Get the ultimate South East Asian experience

Prepare for an epic adventure loaded with ancient sights and natural beauty as you travel from the hustle of Bangkok to the bustle of Hanoi, with Lonely Planet and Intrepid. In Cambodia, call into the ancient temples at Angkor, take on beguiling Phnom Penh and get a taste of Khmer hospitality with a village homestay in Chambok. Then veer into Vietnam to trace its coastline from south to north, visiting the chaotic Ho Chi Minh City all the way up to old-world Hanoi, with historic Hoi An and Hue at its centre. Along the way, revel in the sheer beauty of the landscape, the friendliness of the locals and the social organisations that are providing brighter futures for this region. Oh, and did we mention the food? To die for.


Start
Bangkok, Thailand
Finish
Hanoi, Vietnam
Destinations
Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam
Style
Basix
Theme
Lonely Planet Experience
Code
TKRNC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

A powerful partnership

Lonely Planet and Intrepid Travel share the same philosophy: we help curious people explore the world.

Why you'll love this trip

  • Enjoy the guidance of a local expert as you temple-hop around the dazzling Angkor complex – one of South East Asia's premier sites.

  • Confront the sobering but important Khmer history in Phnom Penh, with included visits to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S21) and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek.

  • Experience local life during homestays in the Mekong Delta and Da Bac. Get to know local families, participate in their activities and enjoy a homestyle meal.

  • Hoi An is another idyllic pocket of Vietnam that's best experienced from the seat of a bike. Take a guided bicycle tour through the rolling countryside and see local life pass you by.

  • Kayak around the limestone karsts and shimmering waters of Lan Ha Bay and help out the locals’ environmental efforts along the way.

Is this trip right for you?

  • Lots of time allocated for optional activities means freedom and flexibility, but it does require a level of independence. Only are few meals are included, so mostly you'll find your own (with plenty of suggestions from your leader of course) – a great way to mingle with locals and discover unexpected delights!

  • This trip involves a lot of public transport and some long days of driving, so some patience will go a long way towards your enjoyment here. Sit back, relax, watch the scenery go by, and embrace travelling like a local. You’ll cover a lot of distance on this trip, including on overnight trains. Accommodation and amenities are shared and basic, but the experience of rubbing shoulders with the locals makes it all worthwhile. For more about what this experience is like, see our blog post here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/what-to-expect-on-an-overnight.

  • You'll be spending two nights with local families on this trip. While the accommodation is shared and basic, this is a great opportunity to connect with the local people, and enjoy some delicious home-cooked meals! Read more about the experiences here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/community-based-tourism-vietnam/

  • The stories shared at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S21) and Killing Fields of Choeung Ek are confronting and many travellers will find them upsetting. This is an important part of Cambodia's recent history that we feel is important to share, however if you would prefer not to join in these options your leader will be able to suggest alternative activities for the day.

  • Your visit to Hoi An includes a bicycle tour of the surrounding countryside. Although the ride isn’t strenuous, you will need a basic level of fitness to take part.

  • There is an included hike of up to 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) in the countryside in Da Bac. Good walking shoes are recommended. While this hike is in the capabilities of most travellers, please let your booking agent know if you have any concerns. Should you wish to skip the 10-kilometre (6.2 mile) trek, a taxi can be arranged locally for approximately USD 70.

  • You will visit a number of temples on this trip, and this requires a level of modesty. Be sure to bring clothes that cover the arms and pants or skirts that go past the knees. A light scarf is also a good idea for covering shoulders and arms when it’s hot.

