GRAND VIETNAM ADVENTURE
This 24- day Vietnam adventure program is perfect for active travellers as you will travel through the best of Vietnam. You will have different experiences with the culture of old Hanoi, wonderful Halong Bay and Phong Nha –the World Heritage Sites, the old trading port of Hoi An and the former Imperial Capital in Hue, different ethnic cultures in the Highland, exploration of the French colonial charms of Saigon, Dalat and the mighty Mekong River.
The tour level is at adventure. Be ready for 3-5 hours trekking in the hilly villages, two hour bike rides in flat roads, or 9 hours sitting on the local trains with conversations from friendly local people.
24 days 23 nights in Vietnam.
START SAIGON, CUCHI, MEKONG, DAKLAK, NHA TRANG, HOIAN, HUE, VINH, NINH BINH, CUC PHUONG, HANOI, SAPA, HALONG, HANOI FINISH
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17 nights hotel accommodation
5 nights homestay accommodation
1 night cruise accommodation
1 internal flights within Vietnam
3 local train Vietnam, including 2 night of train with four bed room on train.
transport in air-conditioned vehicles
small group touring
Local English-speaking guides
Items not indicated in the including should be in the list of excluding.
The tour can be done in the other way around from Hanoi to Saigon.
This tour must be booked at least 7 working days in advance of your travel date.
DAY 1: SAIGON ARRIVE
On arrival in Saigon, transfer to your hotel with our representatives. Get connected with your tour leader at a tour briefing and welcome drinks. The remaining time will be free at your leisure to rest or explore, discovering your own first impressions of Vietnam.
DAY 2: SAIGON – CUCHI – SAIGON
Be prepared for a historical day with the amazing works at Cu Chi tunnels, a system of over 200km fighting base underground, with the monuments and architecture like the Reunification Palace and with the stories at War Remnants Museum in Saigon. The Saigon impression would be added more colors with visits to a lacquerware factory, a Taoism temple and a huge market for Vietnamese for their daily life.
DAY 3: SAIGON – MEKONG (homestay)
The Mekong Delta is always impressive with the natural scenery and lovely people that can only be fully discovered when traveling from place to place at a nice with a slow pace.
Heading to the wet land of Mekong Delta Basin and get inspired by Vietnam’s rural life with a day among the rivers, canals, water coconut, and orchards. Among the feeling of getting lost at the maze of water ways, your travel experience also gets enriched by the forklore music (which has been acknowledged by UNESCO as immaterial world heritage), local special dishes, or just a rest with a honey tea cup by a canal.
Overnight at the house of Mr Tam, enjoying the food cooked by his wife and the home made rice wine specially stilted by himself as a special treatment. Night life can be a visit to a neighbor or catching fire flights.
DAY 4: MEKONG – SAIGON
Be ready for one of the highlight of the trip today at floating market of Cai Rang. Get up early to adapt the Vietnamese life style, follow the water stream to the floating market where people living along the canal maze comes to the market to sell things cultivated from their garden, and buy things for their cooking and dishes. It is absolutely on the river with hundreds of boats, big or small. More experience with this agriculture can come later with boating along the canals, visit an orchard and hear the stories of the farmers.
DAY 5: SAIGON – DAKLAK (fly)- LAK(homestay)
The 45 minute flight to Daklak will take you to a cooler place of 800m above the sea level. Daklak is a distinct contrast from the tropical south, with an arid climate, rolling hills, and blue skies. Daklak is famous for the capital of Vietnam coffee production, making it the second exporter of coffee worldwide. This is also well known for the elephant training team, and the for the epic lasting thousands of years just by transferring from father to son without written language (been acknowledged by UNESCO as world heritage). The region sees few foreign visitors, and many of them go to revisit old battlefields or see the indigenous tribes.
Enjoy the view of endless coffee plantation and house style of Ede people, before taking visit to Buon Don Village, the famous elephant training place. Enjoy the culture exploration with visiting the local families, understand their smiling language and get absorbed by the descriptions of their life style. In the afternoon, arrive Lak village where we experience the homstay with the indigenous tribe here in their special house. After getting welcomed and making friends with the hosts, visit the Summer Place of the last king of Vietnam where you can enjoy the sunset over the largest fresh water lake in highland made by volcano very long time ago.
