Epic Vietnam Discovery

Contact | 19 Days

Active level: Easy

Hanoi - Ha Giang - Hoang Su Phi - Ninh Binh - Lan Ha Bay - Quang Binh - Hue - Da Nang - Hoi An - Ho Chi Minh City - Mekong Delta

Adventure

Your journey at a glance

There’s no experience quite like exploring the stunning Vietnam you’ve heard of and uncovering hidden landscapes no one has mentioned. This incredible 19-day journey will lead you to renowned destinations across the country, from the karst peaks in Lan Ha Bay to the charming lantern-lit streets of Hoi An, and even to the world’s largest cave system in Phong Nha. Along the way, spice up your journey by going off the beaten path to Ha Giang, where you’ll encounter vibrant ethnic villages surrounded by stunning terraced fields. Or cruising along the maze of waterways in the Mekong Delta to know more about the simple country life.

Brief

Day 1: Hanoi - Arrival

Day 2: Hanoi - City & Street food tour

Day 3: Ha Giang – Hoang Su Phi

Day 4: Hoang Su Phi - Nam Nghi & Phin Ho

Day 5: Hoang Su Phi – Cooking Class

Day 6: Ninh Binh - Trang An Grottoes

Day 7: Lan Ha Bay - Luxury cruise trip

Day 8: Lan Ha Bay - Cat Ba National Park

Day 9: Quang Binh - Phong Nha Cave

Day 10: Quang Binh - Paradise Cave

Day 11: Hue – Demilitarized zone

Day 12: Hue - Imperial Citadel

Day 13: Da Nang - City tour

Day 14: Hoi An - Tra Que Village

Day 15: Hoi An - Ba Na Hills

Day 16: Ho Chi Minh City - City tour

Day 17: Mekong Delta - Village boat trip

Day 18: Ho Chi Minh City - Free & Easy

Day 19: Ho Chi Minh City - Departure

Hanoi - Ha Giang - Hoang Su Phi - Ninh Binh - Lan Ha Bay - Quang Binh - Hue - Da Nang - Hoi An - Ho Chi Minh City - Mekong Delta

Important Information

  • Uncover Hanoi’s street culture on a cylco
  • Trek through rice terraces in Hoang Su Phi
  • Conquer Asia’s largest cave in Phong Nha
  • Enjoy a cave boat ride in Ninh Binh
  • Cruise through karst peaks in Lan Ha Bay
  • Visit UNESCO sites in Hue and Hoi An
  • Experience at a Mekong’s local homestay
  • Unlimited customization upon request
  • Instant support
  • Accommodation with breakfast in the central location and highly recommended on travel forum
  • Experienced local guide (language is upon request)
  • All entrance fees and sightseeing tickets as listed
  • Local dishes with hygiene (others are upon request)
  • Air-conditioned transfer during the whole tour
  • Complimentary water each day
  • Service charges and government taxes
  • Any extra services are upon request

This customized itinerary allows us to tailor the accommodation to your specific preferences and budgetary considerations. Our local travel experts will recommend accommodations that align with the unique requirements of your journey, ensuring comfort, convenience, and a memorable stay.

From local homestay, boutique hotels to renowned hotel chains, we prioritize collaboration with accredited and reputable accommodation providers, guaranteeing the highest possible standards of service and hospitality throughout your entire travel experience.

Detailed information about accommodation for this itinerary will be provided in the final tour proposal.

Here are some essential tips to keep in mind before your trip. Our team is here to help, so don't hesitate to reach out to us with questions.
- Visa & Passport: Check the visa requirements for your nationality well in advance. Also, make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of your trip.
- Health & Safety: Make sure you have suitable travel insurance and consult your healthcare provider about any vaccinations or medications you might need before you travel.
- Dress Code: Pack modest clothing, especially when you plan to visit religious sites or rural areas. Lightweight, breathable clothing is ideal due to the tropical climate.
- Travel Documents: Keep copies of important travel documents (passport, visa, and travel insurance) and store them in a separate place from the originals. It's also a good idea to have digital copies stored on your phone or in cloud storage for easy access.
For more helpful travel tips, check out our free Travel Guide. You can get your copy below:

Itinerary

Day 1: Hanoi - Arrival

Day 1: Hanoi - Arrival

Welcome to Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. Vibrant, inviting, and delightful – the city reveals itself with your first glimpse of scooters whizzing through the streets. Yet in contrast to the city’s modern tempo, the echoes of history still resonate in many architectural sites, reflecting the eras of dynasties and French influence.

