planning a trip to Vietnam and are having difficulties
deciding where to go and what to do, what you cannot miss
and what to skip. From the feedbacks of our customers,
Vietnam Spirit Travel would like to recommend some
activities considered by travellers as must-do's when you
are in Vietnam....
Frequently asked questions
Questions and Answers about travelling with us
For general information you can find in the Vietnam Travel Facts page
If you are unable to find the answer to your question in our Tour Q&A please do not hesitate to Contact
Do your tours include international
Travellers arrive from all over the world for
our tours and as such it is not
possible to include international airfare
in our prices, the prices shown in our
brochures are for the tour only, during
the tour when a domestic flight is an
integral part of the itinerary that flight
will be included in the trip price
Can you arrange flights from outside of
Sorry we can only offer flights from
Are airport transfers included in the
trip price? If not, how much will a taxi
cost from the airport?
Most of our tours do not include airport transfers except
package tours so we recommend you arrange a taxi on arrival (see
your trip dossier for details), this is the most economical and
efficient way of getting you to your hotel. Taxi fares vary
according to the type of vehicle (i.e. a modern air-conditioned
car is more expensive than an older non air-conditioned
vehicle). Approximate taxi fares (All prices are per taxi) from
the airport to our hotels are:
Saigon (HCM City) US$ 7
Hanoi US$20 (Airport taxis in Hanoi cost around US$ 10)
you would prefer a pre-arranged transfer
these are usually available at additional
cost - Prices for transfers as well as pre
and post accommodation are available at
the tour price section, please contact us
for more information. Departure transfers
can be arranged at additional cost from
the finishing point hotel.
I book extra nights of hotel accommodation
before or after my tour?
Yes, in most cases we can arrange
additional accommodation at our starting
or ending hotels. If we are unable to
provide you with the extra nights we will
give you with the name of a hotel you can
Can we book a triple room?
All our trips are organised on a twin
share basis. Some places will be able to provide
a triple room however some hotels do not have such rooms
available. Triple rooms can never be
What is the accommodation like?
We use different types of accommodation
(hotels, homestay) depending on each
itinerary. The standard will vary
according to where we are and we ask for
your patience, as at times things do not
work the way you are used to at home.
Sometimes there may be no electricity, the
plumbing may be temperamental, there is
only cold water in the showers or not
being served Western food for breakfast.
What kinds of hotels will I be staying
This depends on what sort of trip you are doing.
Our trips tend to use the equivalent of two to
three star hotels, please check your trip
dossiers for more details. It is important to
remember that this star rating is based on what
the country has to offer in terms of hotels, and
can not necessarily be equated with western star
ratings. On some trips, the accommodation will
be of a more basic nature, for example if you're
trekking in mountains, but your Trip Dossier
will explain all of this.
We'd like to think that if you had the time to
find the accommodations offering the best of
location, cleanliness, atmosphere and value, you
would make the same choices as us. Our hotels
are both comfortable spaces to relax and unwind
at the end of a busy day and great bases for
exploration of the places you are visiting. A
typical hotel will feature clean comfortable
rooms, private facilities and air-conditioning.
Experiencing Vietnam isn't about large gaudy
international hotels devoid of local character.
Nor is it about finding the cheapest hotel
available. We've struck a balance. On our more
adventurous tours basic accommodation is used in
remote areas and this will be clearly marked.
What time can I check in?
Generally check-in in Vietnam is midday. For
specific details, as there are exceptions,
please refer to your trip dossier for details.
will the toilets be like? Are there
western toilets available?
Toilets vary depending upon where you are
- some will be western style toilets,
while others will be of the squat variety.
Don't expect standards to be the same as
they are at home! As a general rule, the
more remote the place the less likely you
are to find western bathroom facilities.
Will my hotel have en suite facilities,
or will I have to share a bathroom?
