Travel with us to the ancient Republic of Vietnam in Southeast Asia, famously popular destinations for gap year travellers and it isn't hard to see why.
The country provides a world of unimaginable beauty offering the perfect setting for an adventure that will take you everywhere – from buzzing night bazaars full of jewel-bright lanterns, to pearl-white sand beaches and picture perfect vistas; from dazzling temples to formidable sunken Buddha statues hidden by a riot of rainforest vegetation; from refreshing waterfalls in breathtaking landscapes, to the remains on an ancient citadel.
This adventure trail takes in the best sites in Vietnam, and will lead you to the highlights of these unmissable destinations. Who could resist swimming in crystalline waters off perfect white sand beaches and exploring lush green rainforest where leopard cats, elephants and other exotic creatures lurk?
Soak up the intense historical ambience in the venerated temples throughout these ancient empires; then spend your nights in the vibrant whirlwind of the bars and nightclubs of the cosmopolitan and exotic cities you visit en route, as you enjoy the company of your travel companions and new friends. You will enjoy the exhilaration of travelling in a new and exciting culture.
What is so fantastic about this journey is that whilst travelling you will benefit from the leadership of a young, friendly, fun but also sensible and well-travelled guide who will take care of all the stress and organisation on the trip, whether it be recovering lost luggage, arranging bus tickets, booking hostels or extra activities, dealing with emergencies or even knowing the best places to go for a great night out! If you want to experience the beauty and adventure of South East Asia, travelling along with a young and friendly group of companions, without the hassle, then joining this Frontier Adventure Trail is the perfect solution!
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from our South East Asia Trail on the Gap Year Blog:
Make lifelong friendships
Become an intrepid explorer in this wondrous corner of the world
Discover a wealth of culture & wildlife
Visiting city hotspots
Transport throughout the trail
Before you go
Travel & medical advice & documentation
Discounted medical kit
Free Frontier t-shirt
2 meals per day
Ground transfers & in-transit accommodation
In-country emergency support
24-hour international HQ backup
What Next? Apply Now!
WHAT WILL I BE DOING?
Day 1-3: Ho Chi Minh
Venture into this vibrant and industrious urban centre with its bubbling and exhilarating vibe. Visit the War Remnants Museum containing eye-opening exhibits relating to the American phase of the Vietnam War. See the pastel-hued pagodas and pick up some real bargains from the tiny merchants and traders of the many side streets and alleys. Take a day tour of the Mekong Delta, home of many rice fields and floating markets. Gaze up at the arching ceilings of the Halls of Mandarins, as you breathe in the exotic aura of this testament to Vietnam's past rulers.
En route to Hanoi you will have the chance to encounter several of Vietnam's most diverse towns and villages. Nha Trang offers sand-boarding on huge dunes and sunbathing on the fabulous beach – for a combination of relaxation and a real adrenaline rush! Hoi An is a stunning little town with Chinese influences around every corner. Famous for its tailors, you could stroll past a delicate Chinese temple with colourful lanterns lining the streets, and drop in to a tailor to get measured up for your new suit or ball gown made from Thai silk! Along the way, visit Hué and see the imperial tombs, the old citadel and take a boat trip on the Perfume River. See the unimaginable splendour and fantastical elegance of the Royal enclosure, and the Forbidden Purple City.
Day 7: Hanoi
Explore Hanoi, by taking a walking tour of this vibrant and colourful city of a million bicycles, picking up a last few souvenirs. Visit the Temple of Literature, one of Hanoi's finest historical sites and Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum.
Day 8-9: Sapa
Travel by night train and then by bus along the winding road into the clouds to reach the highland resort of Sapa.
Day 10: Travel back to Hanoi by train and bus
Day 11-13: Halong Bay
Explore Halong Bay with a two-day boat trip along this spectacular coast with its enormous limestone caves, dense jungle and monolithic islands. The area boasts incredible biodiversity with a fantastic array of wildlife including antelopes, monkeys, lizards and bantams living on some of the offshore islands.
Day 14: Hanoi
Return to Hanoi to do some more last minute shopping and prepare for your homeward journey.
Day 15: Fly home!
**This itinerary is very flexible and subject to change. It is intended as a guide. You and your fellow travellers will change the itinerary according to your interests and depending on how you are progressing.**
What Next? Apply Now!
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I ARRIVE?
You will be greeted at Ho Chi Minh Airport by your trail leader and escorted to a local hostel where you will spend your first night. If you are arriving before the project start date you will meet at an agreed rendezvous point. You will have time in Ho Chi Minh to explore the many ancient attractions it has to offer, which have fascinated locals and foreigners for centuries. From there you will soon set off to the next destination on your exciting adventure, so be prepared to throw yourself into the experience the minute you arrive!
WHERE WILL I BE STAYING?
During the trail you will stay in basic, but, of course, comfortable accommodation such as hostels, sleeping in mixed sex communal dorms or shared rooms, or homestays.
WHAT WILL I BE EATING?
You will be provided with two meals a day. These will include a variety of local cuisine from markets and food stalls, in order to provide you with an authentic South East Asia experience. Contrary to popular belief, not all Asian food is fiery hot and there are plenty of tasty dishes suited to the Western palate. This hybrid cuisine has been influenced by soups and noodle dishes from China, curries from India and satays from Indonesia. Most dishes incorporate four elements, sweet, sour, salty and hot flavours, and many of the dishes are rice or noodle based.
What Next? Apply Now!
At each destination along the trail route there will be a range of activities for you to choose from, at extra cost. Get lost in the mystical world of ancient temples, where you will be inspired by the beautiful unspoilt monuments, the magical atmosphere, and the charming monkeys tumbling amongst the ruins. Visit the local towns with their complex and multifaceted architecture, and friendly, welcoming locals. Alternatively, try some more adventurous activities, such as mountain biking through the stunning landscape, white water rafting, diving, sailing or sea canoeing. If all this wasn't enough, our guides are always happy to advise you on where to go next!