No matter your flight schedule, our friendly guide and driver will warmly welcome you upon arrival and take you to your hotel in the city center. Once settling in, you will have a chance to explore Hanoi at your leisure. While no meals have been planned for today, why not fill your stomach with some local dishes? Did you know that Hanoi is the birthplace of Pho, the world’s favorite noodle soup? If your taste buds need direction, our guide can introduce to you the best Pho eateries in town.

Overnight in Hanoi

Day 2: Hanoi - City & Street food tour

Day 2: Hanoi - City & Street food tour

Morning:
Today, let’s embark on a journey through Hanoi’s fascinating history and rich culture. We’ll start at Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum and his traditional stilt house to learn about the inspiring legacy of ‘Uncle Ho’, Vietnam’s beloved former leader. Following our exploration is the unique architecture of One Pillar Pagoda, shaped like a lotus blossom. Our guide then takes you to the Temple of Literature, hailed as Vietnam’s first university, with doctoral steles dating back 1000 years. Later, lunch will be served at a local restaurant.

Afternoon:
You continue the visit to Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, which focuses on the 54 officially recognized ethnic groups in Vietnam. Returning to the city centre, we’ll have an orientation walk in the Old Quarter, passing by Hoan Kiem Lake and diving into Hanoi’s vibrant street food scene. At quaint eateries with only a few plastic tables and stools, we’ll savor dishes that have earned praise even from Michelin inspectors. From the renowned bowl of ‘Pho’ to exotic yet delicious ‘chicken feet’, and even freshly poured ‘draught beer’ delivered daily on motorbikes, each bite and sip tells the lively story of Hanoi’s culinary rhythm.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight in Hanoi

Day 3: Ha Giang – Hoang Su Phi

Day 3: Ha Giang – Hoang Su Phi

Morning:
We’ll spend this morning for a 6-hour road trip from Hanoi to Hoang Su Phi in Ha Giang province. Along the way, we’ll traverse stunning mountain passes through jaw-dropping valleys. Hoang Su Phi remains undiscovered by most tourists, providing a perfect opportunity to escape the urban chaos and immerse yourself in the beauty of nature.

Afternoon:
Upon arrival, shake off that morning travel fatigue and treat yourself to a delicious lunch at Panhou Retreat, your home for the next two days. This eco-resort has a few bungalows nestled amidst the massive forest of Hoang Su Phi, each one blending harmoniously with the natural surroundings. With their rustic charm and cozy interiors, you’ll be offered a peaceful stay amidst the lush greenery. You can spend the rest of your day exploring the resort, soaking up the tranquil melodies of swaying bamboo trees.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight at Hoang Su Phi

Day 4: Hoang Su Phi - Nam Nghi & Phin Ho

Day 4: Hoang Su Phi - Nam Nghi & Phin Ho

Morning:
After breakfast, it’s time for a hiking adventure to Nam Nghi Village. With an indigenous guide leading the way along rugged trails, you’ll discover rice terraces cascading down steep slopes and stretching across rolling hills. Hoang Su Phi is renowned for its towering peaks and winding valleys. Thus, terraced fields stand as proof of ethnic people’s desire to conquer and coexist harmoniously with nature through their diligence, skillful hands, and creativity. Grab your camera to take pictures of farmers tending to their crops and water buffaloes roaming freely on the breathtaking fields. Later, we’ll have a break at a traditional stilt house of a Red Dao family, where you can relax while waiting for lunch or join the host in preparing the meal.

