DAY 1 - Arrival Day
The Apricot Hotel
Our guide meets you at the airport and accompanies you to your hotel in Hanoi. Enjoy the amenities at your 5-star hotel.
DAY 2 - Old Hanoi & Water Puppetry
Cyclo Tour of Old Hanoi | The Apricot Hotel
You have the morning free to rest, explore and get over any jet lag.
At 1 p.m., we meet in the hotel lobby for a tour briefing. You then take a cyclo tour (1 hour), where you’re treated to being pedaled around the busy Old Quarter, also known as the “36 streets.” This bustling area of narrow streets and alleys is home to literally thousands of small businesses and shopkeepers. It’s a great place to explore with plenty of photo opportunities all around you.
You will visit Hoa Lo Prison aka “Hanoi Hilton” and Ho Chi Minh’s complex … his simple stilt house where he lived and worked. In the late afternoon, you enjoy a wonderful performance of Vietnamese Water Puppetry. This evening we enjoy our first meal together.
DAY 3 - Tam Coc and Rock Formations
Distance: 30 miles | Terrain: Easier to Intermediate | Emeralda Ninh Binh Resort
In the morning, you travel by car to Tam Coc (three caves), a peaceful valley among limestone “karst” hills. There, you are rowed along a gentle river between paddy fields and through the caves.
After your included lunch at a local restaurant, you pick up your bike to ride along a scenic canal with walking around open rice fields and looking around at the amazing folds of the rock formations. You have a chance to learn about Vietnamese agriculture and cycle through different villages and a unique area known for its magnificent limestone peaks. You spend the night at hotel in Van Long, Ninh Binh.
DAY 4 - Cruise, Kayak & Local Village Life
Travel to Cruise Ship | Perla Dawn Cruise Ship
After breakfast, you travel by private vehicle to Hai Phong. At noon you embark on the Perla Dawn and she sets sail at Cat Hai port. Enjoy a welcome drink and a cruise briefing. A splendid lunch is served while cruising the primitive Lan Ha Bay with its hundreds of picturesque islands.
Take a 2-hour kayaking trip to discover the poetic Tra Bau area. Then enjoy swimming in the emerald water. Visit a fishing farm and socialize with fishermen to learn more about everyday life here. Then return to the Perla Dawn for sunset. Enjoy the daily happy hour with buy-1-get-1-free for all drinks from 5 to 6 p.m. while taking part in the cooking demonstration. Relax with a Massage and Spa treatment, always available upon request.
Delight in a flavorful dinner on the top deck in the center of the serene bay, surrounded by the light of a thousand stars. Enjoy the fruit and vegetable carving display and traditional music performances. Then, socialize with new friends and crew members. Perhaps join the squid fishing. Overnight on board.
DAY 5 - Bright Cave & Fly to Hue
Bright Cave paddle and fly to Hue | Pilgrimage Village
Early risers can begin your new day with a Tai Chi session or a photo chase. Then enjoy breakfast in the fresh air and peaceful beauty of the Bay. Visit Bright Cave on a bamboo boat paddled in a serene, round lake surrounded by trees and dramatic walls of stone. Then return to the ship to pack your luggage and check out of the cabin and enjoy a buffet lunch while cruising towards the port.
At noon, disembark the Perla Dawn and return to Hanoi to board a flight to Hue. The flight departs at 6 p.m. Enjoy dinner and overnight at our hotel in Hue, at a peaceful resort surrounded by lush gardens. Hue is known for its religious, cultural and historic heritage. Many significant buildings have been restored after damage in the Tet Offensive in 1968.
DAY 6 - Royal Tomb, Dragon Boat & Farming
Distance: 22 miles | Terrain: Easier | Pilgrimage Village
In the morning, you ride along country lanes accompanied only by light local traffic – (mainly bicycles, buffaloes and motorbikes!) to the Royal Tomb of Emperor Tu Duc, the “Poet Emperor.”
The tomb of Tu Duc is set in an elegant garden with a magnificent lake and pavilion complex. The simplicity of the actual tomb (a monument – he was buried elsewhere to thwart grave robbers) is at odds with the lavish opulence of his reign.
Keep riding through Thuy Bieu village to enjoy the fresh air of Hue’s suburb before you board a dragon boat to cruise along the Perfume River to visit to the Thien Mu Pagoda and Thanh Toan covered bridge.
