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Sail between the karst peaks - Trip for singles

Book From   € 1,099,-
GROUP SIZE: 6-24 | 20 DAYS


Here you can find the day-to-day description for Vietnam


There's plenty to do in this beautiful region. Select below or on the map opposite, the highlight you want to read more information about. Read through carefully and then go directly to the tour description.
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Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City

Discover the beautiful city, Ho Chi Minh City! |Vietnam

Whale Island

Hoi An

Hoi An

Discover the colourful city with a lot of Chinese architecture, Hoi An! |Vietnam

Bac Ha

Bac Ha

Experience the market in Bac Ha where several tribes meet to sell their goods. |Vietnam



Discover the vibrant Hanoi! |Vietnam

Lao Cai

Lao Cai

Go walking in Lao Cai and enjoy the green rice fields, colourful minorities and very friendly people. |Vietnam



Go on a hiking tour and admire the amazing views!|Vietnam

Halong Baai

Halong Baai

Discover the picturesque surroundings of Halong Bay! |Vietnam

Day to Day description

Transport Route Overnight stay
1 Ho Chi Minh City Ho Chi Minh City
2 Ho Chi Minh City/ Mekong delta excursion Ho Chi Minh City
3 Train Ho Chi Minh City/ Tay Ninh & Cu Chi excursion - Nha Trang Night train to Nha Trang
4 Boat, Bus Nha Trang - Whale Island Whale Island
5 Whale Island Whale Island
6 Boat, Bus Whale Island - Hoi An Hoi An
7 Hoi An Hoi An
8 Hoi An Hoi An
9 Bus Hoi An - Da Nang - Marble Mountains - Hué Hué
10 Train Hué - Hanoi Night train to Hanoi
11 Hanoi Hanoi
12 Boat, Bus Hanoi - Ha Long Bay Ha Long Bay
13 Boat, Bus, Train Ha Long Bay - Hanoi - Lao Cai Night train to Lao Cai
14 Bus Lao Cai - Can Cau (Saturday market) - Bac Ha Bac Ha
15 Bus Bac Ha (Sunday market) - Sapa Sapa
16 Sapa (optional hike) Sapa
17 Sapa (optional hike) Sapa
18 Bus Sapa - Lao Cai - Hanoi Hanoi
19 Hanoi Hanoi
20 Hanoi - End of tour End of tour


Day 1: Ho Chi Minh City

Welcome to Vietnam!

Your tour starts in Ho Chi Minh City, where you can use your hotel room from check in time (12.00 hrs at noon) on day 1. Your travel companions will also arrive this first day, the exact time will be depending on their flight schedule. You will meet your English speaking tour leader at 12.00 hrs noon on day 1 in the lobby of your hotel in Ho Chi Minh City.

Wander the busy streets of this metropolis for hours and you will still hardly scratch the surface as there is just so much to see. Ho Chi Minh City is steeped in history and offers an array of museums, pagodas, temples, colonial buildings and churches. Some interesting museums include the unique War Memorial Museum and the Vietnamese History Museum, both well worth a visit. The cities oldest pagoda ‘Giac Lam’ is a must-see and the bustling Chinese district of Cholon, the cities main trading centre is great for grabbing delicious food at a reasonable price.

Day 2: Ho Chi Minh City/ Mekong delta excursion

Free day in HCMC. Nature lovers can choose an optional excursion to the Mekong delta, which takes a full day. You drive to the town of Cai Be, where you board the boat for your cruise along the Mekong river to Vinh Long. Soon you will experience the delta, known as the "granary" of Vietnam. It is a diverse wetland area with rice fields, coconut and banana plantations.

During the cruise you get to see daily life on the river and a floating market. Taste tropical fruits in a local orchard and look around the small family businesses that exist there. For example, rice paper, popcorn, and coconut flavoured sweets are all produced in the region. Your lunch is served in a bonsai garden.

Day 3: Ho Chi Minh City/ Tay Ninh & Cu Chi excursion - Nha Trang

Free day. We recommend the optional trip to Tay Ninh and Cu Chi. Tay Ninh is the centre of the colourful Cao Dai religion and at midday you can witness the daily ceremony in the extravagant temple. After that we travel to the renowned Cu Chi tunnels. This impressive underground tunnel network was made by the Vietminh in the 1940s to resist the French colonists and Japanese occupation and was later used by Vietcong guerrillas for ambush attacks on the American troops during the Vietnam War.

How green can you go? TIP

At the end of the afternoon you will board the night train to Nha Trang (second class soft sleeper). The train also serves meals. On the evening menu is rice, vegetables and meat and in the morning steamed noodle soup or a sandwich. Food and drink is also for sale at the various stations. The trains run slowly, allowing you to enjoy the landscape.

Primate Rescue Center

The Primate Rescue Center in Cuc Phuong National Park southwest of Hanoi, is working on the conservation of endangered ape species and the protection of their habitat. They do this by forming stable populations in captivity and later returning them to the nature. Shoestring has adopted "Pia" (the ape pictured).

