Locals kayak through the waters of Hanoi in Vietnam.

Discovery Tour in Vietnam

Explore Vietnam as you dive into the country’s history, fragrant food and scenic wonders like Ha Long Bay

At a glance

Get ready for an authentic adventure as you join a Discovery Tour in Vietnam. You’ll get to live among rice farmers surrounded by sprawling mountains, learn local handicrafts and practices, and marvel at the chaotic metropolis of Hanoi. This journey will provide local insights into Vietnamese life and it will take you to the wonder that is Ha Long Bay. 

You’ll also get to delve into Vietnam’s turbulent history, relax at the beach and wander around the sleepy town of Hoi An.

Come prepared to experience new smells, tastes, sights and sounds. You’ll end up leaving with lifelong memories and friends.

Start Dates: 

Throughout the year

See Dates

Minimum Duration: 

One Week


18 or over

What are the highlights of my Discover Vietnam trip?

Vietnam is a treasure just waiting to be explored. Here are the highlights of our Discovery Tour in Vietnam: 

  • Take an overnight boat tour on the emerald waters of Ha Long Bay
  • Cycle through rice fields in the mountain valleys of Mai Chau
  • Relax at the beach in Hoi An
  • Discover Vietnam’s ancient history at the Imperial City of Hue and the surrounding Royal Tombs
  • Float along the river at Ninh Binh and marvel at the towering mountains and lush rice fields
  • Learn how to cook Vietnamese cuisine and try local delicacies
  • Be guided through the bustle of Hanoi’s Old Quarter

Is this trip to Vietnam right for me?

If you’re looking for an authentic and culturally rich travel experience in Vietnam, then our Discovery Tour is for you. Our local guides will teach you all about the country’s history, culture and traditions while showing you the sites in Vietnam. 

This trip is open to all adventurers over the age of 18. It’s a great way to meet new people, explore a new country and stay safe while doing so.

During your time in Vietnam, you’ll live in shared accommodation with the rest of your group. This includes homestays and hotels as well as a night on a boat in Ha Long Bay!

Day 1 – Arrival in Hanoi

Our staff will collect you from the airport after you arrive in Vietnam. In order for you to freshen up, they’ll take you straight to your accommodation which you’ll share with your group. Depending on your arrival time, you can spend the day exploring the city or just relaxing and catching your breath from the long trip.

Once your whole group has arrived, you’ll attend a welcome dinner where you’ll get to know each other. After dinner, our staff will show you the area around Hoan Kiem Lake, which is usually closed to traffic on weekends. They’ll show you the night market, traditional games, performances and dancing that occur here.

Day 2 – Tour of Hanoi

You’ll begin your morning with an introduction to Vietnamese culture. You’ll be taught useful Vietnamese expressions and phrases before going through your itinerary. 

Continue your day with a tour of the bustling Old Quarter and elegant French Quarter of Hanoi. You’ll get to try egg coffee (a delicious drink rarely found outside of Hanoi) in a hidden cafe before visiting the Imperial Citadel, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This ancient palace was home to Vietnam’s rulers for over 1000 years.

Your history tour doesn’t stop there. You’ll get to visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Ba Dinh Square, the resting place of the Vietnamese Revolutionary leader who led the country to independence. You’ll even get to climb the Hanoi Flag Tower and learn about the Vietnam War at the Military Museum. 

In the evening, be prepared for something unique as you watch a military procession at Ba Dinh Square.

Day 3 – Mai Chau, handcrafts and cooking class, and Vietnamese entertainment

After breakfast, you’ll travel three hours through fields and mountains to reach the breathtaking valley of Mai Chau. Here, you’ll live in a homestay and become part of the family. You’ll experience authentic rural life in traditional stilt accommodation surrounded by rice fields and farms.

During your stay, you’ll join a cooking class and make local handicrafts. You’ll learn how to combine all the fragrant herbs and spices to make some of the most popular local dishes and you get to eat it too! You’ll also play Vietnamese games and see traditional dancing to keep you entertained throughout the evening.

Day 4 –  Cycle tour and Chieu Cave

You’ll start your day with a bicycle tour through the valley as you learn about different farming techniques. You’ll also learn about the White Thai and Black Thai minority groups who live in Mai Chau. You’ll observe their unique weaving methods and traditional villages and see the more unusual foods and sights of rural markets.

You'll continue your active day as you climb 1200 stone steps to explore the Chieu Cave with its pristine stalactites. It’s a beauty to behold with its cool temperatures and wondrous stone formations. 

In the afternoon, you’ll travel back to Hanoi. Prepare your belly for great food as you sample some of the best in the streets of Hanoi. 

Day 5 –  Ha Long Bay, Sung Sot Cave, kayaking and karaoke

You’ll wake up early and travel by bus to Ha Long Bay. Once on your boat, you’ll enjoy lunch while sailing, followed by a walking tour of Sung Sot Cave.

