Vietnam In Depth
- Active Adventure
- Beach Escapes
- Culture & Heritage
- Off The Beaten Path
Day 1 – 7: Hanoi – Halong Bay – Mai Chau
- Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City. Visit the city’s highlight. Explore Cu Chi Tunnels.
- Embark on a boat trip to sightsee Mekong Delta.
Day 8 – 12: Ninh Binh – Nam Dinh – Phong Nha
- Drive to see the landmarks in Ninh Binh. Enjoy the nature at Xuan Thuy National Park.
- Trek and discover the hidden secrets of the caves in Phong Nha.
Day 13 – 17: Hue – Hoi An – My Son Holy Land
- Day train to Hue. Full-day city tour.
- Explore the ancient streets of Hoi An. Walking tour around My Son Holy Land.
Day 18 – 21: Buon Ma Thuot – Dalat
- Fly to Buon Ma Thuot. Visit the coffee plantations and the villages of ethnic groups. Full-day elephant experience.
- Discover the city of Dalat, its famous sites and nature.
Day 22 – 30: Nha Trang – Mekong Delta – Ho Chi Minh City
- Drive to Nha Trang. Spend days relaxing on the beach.
- Cruise along the canals to explore life in Can Tho and Cai Be Town. Sightsee in Ho Chi Minh City.
- Board the departure flight from Ho Chi Minh City.
Explore Vietnam in-depth to gain an insight into life in this wonderful Southeast Asian country. Join a city tour to Hanoi’s most iconic sites and join an authentic local cooking class. Sail through the breathtaking turquoise waters and limestone karsts of Ha Long Bay. Cycle through the hill tribe villages of the idyllic valley of Mai Chau. In Ninh Binh, travel through the spectacular landscape with endless rice paddies, tranquil rivers, limestone mountains and stunning caves. Visit Vietnam’s first Ramsar site in Nam Dinh and explore the World’s biggest caves in Phong Nha. Learn more about the historic sites of Hue and its beautiful outskirts, then head to Hoi An – a town that will charm you! Then wind your way through Hoi An’s Ancient town you discover the My Son Sanctuary. Enjoy a full day’s experience with the elephants and meet the Hill Tribes in the Central Highlands. Snorkel and sunbathe on the palm tree-lined gold sandy beaches of Nha Trang. Cruise down the lush waterways of the Mekong River. Venture to Ho Chi Minh City’s historic sites and discover the Cu Chi Tunnels, truly and eye-opening experience.
Xin Chao! Welcome to Hanoi, Vietnam.
Upon arrival at Hanoi Airport, your private guide and driver are waiting to meet you, holding up a welcome signboard with your names on it and take you directly to your hotel in the Old Quarter.
After checking-in, you will have time to relax and adjust to the pace of Hanoi. There will be a short tour briefing this evening with your guide followed by a welcome dinner at KOTO restaurant, a social enterprise that trains and employs underprivileged youth to provide a step up in life.
Please note: Your travel documents contain a Visa-on-Arrival letter (unless otherwise arranged). Please ensure to pack this in your carry-on luggage. Your Visa-on-Arrival letter must be presented to Customs upon entry into the country.
Overnight in Hanoi
Today with the help of your private guide and driver, you will get to explore the city’s top attractions, sample Hanoi’s authentic local dishes away from the tourist trails, hunkering down with the locals on the street at a variety of atmospheric food stalls.
Begin with a tour of Ho Chi Minh Memorial Complex where the Vietnamese people honour the country’s ‘Great Father’. Here you’ll visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum which contains the embalmed body of Ho Chi Minh and his House on Stilts to observe how he lived and how his life unfolded to become one of modern history’s greatest names. Nearside his house is the miniature 11th-century One Pillar Pagoda, a Buddhist temple of historical and cultural significance.
From HCM Complex, you will take a leisurely walk through the small laneways toward Huu Tiep Lake. Explore the grounds of a 400-year-old temple, followed by a stroll through traditional local market streets to see the B52 crash site at the lake. This US bomber was shot down during the 1972 bombing raids of Ha Noi, a poignant reminder of Vietnam’s recent history.
Take a short drive to the outskirt of Hanoi to visit the fascinating Museum of Ethnology which is both a research centre and a public museum exhibiting the 54 recognized ethnic groups of Vietnam. Some of them you will meet during your trip to Sapa.
Today you will have Pho for lunch, a Vietnamese Noodle shop. Some of the local people call this world-famous Noodle soup “Mac-Noodles” since it is as popular here as MacDonalds is in other parts of the world! At the restaurant, your tour guide will explain the routine during Vietnamese meal times, and also tell you which special ingredients are needed for you.
After lunch, continue to visit the millennia-old Temple of Literature and explore its role in the country’s past, as both a university and a Confucius temple. Next is Hoa Lo (so-called Hanoi Hilton), a prison used by the French colonists in Vietnam for political prisoners, and later by North Vietnam for U.S. Prisoners of War.
Embark on a fun cyclo (a three-wheeled bicycle taxi) ride through the French colonial architecture of the precinct known as the French Quater, past the French-style villas, the Vietnam History Museum, the heritage Metropole Legend Hotel and the Opera House, name to a few.
Enjoy a cup of unmissable Egg coffee at Pho Co Café with stunning views of Hoan Kiem Lake, Ngoc Son Temple, and the surroundings.
