Spend an action-packed day in Ho Chi Minh City, visiting the astounding Cu Chi tunnels and visiting the city’s premier sights. Discover a slice of Paris in the East in the picturesque town of Dalat. Explore the opulent summer palace of Bo Dai and stop in at the mouth-watering local market. More than just a stepping-stone to the hills, Buon Ma Thuot has a top-notch cultural museum and arguably the best coffee in the country. Trek through the lush forests of the Central Highlands, where homestays in tiny villages give you a rare insight into rural life and ethnic minority cultures
From the hustle and bustle of the big smoke to off-the-beaten-track hill villages, experience the many colours of Vietnam’s rich cultural tapestry on this Southern Vietnam adventure. Discover the extraordinary war remnants and tantalising street food of Ho Chi Minh City, the French charisma of Dalat, the folk history of Buon Ma Thuot and the old-world allure of historic Hoi An. In between, trek through the forests of the Central Highlands to the villages of Ede and M’Nong people, who invite you to stay overnight in their homes. This is an active, eye-opening adventure you won’t forget.
ITINERARY CHANGES IN 2018: Please refer to Important Notes for more information.
Breakfast Included: 9 Lunches Included: 2 Lunches Included: 2
Ho Chi Minh City
Xin chao! Welcome to Ho Chi Minh City. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. Afterwards there will be an optional welcome dinner, a great chance to bond with your fellow travellers.
Ho Chi Minh City
In the morning, visit one of the most important sites in Ho Chi Minh City, the famous Cu Chi Tunnels. These complex tunnels were used by the Viet Cong in the long war against the Americans and were instrumental to the Vietnamese victory. You will be amazed at the ingenuity of these dangerous tunnels. You will also visit a local home in this area. Later, in the afternoon, enjoy a Ho Chi Minh City tour. This stops in at the War Museum, Cathedral, GPO and Ben Thanh market. Don't miss the chance to try some delicious street food at the market.
Head to Da Lat by bus today (approximately 7 hours). Although it's a long travel day, some of the scenery is delightful – take the opportunity to sit back and soak it up. You'll have free time on arrival to spend as you please. Explore this pleasant region and all it has to offer – lakes, palaces, flower gardens, pagodas and churches. You'll soon discover this is one of Vietnam's most beautiful cities.
Embark on a city tour today. This takes you into Bao Dai's Summer Palace, the gorgeous 1930s villa built for the last king of the Vietnam feudal court. Explore its two storeys and some of its 25 rooms, including the impressive bedroom and balcony upstairs. You will also visit the vibrant Dalat Market, whose upper level is a great place to get a cheap and tasty bite of the local food. In the afternoon you will have free time to explore as you please. Perhaps take the train to Trai Mat Village and enjoy its peaceful ambience and fresh air spiked with the smell of pine trees.
Depart Dalat at approximately 1pm and then drive approximately four hours to the starting point of the walk. From here, enjoy an easy 3km (1.9mi) walk to Nam Ka village. The walk should last around one hour. Tonight's accommodation is a traditional long house built on wooden stilts. It's simple yet clean and comfortable. This local homestay is a great opportunity to experience a home cooked meal prepared by your village hosts.
Set our on a full day of trekking (approximately 15 kilometres/9 miles). Start with a short walk from the village through rice paddies, then reach a steep 1.5km/1 mile walk uphill before descending down the other side. The path then takes you through rural farmland and bamboo forest. Continue on to Buon Triet lake, where you'll be picked up by a boat and enjoy a cruise across the lake. Depending on time and weather, there may also be an opportunity to stop for a refreshing swim along the way. Some more walking through the lush valley to reach your homestay. Spend the evening in Jatu village with friendly M’Nong hosts.
Buon Ma Thout
In the morning, travel by bus to Jun Village, where you can walk around and greet the locals. This visit is a nice insight into daily village life in the Central Highlands. It's also the perfect place to soak up some of Vietnam's idyllic countryside – little villages, rice fields, cows, and sprawling Lak Lake. After some time to explore, board a bus headed to Buon Ma Thuot (approximately two hours). Be sure to try the coffee here, as this region grows arguably the best in the country. In the afternoon, visit the quality Ethnographic Museum to learn more about the Dak Lak province, including information about the region's ethnic cultures, war history, and everything in between. The museum displays include stone artefacts, photography, musical instruments and quirky taxidermy.
Catch a transfer to the airport this morning for a flight to Da Nang (approximately one hour). From here, take a bus to lovely Hoi An. After arriving and settling in, enjoy a guided walk around Hanoi's Old Town in the afternoon. Declared a World Heritage site, the Old Town is beautifully preserved and exudes a tranquil atmosphere. It's perfect for strolling around at a leisurely pace, with many beautiful Japanese houses and Chinese temples lining the narrow lanes. Parts of Hoi An look exactly as they did more than a century ago.
Enjoy a free day to explore Hanoi at your leisure. Ask your local leader for tips on what to see and do about town. If the weather is fine, perhaps hire a bike and head to the nearby beaches, or sign up for a street food tour and try some of famous Hoi An specialties.
Your trip comes to an end today and you are free to depart at any time.