Country
Vietnam
Duration
12 Days/11 Nights
Travel Type
Private Tour
 

From the wild rugged mountains of North Vietnam to the legendary seascape of Halong archipelago and the ancient town of Hoi An, this program is for outdoors addicts and people who seek genuine interactions with locals. Get off the beaten paths in Hanoi; meet with ethnic people, hike and bike mountainous area made of beautiful rice fields and lush nature, take a relaxing cruise on the emerald waters of Halong Bay and indulge lazy time at the beach in Hoi An.

Inclusions

11-night accommodation
All transfers and transportation with private air-conditioned vehicles
Local English-speaking guides
Overnight cruise in Halong Bay, scenic rowed Sampan cruise to Tam Coc and bike and barge adventure in Hue
All entrance fees
Domestic flight Hanoi – Hue (economy)
19 meals; 11 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 1 supper
2 bottles of mineral water per person per day during transfers and sightseeings

Exclusions

International airfares, meals other than those mentioned in the itinerary, beverages, early check-in or late check-out, visa (if needed), gratuities to drivers, guides and hotel staff, travel insurance, items and expenses of personal nature, all other item not included in the inclusion section

Additional Information

Choose one of our 2 extensions to this tour!

Option 1 – 4-night extension Siem Reap and the Angkor temples
Option 2 – 4-night extension Saigon and the Mekong Delta

1

Day 1: Hanoi Arrival

Xin chao! Welcome to Hanoi, Vietnam. Hanoi, one of Asia’s most enchanting cities, is full of culture, history and the engaging contradictions of a rapidly developing and deeply traditional society. You are greeted by your guide and driver at Noi Bai International Airport for your transfer to the hotel. The regular check-in time is from 14.00, if you’re arriving early, there is the possibility to book an early check-in with a surcharge.

Accommodation : Hanoi for 2 nights

2

Day 2: Hanoi behind the scenes

Enjoy an easy morning to recover from your travels and take the time for a greedy breakfast at the hotel. The guide will pick you up in the lobby at 10.30.
Get ready to see Hanoi as very few others do. This tour is the perfect blend of iconic cultural sites of Hanoi and offbeat districts to sample some genuine local life. You start with the Temple of Literature and a visit of this little gem of architecture and huge piece of history. Next comes lunch, we suggest a walk to a nearby street food shop. There are several options, our favourite would be the Bun Cha flame-grilled pork meat served with sticky rice noodles. In the afternoon, we go meet a water puppet artist in his home. He is the descendant of a family of water puppet performers and devote his life to modernizing the art. This Vietnamese traditional performance art has roots dating back to the 10th century. You will have a chance to exchange with the him, discover the process of making the puppets, and enjoy a private water puppet show. Around 16.00, and after a short car transfer to the South of Hanoi, we veer off the main road and enter a very special district. It suddenly feels like stepping back in time, into the 1960’s when Hanoi was a quaint capital populated mostly by modest workers. Wander around these narrow alleys covered in colourful market stalls, feel the incredible vibe and let the guide tell you the story of these unusual big yellow buildings. We will have a bia hoi there, the famous rice beer of Vietnam, to fully immersed ourselves in the local way. We then drop you off at the hotel for an evening at leisure.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch

3

Day 3: Road to the mountains and rice fields

Departure from your hotel at 8am. We exit the city and head West towards Laos border. It takes about 4 hours to reach the valley of Mai Chau. Welcome to the lands of the White Thai.
We drive across the town and journey a bit further to a secluded and scenic sub-valley. Lunch is served at a traditional family ran guesthouse on stilts in a charming little village.
In the afternoon, we go cycling on the backroads of the valley for a first encounter with the Thai culture and its people. The small pathways take us along rice fields and vegetable gardens. We shall meet with farmers on their way to the fields or kids taking the buffalos out. The ride ends directly at the little ecolodge, where we will spend the night. Check-in, refresh and enjoy the end of the day by the swimming pool.

