Northern and Central adventure

20 days
BAN KO MUONG, PARC DE CUC PHUONG, VIETNAM//Vietnam, National Park Of Cuc Phuong, Ban Ko Muong

Beware; we compiled in this package some of the best adventure you may be given to experience in the whole Vietnam. Hike the trails of Ha Giang Mountains, explore Ba Be national park, see the less traveled routes of Halong, and journey across central Vietnam from Phong Nha Ke Bang national park through Hue to Hoi An. Overnight in community-based accommodations, fun outdoor activities every day and original experiences all along.

Experiences

  • Hike across some of the most beautiful sceneries of North Vietnam
  • Stay overnight in local homes and in community-based lodges
  • Cruise on a local boat throughout Lan Ha
  • Kayak to inner rocks lagoons and cycle through the jungle on Cat Ba Island
  • Kayak, trek, cycle and ride sampan from Phong Nha Ke Bang national park to Hoi An

Day 1. Hanoi, arrival

Meals: N/a | Accommodation: Hotel

You are welcomed at the airport and driven to your hotel in the city center. End of the day at leisure. Consult us to get some hints about what to do in Hanoi.
Day 2. Hanoi, half-day alternative city tour
Meals: Breakfast, lunch | Accommodation: Hotel
You are picked up at your hotel after lunch by whirring sidecar motorcycles. Ural 650, Russian supply, Soviet heritage, true vintage style. The itinerary is flexible and will depend on weather and mood of the day. We have enough time to take you all around for a real sightseeing tour of Hanoi: must-see monuments, famous streets, atmospheres and several stops for pictures with comments from our friendly [non-English-speaking] drivers. The tour ends at about 5.00pm at the Sofitel Plaza. We’re just here for a drink, the hotels’ bar offers an amazing view on Hanoi city. We then head back to the streets, car transfer to a wide alley, where chicken are daily sacrificed on barbecue grills.

Day 3. Hanoi – Panhou

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner | Accommodation: Ecolodge

To start the trip, we must first reach the province, which is about 300km from Hanoi. We start early and head North. We plan to have lunch on the way and to arrive at Panhou lodge in the afternoon (including some stops en route when the sceneries start to get stunning). The lodge is nestled at the bottom of a high mountain, between a river and the forest. To end the day, we can take a walk around the village nearby, swim in the river or enjoy a restful moment in the gardens of the lodge or at its traditional spa. Dinner on site and overnight in bungalow on stilts.

Day 4. Hike the trails of Tay Con Linh mountain range

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner | Accommodation: Homestay

Today we have an entire day walking on trails in this multi-ethnic land. Let’s depart from the lodge and hit the mountainside. We reach the territory of Man Pa Tan people, descendants of the Yao, an ethnic culture rooted in China. The hike takes us up and down through wild areas and cultivated fields. The famous Shan Tuyet tea is cultivated here. We are welcomed in a charming Tay ethnic village, dinner and overnight at a local home.

Day 5. Heaven’s Gate pass – Quan Ba

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner | Accommodation: Homestay

After breakfast we pack and start hiking. Another 2 hours on trails to get back to the road where our vehicle is waiting for us. We hop on the car, drive through Ha Giang city and take the Highway 4C. It winds across the huge Sino-Vietnamese Mountains and offers some of the most breathtaking views of the whole country. We will spend the next 2 days in those enchanting sceneries. In the afternoon we have two options. If you want to chill out, we drive straight to our overnight spot, a small Dao village slightly remote in Quan Ba district. And we spend time walking around the village and getting acquainted with the villagers. Or if you feel like you would hike some more, we stop the car on the way and trek for about 3 hours across wild sceneries to the same ethnic village. Dinner and overnight at a local home.

Day 6. Quan Ba – Meo Vac

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner | Accommodation: Traditional Guesthouse

We start the day walking from our homestay to a hemp weaving villages located further north. About 3 hours walking downhill. Once there we meet the ladies who preserve for ages this ancestral tradition of growing hemp to supply all the community’s needs for textiles. Lunch is arranged in a house of the village. In the afternoon, we drive this stunning road that takes us through Dong Van plateau to Meo Vac town. We check in a very special guesthouse, a renovated H’mong fortified farm that was built in the 1930’s during the French domination over the Tonkin. We have dinner in the yard if the weather permits before a cozy night.

