Vietnam Travel South to North

  • destination Vietnam
  • activity Multi
  • duration 15 days
  • grade Moderate

Our Vietnam Travel South to North is a real adventure. This is an exciting journey where we explore the unique variety of the country and focus on lots of good activities. We first bike in the fertile Mekong Delta before journeying to the central region to ride alongside the white sand beaches near the ancient city of Hoi An. In the North, we hike among rice terraced mountains to colorful ethnic minority villages. Finally, we visit the world famous Halong Bay. Welcome to a different and active way to explore Vietnam.

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TOUR CODE: V15A
PRICE: from 1594USD

Day 1: Arrive in Saigon and transfer directly to a lodge in the Mekong Delta.
Day 2: Cycle along the rivers and canals of the delta.
Day 3: Boat trip to a floating market before seeing historical Saigon
Day 4: Hoi An, an ancient UNESCO heritage town
Day 5: Cycle to pristine beaches
Day 6: Hue – the former imperial capital
Day 7: Explore the imperial city by bike
Day 8: “Topas Hanoi day tour” – a unique walk in the capital
Day 9: The highlights of Hanoi and a night train to Sapa
Day 10: Hike to a riverside house deep in the remote mountains
Day 11: Hike to TopasEcolodge via minority villages
Day 12: Relax in the mountains
Day 13: Cruise the amazing Halong bay
Day 14: Halong Bay and return to Hanoi.
Day 15: Goodbye Vietnam

Day 1: Arrive Saigon. Relaxing aside the Mekong River. (-,L,D)

Upon your arrival at Saigon airport, your private guide and driver will meet you for the journey to Mekong Delta, the land of nine dragons. On the way you will see the mighty delta with its quaint rural landscape and immense waterway. After about 2.5 hour drive, you will arrive at Mekong Riverside Resort, the green pearl of Mekong Delta. Your lunch is served at the Resort’s restaurant. The rest of the day is at your leisure to enjoy the peaceful life of the surrounding.
In the evening, you get some hands on culinary experience by joining a Vietnamese cooking class. Your chefs will instruct you to prepare the Mekong Riverside Resort signature dishes. Have fun and some interesting recipes to take home with. Enjoy dinner in a cozy atmosphere.

Overnight at Mekong Riverside Resort.

Day 2: Explore the Mekong Delta on bike. (B,L,D)

After enjoy your buffet breakfast, you will commence the cycling tour on the village roads to explore the daily life of the people living in the Mekong Delta. You will first visit some workshops to see how sugar is made out from coconut, as well as how the local inhabitants use coconut leaf to make roof-leaf. You then follow the road running along the Ba Rai River to visit a brick fireplace and the Quang Long Pagoda. Your lunch will be served at a local house.
In the afternoon you continue the cycling to visit the Tan Phong Island, where you take a break at a fruits garden. It is a nice time to taste some of the fruits while exploring how the local people plant and harvest durian, longan, grapefruit, water apple… At the end of Tan Phong Island, you pass the river by a wooden ferry to Cai Be where you will visit a Old House and a milk rice paper village. From here, you take another ferry and cycling back to the resort.

Overnight at Mekong Riverside Resort.

Day 3: Floating market and Saigon introduction tour. (B,-,D)

You will get on a sampan to visit the Cai Be floating market at its most busy time. The floating market reflects clearly the culture and purchasing habit of the local people, who are living in the area where waterways transportation is much more popular than other means of transport. You will also enjoy a cruise on rowing boat, which allows you to enter one of thousand small cannels. The sampan then transfer you back to the Mekong Riverside Resort, where you check out and have a transfer to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon).

VESPA TOUR
Time: 18:00 – 22:00
Pick up at hotel and first stop is to Café zoom to “watch the world goes by” (quoted by The Lonely Planet) and enjoy cocktail and appetizer (inclusive) before adventuring into favorite local eating spot. Guests experience the nightlife of Saigon the way locals do, all from the back of a vintage Vespa scooter. The tour will start with a ride to part Chinatown and then heading to District 4 through busy streets and alleys to see the night life of locals and enjoy street sea- food and cold drinks, places that foreigner won’t be found. Leaving district 4 to district 3 the tour pass through downtown district 1 to take in the sights on the way to Banh Xeo, specialty of Saigon, and southern food with the locals. Then the tour will continue to a hidden Vietnamese-style coffee shop to have a taste of Vietnamese music (live) as a local. After this the tour will bring guest to a lively bar to enjoy the drinks with live music. Guests ride pillion behind our drivers.

Note:
– Guide during the Vespa tour is from the Vespa team, who is also the drivers;
– The Vespa tour includes guide as drivers, street food (2 stops), Bar and café (3 stops) and at least one drink at each stop.

Overnight in Saigon.

Day 4: Visit Saigon’s attractive sites. Flight to Danang for Hoi An. (B,-,-)

In the morning, you will take visits to the most highlight of Saigon, including the Re-Unification Palace, the former Presidential Palace; the Central Post Office and the Notre Dame Cathedral, which are in Romanesque art and French-style. You will also visit the War Remains Museum, where you will have a closer look of the Vietnam – American War through the Vietnamese’s eyes.
You then have a transfer to Saigon airport for the flight to Danang, from there you have another transfer to the UNESCO Heritage Site of Hoi An. The rest of the day is at your leisure.

