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Trip Inspiration

16 Day Active Exploration of Vietnam

Outdoor Adventure + Cultural Encounters

There aren't many countries that combine culture and adventure quite like Vietnam. On this trip, you'll find yourselves kayaking to remote fishing hamlets only to be sipping personalized cocktails a few hours later. You will camp under the stars one day and cycle through rice fields the next. Every city visited will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.

Trip Highlights


  • 2 nights in Ho Chi Minh City
  • 2 nights in Phong Nha
  • 1 night of camping
  • 2 nights in Hue
  • 3 nights in Lang Co
  • 2 nights in Hoi An
  • 2 nights in Hanoi
  • 1 night in Ha Long Bay


  • Descend into the Cu Chi Tunnels
  • Participate in an interactive city scavenger hunt in Ho Chi Minh City
  • Explore caves and camp in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park
  • Sample Hue’s traditional cuisine via vespa
  • Relax on the beaches of Lang Co
  • Cycle and kayak through Hoi An
  • Sail around Ha Long Bay in a private junk boat
What does “Trip Inspiration” mean?

At Travel Beyond, we believe your trip should be designed just for you, not for the masses. Our travel consultants create a custom itinerary for each client, offering recommendations for places and experiences that best fit your style. The itinerary below was planned for a past client, but we’re sharing it for travel inspiration and as an example of what a trip to Vietnam might look like. Let us know when we can design a trip just for you!

Day 1

Arrive Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Welcome to Vietnam! Upon arrival in Hanoi, you will complete customs and be transferred to Hotel des Arts. Accommodations will be reserved for two nights. Relax and enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure!

Hotel Des Arts Meals: N/A

Day 2

Ho Chi Minh City

Early this morning, you will be transferred to Ho Chi Minh pier for a private 1.5-hour speedboat journey along the scenic Saigon River to Cu Chi historical site. There is much to see along the way and a light breakfast will be served to enjoy en route.

Work on these tunnels began during the war against the French in the 1940s and were expanded upon over the next 25 years as the conflict with America escalated. The system came to include an underground city of meeting areas, storerooms, living quarters and much more. The tunnels allowed the Viet Cong to control a vital area of South Vietnam and at their height, extended for more than 120 miles in length and stretched from what was then Ho Chi Minh to the Cambodian border.

Preserved as a memorial park, two sections of this remarkable network are open to the public. Visiting Ben Dinh, there is even the option to go below the surface and see sections of the tunnels firsthand. The more adventurous may go deeper and your guide will be on hand to give guidance on the degree of expected difficulty. There is plenty of interest above ground as well.

Lunch will be served before returning to the city via boat.

Later in the afternoon, you will explore the Ho Chi Minh City’s highlights through an interactive scavenger hunt. Using a dedicated app and a provided smartphone, this excursion invites you to explore hidden parts of the city, learn about historical and cultural sites and interact with local people.

Ho Chi Minh’s main landmarks and narrow lanes are full of secrets that you will collaboratively work to discover. Starting at the Opera House, you will be challenged by a series of questions, riddles or tasks that will test your sense of direction, observation and deducting skills. Local people will surely help you in your quest and you’ll be left with long-lasting memories.

Back at your hotel, the remainder of the day is yours to enjoy at leisure.

Hotel Des Arts Meals: Breakfast / Lunch

Day 3



Ho Chi Minh City to Phong Nha

Enjoy a morning at leisure before being transferred to the airport for your flight to Dong Hoi. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to Phong Nha where you will spend the night at a farm.

Once settled in, you will set off for Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. A UNESCO World Heritage site since 2003, this remote park is home to the oldest karst mountains in Asia and teaming with caves systems, some estimated to be as old as 400 million years. Impressive beyond comparison, many of these underground chambers are huge in both height and length. Spectacular stalagmites, underground rivers and white crystal stalactites resembling glass pillars abound below the surface.