Finish the day with a walking tour through Hanoi’s Old Quarter (in contrast to the French Quarter) to discover the street food scene in Hanoi where it feels like you are never further than a few metres from a street food stall. Your guide will talk you through the ingredients and the different herbs of each dish, while you are crouching on tiny plastic stools in a back alley. Sample delicious dishes like Nom Du Du (green papaya salad), Banh Mi Pa Te (a sandwich that reflects Vietnam’s culinary heritage), and the famous Hanoi dish Bun Cha (grilled pork and noodles).
Overnight in Hanoi
Vietnamese cuisine is famous for its diversity in cooking styles, ingredients, ways of serving, and especially for its healthiness. As the heart of the country, Hanoi embodies all finest around Vietnam, where the cuisine is entitled the most attractive and typical.
Today you will embark on a fun excursion to the outskirt of Hanoi to join an authentic and traditional cooking class with typical Northern Vietnam dishes.
Meet your private guide and drive out of the city to the Ngoc Thuy Market – a vibrant and authentic local market. Here your Chef will greet and guide you around the market, demystify the local produce, explain the market culture, and encourage you to taste some of its most exotic ingredients. Try your bargain skill and buy fresh ingredients for the cooking class’s menu. After your Vietnam trip, you surely can bargain anything you want to buy.
After the shopping, you will pay a visit to the Temple of Hero Ly Thuong Kiet, a local pagoda and a local herb garden where your personal chef will have a short talk on the art of Hanoian gastronomy, vegetables, herbs & spices & how to prepare & use them.
Proceed to the cooking school where you will roll into the kitchen and start cooking 4 main dishes of a traditional meal. The hands-on lesson includes learning cooking, cutting techniques, and how to use a Vietnamese vegetable grater & knife. You will be carefully guided step-by-step by your professional chef to make your own Masterpiece.
After all the lessons and cooking, you will sit down and with your Chef eat what you have together cooked. Engage in more conversation with your chef who will share some of her kitchen secrets and tips, which led to the creation of her cooking classes.
Bid a fond farewell to your chef and transfer back to your hotel where the remainder of the afternoon and evening at leisure. You can continue to explore Hanoi’s Old Quarter and try dozens of famous loch dishes such as Pho Cuon (fresh spring rolls), and Nom (Mixed Salad).
Overnight in Hanoi
After breakfast and check out, your private tour guide will pick you up and take you through the rich farmlands of the Red River Delta to the legendary Halong Bay where you will board a traditional-style Vietnamese Junk Boat that is your home for the evening. The limestone karsts and tropical islets rising up from the emerald waters of the bay provide an ethereal backdrop for your leisurely cruise.
Upon arrival you’ll be welcomed aboard your Stylish Junk boat, each with its own individual route, to begin your cruise around the bay’s thousands of limestone islets and caves.
After a delicious lunch on board, you will spend time to sunbathe on the sundeck and enjoy the peaceful tranquility of the bay.
Later you will visit Sung Sot Cave “Grotte des Surprises” a hidden gem of mother nature. Float peacefully through magnificent limestone formations containing thousands of stalagmites and stalactites.
Continue to cruise. As you weave your way through the islands, you’ll come across secluded bays, white sandy beaches, and floating villages.
There is plenty of leisure time to enjoy activities both onboard and around the fantastical scenery of the Bay. Pamper yourself at the cruise spa or swim in the emerald waters.
Toward the end of the day, you will sail to the overnight mooring area. During this time – the magical “blue hour” – Halong Bay reveals its true, magnificent beauty. You have a chance to attend the chef’s cooking demonstration or enjoy a mesmerising sunset on the top deck before a scrumptious dinner.
The rest of the evening will be at leisure. You can watch a movie or join the crew for squid fishing before retiring to your room for a restful sleep.
Note: If your time permits, we would highly recommend an additional night on board which gives you a lot more time to relax and take in the amazing landscape. You’ll get to cruise deeper into the Bay where it’s more beautiful and less crowded.
Overnight on board in Halong Bay
The graceful practice of Tai Chi eases you into your day as is the local custom. Join a ‘Local Specialist’ on the deck of the Junk boat for a morning class in exquisite natural surrounds. You’ll have time for an early morning swim at one of Halong Bay’s quiet beaches and, if you’re feeling energetic, hop on a kayak and paddle through the Dark and Bright Caves admiring the glittering stone walls.
Get back to the Junk boat to check out of the cabin then enjoy a full brunch buffet as you cruise back to port.
Upon returning to your mainland your guide and driver will take you back to Hanoi.
Overnight in Hanoi
You will meet your private guide and driver at your hotel and embark on a four-hour scenic drive through the picturesque countryside of green paddy fields and spectacular mountains to Mai Chau; home to many of Vietnam’s 54 indigenous minority tribes. Set in an idyllic valley, hemmed in by hills, Mai Chau is a world away from the bustling Hanoi.
Arrive Mai Chau around midday and check into the charming Mai Chau Ecolodge. Nestled in the Mai Chau valley surrounded by mountains and paddy fields Mai Chau ecolodge is an oasis of peace, where you can totally regenerate.
Your guide will take you on a walking tour (or cycling if you wish) of Pom Coong and Lac villages. With stilt houses and lush, green rice paddy fields, Ban Lac and Pom Coong are quaint and serene ethnic Thai villages with many lovely and hospitable inhabitants. During the walk, you will be introduced to a local family. Have conversations on their life, festivals, and culture of the natives.
Continue your day to visit Mo Luong caves and Chieu caves. Two natural cavern systems with thousand-year-old stalactites and stalagmites are mother nature’s magnificent works of art. Filled with mineral structures of all shapes, sizes, and colors, these caves give you the feeling similar to that you get wandering into an ancient world of primitive creations. Such a unique experience cannot be ignored by those adventurous at heart.
