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Home > Grand Vietnam South to North

Trip Overview

Vietnam is a land of mesmerizing natural beauty and on this tour with us you will experience its diversity, from the Mekong Delta to tranquil Lan Ha Bay and the grand mountains of the far North.

Along the way you will see Saigon’s fascinating history, temples, pagodas, and elegant French colonial architecture.

You’ll stay in the UNESCO coastal town of Hoi An, giving you time to enjoy its quaint, peaceful old town and stunning beaches.

Moving to the far north, discover the magical beauty of Sapa’s rice terraces and ethnic minority cultures in the hidden valley of Nam Cang before a stay at the unique mountaintop Topas Ecolodge.

Next, soak up the sights, sounds and tastes of the frenetic capital, Hanoi, before finally relaxing with a stay on Cat Ba Island. From here, enjoy a private cruise of majestic Lan Ha Bay, the less crowded, but equally beautiful sister to Halong Bay.


  • Indulge in the varied flavors of mouth-watering traditional Vietnamese cuisine from South to North 
  • See the bucket list sights, as well as more off the beaten track destinations 
  • Get to know the nation’s culture and history  
  • Explore the contrasts of the nation’s landscapes, from the flatlands of the Mekong Delta to the high mountains of the North 
  • Cycle through the natural beauty of Hoi An and its rural villages,  
  • Marvel at the rice terraces and ethnic diversity of Sapa 
  • Enjoy the majesty of Lan Ha Bay and explore beautiful Cat Ba Island 
  • Kayak through a secluded floating fishing village 
  • Experience Vietnamese BBQ lunches in amazing locations, including a remote beach and the jungle 
  • Stay in peaceful hotels, away from the crowds

This Tour is Perfect for

  • Mixing ‘must sees’ with lesser visited gem
  • Seeing lots of Vietnam, but at pace that is not too fast
  • Enjoying the beauty of nature
  • Cultural exploration

Detailed Itinerary

Topas Travel creates tailor-made tours for our guests according to their specific requests. This itinerary has been designed to show you just one of many options

Day 1: Ho Chi Minh City Arrival

Day 2: Ho Chi Minh City

Day 3: Ho Chi Minh City – Mekong

Day 4: Mekong

Day 5: Mekong – Danang – Hoi An

Day 6: Hoi An

Day 7: Hoi An – Hanoi

Day 8: Hanoi – Sapa

Day 9: Sapa

Day 10: Sapa

Day 11: Sapa – Hanoi

Day 12: Hanoi

Day 13: Hanoi – Cat Ba Island

Day 14: Cat Ba Island

Day 15: Cat Ba Island – Hanoi Departure

Ho Chi Minh City Post Office

Welcome to Ho Chi Minh City! A metropolis once known as the Pearl of the Orient, Ho Chi Minh City today is a bubbling pot of energy, excitement, and hidden gems.

Upon arrival, your Topas guide will welcome you at the airport and take you to your hotel in a tranquil location outside the downtown on the peaceful bank of the Saigon River.

Start your journey in Vietnam in complete relaxation in your boutique hotel where you may like to rejuvenate in the in-house spa. Nearby you can sample Vietnamese classics at the local restaurants along the riverbank.

With warm weather and fertile soil, the South has perfect conditions to grow a wide variety of fruit and vegetables, so the food here is vibrant and flavorful, with the combination of fresh herbs and spices. Sugar is added to the food more here than other regions.

To sample some of the southern dishes in comfort, we recommend you try Cuc Gach restaurant with its traditional Vietnamese design and menu offering many traditional foods of the region.

Tip: See our food section on the website for more pointers on eating your way through this tour!

Included meals: N/A
Distance and activities: 30’ drive

Cyclo in Ho Chi Minh City

This morning a half day guided tour will introduce the most interesting and iconic sights in the city. Your first visit is to the Independence Palace; this beautifully preserved building was the residence of the President of the South of Vietnam. The next stop is the War Remnants Museum where you can see countless artifacts, photographs and pictures documenting the second Indochina war. Then we will visit The Notre Dame Cathedral, which was built in 1880, and the Old Post Office, which is one of the best examples of classical French colonial architecture.

We then take a quick visit to Jade Pagoda; this is an ancient Chinese style temple with bright decorative motifs. We finish the morning with a lunch of local specialties in a beautiful restaurant with traditional Vietnamese design.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Distance and activities: 4h sightseeing

take a boat trip in Mekong Delta

This morning we leave bustling Saigon city behind. The scenery changes dramatically – soon you will see lush rice paddies in an area referred to as the ‘rice bowl of Vietnam’.

