Adventure across Southern Vietnam and the Central Highlands, from Ho Chi Minh to Hoi An
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.
Ho Chi Minh City,
- Physical rating
- Group size
Why we love this trip
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
Enjoy a guided walking tour through the atmospheric streets of Hoi An's historic Old Town, one of Vietnam's most charming destinations
Is this trip right for you?
There is a considerable amount of walking involved on this trip. A good level of fitness is required, and you'll need strong, sturdy walking shoes, especially for the trekking portion.
You will stay in simple homestays for two nights in simple, multishare accommodation, with shared bathroom facilities. The experience of spending time with the local people will be more than worth it, not to mention the home cooked dinners prepared by your hosts.
This is South East Asia, so be prepared for some balmy conditions. The Central Highlands, where your hiking takes place, tend to be cooler than the cities. At any rate, be sure to drink plenty of water and use adequate sun protection.
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.
There are no meals included on this day.
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.
- Ho Chi Minh City - War Remnants Museum
- Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi Tunnels
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.
Take a bus to Ban Me Thuot (approximately 5 hours). Be sure to try the coffee here, as this region grows what is arguably the best in the country. In the afternoon, visit the quality Ethnographic Museum to learn more about the Dak Lak province, which is very informative on the subject of ethnic cultures, war history, and everything in between. Its displays include stone artefacts, photography, musical instruments and quirky taxidermy.
- Buon Me Thuot - Museum of Ethnology
Transfer by bus to the starting point of your trek, around 90 kilometres away. From here your walk starts with a three-kilometre stretch, bringing you to the village of Rai, home to the Ede people, an ethnic minority group. Your accommodation is a traditional long house built on stilts of wood and bamboo. It's simple yet clean and comfortable. Enjoy a home-cooked meal lovingly prepared by your hosts. Make the most of this opportunity to interact with the Ede, for whom music plays a key role in cultural life.
For the next 3 days we recommend bringing a smaller backpack with you and packing your trekking essentials as you will need to carry you own bag. Your main luggage will be stored in Buon Ma Thout and until you return on Day 8.
Embark on a full day of trekking (approximately 18 kilometres). You will pass through evergreen forest, enjoying a relatively temperate climate, and end up at Buon Triet lake. Firstly though you will climb to the top of Namka Hill (approximately 2 kilometres). Then you will head through a variety of different forest environments, occasionally crossing a stream. Greet minority village folk along the way, and keep and eye out for local wildlife and birds. Arrive at Buon Triet lake, where you'll be picked up by a paddle boat and enjoy a peaceful cruise across the water. There is the chance for a swim along the way. Spend the evening in Jatu village with friendly M’Nong hosts.
- Buon Triet- Dug-out Canoe trip
In the morning, travel by bus to Lak Lake. Take in views of the idyllic countryside – little villages, rice fields, cows, and softly flowing streams. Stop in and visit Jun Village, where you can walk around and greet the locals. This is a nice insight into daily village life in the Central Highlands. Afterwards, return to central Buon Ma Thuot. Transfer to the airport for a mid-afternoon flight to Da Nang (approximately 1 hour). From here, take a bus to lovely Hoi An.
Discover Hoi An, a standout destination in Vietnam. Enjoy a guided walk around the Old Town this morning. 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. Your afternoon is free to explore the town at your leisure – or perhaps head to the nearby beach on a rented bicycle if the weather's fine.
- Hoi An - Ancient town walk and entrance ticket
- Hoi An - Street Food By Night Urban Adventure - USD28
- Hoi An - Hoi An Boat & Bike Urban Adventure - USD51
Your trip comes to an end today and you are free to depart at any time.
- Hoi An - Hoi An Walking & Cooking Class Urban Adventure - USD49
Homestay (2 nights),
Hotel (7 nights)
Ho Chi Minh City - War Remnants Museum
Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi Tunnels
Dalat - Bao Dai Palace
Buon Me Thuot - Museum of Ethnology
Buon Triet- Dug-out Canoe trip
Hoi An - Ancient town walk and entrance ticket
Dates & availability
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1. Passport Details: Please provide your full name exactly as per passport at the time of booking (including any middle names listed on your passport), for internal flights and train tickets. Ticketing fees may apply for amendments to details within 45 days of departure, and in some cases you will be required to cover the cost of issuing a new ticket
2. A Single Supplement to have your own room is available on this trip and excludes nights 6 and 7 (homestay) where you will be in shared accommodation.
Essential trip information
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