Bike, Hike & Kayak Vietnam


    enquire now 12 Days From NZD $2,990 pp twinshare
    Small group
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    This is an all-encompassing active journey through some of Vietnam’s most scenic highlights. It begins with a memorable cruise on Red River delta, through the limestone cliff landscapes on a beautifully crafted wooden junk. From here be delighted by the lush jungle, blue lagoons and the biggest caves in the world with a hike in Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park. If your interest is history you will be captivated by the Hien Luong Bridge and historic Vinh Moc tunnels site. You also have time to soak up the atmosphere of the picturesque countryside by bike and discover the charming ancient imperial capital of Hue. With the opportunity for a scenic drive and hike in Bach Ma National Park you will find plenty to photograph. Enjoy the picturesque cycling route in Duy Vinh – the countryside of Hoi An, highlighted with rice fields, local garden and market. Another highlight is a visit to a floating village in the Mekong Delta. This adventure is complete with time to explore the bustling metropolis of Hanoi.

    Highlights

    • Hike in picturesque Bach Ma National Park
    • Explore historic Hoi An by kayak & bike
    • Cruise on a beautiful wooden junk among the limestone seascape of Ha Long Bay
    • Experience the charm, countryside and cuisine of Hue by bike
    • Journey to the Vinh Moc tunnels site and Hien Luong Bridge
    • Cycle & boat in the famous Mekong Delta region

    Itinerary

    Day 1 Hanoi Welcome Meal
    If you’re flying into Hanoi today you will be greeted by your driver at Noi Bai International Airport for your transfer to the hotel. You will have time to relax at your hotel and adjust to the pace of Hanoi. The capital of Vietnam is one of Asia’s most enchanting cities, full of culture, history and the engaging contradictions of a rapidly developing and deeply traditional society. In the late afternoon we will have a group meeting, you are then invited for a warm and hospitable meal with a Hanoian family. On arrival, the friendly host will give you a big welcome and introduce his/her household. You’ll sip some tea and share insights about Vietnamese culture, customs and habits. Around the dining table, the host will tell us more about Vietnamese cuisine, which emphasizes freshness and uses a lot of vegetables, herbs and spices. Your meal will include authentic local dishes which are popular among the locals. Here, you can eat, chat, and learn some basic Vietnamese phrases like: xin chào (hello), ngon (delicious), and cam on (thank you). (D)

    Day 2 Hanoi City Tour
    We dedicate our morning to visiting the essentials of Hanoi. We begin with the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s oldest university (opened in 1070), which is now a temple dedicated to Confucius, a fine example of the ancient architectural styles of several dynasties. Next, we pass in front of the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum and enter the gardens of the Presidential Palace to visit the traditional Stilt House where Ho Chi Minh lived and worked. We also see the One Pillar Pagoda, a tiny temple built atop a single stone column. In the afternoon, we will get off the grid with one of our very cool urban hikes. After a short car transfer, we walk about 2 kilometres in lush nature, with banana trees and vegetable gardens, on single trails and a small concrete road. We then walk along a piece of heritage, a symbol of Hanoi, the beautiful Long Bien Bridge. We return to our hotel, the remainder of the day you have to spend at your leisure. (B)

    Day 3 Ha Long Bay Cruise
    This morning is an early breakfast for an early departure to Ha Long. We drive across the Red River delta and reach the coast a little before noon. We embark on a beautifully crafted wooden junk for a 1-night cruise in the legendary seascape of Ha Long Bay. Once on board, we are served a delicious seafood-based buffet lunch, while the limestone rocks are setting up the décor. In the afternoon, we reach a less travelled area and will devote ourselves to relaxation, sunbathing, and a visit to a cave. Here we’ll have the opportunity to explore further by kayak. The program is not fixed and depends on the time of the year and weather. We end the day on the sundeck while the sun sets. It is time for an aperitif or to attend a cooking demonstration before dinner. (B, L, D)

    Day 4 Ha Long Bay, night train to Dong Hoi
    An early Tai Chi session is proposed, coffee and tea are served early as well if you would like to wake up early to see the beautiful lights of sunrise. We have the chance to visit a floating village before starting our way back to the coast. While cruising back to the pier, brunch is served as we are getting closer to disembarkation. Upon disembarkation we drive to Hanoi, where you will have time to freshen up at a hotel and have dinner before heading to the train station. The train in Vietnam is not the most comfortable, but it is fun and a genuine local travel experience. (B, L)

    Day 5 Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park
    We arrive very early in the morning at Dong Hoi train station and transfer to the beach for a breakfast by the sea. We then hit the road and drive about one hour to the doorstep of Phong Nha Ke Bang national park. It is a kingdom of nature made of lush jungle, blue lagoons and the biggest caves in the world. We drop our luggage at our little cottage and start our exploration. In the morning, we discover the first section of the Paradise Cave, a gigantic hole in the rock, 31-kilometres long, and 72-metres high. In the afternoon we will spend some time around the lagoon with some optional swimming, kayaking, ziplining down to the blue waters and exploring the wet Dark Cave. Bicycles are at our disposal so we can commute on wheels. The remainder of the day is at your leisure. (B, L)

