21 Days Explore The True Vietnam
You will see most of Vietnam on this tour, covering Mekong Delta, Southern Coastline, Central Highlands and the North of Vietnam. Combining a multitude of activities to maximize your exploration of the country, its people and its culture.
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Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Road Trips
Group Size Large Group
Itinerary at a glance
Day 1: Saigon Arrival
Day 2: Mekong Delta
Day 3: Saigon – Long Son – Ho Tram – Mui Ne Beach via coastal route
Day 4: Phan Thiet – Sand Dune Quad Riding – Ninh Chu Beach
Day 5: Ninh Chu – Nui Chua NP: Trekking & Camping
Day 6: Trekking – Vinh Hy Bay
Day 7: Transfer to Dalat – City Tour
Day 8: Dalat – Yok Don National Park
Day 9: Elephant’s time – Hiking
Day 10: Transfer to Kon Tum – Visiting Coffee Museum & Wooden Church
Day 11: Transfer to Hoian via Hochiminh Trail
Day 12: Free day in Hoian
Day 13: Transfer by coastal route to Hue – Visiting the Tomb City, Hue Citadel
Day 14: Hue – Hochiminh Trail – DMZ (Ta Con former US Airbase)
Day 15: West Truong Son Range (Hochiminh Trail) – Paradise Cave – Phong Nha
Day 16: Phong Nha – Dong Loc Junction – Vinh
Day 17: Vinh – Ho Citadel – Ninh Binh
Day 18: Ninh Binh – Halong Bay
Day 19: Halong Bay
Day 20: Transfer to Hanoi
Day 21: Departures
Types of road: highway, paved coastal roads, paved mountain roads
Vehicle types: pick-up cars
No of passengers per car: 01 – 03
No of vehicles: 01 -10
- Hotels, resort, farm-stay: western breakfast
- Cruise (meals included)
- Guesthouse: blanket, pillow, mattress and mosquito net provided; western toilet; hot shower
- Tent: sleeping bag, pillow provided
Meals: local food (sea foods, pork, beef, chicken, egg, vegetable…)
Activities: sightseeing, hiking, caving, swimming, kayaking
Group size: 01 – 30
Duration of trip: 21 days
Guides: 01 – 02 guides/group
Minimum driving age: 22
IDP (International Driving Pass)
Manual or automatic: both
Driving distances: 2,800km
Today, upon arrival in Saigon, the largest, most bustling city of Vietnam, we will pick up and take you to the hotel. You will have the rest of day to relax and recuperate after your long flight, or to explore the city on your own.
Mekong Delta (B/L)
In the morning, you will head west to the Mekong Delta. Peaceful scenery, warm-hearted people, activities like cycling on village roads, visiting local factories and tasting local cuisine – these are some of the highlights of the day. Taking a trip in an authentic rowing boat through the tiny canals is also an unforgettable memory. Transfer back to Saigon for overnight.
Stay: Hotel (Saigon)
Saigon – Long Son – Ho Tram – Mui Ne Beach via coastal route (B/L)
Today, our direction is south, and after about 1.5hours, you will leave the main road and turn to Long Son Island. This is a small island where the main income of the local people comes from fishing. A short drive across the island to witness the local life and a stop to see the market. You will then get back to the main road and head to Long Hai beach. From here, you will start the journey along the South Coastline, on less trafficked roads and with many wild beaches along the way. You will stop by the beach for a picnic lunch and you will of course have time for swimming and relaxing on the empty, sandy beach. Driving through the land of Dragon Fruit, you will see many dragon fruit farms. Visit a random farm to learn about this amazing fruit, and have a taste if it is in season. Reach the resort in the afternoon where you will relax and enjoy your own time for the rest of day.
Phan Thiet – Sand Dune Quad Riding - Ninh Chu Beach (B/L)
Leave the resort in the morning to continue the journey. Riding on quad bikes crossing the famous white sand dunes will be a lot of fun, with plenty of good photo opportunities. The next stop will be Ca Na Beach, where you will have lunch and a swim if you wish. Get to Thap Cham City in the afternoon to visit Cham Tower and learn about the culture of the Cham – the native people of the central part of Vietnam.
Ninh Chu – Nui Chua NP: Trekking & Camping (B/L/D)
After breakfast, you will have a short transfer to the park where you will start your trek of crossing a “semi desert”, an area with sparse vegetation. On the way, you will learn about the culture of the Raglai, the minority group residing in the park. After a 3-hour trek, you will stop for a picnic lunch by Da Com Spring and rest for a while.
