Vietnam Off the Beaten Path
- Active Adventure
- Culture & Heritage
- Off The Beaten Path
Day 1 – 4: Ho Chi Minh City – Mekong Delta
- Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City. City tour. Explore Vung Liem (Mekong Delta).
Day 5 – 11: Dalat – Buon Ma Thuot – Pleiku - Kon Tum
- Fly to Dalat. Go trekking and kayaking, visit Dalat Night Market.
- Trek to the villages of the ethnic groups – Ede, M’nong. Have a full-day elephant experience. Sightsee the museums, churches and villages in Kon Tum.
Day 12 – 13: Hoi An
- Head to Hoi An. Take a cooking class and go kayaking.
Day 14 – 18: Hanoi – Sung Village – Da Bia Village – Thung Nai
- Fly to Hanoi. Tour around the capital. Explore life in Sung Village and Da Bia Village. Private boat trip in Thung Nai Reservoir.
Day 19 – 22: Ninh Binh – Lan Ha Bay - Hanoi
- Travel to Ninh Binh. Visit the impressive sites here.
- Cruise in Lan Ha Bay. Marvel at the towering limestone islets.
- Return to Hanoi for your departure flight.
The best tour for those who wish to see the lesser-known parts of Vietnam and steer away from the crowds. Enjoy an insightful tour of Ho Chi Minh City, followed with a bike tour to the small villages in Vung Liem (in the Mekong Delta). In Dalat, trek through lush forests with excellent views of nature and kayak on Paradise Lake. Discover the central highland, a hidden gem that travellers usually miss, and visit Buon Me Thuot, Kon Tum and Daklak – the three most important cities in this region. There will be a day for you to experience taking care of the elephants at Yok Don National Park. Feel the tranquil vibe of Hoi An and practice cooking a traditional meal. Tour Hanoi while riding on the back of the Russian Minsk Motorcycle. Venture up north, trek along the scenic mountain paths and lush rice paddies, through the villages of Sung and Da Bia. See the alluring karst landscapes of Ninh Binh. Finish the tour after Cat Ba Island and a cruise ride to admire the many stunning karst limestones in Lan Ha Bay.
Xin Chao! Welcome to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Upon arrival, your private guide and driver are waiting to meet you at the arrivals lounge, holding up a welcome signboard with your names on it and take you directly to your hotel in the city centre.
After checking-in, you will have time to relax and adjust to the pace of HCM City, still called Saigon by the locals. There will be a short tour briefing this evening with your guide followed by a welcome dinner at Bloom restaurant. Your visit will ‘Make A Difference’ to this Culinary Vocational Training facility developed by the charity ‘Aid to Children Without Parents’ that provides training to disadvantaged young people in the hospitality industry enabling them to become self-reliant.
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 HCM City
Rise early this morning (avoid the crowds) to enjoy an insightful tour of Ho Chi Minh City. Experience some of the city’s hidden treasures as your travel by cyclo (rickshaw) and private car with your personal guide who will get you off the crowded tourist trail.
Hop on your cyclo and begin with a leisurely ride through the quiet streets while the traffic is more sedate. Pause to visit the Notre Dame Cathedral and the General Post Office (designed by Gustave Eiffel) as the streets start to stir.
Next is the local park of Tao Dan. In this vibrant metropolis, green spaces are cherished and locals flock here each day to relax and enjoy nature. Hop off your cyclo and enjoy a cup of coffee while being serenaded by beautiful bird calls in a special section of the park where ornithologists congregate with their prized birds.
From the park, you will head to the memorial site dedicated to the Buddhist monk, Thich Quang Duc. During the ride, your guide will take you to one of the best places in the city to eat Pho (Vietnamese Noodle Soup), usually a well-kept secret.
Pick up the pace when you swap your cyclo for your private car and travel along Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street to visit a traditional wet market. This is a fascinating window into the local culture. Continue to visit a secret weapons bunker which was used to hide the arsenal of Sai Gon Commandos. Among them are about 2 tons of weapons, which were prepared for the Tet Offensive (January 1968).
