Central coast of Vietnam is a destination that most of travellers want to include in their holiday program. While the mass focuses on the few most popular sites of Hue and the old town of Hoi An, this trip offers you the chance to discover the region in depth. Stay away from tourism buzz and feel what people and nature there have to offer. Why rushing up? You are about to discover a major civilization of Southeast Asia.
- Kayak, trek or cycle in Phong Nha Ke Bang national park
- Explore impressive caves, Hue’s citadel and tombs, small rustic villages
- Stay two nights homestay
- Ride a sampan on the Tam Giang Laguna
- Cycle rural pathways in Hue and Hoi An
Day 1. Arrival in Dong Hoi. Transfer to Phong Nha
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner | Accommodation: 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 2. 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 3. 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 4. 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 5. 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.