DAY 6: LAK (homestay)
The spirit of adventure will bring you joy with trekking of three hours along the villages, the plantations of coffee and cashew nut trees, etc. Take a zephyr from a boat ride across Lak lake to breath more air from the National Forest Reserve.
The afternoon is free for your own exploration the villages of M’nong people around, or just relaxed with the coffee by the lake. In the evening, there is an option to enjoy Gong music to understand why it is listed in the immaterialism world heritage.
DAY 7: LAK – NHA TRANG
Take a drive to Nha Trang with spectacular views of hills, with the rustic villages and tea and coffee and cashew nut plantations of the Central Highlands, before descending to the coastal plains passing remnants of the ancient Champa kingdom. Enjoy Nha Trang at first sight by a drink among the sunset and the ocean view.
DAY 8: NHA TRANG
Relax on an island boat cruise and indulge in a sumptuous seafood feast and swim in the sparkling East Sea. Further exploration at a fishing village with opportunities to jump on a conical boat, to see daily life at a fishing village and a beautiful swimming above coral preservative reefs before that tasty seafood lunch on board. Free in the afternoon for your own discovery on the beach funs, countryside trails, the mud bath, or the marvelous seafood restaurants along the beach .
DAY 9: NHA TRANG – HOIAN (train)
9 hours in the train from Nha Trang to Hoian in air-conditioned coach with soft seats seems to be a long time, but its is a true experience among the local people of Vietnam. Not only meeting local people on the train, you also get unique opportunity to see the backyards of Vietnamese and understand the agriculture of this agricultural country by the endless rice paddy fields, cashew nut plantations, rubber tree plantations, fishing farms, themagnificent view of the sea, etc. Check in Hoi An and relax in a cozy restaurant in Hoian Ancient Town.
DAY 10: HOIAN
Hoian Ancient town is the living museum with charming traditional houses, temples, the iconic Japanese Bridge and especially the well preserved Vietnamese lifestyle from the 16th century. More feeling of old days will come with no-power nights (candles and lanterns instead), the night festivals, the street foods and other heavenly recipes.
A relaxing day is made by a walking tour along the well preserved monuments and houses that are the hardware of the ancient town. Visit a handicraft producing center with the disadvantaged youth from the Streets organization.
Enjoy some free time in Hoi An for shopping at one of the many masterful tailors in town and further exploration like a short bicycle ride to the beach nearby.
Make an optional boat trip along the Hoai river to the land of coconut, the local farm and terraces. Party on the field with wine and BBQ among the Vietnamese countryside scenery is an unforgettable memory.
An easy ride of bike to countryside to get touched more to the daily life of Hoian people. The fishing village, the rice paddy fields, the coconut lands will make the day really Vietnamese authentic. Free in the afternoon for any further exploration or just relax by a pub along the river.
DAY 12: HOIAN – HUE
Drive North to the lovely countryside and spectacular coastal scenery on your way to Hue, the former imperial capital of Vietnam. Understand further the oriental belief and ancient architecture techniques by the ancient Citadel, the emperor’s tombs and the royal monuments. Royal dinner is an option to get the ambiance of a dynasty entertainment only a century ago.
Make a free day for your own exploration. We believe that a city full of oriental culture and values with the imperial city, monuments and fengshui arrangement, full of Buddhism spirits with a lot of pagodas, of more trees than peoples, of Vietnam specialized elegant etiquettes is a right place for your free day exploration.
Optional choice can be a cyclo tour taking you along the peaceful corners of this ancient citadel city.
DAY 14: HUE – VINH
The different feeling of the trip will come as we depart from Hue and see Phong Nha in 3 and a half hours. That’s the change from feeling in ancients and people style to the purity of nature.
Phong Nha boasts a vast complex of 300 majestic caves in which Phong Nha Cave is the biggest, longest and most beautiful one with 18000 m in length. Phong Nha means the teeth of winds as the sounds can be made by wind clashing to the hollow stalagmites and stalactites. A visit through these caves will present you with a rare opportunity in this modern age: the chance to explore nature’s magic and reconnect with the earth.
