Vietnam Adventure Tour: Scuba Diving, Cycling & More

A 13 day trip to Vietnam 
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Adventure makes the heart grow fonder on this 13-day tour of Vietnam. Discover the beauty of the countryside from the hill tribe villages to the cultural markets. Explore the deep caves in the limestone islands of Ha Long Bay. You can venture deep beneath the sea to swim with exotic fish and cruise along the Cai River to witness the local fisherman. From mountain bikes to kayaks, scuba diving to an overnight cruise, you will find the thrill of adventure and the allure of luxury. 

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Most tours are customized for private travel.

General Information

Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Hanoi, Sapa, Ha Long Bay, Nha Trang

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: A Relaxing Start

Hanoi is a cosmopolitan city filled with charm and tradition. You arrive at the airport and are met by your private transfer who escorts you to your luxurious accommodation. The city is filled with both modern and ancient culture. You find neighborhoods, such as the Old Quarter, that date back as far as a millennium ago. The wealth of temples and ancient citadels, theaters, and lakes brings the city’s nature and tradition, culture and modernity together. In the streets of the Old Quarter you find scooters and bicycles, cars and pedestrians. Local sidewalk vendors line the pathways. They have mounds of vivacious oranges and bananas to sell. Others offer local food that fills the air with the scent of fresh grilled fish. In the evening you can try the classic Vietnamese cuisine at Club Opera located in a retro-French mansion. You can taste the fusion of traditional flavors with newer techniques, including hot pot specials and dragon cake pancakes.

What’s Included: transfer, accommodation

Day 2: The Excitement of the Past

The morning brings back the classic energy of the city streets. Breakfast is filled with the delightful aroma of Vietnamese coffee and sweet coconut milk pancakes. The mesmerizing yellow of mango is prevalent as well. Your guide meets you at your hotel and is eager to show you the much-anticipated beauty of the city. The Temple of Literature was constructed in the 11th century and is home to Vietnam’s first university. The buildings’ style is unique in that it is one of the few remaining prime examples of traditional Vietnamese architecture.

The pagodas, towers, and temples are based upon the unifying principal of the universe and nature. The complex is considered a temple for the studious, filled with ancient and modern texts. When you walk through the Second Courtyard you are surrounded by quiet, lush gardens. The paved pathway leads you through the Constellation of Literature Pavilion that dates back to the early 19th century. The red pavilion is adorned by two circular windows and an elaborate, sloping roof. The graceful design adds to the unique ambiance of the complex.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, tour, accommodation

Day 3: The Land of Karsts

After breakfast your private transfer will escort you to Ha Long Bay. The bay is situated on the South China Sea and is one of the most captivating landscapes in the world. You can find over 1,600 limestone islets rising out of emerald water. The karsts are rocky titans that shine gray and white against the sunlight. Climb aboard your traditional Chinese Junk and make your way out to sea. The sails are cast and are creased like traditional paper fans.

The breeze brings the scent of salty and sweet sea. Set out on a kayak where you can have a deeper exploration of the surrounding rocky outcrops. The water is cool and almost glassy. You follow your guide into limestone archways and shallow caves. The rock is cold and smooth on your fingers. The sky is clear and blue. In the evening the ship emanates the aroma of fresh grilled prawns and lemon zest as stars overtake the night sky.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, transfer, tour, accommodation

Day 4: A Treasured Morning Sunrise

The dawn stretches over the horizon. The deep orange and rich reds blend together. They shift to a light purple and eventually bring the bright blue morning. Enjoy the comforting flavor of freshly brewed Vietnamese coffee in the crisp air of daybreak. Soon you can step off of the ship and enjoy a venture deep into the famous hidden caves of Vietnam. You stretch through the thick, bright green forest along the undulating terrain. You reach the narrow entrance of the Thien Cung Cave located on Van Canh Island. The grotto quickly opens to a space that is over 390 feet in length. The stalagmites rise like columns. The stone is smooth and cold. You can hear birds chirping. Their calls echo against the rock walls. The grandeur of the cave is in its magnificent size and stunning color. In the afternoon you return to Hanoi to catch your overnight train to Sapa, a town situated on the northern border shared with China.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, transfer, tour, accommodation

Day 5: The Rush of the Mountainside

You arrive in Sapa in the early morning. The mist drapes across the lowlands and looks like a simmering wave. The foothills rise out of the clouds and tower into the open post-dawn sky. You can see the towering peak of Fan Si Pan that reaches over 10,300 feet above sea level. Sapa was once a significant town for French military troops and missionary groups. Saturday is the most energetic day to visit the Sapa Market. Local hill-tribe villagers from the surrounding countryside come to both buy and sell their wares. It is an eclectic array of color and culture.

Red Dao wear their traditional red head scarves and turbans. Black H’mong are decorated in black blouses with intricately embroidered collars and sleeves. You find everything from textiles to produce on display. The bundles of chilies look more vivacious than you have ever seen. They also look incredibly spicy. You can even find women selling rambutan, also known as a lychee. In the evening you can settle into town and enjoy a comforting hot chocolate at Baguette and Chocolat, a villa that was converted into a café.  

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, transfer, accommodation

Day 6: A Mountainside Worth Exploring

Today the mountainside is calling and there is no reason to ignore its luster. After breakfast you will follow your guide through the hillsides on a two-day mountain bike excursion. The countryside beyond Sapa is a marvelous display of nature’s majesty made of the eastern reaches of the Himalayas. The morning mist has dissipated. The sunshine brings a fabulous glow over the emerald mountains. The wind brushes against your cheeks as you follow your guide into the valley. The hillsides are terraced with paddy fields and bring you the quintessential image of the Vietnamese countryside.

