Uncover the treasures along Vietnam’s coast on a small-ship adventure from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi

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. Peregrine 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 Peregrine small-ship voyage has all the makings of an unforgettable journey in South East Asia.


Start
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Finish
Hanoi, Vietnam
Country
Vietnam
Style
Comfort
Theme
Adventure Cruising
Code
TTMX
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 48

Why we love this trip

  • 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

  • Experience Nha Trang’s islands and bay the right way – in traditional bamboo basket boats, as well as snorkelling

  • Learn the fine art of rolling spring rolls at a cooking class in Hoi An, and partake in an onboard cooking demonstration and tasting with a top local chef

  • Spend time at the Vinh Moc tunnels and Khe Sanh Combat Base, both of which provide eye-opening insight into the America-Vietnam war

  • Venture to where relatively few tourists have gone before – the extraordinary Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, where caves as long as 30 kilometres were discovered only recently

  • Be enchanted by the dreamlike scenery of Ha Long Bay, Vietnam’s must-see natural wonder of limestone islands

Is this trip right for you?

  • This is a small ship adventure cruise, which means you’ll be sailing on a yacht with 30–50 other people. The boat is spacious and comfortable, but it focuses more on the destination than onboard activities. Instead of a pool, we have the sea itself. Instead of a casino, we’ve got board games and a good book. There’s also no formal dress code to worry about. Wi-Fi is available for a small charge.

  • Our ship moves under engine power, rather than sailing, so all cabins will experience light engine noise when the ship is moving (and occasionally when we drop anchor). It’s probably worth packing earplugs if you’re a light sleeper.

  • If you’re concerned about seasickness, there are seasickness tablets onboard. The ship will experience some roll and pitch in choppy conditions, however all of our ships come equipped with stabilisers to minimise movement. Most of our departures run in peak season, when the seas are calmer. Your crew will do all they can to minimise any discomfort.

  • There are no lifts (elevators) on-board our ships, so you’ll have to navigate a few steep flights of stairs. Handrails are always available.

Itinerary

Welcome to Vietnam. Meet your shipmates and leader at a central hotel, then transfer to your ship, the Panorama II, for boarding. Attend a welcome meeting and safety briefing onboard, then set sail at 5 pm. Enjoy a welcome dinner with fellow travellers and settle in for a night at sea.
Included Activities
  • Welcome Dinner
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Travel to Tra Cu for a cable car ride to the Linh Son Truong Pagoda. Here you'll find an impressive reclining Buddha statue. At 49 metres long and 11 metres tall, it's the largest reclining Buddha in Vietnam. Also make a visit to Fairy Spring, a lovely waterfall amid the sand dunes. Take a stroll along the dunes of Mui Ne, an amazing geological wonder – the kind not usually associated with Vietnam. Sand-sledding is a popular pastime here, but it's enough to simply gaze and snap photos of this enchanting landscape.
Included Activities
  • Fairy Spring Falls & Sand Dunes Visit at Mui Ne
  • Cable Car to Linh Son Truong Tho Pagoda
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Travelling by bus, embark on a road trip from Phan Rang to the bustling beachside town of Nha Trang. Pay a visit to the grand Po Klong Garai Cham Towers, an elaborate work of architecture dating back to around 1400 under King Jaya Simhavarman III. Head to Bau Truc, the oldest pottery village in South East Asia, and see some traditional pottery methods at work; this is a great place to buy a unique souvenir. Reboard the Panorama II at Nha Trang, where you'll stay overnight at port.
Included Activities
  • Po Klong Garai Cham Towers Visit
  • Bau Truc Village Visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Nha Trang has been referred to as the ‘Cannes of the Orient’, thanks to its cosmopolitan seaside atmosphere, but the star of the show is the beach and bay itself. Today while out on the bay you'll have the chance to ride in a traditional bamboo basket boat, an invention dating back to French colonial times among poor fisherman. As well as a visit to gorgeous Hon Mieu Island, enjoy a little snorkelling off Hon Mun Island, basking in clear blue waters among colourful coral and tropical fish. Sail overnight to Quy Nhon.
Included Activities
  • Nha Trang - Hon Mun Island swimming and snorkelling
  • Nha Trang - Boat trip
  • Nha Trang - Basket boat ride
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Visit the museum dedicated to Quang Trung, a revered emperor who ruled in the late 1700s and was a forerunner to the Vietnamese nationalist movement. After witnessing a Tay Son martial arts demonstration, visit the nearby Twin Cham Towers, some of the largest towers of their kind in South East Asia. Head to beautiful beaches where fisherman use traditional basket boats, then dine onboard the Panorama II while sailing north.
Included Activities
  • Quang Trung (Warlord Museum) Visit
  • Twin Cham Towers Visit
  • Snorkelling
  • Kayaking from the Panorama II
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Enjoy a relaxing day of cruising around the Dao Ly Son Island, a location just south of Danang that's known for garlic production as well as its attractive shoreline. Also visit some mainland coastal beaches today. There will be time for some swimming off the Panorama II, as well as kayaking, snorkelling and stand-up paddleboarding.
Included Activities
  • Snorkelling
  • Kayaking from the Panorama II
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Travel by coach to Hoi An. This was originally a Cham port town, but has been influenced by a myriad of traders from various cultures over the ages. With its charming low tiled houses and tranquil feel, this is a delightful town to walk around. Notice a distinctly Chinese appearance here, with pagodas and assembly halls scattered along the small lanes. Tour the town in small groups, and take a cooking class in which you'll learn to roll spring rolls (and of course enjoy some yourself). In the late afternoon, return to the boat for a cooking demonstration and tasting with a renowned local chef, followed by dinner. Your next destination is Danang.
Included Activities
  • Farewell Dinner
  • Hoi An City Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
With a free day in the seaside town of Danang, enjoy some swimming, snorkelling, kayaking or paddleboarding. Perhaps head ashore to explore the town, which is developing fast but not without some of its original charm intact. Perhaps visit the Ho Chi Minh Museum to read up on the revered revolutionary leader, or take a stroll to the impressive Dragon Bridge.
Included Activities
  • Welcome Dinner
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
As this is a combination trip, the makeup of the group may change today, with some passengers joining and others departing.
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 there 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.
Included Activities
  • Vegetarian lunch at Hue Pagoda
  • Guided Walking Tour of Hue
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
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.
Included Activities
  • Khe Sanh Combat Base visit
  • Vinh Moc Tunnel site visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
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.
Included Activities
  • Thien Duong Caves Visit
  • Phong Nha National Park Visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
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.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
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. Enjoy a seafood lunch and dinner onboard (non-seafood is also available). The candle-lit dinner on the deck of the boat (weather permitting) is a truly memorable experience, as the views at sunset are stunning. 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.
Optional Activities
  • Kayaking from the Panorama II - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Disembark after breakfast, then transfer by bus to Hanoi, arriving around midday. Your leaders can offer suggestions for lunch. In the afternoon, embark on a walking tour of Hanoi, which includes a visit to a traditional water puppet show. Your host Liem invites you into his home, a small-scale theatre that continues a long running family tradition passed down from generation to generation. Witness not only the show itself but gain a behind-the-scenes insight into how the puppets are made and animated. To finish the day, farewell fellow travellers over a final dinner out on the town, before retiring to a local hotel.
Included Activities
  • Farewell Dinner
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Those feeling active can rise early for an optional leader-led walking tour this morning. This includes 'laughing yoga', tai chi, and other lakeside activities enjoyed by Hanoi's local population. The trip comes to an end after breakfast at the hotel.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

