrival Details

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.

Meeting Point:

The meeting point for the tour is :

Furama Xclusive Sathorn – 4 Star – Bangkok

Address: 59 Si Lom 3, Silom, Bang Rak, Bangkok 10500, Thailand

Phone : +66 2 266 8030

Emergency Number: +44 (0) 208 099 75 36

Finishing Point :

The finishing point for the tour is :

Alagon Saigon Hotel – 4 Star – Ho Chi Minh City

Address: 291 Lý Tự Trọng, Phường Bến Thành, Quận 1, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam

Phone : +84 28 3828 2888

Emergency Number: +44 (0) 208 099 75 36

Highlights

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.

Itinerary

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.

Welcome to Thailand! Freshen up and meet in the hotel lobby around 6:00pm for an informal meeting with your guide and other tour members. Afterwards you have free time to start exploring vibrant Bangkok or go out for an optional group dinner. Take a stroll down the iconic Khao San Road and explore the bustling night markets, live music bars and restaurants as you wish.

Accommodation : Furama Xclusive Sathorn – 4 Star

Optional Activities :  Group Dinner

Fill up on an included breakfast at the hotel before a full day exploring Bangkok on an included City Tour. Follow your local guide through the chaotic streets and quaint back alleys of Bangkok and visit the city’s two unmissable highlights. Wander through China Town to the banks of the Chao Phraya River and visit Wat Pho to see the famous 46-meter-long reclining Buddha covered in gold leaf! Continue to the Grand Palace just nearby, the perfect example of an ancient Siamese court, to witness the magical atmosphere. You may get a chance to visit the Temple of Emerald Buddha, Wat Pra Kaew, located within the palace compound. There is a strict dress code at the Grand Palace so be sure to cover your shoulders and knees with loose-fitting such as long pants and shirts. Travel on the Chao Phraya River (The River of Kings) and on through the Klongs (canals) of Thonburi. You will have the chance to observe and photograph the serene family homes and temples along the waterways, which gave the city the name “Venice of the East”. You will also pay a visit to one of the most photographed sights in Bangkok, Wat Arun. The majestic shrine has a pagoda as high as 76m and is decorated with glazed ceramic pieces that reflect the rising sun, giving the temple its name. After a big day exploring Bangkok, head back to the hotel to enjoy the afternoon at your own leisure.

Accommodation : Furama Xclusive Sathorn – 4 Star

Meals Included : Breakfast

Included Activities : Bangkok City Tour

Entrance Fees :

Wat Pho – 200 THB

Wat Pra Kaew & Grand Palace – 500 THB

Wat Arun – 100 THB

Depart Bangkok on an air-conditioned coach by early in the morning as we make our way to Kanchanaburi. Famously known for the bridge over the Kwai River, it is a significant scene of World War II and Thailand’s somber war history. Start discovring the area with a visit to the War Cemetery and the War Museum, dedicated to the prisoners who lost their lives during the construction of the bridge. Hop on a boat trip on River Kwai towards the famous bridge, where you can cross it on foot and take walk around the site. Our next stop will be the unusual railway section, “Hellfire Pass”, a pass built in record time by allied prisoners of war between 1942 and 1943. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before transferring to the hotel and free time to continue your discovery on your own terms.

Accommodation : Felix River Kwai Resort – 4 Star

Meals Included : Breakfast

Included Activities :

War Cemetery & Museum

Boat tour on River Kwai

River Kwai Bridge Visit

Entrance Fees: Thailand-Burma Railway Museum – 150 THB

Farewell Kanchanaburi for the historic city of Ayutthaya! Known as Thailand’s hidden archaeological gem, this city is teeming with Buddhist temples, monasteries and ancient statutes that cannot be missed. Follow your guide on a walking tour through the UNESCO World Heritage-listed site that dates back to 1350, which was once the capital of the ancient Siamese Kingdom and considered the biggest city in the world! Explore the magnificent royal monastery of Wat Yai Chai Mongkol, Wat Mahathat and three ancient pagodas, Wat Phra Sri Sanphet. Next, we will ride to the city of Ang Thong to visit the incredible Wat Muang temple, famous for housing the largest seated Buddha figure in Thailand, and ninth largest in the world, at almost 100 meters high. After enjoying a local lunch, we make our way to the city of Phitsanulok, located at the heart of Thailand and considered one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage centers in the country. During the journey, witness the change in the landscape as it turns greener and lusher into a jungle-like flora. Finishing the day with a full camera roll and plenty of knowledge from your local guide, arrive at your 4-star hotel for some leisure time.

