Backroads and Eco lodges

 

Embark on an offbeat North to South program. See Hanoi as very few do before venturing on a nice loop across for a quick but intense overview of North Vietnam. Be hosted in a beautiful lodge by Muong people at the heart of a nature reserve. Travel across the Red River delta, taste the rural tranquility of Tam Coc and lay back on a comfy cruise in Halong, one of the most unique seascapes in the world. Journey to Hue, Hoi An and the Mekong delta and explore their less traveled paths. Unveil secret roads and spots, meet locals all along and stay at some of the most charming lodges of the country.

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Arrival In Hanoi (-/L/-)

Hanoi, Some Classics And Some Unusual Visits (B/L/-)

Hanoi – Suoi Mu (B/L/D)

Suoi Mu – Ninh Binh (B/L/-)

Ninh Binh – Halong Bay (B/L/D)

Halong – Hanoi – Hoi An (Brunch)

Hoi An, Half-Day Of Exploration (B/L/-)

Hoi An –Tam Giang Lagoon – Hue (B/L/-)

Hue– Saigon (B/L/-)

Saigon – Mekong Delta (B/L/D)

Mekong Delta – Saigon – Departure (B/L/-)

DAY 1

Hanoi

ARRIVAL IN HANOI (-/L/-)

 

  • Welcome at the airport and drive to the hotel in the city center (rooms might be available from 2pm only).
  • Take the time to refresh and get ready for the first dive into Hanoi’s bubbling atmosphere.
  • Go for a walk around the 36 streets of the Old Quarter, pass by the big Dong Xuan covered market, and witness the crafting and trading activities around each street’s specificity.
  • Visit temples and communal houses and reach Hoan Kiem Lake.
  • At noon, the guide will take you to discover some local street food.
  • Back at the hotel after lunch, end of the day at leisure.

 

Fun fact

Ask your guide to take you eat a bun cha on Dao Duy Tu street. It is THE speciality of Hanoi’s gastronomy. Flame-grilled pork served with rice noodles in a nuoc mam-based sauce. It is delicious and you can also try the tra chanh, lemon green tea, nearby.

 

Night at MK Premier – Luxury. http://mkpremier.vn/

Night at MK Premier – Luxury

DAY 2

Hanoi

 

HANOI, SOME CLASSICS AND SOME UNUSUAL VISITS (B/L/-)

 

  • The guide meets you at 9am in your hotel’s lobby.
  • Transfer to the Temple of Literature: a little architectural gem, first university of Vietnam and temple devoted to Confucius.
  • Walk up North to reach the Ho Chi Minh complex.
  • Visit the gardens of the Presidential palace, the one-pillar pagoda and the house on stilts where Ho Chi Minh lives his the last days of his life.
  • For lunch, go to Truc Bach peninsula to eat in a small food shop the speciality of the neighborhood: the pho cuon and pho xao. Choice of several dishes based on pho noodles, sautée beef, and some nice greens on top.
  • Hop on a small electric cart to ride around the largest lake of the city. The journey takes about 1 hour, 18 kilometers to see a different Hanoi with a stop en-route at one of the oldest wooden pagodas in town.
  • Loop the loop and go for a leg stretching walk throughout Ngoc Ha village. This is a sparkling maze of narrow alleys with a market, schools, shops everywhere and the B52 Lake.
  • Exit the labyrinth and end up the afternoon with a slice of pure real Hanoian daily life: a cool beer and some fresh peanuts at a popular bia hoi, kind of big outdoor space with plastic chairs and tables around, where people gather after work to enjoy a draught beer in a relaxed atmosphere.
  • Drive back to the hotel and end of the day at leisure.

 

Fun fact

Chuc Suc Khoe (pronounced choop sook kway) is the wish of good health people make to one another when drinking alcohol. In Vietnam, we must have a toast all together before every time we take a nip of the beverage.

 

Night at MK Premier – Luxury. http://mkpremier.vn/

Night at MK Premier – Luxury.

DAY 3

Hanoi

HANOI – SUOI MU (B/L/D)

 

  • Depart from the hotel at 7am and head Southwest on the Ho Chi Minh Road to the Tam Diep mountain range.
  • Drive up a pass and reach, at its top, the entrance of the unknown Ngoc Son Ngo Luong nature reserve.
  • Go down into the valley and reach the first plateau. The scenery is beautiful, terraced rice-fields with mountains covered in jungle as a background.
  • Walk for about 45 minutes on a single trail passing by a high waterfall and wind along the river and its natural pools.
  • Reach a nice picnic spot and enjoy a slightly late lunch.
  • After lunch, enjoy the place before walking another 10 minutes to your accommodation, a nice private lodge, overlooking cascades and natural pools.
  • You will be hosted by a family of Muong ethnic people, warm welcome and easy time until dinner.

 

Fun fact

The dirt track you ride down the valley to reach the lodge is not even 15 year-old. Before, it was only jungle and this community was really remote and isolated. They had to walk by night through the jungle for about 4 hours to get to the local market once in a while.

