Overview

Very few countries in the world have changed as much as Vietnam in such a short time. It has been 40 years since the end of the Vietnamese war, a war that proved the toughness and spirit of the Vietnamese. The country has constantly been evolving and is much easier to enter at present. There are many hotels now; roads are much better; the entrepreneurial spirit of the Vietnamese has woken up again in a flourishing market economy. This gem of a country seems to have miraculously risen from the ashes of war. The number of foreign tourists in the country is increasing slowly. The country's rice paddies, sugar, white beaches, stunning peaks and pagodas, historical sites, friendly people has been the topic of every person who has visited the country. Bidding a quick goodbye to the past, the Vietnamese people are striving towards their better future.

This itinerary allows you to explore the culture, people, and landscapes of northern Vietnam. Moving from the graceful streets of Hanoi, we head towards rural Mai Chau and the stunning limestone landscape of Tam Coc, by bike and by boat. Then, we continue the trip to Sapa and head towards the remote hill tribe villages bounded by rolling verdant hills and mountain streams, overlooking astonishing limestone karsts. The trip ends grandly at Halong Bay. We cruise the Halong bay a comfortable boat, with island visits, swimming, delicious food, kayaking, and sunbathing. A perfect way to end the trip that explores the cultural and scenic charms of northern Vietnam!

Trip highlights

What's included?

  • Airport pick up and drop off
  • Ground transport
  • Boat cruise
  • Accommodation with twin sharing room and breakfast
  • Meals

What's excluded?

  • International airfare
  • Travel insurance

Itinerary Show all

Day One:

Hanoi arrival / half-day city tour

Upon arrival, our airport representative will welcome and transfer you to the respective hotel. On the way, he will explain to you about your further trip.  You can take the half-day city tour in Hanoi, whether by car or a bike, whichever you choose. (Routes can change subject to the client's interest.) After arriving at the hotel, check-in and freshen up. Then, we begin the trip, with the first day being the tour of Hanoi. Hanoi is a composition of color, conical hats, unique tastes, fruit piled high, fresh beer, and impossibly thick electric wires shoved together extending between old buildings. This generous city offers something for everyone. Hoan Kiem District, or the Old Quarter, is a maze of streets that sell something distinct from each other. You will notice that the food here is subtler than those of the south; instead of on a barrage of numerous stuff, north's food focuses on a particular taste. Firstly, we will visit the Temple of Literature, the first university of Vietnam. The university was first established in 1076 within a temple to educate Vietnam's royalty, mandarins, and members of the elite. The trip then continues with a visit to the iconic One Pillar Pagoda, one of Vietnam's most stunning temples. Besides its name, many pillars form to support the Pagoda. You will also visit the near Mausoleum of the historic father figure of modern Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh, and his modest house on stilts (You can only see the sites from outside, closed Mon and Fri and from Jun - Aug). Explore the scenic west lake and its 6th century Tran Quoc Buddhist Pagoda, the most ancient Pagoda in Hanoi, with the history line of over 1500 years. The rest of the day is free for your leisure activities and also enjoy authentic Vietnamese cuisine at a local restaurant.

Day Two:

Hanoi / Ninh Binh/ Hoa Lu and Tam Coc

Your guide will pick you up from your hotels in Hanoi Old Quarter and take you towards Ninh Binh on a comfortable A/C car. Enjoy the fresh air in the middle of the giant rice fields. After you arrive at Tam Coc, we start the full day excursion tour by a small boat, rowed by a local. We will be on the boat for a couple of hours. Tam Coc is also popular as the Halong Bay on lands as this area contains lots of limestone mountains with various shapes and sizes. While cruising through the Ngo Dong river, you will get lots of photo opportunity with tranquil water and majestic mountains, rice fields and temples all along the way. If you make a trip on the harvest season, you will also see the golden rice carpet along the river banks. After a great adventure, we head back to the mainland, where you will enjoy an authentic Vietnamese lunch prepared by a Vietnamese chef. The cuisines are strictly traditional, made with organic ingredients, and strictly obeys the Yin Yang balance of Asian culture. After lunch, you can spend time doing optional activities like fishing, interacting with local people, etc. If you have enough time, you can also rent a bicycle and ride around while exploring the village, enjoying the fresh air of Vietnam's countryside and discover majestic limestone mountains. After enjoying activities in Tam Coc, we head towards Hoa Lu, the ancient capital of more than a thousand years ago. Your guide will give you more details relating to the city, which will give you a clearer understanding of Vietnamese history, which is not popular in the world but still very interesting and worth knowing. In the evening, we head back to Hanoi, where your guide will drop you at your hotel.

Day Three:

Hanoi/ Mai Chau

This morning, we will pick you up at your hotel, leave Hanoi and head towards Mai Chau on a van. We will reach Mai Chau around the afternoon, and enjoy a welcome drink. You will also enjoy a traditional lunch in the village. This afternoon, hop on a bike and ride around the village with your tour guide, see farmers working in fields, locals weaving scarves, and visit nearby peaceful villages. The rest of the day is free for your leisure; you can do more cycling, or wander around the village, or go shopping.