Overnight in Hoi An.

Day 5: On bike exploring the country side and hidden beach of Hoi An. (B,L,-)

Together with your private tour guide, you will commence the cycling tour from your hotel to the outskirt of Hoi An. The easy 20km ride is on village path and partly on non-heavy traffic roads, with beautiful views of rice fields, villages and rivers, which you will pass by several times by ferries. In the morning you will visit a local market and Cam Kim traditional village of wooden handicrafts and colorful sleeping mats and Cam Thanh village where you may want to ride a water buffalo. You lunch will be served at a local house.
In the afternoon, you will have an excited opportunity to try to catch fishes by net, row a basket boat on the sea guided by fisherman, then relax and enjoy to swim at the beach.
You then take a ride back to your hotel.

Overnight in Hoi An.

Day 6: Relaxing in Hoi An. Transfer to Hue. (B,-,-)

The morning is at your leisure to visit Hoi An ancient streets. Hoi An was firstly called “Dai Chien” and was at that time one of the most important ports in the Champa dynasty, but merged with Vietnam in the 13th century. Since has Hoi An been inhabited by Chinese, Japanese, Dutch, British and French, which together has given Hoi An a cuisine with a mix of the past. It is therefore always interesting to go investigating the wide range of restaurants. Hoi An Ancient Town is now a World Heritage Centre and a popular tourist destination. Closed to cars and motorbikes, the town is ideal place for pedestrians to explore the ancient streets which retains the sense of history, especially in the full moon night, when traffic and electricity is replaced by lanterns and traditional costumes.
In the afternoon, you will have a transfer to Hue, with a Stop at the summit of the Hai Van Pass to enjoy a breath-taking panoramic view of the sea and mountainous surroundings.

Overnight in Hue.

Day 7: Explore Hue’s Imperial City on bikes. (B,L,-)

The 30km cycling tour gives you an opportunity to explore not only the Imperial citadel of Hue, but also the temptations of the ancient city.
Together with your guide, you commence the ride from your hotel. The first visit is to Dong Ba market, one of the romantic Hue’s symbols, where you will learn about the local foods that make up Hue people’s daily meals. You will then cycle along the northern bank of the Perfume River to the old town of Bao Vinh, reminiscent of the once flourishing time of trading between Hue, later the royal capital, with other nations in the region. Arriving at the Citadel and the Imperial Museum, you will experience of the lifestyle of the royal family and the aristocrats of the Nguyen Dynasty, the last feudal dynasty in Vietnam for 140 years (1805- 1945). You will also visit one of the most typical garden houses of Hue and finally visit the Heavenly Lady Pagoda, one of the oldest Buddhist pagodas in the place.

Overnight in Hue.

Day 8: Flight to Hanoi. Hanoi’s Old Quarter walking and street food tasting. (B,-,D)

The morning is at your leisure until having a transfer to Hue Airport for the flight to Hanoi.
The Old Quarter has become the unique classical feature of Hanoi, thanks to its mostly original state. In the late afternoon, together with your guide, you will start a walk along the narrow streets/ alleys to witness the locals’ daily life, the old-style narrow streets and houses and the colorful souvenir shops. Many streets share the same with the kind of commodities which are still selling today. During the walk, you will take stops trying some of the tastiest traditional local street foods of Hanoians. The tour ends at the Sword Lake, where you enjoy the Vietnamese folklore water puppetry show.

Overnight in Hanoi.

Day 9: Hanoi City tour. Night train to Lao Cai. (B,-,-)

You rise up early today for a walk to the nearby bus stop to take a local public bus, together with other local passengers, to the Westlake, the biggest lake in Hanoi. You will visit Tran Quoc pagoda, one of the oldest Buddhist pagodas in Hanoi, with very beautiful view over the Westlake. From here you walk along the streets in the “French Quarter”, many villas reflect the colonial architecture, to Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (*). The Mausoleum is located in centre of Vietnam’s political Head Quarter, bordering the Presidential Palace. You then take another walk to visit the Temple of Literature, the first University of Vietnam.
The tour ends at the Temple of Literature and the afternoon is at your leisure. Your guide will there to support you with your onward plan or show you way back to the hotel by taxi, at your own expense.
In the evening, you will have a transfer to Hanoi station for the night train to Lao Cai city, which is bordering with China.

Note:
– The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is closed on Mondays and Fridays. Annually closed time for maintenance is October and November.
– Your room is reserved for late check out until 18:00 today.

Overnight onboard the train.

