8 Days

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Trip Overview

Bring the whole family along with this exclusive 8-day package designed specifically for Vietnam Jungle Marathon runners and their supporters. Dive deep into the culture and heritage of Vietnam in Hanoi, Ninh Binh, and Lan Ha Bay and push your body to its limits on a challenging race through the jungles of Pu Luong Nature Reserve. This itinerary also includes a once-in-a-lifetime homestay in an ethnic minority-turned-runner’s village.


  • Running a marathon through the jungles, ethnic minority villages, and rice terraces of Pu Luong
  • Staying in Ban Hang Race Village in Thai minority homestays made especially for this event
  • Discovering the history and culture of Hanoi and Ninh Binh by jogging, cycling, and boating
  • Sailing Lan Ha Bay on an overnight cruise

This Tour is Perfect for

  • Loved ones joining a Vietnam Jungle Marathon runner
  • First or second-time visitors to Vietnam
  • Combining exciting city life with pristine nature and natural beauty
  • Getting off-the-beaten track in Northern Vietnam

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 – Pu Luong – Ban Hang Village

Day 5: Pu Luong – Ban Hang Village (Race Day)

Day 6: Ban Hang Village – Pu Luong – Hanoi

Day 7: Hanoi – Hai Phong –  Lan Ha Bay

Day 8: Lan Ha Bay – Hai Phong – Hanoi 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

Lace up and take on the capital in this guided morning run,  getting a fresh perspective on Hanoi’s highlights while the crowds are still sleeping with loops around Hanoi’s illustrious lakes, leafy parks, and tree-lined boulevards. Delve into the bustling backstreets of the Old Quarter, hop along the revived train tracks, and reenergize with a halfway coffee stop. Finish the run with a steaming bowl of pho, Hanoi’s favourite breakfast.

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.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Distance and activities: 9km jog – 4h sightseeing tour 

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.

Return to Hanoi in the late afternoon, with an evening free at leisure.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch  
Distance and activities: 4h round-trip transfer – 1.5h boat ride – 10km cycling

Leave the city behind as your journey 4 hours southwest through the verdant rice fields, shallow mountains, and lush valleys of Hoa Binh Province. Arrive to Ban Hang Village, a small Thai Minority Village transformed just once per year into a runner’s village for the VJM!

Take some time to stretch your legs before the 18:00 meeting to receive your race kit and join a carb-load dinner with fellow runners staying in Ban Hang with you. There will also be a race briefing to prepare you for the following day.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Distance and activities: 4h transfer 

Depending on which race you choose to complete, your day will begin anywhere from 2:45 to 7:30 in order to catch the bus to the starting line. Make sure to bring a small bag with a towel, clean clothes, and money, which you can hand in before the start and receive at the finish line. At 8:30, your supporters will be transferred to the finish line at the Ban Hang Village, a small Thai minority community village, to cheer you on!

Enjoy the run through Pu Luong Nature Reserve, where time has stood still for thousands of years, following the trail through ancient jungles, soaring limestone peaks, rice terraces, and remote villages on your 10k, 25k, 42k, 55k, or 70k run.

Cross the finish line in Ban Hang, enjoying a light lunch and trying the drinks on hand while supporting other runners. In the evening, join the BBQ Buffet Dinner as a DJ pumps music and a bonfire is lit for a celebration unlike anything in the world.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner 

Distance and activities: 10k, 25k, 42k, 55k, or 70k race

Leave Pu Luong behind and head back to the capital after breakfast, arriving in Hanoi around lunch-time. Check-in to your Old Quarter hotel and enjoy the afternoon at leisure to discover Hanoi on your own.

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

The sea calls this morning with a 9am departure from Hanoi 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.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner 
Distance and activities: 2.h transfer – 2h kayaking and swimming

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 brunch before disembarkation. Return to Hanoi or Noi Bai International Airport for onward booked travel.

Included meals: Breakfast 
Distance and activities: 1h kayaking – 2h transfer

Tour Inclusions

  • 2-way private A/C airport transfer
  • 2D/1N join-in cruise (led by English-speaking cruise manager on board)
  • All accommodation indicated as twin-shared room
  • Join-in transfers between Hanoi and Hai Phong
  • All meals as indicated in the program
  • All entrance tickets to Lan Ha Bay
  • Refillable water in vans (Please check with your guide or driver)
  • 1 x English speaking local tour guide on days with activities
  • 3D/2N join-in VJM race package
  • Government VAT

Important Notes

  • Prices are quoted in Vietnamese Dong and valid until 31st October 2020
  • 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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VJM Cultural Escape – 8 Days

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