End your fabulous morning tour with a fragrant stroll around Ho Thi Ky Flower Market, the city’s hidden gem. Here you will be lost by a hundred kind of flower and amazed by their beautiful colours.
After the market, you will get back to the hotel where you will spend the rest of your day at leisure.
Overnight in HCM City
After breakfast meet your personal guide and driver and embark on a three-hour journey through the lush countryside to Vung Liem (in the Mekong Delta) where you will enjoy the real Mekong Delta experience away from the tourist streams.
Upon arrival, you will check into the bungalows at Co Co Riverside Lodge. Nestled into the side of the Mekong River surrounded by coconuts forest and rice farms, the lodge makes you feel as though it’s far from the civilization.
After a traditional lunch, select bicycles for a leisurely ride on quiet village roads passing coconut farms, green rice paddies, and small villages. Along the way, you will pause to visit one of the many dragon fruit plantations and taste it directly in the garden. This is a real chance to discover a rural Vietnam that most visitors never get to see.
Ride back to the lodge while capturing the picturesque Asian sunset scenes.
After some shower and rest, you will walk with locals using traditional torches made of dried coconut leaves to a neighbour’s house where you are treated to a traditional musical performance.
Get back to the lodge again and join a fun cooking class with the chef. Then sit down and enjoy what you have together cooked.
Enjoy the rest of the evening at leisure.
Overnight at Co Co Riverside Lodge in Vung Liem
Following breakfast, you will head out to visit a local school and a nearby market. After that take a leisurely boat ride through palm-fringed back canals visiting the local cottage industries. Situated alongside the river, these are small coconut-processing operations. Once the coconut has been shelled, the coconut fibers are removed from the husk to make rope, which in turn is used to weave rugs.
Cross a local ferry to visit a temple of the Cao Dai which is a fascinating insight into a local religion.
Back to the Lodge. If time permits, try our hand at weaving with water coconut leaves. The leaves are a key building material in the Mekong Delta and used to build the walls and roofs of homes. The local people will show you not only how they use these leaves but also how to make the ‘poon’ sticks that illuminated last night with the musical performance.
Check out. Bid a fond farewell to the staff at the lodge and wind your way back to Ho Chi Minh City. Then transfer to the airport for a short flight to Dalat, the former French Hill Station located 1,500 m (4,900 ft) above sea level on the Langbian Plateau in the southern parts of Vietnam’s Central Highlands region. Temperate and cool compared to the rest of the country, Dalat has earned the name “City of Eternal Spring” due to the mists that cover its nearby valleys nearly all year round.
On arrival, you will be picked up by your private guide and driver and then transfer to your hotel for check-in.
Overnight in Dalat
After breakfast, meet your personal guide and embark on a three-hour trek which starts from the beautiful Bao Dai Waterfall, also known as Jráiblian falls. From here you will walk through a small village and then the evergreen pine forest. Soon you will notice a dramatic change in scenery from pine to thick jungle. Walk the rolling hills among the vines, board-leaf trees and enjoy the cool jungle breeze. You will get to see the hundred-year-old trees and if you are lucky you can see the wild orchid in bloom or a solitary gibbon swinging off in the distance.
Upon exiting the thick jungle section you will reach Samson mountain, one of the most beautiful spots for pictures in Da Lat. From the peak of the mountain, you can see the fantastic view of Da Lat’s town, the surrounding area as well as the stunning view of the Langbian, the highest mountain in Dalat.
After about 3 hours of exploring you will arrive at Paradise Lake where you will enjoy a picnic lunch prepared by your guide.
After lunch, you will take your kayaks and paddle around the islets and secrets spots on the lake. This area is also known as the most popular spot in Vietnam for bird watching. Take in the beautiful scenery of the lush pine forest that borders the lake.
After about 2 hours of exploring you will get to the other end of the lake where your driver is waiting for you and take you back to your hotel.
