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Cycle, hike, spelunk and motorbike your way down the length of Vietnam on this luxury adventure

Personalised journeys from start to finish

Save an acre of rainforest each time you travel

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What's Included

  • A fabulous array of active, cultural, foodie and historical tours
  • Luxury accommodation throughout
  • Halong Bay cruise
  • Meet and greet airport service and all domestic flights
  • Full support from your Travel Concierge before, during and after your trip
Use this itinerary to inspire your bespoke journey

At a glance

Explore the best of Vietnam on this active luxury adventure from the rugged north down to its bustling south, with plenty of history, culture, cuisine and incredible scenery on the way.

Begin in the capital, Hanoi, where you’ll be driven around the highlights in a vintage Jeep and cycle around an ancient village, then take a scenic flight to Halong Bay for an overnight cruise through its iconic landscape.

Return back to the city for a foodie tour then venture into verdant mountains of Sapa where you’ll hike and bike to remote tribal villages flanked by stepped rice paddies and incredible views.

Heading south, spend two nights by the spectacular Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s home to some of the most sublime cave systems in the world. Close by is historic Hue and its grand Citadel, with Hoi An’s charming Old Town and some fabulous beaches a winding motorbike ride away.

The final stop is Ho Chi Minh, formerly known as Saigon, where you’ll ride Vespas around its delectable street food stalls and discover the rural Cu Chi area outside the city, famous for its war era tunnel systems..

Example Trip Itinerary

Days 1-3

Hanoi

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer from Hanoi Airport to hotel

Accommodation in Hanoi

tran-quoc-pagoda-hanoi
Two nights in Hanoi Two nights in Hanoi

Hanoi is a busting and fascinating place – a whirlwind of colours, smells and sounds and a wonderful place to get a real flavour of life in Vietnam.

It is unmissable in terms of its pretty pagodas, ancient temples, enchanting French colonial quarter and cultural institutions. Just as fun, however, is darting down its winding lanes and discovering your own favourite hidden corners. The hustle and bustle of Hanoi is contagious and it is also one of the best place to sample the mouthwatering array of streetfood that Vietnam is famous for.

Hanoi City by Vintage Jeep Hanoi City by Vintage Jeep

Explore the charming city of Hanoi's yellow ochre colonial buildings, tree-lined boulevards and scenic lakes by vintage Jeep. Visit the historic Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, an imposing monument built to house the preserved body of revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh, affectionately known to the Vietnamese as 'Uncle Ho'. Tour the One Pillar Pagoda, a Buddhist temple built in 1049 of wood in the shape of a lotus blossom and set on a single stone pillar, considered by many to be one of Vietnam’s most iconic pagodas. Visit Ho Chi Minh's House nearby, a simple wooden house in a tranquil setting where Ho Chi Minh lived and worked. Continue on to the picturesque Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first national university built in the late 11th century.

Enjoy the ride back to the city centre to visit the scenic Hoan Kiem Lake (Lake of the Returned Sword) named after a magical sword once used by a legendary Vietnamese emperor to defeat the Chinese Ming Dynasty. On an island in the middle of the lake sits the Ngoc Son Temple accessible by the classical The Huc Bridge. Conclude the tour by exploring the famed Old Quarter known for its ‘36 streets of 36 wares’ named after the original 36 artisan guilds that date as far back as the 13th century. Explore the fascinating maze of back streets, fronted by narrow houses known as 'tunnel' or 'tube houses', built to avoid taxes based on the width of their frontage onto the street, a wonderfully eclectic glimpse into Hanoi street life.

Cycling Vietnam
Duong Lam village cycling tour Duong Lam village cycling tour

Depart Hanoi for Duong Lam, a typical agricultural village in the northern Red River Delta. Duong Lam has the honour of being the birthplace to two Vietnamese kings and is the first village in Vietnam to be recognised by UNESCO for its efforts in preserving local heritage and culture.. Take a 5km (3mile) bicycle tour along Duong Lam’s narrow alleyways to see rural life and ancient Vietnamese architecture dating back 400 years. Visit Mong Phu Temple in Mong Phu hamlet, the only hamlet whose original village entrance gate remains intac and observe the daily life of the villagers. A home-hosted lunch is served in a historic 300-year-old home while chatting with the friendly owners about living here. Continue biking to Ngo Quyen and Phung Hung Temples and the 15th century Mia Pagoda known for its 287 ancient statues. The tour concludes at the old Catholic Church before returning by road to Hanoi.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to Hanoi Airport

Days 3-4

Halong Bay

Scenic flight to Halong Bay Scenic flight to Halong Bay

Take a spectacular flight in a seaplane to Halong Bay, with a scenic tour of the bay itself before landing.