Itinerary

Sa-wat-dee! Welcome to Bangkok. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm where you will meet your group leader and fellow travellers. If you arrive early, you could take a riverboat to Chinatown and explore the crowded streets, uncover the magnificent Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, wander down the tourist mecca of Khao San Road, or indulge in a Thai massage. There is plenty to keep you occupied in this exciting city. After your briefing, why not head out with the group to try some of Bangkok’s famed street food – pad thai anyone?
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Bangkok - Grand Palace - THB500
  • Bangkok - Wat Pho - THB200
  • Bangkok - Thai Massage - THB250
  • Bangkok - Jim Thompson's House - THB150
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.
Prepare for a long day of travel as you cross Thailand and enter Cambodia. You’ll want to load up on snacks and reading material for the 10-hour private minibus ride to Siem Reap. This travel time includes time spent at the border crossings and a stop for lunch, and don’t worry, your leader is on-hand to assist with the border procedures. Keep in mind, if you are planning on getting your visa at the border, you will need cash in US dollars and a passport photo. On arrival, enjoy a free evening to explore this small but bustling town. You may want to head to Pub Street to grab a bite to eat and sample the city’s nightlife, otherwise, rest up in preparation for tomorrow’s visit to Angkor Wat.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you'll visit the incredible Angkor complex with your guide. The ruins are scattered over an area of some 160 square kilometres – the biggest religious monument in the world. Thankfully, the main cluster of temples is close to Siem Reap, so you'll have plenty of time to fully appreciate the great archaeological sites like Angkor Wat – the astounding main temple, Bayon – a marvel of many sculpted decorations, and Ta Prohm – a series of smaller temples covered in tree roots and jungle. As visually stunning as these sites are, your guide will add to your experience by bringing the ancient history to life with their extensive knowledge of the site.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Siem Reap - One day Angkor Pass
  • Siem Reap - Angkor Temples Guided Tour
Optional Activities
  • Siem Reap - Three day Angkor Pass - USD62
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
A single-day Angkor Pass is included on this tour. If you'd like to return to Angkor outside of your included visit today, you can buy a longer pass. Just ask your leader in advance.
Enjoy a free day to explore Siem Reap and its surrounds. If you feel like some adventure, you can take the optional Angkor zip-line course, which gives you a thrill-seeking, bird’s-eye view of the rainforest. Other options here include a visit to the sobering Landmine Museum – it's located a little further afield but is well worth the journey. There is also the ‘Siem Reap Street Food by Night’ Urban Adventure, a three-hour tour which allows you to taste the many flavours of the city and feel the buzz of the local markets. If you decided to purchase a longer Angkor Pass, then you might opt to head back to visit more of the incredible temples within the complex, or get up early and experience an unforgettable sunrise at Angkor Wat.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Siem Reap - Angkor Zipline Silver Tour - USD129
  • Siem Reap - Landmine Museum - USD5
  • Siem Reap - Full day remork transport to Angkor complex - USD20
  • Siem Reap - Urban Adventure Cambodian Cook-out - USD52
  • Siem Reap - Rehash Trash Recycling Workshop - USD8
  • Siem Reap - Urban Adventures Tonle Sap Secrets - USD45
  • Siem Reap - Urban Adventure Street Food by Night - USD48
  • Siem Reap - Angkor Zipline Gold Tour - USD99
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning, travel by public bus to Kampong Cham (approximately 5 hours). This peaceful town was once an important trading hub and is now a great example of small-town Cambodia. Once arrived, you’ve got the afternoon at leisure, perhaps to visit the serene 11th-century Wat Nokor. You can also hire a bicycle to explore the rural island of Koh Paen, which is linked to Kampong Cham by an elaborate bamboo bridge – accessible only in the dry season, with ferry transfers when it’s wet. The locals here make their living fishing and growing tobacco and sesame, so it's also a good place to go for a closer look at some of Cambodia's cottage industries. Further out of town are the twin mountain temples of Phnom Pros and Phnom Srei too. So many choices!
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Kampong Cham - Wat Nokor - USD1
  • Kampong Cham - Bicycle hire - USD2
  • Kampong Cham - Phnom Pros and Phnom Srei - USD10
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Travel by private vehicle (approximately 5 hours) into rural Cambodia to the region of Kampong Speu and the village of Chambok. A member of the Chambok community will take you on a village walk and be happy to chat about their community’s history, lifestyle and local ecotourism projects. Meet the families your group will spend the night with and settle into your homestay accommodation. You may like to trek to a stunning waterfall this afternoon, it’s a 60–90-minute hike and dependent on the weather, but it’s definitely worth it. In the evening, head to the community centre to enjoy a local Khmer dinner prepared by people from the community. You'll also be treated to a traditional dance performance.
Accommodation
  • Homestay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Chambok - Traditional dancing
  • Chambok - Homestay and activities
Optional Activities
  • Chambok - Waterfall hike - USD3
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Special Information