In the afternoon, continue trekking for another 3 hours, through primary forest, to get to the campsite by a small stream. You will prepare your camp while the local guide will prepare your dinner in time for sunset. Enjoy the peace and sounds of the nature, having dinner by the campfire.
Trekking – Vinh Hy Bay (B/L)
Breakfast will be served before you continue this second day of trekking, passing through wild lemongrass fields and primary forest. The route is not challenging, but zigzag. After 3 hours, you will finally reach the highest peak of Mount Chua, which is 1,039m above sea level. Enjoy your “moment of glory” before starting your descent. On the way down the mountain, your trek route becomes easier and the scenery is beautiful. After 1.5 hours trekking downhill, you will reach the rest stop. After lunch and a short break, trek for another 4 hours to a village of the Raglai Minority Group.
Meet your vehicle and drive to your hotel at Vinh Hy Bay
Transfer to Dalat – City Tour (B/L)
Leaving the coast, you will drive up to the highlands. Dalat city will be the destination for your explorations today. Famous for its nature, Dalat is yet another favored place for photographers, offering great views and sceneries. You will have a drive around the city to visit Crazy House and Broken Glass Pagoda. Then, you will drive up to Langbiang Mount for a panoramic view of the region.
Dalat – Yok Don National Park (B/L/D)
Driving through the central highlands, you will head to Yok Don National Park. Upon reaching the Yok Don National Park center in the afternoon, we rest for a while before attending a hosted meal in the village. This cultural meal will be your first experience with the minority tribe in the central highlands. The central highlands region is home to a large population of ethnic minorities, such as the people of Malayo-Polynesian languages (Jarai and Ede) and the people of Mon-Khmer languages (Bahnar and K’hor). For a long time, these minority groups used to make up the majority of the region’s population. Over the last few decades however, the Kinh (or Viet) became the majority, with over 87% of the country´s population. You will have a meal and share stories, hearing about their unique traditions and culture and tell tales from your own country.
Elephant’s time – Hiking (B/L/D)
Today, you will get up early to join in an exciting activity; following the locals, you will go to the forest to find the elephants. On their day off, the elephants are set free in the forest. It could take time to find them, wandering freely in the forest. Once you find them, you and the mahouts (the elephant trainers) will walk them to the river. It´s time to play with the giant, but very friendly, animals. You will give them a bath and play with them in the river. Back to the guesthouse for lunch before continuing to hike in the park. Dinner in the evening.
Transfer to Kon Tum – Visiting Coffee Museum & Wooden Church (B/L)
The central highlands is the home of coffee plantations in Vietnam. In this city, you will visit the one and only museum of coffee, to learn and try the best local coffee. Lunch will be served there as well.
In the afternoon, following lunch, you will be transferred to Kon Tum city center, where you will visit the famous wooden church. Built in 1913 by a French priest, the wooden church is well known in Kon Tum. The church was built using hundreds of cubic meters of high-quality wood and the whole structure stands one meter above the ground on wooden pillars, just like the houses of the surrounding hill-tribes.
Transfer to Hoi An via Ho Chi Minh Trail (B/L)
Today, you will enjoy the scenic ride on National road 14, a part of the Ho Chi Minh Trail to Hoi An. It is a less trafficked road, so you have time to witness the local life on the way and enjoy the scenery, with some parts of the road going through the forest. You will drive past some historical sites relating to the Vietnam War, as Dak To, Ngoc Hoi, Dak Glei and Kham Duc. The most impressive part of the drive today is the Lo Xo Pass and Ngoc Linh Mountain. Reaching Hoi An ancient town in the afternoon, you are free to enjoy your own time or explore the town lined with Chinese traders’ homes and wooden houses, reincarnated as restaurants, cafés, and outlets for local artists, craftsmen and tailors. The towns unique fusion of Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese architecture is well displayed here, the most famous being the beautiful 16th-century Japanese Bridge.
Free day in Hoi An (B)
The whole day is yours to relax and explore the ancient town. This is a great place for shopping and tasting the tasty local cuisine. If you like to see countryside, a cycling tour will be a very good option.
Transfer by coastal route to Hue – Visiting the Tomb City, Hue Citadel (B/L)
Back on the road, Hai Van Pass will be the first stop of the day. From the top, you will enjoy the great view of the sea, Da Nang City and part of Lang Co Bay. Instead of taking the highway, you will drive on the back roads to see more local life while passing through small towns and villages. The next stop may be a bit shocking – Tomb City, the city of the dead. An Bang may be the one and only place where the homes of the dead are larger than the homes of the living. After exploring this display of extravaganza, you will have lunch at a local restaurant by the beach.
