Are you ready for a great outdoors adventure in Vietnam? Commonly known for its rich history, grand cities, diverse minorities, and beautiful and romantic villages, Vietnam is a country of natural beauty on a grand scale. The country’s little known nature reserves are almost kept secret from the crowds flocking to the more touristy area. Come join us for beautiful jungle walks, get close to the country’s rich flora and fauna, swim in rivers flowing through dark natural tunnels, and sleep in hammocks perched in remote caves. Forget about 5-star hotels, and come and celebrate with us Vietnam's Natural Wonders!
Day 1. 21 Nov 2016 Arrival in Hanoi
We arrive in Hanoi, the national capital and the heart of Vietnam’s growing economy. At 14:00, after dealing with immigration formalities at the airport, we meet our driver and guide, and drive to the city center to check in at our hotel. If time permits, we take a first orientation tour around the city. We travel atop a traditional rickshaw for a one-hour tour of the old city, then walk by the picturesque Ngoc Son Temple (the Temple of the Blue Mountain) built over a small islets at the heart of the Hoan Kiem Lake (Lake of the Returned Sword). We then enjoy a welcome dinner before transferring to our hotel for the night. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 2. 22 Nov 2016 Hanoi - Ba Be Nature Reserve
We have a long driving day ahead of us, and so have an early morning. We begin the day with a short visit to the Museum of Ethnology with its striking exhibition on the diverse ethnic groups inhabiting the country, their rich cultures, traditions and unique customs. We then leave Hanoi and head north on the long drive to Ba Be Nature Reserve. The drive takes us through regions rarely visited by foreigners, offering us a glimpse of the rustic Vietnamese countryside, rural life, and sleepy towns scattered along our route. Late in the afternoon we arrive at the park headquarters, where we spend the night in the little basic guesthouse. Overnight in Ba Be Nature Reserve.
Day 3. 23 Nov 2016 Ba Be Nature Reserve
Early in the morning we drive to one of the villages on the edge Ba Be Lake, after which the nature reserve is named, where a weekly tribal market takes place. The locals, from different ethnic groups, gather to trade here agricultural produce and a variety of handicrafts, and to purchase their own supplies. We then embark on a hiking trip through the nature reserve. The trail takes us past thick forests and across the hills surrounding the lake. We hike through villages such as Coc Toc Village of the Tay People, and the beautiful Nam Dai Village of the Cash Dao People. Late in the afternoon we return to our guesthouse. Overnight in Ba Be Nature Reserve.
Day 4. 24 Nov 2016 Ba Be Nature Reserve – Hanoi
After early breakfast we embark on a cruise over Ba Be Lake. Traveling by boat we pass by waterfalls, stop at the Fairy Pond, and get a glimpse of the lives of the locals as they fish around the lake, all amidst breathtaking landscapes of the mighty mountains surrounding the lake. Around noon we once again board our vehicle, and retrace our route back to the Vietnamese capital, arriving late in the evening. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 5. 25 Nov 2016 Hanoi – Ha Long Bay
Leaving Hanoi in the morning, we drive eastwards towards the Gulf of Tonkin. On arrival, we board our junk for a relaxing 24-hour cruise and exploration of the magical Ha Long Bay. The bay has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site for its landscape, geology, and geomorphology. During the cruise, we shall be served with mouth-watering fresh seafood. We visit famous sites such as Dinh Huong Island, Ga Choi Island, Dog Island, and others. Overnight in a private cabin onboard a ship.
Note: Visits and activities of the cruise might slightly differ depending on each junk’s itinerary. Our tour guide will be replaced by a local guide on board during the cruise.
