Vietnam has become an incredibly popular tourist destination, known for its natural beauty, fascinating history and culture. An increasing number of US travelers are now booking Vietnam tour packages to easily and affordably experience the top highlights of this mesmerizing Southeast Asian country. This comprehensive guide will cover everything you need to know about choosing, planning and enjoying a Vietnam tour package from the USA.
Introduction to Vietnam Tour Packages from the USA
Vietnam offers an enticing blend of picturesque landscapes, delectable cuisine, ancient temples, vibrant cities, and friendly locals. From cruising the emerald waters of Halong Bay to exploring imperial palaces in Hue and wandering charming colonial streets in Hoi An, Vietnam delivers incredible opportunities for cultural immersion and natural splendor.
Booking a fully-planned tour package takes the hassle out of organizing flights, transfers, hotels, sightseeing and activities. Tour companies leverage relationships with local vendors to access the top guides, best accommodations, and insider access. With transportation, meals, entrance fees, guides and luggage handling arranged, travelers can relax and focus simply on soaking in each destination.
Compared to independent travel, inclusive group tours provide added convenience, safety in numbers, budget certainty and expert trip operation. At the same time, travelers have flexibility to customize aspects like tour length, pace, focus areas, budget, activities, and side trips. Vietnam tour packages make getting the most out of a Vietnam trip easy and enjoyable.
How to Choose a Vietnam Tour Package from the USA
With an abundance of tour operators offering Vietnam itineraries, selecting the right package matters. Keep the following factors in mind:
Match Tour Style and Pace to Your Travel Preferences
- Pace: Some tours cram in as many stops and activities as possible, while others build in more down time. Know your own pace.
- Inclusions: Determine must-have inclusions like all entrance fees or all meals vs more budget basic options.
- Style: Pick a small group intimate tour vs a big bus trip based on your comfort level.
- Activities: Choose culturally focused, adventurous, foodie or relaxation-oriented packages to align with interests.
- Luxury: High-end tours offer luxury hotels, fine dining, and premium adventures.
Narrow Options Based on Tour Length, Coverage and Budget
- Tour Length: Vietnam is vast. Multi-week tours cover the whole country while shorter tours focus on regions like just the North or South.
- Coverage Regions: Decide if you want to see the full sweep of Vietnam or just target the North, Centre or South.
- Budget: Vietnam has packages at all price points. Match affordability needs to amenities. Extra budget yields more elite experiences.
- Luxury Options: For five star lodging, fine dining, spa treatments, upgraded transport and VIP access, luxury tours deliver premium value.
Research Reputable Tour Companies
- US companies have English-speaking guides and market to Americans. They subcontract in-country services.
- Vietnam companies have local expertise, competitive pricing, and guides with insider viewpoints.
- Reviews give insights on guide quality, real tour experience, value and responsiveness.
- Safety qualifications like membership in established travel trade associations inspire confidence.
Top Destinations and Attractions to Include
Marvel at Hanoi and Northern Vietnam
No Vietnam tour is complete without visiting the capital Hanoi and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ha Long Bay with over 3000 limestone karst formations rising from the sea. Other Northern highlights include:
- Ninh Binh – Inland karst scenery, mountain landscapes, and Buddhist temples.
- Sapa – Trekking around French hillside retreat town and colorful ethnic minority villages.
- Mai Chau Valley – Idylic rural scenery, stilted longhouses, and ethnic minority culture immersion.
- Hoa Lu – Ancient capital with remains of imperial palaces and pagodas.
Soak in the Serenity of Central Vietnam
The central region features ancient imperial towns as well as pristine beaches. Top sites include:
- Hue – Temples, palaces, and tombs dating to 1800s Nguyen Dynasty rule.
- Hoi An – Picturesque Ancient Town, a former trading port with buildings from 15th-19th century.
- Da Nang – Sandy beaches, spectacular marble mountains, pagodas and French colonial landmarks.
Experience Cosmopolitan Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta
In energetic Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, highlights range from French colonial landmarks to war history to markets. Nearby, tour the Mekong Delta by boat to explore lush landscapes and floating villages. Don’t miss:
- Cu Chi Tunnels – Hideouts for Viet Cong soldiers during the Vietnam War.
- Cao Dai Holy See Temple – Eclectic temple of the Cao Dai religion with intriguing blend of world faith symbols.
- Mekong Delta boat rides – Cruising through emerald waterways and visiting cottage industries, markets and orchards.
Optional Beach Breaks at Beautiful Beach Destinations
Relaxation seekers will love the stunning beaches of:
- Nha Trang – Pristine turquoise waters along with luxury hotels and resorts. Enjoy snorkeling, diving, boat trips, and seafood.
- Phu Quoc Island – Tropical island getaway with expansive white sand beaches, five star beachside resorts, snorkeling, watersports, fishing villages, and seafood feasts.
Essential Activities to Include on a Vietnam Tour
Beyond seeing the top landmarks, make sure your Vietnam tour incorporates these quintessential experiences:
Cruise Stunning Ha Long Bay
Gliding through the emerald waters of Ha Long Bay past thousands of dramatic limestone karst formations rising from the sea is an iconic Vietnam experience. Multi-day cruises allow more time to soak in the beauty while sea kayaking, swimming, and enjoying fresh seafood on board.
Bike Through the Imperial City of Hue
Once the capital during Vietnam’s Nguyen Dynasty from 1802 to 1945, Hue holds expansive palaces, pagodas, tombs, temples, and the massive walled Imperial City along the Perfume River. Exploring by bicycle or traditional cyclo is ideal.
Wander Hoi An’s Ancient Town
The enchanting Ancient Town of Hoi An near the coast reveals a wonderfully preserved old trading port, with buildings dating back to the 15th-19th century. Wandering the historic streets lined with colorful lanterns, craft shops, cafes and temples offers rich immersion in Vietnamese culture.