The mentioned Phong Nha cave is starting of the Son river, a type of changing from underground river to open river. The landscape with karsts topography, with agriculture farms, with the daily life along the river brings your day a special ambience of nature and people.
After the drive from Hue, take the boat trip along the river to the cave entrance. Turn off boat engine and start to get your boat rowed into the river. Stay comfortable in your boat, hold your breath to hear the sound of water drop from the stalactites to the underground river, point your flash lights to the stalactites and stalagmites to see the nature-made beautiful shapes and imagine you are in paradise.
DAY 15: VINH – NINH BINH
The most special place to visit in Vinh is the home town of Hochiminh, the founder of Communist Party in Vietnam. Visit the place is not just to understand more bit about him, about the Vietnamese belief in him, but also to get more view to the peaceful villages of Vietnam, behind the big roads.
After the drive to Ninh Binh, enjoy one of the highlights of the trip: the rowing boat to the caves, along the rice fields and the landscape of karsts topography. In the evening, take a relax with a cup of tea with view of rice farm from your balcony, or take a bike ride to more rice farms and pagodas, if any energy of yours remains.
DAY 16: NINH BINH – CUC PHUONG – HANOI
Cuc Phuong National Park is one of Vietnam’s most beautiful and important protected areas in the North of Vietnam. It is homes to hundreds of species of flora and fauna. Visiting the park with few hours of moderate walking is a terrific opportunity to get a close look at Vietnam’s nature. Moreover, fees generated from tourism can help to protect the parks wildlife and improve the local economy. A trekking of 6km along the trails of the park will bring you to the trees of thousand years old.
In the afternoon, arrive Hanoi. Check in and free for your own exploration.
DAY 17: HANOI – SAPA
Sapa lies on the side of Hoang Lien Son Mountains, 333 km northwest of Hanoi, close to Chinese border. This area is well known for the beauties at spectacular scenery, many natural sites, diverse mountain tribe communities and their etiquettes.
The 4 hour drive from Hanoi to Sapa bring you not only from tropical climate to the cool weather, the reason why the French chose Sapa for their rest and relax place at the Indochina war. In the afternoon take an easy walk to the central church, the market and surrounding areas for the familiarization.
DAY 18: SAPA (homestay)
Be ready for your 5 hours trekking to the hills of terraces, to villages and streamlines. Start the trek today by ascending to Y Linh Ho village of Mong minority. After lunch at Lao Chai, take a hiking along the stream lines across Muong Hoa valley where hundreds of big rocks remain a kind of written language that humand kind is not able to decode yet. Take a short walk to Ta Van village of Giay minority and spend the night in traditional house of the Giay. You can take a walk to further explore local daily life while your dinner will be served with Vietnamese dishes.
DAY 19: SAPA
Leaving Thanh Phu, follow the trekking route built in the bottom of the valley, which offers the best view to the surrounding mountains. After lunchtime, continue the walk toward Ban Ho village of Red Dao minority where you will experience the wonderful hospitable atmosphere and the night stay in the minority.
DAY 20: SAPA – HANOI
Take drive back to Hanoi. There is a lovely optional tour we often suggest to go further into Hanoi Old Quarter by Cyclo. That’s a trip of relaxing on a rickshaw seeing a bustle life passing by your nose, passing by the ancient windows along the streets and passing by a the slow living style of Hanoians.
In the evening, enjoy water puppet show, a special cultural feature and an entertainment of Northern Vietnamese in the flood season, after hotel check in and refreshment.
DAY 21: HANOI – HALONG
Sit back and relax as you watch farmers working their land on the drive to enchanting Halong Bay. Contemplate your navel while you cruise amongst the thousands of limestone islands. Enjoy the freshest seafood, the great beach, the lovely tea on board among the sunset. Find further your favorite activities like gathering at the roof top and drink, read your favorite book among the breeze and the fade run ray of a tropical region, swimming under the sky full of stars, or just do nothing.
