Vietnam | Ho Chi Minh to Ha Long Bay | Adult Only
Kayak the island-speckled waters of Ha Long Bay, home to countless caves and fishing villages, before retiring to the comfort of your private small ship
14 days / 13 nights
Activity LevelActivity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.
Dive deep into Vietnam’s vivid display of diverse natural beauty and cultural delights on this two-week, small group, multisport adventure. From lowland tropical rainforests to white-sand beaches, journey with our expert guides as you discover the wonders of Southeast Asia on this all-inclusive Vietnam vacation package. Hike and bike your way through rice-terraced plains, dripping jungles, and charming villages where you’re welcomed to dine with a local family. Whether you’re exploring the Forbidden Purple City or kayaking the island-speckled waters of UNESCO-designated Ha Long Bay, relax and soak in the enchantment of Vietnam; as the leading providers of best-in-class travel from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi, we’ve handled every last detail of this carefully-crafted itinerary. Throughout this trip-of-a-lifetime, enjoy the best in regional accommodations and Austin’s signature touch of inspired, thoughtful service, which invites you to kick back and awaken your senses to the exotic flavors of Vietnam. Of course you have plenty of opportunity to sample some of Vietnam’s tastiest dishes, including pho bo, nom, banh goi, and banh cuon!
Experience the best of Vietnam on this exclusive, 14-day adventure that takes you from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi.Get swept away by the enchantment of Vietnam’s verdant landscape as you learn the remarkable history behind this gem of Southeast Asia.Hike, bike, kayak, boat, and rickshaw your way through the unforgettable scenes of rice-terraced plains, cobblestone streets, and the fantastic aromas and flavors wafting on the Pacific breeze.
- Truly a feast for the senses awaits on this once-in-a-lifetime Vietnamese adventure!
- Search for the endangered black-shanked douc (a blue-faced monkey) in Nui Chua National Park
- Enjoy a gracious welcome into the homes of the locals at Hoi An Village
- Hike through the jungle in Bach Ma National Park to a thundering, 900-foot waterfall
- Visit the Forbidden Purple City, constructed in the early 19th century by Emperor Gia Long
- Sample a host of exotic regional specialties pho bo, nom, banh goi, banh cuon in Hanoi’s Old Quarter
- Kayak the island-speckled waters of Ha Long Bay, home to countless caves and fishing villages, before retiring to the comfort of your private small ship
A few more reasons why you've gotta go:
The traffic: Mopeds, bicycles, cars, oh my! There is nothing quite as thrilling as crossing a street in Ho Chi Minh City. Look to the locals for the best way to walk.
The food: A combination of Thai and Chinese styles, Vietnamese food is considered one of the healthiest cuisines on the planet, featuring fresh herbs, seafood, fruits and vegetables and, of course, rice.
The biodiversity: Vietnam is home to 16% of the world's species!
Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam SGN
Hanoi, Vietnam HAN
Ho Chi Minh
Welcome to Vietnam! Upon arrival to Ho Chi Minh City Tan Son Nhat Airport, your driver and guide will meet you and they will transfer you to your hotel. Check-in and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.
About the Hotel Des Arts
Conveniently located in the city center, Hotel des Arts Saigon is only minutes away from the main tourist attractions, popular bars, local cafes, shopping centers and entertainment complexes. The chic, yet locally inspired 5-star hotel features beautiful rooms, stylish restaurants, a rooftop pool bar, spa, fitness center, garden and terrace.
Ho Chi Minh City / Cat Tien National Park
This morning after breakfast, meet your driver and guide at the hotel and transfer to Cat Tien National Park, located 150 km (90 mi) north from Ho Chi Minh City. Cat Tien National Park has an area of about 720 km² (450 mi²) and protects one of the largest areas of lowland tropical rainforests in Vietnam. After four hours driving north, arrive at the park, check-in at the lodge and enjoy lunch surrounded by nature. Around 3:00 PM, start cycling towards the ethnic people village, located 13 km (8 mi) away. Visit one of the local families living there and after having refreshments and exploring the surroundings, return to the lodge in the late afternoon. On your way back, keep an eye out for wildlife and birds high up in the forest canopy. Arrive to the lodge, enjoy dinner and the rest of the evening will be free at your leisure.