In your free time, you’ll get to relax on the boat’s deck as you float between hundreds of limestone islands covered in tropical forests. You’ll float passed floating villages and even go kayaking in the bay. 

You’ll make the most of this experience by watching the sunset before dinner. At night, you can join the crew as they fish for squid or participate in the most popular Vietnamese evening entertainment of karaoke. You’ll then head to bed in a boat cabin sheltered in the calm waters of the bay.

Day 6 –  Ha Long Bay, cooking class and Hanoi food tour

You’ll spend the morning sailing further through the bay before joining a cooking class. You’ll learn how to cook a traditional Vietnamese dish and get to eat the fruits of your labour too! After lunch, you’ll reach the dock and take a bus back to Hanoi.

Back in Hanoi, you’ll visit markets and go on a food tour in the late afternoon. Get ready to taste some of the best food in Vietnam.

Day 7 – Ceramic village and pottery class

In the morning, you’ll travel to the ceramic village on the edge of the city where you’ll get to try your hand at pottery with the help of local artisans. Be careful as it can get pretty messy with spinning clay! You can even paint your creations and take them home as a souvenir. 

Day 8 – Bai Dinh Temple and Ninh Binh 

Prepare for a day of learning and enlightenment. You’ll take a bus to Bai Dinh Temple and Pagoda, the largest Buddhist Temple Complex in Vietnam. There, you’ll learn about Buddhism and its traditions. 

Afterwards, you’ll discover the scenic beauty of Ninh Binh with its karst mountains towering above rice fields and rivers below. Here, you’ll take a rowing boat along the river. Did you know? The locals paddle with their feet when their arms get tired! 

Day 9 – Mua Cave, Kenh Ga hot springs and overnight sleeper train

In the morning, you’ll trek up to Mua Cave and enjoy the awe-inspiring views of the valley below. After walking up so many steps, you’ll need a good rest so you’ll travel to the rustic village of Kenh Ga and bathe in the hot springs. These herbal baths are traditionally used to revitalise the body and mind. How relaxing!

After the day’s activities, you’ll take an overnight sleeper train to Hue. Vietnam’s train network is famous, and no trip would be complete without experiencing this form of transport. You’ll even have your own bed in a shared berth.

Day 10 – Hue Imperial City

You’ll wake up and get ready for the day before the train stopped in Hue, the previous capital city of Vietnam. After checking into your hotel, you’ll visit the Imperial City - a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This was home to many emperors and their consorts.

After a day of history, you’ll cycle around the city centre and enjoy some traditional Hue cuisine.

Day 11 – Nguyen Royal Tombs

Your day will start with a guided tour of the largest Nguyen Royal Tombs surrounding Hue. These ornate structures look more like grand monuments and temples. Some even acted as palaces during their construction. Elaborately decorated in carvings and paintings, they vary in style and include French influences.

Day 12 – Hoi An tour and beach day

After breakfast, you’ll take a bus to the sleepy town of Hoi An. The ancient town hosts a beautiful mix of French colonial buildings and wooden Chinese shophouses and temples. Ornate Vietnamese tube houses and the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge showcase the mixed history of Vietnam. 

After lunch, it’s time to relax. Soak up the sun on the white sand beaches to the north of Hoi An and swim in the crystal clear water. Later on, you can explore the night market, and watch as locals light candles and release floating lanterns along the canals.

Day 13 – Marble Mountain

No trip to Hoi An is complete without a trip to Marble Mountain. This set of mountains is home to spectacular views of the surrounding cities and shoreline. Inside the mountain, you can journey through caves filled with temples and forests. After lunch, you’ll head back to Hanoi.

Day 14 – Departure from Hanoi

After breakfast, you’ll have plenty of free time to explore Hanoi. You can go shopping for a few more souvenirs, get a massage or enjoy the last tastes of the Vietnamese cuisine. Make the most of your time before our staff take you to the airport to catch your flight home. Say your goodbyes and exchange contact details with the rest of your group. You might even go exploring together again in the future!

*Please note that the one-week itinerary will be the same as above, however, day seven will be departure day. 

Food and accommodation

You'll share accommodation with other Projects Abroad travellers during your stay in Vietnam. This is a great way to get to know each other, share experiences, and explore your surroundings during your free time together.

The accommodation is safe, clean, and comfortable. Your programme fees include three meals a day. 

Find out more about our accommodation.

Safety and staff support

Your safety and security is our prime concern. We have many procedures and systems to ensure you have the support you need to enjoy your trip with peace of mind. Our Projects Abroad staff are available 24 hours a day to help, and will be on-hand to make sure you settle in well at your accommodation and placement. If you encounter any problems, they will be available to help at any time.

Find out more about safety and backup.

This placement is fully researched, safety audited, and risk assessed in accordance with the British Standard BS8848 for the Adventure Travel Sector.

When you apply you only pay £195, which comes off the total price. Flexible payment options, fundraising advice, and scholarships available.

Looking to do more than one project? Get discounted prices when you combine projects or destinations!

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