TRIP TYPE

Active

PRICE

From 22,300,000 VNĐ

DURATION

10 Days

Home > Thrilling Vietnam

Trip Overview

Get acquainted with the Vietnam few travelers get to experience on this action-packed 10-day journey through bustling Hanoi, charming Ninh Binh, and dreamy Lan Ha Bay. Then, set off on the road less traveled in Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park and fill your days with kayaking, cycling, hiking, and “spelunking” through Paradise and Nuoc Not Caves.

 

Highlights

  • Sampling iconic Hanoian street food dishes
  • Experiencing the gorgeous countryside of Ninh Binh
  • Sailing Lan Ha Bay on a charming overnight cruise
  • Exploring major highlights of Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park by cycling, kayaking, and hiking
  • Spelunking in Nuoc Not, an adventurous cave in Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park

 

This Tour is Perfect for

  • First- or second-time visitors to Vietnam
  • Seeing the best and most quintessential landscapes of the country
  • Hitting major highlights while getting off-the-beaten-path
  • Families with children of all ages, however, some activities listed are recommended for active children at least 9 years old. Please speak with your travel designer about potential modifications to this proposed itinerary

 

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: Hanoi Arrival
Day 2: Hanoi
Day 3: Hanoi – Ninh Binh – Hanoi
Day 4: Hanoi – Hai Phong – Lan Ha Bay
Day 5: Lan Ha Bay – Cat Ba Island
Day 6: Lan Ha Bay – Hai Phong – Hanoi – Dong Hoi
Day 7: Dong Hoi – Phong Nha
Day 8: Phong Nha – Paradise Cave – Tram Village – Chay Lap Village
Day 9:  Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park – Nuoc Not Cave
Day 10: Phong Nha – Dong Hoi Departure

 

Xin Chao and welcome to Vietnam! Upon arrival to Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport, a Topas representative will welcome you to the land of the ascending dragon before heading straight to your hotel in the heart of the city. The day is at leisure to discover Hanoi on your own, wandering the crooked alleys of the iconic Old Quarter and the promenade around Hoan Kiem Lake until an evening dinner date with a local family.

When you want to get to know a culture, there’s nothing quite like breaking bread (or spooning rice) with a local family. Expect to fill up on spring rolls, hearty soups, light stir fries and plenty of hot white rice. Get to know the family without worrying about the language barrier, as English-speaking students from the local university will accompany you throughout, teaching you about local etiquette and making sure you avoid making any social faux pas.

Included meals: Dinner
Distance and activities: 45’ drive

 

Experience the morning like a true Hanoian at Hang Be Market, one of the Old Quarter’s liveliest “wet” markets. Then, head into an alley and pull up a tiny plastic stool for a breakfast bowl of bun ca (a noodle dish served with fried fish, plenty of vegetables, and usually a broth).

Once you’ve had enough to eat, head to the Citadel, a true testament of Vietnam’s strength, resilience, and beauty. Marvel at the ancient architecture while strolling past leafy gardens and learning about the Citadel’s central position of power, of which it maintains even to this day.

Then, head over to the superb Vietnamese Women’s Museum, an essential stop on any visit to Hanoi. Explore the heroines of Vietnamese society, especially in regards to ethnic minorities, war, and modern exhibitions before heading back to the Old Quarter for a tasty lunch on one of the most famous food streets in Southeast Asia.

Finish up with dessert at a local café soaking up the atmosphere of a favorite Vietnamese hobby, drinking coffee with friends. Surrounded by businessmen and giggling teenagers, take your pick of local drinks, although we suggest trying the quintessential Hanoi specialty, egg coffee, a decadent drink brewed with Robusta beans and whisked together with chocolate powder and egg whites.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Distance and activities: 4km street walk

 

After breakfast, leave behind the chaos of Hanoi on a 2-hour drive to Ninh Binh in the surrounding countryside.  Ninh Binh remains one of Vietnam’s most captivating locations, combining stunning natural splendor with an engrossing history that spans a millennium.

Investigate the remains of Hoa Lu, the capital of Vietnam under both the Dinh and Le dynasties and established a thousand years ago. The sights and smells still evoke the atmosphere of a lost kingdom with stunning temples,  pagodas, and elaborate tombs. You’ll also uncover evidence of ancient palaces and royal pavilions that reference an ancient era, surrounded by towering karst mountains and vivid jungle. Grab a bicycle and peddle through the Van Long Nature Reserve and adjacent countryside, passing small villages and bright green rice paddies along the way until pausing for lunch.

Then, swap your bicycle for a boat and hop into a small sampan to discover what Ninh Binh is known for–its  incredibly scenic boat rides. Keep your head low as your driver steers and rows the boat with her feet through  cave passages that lead hidden  temples and pagodas inaccessible by road in the lush jungle.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Distance and activities: 2.5h drive – 1.5h boat – 10km cycling

 

Have a leisurely breakfast this morning before leaving Ninh Binh on a 2-hour drive through the Red River Delta to Hai Phong, about a 2-hour ride away. Upon arrival, board your new “home” for the next 2 days and check-in to your spacious cabin with large windows perfect for gazing out at the beauty around you. Enjoy lunch in the dining room while the ship cruises to Cat Ba Island, the largest island of some 367 islands in Lan Ha Bay.

