Backroads of Vietnam
Drive / Rest day
11 / 2
Sealed / Dirt
90% / 10%
2,000 km / 1,250 mi
Vietnam: Drive an iconic Willys Jeep as you explore the jewel of Southeast Asia
Explore the jewel of Southeast Asia in a Willys Jeep; Vietnam is an incredible country with some of Asia’s finest panoramas that includes limestone karst islands, verdant green rice fields bordered by mountain peaks, ancient traditional villages, national parks, and wonderful well-preserved French influenced old towns in Hanoi & Hoi An. We drive our iconic Willys Jeeps through a landscape of historic towns, world heritage sites and along stunning coastlines stopping at significant sites synonymous with the Vietnam War. This is a very unique way to experience this magnificent destination and allows us to really understand this breathtaking country and its peoples.
Dates and Pricing
Joining Day 1: Arrive in Hanoi today where you will meet your crew and fellow tour participants for the next 13 days. We shall have our pre-departure meeting in the evening followed by our first group dinner.
Day 2: We collect our iconic Willys Jeeps and turn east from Hanoi to visit the single most iconic sight in Vietnam, the incredible Lan Ha Bay located in the Ha Long Bay region, a breathtaking landscape of over 3000 islands rising from the Gulf of Tonkin. It’s the quintessential Southeast Asian scene.
Day 3: We stay at the far quieter Lan Ha Bay, away from the cruise liners, where we organise a full day exploring some of these 3000 islands aboard our boat visiting some of the grottos and caves that abound around these islands. This day promises some of the most jaw dropping scenery imaginable.
Day 4: Back in our Willys Jeeps we turn west, returning to Hanoi, then driving on to the stunning Mai Chau, a landscape of brilliant green rice fields hemmed in by forest clad mountains and dotted with villages located on clear water streams, it’s a breathtakingly beautiful location.
Day 5: Today we drive into Pu Luong Nature Reserve, a wonderful landscape of lush valleys, terraced rice fields and towering limestone mountains. Out of the cars we can explore some of the local villages where times seems to have stood still and visit the wonderful Hieu Waterfalls.
Day 6: A full day’s drive today as we travel the beautiful Nghe An Province. We overnight at a small village of Tan Ky, far removed from the hectic tourist trail, it’s a wonderful opportunity to meet the locals going about their daily lives.
Day 7: Today we drive toward Laos via a network of back country roads before entering a wonderful world of Karst scenery. We reach the remarkable UNESCO listed Phong Nha, the world’s largest cave system that was used as a shelter during the Vietnam War. We take an exciting boat trip deep into the cave system.
Day 8: We drive along the infamous Ho Chi Minh Trail, a trail described as one of the most significant achievements of military engineering of the 20th Century. We reach the famous Khe Sanh that was the former site of a US Marine base and site to a significant battle during the Vietnam War.
Day 9: Reaching the former DMZ (demilitarised zone) and visit the Vinh Moc Tunnels where hundreds of villages lived for the duration of the war, before reaching the spectacular coastline. We eventually reach Hue, home to the last of the Vietnamese Emperors. In the evening we shall watch the sun set on the banks of the Perfume River.
Day 10: We visit the Imperial City of Hue before departing on a superb drive as we continue south through a landscape of rice fields dotted with traditional villages. We will stop off at the beautiful Lang Co Beach and the Cau Hai Lagoon before crossing the lofty Hai Van Pass where we get our first views of Da Nang. Passing Da Nang, we continue just south to the living museum that is Hoi An.
Day 11: A full day is spent here allowing us to explore some of Hoi An’s 800 historic building which is like stepping back into a Vietnam of ancient times, and the city is also famous for the fact that it was never bombed during the Vietnam War. Located on the Thu Bon River which is flanked by bars, cafes and local markets and you can walk along the banks at night and take in the views across the rippling water.
