Sailing through the karst scenery, challenge your taste buds, and explore the scintillating caves of Vietnam.
It’s unfair that fun makes time fly, because we’ve crammed this extended trip with so many epic quests that it’ll feel like it’s whizzed by in nanoseconds! Spend marvellous moments sailing through the karst scenery of Ha Long Bay, challenge your taste buds by savouring the spicy, strange, and fresh flavours of Hanoi’s street markets, and slip and slide your way into deep, scintillating caves. Although it may feel like the fastest vacation of your life, the memories will certainly last a lifetime.
We spend 16 days exploring Vietnam. We visit Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Ha Long Bay, Mai Châu, Phong Nha - Ke Bang, Huế, Hội An, Nha Trang, Dalat.
What Is Included...
Your fantastic Busabout crew for Day 3 to 16
English speaking local guide for Day 1 to 3
15 nights’ accommodation (13 nights 2-3 star hotels, 1 night homestay, 1 night overnight train)
14 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 3 home-cooked dinners
Transfers to/ from Hanoi hotel and Ha Long Bay
Air-conditioned private transport
Vung Viêng floating fishing village visit by a rustic row boat
Swimming & kayaking at Bai Tu Long & Three Peach Beach
Village Cycle trip Mai Chau
Entrance to Vinh Moc Tunnels where an entire village lived under the ground
Entrance to Po Nagar Cham Towers, Nha Trang
Entrance to Linh Phuoc Temple
Hanoi’s Street food tour
Hoi An Old Town Entrance
Vietnam & Halong Bay Adventure Starts at 7:30am at Hanoi, Hanoi
The Tour Ends at 10:00am at Ho Chi Minh City, Ho Chi Minh City
When We Go
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16 Day Itinerary
Day 1: Hanoi – Halong Bay
Your adventure begins in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi with your early pick up as we make our way east through scenic countryside for our arrival at the breathtaking UNESCO site of Halong Bay. Board the vessel and grab a welcome drink before enjoying a delicious lunch on deck as we set sail to explore the otherworldly scenery of this karst landscape. Afterwards we take a rowboat to the floating fishing village of Vung Vieng to meet the locals and experience their unique lifestyle. This evening we learn how to make crispy spring rolls before devouring them whilst enjoying a few libations during our on-deck happy hour in the thick sea air.
Day 2: Halong Bay
Early this morning we embrace the yin and yang of life with a Tai Chi session on the deck, once your blood is pumping we have a scrumptious on-board breakfast before setting sail for Three Peach Beach. Named after the three mountains looming above, this splendid white sandy beach is all yours for the day. Relax on the sands or have a refreshing dip in the emerald waters of the bay, perhaps take a kayak out and explore the limestone karsts or, weather permitting, kayak through an incredible tunnel carved into a limestone mountain. Tonight we enjoy a traditional Vietnamese dinner awash in the glorious ambience of the bay.
Day 3: Halong Bay to Hanoi
Begin your day the right way with an early Tai Chi session followed by another great on board breakfast. We then make our way to Sung Sot Cave, the most famed cave in Halong Bay, for an unforgettable expedition into the bowels of the earth surrounded by numerous coloured spotlights that paint a kaleidoscopic picture upon the thousands of stalactites and stalagmites that line this enchanting grotto. We emerge from Surprise Cave and begin our journey back to the mainland, soak up the scenery and enjoy a lovely lunch before your Hanoi arrival in the late afternoon. Tonight we head out to get a taste of the rich flavours of Vietnamese cuisine on the Hanoi Street Food Tour, and then enjoy a Bia hoi or three at the buzzing International Corner.
Day 4: Hanoi to Mai Chau
This morning we depart on a westerly course through the gorgeous Vietnamese countryside en route to the bucolic beauty of Mai Chau. Keep your cameras at the ready as we navigate the shimmering green patchwork of rice fields dotted with rustic stilt houses before stopping at a panoramic viewpoint overlooking the Mai Chau Valley. We are treated to a scrumptious included lunch upon arrival at our charming, stilted accommodations before hopping on a bicycle and heading out with a local guide for an intimate exploration of this idyllic valley. This evening the sun paints the valley in kaleidoscopic splendour as you enjoy a refreshing sundowner in a local bar. Tonight we are treated to a locally sourced traditional meal at the homestay and a few, too many, glasses of the potent local rice wine.
Day 5: Mai Chau to Phong Nha-Ke Bang
Kick back and relax as we make our way south along the coast and witness the gradual transformation from coastal plains to overgrown limestone karst en route to the pristine natural wonder of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. We arrive at the UNESCO-listed park in the evening and check in to our accommodation shortly after, tomorrow is a day of exploration as we delve the depths of the numerous limestone caves and grottoes in this picturesque location. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant before heading out to Easy Tiger Bar to soak up the atmosphere as a live band provides the soundtrack to an unforgettable adventure.
