Vietnam landscape

Vietnam's Landscapes

Trip code

Rice-terraced mountains like giant, green staircases. Jagged limestone pinnacles towering over dark, tangled jungle. Palm-fringed deltas filled with coconut groves, fruit orchards, rice paddies and mangrove swamps.

Vietnam’s geography is brilliantly diverse, and this itinerary makes the most of it – dipping into the cites but focusing firmly on rural culture and the great outdoors. Think plenty of active experiences – but more Ray Mears than Bear Grylls.


Price based on 3* accommodation
Price based on 4* accommodation
Let us help plan your vacation and make it perfect for you

Key facts

13 days / 12 nights
Relax on an overnight cruise on Lan Ha Bay
Get beneath the surface of Hanoi’s rich culture with an alternative half-day city tour
Sweat it out on three guided treks, each introducing a different aspect of the Vietnamese countryside
Explore the magnificent karst scenery of Ninh Binh by bike and sampan boat
Experience Delta life at the Mango Homestay, where you’ll stop at cottage industries, visit markets, chat to the locals and cruise along the waterways

Transport in detail

Most journeys will be by private car, with the exception of one internal flight (between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City)

What's great

The sheer diversity of the landscapes is stunning – it's perfect for photographers (or anyone who likes a good view, for that matter)

The pace is energetic but not rushed, so you’ll have enough time to explore each destination fully

This itinerary doesn’t follow the usual tourist route, so you’ll get to see a side of the country away from the crowds

With lots of adventure activities included, it’s perfect for anyone active

It’s easy to extend this trip with some beach time in the south or a few days at the temples of Angkor in Cambodia

Things to consider

This is a physically active trip, so it’s not suitable for those with mobility issues

Central Vietnam doesn’t feature on this itinerary

There are a few longer road journeys which, though scenic, might not be for everyone

Vietnam's diverse geography means it’s usually raining somewhere! You’ll need to be prepared for all weathers.

The experience

This itinerary showcases some of our favorite adventure activities, but we can customize it to suit you. Want something more challenging? Less challenging? Bike-focused? Hike-focused? Try us and see what we can do.

Day 1-2


This itinerary is all about the countryside, but if you need to stop in the city – why not make the most of it? This is our favorite alternative introduction to the capital, taking you away from the usual tourist trail and into the heart of Hanoi. Starting in the higgledy-piggledy streets of the Old Quarter and passing by an imposing Gothic Revival Cathedral, you’ll then visit a family who’s been living in the same French-colonial house for generations, wander a street painted with murals, and rub shoulders with commuters on a ten-minute train ride. Not your usual city tour, this one’s all about getting beneath the surface of the local culture to find out what makes Hanoi tick.

Hanoi back street


Experience the many sights, sounds and smells of the Old Quarter, Hanoi’s historic city center

Visit the home of a local family to hear stories about life in Hanoi over the generations

Visit an open-air art gallery at Phung Hung Street, where the walls are covered in murals

Travel like a local with a short train ride through the city

Hanoi cathedral

Day 3-4

Pu Luong

Picture emerald-green rice paddies rippling down mountainsides, lapping around stilt villages like ocean waves, with lush, forested mountains as a backdrop. That’s Pu Luong. With a local guide to act as navigator, translator and general font of local knowledge, explore Pu Luong on two different treks – each showcasing a different side of the area. Walk through rice fields to learn about traditional farming methods, visit a cottage workshop to see colorful textiles being woven, and stop in minority villages to see how rice wine is made. All this while staying in a boutique eco-retreat complete with infinity pool and spa.

Pu Luong landscape


Trek through the lush rice terraces of Pu Luong, one of Vietnam’s most idyllic rural settings

Swim in an infinity pool with spectacular views over the valley and distant mountains

Meet people of the Thai ethnic minority and learn about their traditional way of life

Ox cart in Pu Luong

The finer detail

  • Breakfast every day
  • Eight lunches: two in Pu Luong (one at the lodge and one picnic); one at the Cuc Phuong National Park Headquarters; one at a restaurant in Ninh Binh; one on the Lan Ha Bay cruise; three in the Mekong Delta at the Mango Home Riverside
  • Five dinners: two in Pu Luong at the lodge; one on the Lan Ha Bay cruise; two in the Mekong Delta at the Mango Home Riverside
  • Six half-day experiences: one city tour of Hanoi; two guided treks in Pu Luong; one guided trek in Cuc Phuong; one guided tour of Ninh Binh by sampan boat and bicycle; one city tour of Ho Chi Minh City
  • Overnight cruise on Lan Ha Bay with activities
  • Mango Home Riverside activities
  • All accommodation
  • All entrance fees to sites included in guided experiences
  • All domestic transfers and transport

Day 3:
Car transfer from Hanoi to Pu Luong (4.5 hours)

Day 5:
Car transfer from Pu Luong to Ninh Binh (4 hours)

Day 7:
Car transfer from Ninh Binh to Lan Ha Bay (3.5 hours)

Day 8:
Car transfer from Lan Ha Bay to Hanoi Airport (2 hours)
Flight from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City (2 hours)

Day 10:
Car transfer from Ho Chi Minh City to Mekong Delta (2.5 hours)

Day 12:
Car transfer from Mekong Delta to Ho Chi Minh City (2.5 hours)

  • International flights
  • Any necessary visas
  • Any lunches or dinners unless stated
  • Entrance fees to any sites not included in guided experiences
  • Tipping and personal expenses