WHAT TO EXPECT
Vietnam is high on many people's bucket lists... and for good reason! The country's stunning landscapes, friendly locals, delicious cuisine, and unique culture make for an amazing experience you're unlikely to forget. On this trip, we start off in a smaller village where we'll learn about Vietnam and some of the local customs. From there, we'll head to the more remote parts of the country - Ninh Binh and Ha Long Bay - for a glimpse of local life as we take in the amazing natural landscapes. The trip ends in the bustling capital, Hanoi, a rich culture center filled with fantastic food, a buzzy social scene, and hundreds of boutique shops (perfect for souvenir shopping!).
From adventurous excursions to amazing food and immersion into an amazing culture - this trip has a little something for everyone and we can't wait to share this incredible country with you!
For the love of
All accommodations in centrally-located 4-star hotels (boutique when possible, shared twin/double room)
Flight from Hoi An to Hanoi
8 breakfasts, 1 brunch, 3 lunches, and 6 dinners with some drinks included
Rooftop welcome drinks
Walking tour of Hoi An
Bike tour & local farming experience
Countryside lunch + Tam Coc river float
Guided visit to Bich Dong Pagoda
Two night cruise excursion on the magical Ha Long Bay, including early morning Tai Chi, visit to an ancient cave, kayaking and more
Hanoi vespa food tour
Local guide on numerous days & tours
Trip Manager throughout
Flights (fly into Hoi An and out of Hanoi)
Mandatory trip insurance
Visa for Vietnam (budget approx. $25-$40)
Meals not mentioned (budget around $200)
Incidental Expenses (like tuk tuks and tips for locals - budget $100)
day by day
Day 1 - Hoi An
We begin our journey through Vietnam in this stunning village, consistently named one of Asia's most beautiful towns.
After you settle into our 4-star hotel, meet up with the group for rooftop drinks overlooking the town followed by a delicious modern, Vietnamese dinner. After that, take some time to wander the lantern-lit streets with your new travel crew.
Welcome to Vietnam.
Optional Airport Transfer (recommended)
*Itinerary is indicative for 2021and is subject to change
Day 2 - Hoi An
Like a local
Enjoy a quiet morning and plentiful breakfast before joining a local guided walking tour designed to give you an overview of Vietnamese history, culture, and cuisine to start off your trip.
After the walking tour, you'll have a some time to explore on your own before meeting up with the group for a leisurely bike ride to the beautiful countryside complete with stunning scenery, village paths, rice and paddy fields, with many photo opportunities and endless things to do and see. The views are superb and we're likely to have all the beautiful countryside to ourselves. (P.S. if you can't ride a bike, we can arrange a tuk tuk for you!)
While in the countryside, you'll have the opportunity to join a family for a unique farming experience that will give you a deeper look into local Vietnamese life. We’ll round the day with a cooking class to prepare our own authentic Vietnamese dish for dinner.
Day 3 - Hoi An
Wake up early and hit the road to catch a short flight to Hanoi (included), followed by a private transfer to Nihn Bihn, known for its gorgeous rock formations.
After lunch at a local restaurant, we'll explore an ancient local temple then continue to an area of limestone caves that stretch along the Ngo Dong river. We'll enjoy a serene two hour boat trip down the river to take in the stunning scenery of limestone mountains, rice paddies, and temples.
The rest of the evening is free for you to continue exploring.
Day 4 - Ninh Bihn
After a short flight to Hanoi airport (included), we'll have a private transfer to Nihn Bihn, known for its gorgeous rock formations.
After lunch at a local restaurant, we'll visit an area of limestone caves that stretches along the Ngo Dong river. We'll take a serene two hour boat trip down the river to take in the scenery of limestone mountains, rice paddies and temples.
After, we'll continue to Hoa Lu, the ancient capital of Vietnam in the 10th century, to visit the temple of King Dinh before enjoying a free evening.
Day 5 - Ha Long Bay
This morning, we'll get up bright and early to make our way to the coast. At 12pm, we'll board a beautiful boat to head off on a two day exploration of Ha Long Bay and its many hidden treasures.
After settling into your cabin and enjoying a chef prepared 3 course meal, you'll have the opportunity to either visit an ancient cave on one of the islands or go to a fishing village to learn about their traditional way of life.
That evening, enjoy cocktails on deck while watching the sunset among Ha Long Bay's otherworldly rock formations.
Day 6 - Ha Long Bay
Wake up early to start your day with a sunrise Tai Chi session on the top deck or sleep in and enjoy a leisurely breakfast on board.