Day 10: Transfer to Sapa. Explore the remote village of ethnic minorities. (B,L,D)

You will arrive in Lao Cai Station early in the morning and have a transfer up an elevation of 1500m to the “in cloud” town of Sapa. Enjoying the fresh air of mountain, you have breakfast at a local restaurant. You will then visit the Sapa market and be inspired by colorful of the ethnic minorities, who you will probably meet them again when visiting and staying at their villages today.
You will leave Sapa town and head off into the beautiful Hoang Lien National Park by car, along the road you have the chance to see big rice terraces and a hopefully the high tops of the mountain range. Soon your guide will introduce you to the biggest group of minorities in this area, the colorful Black H’mong people, famous for their indo colored cloths and silver necklace. The walk is on a good path and will take few hours, plenty of time to learn about history and traditional customs. You will then continue the transfer deeper into the valley and cross the beautiful Muong Bo River before reaching Thanh Phu village of Tay minority. Here you will see the big difference in culture as the group wears lighter colors of silk clothing. Your lunch will be served next to the rice fields in a local restaurant. After lunch the tour continues to the small village of My Son and an interesting afternoon walk. This remote tribe is the smallest minority group in Sapa area and home to Xa Pho people. In the afternoon we arrive in the remote and quiet Red Dao village of Nam Cang. Walking along the small roads you will soon understand that this is “off the beaten trail”, people are looking happily. Finally you will cross a private bridge and check into your private room in the comfortable Nam Cang Riverside house. You can now explore the village or relax in the river or at the riverside veranda.

Approx: Grade: 2 of 5/ 3 hour hiking/ 1.5 hour driving

Note: the trekking itinerary can be customized to be longer/harder according to your wishes.

Overnight at Nam Cang Riverside house.

Day 11: From Riverside to hilltop Topas Ecolodge. (B,L,-)

You will wake up in the sound of nature. The day starts with a nice breakfast served just few meters from the river. The morning is for relaxing at the house or visiting the surroundings. Nam Cang is a small village with a quite big school, which gathers the children from other nearby villages. Play with the cute and curious children; visit a silversmith; learn how to make the Red Dao traditional writing papers, try to test your embroidery skill, which the Red Dao women are famous for; or take a swim in the river… are among the available activities.
Saying goodbye to the friendly villagers, you have a transfer to Topas Ecolodge, where you will have lunch while enjoying amazing view of mountains and endless paddle rice terraces.
The walk after lunch is easy and no less interesting. You will visit the nearby Lech village, also habited by Red Dao people. Same as in Nam Cang, the women here wear some of the most colorful and diverse costumes of all Vietnam’s ethnic groups.

Note: the trekking itinerary can be customized to be longer/harder according to your wishes.

Overnight at Topas Ecolodge.

Day 12: Relaxing on hilltop. Take night train back to Hanoi. (B,-,-)

The moning is ideal for just relaxing at your bungalow’s balcony and looking over the towering mountains and picturesque valleys where you has just been to in the last few days.
In the afternoon you will take one hour drive by shuttle bus to Sapa town, where you will encouter again the Tay, Black H’mong, Red Dao and also Giay minorities who gather for socializing and purchasing at the town’s markets. It is also nice to walk around the town, exploring why it was once chosen as a hill station by the French.
At 17:00, you have transfer by shuttle bus to Lao Cai Railways station to take the night train back to Hanoi.

Note: the transportation Topas Ecolodge – Sapa town is by complimentary Topas Ecolodge’ shuttle bus.
Overnight onboard the train.

Day 13: Arrive Hanoi. Transfer to Halong and start cruising on Halong Bay. (B,L,D)

You arrive early in Hanoi station and have a transfer to the Sword Restore Lake. In the early morning fresh air, hundreds of Hanoian are practicing Tai Chi by the beautiful lake set right in the heart of Hanoi. You will visit the Ngoc Son temple before enjoying breakfast.
At 8:00, you will join a shuttle bus transfer to Halong. Upon arrival at the whalf just before noon, you will get on board your overnight cruise. Welcome drink and fresh sea food lunch are ready onboard. You will enjoy lunch while the Traditional Style Boat cruises its way into the seascape of Halong Bay, a natural UNESCO heritate site. The cruising route is well customized to offer you the best that Halong Bay has to offer. You can relax on the dock, have a swim in the emarald water, visit a cave… After enjoy your dinner, you will try to fish some squid or retire to your private well equiped cabin.

Day 14: Continue cruising. Back to Hanoi. (B,L,-)

You rise up early and try to practice Tai Chi on the dock in the sunrise. The boat continues its cruise between thousands of beautiful and strange shapes islets. Your breakfast and lunch (or brunch) will be served onboard before disembarking time.
You then have a shuttle bus transfer to Hanoi and check in your down-town located hotel. The rest of the day is at your leisure.

Day 15: Departure Hanoi. (B,-,-)

The day is at your leisure until having a transfer to Hanoi Airport for your onward flight.

Note: The price is per person and based on a group of 4 persons.

Inclusive

Local English speaking guide(s)

High quality bikes, helmets and gloves

Indicated accommodation (Twin shared)

All land transfer as indication

Boat cruises in Halong Bay

Train tickets Hanoi – Lao Cai – Hanoi (soft sleeper in 4-berth cabins with AC)

Flight tickets Hue – Hanoi (Economic Class)

Flight tickets Saigon- Danang

Indicated meals (B as breakfast, L as lunch, D as dinner)

All entrance fees to indicated sites

Indicated Homestay and permits

Exclusive

Personal pocket money

Insurance

Visa to Vietnam and Cambodia

Tip money

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