This 2-week trips will cover 2 vibrant cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh with highlights being temples, pagodas, war museums visit. There is also opportunity for beach time. Transfer from one destination to the other will be by air or by train
The adventure begins in Ho Chi Minh city for 2-3 days: explore local markets, tour museums, sample authentic specialties.
Transfer to Da Nang city before visiting ancient charming town of Hoi An for 3-4 days. Activities here are tour temples, walk the ancient town, relax on An Bang beach.
Then, continue to the old imperial capital of Hue for 2-3 days exploring the citadel, pagodas and royal tombs.
Last but not least, a long journey transfer by train or a flight to capital city of Hanoi where you have time for sampling street food, exploring war historic cultural sites. Then visit the New7Wonder of Nature – Halong bay: cruise amid limestone islets under emerald water, discover amazing caves before returning to Hanoi.
This 2-week itinerary takes you to Vietnam’s granary, a region featured by buffalo wallowing in rice paddies, conical hatted farmers, coconut and fruit-laden boats floating slowly along the mud-brown, houses and markets floating upon unnumerable rivers, canals and streams that criss-cross the landscape like arteries, blessed with national parks, bird sanctuaries with countless species of rare and valuable birds, animals and plants.
After a couple of days enjoying the urban delights and compelling energy of Ho Chi Minh city, head into the Mekong Delta, stopping at Ben Tre to explore canalside lanes by bike and islands by boat. Then hop on-board a cargo ship for a slow, scenic journey to Tra Vinh and take in the town’s colourful pagodas.
Next it’s a short trip to Can Tho where it’s worth lingering a couple of days to visit the bustling floating markets, the city museum and a temple or two. Then head to Phu Quoc island for three days of well-earned beach time on some of Vietnam’s best sandy shores and seafood feasts at night.
From Phu Quoc, fly (or bus it) back to HCMC, then head north into the south-central highlands via a night in Cat Tien National Park, home to gibbons, crocodiles and bountiful bird life. Next up it’s the romantic hill station of Dalat for a tour of its quirky sights, and the opportunity to get stuck into some adventure sports such as canyoning, mountain biking or kayaking.
The road trip from Dalat down to Mui Ne is one of the nation’s finest, negotiating highland ridges and plunging through valleys and pine forests; it’s ideally done on the back of a motorbike (consider hiring an Easy Rider). You can then rest up by the beach in Mui Ne for two or three days – a tropical idyll with towering sand dunes and a laid-back vibe – or for those with the stamina, get stuck into some crazy kitesurfing or a sailing course.
Back to Ho Chi Minh, enjoy vibrant city life with some drinks and specialties.
• Trekking in misty Sapa
• Admire spectacular landscapes and colorful market, gold cascading rice terraces in harvest season (Aug-Sept), multi-colored flower blooming in Dong Van Spring, majestic sinuous mountain roads;
• Discover hill tribe culture of Dzao and Black Hmong’s;
• Take adventurous national park hiking, conquering Fansipan – the Indochina’s submit.
• Tasting local specialties too.
Spend 3 weeks in a land of rippling evergreen hills and breathtakeing view mountains, gold cascading rice terraces in harvest season (Aug-Sept), multi-colored flower blooming in Dong Van and tranquil lake of Ba Be, Hill tribe culture of Dzao and Black Hmong’s.
Leaving Hanoi, head west to Mai Chau, home to the White Thai people, for your first two nights; it’s a perfect introduction to ethnic minority life. Northwest, where the road begins to climb into the Hoang Lien Range (Tonkinese Alps), a logical overnight stop is Son La, a sleepy town with a good spread of restaurants serving minority dishes.
Continue on for two nights at Dien Bien Phu, a name that resonates with history as it was here that the French colonial story ended in defeat. Tour the military sights and impressive new museum then continue north through stunning scenery up the Tram Ton Pass. If you’re looking to get off the beaten track, consider a one- or two-night detour to Muong Te, a predominately White Thai enclave in the country’s northwesternmost corner.
Around 4 days exploring a misty town of Sapa: trekking throught hill tribe villages before heading to Bac Ha for three nights to experience the best of the region’s markets. Most colourful are the Flower Hmong people. From Bac Ha, move east to Ha Giang province, taking it slowly through stunning scenery and towns including Yen Minh, Dong Van and Meo Vac.
Explore remote destinations such as the Lung Cu flag tower and the Vuong Palace from Dong Van. Onwards towards the vertiginous Mai Pi Leng Pass and Meo Vac, there’s no public transport (so you’ll need to hire a xe om or car). The route then loops down to the riverside junction town of Bao Lac.
Transfer by local bus Bao Lac to Cao Bang and on to Ba Be National Park (Ba Be lake). Spend about three nights around Ba Be, staying at local Tay homestays, and exploring the park by trekking or kayaking. From Ba Be travel back to Cao Bang for the trip back south to Hanoi.