Day 6: Phong Nha Ke Bang
Prepare for a full day lost in the wilderness of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. We begin today’s optional caving adventure amidst the jaw dropping beauty of Paradise Cave, discovered a mere 13 years ago this is the longest dry cave in the park and features some truly majestic natural structures formed within. We emerge to daylight just in time for a delicious lunch to recharge those batteries before catching Vietnam’s longest zip line to our next destination: the pitch black, mud filled playpen of the Dark Cave. Spend some time frolicking in the mud and enjoying the activities by torchlight before emerging into the Asian sun and having a splash in the river to clean up and cool off. Tonight we offer a delicious optional BBQ dinner, and we do hope you’ll join us before returning to the Easy Tiger for another fun filled evening!
Day 7: Phong Nha Ke Bang to Hue
We say our goodbyes to this scenic location as we head to Hue, with a stop en route at the Vinh Moc Tunnels to learn the fascinating history of this underground city. We arrive in Hue in time to grab a delicious local bite to eat before checking into the hotel. Cyclos descend upon the hotel to whisk us away on an optional excursion to see the highlights of Vietnam’s ancient capital, beginning with a locally guided tour of the awe inspiring Imperial Citadel before heading to the towering Pagoda of the Celestial Lady and Khai Dinh Royal Tomb. This evening we’ll head out for drinks on the town to better experience the veritable palette of vibrant nightlife on offer in Hue.
Day 8: Hue to Hoi An
This morning we continue our journey along the coast towards the UNESCO-listed city of Hoi An. Weather permitting we will be taking the scenic Hai Van pass as popularised by the TV show “Top Gear”. We arrive this afternoon in the city frozen in time, Hoi An before heading off for an optional lunch followed by a visit to the famous Yaly Couture for those looking for bespoke clothing. The rest of the day is yours to explore the stunningly preserved Old Town and soak up the rich local history. Tonight head out and experience the lively local nightlife.
Day 9: Hoi An to Nha Trang
This is your final day to enjoy ancient Hoi An and her many attractions! We recommend a trip to the pristine local beaches to enjoy a lazy day soaking up the sun and surf, so grab the sunscreen and work on that tan whilst sipping on a fresh coconut and taking in your stunning surroundings. This evening we bid farewell to our portside paradise as we transfer to our overnight train, continuing south along the coast for our morning arrival at the immaculate azure waters of the capital of Khanh Hoa Province, Nha Trang.
Day 10: Nha Trang
We arrive into the idyllic seaside city of Nha Trang early this morning Spend the of the day exploring Nha Trang’s numerous spectacular sights and tourist attractions. Later we head into the night to experience the renowned nightlife in this shimmering Vietnamese metropolis.
Day 11: Nha Trang to Dalat
This morning we say goodbye to the coast and head inland towards the capital of Lam Dong Province with a stop en route at the Po Nagar Cham Towers. We have included entry into this ancient temple dedicated to the goddess of the country, Yan Po Nagar. We arrive in Dalat in the early afternoon and have a short orientation walk, afterwards the day is yours to enjoy but be sure to check out the otherworldly “Crazy House” and its odd, organic architecture.
Day 12: Dalat
Enjoy the city and explore its numerous impressive landmarks at your leisure or join Mr Rot for his optional Secret Tour. Visit numerous attractions including cricket farms, a local market, silkworm farms, coffee plantations, the thundering Elephant falls, local villages, and beautiful scenery. Mr Rot prides himself on providing an authentic Vietnamese experience and as such everything you see will be off the beaten path. We arrive from the Secret Tour in the evening and after grabbing a bite to eat head out for a surreal drinking experience in the eccentric surrounds of 100 Roofs Cafe which has to be seen to be believed.
Day 13: Dalat to Ho Chi Minh City
Today we head to the former capital of South Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City. We have two stops en route, beginning with the resplendent Linh Phuoc Pagoda. Explore the temple’s fascinating decorations made of reclaimed glass and ceramic, and see the giant glass dragon sculpture. Our second stop is for lunch at the 7 Tigers restaurant situated on the banks of an idyllic local river. We arrive in old Saigon in the afternoon and have an orientation walk to highlight the numerous sights of this historic city. After dinner we dance the night away at a nearby Vietnamese club.
Day 14: Ho Chi Minh City
Today we offer an optional excursion to explore the Cu Chi tunnels, located a few hours northwest of old Saigon, the tunnel complex was an important store and hideout for the Viet Cong during the war. In the afternoon we visit the War Remnants Museum, formerly the American War Crimes Museum, to gain vivid insight into the conflict from a local perspective. This evening we shine our shoes and get dressed to the nines as we enjoy our final evening together! We head to a local restaurant, followed off by a trip into the backpacker triangle to put the bow on this epic Asian adventure.
Day 15: Ho Chi Minh City
Check-out is after breakfast.
This tour connects with the following trips
All of our tours are designed to link to each other. The Vietnam & Halong Bay Adventure connects to these great trips.