Upon arrival, check in to your cottage in a verdant, green garden

In the afternoon, we will take a half day guided tour to explore a 2,800-hectare forest & wetland conservation area. Weave along the waterways of this untouched wetland before taking a trek to enjoy the sights and sounds of wildlife, including many birds (in season). Climbing a 25-high meter observation tower will then give you a stunning view over the wetland forest and rice fields.

Your guide will also show you a giant old ficus microcarpa tree and explain how it was used by the army in the war. Those who want to know more about the area’s war history need only ask.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Distance and activities: 4h sightseeing

floating house in Mekong Delta

Wake up early to visit Cai Rang floating market – a must see in Can Tho.

Hop on your sampan and your guide will explain the history of the floating market and the local life on the river. Sample fruits sold from boats before enjoying a local lunch cooked by a family.

After lunch your cycling tour will weave in and out untouched, peaceful villages and tropical orchards along countryside roads. Along the way you’ll see many “monkey bridges” and small canals.

End your day by visiting a local garden where your guide will tell you about local Mekong countryside life, culture, gardens and fruits.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Distance and activities: 6h Sightseeing and biking

After flying to Hoi An, you’ll enjoy a guided morning tour. Known as Faifo to early traders, this was one of the region’s major trading ports from the 17th to 19th century. Today, this historic town is still graced with finely preserved homes built by Japanese, Indian, Dutch, and Portuguese merchants of old. Your guided walk showcases ancient Chinese temples, art galleries and a colorful local market that give you a deeper insight of this old town. Then we take a short ride to visit an Organic Farm to see how the locals cultivate crops before heading back to the hotel.

Spend the afternoon as you please, perhaps enjoying the pool or grab a bike to explore Hoi An more.

Hoi An offers some of the best foodie experiences in Vietnam, including street food, cooking classes and plenty of upmarket, riverside cuisine.

To eat on the street, we recommend you taste one of the dishes most unique to Hoi An: cao lau. This is a fusion of Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese influences. If you prefer a restaurant, try The Secret Garden, a cozy ancient house garden restaurant located in the heart of Hoi An serving traditional and contemporary cuisine of Hoi An.

Included meals: Breakfast
Distance and activities: 1h15’ flight- 3,5h sightseeing

Cycling in Hoi An

Hop onto a bicycle and explore the countryside surrounding Hoi An, crisscrossing vibrant rice paddies and streams before reaching the traditional village of Cam Kim. Deep in the countryside, these locals make handicrafts from wood and sleeping mats from rattan.

Continue the dirt roads until you reach Cam Thanh village, another picturesque village that survives off farming. Feeling brave? Hop onto a water buffalo and plough through the paddies! Then stop for lunch on the hidden side of An Bang beach, a spotless strip of yellow sand that meets calm and shallow waters. Enjoy lunch with a local family, and rest.

After lunch you can enjoy a quick fishing trip with a local fisherman before returning to your hotel.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Distance and Activities: 10 km cycling

Long Bien Bridge, Hanoi Vietnam

After breakfast, you’ll take a short coastal drive from Hoi An to Danang airport and catch the flight to the capital, Hanoi. Upon arrival, your Topas guide will pick you up and take you to Moon Garden, 1.5 hours away. This quaint property is in an ancient craft village which is surrounded by cultivated countryside.

Upon arrival , enjoy lunch and a welcome drink in the tiled courtyard while absorbing the old-world atmosphere of Vietnam’s Red River Delta.

After lunch, enjoy an herbal hand spa while learning some basic Vietnamese with a family member of the homestay.

Once you’re nice and rested, take a gentle walk through the surrounding area, exploring the quiet villages of Ky Son, Tam Son, and Van Minh as well as farming communities.

Return to the homestay and observe a traditional prayer ceremony featuring Vietnam’s unique form of Buddhism, followed by a big dinner of the typical cuisine of the Red River Delta. Before bed, indulge in a footbath with ginger, salt, and medicinal herbs to ensure a perfect sleep.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Distance and activities: 1,5h drive – 1,5h flight- 1 hour walking

Topas Riverside Lodge in Sapa Vietnam

After a hearty breakfast, hop on a bicycle and explore the surrounding countryside. Whizz through farming communities and learn how the locals work the land – which will be different depending on the season – before arriving at Duong Lam, one of Vietnam’s best-preserved villages.

Duong Lam is famous for its preserved, centuries-old houses, and the production of Tuong, a kind of fermented bean dipping sauce that you can sample if you’re feeling up for it, continuing to the tomb of Ngo Quyen and the temple of Phung Hung, two of Vietnam’s most important historical figures.

In the afternoon, we will take the five-hour scenic journey from Hanoi to Topas Riverside Lodge in Nam Cang Village, home of the Red Dzao ethnic minority, near Sapa. After you arrive and settle in, dinner will be served in the communal style of Vietnamese families – all at once and among friends.

