Mai ChauPu Luong Nature Reserve

Off-the-beaten-path Vietnam

Get off the beaten path with this epic adventure filled with off-the-beaten-track experiences like trekking through ethnic minority villages in Mai Chau and Pu Luong, zipping through the busy streets of Hanoi on a Vespa, and sleeping in one of the biggest caves in the world in Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park.

Language spoken on tour

English

Places visited

Hanoi Mai Chau Pu Luong Ninh Binh Dong Hoi Phong Nha Phong Nha Ke Bang Hue Hoi An Da Nang
Days

14

Type of tour

Private

Hotel

From

US$1971

highlights

Itinerary

Day 1 : Welcome to Hanoi

Welcome to the land of dragons, Vietnam. Upon arrival to Noi Bai Airport, our driver will greet you and transfer you to the city center to your hotel

Enjoy the day free at leisure to acquaint yourself with the capital, immersing yourself in the sights and sounds of Hoan Kiem Lake and the Old Quarter located just steps outside of your hotel until an evening street food tour via Vespa to try some of the best noodle shops, grilled meats, and sweet desserts in the chaotic Old Quarter.

 

Meals: Dinner

Accomodation: Peridot Grand Hotel & Spa

Day 2 : A day in the life of a Hanoian

Dive into the history of Hanoi by visiting the iconic One Pillar Pagoda, designed to resemble a blooming lotus flower, commissioned by the legendary King Ly Thai To in 1049. Just a stone’s throw away lies the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, a monument and tribute to Ho Chi Minh, the “uncle” of modern Vietnam, as well as his preserved stilt house and a small museum dedicated to his life.

Pass by Vietnam’s first university, Quoc Tu Giam, otherwise known as the Temple of Literature. The grounds offer a quiet oasis in the center of Hanoi and will show you an interesting glimpse into the cultural elite’s past, dating back from 1076.

Have lunch at Koto Training Restaurant, a social enterprise dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty faced by many youths in the city, empowering them by training them in the culinary arts and hospitality training.

After lunch, peruse the carefully curated collections of tribal art, clothing, jewelry, and full-size replica houses at The Vietnam Museum of Ethnology. All displays are clearly labeled in English, French, and Vietnamese, with guides available at the main entrance for those who want to hear more in-depth information.

Return to your hotel in the late afternoon and enjoy your evening free to discover Hanoi on your own.

 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accomodation: Peridot Grand Hotel & Spa

Day 3 : Meet your homestay hosts in Mai Chau homestay

Leave the hustle and bustle of Hanoi and journey 4-hours west to the luscious valley of Mai Chau in Hoa Binh Province. Filled with chic ecolodges and rustic homestays, Mai Chau is the perfect introduction to the incredible scenery of Vietnam and the warm hospitality of the 54 different ethnic minority groups residing in the hills.

Upon arrival to Mai Chau, check-in to your homestay, free at leisure to hike or cycle through the mostly flat valley, rice fields, and quiet villages. As the sun begins to set, sit down for a home-cooked meal with your Black or White Thai ethnic minority family to learn more about their culture and traditions.

 

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4 : Trek through ethnic minority villages

Today trek to the small village of Mai Hich from Mai Chau after breakfast. A 30-minute transfer brings you to the start of the day-hike at Mai Ha Village, passing through Kha and Te Villages to stop in Buoc Village for lunch. Admire the hilly scenery with rice fields stretching as far as the eye can see. Continue on to Mai Hich Village and meet the local ethnic minorities, learning about the Thai people’s cultures and daily lives.

Return to your homestay in Mai Chau in the late afternoon, and see a traditional dance performance as dinner is served.

Day 5 : Explore Pu Luong Nature Reserve

Say good-bye to your host family and continue on your off-the-beaten-path discovery of Vietnam 2-hours south through a breathtaking mountain pass to the incredible Pu Luong Nature Reserve. Upon arrival, check-in to your eco-friendly accommodation and take in the amazing panoramic views of the gorgeous scenery.

Visit the suspension bridge over the Cham River, in search of gigantic water wheels. Investigate each wheel to figure out how water is moved from the river to the handmade bamboo aqueducts via simple construction and innovation. Once you arrive to a local fisherman’s house, pause for tea before your river adventure on handcrafted wooden rafts.

Once you arrive to the rustic Tan Lap Bridge, leave your raft and return to your accommodation in Pu Luong.