Note: the rice fields in this region of Vietnam are only cultivated between March and the end of October.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation : Mai Chau for 2 nights

4

Day 4: Meet the Hmong people and trek

We depart from the lodge after breakfast on a short drive (approximately 1 hour) to the heights of Hoa Binh province and the rocky plateau of Hang Kia. The sceneries are changing as we are going up, plum trees and corn fields replace the rice paddies, we enter H’mong ethnic lands, where people are colorfully dressed and living for most of them in wooden ground floor houses.
After a leisure walk around the village, we are welcomed by a local H’mong family for lunch, an opportunity to discover a little more about the H’mong culture through the gastronomy. In the afternoon, take part in a traditional Batik workshop with the women of the village. Learn ancestral techniques and unveil the secrets of the H’mong fabric. We will drive back to the lodge afterwards, enjoy a refreshing dip in the pool before sunset.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch

5

Day 5 : Bike and sampan adventure in Ninh Binh

In the morning, we leave Mai Chau and journey to the East. After a 3-hour ride including a part on the historical Ho Chi Minh Road, we reach a hidden corner of the Ninh Binh region called Mount Tuong and have lunch there. In the afternoon we start a nice scenic rowed sampan cruise to reach Tam Coc, the most renowned valley of the region for its towering limestone rocks and beautiful rice fields. We transfer to our nearby hotel and grab our bicycles for a 2-wheel exploration of this beautiful stretch of countryside. We will visit en-route the Bich Dong pagoda that offers a climb up on its three levels to admire a breathtaking view of the area once at the top. Evening at leisure.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation : Ninh Binh for 1 night

6

Day 6: Overnight cruise in Halong Bay

We gather in the lobby early for our departure to Halong Bay. We drive across the Red River delta and reach the coast a little before noon. We embark on a beautifully crafted wooden junk for an overnight cruise in the legendary seascape of Halong Bay. Once on board, we are served a delicious lunch, while the limestone rocks set the décor. In the afternoon, we reach a less travelled area and will devote ourselves to relaxation, sunbathing, and a visit to a cave. The program is not fixed and depends on the time of the year and weather. We end the day on the sundeck while the sun sets. Enjoy an aperitif or attend a cooking demonstration before dinner. Overnight in a comfortable private cabin with attached bathroom.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation : Halong Bay cruise overnight

7

Day 7: Fly to Hue ancient capital

At dawn, an early Tai Chi session is proposed, coffee and tea are served early as well for the early birds wishing to see the beautiful lights of sunrise. Check out the cabin and we then go explore one of the biggest caves in the bay. We return to the boat and a brunch is served as we are cruising back to the dock. Disembark and you are driven back to Hanoi’s airport to take a flight to Hue. You are greeted in Hue by your local crew and transferred to your hotel in the city center. Evening at leisure

Meals : Breakfast

Accommodation : Hue for 2 nights

8

Day 8: Immersive walk around Hue’s Citadel

In Hue, the term Citadel is often used to describe only the Imperial City, while the Citadel of Hue is so much more. It is actually a city inside the city, with its narrow streets, hidden alleys and larger avenues; with its waterways, squares and secret viewpoints; with its population, its culture and its traditions. This is the true heart of Hue, and reducing it to a few of its monuments only would be nothing but a huge oversight. Today we are going to take a walking tour and explore some bits of the walled city. We will also walk through the Imperial City to get insights of the Emperors’ feudal lifestyle.
We then hop rickshaws for a short and enjoyable ride to the doorsteps of an ancient village where used to live nobles and mandarins of the Emperors. We take a walk across the village and reach a hidden spot where a family cooks some delicious banh of Hue. We sample some of these rice and pork dumplings and will have a chance to learn how to roll them too. After the snack, we will take a taxi back to your hotel.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch

9

Day 9: Bike and barge adventure to Hue’s unknown lagoon

Take a break from Hue’s imperial past and join with us on an exciting trip to the city’s lagoon and pristine beach. After a short transfer from the hotel to the shores of the Nhu Y river, you will enjoy a fresh sugar cane juice while the guide preps the bikes. Our morning ride takes us on small pathways along narrow canals to the shores of Chuon Lagoon. It continues on small roads across a fishermen village surrounded by wetlands dotted with huts on stilts. Here we’ll jump on a fishing boat and journey onto the lagoon to discover some of locals’ ancestral fishing techniques. Setting wheels on the other side, complete your gentle adventure cycling on a coastal road to a hidden restaurant tucked away behind the dunes on a pristine stretch of beach. Sit back and relax while a delicious light lunch is getting prepared.
Enjoy a dip in the waters if you’d like, before we continue with a road transfer to Hoi An passing the beautiful Lang Co Bay and Hai Van Pass. Instead of arriving directly in Hoi An, we will instead stop before, and hop on a boat for a very nice cruise through some thick nipa palm mangrove and all the way to the ancient town, illuminated by thousands of lanterns. Check-in at the hotel, evening at leisure.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation : Hoi An for 3 nights

10

Day 10: Walking tour for foodies around Hoi An

We start our walk across the enchanting ancient town of Hoi An. Follow your guide as you meander your way through the beautiful streets and narrow alleys, which are bordered by ancient yellow-walled houses. We reach a market where you can spend some time exploring the colourful stalls and the variety of foods and souvenirs on offer. Try some local delicacies before we venture further into the town. The guide will show you various places of interest and will also arrange some spontaneous food tastings as we walk. Food, drinks and culinary legends are all on the menu today.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch

11

Day 11: Beach and ancient town

Enjoy a day of leisure on your own. An Bang beach is located just 4 kilometers out of town if you fancy some lazy time on the sand.

Meals : Breakfast

Optional Excursions : Optional cooking class: After a short walk from the hotel to the market, meet the chef and let him lead you through Hoi An cuisine’s ingredients and specific spices. You will then hop on a boat and cruise the Thu Bon River to Cam Kim Island. There you’ll start a “farm-to-table” kind of cooking class and learn how to prepare iconic dishes of the region. Dine on the fruits of your labor and conclude with a digestive walk back to the hotel. (supplement of CAD $85/pax)

12

Day 12: Departure or extension

You are met in the lobby of your hotel for a short transfer to Danang airport for your departure flight. Rooms are available until noon.

Meals : Breakfast

12 - 16

OPTIONAL EXTENSION 1 ($)
Siem Reap and the Angkor temples

Day 12 : Arrival in Siem Reap (B)
The day is at leisure until we transfer you to Danang’s airport for your upcoming flight to Siem Reap. Upon arrival, you are greeted by your local crew and escorted to your hotel in the city center. End of the day at leisure.

Day 13 : Temples safari on scooters (B/L)
Get ready to explore the temples of Angkor as very few other do. Ride pillion on the back of a scooter and embark on what is the most original and exciting way to dodge the crowds and enjoy Angkor. On this adventure, we visit the major highlights of Angkor Wat, the walled city of Angkor Thom, the Bayon and Ta Prohm (the “Tomb Raider” temple), as well as some lesser known gems. The most important temples are always busy nowadays, but our tour focuses not only on the temples, but also the amazing surroundings. We dodge the big buses by leaving the busy roads behind using hidden trails through the jungle, villages and rice fields. These villages and trails have existed since the time of the temples and it’s a unique experience that visitors on 4 wheels simply cannot recreate! We guarantee you will love the temples, however, it’s the ride on past ancient ruins, through the jungle and along ancient city walls that becomes the real highlight. A local lunch will be served en-route. We will be back at the hotel in the mid-afternoon, end of the day at leisure.

