Tailormade Tours - Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

A well established tour operator in Indochina who will tailor the best of Vietnam to suit your timing and budget
We all want to plan our perfect holiday, but sometimes the practicalities of putting it all together - dovetailing flights, transfers and hotel availability, choosing the best itineraries and booking the best guides - can get too much. That's where a tailormade tour operator comes in, helping you create the holiday just as you'd like it and then taking on all the boring stuff: making bookings, arranging prepayments, checking schedules and generally making sure that you don't have to spend a night out in the cold (or warm) because you've forgotten it's a leap year.

In Vietnam, we have partnered with EXO Travel, based in Ho Chi Minh, who have been designing and arranging top-end bespoke holidays in the region for over 15 years. You can choose which places you’d like to visit and roughly how many days in each, they'll advise you where to stay and how to travel between them, book tour guides (their own staff) and hotels (based on our selection but not limited to it), and arrange payments (you just need to make one - to them). They'll even suggest a few gems you might not have thought of: hiking to colourful markets in the villages around Sapa, exploring the sea-caves of Halong by kayak, doing a family treasure hunt around Hanoi by cyclo.

Why we chose this partner

  • They're well established, with 15 years' experience, winning the Vietnamese Tourist organisation's 'Top Tour Operator' 2 years running; they have 14 offices and a good mix of foreign and local management
  • They employ their own guides and train them well - Unesco courses, 1-day Red Cross training, excellent English - and assess their performance through feedback
  • All their vehicles are air-conditioned, and their drivers are careful and punctual. Their bicycles are sturdy Trek 4500 series front-suspension mountain bikes
  • They work with local communities to protect the area and foster its people
  • They guarantee your tour will cost no more than an identical product through any other channel
  • Lastly - the acid test - they helped arrange our own labyrinthine trip to Indochina: a total of 8 guided tours, 20 ground transfers and 7 flights spread over 3 countries, not to mention numerous hotel and restaurants - and all without a hiccup (OK, we once had to wait 5 minutes for our driver at Hanoi airport…)

Please be aware

  • i-escape can only vouch for those properties which are featured and reviewed on our website. For other areas and accommodations, while we do trust our operator to provide the best options for your needs, you should make sure that you are happy with their suggestions before confirming

Best time to go

Vietnam has a complicated climate. In the north, autumn (September to December) is the nicest season. At this time of year it's warm, dry and sunny, though you'll need warm clothes up in the mountains and Ha Long Bay. Winter (December to February) can be surprisingly cold with temperatures as low as 10C. Things warm up in March then get hot in May, though the rainy season starts in June and brings heavy downpours and flooding. By mid September, it's perfect weather.

The central region has a wet climate, particularly around Hué. The dry season lasts from February - May although there are occasional shock typhoons in April and May. After this it gets wetter and hotter (averaging 30C) until the rainy season in September, which eases off from November - January.

The lower east coast and the south have a dry season from December to late April/May, and rain from May - November. Most rain falls in brief downpours. Daytime temperatures rarely fall below 20C.

Our top tips

Ho Chi Minh's war museums are somber but fascinating, and give you a great understanding of the country as it was and is today. In the same vein, the Cu Chi tunnels are just incredible; you won't believe the ingenuity and stoicism of the Vietnamese soldiers.

Great for...

Family
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
Spa
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
Room:

Lodging

We've reviewed eco-friendly island escapes, stunning boutique hotels, exclusive beach retreats and simple B&Bs in Vietnam. All are gorgeous, all are run by charming staff. Read our reviews and ask EXO Travel to include any you like in your bespoke itinerary.

We've also reviewed the food in detail. Typical Vietnamese dishes achieve a delicate balance of salty, sweet, sour and hot. Spicy dipping sauces are served with almost everything, as are fresh herbs. Don't be scared to try the street food - it's incredibly good. We loved pho (noodle soup, flavoured with ginger and meat), Cha Ca (fish, dill and spring onions, fried in butter) and Goi Cuon (translucent spring rolls packed with vegetables and minced meat).

Activities

Things we loved...

  • Our cyclo tour of Ho Chi Minh
  • Staying on a traditional junk in Halong Bay, then seeing the sunrise grotto
  • Exploring Hanoi's 36 Streets in the Old Quarter
  • Getting clothes made in charming Hoi An
  • Local markets
  • Meeting indigenous tribes
  • Phu Quoc's beaches

    Activities include:

    • Birdwatching
    • Boat trips
    • Cooking classes
    • Cycling
    • Golf
    • Historical sites
    • Kayaking
    • Mountain biking
    • Museums / galleries
    • Plantlife / flora
    • Private guided tours
    • Rafting
    • Rock climbing
    • Sailing
    • Scuba diving
    • Shopping / markets
    • Snorkelling
    • Traditional cultures
    • Trekking
    • Yoga
  • Activity:
    Kid Friendly:

    With Kids

    EXO Travel are happy to prepare trips for families and have some activities especially designed with young ones in mind e.g. treasure hunts by cyclo, children's cooking lessons, or even a family karaoke session. Under 12's normally cost about half the adult price for the tour.

    Best for:

    Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

    Family friendly accommodation:

    Extra Beds Available, Family Rooms

    Transport

    Internal travel can either be done in a private car with a driver, by private minibus, train, sleeper train or via internal flights. Distances are long. It takes approx 8.5 hours by road from Ho Chi Minh to Nha Trang; 10 hours from Nha Trang to Hoi An; 3 hours from Hoi An to Hue; and 15 hours from Hue to Hanoi.

    Once in the towns/regions, you can take tuk-tuks, bicycle and go on boat trips to explore.

    Transport:

    Our guests' ratings...

    9/
    Rooms
    10/
    Service
    9/
    Value
    9/
    Overall

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    Feedback is only from guests who have booked and stayed through i-escape

    Itineraries