Scenic Vietnam



per person
Duration: 15 Days
Destination: Asia
Tour Provider: Intrepid
Deal Code: DT18D08J




Pricing is based on departure date 21st Dec 2024

Alternate departure date available for travel in 2024 and 2025, Call us for the availability

Journey from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City on an incredible two-week adventure in Vietnam. Discover the stately capital Hanoi, the lush hills of the Da Bac region, the stunning limestone scenery of Cat Ba Island, the majesty of historic Hue, the fairytale atmosphere of Hoi An, the white sand beach at Quy Nhon, the glorious waterways of the Mekong Delta and the dynamic streets of Ho Chi Minh City. Explore not only the main highlights of the cities, but also the remote countryside, well away from the tourist crowds. A homestay in Sung Village, nestled in the forest among caves and tea plantations, is a chance to trek through minority villages and experience Vietnam at its sleepy best.

Why Book?

Save your spot: For 5 days without paying a deposit.

Flexible payment: After your deposit, pay the rest in instalments — the amounts you like, when you like, up to 56 days before departure.

No change fees: Change your travel plans up to 56 days before departure, with no fees.

Why you'll love this trip ?

Experience local life during homestays in the Mekong Delta and Da Bac. Get to know the host families, participate in their activities and enjoy a homestyle meal – this is a unique opportunity to get to know the locals and swap stories.

Cruise a sea of limestone karsts, blue-green waters, mysterious caves and ancient jungle on an unforgettable boat trip in Lin Ha Bay, a less-touristy but equally stunning area to Ha Long Bay.

Get a different view of Vietnam from the back of a motorbike. Take a two-wheeled tour around Hue and enjoy a special lunch spot at a convent or Buddhist monastery for a delicious vegetarian feast.

Visit a local master of martial arts with a family visit in Quy Nhon. Learn how they’ve been practising martial arts for three generations, the benefits on well-being and health and then learn some moves yourself!

Wander the streets of the charming Old Town of Hoi An and step back in time among the gorgeously restored architecture. Then, enjoy plenty of free time to explore at your own pace.

By travelling on this trip, you’ll directly support our Intrepid Foundation partner, WildAct. Donations help them run educational programs that aim to stop the illegal hunting of threatened migratory birds in Vietnam. 

Is this trip right for you?

You'll be spending two nights with local families on this trip. While the accommodation is shared and basic, this is a great opportunity to connect with the local people (and enjoy delicious home-cooked meals!). 

This trip involves a 10 km trek in the hills of Da Bac and included city walking tours. While being on your feet can be a bit tiring, this is the best way to really get under the skin of a place.

You’ll cover a lot of distance on this trip, including on overnight trains. Accommodation and amenities are shared and basic, but the experience of rubbing shoulders with the locals makes it all worthwhile.

Vietnam has an incredibly diverse climate influenced by both tropical monsoons and its range of altitudes and latitudes. Temperatures can vary from a brisk 4°C (39°F) in the northern mountains during winter to a sweltering and humid 36°C (97°F) in Ho Chi Minh City during the middle of the dry season. Please check the weather for the time of year you're travelling in order to pack appropriate clothing. 


Meals: 12 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 2 dinners

Transport: Boat, Overnight sleeper train, Private minibus, Taxi, Motorbike

Accommodation: Guesthouse (1 night), Homestay (1 night), Hotel (10 nights), Overnight sleeper train (2 night) 

Itinerary highlights

Day 1: Hanoi

Xin chao! Welcome to Vietnam. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm tonight, where you'll meet your tour leader and fellow travellers. If you arrive early, why not step out onto the streets to explore the chaotic capital of Vietnam. Hanoi is an alluring city of contrasts, best discovered on foot. Tonight, maybe get to know your new travel buddies over a glass of fresh bia hoi. This is a foamy, light beer made fresh every day and served in basic, open-walled ‘brew halls’ – take up a brightly coloured plastic chair and sip your tasty brew.

Accommodation: Hotel (1 night)

Meals: There are no meals included on this day.

Day 2: Da Bac

Leave Hanoi after breakfast this morning and make the drive to Sung village. Around 70 families live at Sung Village and the majority are Dzao ‘Tien’ people. Farming and forest plantation are their main source of income. Enjoy lunch at your homestay, then take an introductory walk around the village. After getting to know the village better, take a short trek to the alluring Sung Cave and visit a 100-year-old tea plantation. The trek has some steep and slippery sections, so ensure you have suitable footwear. After a handicraft workshop, return to your homestay accommodation for a nice hot shower and a delicious dinner.