About the Forest Floor Lodge
Forest Floor Eco-Lodge is a unique luxury hotel situated at park headquarters for Cat Tien National Park. The property provides quality deluxe accommodations meticulously designed to complement the local habitat and built with the least possible environmental impact. Accommodations include African style tents built upon reclaimed wooden structures accessed by elevated walkways lightly touching the forest floor. Each tent comes with a bathroom and a large balcony overlooking the beautiful Ben Cu Rapids. There are also splendid traditional wooden lodges set under the forest canopy and studio lodges.
Cat Tien National Park
After an early breakfast, meet your local guide and follow the Lagerstroemia Trail. From Forest Floor Lodge the trail starts opposite the entrance and takes you through a well-used track with large trees (Lagerstroemia or Banglang and the well-known Thung or Tetrameles tree) with palms and cycads in the under-story. If you look up into the canopy you will see ferns and orchids; lianas and strangler vines are abundant. There are good possibilities of seeing pittas, partridge and other bird species. At noon, enjoy lunch and later we will visit the Dao Tien Endangered Primate Species Centre, located on a small island at the entrance of the park. The center specializes in the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of endangered primates naturally found in the surrounding region and resident primates who have been victims of the illegal wildlife trade. Head back to the lodge around 4:30 PM and take the rest of the afternoon free at leisure.
Cat Tien National Park / Ho Chi Minh City / Danang / Hoi An
Early morning, walk through the Botanic Garden to Heaven Rapids. This walk gives you the good chance to see primates and plenty of opportunities to see a wide variety of birds and other jungle life. At 8:00 AM, you will return to the Lodge where breakfast will be ready for you. After breakfast you will have a couple of hours to relax at their viewing platform, looking at the river, bird watching, and listening to the gibbons singing. Your guide and transfer will be waiting for you to head towards Ho Chi Minh City airport for your flight to Danang. Upon arrival, you will transfer to your hotel in Hoi An.
About Four Seasons The Nam Hai
Shining a light on Vietnam’s cultural heartland, Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai offers an illuminating connection to three extraordinary UNESCO sites from a private kilometer-long stretch of one of Forbes’ “best beaches in the world.” All sumptuously appointed villas are thoughtfully positioned to optimize views, beach breezes and phong thuy (feng shui) principeles.
At 8:30 am, we will start a walking tour through this charming small town made of hundreds of historic houses, congregation halls, pagodas and other structures. Its buildings and its streets reflect the indigenous and foreign influences this town had, which helped define it as a unique heritage and multi-cultural site. There’s plenty to see in this delightful town, such as the Japanese Covered Bridge, the Pottery Museum, the 200 year old Tan Ky House, Chua Ong Pagoda and the vibrant local market. In the evening you will have free time at leisure to relax and discover this beautiful town on your own.
After breakfast, you will be transferred to Hoi An town for an optional bike tour. Explore the hidden passageways and winding alleyways of Hoi An, stopping to photograph the iconic Japanese bridge in the historic district. Crossing first the canal bridge near the night market we continue to the new metal bike bridge connecting Hoi An proper and its southern villages of Quang Nam Province. Not far from the bridge, we visit a local family making Banh Beo in the traditional method. These small, savory rice flour bowls are a common breakfast staple in the countryside. We continue riding to one of Hoi An’s most beautiful villages, stopping at a family home to learn about the tradition of family chapels. Our host is nearly 90 and vividly remembers his experiences in the American war. We pedal past rice fields and vegetable farms along small canals and waterways towards a wooden boat-building site. Fishing is still the lifeblood of the province and the construction of these ships is quite amazing to witness and photograph. If the timing is right, we’ll also see families gathered to clean fishing nets between journeys at sea. The roads narrow again to concrete paths and our final stops include a traditional mat weaving shop and a family distillery where rice wine has been produced in the same manner for generations. Of course, samples are provided. It’s a short ride from here to where we board a local ferry for a trip back to town. Have your cameras ready for great views of the Hoi An waterfront. Once dockside, it’s a short 5-minute ride through alleyways to our end point for the day.
