Experience the adventure of a lifetime across Vietnam, embracing the cultural colour and flavour of the local towns and communities while witnessing the beautiful landscapes situated throughout the Northern and Central regions. Ride through Hanoi’s iconic narrow streets on a vintage Vespa and take in astounding views of the Hoang Lien mountain range. Introduce yourself to the friendly local communities along trekking paths in Sapa and explore the grandiose caves and islets situated across the spectacular Ha Long Bay. Each stop will culminate in your exploration of Vietnam’s multifaceted culture and geographical richness, enhanced by a culinary adventure of unforgettable south-east Asian cuisine.
Your guide will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel. A welcoming dinner in a local restaurant is provided before you explore the evening atmosphere of Hanoi or relax in your hotel at your own leisure.
The following morning after breakfast, prepare for a Vespa Adventure through the streets of Hanoi. Pick up is at 8 am at your hotel to beat the morning traffic before experiencing the local café culture in an Italian-inspired café in the heart of the Old Quarter, overlooking the famous St. Joseph cathedral.
Hop on the back of your vintage Vespa and ride through the city’s iconic narrow streets. Head towards the railway, where locals live and work just centimetres from the train tracks in tall narrow houses. This is a fantastic spot to capture a memory of your adventure so far. After a short ride towards Huu Tiep lake, converse with a fascinating elderly resident of the area who’ll regale you with stories regarding the local 400-year-old temple. Only a short walk through the traditional local market streets, the crash site of a downed B52 awaits you. This US bomber was shot down during the 1972 bombing raids of Hanoi, a poignant reminder of Vietnam’s recent history. Get back on the Vespas for a ride to the Ngoc Ha market, before taking a stroll through this region to experience the vibrant atmosphere which epitomises Hanoi.
After stretching your legs, ride out of the city centre to the Long Bien Bridge. This magnificent structure was built over a hundred years ago and spans the Red River, connecting the Hoan Kiem and Long Bien districts and providing shelter to local boating communities living beneath the bridge. Whizz past the ancient dyke wall, beautifully decorated with mosaic artworks and on to a Kumquat Farm, located in the peaceful green agricultural oasis in the city. These little trees are traditional gifts at Tet, the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, and adorn every family home, symbolising luck, health, wealth, fertility and peace. Jump on the Vespas once more and head to our final spot, a little snack stop. Lunch is included.
Pick up & Drop Off from your hotel by Vespa (approx 30 minutes before starting time)
Time: 8:00am to 1:00pm – 4 hour tour
Hanoi Insider is operated by Vespa Adventure – our agent specialised in Vespa tours
A liability waiver form must be signed before booking Vespa Tours with Buffalo Tours
This group tour departs with a minimum of 2 people and a maximum of 7
The minimum age for children travelling with parents is 6 years of age
Spend the remainder of your day at your own leisure.
After breakfast, you will journey from your Hanoi hotel for a five-hour transfer to the Topas Ecolodge, located near the Hoang Lien National Park in Sapa. After checking in to your bungalow at the lodge, enjoy the beautiful and peaceful view of the surrounding mountains and valleys from a private balcony. The afternoon walk commences from Topas Ecolodge, following a quiet road with spectacular views of the rice terrace below. Then, take a slight ascent towards the nearby Lech village where you will be visiting a local wooden house. Meet the friendly Red Dao hosts and experience their way of life. Famous for their beautifully handmade embroidery, the Red Dao women follow the tradition of their ancestors by shaving both their hair and eyes brows and embellishing in colourful customs. On the way back to Topas Ecolodge, walk along small trails that pass the rice terraces and cross a suspension bridge, where you will have the opportunity to take some fantastic pictures of the natural landscape. Your guide will explain the interesting cultivating culture of the local agricultural farmers.
Approx Grade: Easy / 2.5 hours walking
The following morning, enjoy a great breakfast and prepare for the day ahead. At 8:30am, venture on an exciting excursion deeper into Hoang Lien National Park, travelling to the trek starting point near Sin Chai village. Now ‘off the beaten track’, you can enjoy the beautiful views of high mountains, flowing waterfalls and scenic deep valleys. The trails will soon lead you to the Red Dao village of Nam Nhiu, where you will meet the villagers, visit their homes, and acquire a new perspective on their community. Leaving the village behind, turn into a small dirt trail and you will soon be inspired by the marvellous view of the rice valley, dotted with bamboo huts which are used by local farmers as overnight lodges during the harvest. Passing by rice terraces and swift rivers, you will walk along a quiet road before arriving at Nam Cang village. Your lunch will be served at Topas Riverside Lodge, overlooking the grand jungle nearby.
