Vietnam Countryside Explorer

Countryside Explorer

Our travel experts are great at planning unique trips just for you. Ever thought about what their dream vacation would be? We asked Vietnam Specialist Martin about his perfect trip, and he suggested "Countryside Explorer." It's all about walking and cycling in less-traveled places, giving you a laid-back taste of Vietnam's rural life.


  • Weave through Hanoi’s streets on the back of a Vespa
  • Wander between houses to a railway track market
  • Slurp fragrant pho in an atmospheric Old Quarter cafe
  • Immerse yourself in rural village culture
  • Cycle along picturesque paths around Lake Lak
  • Cruise by sampan to atmospheric caves
  • Swim in refreshing waterfall pools
  • Treat yourself to a tailor-made suit in Hoi An
  • Relax on the warm sands of Cua Dai beach

Hanoi, Ky Son, Mai Chau, Ninh Binh, Lak Tented Camp, Hoi An

Sample Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive Hanoi, evening Vespa tour

On arrival in Vietnam, you'll be met by your private guide, who will accompany you to your hotel.

Your day will be at leisure until your evening tour with a difference - riding pillion on the back of a Vespa, seeing where the locals hang out, and trying some of the city’s famously top-notch food. After a rooftop drink overlooking Hanoi Cathedral, hop on the back of the scooter and weave through the streets, soaking up the atmosphere of Hanoi after dark. Try pho cuon rice noodle rolls near West Lake, and see Hanoi’s picturesque, tree lined avenues. Drive past the magical Tran Quoc pagoda, illuminated against the twilight, and stop at a restaurant specialising in delicious cha ca fish. Stretch your legs in Ba Dinh square as you watch the changing of the guards. Finish the evening with a drink at one of the city’s chic bars, and kick back to some live music.

Day 2
City Tour

Soak up the early morning bustle in Hanoi's narrow maze of streets as you weave your way to the railway track that runs between the houses, and watch an extraordinary event: twice each day, the residents efficiently move their market stalls, playing children and shop displays away from the track, to let a speeding train pass by, so close it brushes the shopfronts and houses! Follow the track past Hanoi’s impressive main station and stop for coffee overlooking the river, before taking a short local train journey to Long Bien station. In the afternoon your touring continues with some of Hanoi’s classic sites, such as Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, the Temple of Literature or One Pillar Pagoda, or perhaps taking a stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake.

Day 3
Ky Son Village & cycle trail

Head off early for Ky Son Village, and arrive in time to enjoy a stroll around the village, soaking up the traditional North Vietnamese culture and lifestyle, before joining your host to help prepare lunch. Take your pick of bike routes, ranging from 6-12 km along local trails, stopping to enjoy the impressive panoramas, pick herbs and vegetables, visit temples, chat with locals, and visit the village market. Return to the house in time for a relaxing herbal bath and a home cooked meal.

Day 4
Ky Son Village

As soon as you’ve downed your first cuppa of the day, join in with some traditional Yi Jin Jing exercises to wake up body and mind. Stroll around Ky Son Village to the bee house, the kindergarten and the local market. You can choose to help the farmers with a spot of ploughing, marking rice beds, or harvesting, or take part in a cookery class. Unwind with a traditional herbal hand massage after lunch, then take time to chat with your host family and pick up a few handy Vietnamese phrases. Embark upon an afternoon bike ride along local paths, stopping to chat with villagers you meet along the way.

Day 5
Drive to Mai Chau

Keep your camera at the ready as you drive into the rural landscape around Mai Chau to enjoy some light trekking, find local villages, explore caves, or simply relax in one of the most picturesque regions in Vietnam. If there’s time, work up an appetite with a cycle between the rolling hills and traditional stilt-house settlements, before returning to the lodge for dinner and a traditional dance performance by members of the local Thái tribe.

Day 6
Pu Luong Nature Reserve trek

Pu Luong Nature Reserve is a well kept secret, well off the traditional tourist trail. Explore its forested hillsides and rice paddies on foot, soaking up the atmosphere of enduring tradition, and witnessing the routines of daily life in local Thái and Muong tribal communities. Trek along the Cham Stream, passing the region’s remarkable wooden water wheels, which are still used for irrigation, before driving back to Mai Chau with time to freshen up before dinner.

Day 7
Sampan cruise & cave exploration

After a morning’s journey east, you’ll get to Ninh Binh in perfect time to head to the Ben Dang River and board a sampan for an afternoon cruise. Disembark to explore the atmospheric grottos of Thien Ha Cave, both on foot and by boat along underground waterways, then cruise a little further by sampan to the But Cave for more subterranean exploration.