Hoi An / Danang / Hue
After breakfast, check out from your hotel and meet your guide and driver to depart to Hue. Upon arrival to Da Nang, we will visit the Museum of Cham Sculpture, opened in 1915 and the Marble Mountains before continuing on our drive. The trip passes through many spectacular sceneries along the National Highway 1 such as the breathtaking Hai Van Pass. The pass, which once formed the boundary between the kingdoms of Đại Việt and Champa, also forms a boundary between the climates of northern and southern Vietnam. The Hai Van Pass is the highest and longest pass in Vietnam, with the North-South National Highway zigzagging for almost 20 km. Stop somewhere in the Pass, and get your perfect pictures of Lang Co beach, a spectacular landscape or a peaceful fishing vicinity.
About Vedana Lagoon Resort & Spa
Nestled on the shore of a peaceful and serene lagoon, with stunning views across one of the largest lagoons in Southeast Asia, Vedana Lagoon Resort has the first over-water villas in Vietnam. The resort is as warm and inviting as it is fresh and full of vision. Each of the villas and bungalows are individualized and has their own private sundeck and a balcony that leads out onto the immense lagoon or into a private garden.
Hue / Bach Ma National Park
Upon arrival to Hue, your local guide and transfer will meet and take you to Bach Ma National Park, situated in the area of Phu Loc, 60 km (37 mi) south from Hue. This area is well known for its wonderful natural landscape as well as the fresh atmosphere. On arrival at the entrance, visit Bach Ma’s information Center to learn about the ecological system of Bach Ma National Park. Trek along the trails to Ngu Ho (Five Lakes), relaxing and swimming in the jungle along the way. Indulge in a picnic lunch and then continue trekking through the forest to Do Quyen – Rhododendron waterfalls (at the height of 300 meters/ 984 feet). In the afternoon, drive back to the hotel and enjoy the rest of the evening free at leisure.
After an early breakfast, meet your guide and driver at 8:30 AM for a visit to the Forbidden Purple City, constructed under the Emperor Gia Long in the early 19th century. It is located in the Citadel of Hue, which was badly damaged during the Tet offensive of 1968. Established as the capital of unified Viet Nam in 1802, Hue was not only the political but also the cultural and religious center under the Nguyen dynasty until 1945 and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1993. At noon, stop for lunch at a local restaurant and later, board a dragon boat for a pleasant boat trip on the Perfume River to visit the characteristic Thien Mu Pagoda. Then, visit the tombs of the emperors Tu Duc and Khai Dinh. During Tu Duc‟s reign, Vietnam lost its independence to France. Khai Dinh’s tomb represents a fusion of traditional Vietnamese style and modern influence, as it is almost entirely made of concrete and includes many European architectural details. Next, and if time allows, you will have a short cyclo drive to Dong Ba market for shopping and experiencing the local culture at this colorful place. Here you can buy souvenirs, in particular the typical Hue palm-leaf conical hat.
After enjoying your morning free at leisure, meet your driver and guide and head to Hue’s airport for your flight to Hanoi. Upon arrival, check-in at the hotel and get ready for a half day tour in the city. Vietnam is very well known for its food, so a stop to try some specialties is a must. In the old quarter you will try Pho Bo (Hanoi’s excellent beef noodle soup), Nom (green papaya salad with seasoned beef), Banh Goi (pillow- shaped pastry with minced pork and mushroom), Banh Cuon (hot rice paper with pork and fried onion) or Bun Cha (fresh noodle with grilled pork). After our delicious local lunch, visit the Temple of Literature, which was built in 1076. Vietnam’s first university was established within this temple to educate Vietnam’s royalty, mandarins, and members of the elite. The university functioned for 700 years and its gardens and well- preserved architecture offer a fascinating glimpse into Vietnam’s past. Next, we will head towards Quan Thanh Temple, a Taoist Temple dated from the 11th Century. We end with the impressive Tran Quoc Pagoda, a Buddhist pagoda located in a small island in the center of the West Lake.
