Treat yourself to an extreme adventure that Vietnam has to offer on this comprehensive 18-day tour. Trek through local villages and emerald rice terraces in Sapa, immerse yourself in primitive Lan Ha Bay and visit ancient land in Ninh Binh. Later, enjoy an exhilarating adventure from Phong Nha to Hue then Hoi An before finalizing in Ho Chi Minh City and Mekong Delta.
Tour Code : AOT14
Travel Style : Adventure & Off The Beaten Track
Duration : 18 Days - 17 Nights
Route : Hanoi – Sapa – Lan Ha Bay – Ninh Binh – Phong Nha – Hue – Bach Ma National Park – Da Nang – Hoi An – HCM City – Cat Tien National Park – Mekong Delta
Get picked up from airport and transfered to your hotel in Old Quarter of Hanoi.
6 PM: Enjoy traditional food of Hanoi by interesting street food walking and discover Hanoi Old Quarter by night. About 4 hours on foot.
Discover bustle of Hanoi city and rural peaceful suburban villages by a special and unique motobike taxi trip which is second to none. Picked up at your hotel at 8 AM. Transfer to Co Loa ancient citadel 15 km from city center. Co Loa keeps all histotical features dating back to the year 257 BC and is an symbolic example of life in Red river delta area. Chance to escape from busy city to breathe countryside fresh air, witness life of local people farming and making for a living. Visit some heritage temples to learn about a historical period of Vietnam. Back to Hanoi for lunch with tasty Bun Cha.
In the afternoon, discover some historical relics around the city including Temple of Literature, loop around westlake to see Tran Quoc pagoda ( Guarding Nation pagoda); Phu Tay Ho temple. Finally do sunset check-in at Long Bien bridge, the first bridge crossing Red river constructed from 1989 to 1902 during French’s occupation of the country.
Get a transfer to Hanoi Railway Station for a night train to Sapa.
Arrive Lao Cai railway station early in the morning. Get a transfer to Sapa. The whole morning is time for you to relax in the desirable atmosphere of this mountainous town or discover Sapa on you own.
Afternoon then is the best time to discover stunning landscape of Sapa and the surroundings on a 30-km motorbike ride. The ride leads you toward the fascinating highest peak of O Qui Ho pass, which is 2035m, also known as Heaven’s Gate. There is also the chance to see gorgeous Silver waterfall on the way, which is a symbol of hilly Northwest Vietnam.
A full days 17-18 km trek will reward you with an up and down winding journey through some poetic terraced rice fields of the Black Hmong people. Chance to cast an eye over daily activities of local people. Come across some local schools to see the friendly waving hands of native Hmong and Yao children. Lunch in Ta Van village before hit the trail again to trek to a romantic old hanging bridge crossing Muong Hoa river.
Back to Sapa again for an early dinner before a transfer back to Lao Cai city to get a night train to Hanoi.
09:30: Pick-up at your hotel nearby the Old Quarter in Hanoi to Cat Hai port.
12:00 - 12:30: Embark on the cruise to Lan Ha bay, enjoy a welcome drink and cruise briefing.
13:00 – 14:00: A splendid lunch is served while cruising into the primitive Lan Ha bay.
16:15 – 17:45: On a bamboo boat, visit Bright cave, a serene round lake surrounded by lush trees and high stone cliffs. Then enjoy swimming in the private emerald water
18:00 – 19:30: Return to the cruise for sunset party on the top deck. Relax with Massage and Spa treatment, always available upon request.
19:30: Delight in the shimmering atmosphere of thousands of stars while eating a fantastic, expertly prepared dinner on the top deck of your boat, all while floating in the center of the serene Lan Ha Bay.
06:00 – 06:30: Begin your new day with a Tai Chi session or a photo hunt.
07:00 - 07:45: Enjoy breakfast in the fresh air and peaceful beauty of the bay
08:00 – 09:00: Experience kayaking to discover the lovely Tra Bau area. Visit a fish farm and socialize with the resident fishermen in order to know more about life here and how the people work every day.
