Snorkeling, Mountain Biking and Hiking in South Vietnam are some of the highlights of this active trip; include mountain biking in the highlands; hiking in the jungle; biking in the Mekong Delta; and snorkeling off Whale Island. A new adventure, this journey explores the best of South Vietnam and combines exciting activities with great accommodation.
Day 1: Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City and travel to the Mekong Delta
Day 2: Cycle in the lush Mekong Delta
Day 3: Visit a floating market and overnight in a jungle long house
Day 4: Trek in the jungle of Nam Cat Tien National Park
Day 5: Scenic drive to Dalat, the city of romance
Day 6: Relax in Dalat or go for another adventure
Day 7: Highland cycling to Lak Lake near Ede tribe
Day 8: Lake walk and cycling along the coffee plantations
Day 9: Cycling and later bungalows on the scenic island in the East Sea
Day 10: Whale Island Resort – Island vacation at its best
Day 11: Snorkeling, scuba diving , canoeing or surfing
Day 12: A cyclo ride in the commercial city of Saigon
Day 13: Saigon markets and depart Vietnam
Once you arrive in Ho Chi Minh City (aka Saigon), you will be driven directly to a riverside lodge in the Mekong Delta. From the window of your bus you will see all manner of huge loads, from pigs to meters-high stacks of eggs,being carried on small mopeds. It’s not unusual to see a whole family of five on one small scooter either! After arriving in a small delta village, you will enjoy a short river cruise before reaching the lodge where your bungalow is located just next to the river. Dinner will be served with a direct view over the water. (-/-/D)
The Mekong Delta covers approximately 39,000 square kilometers and is world-renowned for its beauty. On day two, we explore the life of the delta’s canals by bike. We go off the beaten track for around 35km along small, local paths. You will have to duck under palm trees and look out for scooters carrying big baskets of fruit. You will also need to bring plenty of energy to wave back to the many little children who eagerly greet foreign visitors.
Local merchants will invite us inside their shop houses and we will see many different crafts. Along the way there will be plenty of pagodas to photograph and we’ll and eat lunch in a local house. Before dinner, some of the highlights of Vietnamese cuisine will be introduced and a skilled chef will provide a cooking class to give you tips to take back home.(B/L/D)
On day three you will wake up early and visit a typical floating market. These consist of anchored ships selling everything imaginable – tons of different fruits, root vegetables and coffee are all traded.
After the market, we travel north to Nam Cat Tien National Park. The journey brings you to a small ethnic minority village of the Ma People. The villagers are from a former jungle tribe who now live outside the national park. This stay is part of an environmental protection project. The traditional bamboo longhouse is funded by a Danish aid agency and run by the World Wildlife Fund, together with local minority groups and the national park. This is an attempt to create an alternative local income and understanding of the importance of biodiversity. The Topas country manager in Vietnam, Asger Køppen, was responsible for the design and implementation of the project while working for WWF. Here, you will drift off to sleep to the sounds of the many animals in the area. (B/L/D)
When the rooster crows and the frogs croak in the nearby lake, it’s time to wake up. The locals all live in small government-funded concrete houses, but creativity with bamboo extensions reveals their past. Not many years ago, only grass skirts were worn here and hunts were carried out with bow and arrow. South of this area wild elephants still roam and the park is also known for its exotic birds and monkeys. We will walk deep into the forest and enjoy lunch under the shade of the trees. A local guide will reveal details about traditional medicine made using leaves and how the tribe used to live in the forest. Back at the longhouse, the afternoon will be spent either kayaking, or going on a local village walk. (B/L/D)
Once you have said goodbye to the hosts of the longhouse and walked back into the local village, we cross the river and head towards the famous highland town of Dalat. This area provides the finest tea, coffee and flowers of the country.