Day 14 : Khmer cooking class and Beng Mealea temple (B/L)
Today, we are going to learn more about traditional Khmer cuisine. For this nothing is better than doing it the local way. We transfer to a rural location outside of Siem Reap, where our culinary session will take place. Take a short walk in the village, witness some simple daily life and visit a local family. They will show us their herbs garden and tell us about food superstition and beliefs in the Khmer culture. The class is very hands on and interactive and each person has an individual cooking station. Led by a chef, you will learn step by step how to make several classic dishes of the Cambodian gastronomy. The session ends with a lunch made of all that we have cooked.

Following lunch, we take a drive to the long forgotten Beng Mealea temple. After a short walk through a dense jungle, you’ll feel like an explorer when entering the completely overgrown temple. Undiscovered for centuries, Beng Mealea has only recently been made accessible and remains unrestored. Complete the visit and return to the hotel. End of the day at leisure.

Day 15 : Day at leisure in Siem Reap (B)
Enjoy a full day at leisure in Siem Reap. Explore any of the city’s numerous markets, they are all well worth a visit and a photographic spectacle. If you’re into crafts, do not miss the Made In Cambodia market, as well as some craftsmen workshops such as the Artisans d’Angkor. For delicious food and a break from the iconic fried noodles and num pang sandwiches that you’ll find in the street, we recommend visiting one of the social restaurants of Siem Reap. Our top suggested restaurant is Spoons Café with its beautiful bamboo structure and fine Cambodian cuisine. For those interested in learning more about the tragic history of Cambodia, we suggest a visit to the Cambodian Landmine Museum and Relief Centre. Engage in discussions with locals who are passionate about educating visitors about the past as well as the continued issues of landmines that many Cambodians still face today.

Day 16 : Departure (B)
Day at leisure until your transfer to the airport for your outbound flight. Rooms are available until 12.00.

12 - 16

OPTIONAL EXTENSION 2.
Saigon and the Mekong Delta

Day 12 : Flight to Saigon (B)
The day is at leisure until we transfer you to Danang’s airport for your upcoming flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Upon arrival, you are greeted by your local crew and escorted to your hotel in the city center. End of the day at leisure.

Day 13 : Navigate the maze of Saigon’s districts (B/L)
Your guide meets you in the hotel lobby at 8.00am and off we go for an original morning to explore the less traveled trails of this fascinating city. Prepare to travel back in time as we first head to District 3, where we visit the oldest café in town which was opened in 1938. Enjoy a refreshment, before we immerse ourselves into some genuine Saigon popular culture. Walk through a massive street-market, gently elbow your way between conical hats and mobile street food sellers to exit at Chung Cu. Here you will find yourself in the heart of Saigon’s working-class, which remains mostly unchanged since the 1960’s. Marvel at the size of these old residential buildings as we walk through and into the Ho Thi Ky quarter. A place known for its spectacular flower market, and its maze of quiet narrow streets. A place also surprisingly famous for its Khmer delicacies since the 1990’s. Here you will be able to enjoy some of these traditional snacks. We continue deeper into District 10, a fantastic destination where every street corner holds a surprise and a chance to amaze you. Our urban adventure takes us to one of the most famous street-food streets in the city, time for lunch!

In the afternoon, we take a digestive walk around the colonial buildings of the District 1. We start at the Independence Palace, continue to the Notre-Dame Cathedral and the Saigon Central Post office before we get to the beautiful Nguyen Hue street where stands the City Hall. To complete the day, we take you to taste a few brews in one of the most famous craft beer taprooms of the country. We transfer back to your hotel afterwards, end of the day at leisure.

Day 14 : The Mekong Delta on its less travelled paths (B/L/D)
We depart from your hotel at 8am. We drive out of the metropolis to reach after about 2 and a half hours a less travelled region of the delta, about 30 kilometers away from the mouth of the mighty river. We hop on our private boat and start our exploration. We will meet people, learn more about their daily lives and navigate the Mekong. After visiting a local factory and an ancient communal house, we reach a small island for lunch at a local guesthouse.
In the afternoon, we visit a honey-bee farm before hoping on bikes and cycling narrow pathways across the island. We stop at another local farm to unveil the secret of Sâm jelly and sample it. We continue across orchards and transfer onto a small sampan to explore a thick mangrove.
We return to the mainland and take a short drive away to reach in time a beautiful little nature lodge for a sunset over the Mekong. Make yourself comfortable, check-in and refresh before dinner is served in the garden.