To add a level of relaxation, sample a traditional herbal bath made by a local Red Dzao specialist. These baths are famous locally for their medicinal and therapeutic qualities.

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Distance and activities: 6km cycling – 5h drive

Beautiful rice field in Nam Cang Sapa

Discover one of the most beautiful and remote valleys of the Sapa area mountains on a stunning hike to a unique lunch spot this morning. See where the villagers plant cardamom along with other herbs and spices that can fetch a good price in the local markets. Your lunch location is beside a picturesque white-water river flowing under an old suspended bridge which you can cross… if you dare! Dip your toes in or go for a swim in a calm pool as your BBQ lunch is set up, complete with fresh trout and a variety of vegetables and jungle herbs.

Return to the lodge, then take the short trip to Topas Ecolodge – a world class lodge with stunning views of the Hoang Lien Mountain peaks and rice. This is a highlight of any trip to Vietnam.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Distance and activities: 8km jungle hike – 30’ transfer

The day is yours at leisure to discover the surrounding villages or simply relax and enjoy the beautiful grounds and infinity pools of Topas Ecolodge. Sample delicious cuisine at the restaurants, breathe in the fresh mountain air from your bungalow’s private balcony and indulge in some locally inspired treatments at the wonderful spa on site.

Included meals: Breakfast
Distance and activities: leisure

Step rice field in Sapa

Today is yours to enjoy as you please until the afternoon when the Topas Mountain Express will take you back to Hanoi. If you want to explore more, simply talk to the lodge staff about the options, otherwise enjoy the lodge and the perfect rest and relaxation it offers.

Included meals: Breakfast
Distance and activities: 5h drive

Thanh Nien Street and the West Lake of Hanoi

Let your guide walk you around Hanoi’s small streets and alleys to discover the highlights and the lesser visited corners. See the Quan Thanh Temple, Cua Bac Catholic Church, and the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, before a chance to join the traditional mask making workshop where you have a deeper insight into one of the oldest handicrafts of the capital and learn from your host about the history over a cup of tea.

In the evening you will have free time to explore Hanoian street food, café or bar culture. To try traditional dishes from the far North, we suggest booking your table at Chim Sao restaurant. For more food recommendations, see our cuisine section.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Distance and activities: 4h sightseeing

The magnificent scenery in Lan Ha Bay

Today we will depart for Cat Ba Island, part of the UNESCO-listed Cat Ba archipelago.

Upon arrival, you will check in to the best beach front hotel then you can enjoy a day of cycling, exploring trails or simply relaxing on the beach.

Included meals: Breakfast
Distance and activities: 2h transfer

Kayaking on Lan Ha Bay

After breakfast at the hotel, board your private, traditional boat for a cruise out to Lan Ha Bay, where you can witness local life of the floating fish farms and houses. If you wish, get even closer by taking a kayak and paddle through 3 short tunnels and visit Ca Cave.

Next a fresh Vietnamese BBQ cuisine is served on a secluded beach. You can also enjoy a swim here.

More kayaking is available later, or simply enjoy your time on the deck of your private vessel while cruising back to the mainland via a fish farm. Finish the experience with sunset on board.

Included meals: Breakfast, BBQ Lunch
Distance and activities: 6h sightseeing

Incredible Scenery of Lan Ha Bay

Today you will head back to Hanoi for your onward flight. The schedule will depend on your specific schedule.

Included meals: Breakfast
Distance and activities: 2h transfer

Tour Inclusions

  • Private A/C airport transfer as indicated in the program 
  • All accommodation indicated as twin-shared room 
  • All meals as indicated in the program  
  • All entrance tickets for sightseeing 
  • Refillable water in vans  
  • English speaking local tour guide on days with activities 
  • 1-way domestic flight ticket between Can Tho -Da Nang; Danang – Hanoi 
  • Government VAT 

Important Notes

  • Prices are quoted in Vietnamese Dong and valid until Oct 2022
  • Exchange rate applied at VND 23,200. to USD 1 
  • Prices calculated with VAT  
  • Surcharge may be applicable during peak season and public holidays 

Tour Exclusions

  • Drinks and alcohol  
  • Vietnam visa (Available on request with additional charge) 
  • Travel insurance (Compulsory with Topas Travel programs) 
  • Upgrades to higher standard rooms or single supplements 

Essential Information

This program utilizes comfortable accommodation in the form of carefully curated hotels, lodges, and homestays. Hotels and lodges have been selected with the active traveler in mind, offering standard services and located as close to nature and local engagement as possible. Homestays are simple and equipped with western toilets and amenities such as fans and mattresses. If you have a specific property in mind you wish to stay at, please let your travel designer know so they can work it into your program.

All bookings are made with and through Topas Travel. By booking a trip with Topas Travel, you agree to the terms and conditions set forth here.

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