In most cases you will have an en suite
bathroom. However, in more out of the way
destinations this is not always possible
to arrange, and so on occasion you'll
need to share a bathroom.
Bathroom Facilities - What should I
Most of the accommodation used on tours
has en-suite bathrooms with toilet plus
shower or bath. Facilities at homestays,
jungle houses, rafthouses or other ethnic
accommodation can be more basic. You'll
probably encounter both western and squat
style toilets. Standards vary widely.
Do the hotels you use have swimming
Sometimes the hotels will have swimming
pools, sometimes not. We figure that as
you're booking an adventure holiday,
you're more interested in getting out an
exploring than lounging by a pool.
all the trips coach tours? What type of
transportation is used on your tours?
We are not a coach tour operator. Instead
we try to use a mix of transport on our
tours, so that you get a good feel for
what travel is like in a particular
country, this could mean privately
chartered vehicles, public buses, trains,
planes, taxis, motor bikes, bicycles-
the list goes on!
Trip specific information on
transportation can be found on the trip
dossiers however for flights and trains we
use public transportation. We've found
that how you get there significantly
influences the tone of your journey and
public transportation allows face-to-face
interaction with the local people, there
is nothing more rewarding than a
spontaneous stop in a village to mix with
the locals - or to catch that magic
photo in the fields...
What kind of vehicles do you use for
We use modern, clean, well maintained,
professionally driven coaches. Coaches are
usually over sized for the group as the
extra room is more comfortable.
Coach (24 seater): 8-12 passengers
Mini bus (16 seater): 3-7 passengers
Car (4 seater): 1 or 2 passengers
They are all Japanese or Korean late model
vehicles except for the 4WDs used for the
northern mountain adventures
What will the trains be like?
Vietnam is railway system is mainly built
in the early years of 20th century. Since
then it has been ever improved. Hanoi - Ho
Chi Minh city express trains now take 30
hours, equivalent to 55 km/ph. It is still
rather slow, but more and more tourists
use trains for security, sightseeing on
the way. It's also a good chance to get
more knowledge of local people when
sharing a chaise or sleeping-car with your
Train travel is an integral part of
travelling through a country, and if you
really want to experience your destination
in the most comprehensive way possible,
then it shouldn't be missed.
is the food like? I am a vegetarian -
will it be a problem? Are special dietary
requirements catered for?
With all the exercise, you will have very
healthy appetites and we always try to
serve fantastic local dishes to give you a
varied culinary adventure. In many places
there will be a mixture of Western and
local dishes so you will always find
something familiar to eat. We will make an
effort to cater to any special dietary
needs, allergies and vegetarian diets .
Please make sure you notify us of your
requirements on the registration form. You
will never go hungry!
Why are most lunches and dinners not
included in the cost of the journey?
By not including meals we let you choose
what you want to eat and give you the
freedom to explore on your own - should
you choose to do so. Eating is one of the
highlights of travelling in Vietnam, which
is why we make meal times as flexible as
possible. Many of our travellers comment
on the unexpected variety, quality and
value of the food they enjoy on tour, and
we believe this is the result of our
ability to offer our travellers local
cuisine and restaurant choices rather than
often repetitive hotel buffets.
How much money will I need for meals
Have a look at your Trip Dossier it's
all in there to help you plan, plus a lot
HIDDEN COST AND TIPPING
Are there any hidden costs? example.. do we pay toget into the caves, beaches?
No, there will be no hidden costs. The entrance to caves, beaches are included
What about tipping?
If you are satisfied with your tour
guides, drivers then a small gratuity is
an appropriate way in which to show
appreciation. Generally an amount of
around US$5-7 per day should be budgeted
for your guides/leaders and drivers.
Tipping of the porters would be extra.
the destination that I will be visiting
With all trips, we can never guarantee
that an area is one hundred per cent safe.