Day 15 : Bicycle and fruits market (B/L)
After breakfast on the terrace, we hop on wheels and cycle to the small wet market nearby. We have a look at the colorful stalls while waiting for the ferry to take us to a tiny island located on the other side of the river. Enjoy traveling at slow pace, cycling gently along houses and fields, taking the time to stop for a picture or a chat with locals. Life goes easy and slow in that area, there is a kind of epicurean vibe floating around.

After about 2 and a half hours, we return to the lodge, have a quick shower before check-out. We bid farewell to our hosts and travel to Ben Tre to have a traditional noodle soup for lunch. On our way back to Saigon, we make a last stop in My Tho to visit the fruits wholesale market. The guide will buy some fruits and we will sit at a coffee to have a refreshment and sample the fruits. Arrival in Saigon is expected in the mid-afternoon. End of the day at leisure

Day 16 : Departure (B)
Day at leisure until your transfer to the airport for your outbound flight. Rooms are available until 12.00.

Hotels or similar

HOTEL LIST VIETNAM’S OUTDOORS, HERITAGE
Ha Noi / Bespoke Trendy Hanoi 3* boutique hotel – Trendy deluxe room
Mai Chau / Mai Chau Villas 3* – Deluxe Bungalow
Ninh Binh / Le Clos Du Fil 3* Boutique Hotel – Superior
Halong Cruise / Bhaya Cruise – Deluxe cabin
Hue / Spatel D’Annam 3* boutique Hotel – Deluxe
Hoi An / Vinh Hung Old Town 3* Hotel – Cozy Superior

HOTEL LIST EXTENSION SAIGON AND THE MEKONG DELTA
Ho Chi Minh / Cochin Zen 4* Hotel – Premier Window
Ben Tre / Mekong Home – Bungalow

HOTEL LIST EXTENSION SIEM REAP AND ANKOR TEMPLES
Siem Reap / Apsara Residence 4* Hotel – Deluxe

 

Rates per person, in CA$, starting from, double occupancy

Land portion

01 Jan 2023 – 30 Apr 2023

2 pax 3-4 pax Supp. single occ. 
Main trip  2759 2330 +730
Extension Siem Reap and the Angkor temples 1200 1149 +190
Extension Saigon and the Mekong Delta 1109 989 +279

 

Rates per person, in CA$, starting from, double occupancy

Land portion

 01 May 2023 – 30 Sep 2023 2 pax 3-4 pax Supp. single occ. 
Main trip 2765 2340 +725
Extension Siem Reap and the Angkor temples 1170 1120 +160 
Extension Saigon and the Mekong Delta 1150 1030  +320

 

Rates per person, in CA$, starting from, double occupancy

Land portion

01 Oct 2023 – 31 Dec 2023 2 pax 3-4 pax Supp. single occ. 
Main trip 2789 2360  +745
Extension Siem Reap and the Angkor temples 1220 1170 +195
Extension Saigon and the Mekong Delta 1180 1060 +350

Solo travelers’ rate on request, rates based on min. 2 people traveling

Domestic air tickets to the departure city of the extension is included in the extension rate.

**Prices in this document are for information only; they were issued at press time, for the current year. Please note that due to exchange rates and temporary promotions, they can increase or decrease at any time. Contact your travel agent for the price and promotion of the moment The prices indicated exclude the contribution to the Customer Compensation Fund of $3.50 per $1,000 of tourism product or service purchased from a travel agent in Quebec.

Vietnam’s outdoors, heritage and backroads 12-day private tour
Vietnam’s outdoors, heritage and backroads 12-day private tour