Day 7. The bypaths of Meo Vac

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner | Accommodation: Traditional Guesthouse
A full day wandering in this beautiful region. We walk (more or less upon your preferences), meet people and learn more about their traditions and present life.

Day 8. Meo Vac – Ba Be national park

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner | Accommodation: Homestay

We have a pretty long drive today, starting our way back towards south. Lunch on the way and we should be in the buffer zone of Ba Be national park not too late in the afternoon. If the level of the Nang River permits, we take a boat from outside the national park and slide along it, pass Ba Be lake, and reach Dau Dang. This is a small village on the riverside tucked away in the forest of the park. Great hospitality there, in a pure Tay ethnic style.

Day 9. Ba Be explorer

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner | Accommodation: Homestay

We say goodbye to our host in the morning, get on the boat again to cross the lake of the park. This place has something mystic; it always feels peaceful and imperturbable. The program of today is flexible, we can go walk on trails in some of the wildest parts of the park where few Dao families live, we can spend more time on the lake, or simply relax at the home of our hosts in a small village lying near by the lake.

Day 10. Ba Be – Hanoi

Meals: Breakfast, lunch | Accommodation: Hotel

Easy morning, we leave about 10am through a beautiful road going up to the heights of the province. We stop for lunch on the way and should arrive in Hanoi in the late afternoon.

Day 11. Hanoi – Cat Ba

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner | Accommodation: Homestay

We depart Hanoi by public bus early morning and should reach Cat Ba Island before lunch time.  We first head to the Cat Ba homestay, an ancient house set in a beautiful lush garden. Meet the hosts and enjoy a nice lunch in the garden. In the afternoon, we have some time to explore a bit around. Get an introduction of the national park and visit a huge cave that served as an hospital during the war.
Later in the afternoon, we drive back to the house. You may want to participate in the dinner preparation with our host or just unwind and enjoy the serenity of the place.
Dinner and overnight at the homestay.

Day 12. Cat Ba – Lan Ha bay

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner | Accommodation: On board

We get to the pier about 10.00am and board a private re-fitted fishing boat. The cruise starts across a large floating village and continues throughout the mythic sceneries of Halong. We take the kayak along for some hidden spots explorations, we may stop to swim and enjoy remote sandy beaches. The program goes at your pace and upon your preferences.
Around 11.30am we arrive at Viet Hai pier. We hop on bicycles and get some 2-wheel fun on a small concrete path across the jungle of the National Park. Our destination is Viet Hai village, a peaceful place tucked away in a valley of the island. We’ll have lunch there and take a walk around before cycling back to the boat.
End of the day on the boat cruising or at a small beach. Dinner and overnight on board.

Day 13.   Cat Ba – Hanoi – Dong Hoi
Meals: Breakfast, lunch | Accommodation: Night train

We get back to the pier at about 10.00am. We go visit the seafood market, soak up the seaside atmosphere and walk up to the top of Canon Fort for a panoramic view over the bay. The chance to say farewell before lunch in a floating restaurant. We then transfer to Haiphong by speedboat and then drive back to Hanoi. We should arrive about 6pm.
Some free time in Hanoi before we head to the train station and get in a night train to Dong Hoi.

Day 14. Arrival in Dong Hoi. Transfer to Phong Nha

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner | Accommodation: Chay Lap Homestay

You’re welcomed by the guide at Dong Hoi train station and hop on the car for a 1-hour drive to Phong Nha Ke Bang national park entrance town. We have breakfast there before boarding a small motor boat to go see the Phong Nha cave. It takes about 20 minutes down the Son river to reach the spot. It is pristine and beautiful. We turn off the boat’s engine when entering the cave. We may get off the boat and stroll around. Back to the pier then, we drive a little farther on a peaceful countryside road to the homestay in Chay Lap village.
After the home-cooked lunch, we get on bicycles and take a ride into the park. The road gets smaller and the sceneries stunning. We go up and down on a winding concrete road with forested limestone rocks all around. It is not rare to hear or see wildlife around; the park is doing great conservation effort.
We get back to the homestay and have time to enjoy swimming in the river nearby. If you feel likely to paddle, we can also take kayaks and go for a while on the calm turquoise waters of the river. The Dark Cave is within kayaking reach.
If you’re not much into biking, other activities can be arranged upon your preferences: another cave visit, sampan ride on the river, trekking, strolling around, resting and bathing at the cascades nearby.