Accommodation: Homestay (1 night)

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner


Day 3: Da Bac/Hanoi

This morning, you’ll have the opportunity to take in more of the Vietnamese highlands on a 10 km trek from Sung Village to Da Bia. The first 8 km of the trek is mostly flat ground along well-worn buffalo tracks. The final 2 km gradually inclines and there are some steps. Keep an eye peeled for the monumental stone at the peak of Da Bia Mountain during the hike that takes you through the local villages, meeting people from the ethnic Muong tribe along the way. Stop for lunch at Da Bia before enjoying a scenic 1.5-hour boat cruise on Hoa Binh hydropower reservoir. Arrive at Thung Nai, then board a bus transfer to Hanoi. When you arrive, enjoy a water puppet show in the evening.

Accommodation: Hanoi (1 night)

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Cat Ba Island

This morning, visit the Blue Dragon Children's Foundation – a community project dedicated to helping underprivileged children and victims of trafficking. Then, hop on the bus heading to Cat Ba Island, stopping for a quick break, then jump on the ferry. Board a boat and spend the rest of the day cruising the breathtaking Lan Ha Bay. Located in the greater Ha Long Bay area, Lan Ha Bay is one of Vietnam’s most scenic places, where limestone islands and caves rise from the emerald waters. Enjoy lunch on board, then get up close and personal with giant karsts in a kayak. Stay overnight on Cat Ba Island and enjoy a dip at one of the beaches (with a cold beer of course).

Accommodation: Hotel (1 night)

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: Hanoi/Overnight Train

Head back to Hanoi this morning and enjoy a city tour in the afternoon where you’ll see the city’s diverse past reflected in a mix of Southeast Asian, Chinese and French-influenced architecture. Stop by the aptly named One Pillar Pagoda – the country’s most famous stilt house (former residence of Ho Chi Minh) and the Temple of Literature. Shared hotel rooms will be available if you want to freshen up or organise your luggage for the overnight train tonight. Otherwise, use this time to do some shopping on Hang Gai Street or seek out some delicious street food. Meet back at the hotel lobby at 9 pm where you’ll transfer with the group to the train station. Although conditions are basic, overnight trains are a rewarding experience in Vietnam.

Accommodation: Overnight train (1 night)

Meals: Breakfast

Day 6: Hue

Arrive in Hue this morning – the hub of Vietnam’s historic past. This former imperial capital is an eclectic mix of busy streets and peaceful beauty. The rest of the morning is free for you to relax. Maybe pick up a classic Hue breakfast of bun bo – a popular Vietnamese soup with vermicelli noodles and beef. After lunch, visit the Imperial Citadel – a sprawling complex of temples, pavilions, moats, gates and walls. The Ngo Mon Gate, Thai Hoa Palace and the Ancestral Altars are still very impressive, and the complex must have been awe-inspiring during its heyday in the 19th century. In your free time, you might like to visit Dong Ba Market, which offers locally made goods, fresh produce and tantalising street food. This is a good place to try the specialties enjoyed by Emperor Nguyen, such as the banh khoai royal rice cake.

Accommodation: Hotel (1 night)

Meals: There are no meals included on this day.

Day 7: Hue

Today’s adventure will be taken on the back of a motorbike. You’ll have your own driver who will take you first on a drive around the Imperial Citadel, including the Forbidden Purple City. The latter was almost completely destroyed during the Tet Offensive in the Vietnam War, but its humble, foliage-covered ruins remain a testament to its proud history. Here, you'll gain some insight into the horrific damage endured during the war. Next, ride to a special lunch spot at a convent or Buddhist monastery for a delicious vegetarian feast. After lunch, drive to the royal tomb of Emperor Tu Duc, set amid a lake, frangipani bushes and pine trees. This evening, maybe ask your leader for the best place to try Imperial Street specialties.

Accommodation: Hotel (1 night)

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8: Hoi An

Travelling by bus, head south through coastal rice paddies before stopping at Lang Co Beach. Traverse the dramatic Hai Van Pass along the way – a sometimes bumpy but incredibly scenic stretch of highway with views back to Lang Co Beach and beyond. The spectacular Marble Mountains will be your backdrop as you arrive in Hoi An. Declared a World Heritage site, Hoi An is being beautifully restored and preserved. Known as Faifo to early Western traders, it was one of Southeast Asia's major international ports from the 17th to the 19th centuries. Today, parts of Hoi An look exactly as they did more than a century ago, and it retains the feel of times past. When you arrive, take a walking tour around the major sites of Hoi An’s charming Old Town, including a historic house (formerly home to a prominent trader), the Japanese Covered Bridge, a Chinese assembly hall and a museum. You’ll notice a distinctly Chinese appearance to the pagodas and assembly halls scattered along the small streets. A sightseeing pass is included in your tour for you to visit a selection of the major sights at your own pace.