You also pay a visit to Thai ethnographic museum. More than 1000 items on display are closely tied to the Thai’s everyday life. You will get to see hunting tools, ritual costumes, bowls, dishes, antique coins, musical instruments, hundreds of years old books, and so on. These authentic pieces of history represent the development of Thai culture over centuries.
Being one of the famous chef Gordon Ramsay’s destinations on his trip to Vietnam, Mai Chau offers an array of exotic native food. Tonight you will enjoy a delicious home-hosted dinner. Delight your taste buds with traditional dishes and try some rice wine made in the village.
After dinner, you will return to Mai Chau Lodge to attend a traditional dance show performed by the White Thai.
Overnight in Mai Chau
After breakfast, meet your guide again and set out on a fun cycling tour of the local valleys. Your first 6-mile ride snakes its way through Chieng Chau and Van Mai villages passing seldom-seen countryside. En route, pause to meet a local hill tribe community in Van Mai village and learn about their enduring cultural traditions.
(Note: you don’t know how to ride bicycles, don’ worry. The private car and driver are always available for your excursion)
Continue another 6-mile ride to the Thai village of Cun Pheo on a mix of good single track paths and undulating rough jeep trails. The views are stunning as the ride passes through many villages and across lush rice paddies. Unique to this area are fan palms, grown specifically to use for roofing. You will pass hot springs, cycle across suspension bridges and follow the contours around beautiful terraced rice fields.
Around midday, you will arrive at Ban Buoc, a scenic village of White Thai minority people. Spend time to stroll around this peaceful village. Eventually, you will visit a local family where you will be treated a delicious home-hosted lunch.
Bid a farewell to the host family, pick up your bikes and cycle back on the scenic route to Mai Chau where you spend the second night at the beautiful Mai Chau Ecolodge.
Overnight in Mai Chau
From Mai Chau, leave the lush fields behind and head to the dramatic mountain scenery of Ninh Binh. Just three hours away from Mai Chau, Ninh Binh has remained relatively untouched offering striking limestone karst scenery, similar to that found in busier Halong Bay.
Arrive Ninh Binh around midday and enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.
Embark on a traditional sampan ride through the flooded mountain scenery to the reservoir at Van Long Nature Reserve – the largest wetland in northern Vietnam. This is also where many of the scenes from the movie Kong: Skull Island took place. Float past poetic landscapes and rolling jungle hills that are perfect for photos.
The next destination is Hoa Lu, the location of the Ancient Capital of Vietnam dating back to the 11th century. Having been eroded over the millennia, the dilapidated ruins have nearly been absorbed by the spectacular scenery creating a mystical atmosphere that will be sure to titillate your imagination.
Upon arrival dive into the history at the remaining two temples of Dinh and Le Emperors. Restored in the 17th century but the temples are believed to be built on the original foundations of the old palaces from the 11th and 12th centuries.
Hop on a bike for a leisurely ride through the area, limestone karsts towering above you as you ride along backroads and beautiful scenery. Arrive at Mua Cave Mountain where you enjoy a short hike which leads you to an incredible viewpoint with a spectacular sight of the Ngo Dong River below that cuts its way around the towering mountains.
Transfer to Tam Coc Garden boutique resort for your overnight stay. Surrounded by stunning rice paddies and limestone formations Tam Coc resort is an oasis that lets you escape from the hustle and bustle of city life in the middle of the most incredible landscapes.
Overnight in Ninh Binh
After breakfast, you will depart Ninh Binh and drive 3 hours to Xuan Thuy National Park in Nam Dinh Province, 150 km south-west of Hanoi in the coastal zone of the Red River Delta. On the way, you will pay a visit to the Ancient Co Le Pagoda dating back to the 10th century.
The next stop is Vi Khe Village, one of the largest bonsai villages in Vietnam. You can see the bonsai in various shapes, such as a phoenix, dragon, horses, unicorn… or the symbol of the Temple of Literature.
Continue on to Xuan Thuy National Park, formally known as a Nature Reserve of the area and later became Vietnam’s first Ramsar site, for the conservation of wetlands. Xuan Thuy National Park is located in the Giao Thuy district forming part of the UNESCO Red River Biosphere Reserve. It is a rich, bio-diverse, coastal wetland that houses about 220 species of birds, 110 aquatic plants and 500 other aquatic organisms.
Around mid-day, you will arrive at the Xuan Giao Commune near the National Park. Here you will embark on a boat trip to discover the wetland. After a one-hour boat trip through the National Park, you will arrive at a Clam Hut where you will be served a delicious seafood lunch. Rest and relax in the Hut for a while before transferring back to the mainland.
After a short rest, you will commence a leisure sightseeing tour around the Giao Xuan Commune and through the villages. Walk along country lanes at a peaceful pace viewing local life and pause to see farmers toiling in their rice fields using centuries of farming practices. You will also visit the ancient houses, Catholic churches, and the Agriculture Museum. If it is a sunny day you can visit the salt fields to watch the locals making salt. You can try to become a salt-farmer!
Proceed to the bird station (applied for the wintertime from Nov – Mar) to watch various species of birds of East Asia – Australia flyways such as Black-faced Spoonbill, Spoon-billed Sandpiper, Spotted Greenshank, Saunders’s Gull and Asian Dowitcher…etc.
Transfer to a local home in Xuan Giao Communie where you will enjoy a delicious home-hosted dinner and spend the night with the family. Clean and comfortable bedding is provided for your stay.
