Cyclo in Saigon

15 Days | From $1,650 per person

TOPAS FAMILY

DISCOVER VIETNAM (with your kids!)

Take all the time you need to enjoy Vietnam’s myriad landscapes and varied cities across the country’s three strikingly diverse regions. In the north, you can absorb Vietnam’s storied capital of Hanoibefore ascending to the mountains of Sapaand enjoy hiking through jungles and across mountains. Stay at the Topas Ecolodge and Topas Riverside Lodge, two of Vietnam’s most iconic accommodations.

In central Vietnam, delve into the world’s biggest caves in Phong Nha before touring the historically significant DMZ and two of Vietnam’s most charming and engaging cities: Hue and Hoi An. Uncover the lives of the imperial kings with grand palaces and crumbling tombs in Hue and take part in a lantern making class basket boat tour in Hoi An, Vietnam’s best-preserved old town.

Explore Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, Vietnam’s southern metropolis and the country’s biggest city. Then head into the Mekong Delta, Vietnam’s iconic waterway destination.

Proposed Itinerary

Take a peek in more detail at each day of this itinerary!

Arrive to the airport and transfer to your central hotel. Enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure, taking a stroll in the Old Quarter if you want to get stuck in straight away.

Hanoi is home to Vietnam’s very best museums, covering everything from the military history of the nation to the colorful ethnic diversity. Choose one from three of the best: the Vietnamese Women’s Museum, the National Museum of Vietnamese History, or the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology. Then head to the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s oldest university and still a place of worship, especially for students during exam season.

Enjoy a local lunch, either on the street or in a local restaurant, before understanding more about Hanoi’s 1000-year-old history in the monstrous Citadel. Stroll around the leafy gardens, marvel at the ancient architecture, and learn about the Citadel’s central position of power – which it maintains even today. Then explore one of the Old Quarter’s most picturesque houses, with tiled flooring, ancient wooden beams, and antique furniture.

Finish the day with a beer in one of the local fresh beer stalls. This light and refreshing drink is one of the (many) beverages that keeps Hanoi buzzing. Enjoy it with a whole host of local snacks, from fried tofu to grilled meats.

Spend the morning in the comfortable Topas Mountain Express, a lounge chair shuttle bus service that covers the five-hour journey from Hanoi to Topas Riverside Lodge. Depart at around 7am and arrive by midday. Enjoy a local lunch prepared by the resident family and explore the attached village of the Dao, famous for their exquisite embroidery and botanical knowledge. Peer in on rice paper making families and jewellery makers and take a refreshing swim in the river. Back at the lodge you can sample a traditional bath made with herbs picked by a local Dao specialist at an additional cost.

Start the morning early with breakfast at the lodge before heading up to a Hmong village, passing through rice terraces and small villages with waterfalls and jungle visible in the distance. Your guide will be able to talk about the different crops other than rice that are farmed in the area and will be your window into the local cultures. Uncover the Hmong way of life before moving onto another Dao village and lunch. Continue the loop, passing through more picturesque scenery, before making your way back to the Topas Ecolodge.

Relax at your leisure by the pool, in the restaurant, or in your bungalow. Uncover the spa, which offers a range of unique treatments that borrow from the botanical knowledge of the Dao. Or consider taking out a mountain bike – free of charge – and exploring some of the local villages. Want to go a little further afield? Why not take off on a half-day or full-day hike of the surrounding villages and explore the colorful ethnic diversity of the region, couples with glorious views. Make the most of the day before heading back to Hanoi at around 2:30pm.

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel and relax in the morning before transferring to the airport and taking a flight to Dong Hoi City, where you’ll meet your driver for the 45-minute car ride to Phong Nha.

Ready for the adventure of a lifetime? Pick up from your hotel at 7am and head to the Oxalis Adventure headquarters located right on the river. Join the briefing, then delve into the national park for a day of caving in Nuoc Nut, one of the park’s most adventurous caves.

Venture inside, illuminating the cavern with your headtorch as you go, until the cave opens up into a massive chamber. Marvel at the otherworldly formations, which you can see easily due to cracks of life from the surface. After exploring this underground wonder, which culminates in a massive underground lake that you swim in if you’re feeling up to it, enjoy a fresh picnic lunch in the jungle.

Hike through the jungle before making your way to Chay, the village from which you can take to a kayak and paddle down the river. With jungle-topped karsts pointing to a bright blue sky, it will feel like dream as you make your way downstream.

Leave Phong Nha and head south, crossing the demilitarized zone (DMZ) as you go. Explore the historic battle grounds, a village that moved underground, and the friendship bridge, now a symbol of home. Arrive in Hue and relax for the evening.

