All about the The Dong pass

A comprehensive trip from the South of Vietnam to the North. Treat the Dong Pass as a tour and complete it in 2 weeks or hop on and off and spend up to a year exploring Vietnam at your own pace.

This pass includes:

Flexible transport: Whether it be our air-conditioned buses, boat, train, or even tuk-tuk - you can hop-on-hop-off anywhere along the route.

Local Tour Leader: Knowledgeable local guides to provide invaluable support and insider insights and to assist with booking accommodation and activities at every destination.

Reserved Accommodation: Have a bed reserved for you at every Stray overnight stop. Book through your Tour Leader and pay-as-you-go directly to the accommodation.

12-month travel pass : Your pass is valid for 12 months from the first day of travel.

There are some awesome activities and entrance fees included with your pass:

My Lai Memorial entrance fees, near Hoi An
Vinh Moc Tunnels entrance fees, near Dong Hoi
Thien Duong (Paradise) Cave entrance fees, Phong Nha
Trang An Grottoes canoe tour, near Ninh Binh
Not included: The cost of your accommodation and optional activities is not included in a hop-on, hop-off pass. You have the flexibility to choose what suits your budget and pay-as-you-go. These can be booked via your Tour Leader.

 

The Dong pass
Tour itinerary - 14 Days

  • Travel Day Arrival in Ho Chi Minh City
    Welcome to Stray! Your adventure kicks off in bustling Ho Chi Minh City. If you arrive early in the day, feel free to spend time exploring the narrow streets on foot, hop into a cyclo for a comfortable cruise among the millions of motorbikes or find a restaurant teeming with locals for a taste of the best cuisine. At 6pm you’ll meet your Tour Leader and new travel mates at the Khoi Hostel for a Welcome Night introduction. We’ll cover how Stray works and answer any questions you have about travelling in Vietnam. Afterwards, make the most of your first night by getting to know each other over a delicious Vietnamese dinner and a few cold beverages.
    Accommodation: Centrally located hotel or guesthouse
    Free Inclusions: Welcome Night meeting with Stray Tour Leader and group
  • Travel Day Ho Chi Minh City
    Today is a free day to explore the hot and lively Ho Chi Minh City. Learn about the history of the American and Vietnam War at the War Remnant Museum, visit the French Colonial Saigon Opera House, browse the surrounding shopping plazas or see a cultural show. Ho Chi Minh even has its own Notre Dame Cathedral, which is said to be a connection between the physical and spiritual life for the Ho Chi Minh people. We recommend taking a trip out to the famous Cu Chi Tunnels, a complex of over 200kms of tunnels used by the Viet Khong in the war against the US. Discover how the people lived and survived in these tunnels, built schools and hospitals underground and eventually gained victory. This evening enjoy a traditional performance at the Water Puppet Theatre, or dine out on delicious street food at one of the city’s many restaurants or bars.

    Accommodation: Centrally located hotel or guesthouse
    Optional Paid Activities: Cyclo tour of the city, War Remnants Museum, Old Presidential Palace, Ben Thanh Market, guided tour of Ho Chi Minh City and Cu Chi Tunnels, Water Puppet Theatre.
  • Travel Day Ho Chi Minh City to Da Lat
    Leaving behind the chaos and heat of Ho Chi Minh City, we head for the refreshingly cool climate of Da Lat, known as the ‘honeymoon capital of Vietnam’. Our journey today takes us through fertile farmlands that specialise in rubber, coffee and tea, locally produced wine, vegetables and flowers. Da Lat vaguely resembles a French town with sprawling old villas and towering pine trees. It is not on the main tourist trail, so locals are curious and very friendly to Western visitors. Spend the afternoon checking out the large market near the guesthouse or sample a glass of locally made Da Lat wine at one of the local restaurants. Accommodation: Local guesthouse in the centre of town
  • Free Day Da Lat
    Today is a free day so fuel up on an excellent locally sourced coffee at one of the friendly cafes that seem to occupy every corner, and then head out to discover the notable city sights on foot, by bicycle or the popular option of a guided motorbike tour. Must see sights include the Emperor’s Art Deco-style Summer Palace, the surrealist Hang Nga ‘Crazy House,’ the French Quarter and railway station, as well as the never ending local coffee or strawberry plantations and the aptly named Paradise Lake that lie outside the city. Accommodation: Local guesthouse in the centre of town Optional Paid Activities: Grab a bargain at the local market, rock climbing, see Crazy House, tandem bike cycling, cycling tours, motorbike tours, coffee & tea plantation tours, abseiling and rappelling.
  • Travel Day Da Lat to Bai Xep
    Leaving behind the cool climate of Da Lat we’ll head for the Vietnamese coast, stopping for refreshments at the coastal city of Nha Trang, a popular beach destination to hop off for those who have the time. Driving on your destination is the tiny fishing village of Bai Xep located along a stretch of sandy white beach. Kick back and relax in this peaceful village setting well off the beaten tourist track and as yet untouched by rampant tourism. Don’t be surprised when the locals wave and greet you with welcoming smiles Accommodation: Dorm accommodation on the beach
  • Free Day Bai Xep
    Today you are free to enjoy this remote coastal location and all it has to offer. Swim, snorkel and take long walks on the beach, learn to paddle a traditional round boat, go fishing and cook your catch for tea, wander the village and get to know the friendly locals or just relax at your comfortable seaside guesthouse.