Meals: Breakfast

Accomodation: Pu Luong Retreat

Day 6 : Participate in Pu Luong village life

Explore the village life of the area with a day-trek into the beautiful valley of tumbling rice terraces. Trek through small paths overcome by lush vegetation and admire the picturesque villages along the mountain base. When you arrive to the village, see how men work the farms and rice fields and learn how women make rice wine and weave intricate, colourful textiles.

Return to your accommodation in the afternoon and enjoy some time free to discover the landscape independently on foot or by bicycle.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accomodation: Pu Luong Retreat

Day 7 : Take an unusual boat ride in Ninh Binh

A 3–hour journey east brings you to the bigger, charming countryside town of Ninh Binh. You may recognize some of the backdrop of the 2017 Hollywood blockbuster hit “Kong: Skull Island” as it was filmed here.

Start with an unusual row-boat ride in Van Long and enjoy the view of the romantic countryside as water buffalo graze, farmers work and children play.

Then cycle to Hang Mua, a picturesque mountainside spot with a cave and beautiful panoramic view of the surrounding area, dotted with karst mountains and sparkling rice fields.

In the evening after dinner, transfer to the Ninh Binh Train Station and board the overnight train to Dong Hoi. Get cozy in your simple cabin and let the sound of the railway tracks clacking lull you to sleep.

Meals: Breakfast

Accomodation: Night train

Day 8 : Wake-up in Central Vietnam

Wake up in the quiet sleepy town of Dong Hoi in the early morning and transfer 1-hour by car to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park. Like Ninh Binh, it too has recently been featured in the Hollywood Blockbuster “Kong: Skull Island”.

Check-in to your hotel between the coast and mountains of central Vietnam and enjoy the day at leisure. This is a great time to use the onsite bicycles to explore the rice fields and beautiful countryside, a swimming pool to lounge away in after a busy first-week of adventure in Vietnam, and a billiards table to strike up conversations with other guests.

Meals: Breakfast

Accomodation: Phong Nha Lake House Resort

Day 9 : Trek to your sleepover spot in one of the world's largest caves

Embark on an overnight trek to one of the most beautiful and largest caves in the world, Hang En. Featured in National Geographic, it is the closest you can get at the most affordable price to Son Doong Cave, the recently discovered and largest cave in the world.

Hike up steep hills through the thick jungle and tread through river streams to the Ban Doong minority village, where a hot cup of tea welcomes you. A picnic lunch is provided and the hike continues until Hang En Cave comes into view in the early afternoon. Spend the afternoon exploring the cave until its breathtaking exit, which you might recognize from the 2015 film “Pan”.

Return to your camp along a beach within the cave through dry passages to the viewpoint high above camp, where you have the chance to see 300 million-year-old fossils. Then, relax during some much-deserved downtime while swimming in the natural pools.

*Note* Between September and late-December, this itinerary is not available and will be replaced with a different spelunking activity.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accomodation: Phong Nha Lake House Resort

Day 10 : Return to civilization in Hue

Depart camp after breakfast at 9:00 and say good-bye to Hang En. Continue trekking through Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park, stopping for lunch before reaching the pick-up point between 2-4 pm. Upon arrival to Phong Nha, a transfer is arranged to bring you down the coast of Vietnam to the ancient and imperial capital of Hue.

Check into your comfortable accommodation and enjoy the simple luxuries at your hotel in the city center.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accomodation: Eldora Hotel

Day 11 : Feel history come alive in imperial Hue

Gain an in-depth insight into the history of Vietnam by visiting the Ancient Citadel, Imperial City, the Forbidden Purple City and the Emperor’s Private Residence. Then, board a boat and journey down the poetic Perfume River to visit the beautiful landscaped tombs of Emperor Tu Duc and Emperor Ming Mang and the official symbol of Hue, Thien Mu Pagoda.

Return to your hotel in the afternoon and enjoy some time free at leisure.

Meals: Breakfast

Accomodation: Eldora Hotel

Day 12 : Feel the charm of Hoi An

Head south 2.5-hours along the incredible Hai Van Pass Ocean Road to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hoi An Ancient Town. Join a walking tour of the very well-preserved town filled with quirky shops, antique teahouses, and amazing restaurants. Enjoy views of the Thu Bon River and the many canals found in the city as you learn about the history of the town and admire the interesting mix of Vietnamese, French, Chinese, and Japanese architecture.

The rest of your day is free at leisure to discover the city on your own by foot, kayak, or bicycle.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 13 : A day at leisure in Hoi An

Take the day to explore Hoi An independently. Optional excursions include a half-day trip by jeep to the remnants of the Ancient Cham Kingdom, the My Son Ruins, a collection of ruined Hindu temples dedicated to the god Shiva, kayaking on the Thu Bon or Coco River, cycling through the countryside, creating beautiful dishes during a cooking class, or gazing at the many small art galleries scattered through the old town.