About Sofitel Legend Metropole
Step back into history at Hanoi’s most storied 5-star hotel. Relax in luxury hotel rooms and suites that have welcomed many of the world’s greatest luminaries. Retreat to the finest heritage accommodation of Hanoi’s French Quarter in the historic Metropole Wing. Or discover the Neo Classical luxury accommodation of the Opera Wing. All rooms feature plush Sofitel MyBeds and high tech fittings.
Hanoi / Ha Long Bay
After breakfast, you will be picked up by private van to take the highway to Dinh Vu Port in Haiphong. You’ll be greeted by the crew of Orchid Cruise as you take tea in the lounge On the way to the main boat, you will have a chance to see Cai Trap canal. Embark the Orchid Cruise and then check-in, enjoy a welcome drink. Orchid Cruise is anchored in the south of Ha Long Bay, one of the, New Seven Wonders of Nature” in worldwide survey. Steeped in culture from hundreds of years. ago, the bay has remained unchanged for centuries, with beautiful seas and impressive islands. The cruise proceeds to Da Chong islet, where you can see a lighthouse built by the French over 100 years ago. Enjoy lunch before continuing our journey via the islets of Con Vit and Gia Luan. These amazing limestone karst formations rise up out of the sea in an impressive manner. In the afternoon, we progress to Ba Trai Dao beach area of Lan Ha Bay a separate part of Ha Long Bay, a quiet tourist paradise in Vietnam known for pristine beaches and its spectacular beauty. Alternatively, you may prefer to try your hand at kayaking or simply just enjoy a swim and immerse yourself in the crystal clear waters of the bay. Late afternoon, returning your cruise boat you can watch the magnificent sunset over the Gulf of Tonkin. On board you may join a traditional cooking class. Our chef will instruct you in the making of some Vietnam dishes. In the early evening the boat has its Happy Hour deal or enjoy a massage. Have delicious dinner prepared and served for you by our wonderful on board catering staff. Relax whilst enjoying drinks from the bar. Try your hand at night squid fishing, watching a movie in the restaurant.
Nights 11 & 12: Orchid Cruise Ha Long Bay
Visitors looking for both comfort and adventure in Ha Long Bay will appreciate the Orchid’s friendly crew and understated elegance. The Orchid is built in the style of a traditional Vietnamese junk, with three tawny sails and dark wood-cladding. The interior, like the exterior, is covered in polished wood, lending the stately air of an Indochina-era cruising boat. Guests can convene in the formal dining room, enjoy casual barbecues on the terrace and marvel at the bay’s moonlit beauty on the Orchid Cruise’s wide Sundeck.
Ha Long Bay
Today, start the day early on board your Ha Long Bay Cruise boat with a Tai Chi session. Next, embark on the day boat for a visit to Viet Hai village. Bike through rain forests and dark tunnels along the village path You’ll get a chance to see the local life as you stop at an ancient local house made from straw, mud, and bamboo. Enjoy lunch back on the day boat. In the afternoon, explore the pristine landscape on Bai Tu Long. Kayak or swim at Ba Ham Lake.
Ha Long Bay / Hanoi
Early birds can attend a Tai Chi demonstration on the sundeck at the break of dawn. Then, by canoes we to explore the bay and head to Toi Sang cave. Later in the morning enjoy a delightful brunch while we head back. Upon arrival to Tuan Chau Pier, meet your driver and guide and head towards Hanoi. Upon arrival, check- in at the hotel and enjoy the rest of the evening free at your leisure.
Sofitel Legend Metropole
Step back into history at Hanoi’s most storied 5-star hotel. A Grand Dame of Southeast Asia, Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi welcomes guests to experience her colonial grandeur and timeless elegance. Located steps from the Opera House in Hanoi’s French Quarter this legendary property brings guests into intimate contact with the opulence of another era.