Overnight in Xuan Giao Nam Dinh
Start your day with a leisurely bicycle ride (or by car) around the commune, enjoy the beautiful sunrise over the ocean and then visit the local Fishmarket. Here you can watch fishermen bring in their overnight catch. Hundreds of people from the surrounding villages rush to this wholesale market for the best buys of the day.
Return to the local home. Along the way, you will pause to visit a local fish-sauce making family where you can see the traditional methods of making this delicious sauce.
After breakfast and check out of the homestay, you will be transferred to Nam Dinh Railway station to catch the day train to Dong Hoi. The train ride is 8 hours and you will have the four-berth soft sleeper compartment with air conditioning, nice and comfy.
On arrival in Dong Hoi, your private guide and driver will greet you at the train exit and transfer you to Chay Lap Farmstay and Resort where you will enjoy two lovely nights. Nestled between breathtaking karst mountains away from the tourist trails, Chay Lap is a true gem in Phong Nha & Ke Bang National park.
Overnight in Phong Nha National Park
After breakfast depart for your exploration of Phong Nha Cave, the world’s longest limestone cave. Part of the Ho Chi Minh Trail, the cave was used as a hospital and munitions store during the Vietnam War. You will access the cave by boat along the Son River and once inside, you will be amazed by the cave’s fine sand beaches, the spectacular milky-white stalagmites, and stalactites.
Continue to visit the historic Tam Co Cave which has a fascinating war-time history.
After lunch at a local restaurant, continue to visit the famous Thien Duong Cave, also known as Paradise Cave. Discovered by scientists of the British Caving Research Association in 2005, the Paradise cave is an ethereal complex of skyscraper-high stalagmites and stalactites that hang like the pipes of oversized church organs. The first 1 km (0.6 miles) is open to visitors and lit with the aplomb of a cathedral, with wooden steps and walkways navigating the uneven floor.
Return to the Farmstay in the late afternoon where you spend the remainder of the day at leisure. Enjoy the comforts of the Farmstay or for those who wish there is the option to cycle around the local villages.
Overnight in Phong Nha National park
You will have the whole morning free at your leisure. Breakfast will be served at the Farmstay and check out of the room at midday.
Your guide and driver will collect you from the Farmstay and transfer you to Dong Hoi Train station to catch the day train (soft seats with air conditioning) to Hue, a Unesco World Heritage site and the former capital of Imperial Vietnam from 1802 to 1945.
The three-hour train journey will be an interesting experience because it allows you to see the stunning scenery along the way and especially crossing Vietnam’s former DMZ (Demilitarized Zone). The DMZ was the former border between North and South Vietnam before the reunification. Historically it was a narrow band of terrain extending from the Laos border to the coast, five kilometers on either side of the Ben Hai River, roughly on the 17th parallel north of latitude.
Your private guide and driver will meet you at the train station and transfer you to your hotel for check-in. The rest of the evening will be yours at leisure. Your guide will recommend a good restaurant near the hotel for your dinner.
Overnight in Hue
After breakfast, you will explore Hue UNESCO World Heritage Site. With the help of your private guide and driver, you will get to see some of Hue’s important historical sights.
– Take a cyclo (rickshaw) ride through the ‘Old City’ to Tinh Tam Lake where the Emperors used to come to relax.
– From the lake, proceed to the ancient and atmospheric walled Citadel which contains the former Imperial Palace and the Forbidden Purple City.
– Hue Royal Antiquities Museum houses a fine collection of antique pieces belonging to the royal family.
– The impressive tomb of Emperor Tu Duc and the Vietnam’s only Coliseum.
Today you will visit a local Buddhist Pagoda where you will be treated a delicious vegetarian lunch cooked and served by the nuns. Take the opportunity to learn about the religion Buddhism or just get to know your friendly hosts.
Embark on a dragon boat ride on the romantically named Perfume River. During the boat cruise, you will stop to visit the iconic Thien Mu Pagoda – Hue’s most famous religious site. Explore the pagoda’s landscaped gardens, the seven-storey octagonal tower and watch the monks chanting.
The tour comes to an end with a visit to Truc Chi Garden, the crafting bamboo paper art workshop. You will have a chance to meet one of the students there and be treated to hands-on experience to learn how to use the etching technique with bamboo pulp to create artworks.
Return to the hotel in the late afternoon where the remainder of the day is at your leisure.
Overnight in Hue
After breakfast, depart Hue, you will drive south to Da Nang and Hoi An for four hours along the coast. Today you will enjoy one of the most scenic drives over Hai Van Pass (Sea Cloudy Pass). From the summit, you can enjoy the spectacular view of the coastline and Da Nang city below.
Arrive in Da Nang you will pause to visit the Marble Mountain, Cham Museum and the white sandy 20-mile stretch of My Khe Beach which was home to American GIs during the war.
Continue to drive and arrive in Hoi An around midday. Check into your boutique resort, just a stone’s throw from the old town.
Spend the remainder of the day at your leisure. Enjoy the facilities of the resort or stroll around the Old town. You will find authentic Vietnamese culture, with paper lanterns lining the streets and delectable riverside restaurants.
Overnight in Hoi An
The whole morning is at your leisure. Enjoy late breakfast and the comforts of your hotel.
Your tour guide will pick you up and take you to the Ancient Quarter of Hoi An, where you will embark on a walking tour visiting the major attractions such as Chua Ong Pagoda, Tan Ky Ancient House, Fujian Assembly Hall, and the Japanese Covered Bridge.
