Day 1: Hanoi arrival
Upon arrival at Hanoi’s Noi Bai Airport, our guide and driver will welcome you and transfer you to your hotel. You are free to stroll around the city and catch a first glimpse of this peaceful city. Overnight in Hanoi
Day 2: Hanoi city tour –overnight train to Lao Cai (B, L)
At 8am, our guide and driver will meet you at your hotel and begin the full day city tour with Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum and “House on stilt” at the same area with the Presidential Palace and the famous One Pillar Pagoda. We also make a visit to the Temple of Literature – the first university of Vietnam, which is now dedicated to Confucian worship and “Hanoi Hilton” –a nick name given by US pilots during the war.
Enjoy lunch with authentic delicious Vietnamese cuisines, then we continue our day to the Ethnology Museum. After that, the trip will be followed by one –hour cyclo tour through the busy Old Quarter where you can see peddlers are selling wares as if they have done that for centuries!
In the evening, a transfer to Hanoi ‘s Railways Station for an overnight train to Lao Cai.
Day 3: Lao Cai –Sapa –Tavan Village (B, L, D)
Arrive in the early morning (around 6am), you will take a 45 –minute drive by Russian jeep to Sapa. After refreshing and breakfast, you will start the trekking day (6km) on the hillside trails up and down to Ta Van area. Picnic lunch and you will visit two different hill tribes (Black H’mong & Zay) on the way. You will have dinner and interact with local people and have great experiences staying in the Zay people's home
Optional: overnight at hotel in Sapa Town
Day 4: Tavan –Ban Ho –overnight at Ecolodge (B, L, D)
The roosters will wake you up early in the morning, you will have breakfast and say goodbye to the host. Today we will do about 7 hours trekking through forests, villages, suspension bridge and so to meet the locals working on the mountainsides or the rice terraces. We will break for a picnic lunch en route, keep trekking to Ban Ho village inhabited by Tay tribe with their houses on stilts.
Further 4 km trekking out through breathtaking scenery and perhaps the most picturesque of the whole Challenge bring us to the Ecolodge, where we can have a comfortable night. Our lodge is situated high on a grassy knoll with fantastic views of the scenic Sapa Valley- homes to the Tay and Red Dao minorities.
Day 5: Back to Sapa –Bac Ha Market & overnight train back to Hanoi (B, L)
After breakfast, you will venture back into Sapa! It is a new day off to Can Cau Market (Saturdays only), Bac Ha Market (Sundays only) or Coc Ly Market (Tuesday only) to see minority groups mix and mingle. It is also a chance for you to take nice photos of spectacular scenery on the way. In the late afternoon, we will visit some other hill tribe villages nearby before returning to Lao Cai railway station for overnight train back to Hanoi.
Day 6: Hanoi arrival- Free Day (B)
Arrive in Hanoi in the early morning, our guide will transfer you back to your hotel for check- in and breakfast. You will have whole day for your relaxation as well as exploring around the city on your own. Overnight in Hanoi.
*early check –in is arranged this day
Day 7: Hanoi –Halong Bay (B, L, D)
At 8h30, we start 3 – hour journey through the rich farmlands of the Red River Delta to Halong Bay. Stop over in Hai Duong for a break. Arrive in Halong around noon, we join our group and board a deluxe junk for a wonderful cruise on the emerald green waters of Halong Bay among the 3,000 spectacular limestone islands with a fabulous seafood lunch served on board.
After lunch, we enjoy a fantastic cruise to visit Dinh Huong Island, Ga Choi Island, Dog Island and Sail Island. We also visit Sung Sot Cave, the most beautiful cave which is famous for its stunning stalactites and stalagmites. After that, we paddle from Titop Beach to Luon Cave and enjoy dinner on board while watching sunset. Tonight, there also a chance for those who wish fishing from the boat.
Day 8: Halong Bay –Cat Ba Island (B, L)
After breakfast, you will be pick up by a small boat for the cruise to the most beautiful area- Lan Ha Bay. You will explore the bay by kayak for about 3 hours then lunch will be served on board in the tranquil ambiance atmosphere. In the afternoon, we will continue cruise toward Cat Ba Island. Arrive in the late afternoon, we check in hotel then it is your free time to explore Catba coastal town on your own. Overnight in hotel.
