Drop anchor in Phan Tiet to see the enormous Tra Cu reclining Buddha, the Fairy Spring and the beautiful sand dunes of Mui Ne. Enjoy a pottery demonstration in Bau Truc, the oldest pottery village in South East Asia. Stroll the tailors and artisan shops of Hoi An and take home that bespoke souvenir. Spend time at the Vinh Moc tunnels and Khe Sanh Combat Base, both of which provide eye-opening insight into the America-Vietnam war
Vietnam’s idyllic coastline is enjoyed mostly by local fisherman, with many travellers delving no deeper than the drawcards of Ha Long Bay, Nha Trang and the cities of Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi, Hue and Hoi An. Adventure cruising offers the best of both worlds – a way to experience not only those must-see icons, but the smaller gems that remain obscure to the outside world. Swim and snorkel around tiny islands, stroll along blazing sand dunes, gain insight into small-village tradition, and – perhaps most incredible of all – visit Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, an outstanding natural wonder of limestone cliffs and caves still largely untouched by the hand of tourism. Balancing leisure and discovery, comfort and adventure, this Intrepid small-ship voyage has all the makings of an unforgettable journey in South East Asia.
Breakfast Included: 13 Lunches Included: 5 Dinner Included: 12
Ho Chi Minh City
Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City and be met by a Peregrine representative to transfer to our joining hotel. It’s here that you’ll meet the other travellers joining you on this adventure. In the afternoon you will be transferred to the port to board the Panorama II, your sailing vessel and home for the next week. With a fully stocked bar, restaurant and kayaks, snorkelling gear and plenty of deck space, this is the way to cruise Vietnam’s southern coastline. Settle into your cabin and meet the crew and captain, then head out on deck with a drink and enjoy the views.
Cruise north to Phan Tiet and disembark to visit the Fairy Spring at Mui Ne, an otherworldly landscape of fresh water streams and eroded sand columns, where everything looks as if it could be out of a fantasy novel. Stop with time for lunch and a swim at a local beach restaurant (lunch not included) before returning to the Panorama II and continuing our journey north.
Phan Rang to Nha Trang
Board a bus after breakfast and travel to Phan Rang via the Po Klong Garai Temple and Bau Truc Ceramic Village, where traditional Cham clay techniques are preserved and demonstrated. Phan Rang is considered a centre for Cham culture and remnants of Cham towers dot the lush landscape along with rice paddies and orchards. The city is also home to Phan Rang Air Base, which was originally built by the Japanese during WWII then used by the US Air Force during the Vietnam War. It was seized by the People’s Army of Vietnam in 1975 and is still in use. Sail on to Nha Trang for an overnight in port.
With palm trees, white-sand beaches and a hip cosmopolitan atmosphere, Nha Trang is often referred to as the Cannes of the Orient. Explore this coastal city on a guided walking tour this morning then enjoy a free afternoon to do as you please. The Cham towers, just north of the city, are on a site that’s supposedly been used for worship since the 2nd century, or you can stay closer to town and soak up the scenes on Nha Trang Beach. There are also a number of spas where you can rejuvenate with a mud bath or dip in the hot springs. Sail overnight to Quy Nhon.
Continue on to Quy Nonh, a coastal city that focuses on fishing and agriculture. Witness a demonstration of Tay Son, a martial art unique to this region, and visit the ancient Cham towers, remnants of the Champa kingdom that flourished in the area over 500 years ago. There’ll also be time to relax on one of the region’s beautiful beaches, making the most of the warm, crystal-clear waters of Southeast Asia.
Enjoy a relaxing day of cruising from Quy Nonh to our next stop, Danang. Enjoy the company of your ship mates or some solitude and a good book if you prefer.
Disembark after breakfast and transfer Hoi An. Local guides will take you on a walking tour of this Heritage-listed city before leaving you to explore on your own. The city was a major trading port with the west from the 17th century onwards, and has a various architectural influences from Europe, China and Vietnam. Today the city is being restored and looks exactly like it did over a century ago. You will then be transferred back to the Panorama II to continue your Adventure Cruise.
Depart at 9 am for the short sail to Chan May. From there, take a bus to Hue, the former imperial capital and hub of Vietnam's historic past. Here the group will split up into smaller groups for a tour of the city with local guides. You will visit the Thien Mu Pagoda (an active Buddhist monastery that dates back to 1601) and enjoy tasty vegetarian fare for lunch. Also visit the elaborate royal tomb of Emperor Tu Duc, with its beautiful lake, frangipani and pine trees. Later, return to the ship for dinner, and set sail at midnight for Vinh Moc.
Visit the intriguing Vinh Moc Tunnels today. These were built to shelter local communities in the Demilatarised Zone that separated North and South Vietnam during the war. As you'll learn, the the tunnels grew in sophistication as well as depth, and many families resided in this underground village in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Some 17 children were born underground in this period. Today you'll also visit the Khe Sanh Combat Base, where the bloodiest conflict of the Vietnam-America conflict took place. Sail overnight toward Hon La.
Arrive in Hon La at around 9 am, then transfer by bus to the unspoiled Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. Spanning 885 square kilometres and boasting some of Asia's most ancient limestone karst landscapes, this chunk of land is one of the last true paradises of Vietnam. You'll visit the Thien Duong cave, also known as Paradise Cave, which is an astounding 31 kilometres long and was only discovered in 2005. Later, set sail for Halong at 7 pm.
Sailing to Halong Bay
Settle into a full day's sailing, heading north towards Halong, which is located just north of Na Trang. Take the opportunity to relax with a drink, play some board games, chat with fellow travellers, or curl up on a comfortable chair on deck with a good book as the sea streams by.
Transfer to a smaller local boat today for a tour around beautiful Halong Bay. Embarking at Bai Chay (Halong City West), soak up the views of this World Heritage-listed beauty and its pretty limestone islands. You'll also visit a cave in the area. During the warmer months your leader will discuss the option for swimming from Ti Top Island. Kayaking along the bay is another great option.