We stay in one room in multi-share homestay accommodation. Depending on the group size, we may use two homes that are located close to each other. There will be a thin mattress on the floor, pillow, mosquito net and towel for each traveller. Bathroom facilities will be shared and will often consist of a squat toilet and a cold water washing area.
Jump on a private bus bound for Kampot (approximately 3 hours) – one of Cambodia's most attractive old towns. Renowned for its pepper, Kampot supplied most French restaurants with this vital spice for many years during colonial rule. Today, the region is well-known for its plantations of durian – a spiky, pungent fruit that has its lovers, and haters! In your free time this afternoon, you might choose to stroll along the riverside and observe the French colonial architecture, or have a cup of coffee on the veranda of one of the riverside restaurants and admire the view of Bokor Mountain Range. Today’s an ideal time to pull out your Lonely Planet app for some more travel inspiration around Kampot.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Kampot - Sunset cruise - USD30
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Enjoy a free day in this chilled-out town. For a unique photo opportunity, head to the roundabout in the centre of the town, where a giant durian statue sits smack in the middle and perhaps browse for goodies at the covered market. The nearby countryside is also a delight to explore – among fields of Kampot pepper and rice, there’s also a salt field and a limestone cave with a small seventh-century brick temple inside called Phnom Chhnork. Otherwise, why not have a relaxing day and enjoy one of the highly recommended traditional massages.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Leave Kampot in your dust and travel by private vehicle to the capital city of Phnom Penh (approximately 4 hours). Cambodia's capital is set on a major junction of the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers and boasts some fine examples of French-inspired architecture. Perhaps spend your free afternoon visiting the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda. Wat Phnom, shrouded in myth, is equally worth a visit, as is the National Museum with its excellent Khmer collection. Cyclo tours around the city are a great alternative to walking and generally include the art deco Psar Thmei (Central Market), US Embassy, Wat Phnom, Mekong riverfront, Independence Monument and Royal Palace.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Phnom Penh - Royal Palace & Silver Pagoda - USD10
  • Phnom Penh - Wat Phnom - USD2
  • Phnom Penh - National Museum - USD10
  • Phnom Penh - Cyclo tour - USD4
  • Phnom Penh - Urban Adventure Mekong Sunset - USD65
  • Phnom Penh - Urban Adventure Phnom Penh Street Food by Night - USD47
  • Phnom Penh - Futures Factory cocktail class - USD20
  • Phnom Penh - Khmer massage - USD8
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about Cambodia's tragic past on a guided tour of Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S21) and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek – two sites that tell the story of the tragic legacy of the Khmer Rouge. After this, the afternoon is free for you to explore further. If you're looking to relax, the Seeing Hands massage parlours are some of the best in the city, and all visits support the staff who have visual impairments. Their years of expertise may be just what you need today after a busy couple of days.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Phnom Penh - Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S21)
  • Phnom Penh - Killing Fields of Choeung Ek
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
The stories and history shared at the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek and Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S21) are confronting and many travellers will find them upsetting. This is an important part of Cambodia’s recent history that we feel is important for travellers to know. If you would prefer not to join these activities your group leader can recommend some optional alternatives.
Travel by local bus from Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City (approximately 10 hours including border crossings and lunch). Your leader will again assist you with border crossing procedures. Get out and discover Ho Chi Minh City's blend of old and new, east and west, when you arrive. Be sure to sample a baguette or some of the excellent coffee on offer – both markers of the city's strong French influence.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Good morning from Ho Chi Minh City! The day is yours to do as you please, so feel free to wander around the bustling Ben Thanh markets, or book yourself in to head out to the historic Cu Chi Tunnels – a series of tiny underground walkways used by the Viet Cong. Better yet, why not book into an Urban Adventure, like Cyclos & Markets, where you’ll check out some food and flower markets and pass by the city’s highlights from the seat of a cyclo. Urban Adventures also offers a Cu Chi Experience too, so visit urbanadventures.com/destination/ho-chi-minh-city-tours for more info. Keep in mind that there’s another group meeting scheduled for tonight, usually around 6 pm, where you’ll meet you a new and improved travel crew for the next stage of your South East Asian adventure.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi Tunnel Experience Urban Adventure - USD43
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Ho Chi Minh Discovery Urban Adventure - USD53
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
As this is a combination trip, the travellers in your group and your group leader are likely to change today. There will be a welcome meeting tonight to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and meet travellers joining you. It’s important that you attend the meeting as your new leader will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.

