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Central Vietnam Adventure Travel & Tours: 8-Day Multi-Sport along the Heritage Trail

From Phong Nha’s cave complex to the ancient town of Hue and Hoi An, enjoy a variety of sports while discovering famous sites of central Vietnam. Whether they are challenging treks to Tu Lan Cave complex, cycling Hai Van Pass to kayaking the mangroves of Hoi An, this is an adventure that has it all.

HIGHLIGHTS

Various activities on sites

  • Trekking to explore Tu Lan Cave Complex in Phong Nha – Ke bang, spending the night with the hammocks or tents inside the jungle
  • Visiting the historical sites in Quang Tri province, the hometown of the General Vo Nguyen Giap
  • Cycling to explore the royal tombs in Hue and through Hai Van Pass to Hoi An
  • Kayaking along Thu Bon River to admire the life the Hoi An in the evening.

Unforgettable moments

  • Admiring the nature of the Phong Nha – Ke Bang Complex
  • Seeing the secret Vinh Moc Tunnel, its role during the war and enjoying the beautiful sea view upon exit.
  • Admiring the panoramic view from the top of Hai Van Pass, the pass of Sea & Cloud.
  • Watching the sunset whilst paddling along the Thu Bon River

Nature exploration

  • The amazing nature of Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park
  • The pure atmosphere of Hai Van Pass offering the panoramic view over the region

Culture experience

  • Learning about the last dynasty of Vietnam, the Nguyens.
  • Admiring the charming town of Hoi An which still keeps its way of life since the century ago.

Map

Detailed schedule

Day 1 - Welcome to Dong Hoi

Today, arrive in Dong Hoi (either by train or flight). Be met with the local guide and transfer to Phong Nha to check-in to the hotel.

The standard hotel check-in time is 14:00. Early check-in is subject to availability and not included.

Overnight in Phong Nha.

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Day 2 - Phong Nha - Trek Tu Lan Cave Complex

Be picked up at the hotel in Phong Nha between 07:30 and 08:00 before venturing off to the village of Tan Hoa, located 70 km away. After a safety briefing and gear check, it is off and away for a full day of trekking.

The trek begins with a 2.5 km march across fields of peanut crops, giant water buffaloes, towering corn stalks, and down to the Rao Nan River.

The adventure accelerates with a 30 m climb up a rocky hill to a small jungle opening. Get to catch a breath on a 100m descent to Hung Ton Valley. 

Lunch will be enjoyed in the Hung Ton Cave opening and then the adventure picks up again with some serious trekking from Hung Ton Valley and over to Mango Mountain, then back down into Tu Lan Valley (3 km).

By mid-afternoon, Tu Lan campsite will be on the horizon, where swimming can be enjoyed in the beautiful waterfall. Afternoon activities include exploring and swimming through Ken Cave, located next to the campsite.

Complete the day at the campsite with a delicious BBQ dinner.

Sleep will come easy in comfortable hammocks or tents set up amongst the trees.

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Day 3 - Back to Phong Nha

The second day starts with a hearty breakfast, and more cave exploration.

Starting with a brief swim across the river into the heart of Tu Lan Cave System, take a break to enjoy the blue lagoon entrance before making the way 180 m downstream through Tu Lan Cave entrance.

Explore the dry part of the cave with some tight spaces climbing and arrive at the dry exit for a short trek through a valley into the dry entrance of Kim Cave. Observe the natural window in Kim Cave before taking off on a 450m swim and 500m trek through Hang Kim to To Mo Valley.

A picnic lunch will be served next to a stunning waterfall by the mouth of Hung Ton Cave.  Then, try to follow a dry path before swimming out through Hung Ton wet cave.

Following this is the exploration of a dry passage and then a trek down into Hung Ton Valley (800 m).

Arrive in Tan Hoa where there is a chance to take in the beautiful scenery with a cold drink in hand.

Showers are available for those who would like to clean up and change, and then depart back to Phong Nha at around 16:00 arriving by 17:30.

Notes
  • 12km jungle and mountain trekking, rocky terrain Elevation change up to 150m (between valley and top of mountain) 1 km swimming in caves (from 200m – 500m each cave) 3 km caving
  • The 2 days 1 night trip to Tu Lan Cave complex is operated every Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday in Join in basis. If carried out on another day, a surcharge for a private trip will be applied.
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Day 4 - Phong Nha - Anh Xa - Vinh Moc - Phuoc Tich - Hue

Depart early morning and head south to Hue.