Enjoy a 4-course lunch as we cruise through thousands of limestone islands & islets to find more secluded areas to either swim or kayak.
That evening, relax on the sundeck with a good book, play cards with your new friends, or chat with the friendly boat staff about their lives in Vietnam.
Day 7 - Hanoi
This morning you'll have one more opportunity for some sunrise Tai Chi before we de-board and make our way to the final leg of our trip - Hanoi!
We'll arrive in the early afternoon and you’ll have some free time to settle in or explore a bit on your own. Our hotel is in the middle of town with easy access to lively, local-filled shops, restaurants, and coffee shops!
At 6pm, hop on the back of a vespa for an exciting ride through Hanoi's different neighborhoods with stops at the most delicious hidden foodie spots in each. We'll end the night with cocktails at a Jazz club hidden behind the old opera!
Day 8 - Hanoi
This morning, you have the option to join a walking tour to learn more about Hanoi's fascinating history and culture. Settled during prehistoric times, Hanoi is known for its amazing cuisine, beautiful architecture, fun nightlife, beautiful handcrafts, as well as a multi-cultural community that's made up of Chinese, French and Russian influences.
The afternoon is open for you to wander on your own - we highly recommend wandering the old streets of the French Quarter before sitting down for a bowl of delicious pho like the locals.
That evening, we'll meet up for farewell drinks to watch the sun set over Hanoi before our farewell dinner. The rest of the evening is for you and your new travel crew to enjoy some Saturday night mischief in Vietnam's best nightlife city :)
Day 9 - Hanoi
UNTIL NEXT TIME!
Today is our last day. We'll enjoy one final breakfast with the group before heading our separate ways.
The hotel can store your bags if you have a later flight (which we recommend!) and want to do some more exploring on your own!
"Travel not to escape life, but so life doesn’t escape you."
Just for fun
Vietnam is home to 54 unique ethnic groups.
Motorbikes are the most common form of transport in Vietnam.
Cà phê trứng - or coffee prepared with egg yolk - is a popular way to enjoy coffee in Vietnam! And it's so deliciously creamy,"like a mini cup of tiramisu."
You will need a Tourist Visa to enter Vietnam. You can obtain a visa upon arrival by applying online prior to the trip. Processing time generally takes anywhere from 7-10 business days and will cost around $25-$40.
Keep an open mind that we are traveling to a developing country - we do our best to stick to the itinerary, but be flexible and aware that changes may occur.
We can accommodate dietary requirements, but we do need to know ahead of time. Severe nut allergies will be more difficult since nut oils are used frequently in the local food.
GOod to know
The national language is Vietnamese.
The national currency is the Vietnamese Dong.
Tipping is not customary in Vietnam but greatly appreciated.
The closest airport is Danang International Airport (DAD). The departure airport is Hanoi International (HAN).
Bottled water is recommended and is your best bet for staying healthy.
The weather can change drastically. Pack smart and be prepared for heat, humidity and rain!
Vietnam is a cash-based economy. Be prepared to use cash more than your credit cards.
We know how much you'll love the Vietnam trip...
but don't take our word for it! Check out some of our alumni reviews.
"Had the best experience on the Vietnam trip. I met so many new friends I would have never had the pleasure of coming across. Everybody was so different but our love of travel and openness made us instant friends. I’m looking forward to staying in touch with all.
Seth was an INCREDIBLE leader, always looking out for us all and his attention to everybody’s needs (all at the same time) was extremely impressive. Not to mention he was always super chill and having fun and bringing people together."
"I can’t say enough good things about my trip with FTLO to Vietnam. From the very start of the process from booking, to when I landed, to each and every curated experience on the ground, I felt like I was in the best care possible.
As an alumnus of the FTLO Italy trip earlier this year, I came into this experience with extremely high expectations and hopes. Needless to say, they were all exceeded and I can say with 100% confidence that was because of our leader Seth. His fun, calming, and charismatic demeanour made me feel at ease the moment he starting communicating with the group and he seemed to anticipate all of our needs before we knew them ourselves."
"I recently got home from the FTLO Vietnam trip, and still cannot believe the incredible time I had. I initially signed up for this trip because I wanted to experience something completely new, and this trip seemed perfect. FTLO really surpassed all my expectations. It was clear that all the planning for this tour was done with a great attention to detail, and each participant’s individual needs were always catered to. Every part of this trip was so fun, unique, and beautiful - I really cannot recommend it enough.
I would have never experienced so many of the amazing activities we took part in if I had travelled to Vietnam on my own."