Above ground the scene is equally as impressive. The park is set in nearly 560 square miles of unspoiled forest and tropical jungle and is home to several species of mammals, including elephants and primates, reptiles and many varieties of bird.

A highlight of the park is Phong Nha cave, from which the Park’s name is derived. It is famous for its rock formations which have been given names such as the “Lion,” the “Fairy Caves,” the “Royal Court,” and the “Buddha.” This cave is 5 miles long, contains 14 grottos, is home to a 8.5 mile long underground river and is considered one of the most beautiful caves in the system.

Another cave you’ll find in Ke Bang’s limestone mountainous area is Thien Duong (or Paradise Cave). This astonishing cave, which was only opened to visitors in 2011, is situated deep in the National Park and extends for 19 miles. Accessible via a wooden walkway, this huge underground space is full of gigantic stalagmites and other grandiose formations. It is little wonder why some experts consider Paradise Cave to be the most spectacular of its kind in the world.

Following the excursion, you will have the remainder of the day at leisure.

Phong Nha Farm Stay Meals: Breakfast / Lunch

Day 4

Phong Nha

This morning you will set off for the village of Tan Hoa, from where you will begin your overnight caving expedition.

After a safety briefing and gear check, your adventure begins with a walk across fields of peanut crops and towering corn stalks, down to the Rao Nan River. From here, your expert guides will lead you up a short hill into Rat Cave. You can wander up to 1,000 feet into the cave and from within are bound to see spectacular calcite stalagmites.

You’ll then climb another 500 feet up Lom Com Mountain.  Lunch will be enjoyed in the opening to Hung Ton Cave followed by a swim in the underground river that runs through Kim Cave.

Now refreshed, you will continue your trek along Da Bang Mountain to To Mo campsite, your home for the evening. Upon arrival, enjoy some time at leisure before partaking in a delicious BBQ dinner. Nestled in either a hammock or tent, and after such an action packed day, sleep will come easily!

To Mo Campsite Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 5

Phong Nha

Today starts with a hearty breakfast, and more cave exploration.

You will trek through the mountain from To Mo Campsite to the Hung Ton Cave entrance. From here, you descend into Hung Ton Valley (2,600 feet). Passing through the valley, you then make an exciting turn to visit a cave name Secret, one of the most notable caves in the Tu Lan Cave System.

Eventually arriving in Tan Hoa, you’ll enjoy a cold drink and shower before driving back to Phong Nha and your farm stay. The rest of the evening is yours to spend at leisure.

Phong Nha Farm Stay Meals: Breakfast / Lunch

Day 6

Phong Nha to Hue

This morning you will drive to the city of Hue. En route, you’ll stop to visit Hien Luong Bridge, built by the French in 1952. Spanning the Ben Hai River, it became a symbol of division during the war and of reunification thereafter.

You’ll then continue on to Vinh Moc. Here you can explore the town’s fascinating tunnel complex, which was built in response to the unrelenting bombing by American forces during the war. For several years, to escape the dangers above, the villagers lived and worked underground in more than a mile of tunnels spanning three levels.

Your final stop is AZERAI La Residence in Hue, your home for the next two nights. Upon arrival, you have the remainder of the day to relax and enjoy the property’s spa or pool.

AZERAI La Residence Meals: Breakfast / Lunch

Day 7


Enjoy your morning at leisure or opt for a half day Hue city tour.

Optional City TourThis excursion begins with an interesting boat ride along the Perfume River to the Thien Mu Pagoda. Seven stories tall, the pagoda is the tallest religious building in Vietnam. It also home to the car in which Thich Quang Duc, a Buddhist monk who demonstrated against the South Vietnamese government during the Vietnam War, was driven to Saigon prior to his widely reported self-immolation in 1963.

