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Central Vietnam Heritages & Hidden Beach Vacation

Experience the central heritages of Vietnam from beach to beach along Vietnam’s spectacular central coast. Travel from Hue to Nha Trang, exploring through charming fishing villages and sleeping in tranquil seaside towns. Cross through famous towns like Hoi An then venture far off the tourist trail to enjoy the serenity and beauty of Vietnam’s coast. Wrapping up the journey at the hidden bay of Vinh Hy, which ensures the serenity and quietness for your relaxation.

HIGHLIGHTS

Various activities on sites

  • Trekking through the evergreen nature of Phong Nha Ke Bang and exploring plenty of hidden spots along the way
  • City tour of the ancient towns of Hoi An and Hue and learn about its history and culture
  • Experiencing the beauty and mystery of arts & crafts of Hue and Hoi An
  • Beach break in the hidden Vinh Hy Bay, the untouched spot in the central Vietnam

Unforgettable moments

  • Venturing through the lush green forest of Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park
  • Crawling Vinh Moc Tunnel and learn about the history of Vietnam/American War
  • Admiring graving town of Hue, home of the last dynasty of Vietnam
  • Admiring the beauty of the charming century-old town of Hoi An

Nature exploration

  • The ever-green nature of Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park with plenty of caves and waterfalls
  • The nature of central Vietnam whilst crossing the “sea of cloud” Hai Van Pass
  • The nature of Hoi An & Hue and its surrounding area
  • The central of the hidden bay of Vinh Hy with its crystal-clear sea of white beach.

Culture experience

  • The peasant culture of local people living around Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park
  • The friendly culture of Hue and Hoi An, two ancient towns of central Vietnam

Map

Detailed schedule

Day 1 - Arrival in Dong Hoi - Phong Nha

Begin your Vietnam journey with a flight to Dong Hoi via either Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City. 
Upon arrival at the airport in Dong Hoi, our guide and driver will be waiting to transfer you directly to Phong Nha National Park

The park contains one of the most spectacular caves in Vietnam - a true natural wonder with 65 kilometres of tunnels and underground rivers. Formed approximately 250 million years ago Phong Nha was used as a hospital and ammunition depot during the war, and the entrance still shows evidence of attacks from fighter aircraft. There are also community projects underway with Flora and Fauna International; it may be possible to visit village initiatives and learn more about the forests of the national park before the end of the day.

Overnight at hotel 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 - Culture & History

Traditional craft and Innovative paper art scene

Bamboo is engraved in Vietnamese culture and daily life, providing protection and representing resiliency. In the countryside, bamboo is used for everything- from daily used items to musical instruments to ornaments. Drive 20-min north of the Citadel to visit a lesser-known village Bao La where locals still keep the traditional craft from bamboo down generations.

Then head to a workshop in the city and meet with an artisan who has integrated bamboo with traditional handicrafts to create revolutionary new art in Vietnam, that’s so-called Truc Chi art. Truc means bamboo and Chi means paper.  Learn how the artisans use Truc Chi to create handicraft items with the cultural characteristics of Hue. 

Hue city tour and private artifact museum

In the afternoon, visit the Imperial Citadel where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled between 1802 and 1945. Then, hop on a 15-min cyclo ride to Tran Dinh Son museum, the first private museum in Hue, right at a “nha ruong” - traditional Royal house, once belonged to the Mandarin of King Minh Mang to contemplate his grandson’s valued collection of daily used items.

Overnight in Hue

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Day 6 - Hue - My Son Sanctuary - Hoi An

You have ample time in the morning to relax before boarding the transfer to Da Nang and continue further to My Son Sanctuary, one of the most important sites of the ancient Champa Kingdom. Situated in a valley surrounded by high mountains, the World Heritage Site is one of the most stunning sights in central Vietnam.

During the excavation of the site, letters were found revealing that the complex had been a site of Hindu worship since the 4th century. In the 7th century, the temples that had been destroyed by fire were restored with locally made bricks.

Hear about 70 similar temples built in the period up to the 13th century, establishing My Son as a sanctuary of Hinduism. Enjoy a walking tour around the sanctuary to see the many temples and towers. 

The lunch will be served at local restaurant.

After that, we continue the transfer onward to Hoi An, which is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a Southeast Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. Its buildings and its street plan reflect the influences, both indigenous and foreign, that have combined to produce this unique heritage site.

Upon arrival, check in your hotel to relax.

Overnight in Hoi An

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Day 7 - Hoi An - History & Culture

Paper mask & lantern making with artist

Begin with a walk through Hoi An Ancient Town to meet a paper mask artist at his workshop. His craft is steadily disappearing as newer forms of entertainment have gradually taken over. Learn how this artist contributes to the effort of preserving his craft for future generations.

Next, enjoy the process of making lanterns in the cozy atmosphere.  This hands-on experience offers a fun time together to gain knowledge and also get in touch with making a traditional Vietnamese lantern as a souvenir to bring home.

Hoi An city tour

A walking tour is the best way to see this marvelous town. Visit the former merchants’ homes, the 400-year-old Japanese Covered Bridge and the colourful market. Take a walk through the ancient town, seeing remarkably well-preserved traditional houses that have withstood 200 years of weather and war.

The tour today is more than a visual impression. Hoi An people is well-known for skilled tailors and leather craftsmen.

Overnight in Hoi An 

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Day 8 - 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 9 - Hoi An - Da Nang // Cam Ranh - Vinh Hy Bay

You are free before transferring to Da Nang to take the flight to Cam Ranh (Nha Trang).

Arriving at the airport, our guide and driver will transfer you directly to Vinh Hinh, where you will spend the next 5 day relaxing by the hidden beach.

Overnight in Vinh Hy Bay

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Day 10 - Vinh Hy Bay - Leisure Day

You are free to stroll around for your own exploration around this charming bay of Vinh Hy.

There are plenty of water activities on spot to spend your day. Just check with your hotel or contact us for further information.

Overnight in Vinh Hy Bay

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Day 11 - Vinh Hy Bay - Leisure Day

You are free to stroll around for your own exploration around this charming bay of Vinh Hy.

There are plenty of water activities on spot to spend your day. Just check with your hotel or contact us for further information.

Overnight in Vinh Hy Bay

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Day 12 - Vinh Hy Bay - Leisure Day

You are free to stroll around for your own exploration around this charming bay of Vinh Hy.

There are plenty of water activities on spot to spend your day. Just check with your hotel or contact us for further information.

Overnight in Vinh Hy Bay

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Day 13 - Vinh Hy Bay - Leisure Day

You are free to stroll around for your own exploration around this charming bay of Vinh Hy.

There are plenty of water activities on spot to spend your day. Just check with your hotel or contact us for further information.

Overnight in Vinh Hy Bay

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Day 14 - Vinh Hy Bay - Cam Ranh - Departure

Free before transferring back to Cam Ranh to take the flight to Saigon to connect with another onward flight back home or to the next destination.

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Backpacking Vietnam offers an incredible opportunity to get off the beaten track… Explore dramatic mountains in the North, stop in for some corn wine and a friendly chat with the locals before heading south to party the night away…

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