The peoples, villages and dramatic mountain scenery of rural Vietnam away from the main cities and resorts
Flight - 1 night
Hanoi - 1 night
Sapa - 2 nights
Sapaly Express Train - 1 night
Ba Vi - 1 night
Mai Chau - 2 nights
Ninh Binh - 2 nights
Vinh - 1 night
Dong Hoi - 2 nights
Hue- 2 nights
Hoi An - 2 nights
Flight - 1 night
Despite the onrush of modernity in the major cities, Vietnam remains largely unchanged in the mountains of the north and inland from the coastal region, enabling a rewarding itinerary for the returning traveller which steers away from the main sites, revealing hidden gems amidst wonderful landscapes and examining both recent and ancient history and meeting the many peoples of Vietnam.
Sapa, close to the Chinese border, is a picturesque village in the Hoang Lien Son mountains, known locally as "the Tonkinese Alps", and was built by the French who endorsed the medicinal properties of the region's mountain air.
The Hmong tribes number around three million in a territory from southwest China to Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Myanmar. Lao Cai province is home to tribes including the Black, Flower and Red Hmong, named after their distinctive dress. Tribal organisation is by means of clans and Hmong villages perched on mountain slopes and often house up to four generations.
Travel south through the DMZ (Demilitarised Zone) and the Ho Chi Minh Trail to the extensive Vinh Moc wartime tunnels, contrasting with the Imperial City and tombs at Hue, ending with a stay in the delightful town of Hoi An.
Culture & Natural Wonders
Jules Verne Sightseeing
3 UNESCO Heritage Sites
9 Lunches and 5 Dinners
Group Size: 4 – 14
Day 1 Fly overnight from London Heathrow direct to Hanoi.
Day 2 On arrival, visit Thang Long Imperial Citadel. Transfer to the 4-star Apricot Hotel for overnight. (B)
Day 3 Visit Dong Ngac ancient village. Transfer to Sapa (6 hrs) for two nights at the 4-star Topas Ecolodge. (B, L)
Day 4 Visit Lech Dzao, a hill tribe village. (B, D)
Day 5 Morning free. Afternoon free to explore Sapa town. Visit the Hmong village of Ta Giang Phin. Transfer to Lao Cai to board the overnight Sapaly Express Train to Hanoi. (B, L)
Day 6 Transfer to Duong Lam for breakfast with a local family and village walk. Transfer to the 4-star Melia Ba Vi Mountain Retreat in the mountains of Ba Vi National Park. (B, D)
Day 7 Explore the remains of old French villas. Travel through mountain scenery to Mai Chau (4 hrs). Stay two nights at the scenically located 4-star Mai Chau Ecolodge. (B, L)
Day 8 Meet local people at Thai villages. (B, L)
Day 9 Travel to Ninh Binh (4 hrs). Visit Van Long Wetland Reserve by boat. Two nights at the 4-star Emeralda Hotel. (B)
Day 10 Visit the Tam Coc limestone caves known as ‘dry Ha Long Bay’ and Bich Dong Pagoda. At Hoa Lu, visit the citadel and temples of the Dinh and Le dynasties. (B)
Day 11 Visit Bai Dinh Pagoda. Continue to the more modern town of Vinh (6 hrs). Visit Ho Dynasty Citadel. Overnight at the 4-star Vinpearl Cua Hoi Resort & Villas. (B, L, D)
Day 12 At Kim Lien village, visit Ho Chi Minh's home. Travel to Dong Hoi (5 hrs). Two nights at the 4-star Sun Spa Resort. (B, L, D)
Day 13 Visit Phong Nha including Ke Bang National Park and a boat trip on Son River to Phong Nha caves, a UNESCO site. (B, L)
Day 14 Visit Vinh Moc tunnels and Hien Luong bridge. Pass through the Demilitarised Zone to Hue (8 hrs). Two nights at the 4-star Pilgrimage Village Hotel, Hue. (B, L)
Day 15 Morning tour of Thuy Bien ecovillage by boat and cyclo. At Hue visit the Imperial Citadel. (B, L)
Day 16 Visit Minh Mang tomb. By train to Danang and transfer to Hoi An. Two nights in river view rooms at the 4-star Hoi An Silk Marina Resort. (B, D)
Day 17 Free day or optional full-day tour of the temples of My Son and Hoi An (£29). (B)
Day 18 Day at leisure. Evening return flight via Hanoi or stay on at the 5-star Victoria Hoi An Beach Resort & Spa (return flight via Hanoi or Saigon). (B)
Day 19 Arrive London Heathrow.