Continue to the Imperial Citadel. Built between 1804 and 1833, this heavily fortified structure is still very much the heart of modern-day Hue and despite a checkered history, remains superbly intact. There will be time for a bit of exploration before moving on to Long An Palace. Situated outside the citadel walls and only reopened to the public in 2012, this baroque-influenced palace is now home to the Royal Fine Arts Museum. Inside this highly rated museum are several thousand antiquities including porcelain, silverware and paintings, many of which belonged to the emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty.

This evening, enjoy a twilight foodie tour on vintage vespas.

The old imperial capital of Hue is popular not only for its attractive historical monuments but also for its richness in culture and cuisine. The tour will take you to a number of hand-picked local family-run eateries that serve the best authentic local foods. Immerse yourself in a world of Hue specialties, including Bun Bo Hue (Hue beef noodle soup), “banh Khoai” – Hue sizzling pancake, sweet soups and variety of Hue cakes. A leisurely ride on the back of the Vespa takes you back to your hotel.

AZERAI La Residence Meals: Breakfast / Dinner



Day 8

Hue to Lang Co

Today you will drive to Banyan Tree in Lang Co, where you will stay for three nights. Upon arrival relax and enjoy the hotel’s offerings.

Banyan Tree Lang Co Meals: Breakfast

Days 9-10

Lang Co

Enjoy your days at leisure to explore Lang Co and the activities on offer at the hotel.

Banyan Tree Lang Co Meals: Breakfast

Day 11

Lang Co to Hoi An

Today you bid farewell to Lang Co and make your way to Hoi An.

After checking in to the Hotel Royal Hoi An, you will set off to stroll along the city’s back streets discovering beautifully preserved old merchant houses, atmospheric temples and lively markets. You will visit the iconic 400-year-old Japanese Bridge and the busy waterfront, where colorful fishing boats bob up and down on the Thu Bon River.  There will be time to peruse the numerous boutiques and galleries and to try well-known local cakes like Banh It la Gai and Banh Dau Xanh.

This evening, you’ll take an exciting vintage jeep ride to Cua Dai Sea Lighthouse, where you will take in the beautiful sunset. It’s then off to Soul Kitchen – an ideal spot for a few drinks on beach. Relax, kick-back and let the melodious sound of the waves and the cool breeze feed your body and soul.

Your vintage jeep will then take you to the Co Co river where you will hop onto a basket boat for a short scenic ride. End your night with a delicious BBQ dinner served on a private bamboo raft floating along the river bank. Following the meal, you’ll be returned to your hotel.

Anantara Hoi An Meals: Breakfast / Dinner

Day 12

Hoi An

This morning you will be met by your guide for a combined bike and kayak tour, during which you will have the opportunity to not only explore the countryside of Hoi An and meet the locals but also see, firsthand, how the river impacts daily life.

Following a short cycle through the old town, you will find yourself in rural Hoi An where many artisans are still living the same life their ancestors would have hundreds of years ago. Cycling this area, you will make several stops, including local workshops, rice fields, and a shipyard.

You’ll refuel with a delicious lunch at a local house and then continue cycling along the river to the start of your kayaking. You’ll paddle through the water and enjoy a new perspective of Hoi An. You will pass little fishing hamlets, from where you can watch fishermen returning with a successful day’s catch. You will then be transferred back to your hotel.

This evening’s adventure takes you through ancient alleyways and into some of Hoi An’s secret venues. Alongside your guide, you’ll sample unique cocktails in unexpected locations and century-old spaces. At each of the five stops, you’ll sample a cocktail made just for you and be offered the opportunity to try making your own! Your taste buds will undoubtedly be teased by the local flavors. Simple, yet delicious, snacks will accompany each beverage.

During the short walks between tasting sessions, you’ll hear stories from your knowledgeable chủ nhà or host and learn about the history of Vietnam’s relationship with the French, Japanese and Chinese merchants who came to trade in the city.

Anantara Hoi An Meals: Breakfast



Day 13


Hoi An to Hanoi

This morning you will be transferred to Da Nang Airport for a morning flight to Hanoi. Upon arrival, you will be taken to a local restaurant for lunch.