Continue to visit the Precious Heritage Museum, home to the permanent exhibition of Réhahn’s Precious Heritage Collection. While transporting you to the furthest reaches of Vietnam, the collection will unveil the rich cultural tapestry of the ethnic tribes
The highlight of the day is the visit to the Reaching Out Tea House, a welcome little oasis of calm in the busy, vibrant Old quarter, owned and operated by the mute and deaf people. Here you will be treated with delicious cakes and incredible tea in the Eastern style.
Move on to the house of a lantern craftsman. There, you can observe the lantern craftsman’s technique before hands-on work through each stage of lantern-making under the guidance of the enthusiastic craftsmen: from bending it into the frame, cutting cloth, gluing, to completing lanterns. Before this trip concludes, you will have your own lantern created by your own hands.
Now, it’s time for your Hoi An street food discovery tour. With your guide, you will weave in and out the tiny alleyways, get to chow down with the locals at stalls you’d never discover on your own. Every day at 4 pm, Hoi An’s streets filled with a myriad of street food carts, stalls, and vendors. The street food tour is a great introduction for you to enjoy a few of the Hoi An specialties cooked up by the locals, to introduce you to the faces behind the stock pots and to teach you how the Hoi An locals deal with those condiment trays!
Overnight in Hoi An
After an early breakfast, your private guide and driver will pick you up and transfer you to My Son Sanctuary – lies in a geological basin surrounded by a ring of mountains, about an hour inland from Hoi An. The indigenous Cham tribes chose this easily defendable location to build the capital of their empire, which grew steadily between the 4th and 13th centuries. Used as a military base by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War, My Son was heavily bombed, but many ruins remain standing. In 1999, UNESCO designated My Son a Unesco World Heritage Site.
Upon arrival, you will enjoy a walking tour for two hours around this historic complex. Learn about the original building techniques applied during construction and the traditional materials that were used, such as timber, brick, and stone. You will also look out for the numerous craters that were left here by American bombs from the war in the 1960s and 70s.
After exploring the ruins, you will have a chance to watch the traditional Apsara Dance beside the historic temples. The ladies will give a dance demonstration to the sounds of panpipes and drums, wearing colorful traditional costumes and cone-shaped hats.
Back to your hotel in Hoi An. Stop en route to visit a rice paper workshop to test your culinary skills and learn how to make a delicious local snack. You will then sit back and enjoy your creations with a cup of Vietnamese coffee and engage in a friendly chat with our hosts about the rural way of life here.
Free time at leisure. There’s so much to do in this paradise: explore the local market and try it’s street food (try Lao Cau and White Rose Dumpling), get some tailoring done within 24 hours, join a hands-on cooking class.
The beautiful beach of An Bang is only 5km away from the Ancient Town. You can ride the bicycle there for some swim and relaxing time.
Overnight in Hoi An
Today is completely a free day for you in this paradise. Revisit the Ancient Town again and enjoy everything that Hoi An has to offer you; from many great restaurants to lovely cafes and pastry shops. You can consider joining a Yoga or Tai Chi Qigong class at Nomad Yoga Hoi An. Apart from the classes, you can mingle with other like-minded souls.
Overnight in Hoi An
After breakfast, your private driver will transfer you to Da Nang Airport for a short flight to Buon Ma Thuot in the Central Highlands of Vietnam.
Upon arrival, you will be met by your private guide and driver and taken directly to your hotel in the City center for check-in.
Set out to explore Buon Ma Thuot, the coffee capital of Vietnam which has played a key role in Vietnam’s success as the world’s top Robusta exporter, and second coffee exporter after Brazil.
Start with a visit to Trung Nguyen coffee village, a lovely garden filled with fountains, interesting architects and of course lovely coffee! Here you can learn about Vietnamese coffee culture, coffee trees, the coffee processing industry.
The next stop is the impressive Ethnographic Museum. The exhibits here will give you an insight into the lives and cultures of the ethnic minority people of the Central Highlands of Vietnam.
Proceed to Kien Cuong Civet Coffee Garden. You will meet the owner Mr. Kien Cuong “the king of coffee” who will tell you how he farms and processes the famous Civet-coffee (the most expensive coffee in the world).
Continue to visit AkoDhong village, home to Ede Ethnic Minority who lives in the long house-on-stilts. At the village, you pause at the village chief’s house (Ama H’Rin house) and learn about the Ede people and their Matriarchal Society.
Return to Buon Ma Thuot in the late afternoon and spend the remainder of the day at your leisure.
Overnight in Buon Ma Thuot
After an early breakfast, your private guide and driver will collect you from your hotel and transfer you to Yok Don National park to join with the team from the Elephant Conservation Project.
Upon arrival, after a brief introduction, you will meet the elephant caretakers and enjoy a full day exploring the forest in search of the three elephants who now freely roam the national park. Your guide will tell you about each individual elephants’ personality, their background and why they are living in Yok Don National Park. The ethnic minorities in this area have a long history of training and working with elephants and your guide can share these stories too.
During the trek, your guides will share their knowledge of the national park, pointing out the many species of plants and wildlife inhabiting this forest, and showing you the plants used in traditional medicine by some of the local ethnic minority people.
You may even encounter signs of the rare wild elephant community within the park, such as their footprints, foraging signs or dung.
Enjoy a picnic lunch in the middle of the park.
After lunch, you will continue to trek until you reach the elephants’ home deep in the jungle. You will have a chance to meet the Elephants and take part in washing them (30 minutes) and feeding them bananas and sugar cane. As the centre focuses on the conservation and ethical treatment of the elephants, they no longer allow elephant rides, but this just makes for a better experience as the elephants are happier and healthier.