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Day 4: Nha Trang - Whale Island

After arriving in the morning you'll be picked up from the station and driven to Van Ninh, 60 km north of Nha Trang, where the boat leaves to Whale Island. After a short, 2-hour boat trip, you reach the idyllic Whale Island, like a fairy tale hideaway.

How green can you go? TIP

You'll spend two nights in simple bamboo huts with fan and private bathroom on this dream island with swaying palm trees, pristine coral reefs and a relaxed atmosphere. You'll feel just like Robinson Crusoe!

Please note: Availability of accommodation on Whale Island is limited. Therefore it might happen that the resort is fully booked. If this is the case, you will instead stay on the mainland in a place called Doc Let. Doc Let is set on a long stretch of white sandy beach.

Day 5: Whale Island

A free day in paradise! Why not take a dip in the sea after you wake up!? Today you can do what you want to. Snorkeling, diving, surfing, sailing, kayaking, anything. Or if you prefer, you can also read a good book in your hammock, relaxing at your own hut- the choice is yours.

Day 6: Whale Island - Hoi An

Take the boat back to the mainland and wave goodbye to your dream island. The bus awaits for a beautiful ride along the scenic coast towards Hoi An, formerly known as Faifo. Here we will stay for 3 nights.

Day 7: Hoi An

Hoi An is a town with traditional houses and is considered by many travelers as one of the most attractive and one of the most fun places to experience Vietnam. Visit the picturesque market there, with baskets full of colourful fish, shrimp, vegetables or fruit. Many old wooden houses and historic buildings are often witnesses of the past. Some of the old Chinese houses are open to visitors. The interior of these houses appear exactly the same as they did centuries ago. Even some old Chinese temples are still in use.

Day 8: Hoi An

Day at leisure. You can take a short boat trip on the river or go independently to one of the quiet beaches of Hoi An. You can also choose a tour in the beautiful surrounding area. It is also possible to visit the Cham ruins of My Son, another important cultural and historical part of the heritage of the country.

Day 9: Hoi An - Da Nang - Marble Mountains - Hué

Today we head north for a short trip (130 km, approx. 3 hours) to Hue, making a few stops. The first is at Da Nang, where you may opt to visit the Cham Museum. The museum has the largest collection of Cham sculptures anywhere with more than 300 of these 7th -15th century sandstone images.

You can also visit the famous Marble Mountains (and caves) and China Beach. During the Vietnam War the caves were a refuge for the Vietcong and the different images inside them bear witness to this.

After a stunning coastal drive, you arrive in the imperial city of Hue. The spatially designed French town with its buildings, broad avenues and the Perfume River, is very atmospheric. The river is the main landmark in Hue and translates as the "nice-smelling river". Make sure to check the vast Forbidden Purple City, one of the few grand buildings of Vietnam history.

Sustainable travel

As a responsible company our mission is to increase and improve sustainability in our business. Find out more about the measures that we currently take as well as our further plans to ensure we achieve our green ambitions. Read More

Day 10: Hué - Hanoi

Around the city of Hue, in the undulating landscape, are the imperial mausoleums. One of the most pleasant ways to visit mausoleums is by boat. You can take an optional boat trip on the Perfume River to the imperial tombs and pagodas just outside the city. The 21 meters high Thien Mu pagoda is located on the north bank of the river and has seven floors. It was built in 1844 and has long been the symbol of Vietnam. On each floor is another Buddha statue. Behind the pagoda tower is a beautiful temple.

At the end of the afternoon before departing by night train to Hanoi (soft sleeper second class, scheduled departure time is 16.50 hours, subject to change). The train carries the name 'reunification express',  and North and South Vietnam are in fact connected in this way!

Day 11: Hanoi

In the morning we arrive in the capital city of Hanoi. Filled with small shops, lively markets, lakes and cafes, Hanoi still retains some of its village atmosphere, despite having a population of millions. The avenues and streets lined by French villas still have a charming and unspoilt air and the residents of Hanoi are famed for their hospitality.

Day 12: Hanoi - Ha Long Bay

Early in the morning you will go by bus straight to the stunning natural beauty of Ha Long Bay (Bay of the descending dragon). We will stop for breakfast. The journey of 170 km takes about three hours to complete.

The vast area (over 1500 km ²) of Ha Long Bay has for centuries remained among the main attractions of Vietnam. And rightly so: the jagged limestone rocks seem to rise steeply from the waters of the Gulf of Tonkin and the 3,000 islands and coves, making this area unforgettable. You make a boat trip through this magical area and also sleep on the boat. During the boat trip you have 1x lunch, 1x dinner and 1x breakfast included.

Day 13: Ha Long Bay - Hanoi - Lao Cai

After breakfast sail back towards the mainland and enjoy the hundreds of islets, rocks, caves and hidden beaches along the way.