Accommodation : Pattara Resort & Spa – 4 Star

Meals Included : Breakfast

Included Activities : Ayutthaya Walking Tour

Entrance Fees :

Wat Mahathat – 50 THB

Wat Phra Sri Sanphet – 50 THB

Wat Yai Chai Mongkol – 20 THB

For the early risers, we wake up early today to visit the hotel’s surroundings to make an offering to the monks, and experience one of the most emblematic aspects of Thai culture up close. After breakfast, we ride to Sukhotai, the historical heartland of Thailand. This impressive UNESCO World Heritage City was the cradle of Thai civilisation and home to the Sukhothai Kingdom from 1238 to 1438. Follow your local guide on a walking tour through the Sukhothai Historical Park to explore the ancient temples, impressive ruins and the giant Wat Sri Chum Buddha statue in a scenic park setting. Then, grab a window seat as we continue the journey towards Chiang Rai in the Lampang province. En route, we will have lunch and rest along the shores of the spectacular Phayao Lake. Arriving in Chiang Rai in the late afternoon, enjoy your free time to rest, swim in the hotel pool or visit the city’s night market.

Accommodation : Laluna Hotel and Resort – 4 Star

Meals Included : Breakfast

Included Activities :

Sukhothai Archaelogical Park Visit

Phayao Lake Visit

Entrance Fees :

Sukhothai Historical Park – 100 THB

Ever ridden on a Bamboo Train before? All aboard as we take an 8km journey through the scenic countryside and rice fields of Battambang. This Bamboo Train was set up by villagers to facilitate the transportation of goods and people. It’s basic but effective with a single bamboo platform, 4 wheels, and a small motor. Then, get your hiking shoes on and camera ready for a visit to the 11th-century Angkorian temple of Phnom Banan. The 350+ step climb is well worth it, with peaceful views across the countryside waiting at the top! Soak up these picture-perfect scenes. In the afternoon, we’ll leave Battambang and drive towards Siem Reap. Stopping at Puok District to visit the National Silk Centre, a fascinating way to learn about Cambodian silk. Here we will spend some time learning about the process of creating silk, harvesting mulberry, and the life cycle of the silkworm. Tonight we recommend a full night’s rest, before the long-awaited visit to the world-famous Angkor Wat temples tomorrow!

Accommodation : Mövenpick Suriwongse Hotel Chiang Mai – 4 Star

Meals Included : Breakfast

Included Activities :

Visit Wat Rong Suea Ten (Blue Temple)

Visit Akha Village

Visit Wat Rong Khun (White Temple)

Entrance Fees :

Akha Hilltribe Village – 500 THB

Wat Rong Kun (White Temple) – 100 THB

Today, we depart for a half-day excursion to the Elephant EcoValley for many exciting and animal friendly activities. Besides getting the best insight about these fascinating creatures, you will get to: Harvest grass/vegetation for elephant snacks along the way; hike on foot to Upper EcoValley with the elephants; plant a banana tree or herbs; make herb ‘n’ fruit nutritional vitamin balls; feed the vitamin balls to the elephants (They love them!); share a mud bath with your new buddies (Watch or wash ’em yourself!); shower outdoors overlooking a mountain stream!

After returning to Chiang Mai in the afternoon, go up to the well-known mountain temple of Wat Doi Suthep, the best spot to appreciate the city in all its splendor. At night, enjoy your personal time or walk through the famous night market to soak in the vibrant atmosphere.