After lunch, you learn about the process of planting rice and the traditional life of farmers by visiting an agriculture museum before you ride back to the hotel to freshen up. Tonight, you dine in a pleasant local restaurant. You are served a splendid meal based on the distinctive characteristics of classic Hue cuisine. You spend a second night in Hue.
DAY 7 - Explore Hue & Ride Along a Beach
Distance: 25 miles | Terrain: Easier | Angsana Lang Co Resort
This morning, your guide takes you on a tour of Hue’s ancient citadel, once the seat of the Emperors of the powerful Nguyen Dynasty, which ruled Vietnam from approximately 1800 to 1945. You begin with a stroll around the area between the Citadel’s massive walls and the defensive moat, now filled with lotus flowers. You then enter via the Noon Gate to wander around the Thai Hoa Palace – the Pavilion housing the Nine Urns of the Nguyen rulers – and the remains of the Royal Palaces.
From there you travel by bus beyond the city limits of Hue (out to the coast) before beginning the ride off the beaten track for 25 miles along a picturesque, very narrow peninsular road from Thuan An beach. You cycle in the shade of coconut trees, stop to explore the hundreds of ancestral tombs scattered in the large sand dunes and numerous colorful ancestral worship buildings. At the end of the peninsula, you hop on a bus and transfer to Angsana Lang Co Resort to spend the night. Dinner is on your own.
DAY 8 - Beach Ride, Mountain Pass
Distance: 25 miles | Terrain: Easier to Intermediate | Anantara Hoi An Resort
Leaving the hotel in the morning, you cycle along Lang Co beach to warm up before doing some challenging bike riding as you conquer to the Hai Van or “Pass of Ocean Clouds.” Now that the new tunnel through the mountain is completed, the 6 miles of uphill riding will be on a very quiet section of highway. The gradient is manageable and the views breathtaking!
After summiting the pass and riding down the other side, you are then transferred the rest of the way to Hoi An, a delightful old trading town and UNESCO World Heritage Site. You spend the night by the sea in Hoi An.
DAY 9 - Rural Riding & Hands-On Farming Demo
Distance: 11 miles | Terrain: Easier | Anantara Hoi An Resort
After breakfast, you ride your bicycle to the village of Cam Thanh located nearby Hoi An. After a short rest, you then continue cycling through the rural scenery of Hoi An to a small village located on the banks of the Tra Que lagoon, 2 miles northeast of the old town. You meet local people and join in the experience of their daily work of planting and watering vegetables. Your local village hosts provide you with a cooking demonstration and show you some of the local specialties – including how to make rice paper, ban xeo and the tam huu local spring roll.
After lunch, you return to the old town, and the remainder of the day will be your own. You spend a second night in Hoi An.
DAY 10 - Fly to & Tour Ho Chi Minh City
Flight to Ho Chi Minh City | Majestic Hotel
After breakfast at the hotel, you are transferred to Danang Airport to board a flight to Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon). Upon your arrival, you visit the famous Cu Chi tunnels, a byzantine maze of underground passages, chambers, rooms and booby traps used by both the Vietminh and the Viet Cong to suddenly materialize as if from nowhere, launch a lightning ambush, and vanish equally rapidly. Overnight at a 5-star hotel in Ho Chi Minh City overlooking the Saigon River.
DAY 11 - Village Riding & Mekong Cruise
Distance: 24 miles | Terrain: Easier | Majestic Hotel
This morning you travel by bus and head out of the hustle and bustle of city traffic to the tranquility of the countryside. You then pick up your bicycle and ride along the many stunning villages. Rice grows – as do spices and fruit – and folks swinging in hammocks may wave as we cycle through this beautiful scene.
On arrival My Tho, you board a boat to cruise on the Mekong River and row through small canals and channels to Thoi Son Island, where you’ll disembark … and walk along a small village road to visit fruit gardens, the elementary school, the local distillery … and witness the daily life of Mekong villagers. You have a chance to sample some of area’s tropical fruits and watch a traditional music show. After that, you climb back on the boat to visit a coconut candy workshop. You return to Ho Chi Minh City by bus to spend a second night at the Majestic Hotel.
DAY 12 - Departure Day
After breakfast, you are free until your driver arrives to take you to Tan Son Nhat Airport near Ho Chi Minh City for your departure flight.