Afternoon:
Continue to the verdant tea hills in Phin Ho, where the hospitable owners eagerly awaits to treat you to a cup of hot tea. You can join them for a visit to the tea factory and learn the art of harvesting and processing the exquisite Shan Tuyet Tea, only found in Hoang Su Phi. Conclude your day with a rejuvenating bath in the hot springs at Panhou Retreat, washing away the tiredness of today.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight at Hoang Su Phi

Day 5: Hoang Su Phi – Cooking Class

Day 5: Hoang Su Phi – Cooking Class

Morning:
After breakfast, prepare to journey back in time as we have a cooking class at Panhou Retreat. We’ll first uncover the culinary secrets of ethnic communities, ingeniously overcoming challenges to create their traditional meals. Led by our skilled chef, head to the resort’s organic vegetable garden, where we can pluck the freshest ingredients straight from the earth. We’ll learn how to cook local specialties using the age-old techniques and recipes passed down through generations of Hoang Su Phi people. Later, it’s time to savor your own meal in the serene natural surroundings.

Afternoon:
Saying goodbye to Hoang Su Phi, we’ll return to Hanoi. On arrival, it’s time for some free-spirited exploration! You can leisurely stroll through the charming old streets, enjoying the lively atmosphere of bustling locals. If you prefer a quieter vibe, our guide can lead you to tiny alleys tucked between street vendors, where you’ll discover the city’s hidden gems – secret upstairs cafes. Treat yourself to Hanoi’s renowned coffee while watching the scooters go by on the street below.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Overnight in Hanoi

Day 6: Ninh Binh - Trang An Grottoes

Day 6: Ninh Binh - Trang An Grottoes

Morning:
You’ll leave Hanoi for Ninh Binh, often called ‘Ha Long Bay on land’, known for its winding river flowing amidst towering limestone mountains. Upon arrival, you’ll visit Hoa Lu’s two remaining temples, both built with dark-red lacquered pillars. The first, Dinh Tien Hoang Temple, dates back to the 17th century and honors the Dinh dynasty. Inside, you’ll find bronze bells and a statue of Emperor Dinh Tien Hoang, with the stone pedestal of a royal throne at the front. The second temple is dedicated to monarch Le Dai Hanh, who had great contributions in building and protecting the country in the 10th century. Later, you’ll enjoy a traditional Vietnamese lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon:
With a satisfied stomach, conclude your day in Ninh Binh with a rowboat cruise along the waterways of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Trang An Grottoes. Marvel at the thousands of stalagmites overhead inside karst peaks and witness the serene rice paddy fields along your route. Afterwards, we’ll return to Hanoi.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Overnight in Hanoi

Day 7: Lan Ha Bay - Luxury cruise trip

Day 7: Lan Ha Bay - Luxury cruise trip

Morning:
Let’s swap city bustle for serene seas today as we’re off on an exciting journey to Lan Ha Bay. After a cozy ride in a private car to the port, you’ll check in and board a luxurious cruise, ready to reveal the untouched beauty of this UNESCO-listed natural wonder. Once the captain sets sail, it’s time to fill your tummy with a delicious lunch and feast your eyes with odd-shaped limestone pillars and hidden coves along the way.

Afternoon:
A bamboo boat awaits to cruise you through a 70-meter water passage of Sang Cave, where you can marvel at the majestic limestone formations above your head. After that, our cruise will drop achor in Tra Bau, a tranquil area with emerald waters where you can enjoy a refreshing swim. When the sun sets, head back to the cruise for a breathtaking view from the top deck, followed by a traditional Vietnamese cooking class. Conclude the day with a delightful dinner and an overnight stay amidst the exotic landscape of Lan Ha bay. And for those craving even more fun, how about joining the cruise staff for midnight squid fishing? Who knows, we might just reel in some squid for a late-night party!