Arrive at the hotel around 15.00 where you will spend the remainder of the afternoon and evening at leisure. You can go for a wander through the streets for a better feel of the city or find a café for a cup of artichoke tea, a regional specialty. A visit to Da Lat Night Market is highly recommended. Here you can sample 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 Dalat
After breakfast, your guide and driver will take you on a four-hour drive from Dalat to Lak Lake. The journey takes you past ethnic villages, rice fields, and rivers.
Upon arrival, you will cross Lak Lake by dug-out canoe to M’Lieng village, meet the M’nong people, a tribe that relies on the lake for their livelihood and they can be seen fishing in traditional dugout canoes. You have time to walk around the village to find out more about daily life in the Central Highlands.
Leaving Lak Lake you will continue your journey for one-hour more towards Buon Triet Lake. Upon arrival, you are taken to paddle boats and ride across the beautiful Buon Triet Lake with the opportunity for a swim.
Later you will arrive at Jatu Village, home to the M’nong minority people, one of the native ethnic groups in the Central Highlands. The M’nong has many small groups such as M’nong Gar, M’nong Nong, M’nong Bih … who also practice the matriarchy and their language belongs to the Mon-Khmer language system. Ja Tu is a small village with 14 households and about 60 people living together. They live on rice cultivating, raising cattle and gathering from the forest.
The house where you stay overnight in Ja Tu village is the long house-on-stilts. The host is Ama Loan who is also the chief of the village.
Overnight in Jatu Village
After breakfast, you will bid a fond farewell to the local family and embark on a full day’s trek (around 14km) through the evergreen forest and will involve a climb as well as descending through the forest and crossing a stream. Along the way, you will get to see many tropical birds, forest wildlife and meet some hill tribe people.
After enjoying a picnic lunch en-route you will continue to trek toward Nam Ka Lake where you hop on a boat and paddle for 4 km.
In the late afternoon, you will arrive at the rural village of Rai in Nam Ka, home to the Ede minority people. Like Jatu village, Rai has 15 households and about 75 residents in the village. People here also live mainly on rice cultivation, raising cattle, pigs and other kinds of poultry. Besides, they also earn more money by hunting and gathering. Ede people practice matriarchy and their language belongs to the system of the Malayo-Polynesian language system. They come to Vietnam from Malaysia South Island by boat so their house architecture also built in the boat shape to remember their ancestors crossing the sea to the land.
The family that you spend the night at Rai village is chief Ay Sel’s. This is a traditional long house-on-stilts of the Ede style with a staircase decorated with a young moon symbolizing faithful and a couple of breasts symbolizing prosperity and matriarchy.
Enjoy a delicious home-hosted dinner with the local family. Take a chance to learn about their lifestyle and customs.
Overnight in Rai Village
After breakfast and check out, say goodbye to the family hosts and take a three-km trek through the rural villages. Then you will be picked up by your driver and transfer to Buon Ma Thuot City, 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.
En route, you will pause to visit two of the most impressive waterfalls in the Central Highlands: Dray Sap and Dray Nu.
Arrive and check into your hotel in the City centre. After a short rest, you will seat out to Explore the city.
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).
End the tour and return to your hotel where the rest of the afternoon and evening is 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, your private guide and driver will transfer you to Kontum via Pleiku. Pause to visit Phun village, a small village of the Jarai ethnic group, best known for their cemeteries adorned with wooden statues. You also have a chance to stop at coffee, rubber and pepper plantations along the way.
After the five-hour drive, you will arrive Kontum. Take a tour of the town including the museum, wooden church, an orphanage, and the Kon K’Lor suspension bridge. Later you will take a leisurely hike past tea plantations and the villages of Kon Ko Lor Lor I and Kon Ko Lor II.
Board a wooden boat on the Dakbla River and cruise to the village of Kon Ko Tu, home to the Bahnar minority people, where you are their guests for the night. The Bahnar people are famous for their “Rong” houses (the traditional communal house). The towering thatch curved axe-blade shaped roof is quite a magnificent sight when approaching the village from afar. Rong house is used for important town meetings, secret ceremonies and for tribal court, with cases decided upon by the village chief.