    Day 6 Phong Nha to Vinh Moc, then to Hue
    After breakfast we begin our journey to the south and the ancient imperial capital of Hue. Our morning drive across the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) will take us to the Hien Luong Bridge, a historic landmark that served as the border gate between North and South Vietnam before reunification. We will also stop to visit the Vinh Moc tunnels site. We will explore a part of this 2-km network of tunnels that reached 30-metres deep and served as shelter for about a hundred families during heavy bombing from the American Forces. We will have lunch in Dong Ha town and should reach Hue in the mid-afternoon. Once we have checked into the hotel the rest of the day is at your leisure. (B, L)

    Day 7 Cycle in Hue
    Hue is an ancient imperial capital famous for its historical landmarks; you will discover today that there is much more to experience around the small town. We start with a nice bike ride to the rural side of Hue. We travel on small narrow paths along rice fields and other vegetables gardens to reach Thanh Toan village. This place is full of charm with its old houses and crisscrossing canals. We stop for a refreshment by the Japanese bridge and have the opportunity to visit the little local museum. We then transfer to town for a local food experience. We’ll try “banh” of Hue on Vo Thi Sau street in a small local food shop. It might not be the best-looking spot, but it has some of the finest local cuisine. In the afternoon, we have a short ride over the Perfume River and are immersed into Vietnam’s feudality with the visit of the Imperial Citadel. We then get on a boat, together with our bikes, and cruise a short stretch to the village of the Mandarins. We ride around this village, where the Mandarins of the emperors used to live. We get to meet their descendants in large beautiful garden houses and try the Thanh Tra, a variety of grapefruits which was the emperors’ preferred fruit. We ride back to the hotel in the afternoon and spend the rest of the day at leisure. (B, L)

    Day 8 Hue to Bach Ma National Park, then to Hoi An
    This morning you have an optional excursion at 8am to go to the Dong Ba market of Hue. Otherwise we leave from the hotel at 10am and hit the road heading south toward the Bach Ma National Park. We drop our vehicle at the entrance of the park and get into the park rangers’ vehicle for a 19km scenic drive to the top of the park where we’ll have lunch in an old colonial villa. After lunch we start the so-called 5 lakes hike. It is a short and accessible hike, with swimming opportunities if the weather permits. The rangers pick us up at the end of the hike. We exit the park and drive over Lang Co Bay and the famous Hai Van Pass, camera in the hand and ready to stop for a nice picture while the orange lights of sunset start beautifying the décor. We pass Da Nang and arrive at the hotel in Hoi An in the early evening. Hoi An is an ancient port town extremely well preserved with narrow streets and lots of food options that you will be free to explore in the evening. (B, L)

    Day 9 Bike & Kayak in Hoi An
    We depart from the hotel by bicycles setting off on a pleasant 8-kilometre journey towards Duy Vinh – the countryside of Hoi An. The picturesque cycling route is highlighted with rice fields, local garden and market. Stop as often as you wish for photographs or to chat with locals. We reach Duy Vinh village where people have preserved some ancestral weaving techniques. They weave a kind of dried plant to make mats, bags and other accessories. We will meet a family and learn more about their traditional craftsmanship. We then get in kayaks and paddle from Duy Vinh to Cam Thanh coco palm forest. It is a 2-hour (approx.) expedition in this unique mangrove ecosystem. The Coco palm forest provides the locals with products such as fish, shells and Nipa leaves which are commonly used as a roofing material for local homes. The tour ends in the early afternoon, where we will then we drive back to the hotel. The rest of the day is at your leisure. (B, L)

    Day 10 Hoi An, fly to Ho Chi Minh City & to the Mekong Delta
    You will be picked up in the morning and transferred to the Da Nang Airport, where we catch a short flight to Ho Chi Minh City, still referred to as Saigon by the locals. We will discover this bustling metropolis later, as for now we grab lunch and drive directly to the region of the Mekong Delta. The drive takes a little over 2-hours to reach Cai Be and our lodge for tonight. You have time to check-in your bungalow and relax by the pool or at the bar facing the mighty river. In the late afternoon, you are free at leisure for relaxing or doing your own activities. (B, L, D)

    Day 11 Cycling & Boat the Delta, drive to Saigo
    Today we venture around on bicycle to explore the surroundings and get better acquainted with the local cultures. We will visit workshops, local homes and fruit orchards. We will take a boat on the arroyos of the river. Later we will cook some traditional snacks and have lunch on a boat. In the mid-afternoon, we will drive back to Saigon. (B, L)

    Day 12 In Ho Chi Minh City, trip concludes
    The day is free at your leisure until your transfer to the Tan Son Nhat International Airport for your outbound flight. (B)

    Inclusions

    • 12 breakfasts, 9 lunches and 3 dinners
    • Airport transfers (day 1 & 12 only)
    • Da Nang to Ho Chi Minh flight
    • Accommodation on twin share basis
    • Services of a bilingual guide
    • Private vehicles
    • Kayaking equipment in Hoi An including life jackets
    • Modern bikes and support vehicle on cycling days
    • Site entry and national park fees
    • Medical kit

    WEX-VTR

    Images courtesy of WorldExpeditions