Vietnam Adventure Tour
Cycle, trek and kayak your way through Vietnam’s pristine natural landscapes. This multi-sport soft adventure tour is designed for those who wish to see a different side of the country without embarking on a full-scale adventure tour. With touring days interspersed with days of light activity, this tour strikes a balance between adventure, culture and relaxation as you travel from Vietnam’s far south to the north
Day 1 - Arrive Ho Chi Minh City (D)
Upon arrival in Ho Chi Minh City you will be greeted and transferred to your hotel. The remainder of today is free to prepare the bikes, recuperate from the flight or begin exploring this fascinating city, formerly known as Saigon.
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 2 - Ho Chi Minh City (B,L)
After breakfast, enjoy a morning city tour of dynamic Ho Chi Minh City. Take in the sites such as the former Presidential Palace, a prominent example of 1970's architecture, and Notre Dame Cathedral.
This afternoon is free to continue exploring, perhaps a stroll around Ben Thanh, the city biggest market and one of the key intersections in the city center. Within, you'll discover a tightly organized grid of aisles, arranged according to product. Clothes, shoes and fabric dominate the front, before giving way to kitchenware, cooked food, fresh vegetables and a somewhat alarming display of seafood and meat (some still living). Dan Sinh Market (War surplus market) Nguyen Cong Tru St, is also an interesting place to browse with its full array of replica US army gear.
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 3 - Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi Tunnels - Cai Be (B,L,D)
After breakfast we transfer 30km out of Saigon to avoid the teeming traffic. Then, hop on your bike and pedal along scenic back roads to the Cu Chi Tunnels.
Explore this incredible network of tunnels to experience of what underground life in the American war was like and learn more about the wartime era. The tunnels are more than 250 km long and three levels deep, and were important for the Viet Cong victory over the Americans as they allowed the Viet Cong to control a large rural area around Saigon.
After touring the tunnels, enjoy lunch in a local restaurant before continuing by bus to the town of Cai Be. This evening you will experience a slice of local life with at a wonderful family-run home stay. (Mosquito nets and all bedding provided)
Overnight in local home stay.
(Cycling distance approx: 25km+)
Day 4 - Cai Be - Tra Vinh (B,L,D)
Today we begin with an easy morning cycle along narrow country lanes and easy dirt tracks and trails. For the more adventurous there is a chance for exciting riding through tiny villages on gravel and clay tracks. This is biking at its best as we ride through tiny orchards, witness colorful life along the riverside, pedal past picturesque delta homes, pause to chat with welcoming villagers, and clack across innumerable wooden bridges. Later, we cross a narrow canal on a local sampan, before finishing at the main ferry. Travel like the locals across the expansive Co Chien River. Ride a final few kilometers to the charming Khmer town of Tra Vinh.
Overnight in Tra Vinh.
(Cycling distance approx: 74km+)
Day 5 - Tra Vinh - Cau Ke - Can Tho (B,L,D)
Today's ride is very special as it traverses an area inhabited mainly by the Khmer people and filled with unique architecture and many Khmer temples to stop and admire. Cycle as much or as little as you wish; the road is peaceful, narrow and very scenic to Can Tho. Along the way you can visit Ba Om Pond with its magnificent lotus flowers, observe local women having their future predicted in a small temple, visit a local Buddhist Temple, whish is also a school and learn about the life of the students.
Arrive late this afternoon in Can Tho, the Mekong's largest town located at the confluence of the Can Tho and Hau Giang rivers.
Overnight in Can Tho.
(Cycling distance approx: 80km+)
Day 6 - Can Tho - Ho Chi Minh City (B,L)
After enjoying an early morning breakfast visit the Cai Rang floating market then weave through a market bustling along the banks of an active riverfront. Transfer by bus or on bike along a narrow paved road to Phong Dien, another floating market. Absorb the sights of endless cottage industries, timber merchants, coconut shredders, small docks loading/unloading rice, and tiny vibrant markets.
We continue by bike along narrow lanes to explore the hidden backwaters of the Delta. After a local lunch in the area, we return by road to Saigon.
Overnight in Saigon.
(Cycling a short distance if requested.)
Day 7 - Ho Chi Minh City - Danang - Hoi An (B,D)
Transfer to the airport for the flight to the central Vietnamese town of Danang, continue by road to Hoi An, one of the orient's major trading ports in the 16th and 17th centuries.
After checking in, this afternoon is to explore the town and nearby Cua Dai beach. A walking tour is highly recommended as it the best way to see the wooden-fronted houses that once belonged to the town's prosperous merchants, the Japanese-covered Bridge and the wonderful market. Hoi An is one of the best places in Vietnam to shop for souvenirs at bargain prices including silk, handicrafts, antiques and paintings.
Overnight in Hoi An.
Day 8 - Hoi An (B,L)
Pick up from hotel in Hoi An. Continue by bicycle into the countryside of Hoi An and start by exploring the narrow country roads. Along the way see water buffalos, rice paddy fields, organic vegetables farms and the friendly locals. Learn how to spread a traditional Vietnamese fishing net, called a ro, from a small round bamboo basket boat (a thung chai) Vietnamese fishermen have employed for centuries to ply their trade.