 

 

Night at Suoi Mu Lodge

DAY 4

Suoi Mu


SUOI MU – NINH BINH (B/L/-)

 

  • Depending on the time you wake up, there will still be plenty of time to enjoy the cascades or go for a walk across the village or farther into the valley.
  • At 11am, hop on moto-taxis and ride up back to the entrance of the nature reserve.
  • Have lunch at a local restaurant before driving to Ninh Binh region, the so-called inland Halong bay.
  • Reach a hidden corner of the region and start a nice scenic rowed sampan cruise to reach Tam Coc, the most renowned valley of the region for it towering limestone rocks and beautiful rice fields.
  • Visit the Bich Dong pagoda that offers a climb up on its three levels. Admire the breathtaking view of the area once at the top.
  • End the day at a superb Eco lodge, by its swimming pool.
  • Dinner not included at the restaurant of the lodge.
  • Borrow bicycles to get to the small town center of Tam Coc.

 

Fun fact

For dinner, order at the lodge or in a restaurant of the center town some goat meat. This is the speciality in the region.

 

Night at Tam Coc Garden – Deluxe http://www.tamcocgarden.com/en

Night at Tam Coc Garden – Deluxe

DAY 5

Ninh Binh

 

NINH BINH – HALONG BAY (B/L/D)

 

  • Early wake up, early breakfast, and early departure to Halong.
  • Drive across the Red River delta and reach the coast little before noon.
  • Embark on a beautifully crafted wooden junk for an overnight cruise in the legendary seascape of Halong.
  • A delicious seafood-based buffet lunch is served, while the limestone rocks are setting up the décor.
  • In the afternoon, reach a less traveled area and devote yourselves to relaxation, swimming and eventually kayaking. The program is not fixed and depends on the time of the year and weather, but there might be some sandy beach on the menu
  • End the day on the sundeck while the sun sets, time for an aperitif or to attend a cooking demonstration before dinner.
  • Spend the night in a comfortable private cabin with en-suite bathroom.

 

Fun fact

The Vietnamese term for Halong bay Vinh Ha Long, refers to Halong archipelago that stretches from Quan Lan Island on the North to Cat Ba Island on the South. This is a same large geological relief that was formed over 300 million years ago.

 

Night at Bhaya cruise (Deluxe) www.bhayacruises.com

Night at Bhaya cruise (Deluxe)

DAY 6

Halong

HALONG – HANOI – HOI AN (BRUNCH)

 

  • Cruising back to the pier, a brunch is served as you get closer to disembarkation.
  • Early Tai Chi session is proposed, coffee and tea are served early as well for the early birds wishing to see the beautiful lights of sunrise.
  • Visit a grotto before starting your way back to the coast.
  • Disembark and drive straight to Hanoi’s airport to catch a flight to Hoi An.
  • Arrival in Danang.
  • Transfer to Hoi An and check-in in a nice centrally-located hotel.
  • Evening at leisure.

 

Fun fact

For a perfect evening in Hoi An, go have first some local foods around the old quarter. Then visit the night market located on An Hoi islet, across the Thu Bon River at the western edge of Bach Dang Street.

 

Night at Vinh Hung Emerald Resort – Deluxe Pool View http://www.vinhhungemeraldresort.com/

Night at Vinh Hung Emerald Resort

DAY 7

Hoi An

HOI AN, HALF-DAY OF EXPLORATION (B/L/-)

 

  • The guide picks you up at 9am at the hotel.
  • Start with a short orientation walk around the old quarter to learn a bit more about the architecture and different monuments of the ancient port town.
  • Around 10am, get on a traditional long tail boat and start the journey on the waterways of the region.
  • Slide along the Thu Bon River and reach Cam Thanh mangrove. Arroyos made of freshwater coconut bushes that give the whole a sweet flavor of Mekong delta.
  • Set foot on land and visit the workshop of probably the most skillful bamboo craftsman of the entire region.
  • Hop on a bamboo electric cart to reach the house of the boatman who is hosting you for lunch.
  • Afternoon at leisure.
  • Drop off at the hotel or at the beach upon your preference.

 

Fun fact

For the beach, head to An Bang, about 4km north of the town following Hai Ba Trung Street. You will find several restaurants and bars to chill out on the beach in a very relaxed atmosphere. Look for the H’mong Sisters Restaurant, the favorite one.

 

Night at Vinh Hung Emerald Resort – Deluxe Pool View http://www.vinhhungemeraldresort.com/

Night at Vinh Hung Emerald Resort

DAY 8

Hoi An

HOI AN –TAM GIANG LAGOON – HUE (B/L/-)

 

  • In the morning, take it easy or enjoy a last walk around Hoi An old town before the driver and guide pick you up at 10.30am in the hotel lobby.
  • Drive through Danang and up the Hai Van Pass to reach Lang Co bay.
  • Have lunch there at a floating restaurant.
  • Then drive on a small road between a barrier beach and the Tam Giang lagoon, the longest of the country stretching over 70km.
  • On its Northern edge, reach a small fishermen village and get on boat with them for short escape on the lagoon.
  • Later in the afternoon transfer to Hue across the road of tombs for an evening at leisure.

