Day 1:Arrive HANOI
Arrive in time to meet your fellow travelers for a welcome gathering this evening. Your arrival transfer is included.
Explore Hanoi’s vibrant old quarter on a traditional cyclo—a three-wheel bicycle taxi! Cruise past shops selling everything from wooden handicrafts to fresh fruit juice and traditional candy, and capture the neighborhood’s lively vibe on camera. Then hop off to watch a delightful water puppet show—a centuries-old storytelling technique that recounts popular Vietnamese legends and folktales.
Day 3:HANOI/HOA LU/TAM COC/NINH BINH
Head south to the ancient Vietnamese capital of Hoa Lu, and get immersed in a fertile landscape of emerald rice fields and towering karst mountains. Step foot in the surviving temples of the Dinh and Le dynasties while learning about the feudal history of the country. After lunch in Tam Coc, set sail on a traditional sampan, or bamboo boat, down the Ngo Dong River. Float through verdant jungle and drift past impressive stalactites in a trio of spectacular caves. Continue to Ninh Binh for an evening at leisure.
Day 4:NINH BINH
Return to Tam Coc and explore the surrounding countryside by bicycle. Witness local life as you pedal past farms, venture through serene Thung Nang (aka Sunshine Valley), and marvel at the intricate Buddhist pagodas of Bich Dong cave. Head to a local restaurant for a hands-on experience learning to make Vietnamese sweet potato chips. Later, enjoy a free evening at the hotel to relax in the pool or spa, or explore the streets of Ninh Binh on your own.
Day 5:BAT TRANG/HUE
This morning, take in the scenery en route to Bat Trang, a centuries-old ceramics village where you can try your hand at making pottery under the guidance of a local craftsman. Then transfer to the airport and catch a flight to Hue, situated on the banks of the picturesque Perfume River. Despite being badly damaged during the Vietnam War, this former capital city retains much of its imperial splendor. Spend the evening at your hotel, or rent bikes and pedal along the river for a glimpse of some of the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage sites we’ll dive into the following day.
Day 6:HUẾ/HOI AN
Today, we venture into Hue’s grand citadel, guarded by a deep moat and imposing stone walls. Wander opulent palaces and ornate gardens, and hear dramatic stories of former royal inhabitants from your guide. Then venture to the Forbidden Purple City—modeled after Beijing’s Forbidden City—a fortified complex where the ruling emperor once lived. This city-within-a-city even has its own moat! Later, head to the countryside, dotted with rice paddies and pagodas. Have lunch at a Buddhist nunnery, then drive to Hoi An via the spectacular Hai Van Pass, winding across the hilly coast of the South China Sea.
Hue is a peaceful central city that has a fascinating history, beginning with its ancient Cham origins, to becoming the capital of Vietnam until 1945, and the site of one of the bloodiest and longest battles of the Vietnam War in 1968. Today Hue is regarded as the cultural and spiritual capital of the country and has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage site.
Day 7:HOI AN
Discover the enchanting port town of Hoi An, which thrived between the 15th and 19th centuries. Delve into the city’s World Heritage–listed old town, strolling streets strung with paper lanterns and navigating a maze of temples and tailor shops. Visit one of the town tailors to get measured for a custom-made shirt; then travel to a nearby factory to see how your piece of clothing is produced!
Declared a World Heritage site, the architecture of Hoi An is being beautifully restored and preserved. It's also a shopping mecca, with much to browse over and buy. Choose from original paintings, handcrafted woodwork, ceramics, embroidery, lanterns and more. Hoi An has also become famous for its tailoring - there is a huge variety of fabrics to choose from.
Day 8:HOI AN
Return to the old town for a fun-filled noodle tour! The tour is led by guides from the G Adventures–supported Oodles of Noodles program, which trains local youth in the culinary arts. Taste your way through different kinds of noodles at a food market; pick out your favorite fresh ingredients; and take your haul to the Oodles of Noodles training kitchen, where we’ll cook up a delectable storm. Later, set out on a leisurely bike ride through the Hoi An countryside, then float down to a nearby farming village in a traditional basket boat.
Day 9:HOI AN/HO CHI MINH CITY
Transfer to the airport and fly to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s most populous city and economic hub. Get to know this buzzing metropolis—still commonly referred to as Saigon—on a cyclo tour. Cruise past French colonial buildings and stately monuments; then launch into a frenetic market, where the calls of vendors, the smells of street food, and the fascinating assortment of wares dazzles the senses.
Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, is a city of bright neon lights, endless shopping and trendy cafes. Its wide tree-lined boulevards reflect its French heritage, and towering skyscrapers announce it has landed squarely in the 21st Century. As a contrast to this modern backdrop is the chaotic traffic of swarming motorbikes which are generally overloaded or carrying multiple passengers. This is people watching at its best.
Day 10:HO CHI MINH CITY
Today, we descend into the fascinating Cu Chi Tunnels, a vast network of underground passageways built and used by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. The tunnels connected the residents with subterranean schools and hospitals, and included booby traps smeared with poisonous concoctions to injure enemy soldiers. Try the local cassava root, which sustained Viet Cong soldiers for years, and emerge from the bunkers to enjoy a traditional lunch by the river.
Day 11:HO CHI MINH CITY/SIEM REAP
Catch a flight to Siem Reap in Cambodia, gateway to the magnificent ruins of Angkor. This evening, we enjoy a delicious Khmer meal at the New Hope Cambodia vocational training restaurant, an initiative spearheaded by G Adventures. The restaurant provides hospitality training to unemployed young adults, and also funds a free community school and a health program.
Day 12:SIEM REAP
Who’s ready for a jungle adventure? This morning, we’ll explore the ancient Angkor temple complex, nestled deep within the Cambodian jungle. Discover hidden passageways and crumbling courtyards where the forest is rapidly reclaiming its territory. Later, brush up your acrobatic skills at a workshop with Phare, a Cambodian circus and social enterprise that employs underprivileged youth. Tumble and somersault to your heart’s content; then watch and photograph one of Phare’s amazing performances. Celebrate your unforgettable journey at a farewell dinner tonight.
Day 13:Departure SIEM REAP
Not ready to leave? Your CEO can help with travel arrangements to extend your adventure.