After lunch, enjoy an orientation tour of Hanoi, whose treelined streets are resplendent with French colonial architecture, including the exquisite, recently restored Opera House. You’ll pass Hoan Kiem Lake, also known as the ‘Lake of the Restored Sword,” en-route to the Temple of Literature. Built in 1070 and dedicated to Confucius, it became Vietnam’s first university and offers visitors a serene retreat from the busy streets outside.

You will then set off on a walking tour of ’36 Streets,’ within Hanoi’s Old Quarters. The oldest continuously developed area of Vietnam, this densely populated section of the city was once an important center of commerce. Here, you’ll find streets named after the goods that were sold, Sugar Street, Tin Street and Paper Street. The labyrinthine alleyways are perfect for an afternoon of exploring.

This evening, you will partake in a Hanoi food tour. To start, you’ll make your way to a stylish local Café for a cocktail and a delicious snack from one of the nearby night time vendors. You will then jump on the back of vintage vespas and weave your way through the busy back streets of the Old Quarter.

Arriving at a local joint located right on the railway tracks (literally), you’ll try some infused rice wine and a Buffalo Jerky appetizer. And then it is off to a lively local restaurant serving Bun Cha, a quintessential, must taste Hanoi dish of rice noodles, grilled pork and meatballs, with a side of Nem (spring rolls). Simple but delicious.

You then head out of the Old Quarter and ride toward West Lake to try the local specialty of Pho Cuon, and learn the art of wrap ‘n’ roll, using fresh & fragrant ingredients and the Pho noodle! Another short ride on the Vespa takes you to your final port of call, located next to the Opera House. The halcyon days of the 1930’s may be over, however this Jazz Club will wow you with a truly unique blend of styles – 30’s style Jazz & traditional Vietnamese music!

You will then be transferred back to your hotel.

La Siesta Premium Hotel Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 14

Hanoi to Ha Long Bay

This morning you will be transfer to Noi Bai International Airport for your seaplane flight to Ha Long Bay. Enjoy spectacular areal views and a water landing at the Tuan Chau Marina.

Upon arrival, you will discover the magic of Ha Long Bay with a 15-minute scenic flight over the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Appreciate a birds-eye view of the thousands of limestone karsts jutting up from the jade green waters and look down on stunningly beautiful and remote fishing villages.

Back at the marina,  you will board your private junk boat L’Amour, where you will spend one night.

12.00 – 12.30 Embark at Hon Gai International harbor.
12.30 – 13.00 Check-in, enjoy welcome drink & cruise briefing.
13.30 – 15.00 Have lunch while cruising to magnificent Bai Tu Long bay; admire the fascinating formations on the way.
15.15 – 15.40 Explore the well- hidden Thien Canh Son cave
15.45 – 18.00 Enjoy relaxing on a white sandy beach at Hon Co island, swimming or kayaking
18.00 – 19.00 Back to junk for refreshing before having dinner on board
20.00 – 21.00 Relax, enjoy fresh air & overnight on board

L’Amour Cruises Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 15

Ha Long Bay to Hanoi

Enjoy a morning of additional explorations in Ha Long Bay.

07.30 – 08.00 Morning view of Bay’s landscape with a cup of tea or coffee. Have breakfast in the fresh air.
08.30 – 09.30 Visit Vung Vieng fishing village by a rustic rowing-boat
10.00 Check out of the cabin. Start cruising towards the harbor while an A la carte lunch is served
11.45 – 12.00 Disembark

After biding L’Amour farewell, you will board a seaplane for your scenic flight back to Hanoi.

Upon arrival, you will be transferred to La Siesta Premium Hotel. The remainder of the day is yours to spend at leisure.

La Siesta Premium Hotel Meals: Breakfast / Lunch



Day 16


Spend the day at leisure before your transfer to the airport for your departure flight.

Overnight Flight Breakfast