    Accommodation: Dorm accommodation on the beach, light breakfast included
    Optional Paid Activities: Hike to a waterfall, go swimming or snorkelling, relax on the beach or feast on all-you-can-eat BBQ and beer!
  • Travel Day Bai Xep to Hoi An
    A coastal drive takes us to the popular tourist spot and UNESCO World Heritage town of Hoi An. Before arriving in Hoi An, we’ll stop along the way to visit the My Lai Memorial, a site that commemorates an event that marked a turning point in the American War. Hoi An is a must see destination, with beautifully restored and preserved French Colonial architecture, funky bars, outstanding restaurants, art galleries, souvenir shops and countless tailor shops. With glorious beaches so close nearby, this is paradise! A great spot to hop off and enjoy the local nightlife, try local delicacies (and beers), then meander home through the motorbike free streets.

    Accommodation: Centrally located, family run hotel
    Free Inclusions: My Lai Memorial entrance
  • Free Day Hoi An
    Today is free for you to explore this charming town. Get some tailoring done, take a leisurely cycle to the beach or just enjoy the tasty local coffee at one of the many restaurants around town. When the sun goes down is when Hoi An really turns on its charm. Paper and fabric lanterns are lit throughout the streets, bathing the historical French Colonial and Chinese architecture in a warm glow. Take a sunset stroll through the old town, and try a local delicacy called the ‘White Rose’ - a dumpling stuffed with shrimp or pork bunched into the shape of a rose. Apparently the recipe is a family secret, held by only one family who supply all the restaurants around town.

    Accommodation: Centrally located, family run hotel
    Optional Paid Activities: Tailoring, bicycle tours, scuba diving, cooking classes, sunrise or sunset cruise, countryside tours, motorbike tours, fishing trips.
  • Travel Day Hoi An to Hue
    Today you travel to Hue, considered Vietnam’s most liveable city. Surrounded by rolling hills and located on the Perfume River, Hue is regarded as the cultural and spiritual centre of Vietnam and is the former home to the Vietnamese emperors. Here you’ll see many elaborately decorated temples and beautiful pagodas, including the seven-storied Thien Mu Pagoda (where the most famous Vietnamese monk is buried), the intricate Citadel and Forbidden Purple City. This is a great place to take a motorbike tour of the Vietnamese countryside. Travel on the back of a motorbike through rice paddies, quaint rural villages and down tiny roads to discover a little bit of the ‘real’ Vietnam.

    Accommodation: Local guesthouse
    Optional Paid Activities: Dragon Boat Cruise, historic Citadel tour – former seat of the Vietnamese government, Forbidden Purple City – where the emperor used to bed his concubines, motorbike tour, Thien Mu Pagoda.
  • Travel Day Hue to Phong Nha
    This morning we head for the fascinating Vinh Moc Tunnels, an impressive underground complex that was used by more than 90 families to live and work during some of the heaviest bombings in the American War. From there it’s on to Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, passing through the provincial town of Dong Hoi on our way to the charming hotel in Phong Nha town that will be our base for exploring the park.

    Accommodation: Comfortable hotel dorm or private room with breakfast included
    Free Inclusions: Vinh Moc Tunnels
  • Free Day Phong Nha
    On this free day we visit the spectacular rural area of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, 45km from Dong Hoi. This area has pristine rivers (perfect for a refreshing dip or kayak) and boasts a number of impressive caves, including the recently discovered Thien Duong Cave. Inside you’ll find glittering limestone walls, impressive stalagmites and stalactites and a limestone waterfall. This afternoon you have the option to go on a guided tour of the ‘Dark Cave’, suitably named as such because the rock is black. This is an exciting adventure where you’ll explore the cave’s darkness with the help of a head torch, discover ancient fossils and slide down muddy ridges, all while Asian bats fly overhead. Afterwards, back at the mouth of the cave you can wash off all the mud by spending the afternoon swimming and playing in the river.