14 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 14 dinners

Transport

Small cruise ship, zodiac, bus

Accommodation

Small ship cruise 7 nights

Included activities

  • Welcome Dinner
  • Fairy Spring Falls & Sand Dunes Visit at Mui Ne
  • Cable Car to Linh Son Truong Tho Pagoda
  • Po Klong Garai Cham Towers Visit
  • Bau Truc Village Visit
  • Nha Trang - Hon Mun Island swimming and snorkelling
  • Nha Trang - Boat trip
  • Nha Trang - Basket boat ride
  • Quang Trung (Warlord Museum) Visit
  • Twin Cham Towers Visit
  • Snorkelling
  • Kayaking from the Panorama II
  • Farewell Dinner
  • Hoi An City Tour
  • Vegetarian lunch at Hue Pagoda
  • Guided Walking Tour of Hue
  • Khe Sanh Combat Base visit
  • Vinh Moc Tunnel site visit
  • Thien Duong Caves Visit
  • Phong Nha National Park Visit

Dates & availability

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Important notes

BOOKING CONDITIONS
Adventure Cruising trips have a deposit of A$600 per person (different amounts apply in other currencies) and the balance is due 90 days before departure.
If a booking is cancelled 90 days or more before departure - the cancellation fee is the full loss of the deposit paid.
If a booking is cancelled between 89 and 31 days before departure - the cancellation fee is 50% of the total booking cost, or the deposit, whichever is greater.
if a booking is cancelled 30 days or less prior to departure - the cancellation fee is 100% of the total price of the voyage.
Other fees may apply for air tickets and other arrangements booked in conjunction with a voyage.

SINGLE TRAVELLERS
Rooming on this trip is twin-share. Single travellers will share a Twin room with another traveller of the same gender. If you’d prefer not to share, a single cabin supplement is available at an additional charge.
Please note, it is not possible to share with a stranger in any double cabin category (as bedding in these cabins is one double bed).

This trip is made up of 2 shorter itineraries. Danang is the start/end point for the shorter trips so there will be some changing over of both passengers, and possibly tour leaders in Danang.

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.