Finish your fabulous day and wind your way back to Buon Ma Thuot.
Overnight in Buon Ma Thuot
After breakfast and check out your private guide and driver will take visit the famous waterfalls of D’ray Nur and Dray Sap. Fed by the Srepock River, a major tributary of the Mekong River that flows from the Central Highlands into northeastern Cambodia, Dray Nur and Dray Sap waterfalls are definitely the must-sees.
Upon arrival, take a short walk through some lush forest and around the base of the waterfall. If you’re really feeling adventurous you can walk under a small portion of the waterfall and rinse off.
Depart Buon Ba Thuat you will be driven to Lak Lake. Vast, tranquil and fringed by rolling hills, Lak Lake is the Central Highland’s largest natural freshwater lake. Take a boat trip on the lake and visit a local village, home to the Mnong people, a tribe that relies on the lake for their livelihood and they can be seen fishing in traditional dugout canoes.
After the boat trip, pay a visit to Bao Dai Villa where the last King of Vietnam used to live. Perched on top of a hill, the building was one of the emperor’s many, many holiday homes in the Central Highlands, a region he frequented to indulge in one of his favourite pastimes, hunting.
Continue your road journey south passing through spectacular mountain scenery, to the former French colonial hill station of Dalat. The high altitude, cool climate and natural beauty are what first drew the French colonialists here in the first half of the 20th century. It flourished as an alpine/lakeside summer holiday town, garnering it yet a nickname, “Le Petit Paris” or little Paris.
Arrive Da Lat in the late afternoon and check into your resort. The remainder of the day will be at your leisure.
Overnight in Da Lat
After breakfast, you will meet your guide and driver again and embark on a sightseeing tour around Dalat. First, you will visit Bao Dai’s Summer Palace that sits on a hill just outside the main centre. Bao Dai was the last Emperor of Vietnam and the Palace has been preserved exactly as he left it in 1954. It is a classic example of art deco that is the city’s major attraction in itself.
Next, visit Truc Lam Zen Monastery (the biggest Zen University of Vietnam at present) surrounded by pine forest. You have an option to take the cable car descending down 300 meters to visit Tuyen Lam Lake which looks like a paradise.
Move on to Hang Nga Crazy House (also known as Hang Nga Guesthouse). Standing in stark contrast to Dalat’s French colonial villas, the bizarre avant-garde guesthouse is a maze of spiral staircases, sculptural bedrooms, undulating surfaces, swirls of bright colors, narrow bridges and hidden nooks.
After lunch at a local restaurant, you will continue to visit Xuan Huong Lake and Lam Ty Ni Pagoda where the folkloric a Buddhist monk, Vien Thuc, produces his abstract paintings and writes poetry.
Proceed to XQ Embroidery workshop and art gallery where you can learn about the history of Vietnamese art and enjoy numerous handmade embroidering masterpieces.
End the tour at the town’s bustling central market, renowned for its fresh flowers, vegetables and fruit that is rarely found in a tropical country. Weave in and out the tiny alleyways and join the locals by pulling up a plastic stool and sampling one of the many street food offerings; barbecued pork, grilled vegetables and especially Da Lat pizza, a round rice paper, covered in egg-bound toppings, and grilled over charcoal.
Overnight in Da Lat
After breakfast, depart Da Lat for the four-hour drive to Nha Trang along a scenic road through the Ngoan Muc Pass, passing tea plantations, forests and tribal villages.
Upon arrival at Nha Trang, check-in to your selected resort and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.
Nha Trang is best known for its palm-lined golden sand beach, which stretches for four miles, and its climate. The town enjoys an average of 300 days of sunshine a year and an average temperature of 26 degrees Celsius.
The evening is free for you to explore Nha Trang, with its many open-air bars and great restaurants.
Overnight in Nha Trang
After breakfast, you will be picked up and transferred to Nha Trang Port to board the Emperor Cruise.
Upon arrival, you will receive a warm welcome by the cruise Captain and his crew followed by a short introduction about Nha Trang Bay, the locals, the food, the culture, safety precautions, and the Emperor Cruises Junk.
Start sailing through the spectacular landscape of Nha Trang Bay. Enjoy the welcome drinks while the guitar player will bring you deep in classical music.
At lat morning you will arrive at Mini Beach where you can either go swimming, kayaking, snorkeling. Alternatively, just relax under the big trees, enjoy the stunning views of the bay and Emperor Cruises’ sails against the emerald waters.
Besides, there are many other activities on the beach that you can join such as Diving, Jetski, Parasailing and Banana boat.
Today you will be served a sumptuous set lunch on board with local beers, soft drink, fine wine, or premium spirits as the boat anchors near Hon Tre Island with its tranquil lagoon.
After lunch you can go fishing, relaxing or visiting a Fish farm for exploring the beautiful landscape by the unique basket boat.
Cruise back to Nha Trang Port passing Vung Ngan floating village and Vinpearl Island, before catching a glimpse of the Bao Dai Villas as you return to the mainland.
Transfer back to your resort where you spend the remainder of the day at your leisure.
Overnight in Nha Trang
The whole day is free at your leisure. Enjoy the comforts of the resort, indulge in spa treatments or just relax on the white sand beach.
Overnight in Nha Trang
Enjoy another day at leisure in Nha Trang.
Overnight in Nha Trang
After breakfast, your driver will transfer you to Nha Trang airport for a short flight to Can Tho, located in the heart of the Mekong Delta.
