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Vietnam Adventure Travel: The Unseen Southern in 9 days

Delve into the rich cultures and stunning landscapes of the Mekong Delta. Spend four days exploring the labyrinth of waterways and villages by bike and boat. Witness skilled artisans at work, meet friendly farmers, see diverse ethnic groups and embrace the tranquil rhythms of life on the water.

HIGHLIGHTS

Various activities on sites

  • Exploring the city of Hanoi, Hoi An, and Ho Chi Minh city
  • Exploring the lively floating market in Mekong Delta
  • Cruising the peaceful Lan Ha Bay
  • Experiencing the local life in rural area of Chau Doc and My Tho

Unforgettable moments

  • Driving through the countryside of Mekong Delta region
  • Strolling around the century-old town of Hoi An
  • Wandering the streets of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, also known as the “36 streets”. 
  • Cruising the beautiful Lan Ha Bay, admiring the sunrise & sunset on the bay

Nature exploration

  • The authentic nature of the countryside in Mekong Delta region
  • The amazing atmosphere of Lan Ha bay and the surrounding

Culture experience

  • Learn about the never-fading culture of Hanoi and the century-old town of Hoi An
  • Learn about the peasant culture in Chau Doc and Can Tho

Map

Detailed schedule

Day 1 - Welcome to Ho Chi Minh city

Upon arrival at Tan Son Nhat International Airport, Sonasia’s guide & driver will pick you up and transfer directly to the hotel in the center of Ho Chi Minh City.

Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is Vietnam at its most dizzying: a high-octane city of commerce and culture that has driven the country forward with its pulsating energy. A chaotic whirl, the city breathes life and vitality into all who settle here, and visitors cannot help but be hauled along for the ride.

Free to stroll around the town for your own exploration.

Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.

Notes

Check out the Ho Chi Minh City travel guide

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Day 2 - Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi Tunnel - Tay Ninh

Today’s tour will begin at 07:30. It is an early start today on this day trip from Ho Chi Minh City, departing by 07:30 to make the most of this adventure in the countryside. Relax on the drive to Tay Ninh, watching the landscapes change from concrete buildings to rice paddies and villages dotted with wooden houses.

At Tay Ninh visit the Cao Dai Great Temple, with architecture that could have come straight from a Walt Disney fantasy. Admire the whimsical statues and colourful paintings covering this remote temple building. Learn about the origins and beliefs of this unusual religion, which blends the world’s major faiths into a unique mosaic.

Following a lunch break, drive further through the countryside to the Cu Chi Tunnels. Spend the afternoon exploring this incredible network of 200 km underground tunnels. Learn how the Vietnamese resistance fighters constructed the tunnels during the French and American wars. Crawl underground and get a better sense for what life was like living and fighting in the labyrinth of caves and tunnels. Hear remarkable stories of the residents’ resilience and see relics of the wartime weapons.

This insightful day in the countryside concludes in the late afternoon with a drive back to the city.

Overnight in Ho Chi Minh city

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Day 3 - Ho Chi Minh - Cai Be

This morning, leave bustling Ho Chi Minh City for a two-hour drive into the beautiful Mekong Delta. Arrive at Cai Thia Village for a four kilometre cycling trip and explore the village, famous for its fruit gardens. 

Visit Mrs. Nam’s family to talk and see them perform the delicate steps to create traditional rice paper. Continue cycling around the fruit orchards and bask in the peacefulness of the village. 

Observe the daily life of the locals and see their traditional houses. Join a family of locals and learn to make ‘banh tieu’, a sweet fried rice cake. Taste this delicacy with some hot tea and prepare to get back to the village for a boat trip to Cai Be.

After arrival in Cai Be, lunch at a local restaurant and continue to Tan Phong Fruit Island. Take a characteristic row boat through the narrow canals around the island, and take in the lush landscapes so typical for this part of the Delta. 

Hop on a bicycle for a tour around the village and see the different crafts involving coconut leaves and dried water hyacinth. As the sun gradually sets, return to Cai Be. Explore the area as the sun goes down and dine at leisure before spending the night in Cai Be.

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Day 4 - Cai Be - Chau Doc

Leave Cai Be early for a 90-minute drive to Sa Dec, deep in the heart of the Mekong Delta. This charming, authentic Mekong Delta town seems to have escaped the modernization that has swept much of Vietnam. The town was immortalized by the French writer Marguerite Duras, who spent four years here from 1928 – 1932.

On arrival in Sa Dec, visit the charming Kien An Cung Pagoda before having lunch in the former home of Huynh Thuy Le, the main character in Marguerite Duras’ novel.  After visiting Sa Dec, continue by road to Chau Doc, arriving in time for a late lunch.

