Seven legendary days from Hanoi to Hoi An. Immerse yourself in the local culture, culinary delights and scenic landscapes on a journey through rural Vietnam. The Buffalo Run has been designed by travellers for travellers. It showcases some of the most spectacular “off the beaten track” destinations while keeping a fun and relaxed atmosphere, all being enjoyed with a bunch of like minded souls.
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TRIP DEPARTS EVERY MONDAY AND FRIDAY
Got a question? Check out this first! FAQ’s about the Buffalo Run, Vietnam
TRANG AN – HALONG BAY ON LAND: (L, D)
We depart from our Downtown hostel at 7am and head South West to Trang An, or commonly known as “HaLong Bay on Land”. After enjoying a delicious lunch, we will take a boat up the beautiful river fed by natural springs and through caves that cut their way through amazing limestone karst mountains to visit an Ancient 10th Century pagoda and temple.
We will have dinner and a shower in central Ninh Binh town before boarding the overnight bus to Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park.
DARK CAVE & PHONG NGA-KE BANG NATIONAL PARK: (B, L)
Phong Nga-Ke Bang is one of the largest National Parks in Vietnam. Home to a huge amount of wildlife, breathtaking scenery, crystal clear rivers and immense cave systems. A documentary by National Geographic has given this area much attention with the discovery of the world’s largest cave, Son Doong, here in the early 1990’s.
Our first stop is Eight Lady Cave. The site where eight women who were working on Route 20 highway died from a bomb attack that caused a massive rock to seal off the exit trapping them inside. After lunch we visit the awesome Dark Cave by zipline or for the slightly less adventurous, kayaks.
With only a head torch for light, we navigate our way in the darkness to the mud baths. Soak up in the goodness and be left with baby-smooth skin and what’s a mud bath without a classic mud fight! Afterwards take a refreshing dip in the lake and wash all the mud away.
PHONG NGA: (B, L)
After an activity packed day yesterday, today is free for you to cycle around & explore the town, check out the local life by the river or just chill out. We will take you on a short but bumpy ride through the villages to the Pub with Cold Beer for a local lunch and of course, some cold beer!
VINH MOC TUNNEL: (B, L)
Vinh Moc is a tunnel complex in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). The tunnels were built to shelter families from the intense bombings of the area during the American war. Over 600 people lived and 17 babies were born in these tunnels between 1965 and 1972. After lunch we will visit the Mine Action Visitors Centre in Dong Ha. This centre looks at the effects of the war that still happens today, even after hostilities ended in 1975.
After this you will arrive at Vietnam Backpacker Hostels in Hue for some cold beers and depending what you’re up for, a relaxing night in or hitting the town!
THIEN MU PAGODA & BEACH DAY: (B, L)
Standing seven storeys high, Thien Mu is the tallest pagoda in Vietnam. Built in 1601, this pagoda is rich in history and is a very important Buddhist site. Pat the stone turtle on his head for good luck. Hop back on the bus and we head to the local beach to enjoy some lunch and some cocktails as we swim and enjoy the sunset… This spot is a real hidden gem!
HAI VAN PASS: (B, L)
Depart Hue in the morning as part of the ‘Top Gear Experience’ and ride motorbikes all the way to Hoi An. With many stops along the way, taking in beautiful beaches, coastline and the breathtaking Elephant Springs. Make sure you have packed your swimming gear as this is a great place to relax, swim and enjoy lunch for a couple of hours. The journey then heads South to take in some breathtaking views as we ascend the famous Hai Van Pass where we will stop at the top to see some French and American bunkers, the remnants of war times past. This road, made famous by the Top Gear motoring programme is a site not to be missed.
HOI AN: BASKET BOAT TRIP, UNESCO OLD TOWN & ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BEACHES IN ASIA: (B)
Here you will take a leisurely bicycle ride through the picturesque bamboo groves and take a traditional basket boat ride that includes some crab fishing. Finish up with a fresh coconut by the side of the river. Finish the trip with some free time to explore the Old Town’s thousands of tailor shops, art galleries and riverside market or simply kick back on the beach.