Day 9: Cat Ba –Hai Phong –Hanoi (B)
In the morning, we do our trekking in Cat Ba National Park and exploring the tropical monsoon forest, limestone forests with diversified animals and mammals. Climb up to Navy peak, then we can have the whole view of Cat Ba archipelagos and Halong at 40km faraway if the weather allows.
Back to the town, we are free until 2.30 pm before taking a hydrofoil to Haiphong, where our waiting vehicle will transfer us back to Hanoi.
You are free for relaxation at hotel and dinner until 1030pm and a transfer straight to the railways station for Dong Hoi. Overnight on train.
Day 10: Dong Hoi –Phong Nha –Dong Hoi (L)
Arrive in Dong Hoi Railway station approximately at 8am, you will be transferred to hotel for checking in and some refreshment. After that, we will get on car for a drive to the Son River where we take a boat trip to the park and famed caves at Phong Nha. The park has some beautiful limestone formations, grottoes and caves, as well as the largest primeval forest in Vietnam and the biggest limestone mountain range on the planet. Phong Nha also boasts underground rivers, large caverns and passageways and broad pristine sandbanks. The most impressive cave - Phong Nha cave is probably also the most beautiful with many fascinating rock formations with imaginative names such as The Lion, Fairy Caves, Royal Court and Buddha. The farther one gets inside the Phong Nha Caves, the more illusory the stalactites and stalagmites look as they glitter when bright light is shone on them.
Back to the harbor, we have lunch before driving back to hotel in Dong Hoi for overnight.
Day 11: Dong Hoi –Hue (B, L, D)
After breakfast, we depart for Hue. On the way, we will pay a visit to Vinh Moc Tunnels, an underground village designed to avoid bombardments during the American War and Quang Tri Citadel, a military bastion and an administrative head office of Nguyen Dynasty in Quang Tri Province from 1809 to 1945.
Have lunch at a local restaurant in Dong Ha Town. Upon arrival in Hue, in the evening, we enjoy the traditional Hue music on board. Overnight in Hue
Day 12: Hue city tour (B, L)
Hue with splendid tombs of the Nguyen emperors, notable pagodas and the remains of the Citadel becomes one of Vietnam’s attractions to tourists from all over the world, who like to explore the traditional cultural values of Vietnam.
We start our day with guided touring around the Imperial Citadel, visiting the Noon Gate and Forbidden City; then followed with the Antiquity Museum for some view. After that, we will drive out Hue outskirt to visit Khai Dinh Royal Tomb.
In the afternoon, after delicious lunch, we will be transferred to the boat quay for a boat trip along the Perfume River to Thien Mu Pagoda and Minh Mang Mausoleum. If time allowed, we can pay a visit at Dong Ba Market.
Day 13: Hue –Hoi An (B, L)
After breakfast, we will be on 4 –hour journey to Hoi An. The winding road begins as we make our way up the spectacular Hai Van pass. A view from the top of the pass is one of Vietnam’s most impressive panoramic scenes. Our next stop is Da Nang City, famous for the Cham Museum and the China Beach, a place called R and R (Rest and Rehabilitation) where thousands of American GIs came for a break during the war in Vietnam. Also, we have a short sightseeing at the Marble Mountain, whose peaks represent the five elements of the universe.
Arriving in Hoi An in the early afternoon, we enjoy lunch, check in hotel and then start a walking tour through the Ancient Town. Here we can see the vestige of the mix combination of Chinese and Japanese architecture as well as traditional cultural values. Overnight in Hoi An.
Day 14: Hoi An –Nha Trang (B)
A morning free at your leisure. In the afternoon, a transfer back to Danang, where you take a train to Nha Trang.
Arriving in Nha Trang in the late evening, we check in hotel and take a rest.
Day 15: Nha Trang free day (B)
You are free to enjoy the hotel facilities or the beach.
