Join YPT as we cross the whole of Vietnam in search of traces of the latest history of the country, catching the train across the border to South West China!
On this tour, we are exploring the length and breadth of this country, from the impact of the Vietnam War to its nature and people, and one of the most delicious cuisines in the whole of Asia.
We start in Ho Chi Minh City – Saigon – where we check out the Cu Chi Tunnels and War Remnants Museum as well as life in general in this awesome city. We then head up the coast to Nha Trang and Hue to see more of Vietnam’s ancient history and local people, and we won’t pass the opportunity for a few drinks by the beach either!
Everyone knows the DMZ on the Korean peninsula, but we jump back in time and see what divided Vietnam until the unification of the country in 1979. And of course, we end in the capital Hanoi, visiting the mausoleum of Uncle Ho Chi Minh himself.
For those joining Group B, we take the train over the border to China into Guangxi province, heading to Yangshuo, home of cormorant fishing and awesome karst rock scenery so beautiful its even on the back of the 20 yuan note!
With time by the beach, exploring fishing markets and climbing towers of old civilizations, as well as doing our YPT thing and climbing a few tanks from more recent conflicts, this tour has it all for the budget traveller who wants to make the best out of Vietnam and South West China in a short time.
This tour is a part of our Ultimate Leaders adventure. Visit the Mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh, Mao Zedong, Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong-il and Lenin all in one go. Click here to learn more.
Arrive at your own leisure at Ho Chi Minh City – Saigon
Meet your YPT guide at our centrally located hotel at 2:00 pm
Head straight into history with a walk past South Vietnam’s Presidential Palace, now the Reunification Palace, to the War Remnants Museum, complete with scenes from the French occupation of Indochina, US military equipment from tanks to planes and vivid descriptions of the effects of Agent Orange and other leftovers from the war on Vietnam still today
Dinner of Vietnamese pho – rice noodles – and other dishes before we grab a cold Saigon beer, a plastic stool and sit on the street for some refreshment and people watching, before seeing where the night takes us!
Overnight in Saigon
Tuesday 15th October – Ho Chi Minh City
Head out after breakfast to the Cu Chi Tunnels, where we see and experience the tunnel warfare carried out by the Viet Cong against the US military in South Vietnam
Drive back into the city for some street food, we’re particularly fond of the famous banh mi thit pork sandwich!
Visit the Ho Chi Minh Museum
TRIP HIGHLIGHT Head to the old American Embassy and see if we can climb up to “that place” where the last evacuations happened!
Check out the war surplus market. YPT does love a good Soviet market but we’ll make do with looking for Vietnam War trinkets!
Gather supplies for the train and head for our farewell dinner in the notorious District 1 of Ho Chi Minh City – The original Saigon
Our first major train journey, the relatively short trip from Saigon to Nha Trang, in our 4 berth private cabins
Overnight on the HCMC – Nhra Trang train
Wednesday 16th October – Nha Trang
Morning arrival in Nha Trang – where we have early check-in into our hotel, so will have some time to relax and freshen up before heading out for the day.
Breakfast in the hotel before we go for a walk through the backstreets of Nha Trang – the best place to see the real city far from its beachfront – up to the Po Nagar Cham Towers, built in the Cham Civilisation between the 7th and 12th centuries and which is located on a hill with good views
Walk back through a traditional Vietnamese fishing village, and remind ourselves that fish definitely does smell like fish
After lunch walk past Nha Trang Cathedral and visit the Thanh Dien Khanh Fortress, an old citadel designed by a French officer in the late 18th century
Dinner and drinks — we might just head to Crazy Kim bar, because we like the place and the name!
Overnight in Nha Trang
Thursday 17th October – Nha Trang
After a relatively late rise, we will head out on a short drive to Bai Dai beach, getting away from the city and into one of the best coastal areas of Vietnam.