The tiers cover rounded hills and climb down into the valley. You come to a local Black H’mong village and find the people to be shy at first. The children are the first to open up. They grab your hand and want to take you through the village. The group is named for the colors that they wear, in this case predominantly black clothing. Chickens cluck beneath the stilted homes. Water buffalo pull carts that are filled with the local crops. You watch the women weave detailed textiles that combine large spaces of black fringe with geometric shapes and color.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, tour, accommodation

Day 7: Once More Around the Mountains

Today the mist passes you over and brings the sunlight bright and early. The chickens are active and running around the village streets. After breakfast you hop back on your bicycle and follow your guide back towards Sapa. The villages you find in the mountains are all tremendously different even though they aren’t necessarily located far apart. The Red Dao villagers are known for their colorful clothing, vibrant red headwear, and sensational belts. Their village is settled up and down the hillside and the villagers maintain the paddy fields along terraces. You can find Thac Bac Waterfall nearby. The water careens down from over 300 foot high rocky and mossy terrain. The cool mist sprays from the whitewater. It is a display of nature’s power and grace. In the evening you will step onto your overnight train to Hanoi and leave the countryside behind. 

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, transfer, accommodation

Day 8: A Different Type of Village

Soon you will arrive by air to the international airport at Cam Rang and continue onward to Nha Trang. The beachside community is bordered by the pristine South China Sea and lavish tropical jungle. Your private guide takes you along the Cai River. The traditional shallow skiff cruises up river along bamboo forest and large, luscious leaves. Your drivers wear traditional conical hats and loose fitting pants. Local villagers cast nets into the water to catch a variety of fish. The scent of incense emanates from the local homes. Ancestor worship is common and an important part of everyday life. You can see the small wisp of smoke rising from the small family altar when you visit a local villager’s home. In the afternoon you will enjoy a private mineral mud bath before settling into Nha Trang and the beachside luxuries in the evening.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, transfer, accommodation

Day 9: The Gentle Sea

The morning pastels run over the horizon. You rise to the sounds of calm water rushing against the sand. Today you will venture out onto the South China Sea on a tour boat to experience a day cruising along the water. The water is the color of precious stones on the surface. Beneath the surface you have a clear view of the life beneath the tide. When the boat stops you jump in and feel the gentle ebb and flow of the sea. Put on your goggles and snorkel mask to watch the magical world on the ocean floor come to vibrant life.

The light is able to pierce the surface and shine on the iridescent fish. The fish swim in large schools that range in color from orange to yellow, black to red. You can find a starfish embracing the coral and letting the soft tide move it slowly along. The water is cool and comfortable all around you. The boat ride is jovial and lively. The sea sticks to your skin when you climb back onto the boat. The band starts to play and brings everyone aboard the ship closer together.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, accommodation

Day 10: Serious Celebrated Seclusion

The morning reaches another crescendo of vibrant shades of blue. After breakfast your private transfer escorts you to a secluded pier where you will meet the boat to Whale Island. The water along the private beach is transparent. The sand is a powdery gold. Coconut trees rise around the private huts and stretch back into the expanse of forest. Pink-necked parrots linger in the trees. Their fuchsia bills stand out in the green foliage. The island is a complete paradise, from the infinity pool that blends into the horizon to the unlimited underwater life that can be viewed by both snorkeling and scuba diving. In the evening you catch the aroma of garlic and simmering carrots. The fresh and delicate scents of dinner are never less than alluring.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, transfer, accommodation

Day 11: The Open Waterfront

The day is at your whim and pleasure. The sandy shore seems to encircle the entire island. Catamarans catch the breeze and sail on the clear water. A staff member could even take you out into the water and sail you around the island. The colorful cloth lifts over you. It ripples and flutters in the breeze. The wake mists into the air and brushes against your cheeks. You can see the island from all angles. Its various shades of green radiate against the empty blue sky. You can see people in the distance snorkeling. Their bodies face down as the breathing tube rises awkwardly into the air. You find a piece of tranquility as you surround the island. You can take a turn trying to steer the boat, angling the sail to catch the wind. The sail is tall, the air is warm, and the day is like nothing you have ever experienced before.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, accommodation

Day 12: The adventurous Forestry

Whale Island is known not just for its abundant marine life but also for its tremendous jungle. With another day at your leisure you can venture through the lush and dense greenery to view the islands domestic flora and fauna. You leave the beaches behind and venture through the overhanging trees. The rush of water against the shore shifts into birdcalls and rustled leaves. You can see a barking deer grazing in the brush. Their dark fur almost blends into the brushwood and tree bark. When you reach the highest point of the trail you notice the effervescent canopy below. Beyond the treetops is the South China Sea. The sun glints off of the water’s surface. Along the horizon are the undulating mountains of the mainland.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, accommodation

Day 13: The Adventurous Homecoming

You can watch the dawn shift dramatically from star-studded sky to pink striped horizon and finally morning blue. Breakfast will have the exotic and captivating aroma of freshly brewed coffee. After your meal your private transfer will ferry you from the island to the private jetty. Once on the mainland you will continue your journey to the airport and eventually to home. You have gone from the northern mountains to private islands and witnessed the beauty and culture in between. You know that as you venture home there will be unadulterated joy every time you look back on your time in Vietnam.  

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer


Starting Price 

This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.