DAY 22: HALONG – HANOI
Wake up in the morning in your own room, open the window and listen to the sound of the wave splashing into your boat. Have breakfast then start to explore further by visiting the caves and going kayaking along the streams. In the afternoon going back to Hanoi for overnight.
DAY 23: HANOI
Learning all about the life and stories of ‘Uncle Ho’ at his mausoleum, enjoying the guard changing parade are the great and unique experience in Vietnam. Further walking in the ancient Temple of Literature will be the answer how university in a Kingdom happened a thousand year ago. Make a visit to the well know ‘Hanoi Hilton’ prison and we end the day trip at KOTO restaurant where your food is cooked and served by former street children. You get your free time in the afternoon for your own exploration.
DAY 24: HANOI DEPARTURE
On your last day, enjoy free time until your departure transfer.
DAY 1-2, 4: SAIGON
MAY FLOWER HOTEL***
The star hotel locates near the center. Rooms are beautifully furnished by modern facilities and fitted with queen size beds. Well trained and professional staff with cool lobby site. Good breakfast with nice city view.
DAY 3: MEKONG HOMESTAY
BA LINH HOME
Ba Linh was a real Vietcong. The homestay is to stay in his house with his wife, sons and grandchildren, enjoy the cool canal in front, swing in hammock, drink home whisky, taste special designed food, and hear his stories of his solder life.
DAY 5-6: LAK
MNONG LONG HOUSE
The homestay in Lak lake is a different experience to other homestay, as staying on a huge room named long house which is a culture of Mnong minority people here. It’s a kind of sharing with many mattresses on the floor with a good mosquito net, toilet out the back. Basic but authentic.
DAY 7-8: NHA TRANG
Vien dong is a 3 star standard hotel 100m from the beach of Nha Trang. The big hotel remains the feeling of government hotel with tennis court, big massage corner but it really has helpful staff, big swimming pool, wifi, and nice breakfast.
DAY 9-11: HOI AN
PHO HOI RIVERSIDE RESORT***
Pho Hoi Riverside Resort locates right on the bank of Thu Bon river then it takes only 5 minutes to walk from the resort to the ancient town. Great point is the balconies viewing over Hoi An, plus the endeavor of a friendly resort.
DAY 12-13: HUE
HUE HERITAGE HOTEL***
Hue Heritage Hotel locates in the middle of Hue city. The hotel is a mixture of Western classic wish and the pride of royal interior furniture and decoration. The hotel is marked 3 stars with clean and standard rooms, good swimming pool, and helpful staff.
DAY 14: VINH
SAIGON KIM LIEN HOTEL***
The best and biggest hotel in town is also hanging place for the top wealth citizens of the city. Clean, standard, OK breakfast, quiet, forgivable English at reception. The hotel is mainly the host for local tourists and business travelers.
DAY 15: NINH BINH
THE LONG HOTEL**
The Long is small hotel but locates near the boat quay for the Tam Coc boat trip. The location helps it to have green view to the rice farm, and karst topography. Clean and standard but basic sense of decoration.
DAY 16, 21, 23-24: HANOI
BELLE LA VILLE***
Belle la Vie hotel locates in the edge of Old Quarter which make s good start of walking to surroundings . Cozy decoration, spacious rooms, city or lake views, elegant furniture, friendly staff make the choice.
DAY 17, 20: SAPA
CAT CAT VIEW**
Cat Cat View does not bring the feeling of luxury, but the view from room or breakfast is magnificent. Clean and standard with local sense of beauty as the interior décor is a mixture of colonial symbols with local minority identities.
DAY 18-19: SAPA HOMESTAY
HILL TRIBES HOME
The corner of staying for guests might be an extended one from the house for more income for the family, or just a bed where mosquito net and thin mattress are provided. The condition is basic but the experience to the local daily life living is great.
DAY 22: HALONG
Imagine this is a huge wooden boat with three stories (or four). The first is for living rooms with soft regular furniture and private flush toilette. The second is for public living room where we use for meals or resting on sofa. The upper deck is of no cover for great view and equipped with chair (or lying chairs) for relaxing, viewing magnificent Halong.
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We look forward to being your travel mates.
Hoang and Long