Accommodation : Mövenpick Suriwongse Hotel Chiang Mai – 4 Star

Meals Included : Breakfast

Included Activities :

Half-day Excursion to Elephant EcoValley

Visit to Wat Doi Suthep

Entrance Fees :

Elephant EcoValley – 2,075 THB

Wat Doi Suthep – 50 THB

After breakfast at the hotel, discover Chiang Mai freely or rest by the pool side until your transfer to the airport for a short flight to Hanoi.

Accommodation : Bonne Nuit Hotel – 4 Star

Included Meals : Breakfast

Enjoy a full day in Hanoi to explore the streets swarmed with buzzing motorbikes, delicate scents, and delicious street food. Be sure to try a traditional Vietnamese coffee and wander the Old Quarter for an epic fusion of French, Chinese, and Vietnamese architecture. Then, meet up with the tour group at 1.00pm for a half-day guided city tour! You’ll visit President Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum, residence, and One Pillar Pagoda. Then, visit the breathtaking Temple of Literature and surrounding gardens, built as a university in 1080, and dedicated to Confucious. Finish the guided city tour with a walk around the famous Hoan Kiem Lake to take in the peace and quiet of Ngoc Son Temple, a pagoda sitting on a small island in the center of the lake! Wrap up your last night in Hanoi exploring the streets or join an optional Hanoi street food-by-night walking tour.

Accommodation : Bonne Nuit Hotel – 4 Star

Meals Included : Breakfast

Included Activities : Hanoi City Tour

Optional Activities : Hanoi street food by night (walking tour) – 25 USD

Entrance Fees :

President Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum and residence – 4 USD

Temple of Literature – 1.50 USD

Ngoc Son Temple – 1.50 USD

Today you’ll farewell the capital and head towards the dreamy, UNESCO World Heritage-listed region of Halong Bay! On the way, you’ll pass lush paddy fields by the Red River Delta before arriving at Tuan Chau wharf by midday. Then it’s all aboard a traditional Junk Boat for the true Halong Bay experience. Kick back and soak in the serenity on board as you drift past the abundance of limestone islands with lunch served at 1.00pm. In the afternoon, stop to visit some of the islands, explore the intricate cave systems on foot, or join the optional Kayaking activity. Then it’s back on board to savor sunset moments over the picturesque backdrop before dinner is served at 7.00 pm. Spend the evening relaxing on board, chatting at the bar, or trying your luck at squid fishing off the Junk Boat.

Accommodation : Traditional Junk Boat

Meals Included : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Included Activities : Halong Bay Cruise

Optional Activities : Kayaking – 10 USD

Morning views don’t get much better than this! Coffee and tea will be served from 7.00am, but take it slow as you enjoy the leisurely vibes from the Junk Boat deck. Snap some final pics of the dreamy islands of Halong Bay, including Dinh Huong Island, Ga Choi Island and Sail Island. Check out is at 9.00am and Brunch will be served by 9.30am as you cruise back to the pier and say farewell to Halong Bay and your incredible Junk Boat Crew! This afternoon we’ll make our way to Danang via domestic flight, then transfer to our hotel in Hoi An – one of Vietnam’s most beautiful cities!

Accommodation : Vinh Hung Riverside Resort – 4 Star

Meals Included : Breakfast, Lunch

Included Activities : Halong Bay Cruise

Good morning from Hoi An! In centuries gone by, Hoi An was once a bustling port for a myriad of various traders. Today, it is a delightful riverside town with tranquillity and charm that attracts visitors far and wide. Get your bearings with a guided tour through the Old Quarter and fall in love with the Japanese Covered Bridge, visit a historic trader’s home, check out the French Colonial architecture and Chinese Assembly Hall. In the afternoon enjoy free time to visit one of Vietnam’s famous tailors for custom-made clothing or hire a bicycle and head to An Bang beach for seaside vibes and fresh seafood. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, join an optional city and street food tour on Vespa, take a guided countryside bike tour or put your cooking skills to the test with a Vietnamese cooking class!