Please note that today, you may be required to move to a different hotel in Ho Chi Minh City to begin the next section of your combination trip. Your leader will let you know if this is the case and will help with the transfer.
This morning, head away from the city and make your way to the province of Ben Tre, where you’ll get on a boat to tour the canals of the Mekong Delta. This fertile area is famous for its abundance of fruit, flower and rice crops, and is known as the ‘rice bowl’ of Vietnam. During your boat ride you’ll visit some cottage industries along the river before heading to your guesthouse. Staying in simple local accommodation close to the delta, hosted by a Vietnamese family, will be one of the highlights of your trip, giving you a taste of community life as well as the chance to enjoy a traditional home-cooked meal.
Accommodation
  • Homestay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mekong Delta - Boat cruise and homestay
Meals Included
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Facilities at the guesthouse are basic and can vary as we stay with several different families. We sleep on camp beds in a communal room for all members of the group. Bedding and mosquito nets are provided. Your guesthouse will be located near the Mekong, but may not be on the banks of the river itself.
Rising early to the sounds of the river coming alive, enjoy a simple breakfast before boarding the boat back down the delta and catching a bus back to Ho Chi Minh City. Enjoy some free time in Ho Chi Minh City this afternoon, perhaps with a visit to the War Remnants Museum or Reunification Palace. If you haven’t already, head to Ben Thanh Market for some delicious street food, colourful shopping and even more colourful characters. This evening, board an overnight train bound for Danang. Trains are a common form of transport for the Vietnamese, so sit back and relax into this local experience.
Accommodation
  • Overnight sleeper train (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Reunification Palace - VND40000
  • Ho Chi Minh City - War Remnants Museum - VND40000
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
There are shared day use hotel rooms available this afternoon if you would like to freshen up before the overnight train. There is one room provided between up to six members of the group. Single supplements do not apply to day use rooms.