Chau Doc is a friendly riverside community where Buddhism and Islam co-exist side by side, due to its close proximity to Cambodia and its ethnic Cham minority.

This afternoon, take a boat to Chau Giang District where many floating houses double as catfish farms. Explore a tiny mosque serving the local Cham community and learn about their history and how Arab merchants gradually brought Islam to these shores. The Cham also practice silk weaving and there may be an opportunity to see them at work. Spend the afternoon and evening at leisure and sleep in Chau Doc

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Day 5 - Chau Doc - Can Tho

Enjoy breakfast and seize the day with a visit to Chau Doc’s colorful market with a local guide. Continue with a three-hour drive to Can Tho, considered the largest city in the Mekong Delta. Spend the afternoon cycling around the quiet lanes and unhardened paths of Can Tho, as bicycles are the perfect way to get around.

Explore the small farms, rice paddies and cottage industries, and discover hidden temples and friendly locals who are eager to talk and practice their English.
Spend the afternoon and evening at leisure and sleep in Can Tho.

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Day 6 - Can Tho - Ben Tre

05:00 AM, our guide & car driver will pick you up from your hotel & transfer to the boat for embarking.

Arrive to Cai Rang floating market – a must-see in Can Tho. Your guide will explain things about the history of the market, the local river life. Enjoy the tour with the freshest pineapple on the floating boat and say GOOD MORNING VIETNAM! GOOD MORNING MEKONG!

Explore small canals and your guide will share a lot of information about the region and local life.

Visit the friendly family’s traditional noodle house. You will be impressed by the colorful noodles, and how fascinating the noodles are made by local. The family will serve you the yummy noodle pizza made by the owner’s wife…

The 2,800-hectare forest is an ideal destination for nature lovers. Explore and weave in the untouched wetland of Mekong delta by boat gives the best experience the wildlife and nature.

Arrive to the forest & wetland conservation. The tour guide then helps you with boat ticket. Take an amazing light trekking in the nature for watching native birds. Enjoy the wonderful boat trip in the nature, see and pose a lot of native birds (seasonal), beautiful wild canals along the boat trip. Then, get to the 25-meter observation tower to enjoy the fascinating view over the wetland forest and the stunning rice fields. (about one hour in the forest).

Visit a famous old giant ficus microcarpa tree - a great place for VC to camouflage and hide means of warfare and trained guerrilla. Your guide will absolutely explain more interesting war sides in Mekong region.

After that, transfer to Ben Tre, which is about 3 hours away.

Arrive there around the sunset, transfer to your hotel.

Free for your own exploration or relax by the hotel pool.

Overnight in Ben Tre

Notes
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Day 7 - Ben Tre Experience

After breakfast, travel by bicycle to a local market. It is similar to the flea market where local people gather together and trade. 

Afterward, we will return to the homestay, where you will participate in farming with the local people to experience the work of farmers in the area. Lunch will be served at a local home. 

In the afternoon, you will have the opportunity to dress in the typical style of Southerners in Vietnam. You will bail out water and catch fish in the traditional outfits. Next, you will lend a hand in preparing dinner with the host. 

Relax after dinner on a hammock near the river shore. Surround yourself with peacefulness and quiet that the city cannot offer. 

Overnight at the homestay.

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Day 8 - Ben Tre - Cai Mon Garden - Ho Chi Minh city

After breakfast, we will visit the Cai Mon Orchard Garden (also known as the “kingdom of fruits”), in Ben Tre Province. 

Continue your trip to visit the Cai Mon Church - one of the oldest churches in the Mekong Delta. 

According to the history, Caïman, French word was read off by Vietnamese equivalent “Cai Mon” because in the past there were a lot of crocodiles here. 

The church was built in the 1800s by a French priest, that is famous for its unique architecture works: steeples, main hall… 

The last stop on this tour is the potted plants and saplings in Vinh Bac. 

After lunch, it is time to bid the farewell to the rural life with unforgettable memory, board on a transfer back to Ho Chi Minh city.

Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City

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Day 9 - Ho Chi Minh - Departure

You are free to stroll around the town for your own exploration before taking the departure flight

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The latest decision has been made as the number of Covid-19 infections and deaths drops both in Vietnam and around the world. Several countries have been taking steps to relax coronavirus restrictions, including scrapping testing before entry.

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Children under two don’t need to be tested.

Vietnam stopped requiring medical declarations from those arriving from abroad starting April 27, and for domestic travel starting April 30.

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The Ministry of Health said on Wednesday, March 16th, 2022, foreigners entering Vietnam only need to furnish a negative Covid-19 test certificate and are not required to quarantine.

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