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight on cruise

Day 8: Lan Ha Bay - Cat Ba National Park

Day 8: Lan Ha Bay - Cat Ba National Park

Morning:
Waking up to the melody of waves lapping against the cruise, your day begins with a Tai-Chi session on deck and a warm breakfast after. Today we hop on Cat Ba Island for a hiking outing in Cat Ba National Park. Discovering this UNESCO biosphere reserve, it’s your chance to get to know a variety of rare species. As we go further, we’ll explore Trung Trang Cave with magnificent stalactites and stalagmites. Returning to your cruise, save this time to soak in the panoramic bay views as we cruise back to the shore.

Afternoon:
Now, it’s time for some free-spirited exploration! You can spend your afternoon visiting any sights you didn’t get a chance to previously, like the Temple of Literature or Hoa Lo Prison. After a full day of activities, don’t forget to indulge in the street food paradise around Dong Xuan Market, where you can fill your stomach with the soul of Hanoi cuisine.

Meals included: Brunch
Overnight in Hanoi

Day 9: Quang Binh - Phong Nha Cave

Day 9: Quang Binh - Phong Nha Cave

Morning:
Wake up early for today because we’ll have a short flight to Quang Binh, followed by a car trip to Phong Nha. Upon arrival, shake off that morning travel fatigue and treat yourself to a delicious lunch.

Afternoon:
You will have the rest of your day to visit Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park. Inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2003, Phong Nha is truly a natural paradise for any adventurer. Over millions of years, floods have sculpted the world’s largest caves here, while meandering rivers weave through ancient karsts and jungle-clad mountains create an otherworldly scene. You’ll relish a boat ride along the river through the majestic Phong Nha Cave, celebrating its towering stalagmites. You can also ask the boat rower for a small trek deeper into the cave to get up close and personal with the stunning rock formations.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Overnight in Quang Binh

Day 10: Quang Binh - Paradise Cave

Day 10: Quang Binh - Paradise Cave

Morning:
Let’s start your second day in Quang Binh with an exploration in Paradise Cave, the longest dry cave in Asia! Prepare to be amazed by a stunning forest that leads you to the entrance of this natural masterpiece. Once you step inside the cave, you’ll instantly feel a refreshing coolness, a welcome relief from the outside heat. Paradise Cave lives up to its name; it’s like stepping into a breathtaking haven sculpted by the hands of time and nature. Along a 1-kilometer-long wooden walkway, you’ll be greeted by hundreds of jaw-dropping ivory stalactites that sparkle like glass pillars. Savor your lunch at a local restaurant nearby.

Afternoon:
Once you’ve had lunch, there’s still more adventure to be had! If you’re up for it, explore the Dark Cave with its thrilling activities like zip-lining and exploring fossils, or indulging in a mud bath inside the cave. Or, for a more relaxed vibe, head to the tranquil turquoise waters of Mooc Spring. No matter how hot it is outside, the water stays surprisingly cool – perfect for kayaking and swimming.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Overnight in Quang Binh

Day 11: Hue – Demilitarized zone

Day 11: Hue – Demilitarized zone

Morning:
We’ll spend this morning for a road trip from Quang Binh to Hue. On the way, we will make a stop at the Demilitarized zone (DMZ) in Quang Tri province. This historic 5km stretch on either side of the Ben Hai River endured intensive bombing during the 2-decade war from 1955 to 1975. We’ll walk through Vinh Moc Tunnels, a 2km-long underground complex where more than 60 families sought for refuge and workplace while bombs rained down around them. Our adventure continues with a visit to the historic Hien Luong Bridge which marked the dividing line between North and South Vietnam during wartime. Later, lunch will be served in a local restaurant.

Afternoon:
Upon arrival in Hue, you will have a chance to explore the city at your leisure. As the former imperial capital, Hue boasts a rich culinary heritage that remains a pride for its people. Locals often say that you may find Hue cuisine elsewhere in Vietnam, but it never quite matches the authenticity found here. So why don’t you spend your night for a food tour, tasting the spicy ‘Bun bo Hue’, the meaty ‘Banh bot loc’ or the sweety ‘dessert soups’.?