Day Four:

Mai Chau / Hanoi/ Night train to Lao Cai

After breakfast, meet with your local tour guide and head out to explore more of the rural villages, Na Meo and Na Mo villages, to understand more about their culture and customs. In the afternoon, we head back to the homestay, where you will enjoy a delicious lunch. Then, check-out from the homestay, and you can enjoy the afternoon shopping or simply relaxing. In the late afternoon, we bid farewell to the family and hop on a bus to drive back to Hanoi. After you arrive at Hanoi, the driver will transfer you to the hotel. Meet the crew at the hotel in Hanoi in the evening and then head towards the Hanoi train station. From here, you will take an overnight train to Lao Cai. The overnight trains in Vietnam has shared sleeping compartments (sharing with other passengers in 2 lower & 2 upper berths per compartment).

Note: Our guide will not be with during the train trip, train schedules might change; you will have to pay an additional charge for private compartments.

Day Five:

Lao Chai / Road Transfer to Sapa/ Y Linh Ho/ Lao Chai/ Ta Van

We will reach the Lao Chai train station in the morning. Here, your guide will be waiting for you. Meet the guide, and he will transfer you to Sapa on a tourist bus. As Halong Bay is a famous tourist hub of the northeast of Vietnam, Sapa is the most famous tourist hub for the northeast of the country. After Hanoi, it is the most popular destination. Situated in the Hoang Lien Son mountains of Lao Cai province, right by the Chinese border, 350km northwest of Hanoi, this scenic town is famed for its rough, rugged scenery with its cascading rice terraces in all shades of green in the Muong Hoa Valley. Sapa has some of the great trekking routes in Vietnam and has become the country's premier trekking base. Sapa also has an abundance of cultural diversity and is home to many hill tribes, including the H' mong (predominant), Tay, and Dao people, which make up much of the town's local population. After arriving at the hotel, check-in, and then you can rest for a while. After getting a rest, we will begin the trip. Meet your guide at your hotel lobby and then start the trip on foot. The first part of the trip is on the road, but soon we turn to the right and walk on a small path down the valley to Y Linh Ho village settled down by the Muong Hoa River and from here to the Black H' mong village of Lao Chai.  Black H' mong is one of the biggest minority groups in the Sapa area. This tribe has a distinct language and wear traditional indigo blue clothing. The H' mong peoples have just recently changed their living way from sifting style into the stationary one. So, you will still see many traces of the past time in the village like the rudimentary houses, stone wall around homes. Next, you will continue the trip towards the Ta Van village where you will meet the Zay people. Zay is a relatively small minority group of about 38.000 people living mainly in the mountains in Northwest Vietnam. After visiting Ta Van village, you will return to Sapa on the car. The rest of the day is free for your leisure.

Day Six:

Cat Cat/ Sin Chai/ Sapa/ Hanoi

After having breakfast at the hotel, we check-out and begin the trip for the day. Take a walk down to the Southwest of Sapa for about three kilometers to visit Cat Cat Village of the Black H' mong, one of the more well-known ethnic villages of Sapa. Relax at the base of the gorgeous fall and the remnant of the hydroelectric power station, constructed by the French during the colonial time in Vietnam. Today, you will enjoy picnic lunch beside the river, and then continue the trip for about three kilometers to Sin Chai village, located at the foot of Fansipan Mountain - "the Roof of Indochina." Here, you can enjoy the stunning scenery of the mountain peaks. In the evening, we head back to the main road from where we transfer you to the Sapa town on a jeep.

Day Seven:

Hanoi/ Halong Bay

After breakfast, your driver will pick you up at the hotel and transfer you to Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its outstanding natural beauty, and translates in Vietnamese as "Dragon descending to the sea." Halong Bay has become the most popular tourism hub in Northern Thailand. The bay not only contains emerald waters and over two-thousands of soaring limestone islands, but also of icicle and spike caves and beautiful fishing villages. Upon arrival, the boat crew will welcome you with a welcome drink. Check into the cabin and enjoy the cruise around Halong Bay with a delicious local seafood lunch served on board. Also, see thousands of limestone islands and caves rising from the clear, emerald water. You can also involve in activities like exploring the cave on a kayak or enjoy swimming in the sea before getting back to the boat for dinner. You can explore many islands along the cruise.

Day Eight :

Halong Bay – Hanoi

Start the day early with a Tai Chi class. Tai chi will help you increase your focus and recharge your body with full of energy for the day. After the session, enjoy the breakfast on the deck. You will witness an enchanting sunrise view on the bay. After breakfast, the cruise will take you to explore the most stunning caves in Halong. Before getting back to Hanoi, enjoy an early lunch on board. Today, you will have plenty of free time to explore the most stunning caves in Halong.

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