Welcome to Vietnam! Arrive at Da Nang International Airport by noon. A personal transfer is provided to our riverside hotel in Hoi An. Hoi is a charming and historic Vietnam colonial city that owes its past to a mix of Chinese, Japanese and Portuguese heritage. For the next two days, we'll enjoy and explore every inch of it we can. This afternoon we will gather at our hotel, located on the banks of the Thu Bon River and a short walk from the city center, for a trip orientation and bike fitting. Afterward, we set out on a sweet food tour by bike. An inspiration to foodies worldwide, we sample many of Vietnam’s signature dishes as we pedal through town and the countryside. We visit a hole-in-the-wall food stall, a low-key local restaurant, and a family home on an organic farm. It’s the best way to experience the full range of mouthwatering Vietnamese food. Overnight in Hoi An. Dinner included.
Biking: 8–10 miles; mostly flat
After breakfast, we jump on our bikes for a morning ride. The streets of Old Town quickly give way to rural pathways where artisans' and farmers' way of life is not too different from their ancestors. We’ll check out a savory rice cake shop, a wooden boat building yard, and small mat weaving shop and along the way, pedal through tranquil fields of rice and small communities with local charm. Back at the hotel by lunch, we've got these bikes for the rest of the day, so go exploring. It’s just a 15-minute ride to An Bang Beach for swimming and relaxing by the sea, or head into town to get fitted for a tailored suit or dress—one of Hoi An's specialties, or hang out at a local café or pub. So many options! Dinner on your own. Our guides will happily tell you about their favorite local spots. Overnight in Hoi An. Breakfast and lunch included.
Biking: 12–14 miles; mostly flat
Start the day off with sun salutations at the optional yoga session, if you're the kind of person who wakes at dawn even when on vacation. Afterward, get ready to kayak or stand-up paddleboard our way through the mangrove and water coconut forests just downriver from Hoi An. Paddling at a gentle pace, we pass a tiny fishing hamlet as we make our way through labyrinthine local vegetation. It makes for a very zen morning, paddling the placid river, and gliding through a wondrous place that most travelers will never see.
After the morning paddle, the rest of the day is yours, so go get into whatever you'd like. Hoi An has several highly rated cooking schools, so you might want to immerse yourself in the tastes of Vietnam by learning how to create some of its signature dishes. Our guides can point you toward the most trusted classes in town. More interested in the beverage side of things? There are a bunch of fun cafes offering delicious Vietnamese coffee to try. Overnight in Hoi An. Breakfast included.
Kayak or SUP: 4–6 miles; 3 hours; on calm water
Today we saddle up for an exciting cycling challenge as we spin our way up and over Hai Van Pass, aka Pass of the Ocean Clouds. This iconic mountain pass has come to signify a demarcation between the north and the south of Vietnam. We have a full support van for the uphill ride and will enjoy a spectacular long descent into Lang Co Bay on the other side. The views are stunning, the route legendary, and the reward of lunching on one of the largest inland lagoons in the region make this ride truly one for the ages.
After lunch, we transfer into Hue, a beautiful town that’s easily covered on foot, but still brimming with history and unique culinary heritage. Our hotel is centrally located and surrounded by restaurants, bars, cafes, and stores. With help from our guides, you’re sure to uncover a food treasure nearby. Overnight in Hue. Breakfast and lunch included.
Driving: 2 hours; Biking: 18 miles; hilly terrain; Elevation gain/loss: 2,060' over 10 miles; several climbs at a 10% grade
A beautiful city with ancient and modern significance, Hue also held strategic importance during the Vietnam War. This morning we head to the local market to shop for fresh ingredients for our cooking class. Back in the kitchen, we’ll learn the secrets to preparing a few dishes of Vietnam’s internationally revered cuisine. With our bellies full and taste buds satisfied, we walk to Hue’s colorful and bustling train station to board the Reunification Express bound for Dong Hoi, the gateway city to Phong Nha National Park and the caves! The train is a nice change of pace from the van rides. Upon arrival in Dong Hoi, it’s a 45-minute drive to our farm stay resort outside of Phong Nha, one of the most beautiful valleys in Vietnam. This evening our guides give us the rundown on our upcoming trekking, spelunking and camping adventure. Dinner is on your own this evening. Overnight in Phong Nha area. Breakfast and lunch included.
Transfer: 4 hours by train and van
An early breakfast helps set the stage for two days of trekking through the spectacular caves and jungle of Tu Lan. Once we gear up, our adventure begins with a hike across fields of rice and peanut crops before crossing the Rao Nan River. Here we climb a hill through the jungle before descending into the next valley. We cover stable but rocky terrain as we trek through dense vegetation, then into the caves where we end the day with a quick dip. Swimming through the eerie underground caves is an incredibly surreal and unique group experience.
As the day’s adventure concludes, we get ready for a night in the jungle at our secluded Tu Lan campsite. Enjoy a delicious BBQ dinner beside the campfire before falling asleep to the sounds of jungle life and a rushing waterfall. Overnight at a tented campsite. All meals included.
Hiking: 4.5 miles; Through open fields and dense jungle; Swimming: 100 yards
What better way to wake up than in a backcountry campsite to freshly roasted coffee and a hearty breakfast? Once we've had our fill, we swim back across the river into the heart of the Tu Lan Cave system, making our way up to the dry inner chamber. After a little climbing, we step back into daylight and trek a short way through the valley and then into Kim Cave and Hung Ton Cave. We share a picnic lunch next to another waterfall before descending through the valley where hot showers and cold drinks await.
Dinner tonight will be on your own in Phong Nha, a lively town with a wide array of restaurants serving everything from real-deal Vietnamese to other worldly vegetarian. There are pizza and burger joints too, in case your stomach's getting homesick. Our guides will gladly offer suggestions and a van will transport us back to the lodge when we're ready. It's about 20 minutes from town. Overnight in Phong Nha area. Breakfast and lunch included.
Hiking: 2.5 miles; Swimming: 700 yards
Sunrise is the ideal time to kayak or SUP the quiet stretches of the Chay River across from our lodge. After breakfast, we hop on our bikes for a beautiful ride through the quiet countryside of Phong Nha, our backdrop dotted with some of the oldest karst mountains in Asia. In the afternoon, we drive to Dong Hoi to catch an evening flight to Hanoi where we stay in the lively and historic Old Quarter area. Here, we'll join for our farewell dinner and raise a toast to celebrate our time together in Vietnam. All meals included.
Kayak or SUP:1 hour (optional); Biking:15 miles; Flight:1 hour
Following breakfast, we offer a short optional walking tour of Hanoi's most famous neighborhoods, the Old Quarter & French Quarter. Surrounded by the architectural influences of French colonial times, we explore the "36 guild streets," where artisans formed strategic alliances and built temples to honor their ancestors. And of course, we can't leave Hanoi without trying out the local specialty: egg coffee. Not quite as weird as it sounds, it's traditional Vietnamese coffee with creamy, meringue-like egg white foam spooned on top. It's like an egg. Or maybe a coffee? Whatever you call it, it's delicious. We make a few more stops to sample traditional street food before heading back to the hotel for checkout. For those extending their stay or exploring Hanoi on their own, our guides are happy to offer their advice. Breakfast included.
Walking: 2 hours