Accommodation: Hotel (1 night)

Meals: Breakfast

Day 9: Hoi An

If you feel like getting active on your free day today, why not hire a bicycle and tour the surrounding countryside? This is one of the best ways to get an insight into rural Vietnam. Maybe take a day trip to My Son Cham (elaborate World Heritage-listed temples that reflect the rich cultural traditions of the Cham civilisation), or cruise along the Thu Bon River. You may like to wander the Central Market and the street stalls selling paintings, woodwork, ceramics and lanterns. Hoi An is also famous for its talented tailors, who can make items to order within a few hours. Bring your favourite piece of clothing or even just a picture, and you'll be able to have it copied!

Accommodation: Hotel (1 night)

Meals: Breakfast

Day 10: Quy Nhon

Today, enjoy a scenic drive through central Vietnam to the seaside city of Quy Nhon. On the way, visit Bich Hoa Tam Thanh village, famous for its murals and paintings on the wall that show a different side of Vietnam country life. Arrive at Quy Nhon in the early afternoon and head out on an orientation walk with your leader. Then, the rest of the afternoon is free for you to explore on your own or rest and recharge. This is your perfect chance to relax and put your feet up by the sea.

Accommodation: Hotel (1 night)

Meals: Breakfast

Day 11: Quy Nhon/Overnight Train

This morning, enjoy a special visit to a local family that has practised martial arts for three generations. Meet the master of the family and learn about the secrets of his martial arts practice, learn about the health benefits, watch a demonstration and then try your moves at the master’s guidance. After, continue to the ancient citadel of Do Ban – the last capital of the Champa Kingdom where the Cham Kings lived between the 11th and the 15th centuries. Head back to Quy Nhon, maybe take the chance to freshen up at a hotel room or organise your luggage for the overnight train tonight.

Accommodation: Overnight train (1 night)

Meals: Breakfast

Day 12: Ho Chi Minh City

Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City early this morning and make use of the shared hotel rooms to refresh up before your day tour. Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is characterised by a fascinating blend of old and new, east and west. The huge number of people rushing about their daily lives in Vietnam's largest city gives it a dynamic atmosphere, and the French influence is evident in the excellent baguettes and coffee on offer. Take a guided tour with your leader to get a feel for the city, going past the GPO, Reunification Palace and the Opera House. Stop in at the War Remnants Museum and the Notre Dame Cathedral. With free time this evening, maybe drop by one of Vietnam’s most pulsing markets – Ben Thanh. This is the perfect place to pick up any last-minute snacks, cooking utensils, ingredients or gifts. Tonight, maybe enjoy some of the market’s fare for dinner as you shop or meet up with your group for a drink.

Accommodation: Hotel (1 night)

Meals: There are no meals included on this day.

Day 13: Mekong Delta

Today, you'll travel south by private bus to explore the Mekong Delta. When you arrive, you’ll board a boat and explore the intricate waterways. Often referred to as ‘the rice bowl’ of Vietnam, the fertile delta is where rice, tropical fruit and flowers are grown for the whole country. Disembark at Ben Tre and visit a local cottage industry to sample the candy that the region is famous for. You’ll have the opportunity to take a tuk-tuk around this remote village and stop to sample tropical fruit, see a honey farm and learn more about rural life. For lunch, go to a restaurant in the heart of the delta and try regional specialities such as the famous elephant-ear fish. After lunch, board sampans (small rowing boats) and paddle along the canals under the shade of lush water coconut trees. Stay overnight at a guesthouse on the river and swap stories with your hosts.

Accommodation: Guest House (1 night)

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 14: Ho Chi Minh City

This morning, say goodbye to the Mekong Delta and take the bus back to Ho Chi Minh City. Enjoy a free afternoon to see any sights (or sample any delights) that you didn’t get a chance to previously. Maybe spend the final night of your Vietnam adventure with a bowl of pho, celebrating with your new friends and toasting to a trip well-travelled.

Accommodation: Hotel (1 night)

Meals: Breakfast

Day 15: Ho Chi Minh City

Your Vietnam adventure ends after breakfast today. There are no activities included, so you are free to depart at any time. If you’d like to stay longer, just speak to your booking agent. For those who are staying on longer and want to explore Ho Chi Minh City, maybe check out our Urban Adventure day trips.

Meals: Breakfast


Itinerary Overview

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Terms & Conditions

Prices listed are per person in Great British Pound, based on twin occupancy, rates for single occupancy may differ, Rates offered are including all discounts unless otherwise stated. All bookings are subject to availability. Other travel periods may be available. Some block out dates may apply. Rates may alter depending upon the dates requested and surcharges if applicable. Final booking confirmation only provided once payment has been processed. Contact our travel team for more details. Our Holiday Centre reserves the right to withdraw this promotion without notice at any time. Flights are not included. Pricing correct as at 11th April 2024