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Overnight in Hue

Day 12: Hue - Imperial Citadel

Day 12: Hue - Imperial Citadel

Morning:
Your day begins with a romantic boat journey along the Perfume River to visit Thien Mu Pagoda, the seven-storey historic symbol of Hue. Then hop on a bike and pedal your way through the serene countryside to La Chu Village, passing rice fields, lotus ponds and vegetable farms. Your cycling ride ends at a local family’s house, where you’ll be greeted with open arms. It’s time to roll up your sleeves for a small cooking class, preparing some Hue specialties with all the ingredients sourced locally from La Chu.

Afternoon:
Your whole afternoon is to visit to the UNESCO Heritage Site of Imperial Citadel. Built back in the 19th century, this complex was once the royal palace of Vietnam’s last dynasty, the Nguyen. Inside those ancient walls, you’ll discover a treasure trove of significant public buildings, lavish residences, and sacred places of worship. Afterwards, the rest of the day will be on your own.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Overnight in Hue

Day 13: Da Nang - City tour

Day 13: Da Nang - City tour

Morning:
After breakfast, we’ll hit the road along the scenic Hai Van Pass, with jaw-dropping vistas of the boundless ocean, to reach Da Nang. Our first stop will be the Museum of Cham Sculpture which contains the world’s largest collection of Cham ethnic artifacts dating back from the 5th to 15th centuries. Continue to Son Tra Peninsula where you’ll be treated to an incredible panoramic view of charming fishing villages and stunning beaches stretching into the distance. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant.

Afternoon:
We will head to the magnificent Marble Mountains. The mountains have a harmonious blend of structures and nature, with caves, tunnels, towers, and pagodas. Sure, you’ll have to tackle a few flights of stairs to reach the summit, but the breathtaking panoramas make every step worth it. Continue our journey to Non Nuoc Stone Carving Village, a place with over 300 years of history. You’ll be mesmerized by the stone masterpieces crafted by skilled artisans who pour their hearts and souls into their work day and night. Afterwards, we’ll spend some time leisuring at My Khe Beach before going to Hoi An.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Overnight in Hoi An

Day 14: Hoi An - Tra Que Village

Day 14: Hoi An - Tra Que Village

Morning:
Today’s your chance to experience life as a local farmer. You can choose between a leisurely bike ride or a comfy ride in a private car to visit Tra Que Vegetable Village. Did you know this 400-year-old farm village actually supplies organic veggies for all Hoi An and its neighboring areas? When you arrive, get your hands dirty and learn the age-old art of cultivating and harvesting veggies alongside skilled farmers. Continue riding to Cam Thanh Village where you’ll glide along tranquil waterways on a charming basket boat amid the 7-hectare Bay Mau Coconut Forest. Later, we’ll have a small cooking class at a local family’s house, preparing some Hoi An specialties for your lunch. After satisfying your taste buds, why not treat your tired feet to a traditional foot bath infused with local herbs?

Afternoon:
Our tour guide will take you on an orientation walk around the World Heritage-listed Old Town. Our tour highlights include iconic landmarks such as the Japanese Covered Bridge, the Chinese Assembly Hall, Tan Ky Ancient House, and the bustling ChinaTown. The rest of the day will be on your own.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Overnight in Hoi An

Day 15: Hoi An - Ba Na Hills

Day 15: Hoi An - Ba Na Hills

Morning:
Today is all about a visit to Ba Na Hills, where you’ll ride the cable car route holding five world records. As you ascend, make sure to stop at the transit station at Linh Ung Pagoda, Le Jardin D’amour flower garden, and of course, the iconic Golden Bridge, a social media phenomenon since 2018. Once you reach the top of Ba Na Hills, get ready for a whole complex of fun activities suitable for all ages.