The bus will bring you into Hanoi and then in the evening you'll board the overnight train from Hanoi to Lao Cai (soft sleeper second class, scheduled departure time is 21.30 hours, subject to change).

Day 14: Lao Cai - Can Cau (Saturday market) - Bac Ha

Upon arrival in Lao Cai (scheduled arrival time is 06.00 hours, subject to change), first visit the Saturday market in Can Cau. Here you will have an initial meeting with some minorities of this region. Most people who walk around in this market are from the Hmong tribe, the most colorful are the Flower Hmong. They are identified by their beautiful skirts and live mainly in elevated locations. We have the time to observe the ins and outs of the market. It is a paradise for photographers and for those without a camera it is an experience. Everywhere there is something to see.

After visiting the market, you drive to the little-visited Bac Ha. Here, you can take a nice afternoon stroll to a Hmong village in the area, or visit the old house of the Hmong King. You stay in a home-stay, (in people's homes) in a village about 2 km from Bac Ha. Dinner and Breakfast are both included.

(Note: If the train to Lao Cai is seriously delayed then a visit to the morning market of Can Cau is not possible).

Day 15: Bac Ha (Sunday market) - Sapa

How green can you go? TIP

The most famous weekend market in Northern Vietnam takes place today and the many colourful tribes such as Flower Hmong, Tay and Nung come to Bac Ha to sell their produce.

After visiting the market you travel around 3 hours (90 km) further to Sapa (aka Sa Pa). After this beautiful drive, you are allowed the time to get acquainted with various colorful hill tribes such as the Red Zao and the Blue Hmong in Sapa area. The Black Hmong, Red Dao and Giay's come to Sapa to sell their wares there. The Hmong are selling their hats and the Dao, their costumes. The color-clad Red Dao live further from Sapa. Some travel more than 30 km from their remote villages to be here.

Day 16: Sapa (optional hike)

Sapa is a former French military outpost, set in a breathtaking valley close to the Chinese border where you have the day to explore. If you have opted for our hiking trip (must be pre-booked at time of booking your tour) then this would begin today.

How green can you go? TIP

Optional 2-day Hiking Trip: Highly recommended for hiking and/or nature enthusiasts, this trip takes place on days 16-17 of your tour. Accompanied by an experienced guide you will hike through a varied landscape of jungle and small fields and sleep in a tribal village. In the afternoon of the second day you will rejoin the rest of the group. Lunch and dinner on the first day, and breakfast and lunch on the second day are included in the price. The hike is recommended for people with a good fitness level. For further detail please check our single excursions under the 'Excursions' tab.

Day 17: Sapa (optional hike)

Free day in Sapa. The travelers who opted for the optional two-day trek will be walking for their second day.

Day 18: Sapa - Lao Cai - Hanoi

Today is a travel day as we drive by bus to Lao Cai before continuing back to the now familiar capital Hanoi, where we spend the last 2 nights (5-5.5 hrs).

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Day 19: Hanoi

Although Hanoi's oldest capital of Southeast Asia, most buildings are relatively new. There are some beautiful temples and pagodas. The market in the old town is very beautiful. On the market and the streets around it are many varieties of rice, tropical fruits, flowers, herbs, vegetables and handicrafts (baskets, bowls) for sale. Livestock is also displayed for the meals, such as dogs, parrots and snakes. For the early birds among us it is a must in the morning to walk toward Hoan Kiem Lake. The park is filled with the Vietnamese practicing badminton or tai chi and the nearby theatre has regular water puppetry performances.

Day 20: Hanoi - End of tour

The last day of your tour. We wish you a comfortable journey home and are sure you will take with you some wonderful memories of Vietnam.

Your personal ‘my.shoestring’ page on our website is the perfect way to make contact with other travellers before and after your trip. You can read and create journals from trips and upload your photos onto the photo gallery. Visit my shoestring today.

When booking your tour, please check to see whether you need any post-tour nights, bearing in mind that accommodation for the night of the final day of the tour (day 20) is not included.

Adjustments according to group size: For groups up-to and including 5 participants there are some adjustments concerning the tour leader and the transfers. There will not be one tour leader guiding you throughout the whole tour; you will be guided by an English speaking station guide in the South of Vietnam, another (station) guide in Central Vietnam and a third (station) guide in the North of Vietnam.

The transfers will also be arranged in a different way: For groups up to and including 5 participants you will be transferred in a mini bus (with a driver and a guide). For groups up to and including 5 participants the Halong Bay boat excursion will be join in (which means no private boat but shared with other travelers).

When there are at least 6 participants who have booked this tour to Vietnam, there will be one tour leader guiding you throughout the whole tour, transfers and excursions will be privately for you and the other participants of this tour.

It is possible that the group for a part of this trip is combined with the participants of our Vietnam in 2 weeks trip. Obviously, we ensure that the maximum of 24 participants is not exceeded. The local English-speaking tour guide(s) ensure(s) proper execution of the trip.
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