09:00 – 09:45: Pack your luggage and check out of your cabin while cruising towards the port.
10:00 – 11:45: Join a cooking demonstration before enjoying an extraordinary buffet lunch.
12:00 – 12:15: Disembark the cruise & farewell. Transfer to Ninh Binh on a 3-hour drive.
Arrive Tam Coc and start a fun 10-km ride on a quiet biking route with very nice scenery of mountains & local villages. Head to Thung Nham where you can find a lot of birds, storks gathering here especially in the late afternoon. What a sense of adventure you will be adwarded in this countryside.
Start the day with a drive to Trang An, considered as “Inland Halong Bay” featured with karst formations. On arrival, take 3-hour sampan boat ride on a small river and through many tunnel-like caves. Lunch at a local restaurant.
After lunch, spend time to visit Hoa Lu - the historical capital of Vietnam and the famous ancient temples of Le and Dinh emperors. Here you can learn more about a historical period of Vietnam dating back to 10th century.
Back to Hanoi for an early dinner before a night train to Dong Hoi.
07:45- 08:00: Arrive Dong Hoi city. Transfer to Dark cave on a 1-hour drive (located in Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park). Discover Dark cave by participating in the many adventure activities like zip line, mudbath, swimming,… etc.
12:30: Lunch at local restaurant in Phong Nha village. Here you will enjoy a traditional Vietnamese dish.
13:30: Depart for exploration of impressive Phong Nha cave. Take a 25 minute ride to the cave via traditional dragonboat. This cave is called a water cave as it boasts an underground river. After going into the cave by boat, explore 300 meters into the cave on foot. Then, you will be taken back by boat. This cave is famous for its spectacular rock formations. It has been given names such as the “Lion”, the “Fairy Caves”, the “Royal Court”, and the “Buddha”…
16:00: Back to Phong Nha.
Get a transfer to Hue on a 4–hour drive. Visit Vinh Moc, a tunnel complex in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). The tunnels were built to shelter families from the intense bombings of the area during the American war. Over 600 people lived and 17 babies were born in these tunnels between 1965 and 1972.
After lunch, pay a visit to the Mine action visitors centre in Dong Ha. This centre looks at the effects of the war that still remains today, even after hostilities ended in 1975. Arrive in Hue early in the afternoon. Now time for you to discover Thien Mu pagoda which rests on the bank of the perfume river. This is the tallest pagoda in Vietnam with 7 tiers reading up high into the sky, each storey of which represents a step in enlightenment.
Covering 40,000 pristine hectares just a 2-hour drive from Hue, Bach Ma national park is one of Central Vietnam’s natural jewels. Developed as a hill station by the French administration in 1932, the park later became a protected area, home to more than 1,400 species of plants and over 130 kinds of mammals, some of which have only been recently discovered. Spend the day with a local forest expert as he unlocks Bach Ma’s natural treasures on a 3-hour trek through sub-tropical forest. Visit the 400m-high Do Quyen waterfall and the cascading falls at Ngu Ho lake. Summit the 1,450m-tall Bach Ma mountain for panoramic views of the coast, including Tam Giang lagoon and Lang Co beach.
Have a full breakfast to prepare for a full day motobike ride from Hue to Da Nang. Start with a visit to the Imperial citadel. This majestic architecture, built by Emperor Gia Long, has faced destruction over the years during the fierce conflicts which took place here. It is the scars on these buildings that tell the stories of the battles fought here.
Say goodbye to Hue and head for Da Nang. Chance to stop along the way with beautiful beaches, coastline and the breathtaking Elephant Springs. Make sure you have packed your swimming gear as this is a great place to relax, swim and enjoy lunch for a couple of hours. The journey unfolds more breathtaking views as we ascend the famous Hai Van pass where we stop at the top to see some French and American bunkers, the remnants of war times past. This road, made famous by the Top Gear motoring programme, is a can’t-miss site.