Stop on the way for a jungle walk and a dip in a waterfall pool
Swim in the sea or relax on the beach with a cocktail or two
Head back to Nha Trang, grab supplies and head for dinner by the sea, before heading up to pick up our bags and supplies
We are treated to another relaxing, and beautiful train journey with our overnight trip in private 4 berth cabins from Nha Trang to Hue
Drinks and overnight on the train to Hue
Friday 18th October – Hue
Morning arrival in Hue, the old imperial capital of Vietnam where we transfer to the Jade Hotel
After a bite to eat we head to Hue’s main attraction – the Imperial Citadel. It’s huge, and we’ll wander around the rooms and gardens for a few hours taking in different parts of ancient Vietnamese history
After lunch, we head out for a slice of more modern history, hiring motorbikes and heading to Phu Bai Airport, built and garrisoned by the Americans in this key part of former South Vietnam
Grab our motorbikes again for some countryside exploration. It just wouldn’t be Vietnam without motorbikes and rice paddies, and the countryside around Hue is some of the most beautiful in the country, and its people the most welcoming
Head back in Hue and go for dinner and drinks in this bustling Vietnamese town, starting of course and unavoidably at The DMZ Bar
Overnight in Hue
Saturday 19th October – The DMZ
TRIP HIGHLIGHT Early rise and drive out to the old Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) between North and South Vietnam, at the 17th parallel. The journey takes 2 hours, with us stopping at a war memorial on the way, as well as various other places.
Lunch on the way to the DMZ
Visit the Hien Luong Bridge that was the official border crossing for much of the war, with classic halfway point selfies a must.
Vinh Moc Tunnels and museum, the main part of the DMZ Tour
See Khe Sanh Combat Base, Camp Carroll, and The Rockpile, former US military bases and outposts
Before driving back to Hue, we stop for dinner at a quiet seaside village for fish BBQ, and an amazing sunset.
Stop back at the hotel for a freshen up and to pick up supplies for our last train journey.
Night train to Hanoi in our private 4 berth rooms. This truly is one of the most stunning train journeys you can take in Vietnam, as we witness the countryside roll into what is the bustling capital city of Hanoi
Overnight on the train
Sunday 20th October – Hanoi
Morning arrival in Hanoi
Transfer to hotel and a super quick transfer to the highlight of our trip to Vietnam, by joining the hordes of people that line up daily to see the father of the nation, Ho Chi Minh, lying in state. People still take this very seriously, and it is a big deal
Head straight to the Ho Chi Minh Museum for an in-depth look at his life
Lunch of pho
Visit the Museum of the Vietnamese Revolution, detailing history going right back to the struggle against the French
We head to Lenin Park, complete with statue, before some people-watching then go for dinner and drinks in the Old Quarter, our last Vietnamese night out!
Overnight in Hanoi
Monday 21st October – Hanoi
Free morning to sleep in or go out for some last-minute shopping in Vietnam
Lunch at a local restaurant
Head out to Hoa Lo Prison, otherwise known as the Hanoi Hilton, where the French imprisoned and executed Vietnamese revolutionaries during the colonial period, and in which the US POWs captured by the North Vietnamese were kept, including a certain John McCain
End of Group A
Those continuing on Group B get dinner and grab last minute supplies
Catch the 9:25 pm night train to Nanning, China, stopping and getting off at both borders
Overnight on train
Tuesday 22nd October – Nanning and Xingping
9:30 am arrival in Nanning where we head for a late breakfast/early lunch before heading to Nanning East Railway Station
12:48 pm train from Nanning East to Yangshuo Railway Station arriving at 4:24 pm
Yangshuo Railway Station is actually located in the picturesque town of Xingping, which is where the picture on the back of a 20 RMB note is from. We head directly to our hotel in the old town, before doing a short city tour, followed by dinner and drinks in this amazingly picturesque old town
Overnight in Xingping
Wednesday 23rd October – Yangshuo
Morning transfer from Xingping to Yangshuo
Here we head out on our Yangshuo Motorbike tour exploring the countryside and amazing karst geological scenery
Lunch of local Guangxi food
Carry on our motorbike tour, stop for beers by the river and spot cormorant fishermen or go for a swim yourself!
Head back to Yangshuo and go for dinner and drinks in this small but lively town
Overnight in Yangshuo
Thursday 24th October – End of tour
End of Group B, or morning transfer to Guilin for our flight to Beijing for those continuing on to the “Mao and Kim” portion of our Ultimate Leaders tour to Pyongyang. Click here for more information.