Off the Beaten Track in Vietnam

18 days - From £2,460 per person

This is a completely unique and spectacular itinerary of Vietnam that takes you off the beaten track and into the lesser-visited parts of the country. It is ideal for the adventurous and intrepid traveller as it includes cave treks including an overnight cave visit where you will camp in the cave for a night, and is faster moving than our other tours to ensure you see as much as possible. It is designed to give you an enormous insight into the lives of minorities within Vietnam where few travellers tread.

Day 1 - Welcome to Hanoi!

Your driver and private guide will meet you at the airport and take you back to your hotel to rest. This evening they will pick you up and take you to Koto Restaurant, a great little restaurant which trains disadvantaged youngsters. Afterwards, you can return to the Viethouse, which is a hidden gem in the heart of the Old Quarter – the perfect beginning to your off the beaten track adventure. (Deluxe Room, B&B).

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Day 2 - Discover a Hidden Hanoi

Today you will explore Hanoi like a local; walk down the capital’s winding streets with a private walking, try local street food and have a local whipped coffee in a hidden coffee shop before exploring Hoa Lo Priosn where American and French POWs were once held and the Temple of Literature built in 1076. Finish your day walking down the city’s railway tracks and then stop for a home brewed beer, the renowned Bia Hoi.

Days 3 & 4 - Take an unforgettable cruise of Halong Bay

Today you will join your cruise companions in an air conditioned mini bus and travel four-hours east to Ha Long Bay, a beautiful emerald green bay pierced by hundreds of towering lush islets as far as the eye can see. Here you will embark on a wonderful two-night cruise. Treasure Junk is a wonderful boat as it takes a different route to the rest of the crowds on the bay. Breakfast, lunch and dinner is included each day, as is swimming and kayaking. (Standard cabin, B,L&D).

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Day 5 - Bid farewell to the bay

Rise early today to make the most of the short morning on board and visit a floating village in Halong Bay. You will return to Hanoi with your cruise companions and there will be time for dinner in town before catching the night train to Dong Hoi in the centre for your rural Vietnam adventure. First class sleeper tickets are included in the cost of this holiday – your guide will take you straight onto the activities below.

Day 6 - Visit Paradise Cave

Your guide and driver will meet you at the train station and take you for breakfast before checking into the Lakehouse, a scenic guest house. Enjoy a local lunch of fresh roasted chicken with the best peanut sauce before departing for Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park – to explore Padise cave. (You need to climb 700 steps and walk about 1km underground). It is a feast for the eyes and soul, with a scene that is not dissimilar to something from “Lord of the Rings”. Breakfast & lunch included. (Lakeview Room).

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Day 7 - Begin your overnight cave adventure

Today you will begin an overnight adventure through the magical Hang En Cave. You begin by hiking through rich jungle to reach the Ban Doong minority village, where a hot cup of tea welcomes you. Lunch takes place shortly after near the river, and then it’s back into the jungle, through river streams, and across the river valley until Hang En lays on the horizon. Enter the cave around 3pm, and enjoy your afternoon swimming, before a sizzling BBQ dinner is served, complete with rice wine. (Overnight in cave with guide).

Day 8 - Enjoy the natural wonders of Hang En Cave

This morning, enjoy an early breakfast in the cave and trek through the dry passage to the viewpoint high above camp, where 300 million year old fossils can be seen. In the late morning, trek back through the mountainous river valley, through jungle, and across streams, until reaching Doong village again. Enjoy a picnic lunch by the stream and then prepare for the biggest challenge ahead – climbing the  hill up to the Ho Chi Minh Road. From here you will be driven back to the Lakehouse where will stay tonight.

Day 9 - Drive through rural Vietnam to Da Nang

Today you will take the long, and often, scenic road to Hoi An via DMZ area. En route, visit Ben Hai River – the 17th Parallel, Vinh Moc tunnel – the famous “Underground city” and stop for lunch at the seaside restaurant at Cua Tung beach. Arrive Hoi An in the late afternoon with a break in Hue Imperial city and check into the lovely An Bang Beach Hideaway Homestay (beachfront villa).