Jutting out into the turquoise waters of the East sea, just 10 km from the centre of Danang, lies Son Tra peninsula. The heavily forested 4,370 hectares of land protects Danang from winds, waves and storms, all under the benevolent eye of the Goddess of Mercy, an impressive 69m-high statue that has become Danang’s most recognisable landmark.
Start a 10 km trek along steep, forested trails up the Son Tra mountain, stopping for expansive views of the scenic Danang coastline. Keep an eye out for the rare Red shanked doucs, a primate species which led American soldiers to dub the area “Monkey Mountain”. At the 696m-high summit, spot the radar domes and the old helicopter pad that once belonged to the American air base in Danang.
Get to Hoi An from Da Nang on a 3-hour drive.
Afternoon then is the best time to discover Hoi An acient town and rural surroundings by bike. First cycle around Hoi An old quarter to breath an acient atmosphere before heading to Tra Que village. Take a short stroll around the vegetable garden and listen to the history of this rural hamlet. Chance for you to take pictures of coconut and mangroves or take a traditional basket boat ride including some crab fishing. Finish the day with your free time to explore the Old Town’s thousands of tailor shops, art galleries and riverside market or simply kick back on the beach.
Back to Da Nang for a flight to Ho Chi Minh city.
Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh city is Vietnam’s largest city and a dynamic, rapidly developing metropolis. Let’s join a cyclo trip to discover vibrant atmosphere and bustling streets of this legendary city like Ben Thanh market, Reunification palace, Tao Dan park…etc
Evening then is the best time to explore the rich cultural cuisine of the city on foot and witness night activities in this dreamy city.
Get away from the bustling metropolis to Cat Tien national park, one of Vietnam’s greatest national parks, protecting one of the largest remaining areas of lowland tropical rainforests in the country. Leaving Ho Chi Minh city at 8 AM, follow Highway 1 then branch off National Highway 20 that leads to a former volcanic crater, known as Lava tubes. Cross Dong Nai river to enter Cat Tien national park and now you begin your wildlife experience. Arrive Nam Cat Tien national park center after 3.5 hours. Meet a local nature expert then check in and have lunch.
In the afternoon, start walking 8 km along the ecologic route: sites of Lagerstroemia Ovalfolia (BangLang), Tetrameles nudiflora (Tung), Cycas rumphii (Thien Tue), Ancistrolandus Tectorius (Trung quan), Afzelia cyclocarpa (Go). Then transfer back to the center for dinner. At night around 8 PM, get transfer by jeep to Ta Lai buffer zone for animal spotting (view animals at night).
Next morning, get a 9-km transfer by jeep inside the park to the junction where we turn off the main route for 5-km trek to Crocodile lake station. A short break at the lake watching tower, then trek to the main road again. Jeep picks up and transfers back to the park center. Check out the room. Lunch in the park before heading back to Ho Chi Minh city.
Leave Saigon for Mekong delta at 8 AM. Enjoy the exotic lanscape along the way bordered with lush green rice fields.
On arrival in My Tho, visit Vinh Trang pagoda, take a leisurely boat ride along the river and discover the stilt houses, fruit plantations and fishing villages along the river bank. Proceed to Tortoise islet, have lunch in the orchard garden. Then take a boat ride to An Khanh – a less touristy attraction in Ben Tre, enjoy cruising on a hand-rowed sampan under the shadow of the coconut trees along natural canals, then have a try at seasonal fruit, honey tea and the sound of "Southern Vietnamese folk music", performed by locals.
Visit a family which epitomizes the idyllic rural lifestyle, taste the delicious coconut candy and observe the pastoral life as you roam through the fruit plantation and village. Return Ho Chi Minh city after a full day exhilarating adventure.
Enjoy last moment in this southern center before saying goodbye to Vietnam. Your significant adventure ends!
Please note that accommodations mentioned in this list are for reference only. Depending on availability and your preference, they can be changed.