Spend the afternoon deep within Cat Ba National Park, hiking through Trung Trang Valley to Trung Trang cave, a 2000-year-old cavern filled with stalactites and stalagmites. Then, have some downtime to swim and kayak in the isolated Tra Bau area.

Return to the ship for some downtime, enjoying a traditional Vietnamese cooking class and a delicious dinner onboard before retiring for the night in your comfy cabin. Or, stay for a showing of Top Gear: Vietnam Edition, to see a familiar site at the episode’s finale.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Distance and activities: 2h drive – 3h kayaking, swimming, and walking

 

As the sun rises over the bay, join the ancient practice of Tai Chi on the sundeck, a martial art known for its health benefits and meditational use. After working up an appetite, sit down for a delectable breakfast as the boat docks at Viet Hai pier, the only way to reach Viet Hai Village as there are no roads connecting it to the rest of Cat Ba Island.

Cycle along well-made paths for 3.5 km (there’s an electric buggy available if you would rather survey the jungle landscape at a comfortable pace) to reach the village. Spend time getting to know the history and traditions of the Vietnamese people who live there, enjoying a lunch before setting off for Van Boi, a secluded beach area where you have time to swim, sunbathe, and kayak.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Distance and activities: 3.5km cycling – Full-day swimming and kayaking

 

Explore a local floating fishing village this morning by kayak, peering in on the people and animals that float in the protected coves of Lan Ha Bay.  Return to the ship for a light breakfast as the cruise makes its way to the Dark and Bright Cave, a popular attraction in Halong Bay experienced from a local bamboo boat.

As the cruise makes its way back to Hai Phong, sit down for an early lunch to fill-up before your 2-hour return drive to Hanoi. Spend the afternoon at leisure until your evening departure on an overnight train to Dong Hoi in Central Vietnam. Settle into your soft and cozy sleeper bed with a pillow and blanket and let the sounds of the railroad lull you to sleep.

                                                                                                 Included meals: Breakfast, Brunch

                                         Distance and activities: 1h kayaking – 2h drive – 10h overnight train

 

Arrive to the sleepy town of Dong Hoi in the early hours of the morning. From there, a car will transfer you south to Chay Lap Farmstay and Resort, a charming accommodation with wooden cottages, an herbal sauna, and swimming pool.

Spend the day at leisure, just footsteps away from Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Distance and activities: 45′ drive

 

Wake up this morning with a piping hot breakfast before exploring Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park. Start at a semi-wild enclosure and learn about the critically endangered Ha Tinh Langurs. Head further into the jungle and mountains towards 8 Ladies Cave, a significant piece of history during the Second Indochina War when American bombs ravaged the area.

By mid-morning, make your way to Paradise Cave, a 31km long cave discovered in 2005. Wander through passageways and impressive cave formations before stopping in Chay Lap Village for lunch beside the river.

After lunch, cycle through Chay Lap and Tram Villages, catching a glimpse of local life before returning to the entrance of Phong Nha Ke Bang, where a car will return you to Chay Lap Farmstay and Resort around 16:30.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Distance and activities: 1h drive – 2h caving (540 steps) – 1.5h cycling

 

Ready for the adventure of a lifetime? Leave your hotel at 7:00 and head to the Oxalis Adventure headquarters located right on the river to join the day’s tour briefing before a day of caving in Nuoc Nut, one of Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park’s most adventurous caves.

Venture inside, illuminating the cavern with your headlamp as you go until the cave opens up into a massive chamber. Take time to admire the subterranean formations before swimming in an underground lake and then enjoying a fresh picnic lunch under the jungle canopy.

Make your way through the jungle towards Chay Village, where you’ll jump into a kayak and paddle downstream to Chay Lap Water Sports Center. Return to your hotel by car, with an estimated drop-off time around 17:30.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Distance and activities: 5km trek – 2km caving – 10-20′ swimming – 3km kayaking

 

Enjoy the last day as you see fit before your transfer to Dong Hoi Domestic Airport or south towards Hue for onward booked travel.

Included meals: Breakfast
Distance and activities: 45’ transfer

 

Tour Price

From: 22,300,000 VNĐ

(equivalent of 970 USD)

Tour Inclusions

  • Private A/C airport transfers
  • Join-in 3D/2N cruise (Led by English-speaking Cruise Manager on board)
  • All accommodation indicated as twin-shared room
  • Join-in transfers between Hanoi and Hai Phong
  • One-way overnight sleeper ticket from Hanoi – Dong Hoi
  • All meals as indicated in the program
  • All entrance tickets to Lan Ha Bay and Halong Bay
  • Refillable water in vans (Please check with your guide or driver)
  • 1 x English speaking local tour guide on days with activities (except for cruises)
  • 1D Nuoc Not Caving Expedition
  • Government VAT

Important Notes

  • Prices are quoted in Vietnamese Dong and valid until 31st October 2020
  • Prices based on group of 4 persons
  • Exchange rate applied at VND 23,200. to USD 1
  • Prices calculated with Value Added Tax
  • Surcharge may be applicable during peak season and public holidays

 

Tour Exclusions

  • Drinks and alcohol
  • Vietnam visa (On request with additional charge)
  • Travel insurance (Compulsory with Topas Travel programs)
  • Upgrades to higher standard rooms or single supplements
  • Personal travel items (Please visit our Vietnam weather page for more information)

 

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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Thrilling Vietnam – 10 Days

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Happy discovering! Topas Travel Vietnam is part of Topas Explorer Group