However, we take the safety of our
travellers, and our tour leaders/guides,
extremely seriously, and would not operate
in an area where we consider there to be a
significant risk. When deciding matters
like this, we take advice from our local
administrations and service providers, to
make sure that we base our decisions on
the most up to date and accurate
I am concerned about the political
stability of the country through which my
trip will travel.
Vietnam Spirit Travel runs trips in
keeping with a basic travel safety policy.
Should our operations groups on the ground
deem an area unsafe, trips will be
cancelled so as to minimise risks to our
groups. Please keep up to date with
destination travel advisories as issued
by your government's foreign affairs
Do I have to pay local payment?
No, you do not have to pay local payment,
we are a Vietnamese company, we operate in
Vietnam, our offices and staff are based
in Vietnam, it saves us the process of
sending money overseas and that's why we
can keep the tour cost down
Do I have to book on-line? Can I use my
You can either book with Vietnam Spirit
Travel on-line, directly with us or visit
your nearest travel agent. If you choose
to book on-line the web desk will process
your booking on-line and all
correspondence will be via email. We're
always happy to work with reputable Travel
Agents to help arrange your vacation. Your
Travel Agent still receive his or her
commission on flights and any travel
Booking a trip through the internet can
be tricky: who will guarantee that I will
get what I paid for?
To assure you that the money you want to
spend on your holiday will not be lost
somewhere on the electronic highway we
sell our trips under the most favorable
- When you book a trip you make a deposit of only
person (note: bank fee is on your side)
- The remaining amount will be paid before the starting date of the tour when all reservations have been made;
We will provide you
with the necessary bank account details once a trip has
been agreed upon.
Is availability guaranteed when I book online? If I book a tour, can I be guaranteed that it will run?
On some tours we must confirm arrangements with our people on the ground, a process which usually takes no more than 24 hours. When you book online you will receive a follow-up email confirming your arrangements or a timeframe for when they will be confirmed. We strongly recommend that you do not make any other non-refundable travel arrangements until your tour is guaranteed to run. Occasionally, of course, political situations and other factors may mean that it's not possible to run a trip but this is very rare.
Is it possible that a tour could be cancelled? What happens then?
A tour may be cancelled due to bad weather, closed roads or simply not enough people. In any case, Vietnam Spirit Travel will give you a full refund.
What details should I have to book
Please be sure to have the following
details on hand:
. Full name as it appears on your
. Passport number, expiry date and place
. Full mailing address
. Date of birth
. Emergency contact name and phone
. Details regarding any medical or
How do I pay you? Do you accept credit
our terms and conditions, when you make your booking, we will require a
deposit 20% of the total amount. The balance will be settled before the commencement of a tour.
can be sent to bank account of Vietnam Spirit Travel, In case you would
like to pay online by credit card, we recommend Xoom http://www.xoom.com/static/overview.html
for quick service and low fees.
Can we book a tour without a guide?
What about kayaking and biking?
It is possible to book independent tours
without a guide, for example some people
book a jeep and driver to do North West
loop or North East loop. For your safety,
a guide is mandatory on all Vietnam Spirit
Travel "adventure" tours such as
kayaking and biking
If we book the tour through your web site. How do we pick up the travel documentation and voucher?
All documentation is sent electronically by email. Shortly after we receive your booking form we will send you your trip documents (normally within 48 hours) which should be printed out by participants and retained as a receipt.
Are there any additional booking charges?
No, there are no additional booking charges.
refrigeration be available for medicines?
Availability of refrigeration cannot be
guaranteed. As a general rule, many of our
city hotels provide access to small
fridges however outside of this,
especially when trekking or in homestay
environments, you cannot rely on access to
Will we get sick?
Standards of hygiene can sometimes be
lower than at home but if you take a few
simple precautions it is simple to keep
you healthy while you are away. In most
cases food is freshly prepared for you,
however it will probably contain
ingredients that you are not familiar with
or may be prepared in a different way.
