March 24th to April 7th
ONE (Couple) PLACE AVAILABLE
After negotiating with the authorities for four years, in April 2012 we ran the first ever trip with westerners driving ex military Jeeps on a 1000 mile route through Vietnam. Each year the trip is over subscribed. Full details are in the itinerary below.
Classic Vietnam is unique and offers participants the opportunity to self drive an ex US military jeep through this fascinating country. Starting in Hanoi we head south, visiting 4 world heritage sites, passing Vietnam War sites including Khe Sanh and Hamburger Hill, and cities including, among others, Hanoi, Da Nang, Hue and Hoi An.
For years it has not been possible for non residents to drive 4 wheeled vehicles in Vietnam. That is why Clarkson and Co in their Top Gear special used scooters instead of cars. We have now overcome the licensing hurdles and in 2012 we ran the first event of its kind.
The route broadly follows the Ho Chi Minh Trail – the secret supply route used by the North Vietnamese to supply their troops in the south during the conflict. We stay in lovely hotels and in keeping with other events you will be provided with a detailed route book enabling you to travel at your own pace. As always, as well as several tourist hot spots, we will be visiting several areas not normally accessed by tourists.
The trip commences in Hanoi and finishes in former Saigon, now named Ho Chi Minh City.
For a selection of photos from previous trips see our gallery
Saturday 24th March Depart UK
Sunday 25th March Arrival in Vietnam (Hanoi)
Saturday 7th April Departure (Saigon – Ho Chi Minh City)
24th March Overnight flight to Hanoi.
25th March Arriving in Hanoi an airport car will meet you at Noi Bai airport and take you to our first hotel, which is in the centre of town within walking distance from shops, markets etc.
26th March Today we take a morning trip to the local licencing office to complete the paperwork for our Vietnamese driving licences. We will have a free afternoon and then in the evening we have a welcome briefing before heading to a nearby restaurant for dinner.
27th March After breakfast we will be taking a tour of some of Hanoi’s principal sights. They’ll also be the opportunity to climb aboard motorcycle side cars for part of the tour. We start with a visit to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum then view the remains of a downed B52. After stopping for coffee at the War Museum we finish at the Hanoi Hilton – the old French prison where downed American fighter pilots were held captive. In the afternoon you are free so there will be time for a wander around the Old Quarter. In the evening we head off to another local restaurant for dinner.
28th March We depart the hotel by bus to visit the Ho Chi Minh Trail Museum on the outskirts of Hanoi, where the vehicles will be waiting. After touring the museum we head off, quickly finding ourselves in rural Vietnam and a sea of paddy fields dotted with limestone mountains. This first day’s drive is relatively short and easy and we should be at the hotel in Mai Chau by mid afternoon. (67 miles)
29th March This is one of the longest days as we head south to Vinh. After travelling through part of Cuc Phuong, Vietnam’s first national park we eventually join the new Ho Chi Minh Highway, which lies on top of the original Ho Chi Minh Trail. This takes us due south, through remote back country, very close to the Laos border. We then head towards the coast to Vinh, our overnight stop. Vinh was a target of particular significance to US air raids during the war. That night, weather permitting, we will have dinner by the pool. (208 miles)
30th March Today we continue south along Highway One, before turning inland towards the Laos border. We pass the Dong Loc intersection, (a main junction for supply lines during the War), and head into remote back country noticing the scenery becoming dominated by karst limestone rock formations. Our overnight stop is at the World Heritage site of Phong Nha, home of one of the world’s largest caves, where local civilians and military sheltered from incessant bombing during the war. Before dinner we will take an amazing boat ride deep into the cave. (133 miles)
31st March Having obtained special permission, we head deep into the pristine jungle that comprises the World Heritage Ke Bang National Park. It is a lovely drive and along the way we pass a number of significant wartime locations including overgrown remnants of the original Ho Chi Minh Trail. Skirting the Laos border, we arrive at Khe Sanh, where we stop to visit the site of the former US Marine base that underwent the famous siege in the prelude to the Tet Offensive in 1968. (137 miles)
1st April Today we head east along Highway 9 and cross the former DMZ (demilitarised zone), then across the famous Hien Luong Bridge (former demarcation line between North and South Vietnam). Just before lunch we will reach the Vinh Moc Tunnels, where hundreds of villagers lived underground during the course of the war. After lunch on the coast we eventually reach the delightful city of Hue, which lies along the banks of the Perfume River. (135 miles)
2nd April Day Off Hue is the former imperial capital of feudal Vietnam and is an ideal place to relax, sightsee and chill after the driving to date.
3rd April Leaving Hue we head up the Me Oi (translation – “Oh Mum”) pass towards the site of Hamburger Hill. We meet up with the Ho Chi Minh Trail again, and head further into the moutains. On a clear day one can see directly down to the coast, over 50miles away. Passing very close to the Laos border we start heading back to the coast past ancient temples and fiercely fought-over territory during the war. We overnight at the world Hertiage site of Hoi An, a major trading centre in SE Asia in the 16th and 17th centuries. (175 miles)
4th April A day off. Hoi An offers fine wining and dining, impressive architecture, fantastic tailoring, endless shopping and a great beach, so you will not be short of things to do.
5th April This is our last day of driving and what better way to spend it than cruising up a fabulous coastal pass made famous by the BBC Top Gear Vietnam Special. After a lunch and a swim we catch an afternoon flight to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). 60 miles.
6th April Saigon – Ho Chi Minh City is the bustling commercial heart of Vietnam, and site of the former South Vietnam Presidential Palace. In the morning we will take a tour of the sites by cycle rickshaw leaving the afternoon free. In the evening we will head out to a lovely restaurant for our end of event meal.
7th April Transfer to the airport for the flight home.
BOOKING INFORMATION & COST
£3495 per person based on two people sharing a vehicle and accommodation. The cost excludes flights. Motorcycles (Ural 650 or Honda CRF 250) £2495 per rider & £2250 per pillion.
Hire of a jeep
Internal flight from Da Nang to Saigon
A Great Road Journeys tulip style route book backed up by a marked road map
Entry fees to all museums/parks/places of interest etc.
Dinner each night except 3 days off in Hue, Hoi An and Saigon
Lunches for all driving days
Airport collection in Hanoi
Return Flights from UK to Vietnam
What happens next?
Send an email to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact details. After that we will be in touch. A deposit of £600 per person will be required upon booking. The balance is payable one month before departure. In the meantime you’ll receive regular updates from us guiding you through everything you need to know re your visa application, innoculations, driving licence etc