Visit the Cu Chi Tunnels
Traveling to the historic Cu Chi Tunnels just outside Ho Chi Minh City provides an adventurous cultural experience. This network of underground tunnels served as hideouts and living quarters for the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War era.
Enjoy a Sampan Boat Ride in the Mekong Delta
Glide through lush waterways past floating markets, villages and orchards of the Mekong Delta also known as the “Rice Basket of Vietnam”. The relaxed pace of experiencing the scenery, cottage industries and culture by traditional sampan boat makes for a memorable journey.
Relax at Beautiful Nha Trang or Phu Quoc Beaches
Soft white sand beaches, azure waters, fresh seafood and luxury resorts make places like Nha Trang on the central coast and Phu Quoc Island in the south ideal for honeymoons or pure relaxation. Activities range from watersports and boat trips to sublime spa treatments.
Stay in Rural Homestays with Locals
For cultural immersion, spend a night or more at a homestay in rural villages like those around Mai Chau or Sapa. Interact with welcoming minority tribe families, enjoy home cooked food, and experience traditional local life.
When to Visit for a Vietnam Tour Package
Vietnam’s weather varies by region, so optimal times depend where your tour travels:
- North: Cooler and drier November to April. May to October is hotter with more rain.
- Central: Dry season January to August brings sunshine. September to December has more rain.
- South: November to April has less humidity and rain. May to October is hotter and rainier.
Know Regional Climate Nuances
Vietnam’s weather shifts across the country, so seasons differ by location. The early dry months of November and December before monsoons hit provide pleasant weather countrywide.
- North – Winters can get chilly at higher elevation like Sapa. Summers are hot and humid with August to October typhoon risks.
- Central – Summers bring sunshine but occasional storms. Winters are mild.
- South – High heat and humidity year round with May to October monsoons.
Time for Major Festivals
Vietnam’s biggest holiday period revolves around Tet – the Lunar New Year in January or February. Expect huge crowds and closures but great energy. The Mid-Autumn festival in September/October also draws crowds with glowing lanterns.
Packing Tips and Travel Essentials
Pack light, breathable clothing along with proper footwear for temples and walks. Have essential documents and health items handy. Key items to bring include:
Clothing and Shoes
- Light dresses and tops
- Linen or cotton pants
- Versatile walking shoes
- Light jacket or shawl
- Bathing suit
- Hat and sunglasses
Electronics and Adapters
- Dual voltage electronics
- Plug adapters/converters for US devices
- Portable battery packs and chargers
- Unlocked phone for local SIM card
Documents and Health Items
- Valid US passport
- E-visa printout or approval letter
- Immunization records
- Prescriptions and basic first aid
- Mosquito repellent
Booking Flights and Pre/Post Tour Options
Gateway City Flight Options
Non-stop flights to Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City from the US depart from hub cities like:
- West Coast – Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle
- Midwest – Chicago, Houston
- East Coast – New York, Washington DC, Atlanta
Stopovers and Open Jaw Flights
Add a stopover in Tokyo, Seoul or Taipei. Do an open-jaw flight into Hanoi and out of Ho Chi Minh City (or vice versa) to maximize coverage.
Early and Late Tour Accommodations
Arrive a day or two before your tour starts to shake off jetlag and get your bearings. Add days after to extend the experience at your own pace.
Regional Side Trips
Add-on trips to Cambodia, Laos or Thailand easily combine with a Vietnam tour for an Indochina experience. Cruises visit nearby Ha Long Bay, Thailand’s Phi Phi Islands or Bali.
Frequently Asked Questions About Vietnam Tour Packages
Are visas required and how are they obtained?
Visitors from the USA need a visa or approval letter to enter Vietnam. Options are:
- Pre-arranged visa – Apply via mail, a Vietnam consulate or specialized visa services
- Visa on Arrival – Receive approval letter before departure
- E-Visa – Apply online for digital visa approval letter
What vaccinations and health precautions should I take?
Check with your doctor on recommended vaccinations like Hepatitis A, typhoid, etc based on areas visited. Protect against mosquitos. Drink only bottled water. Carry medications you normally take.
Is it safe to travel in Vietnam?
Vietnam is very safe with low crime rates. Normal precautions apply: avoid leaving valuables visible, don’t walk alone late at night, and avoid scam situations. Traffic safety can be tricky.
What type of lodging is included?
Tour accommodation ranges from budget hostels to luxury five-star resorts. Mid-range tours offer clean, comfortable 3-4 star hotels. Upgraded packages feature premium resorts with lavish amenities.
Can I arrange a customized Vietnam tour package?
Absolutely! Most tour operators are very flexible about tailoring tour length, start/end points, hotel tiers, activities, and even destinations within Vietnam to suit your ideal trip.
What kind of food is served?
Expect fresh, delicious Vietnamese cuisine at included group meals. Dishes showcase regional specialties. Any dietary needs like vegetarian or food allergies can be accommodated by alerting your tour operator.
A tour package brings Vietnam’s outstanding cultural treasures, breathtaking scenery and delectable cuisine within easy reach. Avoid logistical hassles by letting the experts create a seamless itinerary matched to your interests and budget. Just arrive ready to fully experience the magic of this incredibly diverse country.
With new direct flights making Vietnam more accessible than ever from the USA, seeing bucket list attractions like Halong Bay, relishing delicious cuisine like pho noodle soup, interacting with welcoming locals, and discovering ancient temples, quaint villages and buzzing cities await. Go beyond the typical tourist highlights to connect more deeply with Vietnam’s rich heritage and compelling beauty through the ease of booking the perfect tour package.