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Vietnam: Hike, Bike & Kayak

The spectacular valleys and mountains of Vietnam were simply made for active exploration. On this 11-day adventure, you’ll put on your hiking shoes and get ready for an immersive journey that gets away from the bright lights of Hanoi and under the skin of Vietnam's bucolic countryside. In between trekking and cycling through lush landscapes, you’ll stop in at local villages and learn about traditional life, spending the night in rural homestays. After cycling through the valleys of Mai Chau and Ninh Binh and getting your heart rate up on Sapa’s hiking trails, you’ll head to UNESCO World Heritage-listed Cat Ba Island and kayak across the turquoise waters of Lan Ha Bay. Spend a night in a waterside resort in the bay and make the most of every sunset, before heading back to Hanoi and indulging in street food.

11 days, from


per person


12 people max


Trip code: TVXA
Style: Original
Theme: Multi-Active Adventures


Countries Visited:  Vietnam
Accommodation: Hotel (5 nights), Homestay (3 nights), Lodge (2 nights)
Transportation: Private minibus , Bicycle , Boat
Included Meals:

  • 10 breakfasts
  • 5 lunches
  • 3 dinners

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 12

  • Gain a greater insight into life in northern Vietnam with an itinerary that explores not just Hanoi but also heads out into the countryside

  • Hike through the picturesque valleys surrounding Sapa and visit local communities

  • Cycle out to Mai Chau and on through the stunning karst landscapes to Ninh Binh

  • Kayak around karsts and explore the secluded lagoons and caves of Lan Ha Bay - the lesser visited but just as beautiful sister of Halong Bay


Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Hanoi

Xin chao. Welcome to Vietnam! Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm. If you have time before the meeting, head out and discover Hanoi. Visit Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple, start sampling the delicious street food, or visit the Museum of Ethnology and find out more about the homes and lives of Vietnam’s ethnic communities. After the welcome meeting, you may like to join your group for an optional meal at one of Hanoi's fantastic eating spots.

Day 2: Khau Pha Community Stay

After breakfast escape the city and board a private minibus (approximately 5 hours) to the small village of Khau Pha, a community-based tourism project designed to empower and bring positive impact for Vietnam’s ethnic minorities. Located just below the spectacular Khau Phạ Pass in an area of inspiring natural beauty, this fascinating area that has all of the best features of Northern Vietnam – think emerald green terraced rice paddies, clear streams and towering hills - yet very few tourists.

After lunch you will take a relaxed walk around the village to experience first hand the hospitality and rich cultural heritage of Khau Pha, including the process of creating a traditional Thai fabric and cloth. After the walk enjoy a traditional dinner then settle in for the evening in one of the four stilt houses that have been redesigned by local families in a comfortable nature-friendly manner while preserving the traditional cultural features – a truly unique way to spend the night!

Day 3: Hiking in Sapa/Lao Chai

Start the day early and transfer by private vehicle (approximately 5 hours) to the iconic town of Sapa, start point for today’s trek. Enjoy lunch and numerous photo stops along the way before arriving Lao Chai. From here you will join our local guide and start your hike into the heart of the Vườn Quốc gia Hoàng Liên State park, trekking through the dramatic landscapes and panoramic views of rural Vietnam on a trek from Lao Chai to Ta Van. Along the way you'll pass by terraced farms ripe with corn and rice, over bubbling brooks and through bucolic villages before arriving into this small village in time for a well-earned dinner and sleep in our local family homestay.
The total trek today is around 10 kilometres (6.2 miles).

Day 4: Hiking in Su Pan

This morning trek to Su Pan before taking some time to rest your feet on a bus ride back to Sapa. In the afternoon the group returns to Hanoi (approximately 5 hours). Maybe get a bird's eye view of the city from a rooftop bar and unwind with an iced coffee.

Day 5: Cycling in Hanoi

Vietnam's capital is best explored on foot, which is why the group will head out on a city walking tour. See the final resting place of Vietnam's revered revolutionary at Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum and Museum before stopping by the Temple of Literature. Although the shrine was originally built in the 11th century, and is therefore considered to be the city's oldest temple, the current structure and shrine to Confucius actually dates from the 18th century. In the afternoon, have a practice on your bike with a warm up cycling trip around Hanoi's West Lake.

Day 6: Cycling in Mai Chau

Leave behind the Hanoi hustle first by vehicle, then jump on your bike and and cycle to the Mai Chau valley (approximately 60km / 37mi). There are great photo opportunities along the way – stop at a vantage point to take in the view of Mai Chau, home to a variety of minority groups with their own unique culture and languages. Along the way, there's also the opportunity to help local farmers plant rice seeds into the fields. Arrive in Mai Chau and head to the village of Pom Coong, where your local guide will introduce you to your hosts for lunch, and provide information on the region's people, their lifestyles, customs and culture. Lunch is a traditional affair with examples of local cuisine on offer. This is a great opportunity to experience the local area, chat with your hosts, and gain a real insight into life in this fascinating and picturesque region. After lunch, take some time to relax before saddling up for a cycle trip to nearby villages. Back at the homestay, relax with a cold drink while watching the sun set over the peaceful mountains. Alternatively, for the food lovers, why not help your host cook dinner!

Day 7: Cycling in Ninh Binh

After breakfast set out again on your bike on a cycle from Mai Chau to Ninh Binh, a region well known for its green valleys, karst mountains and conservation areas. Today's ride will cover approximately 70 kilometres in total.

Day 8: Cat Ba Island

Catch a bus this morning from Ninh Binh to Hai Phong then jump on a ferry to Cat Ba Island, which sits at the southeastern edge of Halong Bay. Lan Ha Bay, where Cat Ba can be found, is part of Halong Bay with the additional attraction of numerous white-sand beaches. The total travelling time today is approximately five hours. Check in to your peaceful, hilltop accommodation and enjoy a free afternoon taking it easy in a hammock, or opt to keep the pace up with a hike or trip to the beach.

Day 9: Kayaking around Cat Ba Island

Explore the waters and limestone karsts of Lan Ha Bay on a full-day boat trip. Get up close and personal kayaking beside the tree-clad outcrops, with lunch onboard also included. Halong Bay's World Heritage designation was extended to the Cat Ba Archipelago thanks to its similar aesthetic value, and the scenes of turquoise water and junk boats are quintessential Vietnam. No-one will judge you for taking a selfie here. Spend a second night on Cat Ba, with the evening free to visit the local restaurants and bars.

Day 10: Hanoi

Say goodbye to Cat Ba Island and head back to Hanoi (approximately five hours). Arrive in the late afternoon, and perhaps head down to the markets for some last-minute souvenir shopping or to pay a visit to one of the city's many museums or historical sites. Both the Fine Arts Museum and Hoa Lo 'Hanoi Hilton' Prison are great choices. In the evening, perhaps head out for a farewell dinner with your group and toast the end of this active adventure.

Day 11: Hanoi

Your active adventure comes to an end today and there are no activities planned, but there's plenty to see if you'd like to continue exploring Hanoi or further afield, including an Urban Adventure discovering Hanoi's street food by night.