This change in diet is one of the most
common causes of upset tummies. Therefore
it is a good idea to treat food and drink
with caution - at least in the first few
days of your holiday. It is a good idea to
avoid tap water (even for cleaning teeth)
and to beware of ice in drinks. Bottled
water is widely available and both you and
your children should drink plenty (much
more than you probably would do at home).
Finally, and most importantly, try to
ensure that both you and your children
keep your hands clean - especially
before you eat. Antiseptic wet wipes or
antiseptic hand gel (which you can use
without water) are essential.
Do we need vaccinations and/or malaria
In some remote mountainous areas it may be
necessary to obtain vaccinations. It is
important in most destinations to protect
yourself and your children against insect
bites. For adults a repellent with a high
concentration of DEET is recommended. For
children under ten a natural repellent
(with no DEET) should be used (natural
repellents are available from all good
Do I need to take a mosquito net with
Please see your trip dossier. Unless
specifically stated, you will not need to
take a mosquito net.
I need travel insurance?
Travel insurance is compulsory in order to
participate on any Vietnam Spirit Travel
trip. When selecting a travel insurance
policy we require that your policy covers
you for the following:
- Emergency repatriation and full Medical
- 24 hr Emergency Assistance
- Personal Liability coverage
- Coverage for Cancellation, curtailment,
loss of luggage and personal effects
What happens if I turn up without
Without insurance we cannot let you go on
the tour. If you do not have an adequate
travel insurance policy you can purchase
one with Vietnam Spirit Travel, contact us
for more information.
What about passports and visas?
You must hold a full passport, which is
valid for at least six months from the
return date. If you need to obtain or
renew your passport please allow at least
six weeks to process. Details of visas
required can be found in our Vietnam
Travel Facts page
Where can I get my Visa?
For more information about visas relevant
to your nationality, visit your embassy.
To find a nation's embassy in any country,
What visas will I need?
All Vietnam visas are SINGLE ENTRY -
unless you have specifically requested
MULTIPLE ENTRY and this is stamped into
your passport. Please ensure you have a
multiple entry visa if you are entering
Vietnam twice. The status of a tourist
visa cannot be changed from SINGLE ENTRY
to MULTIPLE ENTRY once a client has
arrived in Vietnam.
Can you help arrange my travel visas?
Requirements for travel visas vary widely
depending on your nationality. Although
we are unable to arrange visas on your
behalf we have provided information on
our page to websites that will help you
determine if visas are required. If you
do require a visa you can arrange them
yourself or use the services of a travel
agent or visa processing company.
WHAT TO PACK
clothing should I pack for one of your
adventures? What clothes and footwear
should I take on treks?
We always recommend packing as light
as possible however the specific
requirements for your tour will vary
widely depending on where and when you are
traveling. Our Tour Dossiers include a
suggested packing list and these can be
found on the tour program pages. Apart from a
good pair of walking boots or a cycle
helmet there is no need to go out and
purchase expensive gear
Do I need to take a sleeping bag?
Unless specifically stated, you will not
need to take a sleeping bag.
What should I bring for the family?
Although it may be difficult, try not to
pack too many clothes. Most hotels have an
efficient laundry service and you can
usually buy anything you might need
locally (and cheaply). Don't bring lots of
footwear - one pair of sandals and one
pair of trainers per person is usually
plenty. We strongly recommend that you
bring a good quality, high factor suncream
to protect your skin (and that of your
children). You also need to make sure that
you have a hat for all the family -
essential for protection against the sun.
It is also a good idea to bring portable
games that you can play with the kids when
on bus journeys or the overnight. Make
sure that you don't forget any
medication or vitamin supplements that
your children require as these will
probably not be available locally. An
emergency first aid kit is carried by your
tour guide/leader however this kit DOES
NOT include any kind of oral medications.