Accommodation in Halong Bay

halong-bay-vietnam
Overnight cruise in Halong Bay Overnight cruise in Halong Bay

Over 2,000 limestone islets and plinths rise out from the emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin to make up the exquisite Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Over time, wind and waves have eroded the islands creating caves, grottos and the occasional sandy cove which can be seen from the deck of your junk. You can also enjoy swimming, kayaking and excursions to floating villages that call this slice of heaven home.

Flight from Halong Bay to Hanoi Flight from Halong Bay to Hanoi
Days 4-5

Hanoi

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to your hotel in Hanoi

Accommodation in Hanoi

Hanoi Street Food Tour with a local blogger Hanoi Street Food Tour with a local blogger

Take a street food tour of Hanoi’s best culinary spots with a food blogger - Mr. Van Cong Tu. His blog is where he started to document his enormous passion for food and culture since 2005. Today, stroll through the Old Quarter past the old east gate to Thanh Ha market. Along the way, try local delicacies and listen to his explanation of Vietnamese food practices. This busy, eclectic market is alive with the sights and sounds of Hanoi and is the essence of Vietnamese culture.

Continue through the streets of the Old Quarter to Dong Xuan market to sample some local treats such as pho tiu and bun dau. See dried goods and aromatics, the essentials of Vietnamese cuisine. Walk down to Hang Than Street to view ceremonial cake stalls and taste a special French influenced dessert. Continue back into the Old Quarter via Hang Cot Street - check specially treated fruit which are dependable on the seasons and a common snack in Vietnam. At the end of the tour, stop at one of the Old Quarter's busiest (yet smallest) coffee shops for a well-earned sit down and coffee before transferring back to your hotel.

hanoi-scooters-vietnam
One night in Hanoi One night in Hanoi

Spend one more night in Hanoi before heading into the mountains tomorrow.

Days 5-7

Sapa

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private car transfer from Hanoi to Sapa

Accommodation in Sapa

Sapa, Vietnam
Two nights in Sapa Two nights in Sapa

Sitting high in the mountains of northwest Vietnam along the Chinese border, Sapa looks down to plunging valleys of cascading rice fields. On a clear day it offers eye-popping panoramas. Local hill tribes scatter the surrounding scenery's remote villages and fill the town with colour when they come to sell their handicrafts and trinkets. Peruse their goods and chat with the Hmong and Dzao people who have lived here for centuries, before heading out on exciting treks.

Sapa trekking: Suoi Ho - Ma Tra Sapa trekking: Suoi Ho - Ma Tra

From Sapa town, trek downhill through pine forests until you reach a small village of Suoi Ho. Inhabited by the Black Hmong ethnic minority you'll see that their houses are normally built without windows due to the cold weather in the winter. Continue your walk through rice paddy fields and spectacular scenery to Ma Tra, with a chance to see people at work in the tea and cardamom plantations if you're here between February and April.

Autumn in Sapa
Sapa to Bing Lu cycle ride Sapa to Bing Lu cycle ride

Drive up to the starting point of your cycling trip, the Love Waterfall. Warm up with a 3km (2 mile) climb over the stunning Tram Ton Pass on the northern side of Mount Fansipan for incredible views of the Hoang Lien Valley, called the Tonkinese Alps by the French, then freewheel for an exhilarating 30km (19 mile) downhill to the valley of Binh Lu, dotted with ethnic minority villages including Thai, Dzao, H’mong, Lu and Nung. After a packed lunch, cycle 8km (5 miles) to visit a Thai village and explore the Fairy Cave where according to local myth, three fairies hid from their father because they wanted to stay on earth. Meet your support vehicle and returning to Sapa.