Optional: Diving course or city tour
Day 16: Boat to islands (B, L)
At 8h30, our guide will meet you at your hotel and then take a short drive to Cau Da Port. Here we start our cruise to Nha Trang Bay and see the great landscape of over 19 islands on the Bay. Heading out to Hon Mun Conserve Sea Creatures Zone, we can explore the ocean bed and ideally, have the chance for swimming, diving and snorkeling in the crystal clear waters. We can see and touch numerous sea creatures, colorful fish while admiring the coral reefs deep in the sea. Approximately at noon, our boat continues to Mot Island. Lunch will be served on board. And we have cheerful time as exchange relations music with many people from different countries. Enjoy the fruits and wine (free of charge)
At 13h30, we reach Tam Island. Here we are free to enjoy different types of water sports such as Jet Ski, parasailing, volley-ball (your own account).
Our last stop of the day is Chai Village where we can explore the daily life of local people, visit the floating fish farm and rowing in a basket boat before boarding our boat back to Cau Da port.
Day 17: Nha Trang –Dalat (B, L)
After breakfast, we head the south towards Da Lat, sometimes known as a "City of Eternal Spring". The journey via famous Cam Ranh Bay, visiting Po Klong Jarai Towers Po Klong Garai Cham Tower, an amazing structure where Cham people often pray to King Porome on festival days.
At an elevation of over 1,000 meters, hill station of Da Lat was founded in the early year of the last century for the colonials to escape the heat and chaos of Saigon. Arriving Da Lat with a great atmosphere year around, our tour leading us through plenty of the French colonial architectures
Day 18: Dalat –Mountain Biking (B, L)
Tour started at 8am. This ride probably offers the best sampling of single track downhill riding in the Dalat area. The total ride distance is about 30 kilometers and it is the easiest of our rides. Views are outstanding throughout with beautiful pine forested hills, Dankia Lake and picturesque small farms dotting the valleys you ride through. Today we have a picnic lunch.
Day 19: Dalat –Saigon (B)
The following destination of our trip is Ho Chi Minh City still called Saigon by many locals. This bustling metropolis, contradiction of its northern counterpart crowded of bikes and motorbikes, excited by numerous shopping area and sidewalk cafes.
After breakfast we drive southeast for 7 hours (approx 250kms) to Ho Chi Minh City. On the way we pass small hamlets as well as tea, coffee cashew nut, rubber and tobacco plantations. Along the way we can make stops as requested to stretch our legs and take some wonderful photographs. Overnight in Saigon.
Day 20: Cao Dai Temple and Cu Chi Tunnel (B, L)
In the morning our guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel and then depart for Tay Ninh to visit the famous Cao Dai Temple. There you witness a colorful service. After the service you have lunch at a local restaurant. Then you go to Cu Chi Tunnels. Cu Chi Tunnels are an impressive network of tunnels with a length of over 250 km. This strategic place was used by 15,000 Viet Cong fighters during the war. In the afternoon you return to Saigon approximately at 5pm.
Day 21: Mekong Exploration (B, L, D)
At 8 hours, you will be picked up at the hotel and transferred to My Tho. Around 9h30, arriving in My Tho, you will enjoy different type of boat trip (motorized boat trip, rowing boat trip) to islands where you can interact with local people, visit local houses with unique structure specific to southern countryside and some hand – made family business products coconut caramels, noodle, rice –paper. You will have a chance to be on horse-drawn carriage or local transport “Xe loi” (nowadays, it is often seen on movies) stopping over at honey –bee farm (here you can try honey tea).
Gathered at a house where you will be the host tonight, you will join to prepare dinner by catching shrimps and fish.
In the evening, you walk leisurely to nearby houses and sharing daily life of Mekong Delta. If possible, we will get on small boat, rowing along the canals and looking for glowworm. Don’t forget to taste banana rice wine, another specialty of Mekong Delta.
Day 22: Ben Tre –My Tho –Saigon (B, L)
Simple breakfast with our family. Say goodbye, then we cruise to the big river for returning to My Tho, where our waiting vehicle will drive us back to Saigon. On the way, we can visit Dong Tam snake farm and Vinh Trang Pagoda. Another night in Saigon.
Day 23: Free day in Saigon (B)
Saigon is a fast growing city, which is changing day by day and recognized by high buildings and big roads. The ongoing changes in economy have given the city a really cosmopolitan and dynamic character. Today, you are free to explore the city.
Day 24: Departure (B)
Trip will conclude after breakfast. If you are departing Vietnam today you will receive a transfer to the airport.