Picture this: It’s midway through the 10-day Northern Vietnam Trail Running + Wellness Retreat. You’ve already seen historic landmarks on a city Jeep tour, enjoyed a bowl or two of Pho (an iconic Vietnamese dish featuring hearty rice noodles in a savory broth with beef or chicken, fresh herbs, and bean sprouts) wandered through local markets and run through various villages.

You wake up to the sight of woven rattan ceilings above you and lush greenery around you at the Avana Retreat, one of Mai Chau's premiere luxury escapes that is surrounded by lush vegetation where you are staying for four nights. Your room is one of 36-guest villas that feel like part of the landscape because local craftsmen had constructed them using local textiles, earthen walls, rattan ceilings and palm-leaf roofs.  

After a satisfying breakfast featuring fresh produce and local ingredients, you'll take a short drive with your retreat leader and trail running guide to the trailhead for today's five-ish mile run. The trail winds through a bamboo forest and takes you to the local villagers’ fishponds and bamboo huts. Locals are occupied with their daily tasks, and you feel the rhythm of your breath syncing with the trails, anchoring you in the present moment immersed in the culture.

As you run past an expanse of rice fields toward Bao village, a wave of gratitude washes over you.

Immersing yourself with other adventurous women and an exceptional retreat leader in the scenic, remote mountains of Vietnam is a profound gift you'll cherish forever.

Next, it’s time to enjoy eachother’s company over a refreshing meal.Your taste buds delight in the newness of Vietnamese cuisine, a tantalizing fusion of flavors, textures, and aromas. You bite into an irresistible banh mi, a delicious sandwich with a crispy baguette filled with meats, herbs, pickled vegetables, and a spicy chili sauce. 

2024 Northern Vietnam Trail Running + Wellness Retreat

Now you're ready to relax and recharge at Avana Retreat. After selecting one of the body exfoliations, detox packages, facials and spa massages offered at the luxurious Orchid Spa, you take a mindful walk down to the nearby waterfall, and spot the chickens that laid the eggs you had eaten for breakfast.

orchid spa at Avana Retreat Vietnam

The Orchid Spa features many wellness spa treatments you can book upon your arrival to the resort. 

Back in your serene and private villa, you pull out your Transformational Travel Journal to help you process your experience so far. You reflect on the vulnerable moments and personal stories shared among your fellow retreat participants.

Their openness inspires you to let go of preconceived notions for this journey. You approach it with curiosity and wonder, embracing the freedom from predefined expectations.

You conclude the day with a complimentary workshop, such as breathwork training and candle-making, before dining at Avana’s on-site restaurant and sipping a cocktail at the Cloud Pool Bar.

The final stage of the Northern Vietnam Trail Running + Wellness Retreat  involves an overnight aboard a traditional ship in Ha Long Bay. Featuring towering cliffs and emerald, green water, this UNESCO World Heritage site is also officially recognized as one of the seven world's wonders of nature.

After breakfast at the hotel in Hanoi, you'll meet your retreat leader and driver and depart for Tuan Chau Island where you will board the Paradise Grand cruise ship. Once on board you will check into your cabin, and there will be a short safety briefing before lunch is served. The first stop of the afternoon will be to Ao Ech, known for its unspoiled beauty and tranquility, rocky mountains, and small sandy beaches.  

Paradise Grand's talented chefs are dedicated to serving memorable gourmet experiences from the beginning to the end of the voyage with locally-sourced products, well-selected ingredients and exquisite tastes from both Eastern and Western cuisine. There's no better way than this to explore some of the most beautiful bays in the world with hundreds of islands and islets, pristine beaches and limestone mountains towering above the emerald waters.

trail running in Vietnam

Many of the trails are foot paths connecting the region's ethnic minority villages and are still used by local people.

northern vietnam trail running

The retreat includes an overnight cruise in Ha Long Bay aboard the Paradise Grand ship. 

Paradise Grand ship in Hal Long Bay

The cruise includes time to relax, enjoy tai chi on the deck, kayak the bay and explore small caves.

Registration is open now for the 2024 Northern Vietnam Trail Running + Wellness Retreat for women taking place November 9 - 18, 2024. You have your choice of double-occupancy shared room packages or single-occupancy private room packages. Space is very limited; secure your spot today with only a deposit. Registration closes October 9, 2024. Click here to see the full itinerary.

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