Don’t miss out on wandering the streets during twilight in Hoi An, as the city comes alive with glowing lanterns and the smells of street food wafting along the alleys. Snack on Banh bao vac, a type of secret recipe dumpling, or delicious and crispy Vietnamese wontons.

Day 14 : Time to say good-bye

Your day is free until your transfer to Da Nang Airport to catch your onward planned travel arrangements.

 

Meals: Breakfast

Calculate best rate

Departure date
Adult
Language
Per person
$1971
Total
$3942
$1971
$3942
* Price is estimated and inclusive of single supplement. For child rates, please contact us!

Best price guarantee

When you travel with Mundo Asia through any of our destinations, we're confident you'll return with memories that truly last a lifetime. That's why we are proud to promise you a best price guarantee with unbeatable prices for the highest quality and value. If you are able to find our exact program and product for a lower price on another website, we will refund you the price difference (terms and conditions apply).

Why book this tour

  • Access to off-the-beaten-track locations like Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park and Hang En Cave
  • Trek through undiscovered Mai Chau and Pu Luong to authentic ethnic minority homestays
  • Time to rest and relax in the charming boutique La Residencia Hoi An
  • Premium value at affordable prices
  • 5% off total package when you book and pay deposit 60 days before arrival

Tour information

General information

Hotel

Important notes

Services included

  • Accommodation in twin/double room with daily breakfast
  • Tours as per itinerary with local English speaking guide
  • All transfers and transportation with air-conditioned vehicles
  • All boat trips as program
  • All entrance fees as program
  • Meals as indicated in the program

Services excluded

  • Airfares (international and domestic) and airport taxes
  • Early check-in or late check-out
  • Personal expenses & tips
  • Meals other than mentioned in the program
  • Visa fees, travel insurances
  • Additional transfer required due to emergency situation
  • All services which are not mentioned in “services included”
General information

Services included

  • Accommodation in twin/double room with daily breakfast
  • Tours as per itinerary with local English speaking guide
  • All transfers and transportation with air-conditioned vehicles
  • All boat trips as program
  • All entrance fees as program
  • Meals as indicated in the program

Services excluded

  • Airfares (international and domestic) and airport taxes
  • Early check-in or late check-out
  • Personal expenses & tips
  • Meals other than mentioned in the program
  • Visa fees, travel insurances
  • Additional transfer required due to emergency situation
  • All services which are not mentioned in “services included”
Hotel
Important notes

About the tour

  • This trip includes a number of long journeys on windy and sometimes bumpy roads in a shared mini-bus on days 3,5 and 7 in northern Vietnam, as well as an overnight train journey from Ninh Binh to Dong Hoi on the night of day 7. This is the only way to access some of these locations, but we promise you that the views for most of the journey are impressive enough to make it all worthwhile.
  • This trip includes a moderate level of fitness on days 3, 4, 9 , and 10. Terrain can be uneven, muddy or loose underfoot. Although these adventure activities, especially Hang En Cave on days 9 and 10, are possible for most travellers, a good level of fitness and a comfortable pair of shoes will help increase your enjoyment of this experience.
  • This trip includes 2 nights in simple homestay accommodation in Mai Chau to interact with locals. You will sleep on mattresses on the floor in a mixed-gender dormitory style with shared bathrooms.
  • Day 9 involves sleeping overnight in a tent in Hang En Cave
  • Flooding and typhoons are common across Vietnam between June-December, and can lead to landslides. During these months there may be disruptions to transport and some activities or destinations may need to be changed at short notice
  • The weather in Vietnam can be hot and sticky from May to November, so ensure that you pack accordingly. It is also recommended to bring warm clothes between the months of November to March as it can get quite cool in the evenings
  • This itinerary is a privately guided tour, designed just to show you what is possible
  • Please ensure your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining at the time of your departure and that the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets
  • This package requires a visa to Vietnam

 

How to book

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If you see a package that is already perfect, just click “book now” and fill in the details to start your journey!

Easy payment

Mundo Asia prides itself on its easy payment methods including by credit card, Onepay, PayPal, bank transfer, and in some cases, cash. Please refer to our booking terms and conditions for more information.

Flexible cancellation policy

Worried about cancellation fees? The only payment required is a 30% deposit of the total fees once all services are confirmed after the planning stages. In addition, Mundo Asia has a flexible cancellation policy which you can learn more about in our booking terms and conditions for more information.

 

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