    Accommodation: Comfortable hotel dorm or private room with breakfast included
    Free Inclusions: Thien Duong Cave entrance
    Optional Paid Activities: Cycling, caving, kayaking, Dark Cave Adventure.
  • Travel day Phong Nha to Ninh Binh
    Our journey today takes us through beautiful countryside and stunning limestone karst mountains. We’ll stop along the way for a chance to stretch your legs before continuing our express journey to Ninh Binh. We arrive late in the afternoon, but you have time to wander around and acquaint yourself with the tiny town before dinner. Nestled amongst rice paddies, rural plains and massive mountains, Ninh Binh is almost overwhelmed by the spectacular landscape surrounding it. The best way to take it all in is hire a bicycle and explore the countryside at your own pace.

    Accommodation: Locally run hotel with excellent restaurants nearby
    Optional Paid Activities: Hire a bicycle, hop off and explore the surrounding limestone mountains, multi-day trekking options.
  • Travel Day Ninh Binh to Hanoi
    This morning we venture out in traditional canoes to discover the Trang An Grottoes. Sometimes called the ‘Halong Bay on land’, we’ll coast through caves in the mountains to view stony outcrops and dramatic karst formations towering above flat tranquil waters and rice paddies. After lunch in Ninh Binh, we jump back on the bus bound for the chaotic streets of Vietnam’s capital. Hanoi is an exotic city full of excitement and energy, and thousands of motorcycles that make the simple task of crossing the road seem like a real achievement! There’s an an excellent culinary scene. We recommend dining at Restaurant 69, which is said to be over 300 years old, or trying some of the delicious street food available on every corner, where the saying goes “the lower the chair, the cheaper the beer.”

    Accommodation: Local guesthouse or hotel or backpacker-style dorm
    Free Inclusion: Trang An Grottoes boat trip
  • Travel day Hanoi
    This is where your journey with Stray comes to an end, but there is plenty to see and do in and around Hanoi. If you have some extra days to spend here, we highly recommend booking a cruise around breath-taking Halong Bay or making a trip inland to visit the hill tribes of Sa Pa. Both of these excursions can be organised for you by your Tour Leader. We hope you’ve had a blast on your great Stray adventure! Optional Paid Activities: Halong Bay cruise, trip to Sa Pa
Real Adventure Group Real People
Real Aussie Says:
Hop-on hop-off bus passes are a great way to see Southeast Asia on the cheap. Discover places no one else goes with Stray's guided network. A comprehensive trip from the South of Vietnam to the North. Treat the Dong Pass as a tour and complete it in 2 weeks or hop on and off and spend up to a year exploring Vietnam at your own pace.

The Dong pass Price information AUD per person

Price

Description

Tour code: DONG
Secure your seat today with only a 10% deposit!
  $1262
Adult
  $1298
Adult Pass. For travel from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021

Departure information

Starts

Sundays from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Minimum days: 14
Recommended days: 19

2020

Departs Saturdays and Wednesdays from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Ends
Hanoi


More information

Important Notes

Things you need to know about this tour

IMPORTANT INFORMATION – Please re-confirm your booking with our Bangkok team at least 7 day in advance. Their email address is Bangkok@straytravel.asia and their address is 162 Soi Rambutri, Tanao Road, Bangkok.

VISA ON ARRIVAL - Eligibility for every nationality is different, so we recommend you to check before you depart! You'll need between USD $30 and USD $45 in cash, plus a passport-sized photo for the immigration officials on entry.

WHAT TO BRING - Light clothes for wet season (May - Oct) with an extra layer and light jacket for dry season (Nov - Mar); clothes to cover your shoulders and knees for visiting Temples; a good travel medical kit; travel insurance details; sunscreen; mosquito repellent with deet; girls - sarong for swimming as the local culture requires modesty; trainsers for walking; a roll of toilet paper and hand sanitizer is useful, and ofcourse, a sense of adventure!

FOOD - Western food is sparse outside the main centres so be open-minded about eating local fare. Vegetarian meal options may be limited but there is always rice, noodles and soups, and excellent fruit and vegetables are plentiful at the local markets.

TRAVEL INSURANCE - Adequate valid insurance is compulsory to travel on Stray, and it is not included in the price of your pass.

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