9am and head up stream on the poetic Perfume River, a large, sweeping river that descends from the mountains before dividing Hue in two. As you move towards the mountains, you’ll pass villages and temples before making your way to Thien Mu Pagoda, one of Vietnam’s most impressive Buddhist sites. Absorb the morning atmosphere of this important religious complex, situated on a picturesque bend in the river.

Time for the tombs! Head further up river to Tu Duc Tomb, the most elegant of all the royal resting places in Hue, decorated with lotus ponds and ancient shrines. Enjoy a vegan lunch (prepared by Buddhist nuns if you like) before moving to Khai Dinh Tomb, an entirely different structure that blends Vietnamese, Chinese, French, and Cambodian architecture.

Return to the city and unearth the Citadel, the palace that the great kings constructed and improved upon over the centuries. Explore the proud flag tower, ornate gates, and various royal chambers before returning to your hotel before 6pm

Hue is connected to Hoi An along a stunning coastal road where you’ll glimpse lagoons, mountains, and the vast ocean. Explore the gorgeous and colorful An Bang “ghost city” along the way, an example of how the Hue people venerate their ancestors.

Lanterns are one of the things that give Hoi An its magic, and locals believe that hanging them outside their houses will bring luck, happiness, and wealth to the family. Today you’ll get your chance to make your very own. First, hop on a bicycle and head to the artisan’s workshop, learn the craft, and get started!

Traditionally the lanterns were only made of silk and the shapes were limited, however, lantern makers have diversified not only the shapes of the lantern but also the material with which they are made. As a result, you’ll notice that a lot of the lanterns around Hoi An are shaped as lotuses, diamonds, triangles and even bulbs of garlic. They are also made from cardboard and nylon fibers in addition to the traditional silk versions.

Then head to Tra Que village for lunch, a rural space famous for producing high quality and organic vegetables. Relax in the fresh air and tuck into some local delicacies, such as Hoi An’s famed noodle dishes. After you’ve had your fill, try your hand at some farming if you like before hopping in a local basket boat. Observe as the locals row these genius floating devices and relax on the river, then make your way back to your hotel by bicycle.

Enjoy the day in Hoi An until you head for Ho Chi Minh City and take to explore Vietnam’s southern metropolis. Start by exploring the heart of Ho Chi Minh City by delving into the striking Reunification Palace. This is the former presidential palace and is one of Vietnam’s most storied pieces of architecture. Then head to the Post Office, a colonial-era masterpiece, before gawping at the Notre Dame Cathedral. The cathedral’s red bricks make it a unique structure in Vietnam. Visiting the War Remnants Museum is an important activity when visiting Ho Chi Minh City, as it details the atrocities of war and the human spirit to rebuild in the aftermath. After this sobering experience, you’ll return to your hotel.

Leaving Ho Chi Minh City behind, head to the fertile rice bowl of Vietnam: the Mekong Delta. This lush land of palm trees and great rivers is home to some of the best fruit farms found anywhere in the world. Check in to your riverside lodge and relax in the surroundings.

The Mekong Delta is remarkably flat – perfect for push bikes. Take on two wheels and explore the area to understand how this part of the country feeds the rest of Vietnam. Explore duck farms on water, vibrant green rice paddies, and a dragon fruit farm where you can sample fruit straight from the tree. Then relax and absorb the scenery with a sundowner – the Mekong Delta is famous for its dramatic sunsets.

Return to your lodge, enjoy a traditional music show, a cooking class, and then a delicious dinner using only local ingredients from the delta.

Get an early start and discover more about one of the produce items that keeps this region in business: coconuts. Witness the boats piled high with coconuts destined for the factory – nothing goes to waste! After the coconuts are shelled, the fibers are removed from the husk and used to make rope and rugs. You can watch the whole process before returning to the lodge.

If time, you’ll learn how even the coconut tree leaves are important, from their use in construction to being employed in the crafting of local instruments. Then check out and head back to the city.

Enjoy the last day until your final departure, taking the opportunity for a final coffee, meal, a bit of souvenir shopping.

Is this tour right for you?

This suggested tour itinerary is great for those who are visiting Vietnam with their family and looking to check off most of what are considered highlights of the country for travellers, but at a slightly slower pace so as not to rush the children around.

There are some physical activities such as adventure caving but quite light and suitable for active kids with plenty of energy! There is kayaking, light hiking, and some city walks. 

Our trip designers are very happy to adjust any part of this itinerary to best suit your requirements, including style of hotel, or perhaps more or less strenuous activities in each destination. We can also add or remove any section of the itinerary to suit your schedule. 

Tour Price

From USD 1,650 per person

This tour price is quoted based on two people sharing one room through the tour, and includes all local taxes, entrance fees where required, accomodation and meals as specified, local English-speaking guides, and local transportation between each destination as specified.  It does not include drinks and meals as specified, travel insurance, tips for guides and drivers, and any personal expenses. 

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