In Hue city, you will visit Hue Citadel in the afternoon, learning about the last dynasty of Vietnam and listen to the stories of the royal families.
Hue – Hochiminh Trail – DMZ (Ta Con former US Airbase) (B/L)
Back on to Ho Chi Minh Trail today, you will head to Khe Sanh Town. In 1966, Khe Sanh was established as a forward base by General Westmoreland, near Laos to secure Highway 9. Troop build-ups escalated, and on January 21st 1968, the NVA, in order to divert US attention from the future Tet Offensive, launched a full-scale attack on the base. Three months later, after NVA losses estimated at 10,000 men, and US losses of about 500 men, the NVA quietly withdrew. Three months later, the Americans also withdrew, leaving what has been described as a “lunar landscape” behind. Even today, the vegetation in this area is sparser than in many other war zones.
In Khe Sanh, you will visit Ta Con Airbase, a former airfield near the border with Laos. The museum here is small, but it displays many rare photos, dioramas, and artefacts from combatants on both sides of the war.
West Truong Son Range (Hochiminh Trail) – Paradise Cave – Phong Nha (B/L)
Today, you will drive hundreds of kilometers without seeing anything but mountains and forest. This is considered the less trafficked road in Vietnam. A picnic lunch set up by the roadside in the middle of the national park will be memorable.
In the afternoon, you will visit one of the most beautiful caves in Phong Nha – the Paradise Cave of Ke Bang National Park. Discovered by a local man in 2005, Paradise Cave is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The cave has been explored by the British Cave Research Association and found to be 31 km in length. Your will visit some of the accessible areas of this cave, giving you a taste of the wonders lying in the depths.
Phong Nha – Dong Loc Junction – Vinh (B/L)
After breakfast, you continue on Route 15 to Dong Loc Junction. Another day on good roads offering beautiful landscapes along the way. After lunch, you will visit Dong Loc Junction where a unit of ten young female volunteers, aged 17 to 20 and led by Vo Thi Tan, was assigned to keep the road open to traffic. Despite repeated heavy bombardments, they stayed at their post, using only shovels and hoes to level bomb craters. Sadly though, during an air attack on July 24th 1968, they were all tragically killed. A monument engraved with the names of the ten heroines was erected on a hill at the Dong Loc Road Junction. You can also visit the Volunteer Youth Museum, where you can learn more about the Ho Chi Minh Trail. This point used to be the main junction of the supply line during the war against the United States. American aircrafts heavily bombarded the area in repeated efforts to destroy the junction. The 12-mile section of road underwent 2,057 air bombardments.
Vinh – Ho Citadel – Ninh Binh (B/L)
Back onto the Ho Chi Minh Trail – today you will visit another world heritage site, the Ho Citadel, where the Ho Dynasty reigned for merely seven years (1400-1407), a drop in the ocean of Viet Nam’s turbulent history. The citadel is now empty – that’s right – no palaces, no temples, and no monuments – just four walls surrounding nothing but farmland. However, according to UNESCO, the citadel represents “an outstanding example of a new style of Southeast Asian imperial city”. The Citadel of Ho Dynasty is the remains of a late 14th-century castle constructed from stone blocks. It was constructed by the Ho Dynasty from 1397 onwards. It is a symbol of Neo-Confucianism. You will reach the resort in the afternoon and can enjoy some relaxing time by the pool or take a boat trip on the idyllic Van Long Nature Reserve.
Ninh Binh – Halong Bay (B/L/D)
The drive today crosses the Red River Delta to Halong Bay. Board your cruise and enjoy the rest of day relaxing while the junk cruises through the rocky formations the bay is famous for. There will be some optional activities for you in the afternoon, such as swimming, kayaking, taking a rowboat trip or just relaxing and enjoying cocktails on the sundeck.
Stay: On board
Halong Bay (B/L/D)
Transferred by small boat today, you will spend the day exploring the remote parts of the bay, with time for swimming and kayaking. Get back to the mother boat in the afternoon.
Stay: On board
Transfer to Hanoi (B)
Enjoy the morning on the bay before checkout, and have brunch before leaving the boat. You will have private road transport to Hanoi.
Enjoy your own time until transfer to the airport for your departure flight.
- Hotels, resort, farmstay: western breakfasts
- Cruise (meals included)
- Guesthouse: clean, blanket, pillow, mattress and mosquito net provided; western toilet; hot shower
- Tent: sleeping bag, pillow provided
Meals: local foods (sea foods, pork, beef, chicken, egg, vegetable…)