Visit a water palm area surrounded by coconut trees whilst learning about the history of this unique area before enjoying a seafood lunch onboard a boat.
Overnight in Hoi An.
Day 9 - Hoi An - Hue (B,L)
This morning, drive north along the coast and over Hai Van pass to the historic town of Hue.
Hue is one of the main cultural, religious and educational centers of Vietnam. Many of Hue's attractions are found along the banks of the romantically named Perfume River that flows through the centre of town. In addition to its monuments and rich culture, Hue is also famous for producing the best 'Non La' or conical hats in Vietnam.
Upon arrival take a pedal-powered cyclo through quiet streets to explore the remains of the Royal Citadel.
Overnight in Hue
Day 10 - Hue - Hanoi - Lao Cai (B,L,D)
This morning take a tour of Hue and the famous Thien Mu Pagoda.
After lunch at a local restaurant, transfer to the airport for the 2.40pm flight to Hanoi. Transfer in to the city center for an early evening walking tour of the Old Quarter. Dine at one of the city's many fabulous restaurantas and transfer to the train station. Take the overnight train to Lao Cai. (Train in 4-berth cabins with soft mattress and clean bedding)
Overnight on train.
Day 11 - Lao Cai - Sapa (B,L,D)
Arrive Lao Cai in the early morning, transfer up a mountain road, winding along terraced hillsides to Sapa, a former French hill resort and home to some of Vietnam's most colorful ethnic groups.
Check in to our hotel and refresh. After breakfast, our guide will take you for a short walk to become oriented with the town of Sapa and explore the busy market, church and local cozy café.
Overnight in Sapa.
Day 12 - Sapa - Heaven Gate - Sin Chai (B,L,D)
After breakfast, transfer less than 1 hour, through Tram Ton Pass, also known as Heaven’s Gate. Enjoy breath taking views of the west side of Hoang Lien Son mountain range and Silver waterfall. Start trekking through the thick rain forest in Hoang Lien Nature Reserve. The trail is a narrow path that descends 400 meters to Acrid hill. Enjoy lunch in this quiet valley. After lunch, descend another 100 meters through cornfields, an important crop that is harvested earlier than rice in the area, thus the base of the local diet in the summer months. Wind your way around terraced rice paddies to the Muong Hoa River. Follow the riverbank to the small hamlet of Sin Chai village, home of the Black Hmong. The Hmong are known for their skills at dyeing hemp cloth a rich blue using indigo, and for their intricate batik. They have rich religious traditions that are a mix of shamanistic and animistic practices. Here you have the opportunity to learn more about the Hmong, or simply relax and enjoy a simple dinner in a local Hmong home.
Overnight in a homestay in Sin Chai.
(Trekking time approximately 6 hours. Terrain dirt path with some short steep descents, hiking boots are recommended as sections maybe muddy.)
Day 13 - Sin Chai - Cat Cat - Y Linh Ho (B,L,D)
After saying goodbye to your hosts, start todays trek with an easy walk along Muong Hoa river to Cat Cat waterfall. Cross the suspension bridge and follow the footpath up to Cat Cat village. Enjoy a picnic lunch on the bank of Vang stream. After lunch, wind up a few steep hills, 50 meters, around terraced rice paddies, cornfields, into the rain forest. The end of the trek is a gradual decent to Y Linh Ho village. Here your Black Hmong hosts will great you. Explore Y Linh Ho, a village that still practices swidden agriculture, and evidence of this can be seen around the village. Enjoy dinner in a local home, and learn more about the Black Hmong’s unique culture.
Overnight in Y Linh Ho.
(Trekking time: 5 to 6 hours, terrain dirt path, with a few larger dirt road sections)
Day 14 - Y Linh Ho - Lao Chai San - Lao Hang Chai - Giang Ta Van - Ta Van (B,L,D)
Todays trek into Muong Hoa valley offers great panoramic views, offering a mix of landscape from rocky outcrops to small bamboo forests. After breakfast,leave Y Linh Ho on a narrow path past the Hmong villages of Lao Chai San 2 and Lao Chai San 1. Our path has some up and down hills, but the over all elevation remains the same to Lao Hang Chai, anoth Black Hmong village. Explore Lao Hang Chai and enjoy lunch in a local home.
This afternoon, explore the Muong Hoa valley. After visiting the village of Giang Ta Van, our trek descends to Ta Van village, home to the Giay people. Ta Van village is set on the banks of the Muong Hoa river. The Giay are dependent on wet rice cultivation, necessitating a lifestyle with little migration. Rest and enjoy the hospitality of your hosts as you learn more about the Giay way of life.
Overnight in a homestay in Giang Ta Van.
(Trekking time: 5 to 6 hours, terrain is a narrow dirt path)
Day 15 - Ta Van - Giang Tu Chai - Hoa Su Pan - Sapa (B,L,D)
This morning, enjoy a hearty breakfast with our local hosts. After saying goodbye to Ta Van, follow the footpath up hill for about 30 minutes, for a stunning view of the valley. Then weave your way along the tarraced rice paddies into a bamboo forest to the village of Giang Ta Chai. This Hmong village is secluded amidst the bamboo. Leaving Giang Ta chai, decende to a nameless waterfall, a great back drop for todays lunch.