Nam Cang village is situated in the most remote area of Sapa. The Red Dao women who inhabit this village wear some of the most colourful and diverse costumes of all Vietnam’s ethnic groups. Herbal baths, local medicine and handcrafted embroidery are some of the things that the Red Dao are very skilled at. Accompanied by your guide, you will explore the village and learn how the local people make writing rice paper, jewellery and embroidery. You may also want to swim in the neighbouring river. At around 2:15pm, you will transfer back to Topas Ecolodge. Here you may want to book a traditional Red Dao herbal bath at the lodge’s newly opened spa followed by an evening planned at your own leisure. Dinner is at your own expense.
Approx Grade: Moderate / 3-3.5 hours walking
After breakfast, spend your last morning at Topas Ecolodge at your own leisure. Relax in one of the tranquility pools or borrow one of the high-quality mountain bikes from the lodge for a final exploration of the picturesque surrounding areas. Transfer back to Hanoi at midday. Lunch and Dinner are not included.
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After breakfast, take a private transfer from the hotel in Hanoi to Ha Long City. The transfer will take approximately three hours with a refreshment break en route. On arrival in Ha Long, take an overnight cruise to the far-most corners of the majestic bay. Enjoy lunch aboard the vessel as you cruise out into the bay, stopping to anchor for an afternoon of activities; these may include kayaking through the islets or trekking through the grottoes (subject to change due to cruise selection and weather conditions). Tuck into a freshly prepared dinner as you watch the sun set over the bay, before retiring to your cabin for the night.
Please note: Itinerary subject to change or cancellation due to weather conditions.
Spend your last morning soaking up the scenery of the UNESCO World Heritage Site before being transferred back to Hanoi.
Optional Evening Tour:
Go on a culinary whirlwind, sinking your teeth into the flavours of Northern Vietnam on a street food tour through the alleys of the Old Quarter. Meet your guide at the hotel, before strolling along to the local night market. Experience the bustle of the crowds weaving past the array of delicacies on display, as you set off into the maze of alleyways through Hanoi. Stop at a famous pho stall to slurp up this world-renowned beef noodle soup, before grabbing a stool at the neighbouring Bia Hoi Corner. While you sip on a tall glass of cool and refreshing local draft beer, witness the atmosphere transform as Hanoi’s market streets come to life in the dark.
While you continue to wander the streets, observe the sights of various curbside businesses that only operate at night. Savour local delicacies, such as steamed rice rolls with wood ear mushroom and pork, a classic Vietnamese sandwich, freshly grilled chicken wings, or a variety of alternative snacks that will satisfy your culinary appetite! Witness firsthand the city’s obsession with barbecues before finishing the evening with dessert. Take a bite of fresh tropical fruits over shaved ice, drizzled with condensed milk – a perfect way to conclude the street food tour.
Estimated duration: 3.5hrs
Walking distance: approx. 2.8 km
Please advise if you have any special food requests (e.g. vegetarian) in advance
The itinerary and food sample can be changed upon the shop’s availability
In case of rain, the itinerary may include a visit to a covered noodle stall
Black out date: Lunar New Year period (Exactly dates will be updated on yearly basis)
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After breakfast take an early morning flight to Dong Hoi. Upon arrival, a tour guide will pick you up at Dong Hoi Airport and transfer you to Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park to visit the world-famous Paradise Cave.
When Thien Duong (Paradise) Cave was discovered in the central province of Quang Binh in 2005 it was labelled the world’s most beautiful and magnificent cave. Since then, it has been subsequently opened for tourists to comprehend its vast spectacle. Located in the heart of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park (a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site in Quang Binh), the cave is surrounded by underground streams and rocky mountains and is estimated to have been formed around 300-400 million years ago. Gentle wooden walkways guide visitors between the dripping stalactites and craggy cave walls. The lanterns fixed to the walkway create a fairytale setting, leading to a picturesque pond of crystal water that catches the sunlight from an opening above.
Following this incredible experience, you can enjoy a complimentary lunch before spending the remainder of the day at your own leisure. Dinner is not provided.
