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 the Central Highlands 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.


Start
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Finish
Hoi An, Vietnam
Country
Vietnam
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer
Code
TVSS
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

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.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2018 to 31 December 2018. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

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.
Meals Included
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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ho Chi Minh City - War Remnants Museum
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi Tunnels
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Dalat - Bao Dai Palace
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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. 
Accommodation
  • Homestay (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
As the next two days will involve a lot of hiking, your main luggage will stay in the bus, which will drive ahead to Buon Triet. You will be able to access your luggage after your hike tomorrow night. Before your departure this morning you will need to pack a back pack with clothes, a water bottle, and toiletries for the next 2 days. It's a good idea to pack lightly as you'll need to carry your own bag. Ensure you have warm layers, a hat, head torch, waterproof jacket and good walking shoes/boots.

Your long house accommodation is basic as it is traditional style of accommodation elevated on stilts with a traditional step ladder at the entrance. You will be sleeping on foam mattresses on the floor in a communal area. You will also share the long house with our host family, who usually stay at one end of the house. Bedding and mosquito nets are provided. Bathroom facilities are communal, with one squat toilet approximately 20m (65ft) from the long house (this is where a head torch will
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.
Accommodation
  • Homestay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Buon Triet - Boat trip
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Your homestay tonight is similar to last night, sleeping on mattresses on the floor in a traditional long house on stilts. Bathroom facilities are shared with the family, including a cold shower and western toilet.
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. After some time to explore the sprawling Lak Lake, 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. Transfer to the airport this afternoon for a flight to Da Nang (approximately 1 hour). From here take a bus to lovely Hoi An.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Buon Me Thuot - Museum of Ethnology
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Shared day use hotel rooms are available Buon Ma Thout following your homestay nights. Rooms are shared between up to 6 members of the group.
This morning 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. The rest of the day is free – 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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hoi An - Ancient town walk and entrance ticket
Optional Activities
  • Hoi An - Hoi An Boat & Bike Urban Adventure - USD51
  • Hoi An - Street Food By Night Urban Adventure - USD28
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Your southern Vietnam adventure comes to an end today.
Optional Activities
  • Hoi An - Hoi An Walking & Cooking Class Urban Adventure - USD49
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

8 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners

Transport

Plane, Private vehicle

Accommodation

Homestay (2 nights), Hotel (6 nights)

Included activities

  • Ho Chi Minh City - War Remnants Museum
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi Tunnels
  • Dalat - Bao Dai Palace
  • Buon Triet - Boat trip
  • Buon Me Thuot - Museum of Ethnology
  • Hoi An - Ancient town walk and entrance ticket

Dates & availability

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There are currently no scheduled departures on our Ho Chi Minh City to Hoi An trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

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Important notes

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 5 and 6 (homestay) where you will be in shared accommodation with the group.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

Reviews

Our Ho Chi Minh City to Hoi An trips score an average of 4 out of 5 based on 1 review in the last year.

Southern Vietnam Adventure, April 2017

Ilene Brecher