Enjoy the home-hosted dinner and spend the night at the local home, clean and comfortable.
Overnight in Kon Ko Tu village
After breakfast and check out you will meet your guide and driver again and depart for a seven-hour drive to Hoi An. Stop en route to visit Dakto Tan Canh victory monument and the former war sites such as Charlie hill & Phoenix Airfield, also known as Dak To Base Camp and Dak To II Airfield, now just a bare empty patch of asphalt farmers use to dry cassava.
Continue your road drive. Pause to visit Dak Che waterfall and the Rong house of Gie-Triêng minority people. Lunch at a local restaurant in Kham Duc town
Arrive in Hoi An and check into the beautiful Hoi An Eco Lodge, tucked away in a quiet village a couple of kms from Hoi An Ancient Town and the beach. Hoi An ecolodge is an oasis of peace, where you can totally regenerate.
Overnight in Hoi An
After breakfast, you will meet your private guide and head to the 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 exciting time at the market, walk to the jetty to embark on the motorized Chic Boat cruising down the Thu Bon River. Take in the stunning scenery along the river. Relax and feel the cool wind in your hair while watching the river life of the locals.
Later your boat will stop to launch the kayaks into the river for a leisurely paddle around (about 45 minutes). Explore and experience some of the hidden corners and the natural beauty of Hoi An.
Embark the boat again. Enjoy a welcome drink, then start the cooking class on board. Your personal chef will first show you how to prepare and cook each dish before you try your hands.
It’s time to roll up your sleeves, under the instruction of your chef, discover the “friendship” of flavors the medley with “Tam Huu”, enjoy an exciting feeling when you have a mouthful of greasy, salty, crispy of deep-fried fish spring rolls and get the strong taste of chicken braised with ginger, which will help you to unravel the secrets of authentic Viet cuisine.
Lunch will be served more with steamed rice, vegetable soup, and a dessert.
After lunch, you will spend time to relax and enjoy everything that the river has to offer you on your return journey to Hoi An. Disembark at the Jetty and transfer back to your Ecolodge
Spend the rest of the afternoon and evening at your leisure. You can take the bicycle from the lodge and ride around its neighborhood.
Overnight in Hoi An
The whole day is at your leisure. There are no planned activities. You may head to the Ancient Town for your exploration or perhaps you can ride the bicycle to the beach for some swim and relaxing time. Otherwise enjoy the comforts of the Ecolodge.
Overnight in Hoi An
After breakfast, you are collected by your private driver and transferred to Da Nang airport to board a short flight to Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam.
Your private guide and driver will pick you up at Hanoi’s Noi Bai airport and take you to your hotel in Hanoi Old quarter for check-in. Free to relax afterward.
Enjoy your free time. You may take a stroll through the narrow lanes of the Old Quarter.
Your tour guide will take you to Bong Sen theater where you will experience the Water Puppet Show, a unique and traditional Vietnamese art performance. Marvel at the craftsmanship of the colorful puppets and the skillful manipulating by the true artists as they control the puppets behind a “water stage.”
Overnight in Hanoi
Today you will experience Hanoi Off the Beaten Path in the back of the Russian Minsk Motorcycle. This one-of-the-kind tour will bring you into the true livings museum of Hanoi life, give you a rich insight into how the locals live. With your experienced guides (also your drivers), you will explore Hanoi’s different neighborhoods, a few key attractions, local markets, and beautiful urban agricultural land on an island. They will show you some hidden gems of Hanoi and special places where you can taste amazing street food. Motorbike tour? It sounds a little scary but you will be safe with your courteous, friendly, and very professional drivers.
Note: If you are not keen on the motorcycle, there is an alternative option for your family to take an open-air war-time Jeep car.
After breakfast you will be met at the hotel lobby at the appointed time by your guides (also drivers) and after some safety briefing, set off as pillion riders on Russian built 1952 150cc motorcycles heading out of the city. While riding you will be shown some sights and your guides knowledgeably and proudly explain their city.