Upon arrival at Can Tho Airport, you will be picked up and driven to Ninh Kieu pier where you will board the Bassac Vessel, a beautifully crafted wooden boat offering the style and elegance of traditional rice barges typical to the Mekong Delta, that is your home for the evening.
After a welcome drink, introduction to the boat and crew, you start cruising downstream of the Hau river.
Enjoy a delectable lunch on the boat’s upper deck.
During the afternoon there is an opportunity to disembark and walk around local villages and learn about the villagers’ way of life; such as how they grow rice, fruit, and vegetables. You will pause at some of the local cottage industries that operate along the river banks, providing a living for the river people.
Board back, rest on the deck and enjoy the sunset. Tonight you will be served a scrumptious dinner while the Bassac is cruising along Mang Thit River towards her anchorage point for the night.
Overnight on Board the Bassac Vessel
An early breakfast will be served while the boat cruises on the way to Cai Be.
The Bassac crosses Co Chien river and then slips into the Chợ Lách canal, in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the river traffic, between markets and churches, giving you a unique opportunity for a glimpse of the very varied life on the banks as well as on the water.
Arrival near Cai Be, check-out and transfer to a rowing boat for a quiet visit through a small canal if the tide allows.
Rendez-vous with a local boat, which will take you to shore for a visit of Cai Be’s local cottage industry.
The tour will end at Cai Be town where your guide and driver are waiting for you and transfer directly to Ho Chi Minh City, still called Saigon by the locals.
Arrive and check into your hotel in the City center. The rest of the afternoon and evening is at leisure to explore the city on your own or visit the Night market and enjoy delicious local food.
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City
As learning about the past is the key to understand the present and prepare for the future, today you will embark on a historical exploration around HCM City to discover the stories of Vietnam during the War.
After breakfast, your private guide and driver will collect from you from your hotel to start with the first visit to the Reunification Palace which was the former residence of South Vietnamese President during the war. The palace was the site where the war came to an end as the North Vietnamese Army’s tank crashed through its gates during the Fall of Saigon operation. After that, proceed to the War Remnants Museum where you will learn more about war history. Besides the numerous artifacts and photographs about the War, you could also view the collection of bombs, tanks, planes, and helicopters displayed in the outdoor area.
Then, it is off to the area known as Paris Square, a small square located in central HCM City in District 1, which lies between the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon and Nguyen Du Street. This is also the starting point of the famous Dong Khoi Street. The square is surrounded by two remarkable architectural works: Central Post Office and Notre-Dame Cathedral and The sheer beauty of the cathedral seems to lure you in as you find yourself falling in love with this picturesque landmark.
Enjoy a delightful lunch with Banh Xeo (Vietnamese Pancake), Bo La Lot (grilled beef in Lot leaf), and Nem Cuon (Fresh spring roll with grilled pork).
After lunch, you will visit the Fito Museum, tucked away in a quiet corner of the busy city the museum displays the tools of traditional Vietnamese medicine. After that, you are taken to an old apartment where the last US helicopter fled from Vietnam in 1975 signaling the end of the War. You will also pass by the former US Embassy and the Villa 60 Vo Van Tan that once housed General William Westmoreland, commander of all US forces in Vietnam.
Continue to visit the famous Jade Emperor Pagoda built by the very first Chinese community in Ho Chi Minh City more than 100 years ago. It is also known as Tortoise Pagoda and is one of the five most important shrines in the city
Finish the day with a visit to the top of the Bitexco Tower, the tallest building in Vietnam for a sundowner with the city’s best views.
Overnight in HCM City
After breakfast, you will be met by your guide and driver and taken to Cu Chi, a small community located northwest of Ho Chi Minh City, known for its network of deep tunnels that provided shelter and an effective source of infiltration for the Viet Cong during the later years of the Vietnam War.
Upon arrival, you will watch the original film footage from the period, followed by a walk through the reserve. The hidden network of Viet Cong tunnels is believed to stretch to “hundreds of miles,” in total length, housed living quarters, storage rooms, makeshift hospitals, and kitchens…etc. Although originally very narrow, some parts have been widened for the tourists and you have the opportunity to explore parts of the system.
Try some of the main food of the Viet Cong Soldiers with a cassava tasting served with tangy tea.
Depart Cu Chi you will be transferred to Cao Dai Temple in Tay Ninh Province. On arrival, set out to explore the sacred temple and learn more about the fascinating Cao Dai religion, which borrows elements from Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, and Taoism. You will then take part in the midday mass, admiring the monks in their colorful robes and listening to the mesmerizing chants.
After lunch at a local restaurant you will be driven back to your hotel in Ho Chi Minh City. Enjoy the remainder of the afternoon and evening at leisure.
Overnight in HCM City
Your private transfer greets you at the hotel after breakfast and escorts you to Ho Chi Minh International Airport where you board your flight home or travel on to more adventures, we will help you with the planning.
This Vietnam In Depth Tour is crafted to dig into the most authentic features Vietnam has to showcase, and upon our firsthand knowledge & experience, offering you the best route and service choices. The price of this trip varies depending on the number of people in your party, dates of departure, and availability of ground services. Please click on REQUEST A FREE QUOTE (above) and supply the required information, enabling us to send you your personalized quote within 24 hours!
Note: Amendments CAN be made to this tour to suite your requirements.
- Discover Hanoi’s best known landmarks, enjoy Hanoi food
- Experience the Russian style night train to Sapa and to Hue.
