- Bustling Hanoi
- Remote Ba Be Lakes National Park
- Cruising through UNESCO listed Halong Bay
- Remarkable caves at Phong Nha National Park
- Imperial Hue
- Laid-back Hoi An
- Verdant jungle at Nam Cat Tien National Park
- Energetic Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam's capital is our starting point, providing an exciting launch-pad for the adventure to come. Kick off the tour like the locals with a few glasses of street side 'bia hoi' and a bowl of steaming pho noodles, before we embark into the terraced mountains of the north. Our destination is the remote Ba Be Lakes National Park, home of the Tay minority group, where we spend two glorious days exploring the lakes, caves and forests of this beautiful region by boat and on foot. Our tour is arranged by the lunar calendar to enable us to visit local markets rarely seen by visitors, where the different minorities come in their finest to trade and socialise.
We return to Hanoi for a short, relaxing break sailing on the limpid waters of Halong Bay, before jumping aboard the Reunification Express and trundling our way south to Dong Hoi, gateway to Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. These jungle-clad mountains stretch to the Laos border and hide a remarkable collection of vast caverns, many discovered only in recent years. Here we explore the awe-inspiring Paradise Cave, recently opened and filled with remarkable sculpted stalactite and stalagmite formations; we don our costumes to swim in Nuoc Mooc Springs, and explore the jungle paths of this wonderful area.
En route to the imperial city of Hue we stop in at the DMZ to explore the incredible underground network of the Vinh Moc Tunnels. A gentle cycle ride around Hue and the surrounding countryside the following morning is followed by a scenic drive over the Pass of Ocean Clouds to Hoi An, ancient trading port and relaxed riverside destination. Try your hand at local fishing techniques and learn about traditional farming methods; saunter through the streets of the old town and indulge in a spot of people-watching or simply relax by the pool.
The final leg of our journey takes us to the dense jungle of Nam Cat Tien National Park, last refuge of many of Vietnam's large mammals. We may not be fortunate enough to see the elephant, leopard and tiger said to reside in the park's depths, but we will trek through the jungle to seek out the endangered Siamese Crocodile, listening out for the wild gibbon in the canopy above. We conclude our trip with a final night in the bright lights of Ho Chi Minh City; an energetic end to a remarkable journey.