***** (5) “I stayed at the hostel either side of the North west buffalo run. The dorms were specially designed for backpackers with great security. The buffalo run itself was one of the best things I’ve ever done and I couldn’t recommend it highly enough! Our guide Mickey was fantastic and I miss the group I was with! The night we returned we did the pub crawl with the hostels which was crazy and a fun night out. As a solo traveller it was so so so worth it!” (Holly B)
**** (4) “Best 7 days of my life mainly thanks to our tour guide Hue / Johnny. I can speak on behalf of the whole group by saying we couldn’t of got anyone better and he made the trip for us. An absolute gent who is a credit to the company and I would not hesitate booking again.” (Darren)
**** (4) “We went on the Buffalo Run beginning in Hanoi on 15th June. It was an absolutely incredible experience and I would 100% recommend it to anyone starting their Vietnam travel in Hanoi. We went all along the coast from Hanoi to Hoi An and saw so many places you’d never have access to if you didn’t have a Vietnamese tour guide. Our tour guide Johnny was fantastic. He was hilarious and friendl, and so knowledgeable about Vietnamese history and just about anything you wanted to know. The food on this trip is absolutely delicious.” (Ciara G, Dublin, Ireland)
WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU?:
All your accommodation, transport as well as one of our awesome local guides and entrance fees. Please check the itinerary for meals that are included – most are.
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED:
Drinks, travel insurance and personal expenses.
*On day 6, our Top Gear experience is offered based on a pillion option, giving you more of a chance to sit back, relax and take in the sites without the pressures of driving. However if you wish to drive, please note that we will require you to sign a disclaimer form. Please also note that it is likely that you will not be covered by your travel insurance while riding a motorbike in Vietnam. You ride yourself at your own risk, we cannot be held responsible if you choose to ride yourself and something goes wrong, this includes in cases of mechanical failures*
MEETING POINT: Your adventure starts with a meet and greet with your Tour Leader and the rest of your group the night before your trip. Please make your way to our Downtown Hostel located at 9 Ma May St, Hoan Kiem Lake by 7pm. Speak to one of our Travel Desk crew and they will be able to point you in the right direction. We’ll also get all the admin out of the way then so please bring your passports, that way we can hit the ground running the next day!
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 circumtances, or in the event of any delay, curtailment or alteration of the trip. We can not guarantee pick-up or drop-off times and are not liable for passenger failure to connect with other services or any associated costs incurred.
LIABILITY: 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.
IMPORTANT: Passengers should note that adventure travel involves a higher than normal risk.
TRAVEL INSURANCE: 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.
THE ESSENTIALS: Your passport, comfortable shoes/trainers, swim-stuff, towel, sunscreen, toiletries, rain coat, warm clothes for the cooler months (Nov – March), mosquito repellent, camera, some spending money and a flashlight. Also bring your appetite and a sense of humour!
HOW MUCH LUGGAGE CAN I TAKE? Your vehicle has limited space so please keep your luggage to a maximum of 15kgs in a backpack or soft overnight bag and include a small day pack to hand carry for easy access to camera, sunscreen, water etc.
WHERE DO I MEET THE TRIP? The trip departs from Vietnam Backpacker Hostel at 9 Ma May Street, Hanoi at 06:30. You must reconfirm your place on the trip the night before departure at the Travel Desk.
WHAT DO I EAT? Being in the Vietnamese countryside, it can be difficult to find places to eat that will please everyone, however our emphasis is on fresh food wherever possible. If you are vegetarian or do not eat seafood we can cater for you, but if you have very specific dietary needs you may need to provide your own food, please discuss this at time of booking.
HOW FIT DO I HAVE TO BE? This is an active trip so a reasonable level of fitness and swimming ability is needed. If you enjoy climbing through caves, swimming in beautiful jungle rivers or just being in pristine national parks and directly experiencing the environment then this trip is perfect for you. If you have any doubts about your suitability for this trip, please check with our Travel Team before making a booking.
NOTE: Activities vary in duration and grade depending on the availability.
DO I HAVE TO PARTICIPATE? Part of the enjoyment of our tours is bonding with a group of like-minded adventurers so we make them active and hands on. Full involvement is normally one of the highlights of the trip but no one will force you to do something you don’t want to do.
ONLINE BOOKINGS: All online bookings need to be confirmed and paid for in full 24 hours in advance. If not, Vietnam Backpacker Hostels will regard it as non-attendance. You will not be able to join the tour and will NOT be refunded.