Airport Pick Up
Today is the day your life changes forever. We’ll pick you up, cute sign with your name on it and all from Da Nang International airport before whisking you off to meet your TruFam (AKA your touring group for the trip who very quickly become your best mates) at our Hoi An hotel. Hoi An is a wonderful, quaint seaside town and a UNESCO World Heritage Site infamous for its hanging lanterns and deeply cultural vibes. No first-date is complete without delicious food and plenty of looseners along Hoi An’s buzzing night markets so that’s exactly what we’ll do!
Basket boat trip
If you think that headline sounds good, we’re probably not even doing it justice. Welcome to your first full day in Hoi An, and possibly your first full day in Vietnam full stop. Today we’re up and out early with a bike tour around the town. That’ll get you nice and hungry for a culinary experience and a half because we’re having lunch with a local family whose take on food will have your taste buds doing backflips! In the afternoon we’re going crab fishing in coconut woods (which sits on the water, duh!) in traditional bamboo basket boats which are frankly hilarious! That evening as dusk rolls in explore the boardwalk of Hoi An surrounded by lanterns to cap off a dreamy day in Vietnam.
bike ride & basket boat trip
HAI VAN PASS
Today try channelling your inner Jeremy Clarkson, but without the shit hair or Captain Slow without the slowness, as we’re saying goodbye to Hoi An hitting Hai Van Pass on a road trip made famous by Top Gear. No rickety mopeds for us, we’re doing it in-style aboard our private open-top jeeps. The scenery on the route North to the town of Hue is spectacular. We’ll stop for lunch, for some snapd and even a dip in the tropical waters before reaching the imperial city of Hue. Post hotel check-ins and chill out, we’re heading out, out to explore Hue’s nightlife where we’re all about the local beers, the rice wine and feeling like royalty.
COOKING CLASS & imperial city
Hue used to be home to emperors, more specifically those from the Nguyen dynasty. The result is some ridiculously decadent palaces, shrines and the crown jewel of Hue, the stunning Imperial City itself - a walled enclosure within the citadel that is a photographer's wet dream. You’ll really feel like royalty as you explore Hue, not least when you find that body of water beside you is called the Perfume River thanks to the orchids which fall into it in the autumn creating an aroma only beaten by the food. Speaking of food, it’s time to learn how to cook some traditional Vietnamese dishes! We are now dreaming of some Pho. That evening we’re back on the road with full bellies and heading further North to the town of Phong Nha.
COOKING CLASS & imperial city
Phong Nha National Park
By now you’ve seen the stunning Vietnamese coastline, devoured the most delicious food of your life and learned all sorts of weird and wonderful things about Vietnamese culture. It’s now time for some adrenaline, deal? Welcome to Phong Nha National Park, home to one of the longest cave systems in the world and the aptly named Paradise Cave whose entrance is a mind-boggling 72 metres high! We’re spending the day exploring the caves and even ziplining through them, wooooo! That evening it’s back on the bus with your TruFam, that you’ve now shared more memorable experiences with than most people, and onto the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi.
dark cave, phong nha national park & ziplining
HANOI, EGG COFFEE & EXPLORING
By now you’re totally and utterly in love with Vietnam, it’s people and your heroic TruNinja (that’s what we call our tour guides but you already know that!). Hanoi is home to 8m residents and in 2018 welcomed over 5m international visitors (5 million and 12 now). Chaotic but immensely vibrant, Hanoi was made for exploring so after we get our latest hotel check-in done, we’re heading for a local cafe to try some egg coffee, Vietnam’s version of a 99 cone. The rest of the day is up to you guys, whether spending it as a culture vulture, a snap happy Insta hun or a bargain hunter at Đồng Xuân Market (did someone say new suits?).
WELCOME TO Halong Bay
Ok, breathe. This is probably the day you’ve been looking forward to the most and we can totally understand why. Don’t get us wrong, you’ll love the bustle of Hanoi but what you’ll probably love even more is Halong Bay and that’s exactly where we are headed. Halong Bay is legendary. It’s been your screensaver at some point, it’s been photographed endlessly but trust us, none of these pictures do justice to the bright green sea and otherworldly presence of 1,600 limestone islands dotted throughout this labyrinth of paradise. Check-in down, we’re having lunch to the most incredible backdrop of the bay but it won’t be long before it's time for an afternoon of swimming, snorkelling and all sorts of aquatic high jinx in the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen. After a day of fun in the sun, a sunset party is on the cards followed by a traditional Vietnamese cooking class, all while being surrounded by the most incredible views. Your first day in Halong Bay stays with you forever.
HALONG BAY CRUISING & CAVES
AS IF we're only spending one day here. Day two in Halong Bay and we’re going cruising, kayaking through the ancient caves and endless network of lagoons while generally beaming from ear-to-ear that life could be this perfect. Keep an eye out for the more exotic locals including monkeys, lizards, sea eagles and if you’re lucky SEA TURTLES! Today is about soaking up every single moment, say yes to that sunrise Tai Chi lesson, say yes to exploring the caves by bamboo boat. We weren't lying when we said we don't do average.
SO LONG HALONG, BACK TO HANOI
Paradise has well and truly been found and we’ve yet to have a single traveller tell us they wouldn’t be back here again, but it’s time to say goodbye to Halong Bay for now and head back to Hanoi for our last full day on tour (hold it together, we know it’s hard!). It’s Hanoi, you’ve made friends for life and they're all here. Let’s say we finish the tour off in style with a massive blow out. Grab a drink and start to look back at all that’s changed in the last nine days. You’ve now explored Northern Vietnam and for the rest of your life you’ll measure up everywhere you travel against this wonderful, hospitable, beautiful country.
chilled check out
It’s a day for sore heads and emotional goodbyes as we’re at the end of the tour. Fear not though, this may not be the end of your adventure and if not our TruNinjas know Southeast Asia like the back of their hand and can advise you on what and where to next. If it is time to depart this part of the world then allow yourself to be sad about it, but promise us you’ll come back for more? It’s a very easy promise to keep in truth. You’re now a lifelong member of the TruFam and by now, you’ll know how big a deal that is. See you soon!