Sleeper trains typically have four or six berth compartments with bench seats that convert into sleeping bunks. A sheet, pillow and blanket are provided, although some travellers prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. Depending on the configuration of the group, you may have to share with people of different genders or passengers who aren’t part of the group. Your leader will coordinate and give further information on the trip. Most trains have a dining carriage serving simple food, but we recommend that you stock up on snacks and drinks before departure.
Arrive in Danang by train and travel by minibus for approximately 1 hour to Hoi An. Hoi An was recently declared a World Heritage town and is being beautifully restored. It was a major trading port with the west from the 17th century. Today, parts of Hoi An look exactly as they did more than a century ago. Your leader will take you on a sightseeing walk through the Old Town and visit some of the city's major attractions. A sightseeing pass is included in your tour so you can visit a selection of the major sights. Hoi An is also a shopping mecca, so head down to the markets and street stalls to browse paintings, woodwork, ceramics and lanterns. It’s also famous for its tailors who can make beautiful items to order, and with almost three full days here you have the chance to have some unique pieces whipped up.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hoi An - Old Town walking tour
Optional Activities
  • Hoi An - Food Adventure Urban Adventure - USD28
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Wake up for a free morning to do as you please. It’s a great opportunity to take a trip out to the My Son temples – a World Heritage-listed site constructed between the 4th and 14th centuries that reflects the rich cultural traditions of the Cham civilisation. In the afternoon, swap walking for cycling with a bike ride through the countryside near Hoi An. There's no better way to explore the peaceful area than by bike. You’ll see places few tourists get the chance to see among the green rice paddies and small creeks, which will give you a true insight into rural life in Vietnam.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hoi An - Countryside bicycle hire
Optional Activities
  • Hoi An - My Son Cham tour (entrance fee, guide and transport included) - USD35
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
As bicycle helmets aren't a legal requirement in Vietnam, it's possible that helmets won't be available for today's included activity. If you would like to be guaranteed of a helmet, we recommend you bring one with you. We are working with our local operators to ensure helmets are available in the future.
You’ve got another day to explore this historic haven. Perhaps book in your final tailoring fitting this morning to make sure the threads you’re getting made fit like a glove, or hire a bike for a lazy ride out to the South China Sea to laze on An Bang or Cua Dai beach. Hoi An is also known for its great food, so you could book yourself in to a cooking class to take some culinary secrets away with you. Most tours include a trip to the local food markets, and some take you on a short boat journey along the Thu Bon River. Best of all, it’s up to you, so just relax and let your mind do the wandering.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Hoi An - Hoi An Boat & Bike with Sunset BBQ Urban Adventure - USD51
  • Hoi An - Hoi An Walking & Cooking Class Urban Adventure - USD49
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Bid farewell to Hoi An this morning and make your way to Hue. The drive in a private vehicle will take around 5 hours. You’ll be travelling on the incredible Hai Van Pass, through lush mountains and past scenic lookouts, and there’ll be some good places for a photo stop. Once in Hue, you’ll have a free afternoon to explore. Hue was once Vietnam’s imperial capital and has a curious mix of bustling streets and tranquil enclaves. Perhaps visit the Dong Ba Market, which sells everything imaginable and is a great place to spend some time. It’s important to know that Hue is renowned for its cuisine, with some delicious dishes originating from this region, including bun bo hue (Hue’s delicious take on pho), and banh khoai (a filled turmeric crepe). Time to give your tastebuds a workout.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Hue - Hue Royal Street Eats by Cyclo Urban Adventure - USD39
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Enjoy a free day in Hue. Perhaps visit the Imperial Citadel which includes the Forbidden Purple City that was almost totally destroyed during the Vietnam War. The gaping holes left by bombs give you an idea of how much destruction occurred in this country. Another optional activity is a dragon boat cruise along the Perfume River and then a visit to Thien Mu Pagoda – the unofficial symbol of Hue. Here you’ll see an active Buddhist monastery dating back to 1601 and a car belonging to a monk who set himself alight in protest against the treatment of Buddhists. You may also like to visit one of the royal tombs, that of Emperor Tu Duc, with its central lake set amid a grove of frangipani and pine trees. This evening, take another overnight train bound for Hanoi. The journey will take approximately 12 hours.
Accommodation
  • Overnight sleeper train (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Hue - Imperial Citadel - VND150000
  • Hue - Highlights & back streets by motorbike (lunch included) - VND540000
  • Hue - Thien Mu Pagoda - Free
  • Hue - Emperor Tu Duc's Tomb - VND105000
  • VUR - Tam Giang Lagoon & Beach Relax Urban Adventure - USD71
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Arrive in Hanoi at about 5 am and transfer to your hotel. Once you’ve dropped off your bags and freshened up, embark on a walking tour of Vietnam’s charming capital. Explore the 36 streets of Hanoi’s Old Quarter – locally known as this because of each street originally selling a specific type of product. Continue on to the Dong Xuan Market and Hoan Kiem Lake, making sure you check out the unique architecture along the way. Hanoi has a French provincial feel remaining from its colonial times, but it also has a Buddhist influence and striking modern buildings. The rest of the day is yours to explore Hanoi as you please. In the evening, why not get your group together and head out to a bustling night market for some local fare. Sitting on plastic stools and eating on the roadside is a rite of passage in Vietnam.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hanoi - Old Quarter Walking Tour
Optional Activities
  • Hanoi - Army Museum - VND20000
  • Hanoi - Women's Museum - VND30000
  • Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh Complex: Ho Chi Minh, Stilt House and Museum - VND80000
  • Hanoi - Fine Arts Museum - VND30000
  • Hanoi - Hanoi Street Food By Night Urban Adventure - USD31
  • Hanoi - Temple of Literature - VND30000
  • Hanoi - Hoa Lo 'Hanoi Hilton' Prison - VND30000
  • Hanoi - Museum of Ethnology - VND40000
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Day use rooms are provided on arrival into Hanoi.
Leave Hanoi after breakfast around 8 am and make the drive to Sung Village (approximately 4 hours). There are around 70 families living at Sung Village and the majority are Dzao ‘Tien’ people. Farming and forest plantations are their main source of income. Enjoy lunch at your homestay then take an introductory walk around the village. After getting to know the village better, take a short trek (approximately two kilometres) to the alluring Sung Cave and visit a 100-year-old tea plantation. The trek has some steep and slippery sections so make sure you’ve packed suitable footwear for this activity. After a local handicraft workshop, return to your homestay accommodation for a nice hot shower and a delicious dinner.
Accommodation
  • Homestay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Da Bac - Homestay and activities
  • Da Bac - Sung Cave hike
Meals Included
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Tonight's homestay is shared accommodation, usually with the whole group in a single room together. There are separate beds with clean linen, blankets and mosquito nets provided.

