Updated April 19th, 2018.
Spend seven action-packed days exploring Vietnam’s rich history, local culture, food, and breathtaking natural beauty from Hanoi to Hoi An. The Buffalo Run has been designed by travellers, for travellers. It showcases some of the most spectacular “off the beaten track” destinations through the lens of knowledgeable local guides while keeping a fun and relaxed atmosphere, all being enjoyed with a bunch of like-minded souls.
(B= Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Day 1- Trang-An – “Halong Bay On Land” (L,D)
Depart from our Downtown hostel at 9 am and begin your journey South. Dig into a delicious local lunch, explore natural spring-fed rivers, limestone karst caves, and a 10th-century pagoda and temple; all by way of private mini-bus, bicycle and boat. Enjoy a shower and dinner in central Ninh Binh town before boarding the overnight bus (a Vietnam Must-Do) to Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park.
Day 2- Dark Cave & Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park (B,L)
Today’s agenda is jam-packed with adventure, spent discovering the stunning scenery of Phong Nha-Ke Bang, one of Vietnam’s largest National Parks. Zipline into the Dark cave, get down and dirty in the mud baths, and grab a kayak and a dip in the lake, before feasting on a hard-earned lunch. Visit the Eight Lady Cave, a poignant relic of the war-torn era before capping off the day with a drink in hand watching the sunset over the rice paddies at a nearby farm stay.
Day 3- Phong Nha (B,L)
Make the most of your free morning to do some self-guided exploring, before heading out on a short “off-road” bike ride through the villages to a local treasure, the Pub with Cold Beer. Enjoy a farm-to-table lunch and an ice cold bottle of Nam’s finest.
Day 4- Demilitarized Zone(DMZ) and Vinh Moc Tunnels (B,L)
Spend the day discovering the rich war history of the area. Go deep underground into the Vinh Moc tunnel system, built as a shelter from the bombings during the American war. Visit the Mine Action Visitors Centre in Dong Ha and learn about the lasting effect of the war that still lingers today. Finally, make your way to our Hostel in Hue for some cold beers and a warm welcome.
Day 5- Hue: Thien Mu Pagoda & Beach Day (B,L)
Visit Thien Mu Pagoda, the tallest in Vietnam, and immerse yourself in the Buddhist culture. Head to a secluded beach for some much-needed relaxation, lunch and cocktails. Go for a swim in the sea and soak in the sun before watching it set from one of Hue’s real hidden gems.
Day 6- Hai Van Pass (B,L)
Ride in style in an old-fashioned, open-air Russian Army Jeep to travel the most iconic stretch of Vietnam, the Hai Van Pass. Take a dip in the ocean and set up on the sand for a seaside lunch with locals. Pile back in and make your wind-blown way to the peak of the pass, visiting French and American bunkers, bullet holes and all. Finish your epic journey arriving into our Hostel in Hoi An for a poolside beverage with friends.
Day 7- Hoi An: Unesco Old Town & An Bang Beach by Bicycle (B)
Discover Hoi An’s highlights by bicycle in the Unesco Old Town, including its renowned tailor shops, bustling markets, and hidden street food spots. Get creative in the city of Lanterns with a workshop to make your own, and sunbathe in the beauty of An Bang beach. Relax by the pool and plan your local activities for the following days in Hoi An or prepare to embark on the next chapter of your legendary journey down Vietnam with Buffalo Run South: Hoi An- Ho Chi Minh.
What’s in it for you?:
All of your accommodation, transport, one of our awesome local guides and all entrance fees. Please check the itinerary for included meals- the few that aren’t are meant to maintain flexibility.
What’s not included:
Drinks, travel insurance, and personal expenses.
The Important Stuff:
Conditions of travel:
In circumstances beyond the control of Vietnam Backpacker Hostels and the associated tour operators, such as weather conditions, mechanical failure and/or restrictions placed by the National Park Authorities, we reserve the right to alter the route or itinerary of any of its tours and arrange alternative carriers to those advertised if necessary. NO refunds will be given in these circumstances, or in the event of any delay, curtailment or alteration of the trip. We cannot guarantee pick-up or drop-off times and are not liable for passenger failure to connect with other services or any associated costs incurred.
Whilst we make every effort to safeguard our clients and their belongings, we cannot be held responsible for personal injury or loss due to events, which are beyond our control.
Passengers should note that adventure travel involves a higher than normal risk.
Travel insurance is NOT included; we strongly recommend that passengers have their own travel insurance against illness, injury, loss/damage to personal belongings and not being able to travel on the confirmed departure date.
Passport, comfortable shoes/trainers, swim-stuff, towel, sunscreen, toiletries, raincoat, warm clothes for the cooler months (Nov-March), mosquito repellent, camera, spending money, flashlight, a healthy appetite and a good attitude!
How much luggage can I take?
Due to limited vehicle space, we ask that you limit yourself to a maximum of 15 kgs in a backpack or overnight bag.
Where do I meet the trip?
The trip departs from Vietnam Backpacker Hostel at 9 Ma May Street, Hanoi at 9 am. If you’re not there when we leave, we’ll regard it as a non-attendance. You won’t be able to join the trip, and will NOT be refunded. To avoid any delays in the morning, make sure you check-in with our crew and reconfirm your details at the Travel Desk the night before.
What do I eat?
One of the highlights of this trip is the unique access to local foods. Being in the Vietnamese countryside, it can be difficult to find places that will please everyone. However, if you are vegetarian, have food allergies or do not eat seafood we can cater to you. If you have very specific dietary needs please discuss this at the time of booking.
How fit do I have to be?
This is an active trip so a reasonable level of fitness is needed, however, the aim is leisure adventure. If you have any doubts about your suitability for this trip please check.