Sapa trekking: Ta Van - Giang Ta Chai Sapa trekking: Ta Van - Giang Ta Chai

This morning trek 4km (2.5 miles) through Sapa's famous stepped rice paddies between the villages of Ta Van, home to the the Zay minority, and Giang Ta Chai, a settlement of Red Dao people. En route, see different traditions and costumes of the numerous tribes that live in the hills and the crafts they bring to Sapa to sell.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to Hanoi airport

Flight

Flight from Hanoi to Dong Hoi

Days 7-9

Dong Hoi

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to your hotel

Accommodation in Dong Hoi

Free time at Chay Lap Farmstay Free time at Chay Lap Farmstay

Enjoy some free time exploring the area on foot or by bike, perhaps kayaking in the nearby river, take part in some gardening on the farm or simply relax by the pool and its bar.

Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park tour Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park tour

Depart Dong Hoi on a 1.5-hour drive to Paradise Cave. Discovered in 2005, the 31km (19mile) long cave is the largest and considered by many to be the most beautiful cave in the Phong Nha - Ke Bang area. Surrounded by forested karst peaks, this remarkable cave system features cathedral-like spaces with colossal stalagmites and glimmering stalactites which led early explorers to name it Thien Duong (Paradise) Cave. Continue to Mooc Spring. The name means 'unknown stream', as it surfaces at the bottom of a karst cliff. The cool water here has a unique blue colour and is thought to come from a large, yet undiscovered, cave system. Take time to kayak and enjoy the cool blue water and admire the rich flora and fauna which includes birds, butterflies and dragonflies.

Continue to the 5,558m (3.5mile) long 'dark cave', so named for the dark coloured rocks inside and because there is no artificial lighting installed. Enjoy lunch outside the cave followed by some exhilarating zip lining and kayaking on the Chay River. Next, don provided headlights and specialised equipment to explore Dark Cave, with an optional swim in the cool water of Thuy Tien Lake inside the cave before transferring back to Dong Hoi.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to Hue

Days 9-10

Hue

hue-building-citadel
Afternoon tour of Hue Afternoon tour of Hue

Hue served as an imperial capital to the Nguyen Lords, a feudal dynasty which reigned from the 17th to the 19th century. With splendid emperors’ tombs, ancient pagodas and the remains of the citadel, the city retains its royal charm. Visit the Imperial Citadel, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to see its magnificent architecture and gardens as your guide explains the events and the intrigue of the former royal court. Despite being the setting for one of the Vietnam War's fiercest battles, there are some incredibly well preserved sections still intact and others which are being lovingly restored. From there, the vehicle will take you to visit Thien Mu pagoda, Hue’s best-preserved religious monument.

Accommodation in Hue

One night in Hue One night in Hue

Enjoy an evening at leisure in the imperial city of Hue. The river and the bridge light up at night and the old town has some charming streets to wanders, as well as some great restaurants.

Hoi An to Hue by Motorbike Hoi An to Hue by Motorbike

Meet up with your local driver and embark on an incredible ride from Hoi An to Hue. You'll stop en-route at many interesting and memorable locations, starting with Marble Mountain where you'll witness some famous stone sculptures and handicraft villages, before heading to the Hai Van Pass for incredible vistas of clouds, mountains and the sea. For a rest during the journey, you'll stop ay Elephant Springs where you can relax and have a swim, before continuing on to Sampan Village. Located in the biggest lagoon of Southeast Asia, Sampan village is a floating village where people live on boats and earn money mainly by fishing. After leaving here, you will finish your journey into Hue with more incredible views.

Days 10-12

Hoi An

Accommodation in Hoi An

japanese-bridge-hoi-an-vietnam
Two nights in Hoi An Two nights in Hoi An

With its pretty architecture and beguiling riverside setting packed into its neat size, Hoi An is small enough to stroll around and soak up its rich wealth of heritage. Once an important port and trading town, Hoi An is one of Vietnam’s greatest cultural relics and a melting pot of Chinese, Japanese and French influences. Visit the atmospheric Old Town to see the Japanese Merchant Houses, the famed Japanese bridge, the Chinese temples, old tea warehouses, temples and traditional pagodas. Motorised traffic is banned from the town centre which has cemented Hoi An’s status as one of Vietnam’s most prized and pleasant towns. It’s especially romantic in the evening when lanterns light up the paved streets.

Hoi An countryside cycling tour Hoi An countryside cycling tour

Your adventure starts with a short boat trip crossing the river from Hoi An and you will have a chance to take photographs of many fishing boats and country villages. On arrival, start cycling along quiet inland trails to discover how wooden river boats are made, learn the secret of weaving the colourful straw “Hoi An” sleeping mats, and try the renowned Vietnamese basket boats. You will observe the workers in the rice fields. And explore the sumptuous landscapes and meet wonderful people.