Day 6. 26 Nov 2016 Ha Long Bay - Hanoi
We wake up aboard our junk, and continue to explore the bay and its unique natural treasures. We visit Man’s Head Island and Tortoise Island, take a bamboo boat to explore the Luon Cave, and visit Bai Tu Long Bay. After brunch, at about 1100, we disembark our boat and drive back to Hanoi. Here we tour the capital city as we continue to explore its sites. We begin with a visit to Ba Đình Square for a view over the Mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh, better known to the Vietnamese as ‘Uncle Ho’, the leader of the counter-revolution against the French and widely accepted as the Father of the Nation. We continue to Uncle Ho’s residence. If time permits, we also pay a visit to the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first university, with a history dating back to 1070, which has an interesting display of traditional gardens and architecture that has inspired generations of Vietnamese scholars. We wrap up the day with a traditional water puppet show, an art form unique to Vietnam. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 7. 27 Nov 2016 Hanoi ✈ Dong Hoi
This morning we drive to Noi Bai airport, from which we take a flight to Dong Hoi, the provincial capital of Quang Binh Province. Upon arrival, we meet our guide and driver, and drive to Paradise Cave. Paradise Cave is the world’s largest dry cave. This magnificent cave at the Ke Bang National Park is about 31 kilometers long, reaching a maximum height of 100 meters, and gets as wide as 150 meters. However, only the first 1 km is open to the public. It offers great views over stalactites, stalagmites and other unique rock formations carved in and out of the limestone. Late in the evening we drive to the shores of Phong Nha Lake, where we stay for the night.
Day 8. 28 Nov 2016 Dong Hoi – Tan Hoa Village – Tu Lan Cave System
We leave Phong Nha early in the morning, and take a beautiful, mountainous, winding road to the village of Tan Hoa. After a thorough safety brief, we embark on our 2 day adventure through the Tu Lan cave system. We begin with a 2.5 km (1.55 miles) stroll across fields of peanuts, corn and muddy water buffaloes. We then cross the river, leaving the vast fields behind and take on a climb over rocky slopes which lead up to the first cave, Hang Chuot (Rat Cave). Then another rather steep climb of some 60m (200 feet) brings us to the mountain pass, offering us a first glimpse of the pristine jungle we are about to walk through. After a 3 km (1.86 miles) trek across the valley floor, we arrive at our campsite, where we enjoy lunch and a cool swim by the waterfall. We then go to explore and have our first cave-river swim through Ken Cave, returning back to our campsite just in time for a barbeque dinner made by our local support team. We enjoy dinner together, stories around the campfire, and a good night’s sleep in hammocks strung up beside the beautiful waterfall.
Day 9. 29 Nov 2016 Tu Lan Cave System - Tan Hoa Village - Phong Nha
The second day of our Tu Lan adventure begins at Tu Lan cave. The cave has both dry and wet sections, so expect a thrilling morning of both hiking and swimming through the cave. We return to our campsite for lunch, before we are off to Hang Kim cave, where again we enjoy a mix of hiking and swimming. From Hang Kim we continue to To Mo Valley, and on to our last swim of some 200m (660 feet) through Hung Ton Wet Cave, from there we continue our hike into Hung Ton Valley. We walk past the valley, and up to the mountain pass which will take us out of the Tu Lan jungle and cave system. The adventure winds down as we walk back 2.5km (1.55 miles), crossing the Rao Nan River and buffalo fields, to reach Tan Hoa village. Here we board our vehicle, and drive back to Phong Nha, where we again check into our cozy hotel by Phong Nha Lake.
Day 10. 30 Nov 2016 Tan Hoa Village – Dong Hoi ✈ Ho Chi Minh City - Cat Tien Nature Reserve
Rather early in the morning we leave the hotel, and drive to Dong Hoi airport as we check in for our flight to Ho Chi Minh City, sometimes better known as Saigon. On arriving, we meet our guide and driver, and embark on approximately three hours’ drive to Cat Tien Nature Reserve. Covering an area of 720 Sq. Km (178,000 acres), and considered by many as the country's best preserved nature reserve, it is the richest among them all with regards to wildlife species. After checking in our simple yet cozy eco-lodge, we take an evening drive into the reserve to spot some of its nocturnal wildlife. Overnight in Cat Tien.
Day 11. 01 Dec 2016 Cat Tien Nature Reserve
Today we take a beautiful jungle walk. Our path takes us past ancient trees, with lianas stretched between them, and fungus growing on their trunks. In this part of the reserve we also have a fair chance to see the Yellow-cheeked Crested Gibbon, and the Northern Pig-tailed Macaque, as these species inhabit the tree tops of the jungle. The trail would eventually lead us to a pond inhabited by wild Siamese Crocodiles. This species is almost extinct, and this pond considered as one of the best preserved habitats for it. In the afternoon we pay a visit to the Dao Tien Endangered Primate rescue center. Here, with the assistance of foreign organizations, captured primates get a chance to be released back into nature, enhancing the conservation efforts of these species. Just before dawn we take a boat ride to watch some of the waterfowls that make the nature reserve their home, among them are Siamese Fireback, Hornbill, Barbets, Storks, Woodpeckers and many others. Overnight in Cat Tien.
