Vietnam holiday, off the beaten track

“A two week tailor made trip to Vietnam run by a small local company, experts in the real rural Vietnam. With plenty of hikes and then overnights far off the beaten track.”


Hanoi | Mai Chau | Pu Luong | Accommodation in traditional stilt houses | Sampan trip on Ma River | Guided hikes to traditional villages | Cam Thuy’s ‘Sacred Fish Stream’ | Domestic flight to Pleiku | Ja Rai village of Phun | DakBla River rafting | Kontum | Buon Ma Thuot | Canoe trip on Lak Lake | Ho Chi Minh | Domestic flight to Con Dao | Hon Bay Canh Island | Turtle watching

Description of Vietnam holiday, off the beaten track

This is a two week, tailor made tour that is all about seeing the real Vietnam off the beaten track. Vietnam holidays are fast becoming dominated by multinational tour operators, but our small locally owned company is passionate about bringing visitors into the Vietnam that we know and love. To spend time in the rural villages around Pu Luong and the Central Highlands, with different ethnic groups and cultures that make up Vietnamese people, and showing off the natural heritage wonders and biodiverse beauties of their country.

The Pu Luong region is a protected Nature Reserve, made up of luscious limestone hills where rivers and waterfalls have carved up an idyllic landscape. We lead guided hikes through the ancient forests and valleys here, stopping at hill tribe villages along the way where we are welcomed in to eat and sleep in authentic homestays. The hiking is not too strenuous, and we follow a gentle pace stopping to identify the local flora and fauna en route, with over a thousand plant species, 39 of which are endangered.

In contrast, you will find the Central Highlands very different, with elevated landscapes, plateaus with great panoramic views and also home to seventeen different ethnic communities living mountain lifestyles. Following the ancient ‘gong’ culture, where the gong instrument plays a huge role in ritual and custom, their unique rong houses with their definitive towering roofs are a fascinating local feature. Our time here is spent hiking through ancient forest, swimming in waterfalls or lakes and enjoying time at locally owned accommodation.

Using domestic flights for ease of transport, we spend the final days of this Vietnam holiday far out on the Con Dao archipelago in the South China Sea. A protected nature reserve, not only do the tropical forests and beaches proffer magnificent hiking but this quiet, untouristy island’s culture of fishing and history as a penal colony makes for a fascinating stay. As does the turtle watching (April-Oct) and snorkelling.

This Vietnam tour has been crafted with the more adventurous traveller in mind. One that is seeking out an authentic Vietnam, remote and biodiverse landscapes. With some trekking involved, it is not particularly recommended for families with young children, although it may appeal to teenagers who don’t want the usual tourist experience, but to delve deeper into Vietnamese rural culture. As a tailor made itinerary, we are more than happy to discuss all your interests to make this the perfect Vietnamese experience for you and your fellow travellers. Regarding the best time to visit Vietnam, we recommend Jan-May and late Sept-Dec, as the rainy season falls between these dates.

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Departure information

We offer a complete tailor made service and this suggested sampled itinerary can be tailor made to suit your requirements

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Wherever possible, we generate income for people living in poor areas by using local materials, transport, food and guides and paying directly to the individuals concerned rather than intermediaries. Our members of staff visit the destinations from time to time to look for new opportunities to benefit families and communities. We contract local indigenous suppliers and assist them to improve the quality of their services.

By booking this tour, you’ll be helping us to support Vietnamese service providers, small businesses, boat owners, national park rangers and other poor people in communities throughout the three destinations.

We use local freelance guides with wide experience and knowledge of local traditions and the natural environment as well as an ability to interpret the cultural heritage of the people in the places visited. For this tour, you’ll have several different guides from the provinces you’ll visit. Each will be an expert in each area.

We also work closely with small projects in Vietnam. For example, we assisted Fauna and Flora International (FFI – a highly regarded international conservation organisation) in setting up the Pu Luong trails. At present, we’re trying to help an important project to save a critically endangered species of large primate, now reduced to less than sixty individuals worldwide. We are working on plans to encourage our clients to help us by offering to match their donations.

This tour fits our philosophy admirably. It’s a means of alleviating poverty, conserving our indigenous culture, protecting the natural environment and, at the same time, providing our customers with an unforgettable holiday.


1 Reviews of Vietnam holiday, off the beaten track

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 17 Feb 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Meeting the people of Vietnam's central highlands, including our guides.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be friendly!! We notice that Europeans especially seem to be wary of encountering the very people they've come to meet. Talk to them, say please and thank you, and SMILE!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

We came from Vietnam's central highlands with an understanding of their great needs and the great help we can provide.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent in all ways. Ms. Thanh Ha of the operator’s Saigon office provided detailed information and reminders, and she met us in Saigon to make sure everything was as we hoped.

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