You should bring personal medical
supplies, including rehydration salts,
supply of plasters, aspirins, necessary
medicines, etc. In most cases you will not
need to bring towels for the family as
they will be provided in the hotels. If
your tour includes some time in
alternative accommodation like homestay
you may need to bring a towel. Consult
your trip dossier for any special
requirements. If your tour includes a trek
or hike you will NOT have to carry your
family's luggage as it will be transported
separately to your finishing point. It is
a good idea to have a daypack to use on
What is the most appropriate type of
luggage to bring? Can I take a suitcase
rather than the recommended back pack?
We strongly recommend bringing a backpack
or duffel bag, as suitcases can be
cumbersome and difficult to store in
buses, under seats, etc.. Keep in mind
that you will sometimes have to carry your
own luggage on and off buses and trains
and up and down hotel staircases.
Suitcases with wheels may not work well on
dirt or cobblestone roads.
Can I store excess luggage at the
starting point hotel if we are returning there
Most starting point hotels can store your
excess luggage for you however this is at
your own risk. Vietnam Spirit Travel cannot be held responsible for any articles lost or stolen.
safe are the activities?
The safety of the group is our first
priority and a thorough risk assessment is
made on each itinerary. You will be given
a full safety briefing during the event
and cautioned about any activity which
could pose a hazard to your own or the
Can I opt out of certain activities if
I want to?
Yes. In most situations the itineraries
provided are flexible so as to enable you
to build your own holiday. The tour
guide/leader may be able to help you make
any specific alternative arrangements -
please notify us at the time of booking.
The only exception to this rule is when we
are trekking, or travelling from one place
to the next night's stop. Please note
anything organised outside planned
activity will be at your own cost.
How difficult is the trek on my trip?
For all travellers we recommend that you
check out the Physical grade that applies
to the trip you are considering and make
your own judgement according to your
is the currency in my destination? How
much should I take in traveller's
cheques/cash? Can you change traveller's
cheques? Can I use my credit card during
For detailed recommendations specific to
your trip, please see the Spending Money
and Currency Exchange sections of the trip
What is the best way to take money with
We'd recommend that you take a mixture
of traveller's cheques and cash.
Traveller's cheques are generally safer,
and can be replaced if lost or stolen, but
in some of the more out of the way
destinations, you may not be able to
change them into cash.
about culture shock?
By travelling with Vietnam Spirit Travel
you are choosing to discover a country as
it is - rather than be cocooned in a
sterile resort. Naturally every country
has a culture very different from your own
and most travellers experience some level
of culture shock. Although the chance to
learn about new customs is a positive part
of our style of travel, strange or odd
customs, sounds and smells can sometimes
be overwhelming. It is important to make
sure that your children feel comfortable
although they will probably be more
adaptable than most adults and will almost
certainly take everything in their
1: * easy
You are required to carry your pack on and
off trains and buses, up hotel steps, etc.
Your itinerary may include easy paced
walks or bike rides, but these are on
mainly flat ground.
rating 2: ** moderate
Activities include treks of 2 to 3 hours
per day in hilly terrain, flat water
kayaking, in conditions which are likely
to be hot and muggy. You will raise your
heart rate on these trips, so a basic
level of aerobic fitness is required.
rating 3: *** strenuous
Be prepared for some serious physical
activity. This may be treks of up to 6
hours per day in steep terrain. The fitter
you are, the more you will enjoy your
VIETNAM SPIRIT TRAVEL PRICES
land price of Vietnam Spirit Travel includes:
* All accommodation as listed in the
* Domestic flights as listed in the
* All transport and transfer as listed in
* Sightseeing and meals as listed in the
* Full time services of a tour
Prices do not include:
* International or internal domestic
flights unless otherwise specified.
*Airport transfers, taxes or excess
baggage charges unless otherwise
* Meals, other than those specified.
* Visa and passport fees.
*Insurance of any kind, optional
sightseeing, laundry, postage, personal
clothing, drinks, or any other items of a
* Surcharge during Christmas, New Year and
here to chat live with
one of our tour advisors!