Day 12. 02 Nov 2016 Cat Tien Nature Reserve – Ho Chi Minh City
With an early start to the day, we have a three hours’ drive back to Ho Chi Minh City. Here we embark on a full day of exploring the city that once served as the capital of South Vietnam, the American allied, anti-communist state. We quickly check into our hotel, and go on to visit the former Presidential Palace, or as it is known today- the Reunification Palace. Its current name hints to the historical event of a North-Vietnamese tank breaking through the palace's barricades. This signified the end of the U.S led war, and the victory of the communist North Vietnamese. After visiting the Palace, we head to the beating heart of the city, where we visit the Notre Dame Cathedral. The bright red color of the cathedral walls comes from the bricks which were brought from France, taken from the Marseilles palace in Paris. From there, we take a short walk to the old Central Post Office, and then off to the central quarter. This area preserves the colonial ambiance of the city, with the Opera House and Hotel de Ville serving as living evidence to this vivid period of its history. In the afternoon we visit the War Remnants Museum, which tells the story of the U.S. led war from a different angle than the one known to the people of the West. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 13. 03 Nov 2016 Departure from Ho Chi Minh City
After breakfast at the hotel, we drive to Than Son Nhat Airport, for our international departure flight.
Dates & Pricing
Trip rates valid for two confirmed travelers and above. If you are booking this trip for a party of four travelers or more, please contact us for our special rates.
Note: Trip rates are valid all year round, but are not valid for trips that occur (in whole, or in part) during Chinese national holidays: May 1st to 3rd, September 15th to 17th, or October 1st to 7th, and Vietnamese Tet Holiday: February 7th to 13th. Some surcharges might apply on December 24th to January 1st due to high demand, or compulsory dinners in the hotels.
Please note that due to stormy weather in central Vietnam and danger of floods, the Tu Lan area is closed between Mid September to Mid November.
[email protected] reserves the right to change tour prices and programs due to changes in flight schedule, changes in airfares, and other local circumstances.
Prices are based on twin share occupancy.
Discounted rates for groups of 4 travelers and above:
4 travelers- US$2097/ person
6 travelers- US$1983/ person
8 travelers- US$1928/ person
- Applicable only for travel groups of 4 people or more booking their trip together.
21st April, 2019–3rd May, 2019
- $2,599 Per Person (From 2 people)
- $667 Single Room Supplement
21st November, 2019–3rd December, 2019
- $2,599 Per Person (From 2 people)
- $667 Single Room Supplement
- 2 Domestic flight Hanoi/Dong Hoi/Ho Chi Minh City
- Accommodation as per program
- Transfers by private A/C vehicle
- Meals as indicated in the program
- English speaking guide for each area as per program
- Floating vest and dry bag for Tu Lan caving
- Private cabin onboard a shared junk in Ha Long Bay
- Entry fees for all sightseeing as mentioned on the program
- Drinking water (2 small bottles/ person/ day)
- International airfare
- Travel insurance
- Vietnamese visa
- Excess luggage
- Expenses of personal nature (food and drinks beyond those provided, laundry, etc.)
- Anything not clearly mentioned in the program
- Hanoi- Boss Legend 4-star
- Ba Be- National Park guesthouse
- Halong- Pelican Cruise 4-star
- Phong Nha- Phnog Nha Lake House
- Cat Tien- Forest Floor Lodge
- Ho Chi Minh City- Renaissance Riverside 5-star
Note: the listed hotels are tentative. Final hotel list shall be confirmed upon placing a booking and paying a deposit.
We would like to thank you for the wonderful trip. Everything was well organized and we brought home the best memories. Trekking in the jungle through the caves and a night in the cave was the most exciting part, indeed. Thank you again, Nastya/David
Nastya and David, USA
More trips of this type
14 Days In Lake Khovsgol, Mongolia
Lake Khovsgol, Mongolia
- Active Adventures
14 Days In Mongolia
- Active Adventures
- Asian Delights
- Festivals & Events
More trips in these destinations
14 Days In Vietnam, Cambodia
- Asian Delights