Day 8
Ninh Binh cycle

Cycle around the outskirts of Ninh Binh, between paddy fields, pagodas and small hamlets, and pause at a morning market. Once in Vuon Thi village, you’ll meet your hosts for the day. This local family will, along with your guide, help you participate in a ‘hands on’ morning, learning their daily routines. Prepare lunch together, and enjoy typical rural dishes as you chat (with your guide’s help and translation!). Head into the fields to learn traditional rice cultivation and fishing techniques, before making a short journey to the Van Long River to hop aboard another sampan for a reservoir cruise through the Van Long Nature Reserve - an expanse of wetlands is home to over 70 species of birdlife including egrets, storks and kingfishers. This hidden gem is just as beautiful as the better-known Tam Coc, but with a fraction of the crowds.

Day 9
Buon Ma Thuot, Lak Tented Camp

Start out early for your flight south to Buon Ma Thuot, where you’ll connect with our contact from Lak Tented Camp and travel together to the shores of Lak Lake. Hop on a boat across the water to the camp itself, and settle in to your cosy pod, perched on stilts overlooking the landscape. The afternoon will be all yours to explore the scenic surroundings. If you’re feeling active, get boating and kayaking on the lake, or arrange a hike or bike ride. Alternatively, just relax at the camp, enjoying the feeling of remoteness, before watching a traditional gong performance over dinner.

Day 10
Village visits, rural wanderings

Take a day to explore the villages surrounding Lak Lake at your own pace. Spend time in M’Nong minority communities, chatting with the local people, and discover their unique traditions.

Day 11
Bim Bip waterfall trek

You’ll journey to Yang Tao village at the foot of the imposing Chu Yang Sin Mountain to begin today’s trek. As you follow the river upstream, the fields of crops gradually give way to jungle foliage, and your guide will point out the diverse flora and fauna along the path, until you arrive at the hidden Bim Bip waterfall. Swim in the refreshing pools, enjoy a picnic lunch, and take time to soak up the tranquil surroundings. Make an afternoon visit the camp’s organic farm, then watch that homegrown produce used in a cooking demonstration, and enjoy the delicious dishes for yourself at dinner in the Y Lak restaurant.

Day 12
Boat ride, Hoi An

Start the day with a boat ride on Lak Lake as the sun rises, to watch the fishermen going about their daily work and the surrounding villages coming to life - a memorable way to say farewell to this beautiful area. Spend the morning enjoying the scenic surroundings, before heading back to Buon Ma Thuot airport for your flight to Danang and onward journey to Hoi An. In recent years Hoi An, like nearby Danang, has lost much of its previous tranquillity - this tiny town now experiences an unprecedented number of visitors, especially in the evenings, with tourists keen to sample the famous dining opportunities - but it is a totally unique place, with its own character, and still a must for any first-time visitor to Vietnam.

Day 13
Relax in Hoi An

Take time to enjoy a couple of days experiencing Hoi An at your own pace, eating plenty of tasty food, chilling out on the nearby beaches, and even perhaps treating yourself to one of those super-fast bespoke suits...

Day 14
Relax in Hoi An

Take time to enjoy a couple of days experiencing Hoi An at your own pace, eating plenty of tasty food, chilling out on the nearby beaches, and even perhaps treating yourself to one of those super-fast bespoke suits...

Day 15
Depart Hoi An

Transfer to Danang airport for your onward flight.

Booking Policy

English speaking, local guide
All accommodation listed
Land transportation by private air-conditioned vehicles
Any domestic flights listed (unless marked otherwise)
All admission fees at attractions, temples and activities as mentioned in the itinerary
All meals listed

Entry visas
International airport departure taxes
Any meals not listed in the itinerary
Drinks, other than water on activity days
Personal expenses (laundry, telephone, drinks, tip...)
Travel insurance
All other services not listed in 'inclusive'

Please note: During high season periods (such as Christmas and New Year) hotels often levy a surcharge and these are not included in the above prices. Your consultant will be happy to advise you of these.

Personalised design
We’ll plan your trip around your specific interests, tastes and preferences, providing helpful tips and honest advice based on firsthand knowledge of the destionation.
Authentic Experience
Our expert guides and brilliant travel concierges are hand-picked to provide a genuine experience, bringing you destination to life with care and passion.
Responsible Travel
Our luxury trips are designed with responsible travel principles that priorities travel experiences that are both good for you and good for the planet.
It is easy to customize your Vietnam Countryside Explorer tours with us

Client Reviews: Find out what our clients have said about their experience.

Melinda & John
Nov 2016
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April 2016
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April 12, 2016
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March 2017
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April 2018
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May 2018
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Oct 2018
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Nov 2018
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Dec 2018
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Dec 2018
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Dec 2018
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Dec 2018
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Dec 2018
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Dec 2018
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