The first stop is at the black market where you will get through tiny zigzag alleyways. Meet and interact with the friendly local people. Pause at a food court in the back of the market and try some delicious street food.
Continue your ride zipping in and out of the backstreets. You will arrive at a local home where you are introduced to an old woman at her apartment to hear about her life stories.
Proceed to a narrow stretch of housing where the only space between both sides of the street is the railroad track. Here your guides have timed it so you can get to see a Reunification Express train passing through! It’s your Kodak moment.
Return to the City you are driven through the French colonial architecture of the precinct known as the French Quater. You will pass the French-style villas, the Vietnam History Museum, the heritage Metropole Legend Hotel, and the Opera House, name to a few.
Proceed to Hanoi’s Old Quarter (in contrast to the French Quarter) to explore the maze of small alleyways and narrow streets. You are safely skirted through traffic amongst the thousands of scooters as you marvel at the composition of the city. Stop at different AUTHENTIC eateries and food stalls to savor the tastiest of the tasty dishes of Hanoi including family heirloom & secret recipe dishes, local delicacies, and specialties.
Ride out of the city toward the historic Long Bien Bridge, a magnificent structure built by the French over a hundred years ago which spans the Red River.
From the bridge, you will get to Bai Giua, more commonly known as Banana Island, a 24ha stretch of land in the middle of the Red River. Running down from the centre of the bridge is a steel staircase leading to an island covered by a green canopy of banana, papaya and guava trees, interspersed with the cloudy-white flowers of the wild reeds. Thanks to the abundance of the Red River’s water, the island has been formed by warp providing shelters for many fishermen. The area is vast with no roads, just beaten paths zigzagging behind gardens and trees. It’s a world away from the hustle and bustle of the vibrant city you left behind.
After meeting some locals and having a leisurely experience in getting to know them you will get back to the City. The final stop will be made at a hidden Cafe for an unmissable egg coffee.
Around midday your guides will drop you back at your hotel where you will bid them a fond farewell. Tour ends.
Spend the remainder of the day at your leisure. Relax and enjoy the comforts of the hotel or have another stroll through the hidden Alleys of the Old Quarter.
Overnight in Hanoi
After breakfast, you will be picked up by your private guide and driver and transferred to Da Bac Commune, in Hoa Binh Province, 100km away from Hanoi where you will escape the tourist trail and discover one of the most authentic, rewarding tourism experiences on offer in Northern Vietnam. Da Bac is a small commune consisting of three remote hill-tribe villages known as the Community-Based Tourism. It is a social enterprise that was set up in 2017 to help create sustainable incomes for families in the area.
After three hours driving through the picturesque countryside, you will arrive at Sung Village, home to the Dzao Tien minority people. There are around 75 households and about 350 residents in the village and they live on farming and forest plantations.
Check into a local home where you will enjoy an authentic Vietnam homestay. The house is beautifully designed with the carved and painted rafters inside the house and the bedrooms. Clean linens and fresh towels are standard, and mattresses and pillows are comfortable. Every bed has a mosquito net and curtains that you can pull across for extra privacy.
After enjoying a delicious lunch cooked and served by the family hosts, you will take a leisurely walk around the village. This area has a cool climate and is famous for its Shan green tea, which you can purchase at a small tea shop in the village. You can also visit a local handicraft workshop where you can see the beautiful textiles which are still handmade using traditional dyeing and embroidery techniques. You will find all the local people in the village still dressed in their traditional costumes.
Take a short trek (approximately 2 kilometres) to the alluring Sung Cave and visit a 100-year-old tea plantation. The trek has some steep and slippery sections so make sure you’ve packed suitable footwear for this activity.
Return to the homestay for your leisure time. You can muster the energy to roll out of your hammock for a couple of hours easily.
End your day with a nice and hot shower and get ready for your authentic dining experience.
Enjoy a delightful dinner while getting to know your family hosts, and experience their lifestyle and culture.