Enjoy a complimentary breakfast and a relaxing morning at your own leisure. The hotel has a refreshing swimming pool where guests can recline and unwind. Lunch is not included.
In the early afternoon, continue your journey towards Hue via the Hien Luong Bridge. Stopping at the bridge to walk over, explore the nearby Museum and connecting graveyards. On arriving at Hue, you will check into the hotel which will accommodate you for the next three nights.
That evening, you will be picked up from your hotel by a cyclo driver for a relaxing ride and culinary adventure through the bustling streets of Hue. Ride across the iconic Truong Tien Bridge, crossing the Huong River to enter Hue’s historic imperial area. Stroll through the food section of Dong Ba Market, socialising with a crowd of locals, purchasing fresh ingredients for dinner. Continue the ride along the riverbank with views of anchoring dragon boats, before stopping at a local eatery to taste some of Hue’s famous steam cakes. These include; ‘banh beo’ – steamed rice cake topped with shrimp, ‘banh nam’ – leaf-wrapped steamed flat rice dumplings, ‘banh loc’ – leaf-wrapped filtered tapioca dumplings, and ‘banh ram it’ – fried dumpling topped with sticky rice. These cakes are served in relatively small-sized portions, and each type is complemented with a different kind of dipping sauce. The ride continues along small streets inside the citadel walls, stopping at the next eatery. Experience how locals make fried pancakes, known as ‘banh khoai’, and delight in the dish, ‘nem lui’ – grilled ground pork on a stick, wrapped inside rice paper with fresh herbs and dipped into a peanut and sesame sauce. The cyclo will then take you back to the new area of the city for a hot bowl of the iconic ‘bun bo Hue’, a beef rice vermicelli soup that American celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain praised as “the greatest soup in the world”. End the discovery tour of Hue’s delectable food with a glass of sweet soup, known as ‘che’, inside a hidden eatery before the cyclo returns you back to the hotel.
Begin a day of adventure at the tomb of Emperor Tu Duc, one of the last reigning emperors of Vietnam. Tu Duc lived in this sprawling manor in the years leading up to his death and built it as a paradise. Filled with green forestry, pavilions and a lake complete with its very own island, Tu Duc’s manor is perfectly suited for peaceful walking trails and tranquil spots to compose poetry. At the end of a lagoon lies the emperor’s tomb, yet the emperor isn’t actually buried here. His remains are interred elsewhere, at an unknown location built by hundreds of servants who were beheaded to ensure that the secret location of his tomb would not be spread. Spend some time wandering through this luxurious tomb, where the architecture harmoniously complements the manor’s natural landscape.
Continue on to Tu Hieu Pagoda, known for being the ‘root temple’ of the famous Buddhist – Thích Nhất Hạnh. This serene pagoda welcomes visitors to its twin temples, where monks chant at five daily intervals. Nestled in a peaceful pine forest, the complex includes a half-moon shaped lake – filled with fish that are eager to be fed – and a cemetery where the eunuchs of Vietnam’s last feudal dynasty are buried. Seventy monks live here full-time, and the doors to the pagoda remain open to anyone who wants to learn meditation or find peace while walking through the grounds.
Visit a nearby cafe dedicated to generating income for those born with osteogenesis imperfecta, and the deaf. Have a drink and learn how to make a paper flower. Creating these delicate art forms can be both fun and meditative, and they make a beautiful souvenir to bring home as a reminder of your peaceful and informative day. After lunch, take a trip to the ancient walled Citadel containing the former Imperial Palace, closely inspired by the Forbidden City of Beijing. Return to your hotel, savouring the unique cultural opportunities fulfilled throughout the day. Dinner is at your own expense.
The following morning, take a 40km drive out of the city centre and into the scenic countryside, arriving at the Phuoc Tich Village. The untouched residential area is dotted with Hue’s traditional houses, known as ‘Nha Ruong’, and accompanied by unique gardens. Wander through the peaceful streets, admiring the historical sites nestled within the scenery, and pay a visit to one of the traditional homes. Try making ‘banh gai it’, one of the most famous traditional cakes in Hue, with your welcoming host, Mrs Kieu. Part of your tour fee will be directly contributed towards Mrs Kieu, helping her to earn an income as a home-based chef.