Depending on weather, availability and number of visitors to this region, we may stay overnight at an alternative village. If we do change the village on your departure, your leader will advise you as soon as possible. Trek length and activities may vary, depending on which village you’re staying in. Should this region be completely inaccessible due to weather conditions, we will put an alternative itinerary in place, visiting Mai Chau.
This morning, take the opportunity to encounter more of the Vietnamese highlands on a ten-kilometre (6.2 mi) trek from Sung Village to Da Bia. The first eight kilometres of the trek is on mostly flat ground along well-worn buffalo tracks. The final two kilometres gradually incline and for a period of approximately 300 metres there are some steps to climb, but the walk will be at a steady and relaxed pace. Keep an eye out for the monumental stone at the peak of Da Bia Mountain during the hike while you walk through local villages, meeting people from the ethnic Muong tribe. Stop for lunch at Da Bia before enjoying a scenic 1.5-hour boat cruise on Hoa Binh hydropower reservoir. Arrive at Thung Nai then board a bus transfer to Hanoi (approximately 2 hours), arriving at around 6 pm. This evening is free for you to explore this delightful city. Why not relax with a bia hoi (freshly brewed draught beer) at one of the microbars in the Old Quarter?
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Da Bac - Sung village to Da Bia hike
  • Da Bac - Hoa Binh Reservoir cruise
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
Comfortable supportive footwear (running shoes) will be suitable for the trek, but you can bring hiking boots if you prefer. The path can be quite slippery if there has been recent rain – your homestay hosts can provide bamboo trekking poles on request. Please ensure you have a 1.5 litre water bottle with you for the trek; we will fill bottles at Sung Village and there are no refill points along the way until we have concluded the trek.