Overnight in Sung Village
Today will be spent delving deeper into this slice of rural paradise. Continue to immerse yourself in nature and the magnificent scenery.
After an early breakfast, say goodbye to your hosts and embark on a five-hour trek (approximately 12 kilometres). You will walk through the lush corn and rice paddies past the glistening lake and the breathtaking limestone karsts. It will be truly spectacular.
During the trek, there will be plenty of opportunities to take photos as you’re rewarded with fantastic views of the breathtaking mountains, valleys and especially the Da Reservoir and its turquoise waters.
Eventually, you will arrive in the village of Da Bia, home to Muong Minority people. Here you will enjoy a delicious lunch served by a Muong family that you will be staying with.
After lunch, you will have the remainder of the day at leisure. If you want to be more active, your guide will take you to visit the local fish farms, which float on the river’s surface. You can also enjoy swimming or kayaking in the Da Reservoir.
Enjoy dinner with your family hosts and spend the evening at leisure.
Overnight in Da Bia Village
After an early breakfast, you will depart Da Bia village and head back to the Da Reservoir where you will board a private boat for your journey (approx. 1-1.5hrs) to Thung Nai harbour. From here you will be picked up and driven through the lush countryside to Son Ha village in Ninh Binh Province.
Upon arrival you will join a “countryside leisure excursion” ride on bicycles, between the lush green fields and through the narrow lanes, seeing the locals going about their daily lives.
After lunch, you will take a relaxing rowing boat down a small canal to visit Thien Ha caves, enjoying the natural scenery along the way. This is a newly discovered eco-tourism attraction and said to be the most beautiful cave in Ninh Binh by tourists, offering endless photo opportunities.
After discovering the Caves you will be rowed for 2,5 hours more on an untouched water route toward Thung Nang “Sunshine Valley”, a pristine area surrounded by sheer limestone cliffs and stunning rice paddies. This promises you a one-of-the-kind experience. Along the way, you can enjoy the fresh air, clean and clear water with underwater grass while having plenty of Kodak moments. Also, the absolute absence of crowds will be a big bonus.
Upon reaching the wharf in Thung Nang, you will be picked up by your waiting driver and taken to 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.
On 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.
Leaving the temple, you will drive to 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.
Finish the tour and transfer to your hotel in Ninh Binh for check-in. The remainder of the afternoon and evening will be at your leisure.
Overnight in Ninh Binh
After breakfast, your private guide and driver will collect you from your hotel and transfer you to Hai Phong city and then catch a local ferry to reach Cai Ba Island where you board a private wooden Junk Boat that is your home for two lovely nights.
On arrival around midday, you’ll be welcomed aboard your Junk boat and begin your cruise toward Lan Ha Bay. Lying south and east of Cat Ba Island, the 300-or-so karst islands and limestone outcrops of Lan Ha are just as beautiful as those of Halong Bay but more isolated and untouched. The special thing about Lan Ha is that the karst formations are close to each other which makes it become the best place for kayaking and swimming activities.
Around midday, the anchor is dropped in the middle of the bay for lunchtime. Enjoy the delightful Vietnamese cuisine along with fantastic panoramic views of the scenery.
Continue the journey to Ba Trai Dao beaches past the floating fish farms. Later your boat will stop to launch the kayaks into the bay for a leisurely paddle the limestone karsts before swimming and sunbathing on the tiny beach.
Return to your Junk boat for a cooking demonstration with the chef. Learn about local ingredients as well as the preparation of classic Vietnamese dishes.
As the sun sets, you will arrive at a remote spot where you get the anchor dropped. Take more swim off the boat if you wish.
After a scrumptious dinner, enjoy some more drinks on the top deck or have some fun fishing for squid with the boat crew before retiring to your cabin for a good night sleep.