This is a full itinerary with visits on foot and some uneven surfaces and inclines.
A 4-star hotel located on Hanoi’s Hoan Kiem Lake with a mix of neo-classical and Vietnamese design. Restaurants, rooftop bar and pool, gym, spa and WiFi (free). 123 air-conditioned rooms with private facilities, hairdryer, safe, mini-bar and satellite TV.
Topas Ecolodge is a 4-star small hotel located on a beautiful hilltop deep in the mountains of Hoang Lien National Park, near Sapa. Restaurant, bar, WiFi (free) and 25 rustic chalet styled bungalows with private facilities, hairdryer, tea/coffee making facilities, mosquito nets and private balcony.
A unique 4-star hotel located in the mountain area of Ba Vi National Park, amongst the remains of old French villas. Restaurants, bar, infinity pool, gym, spa and WiFi (free). Air-conditioned rooms with private facilities, hairdryer, safe, mini-bar, tea/coffee making facilities and satellite TV.
The 4-star Mai Chau Ecolodge is located in the heart of the Mai Chau valley, atop a private hill in Na Phon village with a backdrop of lush rice paddies and mountains. Built from natural materials this ecolodge has a restaurant and bar with panoramic views, pool, spa and WiFi (free). 43 air-conditioned bungalows with private facilities, hairdryer, safe, mini-bar and tea/coffee making facilities.
Emeralda Resort Ninh Binh is nestled in the Van Long Natural Reserve and surrounded by spectacular mountains. Restaurants, bars, pools, gym, sauna and spa. 172 air-conditioned rooms with private facilities, hairdryer, safe, mini-bar, satellite TV and tea/coffee making facilities.
Located by Cua Hoi Beach and adjacent to the Lam River. Restaurants, bars, pool, spa and WiFi (free). 184 air-conditioned rooms with hairdryer, safe, mini-bar and satellite TV.
Set amongst 29 hectares of landscaped gardens, on the banks of the Nhat Le River and bordered by a white sand beach, this 4-star hotel has restaurants, bars, spa, outdoor pool and WiFi (free). 234 air-conditioned rooms with private facilities, satellite TV and safe.
This 4-star hotel is located in the quiet countryside, in a rustic village setting surrounded by gardens. Restaurants, bars, pool, gym, spa and WiFi (free). 99 air-conditioned rooms with private facilities, hairdryer, safe, mini-bar, tea/coffee making facilities and satellite TV.
This 4-star hotel is located on the banks of the Thu Bon River and walking distance to the ancient town. Restaurant, bar, lounge, pool, gym, spa and WiFi (free). Air-conditioned rooms with private facilities, hairdryer, safe, mini-bar, tea/coffee making facilities and satellite TV.
This 5-star hotel is located in cental Hoi An with one side facing the Thu Bon River and the other Cua Dai beach. The hotel is located 5km from ancient Hoi An town and has restaurant, bar, pool, gym, spa and WiFi (free). 109 air-conditioned rooms with private facilities, hairdryer, safe, mini-bar, tea/coffee making facilities and satellite TV.
Travel on the Sapaly Express Train from Lao Cai to Hanoi. 13 cabins (2 upper and 2 lower berths) with air-conditioning and luggage storage. Jules Verne guests will be allocated together in shared cabins. Snack bar and WC facilities are located at the end of each carriage.
per person in a twin room
Vietnam Airlines from Heathrow
Supplements per person
Single supplement £695
London-Hanoi/Ho Chi Minh City-London
Vietnam Airlines Deluxe Economy from £495
Vietnam Airlines Business Class from £1845
Optional My Son and Hoi An £29
Extensions - Extra nights
Victoria Hoi An Resort & Spa (per night) £75
Single supplement £65
Departure transfer add £20
Arrival transfer with group included
Departure transfer add £39
Air travel and taxes, transfers, 16 nights’ accommodation, breakfast daily, 9 lunches and 5 dinners, itinerary as described, services of guides and local representatives. If our specially negotiated airfares are unavailable at the time of booking, a supplement may apply.
Travel insurance, visa procurement, overseas airport taxes, tipping, any government taxes or compulsory charges introduced after publication.
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