Accommodation : Vinh Hung Riverside Resort – 4 Star

Meals Included : Breakfast

Included Activities : Hoi An Walking Tour

Optional Activities :

City tour and street food by Vintage Vespa – 60 USD

Countryside tour by bike – 20 USD

Cooking class – 30 USD

Entrance Fees : Hoi An ancient town – 8 USD

Free time in the morning to catch some final sights in Hoi An, pick up your tailor-made clothing or wander the boutique stores. In the afternoon, travel from Hoi An to visit the Marble Mountains and Cham Museum. Don’t miss out on the optional visit to the Golden Hand Bridge. Standing 1,400m above sea level the gold-coloured footbridge held aloft by two giant stone hands offers majestic panoramic views over the surrounding countryside. Then, hit the road and take in the scenic views of Hai Van Pass en route to Hue. There’ll be free time in the afternoon to explore the beautifully decorated pavilions and lotus flower ponds at your own pace. We recommend hopping on a Cyclo ride to see the city from a new and exciting angle in your own time.

Accommodation : Muong Thanh Luxury Hotel – 4 Star

Meals Included : Breakfast

Entrance Fees :

Marble Mountain – 2 USD

Cham Museum – 2 USD

Optional Activities :

Golden Hand Bridge tour – 60 USD

Roundtrip cable car & private transfer – 35 USD

Although many of the finest buildings of Hue (pronounced ‘hway’) were devastatingly destroyed during the American War, the historic UNESCO World Heritage-listed city still resonates with the glories of imperial Vietnam. Today we’ll spend a full day exploring Hue on a guided city tour from 8.00am. You’ll visit the Old Imperial City, Flag Tower, Thien Mu Pagoda, Dong Ba market and Royal Tombs of Khai Dinh. Have your camera ready for some of the most beautiful architecture you’ll see in all of Vietnam! In the afternoon, take a domestic flight to Ho Chi Min and rest up for a big day to come.

Accommodation : Alagon Saigon Hotel – 4 Star

Meals Included : Breakfast

Included Activities :

Hue City Tour

Entrance Fees :

Imperial Citadel – 9 USD

Royal Tombs of Khai Dinh – 7 USD

After breakfast at the hotel, our trip will end in Ho Chin Minh City as we say goodbye to our new travel mates and check out of the hotel by 11.00 am.

Meals Included : Breakfast

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.

BONNE NUIT HOTEL – HANOI – 4 STAR

Bonne Nuit 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.

VINH HUNG RIVERSIDE – HOIAN – 4 STAR

Located on the bank of the romantic Thu Bon River, Vinh Hung Riverside Resort is a short walk from Hoi An’s ancient town and offers elegant rooms with river view

MUONG THANH HOTEL- HUE- 4 STAR

Muong Thanh Hotels features a panoramic picture of Hue City, Perfume River, Trang Tien bridge and Hue citadel. This hotel has a Spa center.

ALAGON HOTEL – SAIGON – 4 STAR

Enjoying a prime locationin the heart of the vibrant Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1, Alagon Hotel&Spa features modern rooms and rooftop pool.

MOVENPICK SURIWONGSE – CHIANG MAI – 4 STAR

Discover Thailand’s breathtaking north at Mövenpick Suriwongse, where the warmth of local traditions combines with quality. It is situated in the heart of the city, a few steps from the famous Night Bazaar.

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.

FURAMAXCLUSIVE SATHORN – BANGKOK – 4 STAR

Furama Xclusive Sathorn, Bangkok is located in the heart of Silom. The hotel is conveniently situated and at the same time offers serenity with its location just off the main road.

Essential Information: Thailand

Passport & Visas

Visas to enter Vietnam are compulsory for most tourists including travellers from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. 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.

Travel Talk strongly recommends travellers obtain a tourist visa, where applicable, before arriving in Vietnam. For more information on Vietnam eVisas, please visit https://evisa.xuatnhapcanh.gov.vn/.

Passport validity entry requirements: Travellers entering Vietnam must also carry a passport or travel document with a minimum of 6 months validity remaining.

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.

Travel Advice

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/

Travel Insurance

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.

Weather

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.

Money Matters

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)

-Power Adapter

-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

Internet Access

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.

Solo Travellers

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.

Responsible Travel

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/

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Saturday: 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday: Closed
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