After trying your hand at baking, hop on a bicycle and take a 30km ride from Phuoc Tich to Tam Giang lagoon. Cycle through the countryside, watching the daily life of the local communities and experience the peaceful atmosphere of these ancient villages. On your way, stop at Quang Cong Village, known locally as the ‘City of Ghosts’, and behold the increasingly lavish and elaborate tombs that the villagers build for their ancestors.
Upon arrival at Tam Giang lagoon, enjoy a lunch of fresh seafood before boarding a boat on the lagoon. Float past local families living on the riverbank, stopping to meet some of them on your way. Finally, transfer back to your hotel in the late afternoon with plenty of time to enjoy your evening as you please. Dinner is at your own expense.
- Estimated pick-up time: 08:30am – Estimated duration: 8hrs
- Please bring a raincoat and be prepared for the wet or rainy season. Alternatively, bring a hat, sun-cream and sunglasses to combat high temperatures during the summer season
- In case of heavy rain, the boat trip on Tam Giang will not be operated. The tour guide will discuss with clients alternative activities if this is the case
- Cycling is mostly on flat concrete paths and rural roads, and is available for anyone who can ride a bike. No level of fitness required
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After morning breakfast, the tour will head south to Hoi An. This four-hour trip offers breathtaking views en route, particularly as the road winds its way up Hai Van Pass, alternatively known as, ‘Pass of the Clouds’. There is an opportunity to stop at Hai Van Pass to take a photo. On your arrival in Hoi An, spend the next 2 nights at the hotel of your choice. Breakfast is included each morning you stay, however, lunch and dinner are at your own expense.
While in Hoi An, you will have the option to participate in any of the following experiences:
Half Day Private Bike Tour
Escape the crowds of Hoi An and cycle to central Vietnam’s iconic UNESCO site, My Son. Starting at the historic centre of Hoi An, pedal through ancient alleyways before crossing the Hoai River. From here, wind through local villages into the scenic countryside along a network of shortcuts and byways, past rice fields, fishing villages and countless local farms.
Along the route our stops include a weaving shop, a small village market where you can sample local foods, as well as several places to discuss farming, religious traditions and rural life. Cycling concludes at a local coffee shop for fresh fruit, drinks and a delicious banh mi sandwich. Then board a private van for the final few kilometers to My Son. At the entrance, your guide will escort you to the UNESCO supported electric carts that will transport you up the final kilometre of the hill, exiting the cart at the nearby Cham ruins. After your private tour, you shall return to Hoi An by van.
- This tour is operated by Grass Hopper Adventure – Buffalo Tours’ partner agent, specialising in cycling tours.
- Pick up time: 7.15 AM – Estimated duration: approximately 4.5 hours
- Difficulty level: (Moderate: 22km) The cycling route to My Son follows flat concrete paths connecting rural villages, with some riding on quiet local roads. Anyone who can reasonably ride a bike will enjoy this ride
- Child-sized bikes, tag-alongs and child seats are available.
Half Day Cycling & Boat Village Tour
Cycle fifteen minutes outside of Hoi An, where you will board a small boat for a thirty-five-minute cruise along the tranquil waterways of Quang Nam Province. Jump back onto the saddle and peddle your way through the green paddy fields, stopping at a traditional handicraft villages along the way where you can still witness local craftsmen producing rice paper and sleeping mats.
In the 16th Century, Hoi An served as Vietnam’s major trading hub, attracting merchants from around the world. Visit historical boat making village of Kim Bong and hear the story of traditional Vietnamese seamanship, before cycling back to Hoi An in the early afternoon.
- Estimated pick up time: between 8am and 9am
- Estimated duration: approximately 4 hours
The tour starts up with a pick up from your hotel to our kayak station in Cam Thanh. After a briefing on health and safety, as well as guidance on the area, you will be kayaking. Set off to paddle along the cocopalm forest local towards Lantern Town. Connecting with the surrounding nature, immerse yourself in life on the river and appreciate the amazing landscapes as you kayak into the sunset.
This trip lasts for 3 hours, and you will have time for refreshments at a local cafe near the town centre before getting a transfer back to your hotel.
- Pick up time may vary from 2:30pm to 3:30pm to catch the sunset
- We will confirm the exact time upon your booking
After two unforgettable days of sightseeing in Hoi An, you will be transferred to the airport the following morning for your journey home.