On the way, stop at the childhood home of the General Vo Nguyen Giap. He was born in this village in 1911 and is famous for his leadership which led to the victory of the battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1946 against the French army.

The house was actually burned by French soldiers but restored in 1977. Visit the beautiful traditional wooden house in a charming garden thanks to Mr. Ham, his grandson who currently lives there and listen to his stories of his grandfather.  

Then drive on for another hour before making a stop at Vinh Moc Tunnels. The route is scenic after leaving the main highway passing through quaint villages and skirting along Cua Tung Beach. Learn all about the Vinh Moc village story which is a feat of humanity and resistance during the Vietnam War. Explore the tunnels and enjoy the beautiful sea view upon exit!

Lunch will be served at a local restaurant in Dong Ha.

In the afternoon, drive around 30 min to the 500-year-old village of Phuoc Tich. Once famous and prosperous because of its pottery, the village has dozens of homes that are from 100 to 200 years old and several old temples, pagodas, worship halls and communal houses still remain.

Many imprints of Champa and ancient Viet cultures are still preserved such as lingas (a very complex symbol of Hinduism). The religious culture of the village is seen via families, which have their own ancestor worship halls, each worshiping five direct generations.

Arrive in Hue in the late afternoon.

Overnight in Hue.

Notes

Dong Hoi to Hue (185km): 4 hours

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Day 5 - Hue - Royal Tomb Cycling

Today the cycling begins from the hotel to explore some of Hue’s most important cultural sites. The first stop is at the Imperial Citadel, which is modeled after the Forbidden City in China. While much of this site was destroyed during the Tet Offensive, it is still possible to gain some insights into how the Royal family lived during its rule.

After exploring the ruins, cruise along the Perfume River to Thien Mu pagoda, continuing the cycling to Ming Mang Mausoleum. Follow up with a loop across the perfume river to Hue via the mausoleum, with another stop at Khai Dinh.

Overnight in Hue.

Notes

Transfer: 30 mins Cycling distance up to: 30 km Difficulty: Easy

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Day 6 - Hue - Hoi An Cycling

Today, take a bus beyond the city limits of Hue to avoid the busy traffic when cycling. Begin riding off the beaten track for 40 km along a picturesque, narrow peninsular road from Thuan An Beach to Vinh Loc. From here, transfer to a vehicle or cycle to the start point of today’s three hill climbs.

After the first two moderate climbs of 2-3 km a piece, cruise down to stunning Lang Co Beach for a rest/swim before tackling the final hill of the day – the Hai Van or Pass of Ocean Clouds.

With a new tunnel now cutting through the mountain, the 11km of uphill cycling will be on a quiet section of road. The gradient is manageable, and the views are breathtaking! Upon descent, a transfer will be provided all the way to Hoi An, a delightful old trading town and UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Overnight in Hoi An.

Notes

1-hour Cycling distance up to: 100km (60km if not cycle over Hai Van pass) Difficulty: Hard

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Day 7 - Hoi An - Sunset Paddle

Spend the morning free at leisure.

At 15:00, be picked up at the hotel in Hoi An to the starting point to gear up for the sunset paddle adventure.

Start to paddle to the palm islands where the most well grown plants, Nipa palms, are seen. It is a unique and scenic mangrove ecosystem of Hoi An. The palm forest provides the locals with products such as fish, shells and Nipa leaves which can be seen commonly used for roofing of homes. Enjoy amazing landscapes while paddling along and before we arrive to the ancient town. There is a short stop at a local shop for a coffee break before we continue our journey. 

Experience the sights of Hoi An’s Lantern Town from a unique water level perspective. The former port city’s melting-pot history is reflected in its architecture, a mix of eras and styles. Catch the reflection of the old houses of the Ancient Town on the water while paddling on the kayaks during sunset.

Arrive at Hoi An’s old town pier at about 18:00. Transfer to the hotel by van.

Overnight in Hoi An.

Notes

Transfer: 1 hour // Kayaking: 2-2.5 hours Difficulty: easy

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Day 8 - Hoi An - Da Nang - Departure

You are free to stroll around the town for your own exploration before transferring to Da Nang to take the departure flight

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