As we travel by bus, you will quickly notice the changes in the landscape as we move from the flat lowlands to the forested mountains. Situated at 1500m,Dalat was once a mountain retreat for the French who came to escape the cities and enjoy the cool, fresh air. Today, it is the capital of Vietnamese romance and where many couples travel for their honeymoon. After checking in to the hotel, it will be time to explore the town’s many dining options. (B/L/D)
Day six can be spent at your leisure. You may choose to relax in town and just enjoy the views and the smell of roses. Alternatively, you can buy one of many activities in Dalat: a hard hike to the highest mountain, Lang Biang, at 2189m; an easier hike; a mountain biking trip; or even canyoning down waterfalls. Let us know in advance if you want to get active! (B/-/-)
In the morning, you will prepare for the next stage of the journey – three days of beautiful and unique mountain biking. The destination for day eight is 60 kilometers away near the largest lake in the highlands. The cycling is on asphalt roads that traverse the rugged highlands. Expect to see beautiful views and plenty of smiling Vietnamese folk. For those who find the biking a little hard, we will have a support car to take the strain. However, you do not have to be in particularly good bike fitness to join this trip. We will visit a weasel coffee farm, a producer of rice wine and finally a great waterfall. In the evening, take a well-earned rest and enjoy the lake’s surroundings. (B/L/D)
The day starts early with sunrise over the lake and, for those who are adventurous, an unusual experience awaits. The lake is big, but the water is not as deep as it looks, so, with the guide, you can take a walk into it to get a unique take on the countryside. It is possible to walk very close to the local fishermen,so some great pictures can be captured. After the lake walk it will be time to saddle-up again for approximately 60km of cycling to the town of Ban Me Thuot, also known as Vietnam’s coffee capital. Here, we will sample a fresh filtered Robusta brew. (B/L/D)
After a well-deserved breakfast at the hotel we get ready for the last day on the bike. You will cycle to meet villagers and learn more about the lives of the highlanders.
Once you have said goodbye to your local bike team we will head for the crystal blue waters and white beaches of Whale Island. To get there, we sail for half an hour from the port of Dam Mon through the archipelago in Van Phong Bay. This is one of the best areas for scuba diving and snorkeling in Vietnam and the area where Jacques Cousteau was blown away by dives while he was a young cartographer. At the end of the day, enjoy your own private bungalow and the soft sound of the ocean. (B/L/-)
As the waves lap on the beach and the sun’s rays light up the sand, it will be time to enjoy breakfast looking out over the water. After many days of full activity, it is now time for a real break and a calmer pace. The day’s program is entirely up to you. You may choose to simply read a book, go for a walk along one of the island’s many marked routes, take a swim, or perhaps join one of several activities offered by the resort. (B/-/-)
Today will be your final day on Whale Island and it will be possible to take an organized tour with snorkeling or diving. The resort offers trips to the area’s coral reefs for beginners and certified divers. Above the surface, it is possible to rent everything from yachts to canoes, while for those who want to stay on dry land, it’s possible to go for a wander to one of the smaller hidden beaches on the other side of the island. (B/-/-)
In the morning we will return to civilization. First, we sail back to the mainland and from there transfer by bus to the airport in Nha Trang. When you see the throngs of tourists here, you will be very happy that we chose a different route and skipped the country’s more well-trodden paths.
Back in Saigon, you will check in at a hotel close to a green park and the old market. While cruising the wide boulevards in the seat of a cyclo, you will be introduced to the city’s beautiful French colonial buildings, including the post office and the cathedral. This activity may seem a little sedate for an active holiday like this, but you will soon see how the mix of thousands of motorcycles and street vendors make the traffic an exciting experience in itself. The final night of the trip will include good Vietnamese food, a sense of togetherness, and maybe a glass of cold beer. (B/-/D)
If you still need to shop for souvenirs or gifts for those at home, this will be your last chance. Silk, chopsticks and lacquer are all on offer at great prices in the city’s shops and markets. With a suitcase full of gifts and a memory full of unforgettable experiences, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight home. (B/-/-)
Note: The price is per person and based on a group of 4 persons.
Local English speaking guide(s)
Cycling and boat cruising in Mekong Delta
Trekking in Nam Cat Tien National Park
Biking from the mountain to the see in Central Highland
High quality bikes, helmets and gloves
All indicated accommodation (Twin shared)
All land transfer as indication
Flight tickets Nha Trang – Saigon (Economic Class)
Indicated meals (B as breakfast, L as lunch, D as dinner)
All entrance fees to indicated sites
Indicated Homestay and permits
Personal pocket money
Visa to Vietnam