Should you wish to skip the ten-kilometre (6.2 mi) trek, a taxi can be arranged locally for approximately USD 70.
Get up early for the 7.30 am bus, stop for a quick break, then jump on the ferry. This morning of travel will deliver you to beautiful Cat Ba Island before midday. There's no time to waste, so begin exploring the stunning waters of Lan Ha Bay around Cat Ba. Located in the greater Halong Bay area, Lan Ha Bay is one of Vietnam’s most scenic places, where limestone islands and caves rise from the emerald waters. You’ll have a free afternoon to explore at your own pace, so perhaps get active on a hike, or just enjoy a dip at one of the beaches. Have a relaxing evening on Cat Ba Island.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning, head out on the water from Cat Ba and continue exploring the limestone karst scenery. Take a boat around Lan Ha Bay with an included lunch while you cruise, then get up close and personal with this striking landscape by kayak. There’s the option to have a net on the side of your kayak and help out the locals’ clean-up efforts. This initiative hopes to eliminate the rising amounts of plastic waste in the bay. Lan Ha and Halong Bay are on the bucket list of many travellers, and with two days to discover, you’ll get to tick it off yours.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cat Ba Island - Kayaking
  • Cat Ba Island - Boat trip on Lan Ha Bay
Meals Included
  • Lunch
Rise and shine! Perhaps start your morning with a refreshing swim or a Vietnamese coffee (or both). Make sure you soak up as much sun and sand as possible, because this afternoon it's back to Hanoi by ferry and bus. Tonight you may want head out for an optional dinner with your fellow travellers, sharing some memories and laughs over a local meal and beer.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
There are no activities planned for today and you’re able to depart the accommodation at any time after check-out. With so much to see and do in Hanoi, we recommend that you spend an extra day or two here, and we’ll be happy to organise additional accommodation (subject to availability). Urban Adventures has some great experiences in and around Hanoi, including Citadels, Karsts & Cycle, which is a great activity to visit the ancient citadel of Hoa Lu and take a rowboat through the magnificent caves of Trang An. Head to urbanadventures.com/destination/hanoi-tours for more information.
Optional Activities
  • Hanoi - Citadels, Karsts & Cycle Urban Adventure - USD88
  • Hanoi - Village Discovery by Bike Urban Adventure - USD33
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This trip is a Lonely Planet Experience
Our Lonely Planet Experiences include plenty of free time so you can do the things that suit your budget and interests. Between your Intrepid Travel leader’s local knowledge and Lonely Planet’s trusted travel tips and recommendations, your trip will be more epic than ever.

Meals

4 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 3 dinners

Transport

Boat, Overnight sleeper train, Private minibus, Taxi

Accommodation

Guesthouse (4 nights), Homestay (2 nights), Hotel (17 nights), Overnight sleeper train (2 nights)

Included activities

  • Siem Reap - One day Angkor Pass
  • Siem Reap - Angkor Temples Guided Tour
  • Chambok - Traditional dancing
  • Chambok - Homestay and activities
  • Phnom Penh - Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S21)
  • Phnom Penh - Killing Fields of Choeung Ek
  • Mekong Delta - Boat cruise and homestay
  • Hoi An - Old Town walking tour
  • Hoi An - Countryside bicycle hire
  • Hanoi - Old Quarter Walking Tour
  • Da Bac - Homestay and activities
  • Da Bac - Sung Cave hike
  • Da Bac - Sung village to Da Bia hike
  • Da Bac - Hoa Binh Reservoir cruise
  • Cat Ba Island - Kayaking
  • Cat Ba Island - Boat trip on Lan Ha Bay

Lonely Planet extras

  • Free access to the Lonely Planet mobile app for one year
  • 25% discount on all items in the Lonely Planet Shop

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. Please provide your full name exactly as per passport at the time of booking (including any middle names listed on your passport) for 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 is available on this trip, subject to availability. Please contact your sales agent if you would like to book this. Please note the single supplement excludes Days 6, 13 & 21 (homestays) and Days 14 & 19 (overnight trains) where you will be in shared accommodation. Day use rooms are also excluded.

Essential trip information

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