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Days 10 - 12 - Three days on the beach in Hoi An

Take three full days to soak up this glorious beach town. Hoi An has it all; delicious cuisine, fabulous tailors and shopping and a beautiful beach. We haven’t organised anything for you so you can have a lazy breakfast, explore and sunbathe at your own pace (but do ask us about local excursions here including a fun fishing trip in traditional basket boats with local fishermen!) If you would like to extend your time here let us know.

Day 13 - See the highlights of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

This morning we will fly you to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), where you will take a fascinating panoramic tour to see the highlights of the city including the War Remnants Museum, the Reunification Palace, the Notre Dame Cathedral, the historic Central Post Office. End the trip with a visit to Ben Thanh Market: time for shopping. Afterwards, check into the Majestic Hotel for an insight into retro colonial Vietnam (colonial room).

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Day 14 - Visit the Cu Chi Tunnels by speedboat

Join a small group on a speedboat to the Cu Chi Tunnels this morning and enjoy a light breakfast on board as your guide explains rural traditions and aspects of riverbank life. Explore the underground world of Cu Chi, which includes weapon and booby trap exhibitions, navigating an authentic Viet Cong tunnel, visiting different underground bunkers (kitchens, meeting rooms, ammunitions etc.), a firing range and much more. Return to Saigon for a free afternoon.

Day 15 - Begin Your Mekong Delta Experience

This morning you will drive to Ben Tre, on the edge of the Delta, and take a boat cruise to observe river life and short walk through various local workplaces where you will be able to picture how local people work before a local-style lunch. Afterwards, it’s time to board a sampan for a relaxing trip along narrow canals before cycling through the orchards to Mr. Khanh’s house, a passionate antiques collector. When the tour finishes, you will head toward Cho Lach homestay to relax for the evening (basic room)

Day 16 - Getting off the Beaten Track in the Mekong

After breakfast, enjoy a bike ride in the countryside and visit the local market of Cho Lach, where you will discover fruit garden and you will meet a local arborist. He will explain to you his work and his daily life. Lunch will take place at a local house with homemade meals. In the afternoon, we will head towards Soc Trang, a much lesser-visited part of the Mekong where you will check into Que Toi Hotel (luxury room).

Day 17 - Explore an authentic floating market

Rise before the sun to see Nga Nam floating market at its most authentic, where five rivers flowing in different directions meet. You’ll also visit Chen Kieu pagoda with thousands of bowls of all sizes attached to its roof, walls and pillars and a unique funeral house that was built by family with thousands of Buddha on roof grave. After lunch on own, you will visit Ma Toc Pagoda (Bats Pagoda) before driving onto Can Tho, the capital of the Mekong Delta for a night at the Nam Bo Boutique Hotel.

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Day 18 - Bon Voyage!

After an early breakfast we will board our local boats to visit the Cai Rang Floating Market, the most famous floating market of the Mekong Delta. Afterwards, we will drive you four hours back to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) where you can catch your international flight home… safe travels!

DETAILS:

This itinerary costs from £2,460 per person B&B based on 2 sharing and including all private transfers but not international flights.

You can get flights from as little as £500 per person return and do ask us for advice. Alternatively we can book the flights for you but a booking fee may apply.

INCLUDED:

  • Prices start from £2,460 per person
  • Accommodation on B&B basis
  • Cruise has breakfast, lunch and dinner included
  • Private transfers (air-conditioned vehicle)
  • All entrance fees with service of English speaking guide for excursions
  • Lunch on Days 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15 & 16
  • Dinner on Days 1 & 7
  • Internal flight (one)
  • Local taxes
  • All trips are ATOL protected or ABTA bonded to ensure you are fully covered