Afternoon:
It’s time to explore the charming recreated French Village, complete with old houses, churches, and castles that pay tribute to Ba Na’s discovery by the French in the early 1900s. Then, brace yourself for thrills at the Fantasy Park, Vietnam’s largest indoor amusement park, with a lot of adrenaline-pumping games. And don’t miss your chance to have a furnicular railway ride for breathtaking mountain views of Ba Na before returning to Hoi An.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Overnight in Hoi An

Day 16: Ho Chi Minh City - City tour

Day 16: Ho Chi Minh City - City tour

Morning:
It’s time to say goodbye to Hoi An for the flight to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), previously known as Saigon. Just one generation ago, HCMC was a war zone. But now, the city has transformed to become a dynamic commercial hub with modern skyscrapers and lively streets. Upon arrival, our friendly guide and driver will warmly welcome you and take you to your hotel in the city center.

Afternoon:
It’s time to discover some of the most iconic spots in HCMC! We’ll embark on insightful history tours at the Reunification Palace and the War Remnants Museum, which document significant milestones of Vietnam’s history, particularly the war period from 1955 to 1975. Following this, we’ll visit the Central Post Office, renowned for its stunning colonial French architecture with elements of Gothic and Renaissance styles. Afterwards, the day is all yours to explore the hustle and bustle of HCMC!

Meals included: Breakfast
Overnight in HCMC

Day 17: Mekong Delta - Village boat trip

Day 17: Mekong Delta - Village boat trip

Morning:
Journeying out of the city, we head to the lush countryside of the Mekong Delta, often called ‘Vietnam’s rice bowl’ because of its abundance of rice paddies, fruit orchards, and flower gardens. When we arrive at Cai Be, we’ll hop onto a boat and cruise over to Tan Phong Island. Grab a bike and pedal along tranquil village paths to know more about the local way of life. Along the way, we can even stop by some handicraft workshops to see talented locals weaving water hyacinths. Then, it’s back on the boat to cross the mighty Mekong River to An Binh Island, where we’ll meet our homestay host and indulge in a traditional lunch packed with mouthwatering Mekong Delta specialties.

Afternoon:
Once our bellies are happily full, it’s time to explore the homestay orchard. You can wander around, picking seasonal fruits straight from the trees and sipping on tea while enjoying some lively traditional music. And for dinner, get ready to roll up your sleeves and join the host family in preparing some delicious local dishes. We’ll gather around the spacious veranda overlooking the garden to savor our food together.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight in Mekong Delta

Day 18: Ho Chi Minh City - Free & Easy

Day 18: Ho Chi Minh City - Free & Easy

Morning:
Your second day at Mekong Delta starts with a walk along the village. You’ll be welcome to some local cottage industries and taste some freshly made rice paper, coconut candy, and pop-rice right from the source. Next, we journey by sampan, a traditional low-riding wooden boat and enjoy being paddled slowly along the maze of small canals. We’ll make a stop at the brick kilns village to witness skilled artisans crafting beautiful pottery from clay. Along the way, don’t miss the chance to see how catfish are farmed right on the Mekong River! Finally, we’ll gather at Vinh Long shore and head to the bustling center market, enjoying the vibrant trading scene of the locals before returning to HCMC.

Afternoon:
Why don’t you spend the rest of your day savoring some local street food? HCMC is truly a melting pot of cuisines, combining ingredients and recipes from many different regions and cultures. If your taste buds need direction, allow us to suggest some must-try dishes like ‘Com tam’ (broken rice), ‘Banh xeo’ (crispy pancake), and the most iconic ‘Ốc’ (snails/shellfish).

Meals included: Breakfast
Overnight in HCMC

Day 19: Ho Chi Minh City - Departure

Day 19: Ho Chi Minh City - Departure

Your journey across iconic destinations in Vietnam comes to its end. After breakfast today, you’ll get the morning to yourself – no scheduled activities. Whenever you’re ready to go, our attentive driver will be ready to take you to the airport, ensuring a seamless transition for your departing flight. Until our paths cross again on your next adventure, safe travels!

Meals included: Breakfast

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