Overnight on board in Lan Ha Bay
Get up early to enjoy the sunrise and it’s followed by breakfast. Then get ready to start your second day of adventure. The boat lifts her anchor and cruise to other parts of the bay include the Coconut beach area and Vung Kiem Lam area. You are escorted to discover a hidden lake that can be accessed by only one tunnel-like cave (Hang Sang). Take out the kayaks again and paddle around the lake to enjoy the quietness at this beautiful spot.
You will continue on your cruise toward Viet Hai Village. Once you reach the Viet Hai Pier you will enjoy close-up views of pristine natural surrounds on a leisurely bicycle ride of approximately 5 total km along the quiet, paved paths to the remote village of Viet Hai. Little has changed in Viet Hai since the ancestors of the 80 households settled here centuries ago. Situated in a valley within Cat Ba National Park and surrounded on all sides by forest and mountains, the locals are isolated from the island’s other villages and towns.
You will explore the village school and organic gardens meeting the local people. If you want to be more active you can take a hike up to the summit of Hai Quan Mountain for a wonderful view over the park and a part of Halong Bay.
End the tour and ride back to your boat then cruise to a hidden spot in Lan Ha for your second night.
Enjoy a set-menu dinner. After that try your luck again with the squid fishing before retiring in your cozy cabin.
Overnight on board in Lan Ha Bay
After breakfast, start your day with a gentle cruise, meandering around the sheer cliffs of Lan Ha Bay toward Monkey Island where the beautiful sandy beach is ideal for the last swim. Spend time to relax at the beach or take a short hike up to a viewpoint on the mountain for a wonderful bird.
Return to the boat to check out of the cabin. Then enjoy a set-menu lunch as you cruise back to the shore.
Disembark at the pier where your private driver will take you back to Hanoi.
After checking into your hotel, spend the remainder of the day at your leisure. Stroll around the town or visit Hoan Kiem Lake & Ngoc Son Temple, a short walk from your hotel. It’s beautifully lit up at night.
Overnight in Hanoi
Your private transfer greets you at the hotel after breakfast and escorts you to Hanoi International Airport where you board your flight home or travel on to more adventures, we will help you with the planning.
This sample itinerary was created by our travel experts as inspiration for your next trip. Ready for your customization. You pick to suit your budget, desires, and cultural experiences. The price of this trip will vary, depending on the number of people in your party, dates of departure, and the availability of ground services. Please click on REQUEST A FREE QUOTE (above) and give us the necessary information to enable us to send you a FREE personalized quote within 48 hours if not sooner!
- Explore Ho Chi Minh City like a local, rising early for a cyclo ride through peaceful parks, sipping French-pressed Vietnamese coffee, perusing flowers at a local market
- Discovery Mekong Delta and enjoy a unique experience stay at Co Co Riverside Lodge
- Discover the forests surrounded villages and deep in local life and culture of the native ethnic groups in the Central Highlands of Vietnam
- Visit Buon Ma Thuot, the coffee capital of Vietnam which has played a key role in Vietnam’s success as the world’s top Robusta
- Explore two of the most impressive waterfalls in the Central Highlands of Vietnam: Dray Sap and Dray Nu
- Join a full day elephant experience in Yok Don National park with the stories of training and working with elephants
- Discovery the fascinating Ancient town of Hoi An and take a cookery course
- Experience Hanoi off the beaten path by Russian Minsk motorcycle
- Dip into traditional Vietnamese culture by trekking through lush hill tribe villages in Da Bac
- Row through a huge network of waterways out into lakes dwarfed by limestone mountains in Ninh Binh
- Take the overnight cruise trip, Admire Lan Ha Bay’s majestic beauty
- Free time to wander through the bustling narrow streets of the Old Quarter lined with shop-houses.
- 21 buffet breakfasts.
- 8 dinners and 14 lunches at well-selected restaurants
- Your own private guide and driver for in-depth cultural touring based on your interests
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- Itineraries that are customized according to your interests and preferences
- A seamless travel experience, including all logistics, hand-picked hotels and restaurants, private airport transfers, internal transportation, and entry visa assistance…etc
- Around-the-clock support from your travel designer and concierge before, during and after your trip
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, the 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.