Day 15. Phong Nha – Tam Giang

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner | Accommodation: Homestay

We depart from the homestay after breakfast and hit the road to Hue. We start our discovery of Hue by one of its less traveled area: the tam Giang Laguna, which we should reach for lunch. We are welcomed in the home of our hosts, at the far end of a small village surrounded by rice fields and opened on the lagoon.
In the afternoon we take a boat to explore the waterways around. We will have opportunities to meet the fishermen and get acquainted with their fishing techniques. The dinner will depend on how good you have been at fishing.
In the evening, you can participate in the dinner preparation or chill out and enjoy the atmosphere.

Day 16. Tam Giang – Hue

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner | Accommodation: Hotel – training center

Road to Hue city (about 1 hour) right after breakfast. Hue is the former imperial capital, world heritage and recognized for the well preserved architecture of its citadel, imperial tombs and pagodas.
Let’s travel back in time while walking around the citadel. Learn more about the feudal system that ruled the country until… the middle of the 20th century! And realize how fast the country evolved in merely 70 years.
Hue is also famous nationwide for its fine cuisine. Lunch in a very local family-restaurant.
After lunch, we cycle to a pier, board a small motor boat for a 20-minute cruise on the Perfume River. We disembark at a small village well known for its orchards and start cycling around on rural paths. The cycling goes at your pace and can last from 1 to 2 hours. We stop en route at the house of a local farmer for some tea and a fruits degustation.
We then drive back to the city center with a possible stop at Tu Duc tomb. We end the day with a particular dinner experience in the restaurant of a pagoda. This is the opportunity to discover the amazing skills of monks when it is about cooking vegetarian food.

Day 17. Hue – Hoi An

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner | Accommodation: Guesthouse

After breakfast, we start our way to Hoi An. We propose to take an alternative road, heading first to Thuan An beach and then winding between beach and lagoon along stunning coastal sceneries. We pass several fishing villages and the “ghost town”, a place where oversea Vietnamese built many impressive catholic tombs. It’s kind of surreal. We get on the mandarin road at Lang Co bay and have lunch on a floating restaurant in a beautiful setting right at the bay.
We arrive in Hoi An in the afternoon after an eventual stop in Danang to visit the Cham museum. End of the day at leisure. We pick you up for dinner and take you around to try some local specialties.

Day 18. Hoi An / Day-trip.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch | Accommodation: Guesthouse

Easy morning, you can have some free time on your own or go with the guide for some sightseeing and visits around the old town. For lunch we head to An Bang beach and have some original fusion food in a stylish restaurant right on the beach.
Take it easy, great spot, great meal; we take the time to enjoy every moment. Chill out at the beach before starting the last part of the trip. We take bicycles and ride on a small dyke road to the freshwater coconut trees reserve of Bay Mau, original Mekong atmosphere, surprising. We keep riding (the total distance is no more than 13km) on small countryside lanes and end in Tra Que village. We stroll around this charming village lying along a River and famous for its rich soil and the herbs growing from it. We meet a family there, learn about their ancestral farming practices and try some of their local food.
You can choose to come back to the hotel by car or bicycle.

Day 19. Hoi An – Hanoi

Meals: Breakfast | Accommodation: Hotel

Almost a whole day at leisure in Hoi An town and/or at the beach. A car picks you up in time to take a flight to Hanoi in Danang.
You are welcomed at the airport in Hanoi and driven to your hotel. End of the day at leisure.

Day 20. Hanoi, departure

Meals: Breakfast | Accommodation : N/A

We arrange a car to take you to the airport in time for your flight out of Vietnam.

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We compiled in this package some of the best adventure you may be given to experience in Vietnam. Overnight in community-based accommodations, fun outdoor activities…

Prices and conditions

(Français) Inclus:

  • Hébergement durant le tour
  • Repas comme indiqués dans le programme
  • Bateau de pêche privatisé à partir de Cat Ba et kayaks
  • Train de nuit Hanoi – Dong Hoi
  • Vol Danang – Hanoi
  • Transferts aéroport
  • Transferts en véhicule privé climatisé
  • Les services d’un guide bilingue
  • Activités mentionnées (vélo, bateau, visites)
  • Tous les tickets et permis
  • TVA

 

Non inclus:

  • Boissons
  • Donations et pourboires
  • Dépenses personnelles
  • Assurance individuelle
  • Autres services non mentionnés