After lunch, follow the larger dirt path to Giang Tu Chai Village, home of the Red Yao, known for the high quality of their embroidery. They are unique in their religious practices that are a mix of animism and Daoism. The Yao language is related to old mandarin, and written Yao uses characters similar to traditional Chinese. Take as much time as you like to explore Giang Tu Chai Village, before continuing the narrow trail to the Hmong village of Hoa Su Pan 1. You have the chance to see the complete textile process, from the spinning of hemp, the weaving and embroidering, and the dyeing process using indigo. After leaving Hoa Su Pan 1, transfer 45 minutes to Lao Cai.
Dinner in Lao Cai before bording the overnight train to Hanoi.
(Trekking time: 5 hours, terrain is a mix of narrow dirt path and a wider dirt road)
Day summary: Trekking 5 hours, approx.3 km, grade 3 of 5/ Transfer 16 km approx.40 minutes.
Day 16 - Hanoi - Halong Bay (B,L,D)
We arrive in Hanoi early this morning and transfer to a hotel to freshen up, relax and enjoy breakfast before departing for Halong bay. Enjoy the journey through the rich farmlands of the Red River Delta and the scenery of rice fields, water buffalo and everyday Vietnamese village life. Halong bay is a natural wonder of the world and one of Vietnam's five UNESCO World Heritage Sites and lies 160km to the east of Hanoi. Over three thousand jagged limestone islands emerge from the emerald green waters of Halong Bay, and while some islands are no more than large rocks others are much more substantial and contain huge cathedral-like caves of stalactites and stalagmites. Most of the islands are clad in thick green vegetation and ring with the sound of bird song in the early morning. Secluded sandy coves are everywhere and in the summer months the warm waters of the bay are ideal for swimming. The best way to appreciate the delights of Halong Bay is to cruise among the islands on a wooden junk boat.
Upon arrival in Halong city, we board a shared wooden boat for a cruise among the 3, 000 spectacular limestone islands. The boat is one of the more traditional varieties that sail through the magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Enjoy a fresh seafood lunch on board while the captain heads out for the horizon. Visit Dinh Huog Island and others, stop to wander around the impressive Sun Sot Cave famed for its remarkable stalactites and stalagmites. Continue the cruise stopping at Titov beach for the night. Take a paddle to Luon cave (tunnel cave) and pass through the tunnel to emerge into a crater lake surrounded by impenetrable cliffs and gliding kites. Dine on board.
Overnight on board Bai Tho Junk.
Day 17 - Halong (B,L,D)
Following breakfast is a day of adventure. You are transferred to a tender cruising some of Halong Bay's less touristy locales for as much kayaking as you can.
Return to boat for seafood lunch when cruising to Lan Ha bay. Relaxing on the beach or swimming or continue kayaking till late afternoon.
Get back to vessel and enjoy another night on boat.
Day 18 - zalong - Hanoi (B,L,D)
After breakfast and an early morning swim, we continue the cruise past rock formations named after their shapes. Paddle from Luon cave toward islets in shape of Tortoise and a Man's head.
Later, we'll cruise out to Bai Tu Long Bay around Bai Tho Mountain and finally head back to dry land. After a sumptuous lunch on board we transfer by private air conditioned vehicle back to our hotel in Hanoi.
Overnight in Hanoi
Day 19 - Depart Hanoi (B)
At your leisure until departure for onward flights.
Our Services Include : English speaking guide as itinerary (different guides in South, Centre & North + 1 more biking guide for group from 10 people up for cycling days). From Oct 2012: 1 more biking guide for group from 8 people up for cycling days, Local guide for trekking days in Sapa, Private air-conditioned for transfer as itinerary, Back up van for cycling days, Local Vietnamese motorbike helmet for cycling days (light weight), Boat trips in Mekong Delta where mentioned in the itinerary, Local train tickets Hanoi- Lao Cai- Hanoi, 2 days/ 1 night cruise on traditional Bai Tho Junk for Halong bay cruise. Stay in private twin cabin but share the junk with some other travelers, Kayak rental in Halong bay (Double sit inside composite kayak), Van in Sapa for transfer to/from trekking places, Black H’Mong porters for trekking days in Sapa, Sightseeing entrance fees where require in the itinerary, Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B= Breakfast, L= lunch, D= Diner), Drinking water for biking and trekking days, Snack, local fruit & soft drinks for cycling days, Ferry tickets in Mekong delta, Cooking class in Hoi An, Accommodation in twin shared room in hotel/local home with daily breakfasts. Note local home-stay as itinerary is simple. See hotel list above, International flight reconfirmation. We help client to reconfirm their flight with the airline company.
Tour price excludes: International and domestic Flights & departures taxes, Beverage, Travel insurance, Personal expenses, tips and gratuities, Local bike hire including transport of bikes, Vietnam visa stamp fee, Domestic flight (Hochiminh – Danang ; Hue – Hanoi), Other services not mentioned above.