Enjoy the morning free at leisure until your driver and guide meet and transfer you to the airport for your flight back home. We hope you had a great time in Vietnam!
* This trip is offered in partnership with Khiri Travel.
**Trip itineraries are subject to change without notice due to road, weather and other factors outside of our control, for the safety and enjoyment of our guests, as deemed necessary and appropriate by Austin Adventures and Khiri Travel.
Arrival & Departure
An Austin Adventures representative will meet you upon arrival at the Ho Chi Minh City Tan Son Nhat Airport. Upon clearing customs, transportation to the Park Hyatt Hotel will be provided. On Day 14 you will be transferred from the Sofitel Legend Metropole to the Hanoi Airport in accordance with your morning or afternoon flight schedule.
- Walking: 1 to 4 hour guided walking excursions to view rainforests, wildlife, national parks, tombs, ruins and city splendors.
- Biking: 10 miles cycling through Hoi An town with many stops along the way to check out local sights.
- Kayaking: 2 to 3 hour paddle on calm waters surrounding Luon Cave.
Your guides will take the time to explain the details of each activity, answer any questions and demonstrate the use of all equipment. Each activity has been carefully planned to include options for all levels. Most importantly, your guides will help you select the distance that’s right for you.
A long, narrow country squeezed in between the Laos and Cambodia borders and the South China Sea, Vietnam is a land of stunning landscapes that range from the lush rice terraces and forested mountains of the north to the fertile delta and lovely beaches of the south. Enter into Vietnam’s highoctane Ho Chi Minh, a city driven by commerce and culture and pulsating with energy. Keep a watchful eye out for the varied flora and fauna of Cat Tien National Park with its 100 different species of mammals and 350-plus birds. Trek, swim and relax in the jungles of Bach Ma National Park on the hunt for a special backcountry waterfall. Discover the sweeping boulevards, tree-fringed lakes and ancient pagodas of Hanoi while watching the ebb and flow of motorbikes and pedestrians in this animated city. Listen to the legend of the dragon that created the 2,000 islands of Halong Bay with sweeps of its flailing tail. Seek out mischievous monkeys jigging up and down the cliffs of Luon Cave by kayak. Come experience Vietnam with the leaders in adventure travel.
The hallmark of an Austin Adventures vacation is our exceptional dining. Meals are included as indicated in the daily itinerary. (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner). Alcoholic beverages and related gratuities are not included in the trip price.
After receiving your reservation and deposit, we’ll send you a pre-trip planner with general information about the area you’ll be visiting, a packing list, exercise guidelines, a guest information questionnaire and a liability release agreement for you to sign and return within 10 days.
Included in Trip Price
- Double occupancy rooms with private baths.
- All meals as listed in daily detailed itinerary (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner).
- Fully trained, English-speaking professional guides and knowledgeable local partners.
- Bikes, helmets and other necessary equipment – all safe and well maintained.
- Vehicle support and land transportation during the trip.
- Austin Adventures T-shirt, luggage tags and luggage service.
- Pre-departure and packing information.
- All entrance fees.
Not Included in Trip Price
- Alcoholic beverages and related gratuities.
- Meals as not designated in daily itinerary.
- Visa fees and/or visa authorization
- All internal flights within Vietnam.
- Pre-and post-trip accommodations and associated expenses.
- Air and land transportation to/from host cities.
- All types of personal insurance
- Personal expenses.
- Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.1 Easy (1)
- Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.2 Moderately Easy (2)
Southeast Asia Expert
As our resident Asia expert, Tim would love to connect with you about the kaleidoscope of landscapes, cultures, eco-systems, and crossroads that lay waiting in Asia. He's had the chance to spend years of his life living and travelling across India, Nepal, Thailand, Fiji, and the rest of Asia. This first-hand experience, shines through in his passion for helping other people delight in the magic and mystery of Asia. Tim will listen to your ideas for a perfect trip and then lend his expertise to ensure we build the right experience for you, whether it's your first trip to the Asia-Pacific, or your 10th.