Day 12: We take our Willys Jeeps via a series of beautiful backroads arriving at the UNESCO listed My Son, site of the ancient kingdom of Champa stunningly located under the massive Cats Tooth Mountain before our final drive into Da Nang where we say goodbye to our Jeeps. We see the day out with a cruise on the Han River.
Day 13: It’s a morning flight to Ho Chi Minh City today. On arrival we spend the day exploring this iconic city, formally known as Saigon. We will visit the renowned Reunification Palace where the first Communist tanks crashed through the gates on April 30th 1975 and stop at the War Remnants Museum. We will also visit the Jade Emperor Museum, and street markets of this vibrant city before seeing the day out and the end of this remarkable, historic, and completely unique tour with a dinner cruise on the Saigon River.
Departure Day: Spend a couple more days in Ho Chi Minh City to explore this iconic city or fly home.
- Airport Transfers
- Willys Jeep rental (if self-drive option has been requested)
- Fuel & tolls (if self-drive option has been requested)
- 13 nights’ accommodation in 3, 4 & 5- star hotels and lodges
- 13 breakfasts
- 11 lunches
- 10 Dinners
- Da Nang to Ho Chi Minh City flights
- Services of Compass Expeditions leader and support staff
- Access to Compass Expeditions App / Chock full of tour info, route maps & what to expect
- Pre-departure material
- Access to satellite phone, pay per minute
- Compass Expeditions tour shirt
- Entrances to all attractions & excursions mentioned in the itinerary
- International Flights
- Visas (if required)
- Personal Health/Travel Insurance
- Tips and gratuities
All accommodation is twin, double or family share, if you would like a single room there will be a single supplement: US$ 1,810.
90% of this route is on paved roads, we use back roads as much as possible where traffic is light but some sections will be narrow with broken shoulders and potholed. Some roads are very winding over mountain passes and the larger cities will be VERY busy with scooters, pushbikes and pedestrians.
10% of this route is on dirt, that can quickly turn to mud if recent rains have been experienced. but nothing too difficult. We travel remote regions where village life is close to the road.
Tour Start: Hanoi, Vietnam
Tour End: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
April is amongst the very best months to visit Vietnam, we can expect plenty of sunshine with clear blue skies in the north around Hanoi and Ha Long Bay, averaging around 19°C / 66°F. Central Vietnam around Hoi An and Da Nang will be warmer, but still dry with an average of 28°C / 82°F to be expected. In the far south around Ho Chi Minh City, it will be slightly warmer but again little to no rain.
- All drivers must have a valid driver’s license and at least two years manual transmission driving experience.
- It is a requirement that all travellers have appropriate insurance for this type of expedition.
2,000 km / 1,250 mi
Sealed / Dirt
90% / 10%
- 13 nights of accommodation.
- Our accommodations consist of wonderful 3 to 4-star hotels & lodges, chosen for their location and ambience.
- A flexible attitude is needed as standards are not always what we are accustomed to.
- All accommodation is on a twin share basis. If you are traveling alone, we will pair you up with another solo traveller. However, if you prefer single accommodation a single supplement is available: US$ 1,810.00
- On every day of the tour, we include breakfast: 13 Breakfasts
- On mentioned travel days we provide a cafe lunch: 10 Lunches
- We include mentioned dinners in reliable restaurants: 11 Dinners
4 Wheel Drives
Seating Capacity on our tour: 4 (1 driver & 3 passengers)
A unique experience in the emblematic willys jeep, an iconic relic left over from the Vietnam war.
Accidents happen, luggage is lost and tour or flight cancellations can occur, so it is our policy that all participants of Compass Expeditions tours have an appropriate level of travel insurance to cover the unforeseen. This is not only compulsory when joining our tours, but it makes sense.
If choosing your own insurance – for motorcycle tours it is crucial the insurance policy you choose will offer a policy for riding a motorcycle OVER 250cc (including our bikes). This is a critical point to ensure when purchasing a policy.
Our experienced In-house travel team are happy to help with getting you the right insurance for your tour and for any other travel you might be doing before or after. Contact our in-house travel team.