- Enjoy colorful Sapa hill tribe markets, local tribal villages and stunning landscape
- Spend a night for quality time on board an overnight cruise in Ha Long Bay.
- Visit Imperial Citadel and Emperor Mausoleums in Hue.
- Climb the Marble Mountain, Walk through charming town of Hoi An and taste the local food.
- Have fun with beach time, cooking class, or get some cloth made in Hoi An.
- Visit Ho Chi Minh City landmarks: War Remnant Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral, and Reunification Palace. Crawls of the Cu Chi Tunnels.
- Enjoy a discovery day in lush green Vinh Long, and Floating Market in Can Tho
- 17 hotel buffet breakfasts.
- 5 dinners and 11 lunches at well-selected restaurants (Vegetarian/ Halal food upon request)
- Private Tour Guide in each City of visit (Other languages upon request)
- Private driver with air-conditioned vehicle for daily tours or alternative transportation (such as rail journeys)
- Hand-picked Restaurants and Hotels. (Specified in each quotation)
- Entrance Fees/ Admission for all sightseeing. Well selected activities with some possible extra supprises.
- All airport transfers
- Tour includes regular route PLUS off the beaten track visits.
Private English speaking guide, accommodation, private tours and transfer, domestic flights, A/C vehicles, some main meals, all entrance fees, tax and service charge.
What’s Not Included?
Your international flights from and to Vietnam, entry visa to Vietnam, personal expense, tips to guide and driver.
Free service. No credit card required
Reviews on Our Service
We are committed to giving our customers unforgettable experiences in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and beyond, not just something staged for tourists. Read reviews written by our customers about their experiences in Indochina after they have returned home. These include the ratings and comments on attractions, guides, activities, hotels and food.
Vietnam Luxury Vacation Review: Sightseeing, Culture, 12-Day Travel
Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Sightseeing, Rice Fields, Boat Rides, 18-Day Trip
We started searching for our tour for Vietnam / Cambodia back in October 2022 to start the tour in the first week of January 2023. We selected this travel agency, and contact name provided to us was Elly. She was extraordinary with her communication with us. Excellent English speaking language capability & excellent in communication on Whats app and email communication. We went back & forth few times to arrange the tour we wanted. She was very accommodating in arranging our schedule. We requested automobile tour for both countries, just for two of us.
We requested SUV FOR OUR COMFORT AND WE GOT IT!
We requested to get the high end hotel in each city and she gave us choices and not only that but send videos of each hotel for each City and then waited for us to decide which hotel we select. All the Hotels turned out to be one of the best we would expect to be. M/s Elly, personally came to visit with us on the evening of our first day tour. Very respectful and asked if she could do anything for us.I had requested before in our communication, if she would arrange for power converter for us, since my camera chargers are all in 110. So brought two power converters for us! Something, not everyone will do this kind of service. So all the kiddos to her!
as to the drivers in each city were very courteous, very professional and very careful in how and where they have to do driving.
our Guides in each city were so friendly, courteous and knowledgeable in where ever we visited. How ever wish two guides in Hue An and Ho Chi Minh City spoke English more clearly.
We only wish we had one extra day in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, , however, there is so much to see in the world! Perhaps next time will visit Vietnam.
As to Cambodia, same thing to express about site seeing and our Guide and drivers. Guides and drivers really made our travel thro’ the countries where we do not speak that language, made it so comfortable and enjoyable.
Hi Lam…hope you don’t mind me contacting you directly. My wife Barb & I (Paul) have just arrived home after completing a great tour of Vietnam which was organised through your company Asia Pioneer Travel.
We want to tell you personally how impressed were were with the level of service that we received…it was amazing and the best that we have experienced anywhere. After we made initial contact with you, you handed us over to Chloe to arrange the trip which she did in very quick time and the amount of detail that she went to was fantastic. From the moment that we walked out of Hanoi airport on arrival to see our guide waiting, we knew that we were in for a great trip. The drivers & guides were fantastic and Chloe was in contact by email constantly making sure that everything was going to plan & that we were happy. At one stage we need to vary the itinerary by extending accommodation & changing air tickets and Chloe did that without any fuss or bother.
We also met some wonderful Vietnamese people along the way and Ive got to say that they are our kind of people, very generous & friendly.
Enough of my ramblings, thanks for a great visit to Vietnam, and a special thank you to Chloe for looking after us in such a terrific manner…she is a very special caring lady.
Kind regards & I hope that we have the opportunity to use Asia Pioneer Travel again….Paul & Barb Little from Newcastle Australia
Superbly organised and very flexible
We travelled to Vietnam for two weeks, booking the whole trip through Lizzie at Asia Pioneer, including hotels, excursions, trips, guides and internal flights. Lizzie was so helpful and flexible, accommodating changes to our schedule until the last minute, especially as we missed our connecting flight in Dubai and arrived a day later than planned (our fault). Nothing was too much trouble, including getting my wallet back to me after I left it in the car taking us to the airport.
We started in Hanoi in the North and worked our way south to Ho Chi Minh city (Saigon), taking in Ha Long with its amazing sea stacks and sleeping on a boat, then to Sa Pa on the overnight sleeper train from Hanoi, with its wonderful countryside and rice terraces. Afterwards, we went to Hoi An for three days of relaxation. Hoi An probably my favourite place and three days are enough to cover it. Then onto Hue, the original capital, my least favourite place and then finally on to HMC, which was a real contrast to the North.
The 3-star hotels that Lizzie picked were very good and comfortable, and the guides were very knowledgeable. I would definitely use Asia Pioneer again for future Asia trips.