You may wish to stop Tra Que Vegetable Village to observe local farmers working the organic fields using traditional methods that date back hundreds of years. The rich soil from this village produces some of the most flavoursome vegetables and herbs in all of Hoi An. If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, spend some time helping water the plants or fertilizing the land before cycling back to your hotel.

Hoi An buffalo cart and fishing tour Hoi An buffalo cart and fishing tour

Today, we set out to discover the Hoi An countryside with a fun buffalo cart ride, passing rice paddies and vegetable farms at Cam Thanh village along the way. There are many photo opportunities here, from lush green rice paddies and water buffalos to Vietnamese farmers working the fields and ducks swimming along the canals. Upon arrival at the wharf, we board a local river boat and start cruising down Hoi An River. When you reach a good spot, hop off the boat to shore and try your hand at casting the Vietnamese fishing nets. Casting the nets takes practice, but the fisherman will offer their years of experience and advice. Then step into the unique round basket boats of the area and learn how to paddle them. Later, we re-board our larger boat and enjoy light, grilled seafood dishes and a refreshing cool drink as we head back up river.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to Danang Airport

Flight

Flight from Danang to Saigon

Days 12-15

Ho Chi Minh Cty

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to your hotel in Ho Chi Minh City

Accommodation in Ho Chi Minh Cty

Three nights in Ho Chi Minh Three nights in Ho Chi Minh

A booming economy has given Ho Chi Minh city (often still referred to as Saigon) a new energy and lease of life. Socially the city is flourishing with a sophisticated café culture, an exciting dining scene and burgeoning interest in eclectic art.

Ho Chi Minh also has the largest remaining assortment of French architecture, most famously the Notre Dame cathedral, which lends the city’s sprawl a unique elegance. Wide boulevards turn to narrow streets and timeless alleys are a delight to explore along with its ancient pagodas and thriving street markets.

Evening Vespa street food tour Evening Vespa street food tour

The darker the night gets, the more vivid Saigon becomes. Get ready for a fascinating ride by vintage Vespa tonight to discover busy Saigon after dark, together with delightful local food tasting in the most authentic local restaurants. It’s such a great chance for you to experience the Southern Vietnam specialties. Then continue to zigzag through the hustle and bustle of the streets. End your night at a cozy speakeasy bar to taste some signature cocktails (or mocktails for your children) and have a chat with people here. Get back to your hotel and call it a night.

Half-day Ho Chi Minh sidecar tour Half-day Ho Chi Minh sidecar tour

Despite being a modern metropolis, Saigon retains its fascinating connections with the past. Enjoy a half-day city tour to admire Saigon’s historic landmarks from the unique vantage point of a vintage sidecar motorbike with chauffeur. Begin with a visit to the Notre Dame Cathedral, a red brick edifice with twin spires constructed from materials imported from France. Then head across the square to the Central Post Office, completed in 1891. A short drive takes you to the former Presidential Palace, the headquarters of the Saigon government during the American War. Finish the tour with a visit to the War Remnants Museum for a vivid perspective of the American War through the eyes of the Vietnamese.

Cu Chi cycling Cu Chi cycling

Depart Saigon for a two-hour shuttle north west, heading away from the main roads and into the quieter agricultural regions. The Cu Chi landscape is famous for its clay-like soil, rubber plantations and rice paddies. You will also observe large woven bamboo frames by the side of the road with circular rice paper sheets drying in the sun. Many of the locals in the area are involved in making rice paper as this simple ingredient forms the base of many Vietnamese dishes including fried egg rolls and fresh spring rolls. Stop to visit a rice paper workshop to witness the labour-intensive process.

Visit the ingenious Cu Chi tunnels, an immense network of connecting underground tunnels used by the Viet Cong as hiding spots during combat. The tunnels also served as living quarters, communication and supply routes, and housed hospitals, food and weapons caches. A visit to the underground compounds will provide a better understanding of the tunnels’ history, the hardship of life in the tunnels and the Vietnamese resilience during combat. Return by shuttle to Saigon in the late afternoon.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to Saigon Airport

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Vietnam from North to South

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