 

Fun fact

The Hai Van Pass is a real climatic barrier in this region of Vietnam protecting its Southern side from cold winds coming from China during winter. It was also a natural frontier between the two kingdoms of Champa and Dai Viet.

 

Night at Hue Ecolodge – Deluxe. http://hue.ecolodge.asia/

Night at Hue Ecolodge – Deluxe

DAY 9

Hue Saigon

HUE– SAIGON (B/L/-)

 

  • The tour starts from the hotel’s lobby at 8am.
  • Visit the beautiful Tu Hieu pagoda and the Emperor Tu Duc’s tomb.
  • Then veer off the common path and go for an easy cycling ride around the village of the Mandarins.
  • Discover their centuries-old houses set in beautiful orchard-gardens.
  • Meet the Mandarins’ descendants and have lunch at one local house.
  • Early afternoon, drive to the citadel and dive into Vietnam’s feudality, a passionate slice of History.
  • Transfer to the airport to catch a flight to Saigon.
  • Once arrived, you are welcomed and transferred to the hotel in the city center.
  • Dinner on your own and evening at leisure.

 

Fun fact

If you are not into a backpacker’s district mood, try the Refinery on Hai Ba Trung Street. This is an old opium manufacture transformed into a place with few nice eateries and bistros of different style around a common yard.

 

Night at Cinnamon Boutique Hotel – Deluxe. https://www.cinnamonhotel.net/en/

DAY 10

Saigon

SAIGON – MEKONG DELTA (B/L/D)

 

  • Catch up at 8am in the lobby to depart on your 2-day travel to the Mekong delta.
  • Exit the busy Saigon and make your way to Cai Be. Reaching a small pier, well hidden away from the busy Cai Be tourist center, get on a boat to start exploring the mighty river and the life it generates.
  • Walk or ride bicycle to discover an island, its orchards and local workshops.
  • Have lunch at a local home.
  • Later in the afternoon get to a small nice Eco lodge, get your rooms and have a resting time by the pool.
  • Enjoy a small cooking class before diner.

 

Fun fact

The Mekong delta generates nearly half of Vietnam’s rice production. People also cultivate fruits like coconut, mango, banana, orange and pineapples. This is the first agricultural region of the country.

 

Night at Mekong Lodge – New wing. http://mekonglodge.com/

DAY 11

departure

MEKONG DELTA – SAIGON – DEPARTURE (B/L/-)

 

  • In the morning, get on boat to go see the reminiscences of Cai Be floating market. This is not as big and busy as in the past but you will still have chances to see the barges loaded with fruits and vegetables of the delta.
  • Then start your way back to Saigon.
  • Lunch on the way and be there in the early afternoon.
  • If time allows, go for a short walk along Saigon historical center to spot few monuments dating back from colonization time.
  • Then transfer to the airport for your departure flight. Extensions possible upon requests.

 

Fun fact

If you have time, pass by the Central Post office of Saigon. It is a colonial building which roof structure was designed by Gustave Eiffel himself, who also conceived the famous Eiffel Tower in Paris.

The price includes:
  • Accommodation in twin/double room with daily breakfast at the below indicated room types.
  • 2Days/1Night cruise on boat in Ha Long Bay (shared cabin on shared boat).
  • All transfers and transportation with air-con vehicles (types of vehicles depending on the number of pax):
    • 1-2pax: car of 4 seats
    • 3-6pax: van of 16 seats
  • Local ENGLISH speaking guides:
    • North (Hanoi – Suoi Mu – Ninh Binh – Halong Bay): 1 guide (no guide on board)
    • Centre (Hue – Da Nang – Hoi An): 1 guide
    • South (Ho Chi Minh – Mekong Delta): 1 guide
  • All entrance fees as program.
  • Moto-taxis in Ngoc Son Ngo Luong.
  • Traditional long tail boat in Hoian.
  • Boat on Tam Giang lagoon.
  • Bicycle around the village of the Mandarins.
  • Private sampan trip in Cai Be.
  • Meals (B/L/D) (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner) as indicated in the program.
  • 02 bottles of mineral water per person per day on bus on days of transfer and sightseeing only.
The price does not include:
  • Airfares (international and domestic).
  • Meals (other than mentioned in the program).
  • Beverages
  • Visa to Vietnam.
  • Tips
  • Early check in or late check out.
  • Insurances
  • Optional excursions and activities.
  • Additional transfer required due to any emergency situation.
  • Items of a personal nature (Phone calls, laundry, beverages…)
  • Peak season surcharges if any.
  • All not mentioned above.

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