This itinerary is an in-depth exploration of the culture, people and landscapes of northern Vietnam. Leaving the graceful boulevards of Hanoi behind, we explore rural Mai Chau and the amazing limestone landscape of Tam Coc, by bike and by boat. We continue to Sapa and take a step back in time to visit remote hill tribe villages surrounded by rolling green hills and mountain streams overlooked by dramatic limestone karsts. The trip’s grand finale is at Halong Bay. We’ll stay overnight on a comfortable junk boat, with island visits, delicious food, swimming, sunbathing and kayaking. A perfect end to our showcase of the cultural and scenic charms of northern Vietnam!
Half day Hanoi city tour (by car or by motorbike – upon client’s interest) - Routes can change subject to client’s interest.
Begin the first day of the trip with a tour of Hanoi. Depart from the hotel at 08:30 for a visit to Vietnam’s first university: the Temple of Literature. Founded in 1076, Quoc Tu Giam was established within a temple to educate Vietnam's royalty, mandarins and members of the elite.
Continue with a visit to the iconic One Pillar Pagoda, one of Vietnam’s most iconic temples. Nearby is the mausoleum of the historic father figure of modern Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh, and his modest house on stilts. (Sites are viewed from outside; closed Mon and Fri and from Jun-Aug)
Wrap up the morning with a visit to the picturesque West Lake and its sixth century Tran Quoc Buddhist Pagoda.Tran Quoc Pagoda is regarded as the most ancient pagoda in Hanoi with its history line of more than 1,500 years.
Have lunch at an authentic Vietnamese Restaurant. Free time at leisure for rest of the day.
Optional: We introduce two one-of-a-kind traditional performances which are found nowhere else than in Vietnam. You can choose one of below options:
- Water Puppet Show where puppets are performed on water stage with folk music, presenting ancient tales, folklores and daily life in Vietnamese countryside.
- Tu Phu (Four Palaces) Show - a very unique show about ritual of spirit practiced in the Vietnamese indigenous religion with music, colors and lively dance performance. The Four Palaces Shows take place on Thursday and Saturday every week.
If you're interested in the shows, please contact our travel consultants to book.
In the morning, our driver and tour guide pick you up at your hotel then depart for Ninh Binh.
Arrive in Hoa Lu Ancient Capital, visit two temples of King Dinh Bo Linh and King Le Hoan.
Then our driver will transfer you from Hoa Lu to Tam Coc to have lunch in a local restaurant in Tam Coc and enjoy famous specialties of Ancient Capital area.
In the afternoon, Take a 5 minute walk to the wharf and start the 2 hour boat trip to visit 3 caves: Hang Ca (First Cave), Hang Hai (Second Cave) and Hang Ba (Third Cave). Each cave owns an unique scenery which will dazzle you as you get in.
Afterwards, cycle for an hour to Bich Dong Pagoda and sight see beautiful scenic pagodas, lush paddy fields, mountains, river and caves. Then get on bus and our driver will take you back to Hanoi. When arrive in Hanoi, you will be dropped-off at your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure
Optional: Hanoi Walkie Foodie Tour
You will join in a walkie foodie tour. We will take you to go inside the small lane and alleys inside the Hanoi Old Quarter and show you how real Hanoians live, work and eat. By far our most popular tour, this tour is great fun and perfect way to discover some of the lesser known dishes that the locals lover to eat. From Bun Bo (Sauteed Beef Rice Vermicelli), Banh Cuon (Steamed rice rolls), “Banh Mi” and end with unique Ca Phe Trung (Egg Coffee) which will round off our four courses perfectly. Local life, local stories; local food and local drink tasting. It's the little things that make all the difference in your travel experience!
In the morning, pickup at your hotel and head to Mai Chau by van with a short break along the way.
Mid day, arrive in Mai Chau, enjoy welcome drink. Then enjoy traditional lunch in village (vegetarian available).
In the afternoon, bicycle ride with your tour guide, see farmers working in fields, locals weaving scarves and visit surrounding peaceful villages. Then you will have free time for bicycling, walking, shopping
Late afternoon, return to the accommodation.
Optional: Enjoy dinner with Thai’s traditional dance and drink the traditional liquor “ruou can”: 20USD/person
Overnight in the communal stilt house or Valley View Bungalow
After breakfast, go with local tour guide to visit more remote rural villages Na Meo and Na Mo villages to understand more about their culture and customs. Mid day, back to the home stay for lunch and check-out. Free time for shopping and relaxing.
15:00 – 15:30 Say goodbye to the family to get on the bus to drive back to Hanoi (3.5 ~ 4 hours drive). Arrive in Hanoi, drop you off at your hotel.
Free time till picked up at hotel for transferring to train station for night train to Lao Cai.
Meet at your hotel in Hanoi at around 20:00 hrs and transfer to Hanoi train station. Overnight train trip to Lao Cai in shared sleeping compartments (sharing with other passengers in 2 lower & 2 upper berths per compartment). Train departs at approximately 21:15 hrs.
- Our tour guide will not accompany during the train trip
- Train schedule is subject to change.
- Private compartments on request at surcharge.
- Train journeys are part of a great local experience. Cabins are shared with other local passengers (unless private cabin is requested and all berths paid for - with supplement). Restrooms at either end of the carriages complete the local experience.
Arrive in Lao Cai Train Station at around 05:00. Then take an one hour bus ride up hill to the beautiful town of Sapa. The ride gives you a glimpse of the stunning vistas and impressive rice terraces that make Sapa famous with travelers. Early check in is possible when you arrive if the room available (with surcharge).
9.30am: Meet up your local guide and start trekking. The first part is on the road but we soon 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. They have their own language and wear traditional indigo blue clothing. The H’mong peoples have just recently changed their living way from sifting style into the sedentary one. So there are still a lot traces of the past time can be seen: rudimentary houses, stone wall around homes… After this you continue to Ta Van village (1.200 m) to visit Zay people. Zay is a fairly small minority group of about 38.000 people who live mainly in the mountains in Northwest Vietnam.
After visiting Ta Van village the car will return you to Sapa. Free at leisure the rest of the day. Overnight at Sapa Hotel.
In the morning, have breakfast at the hotel and then check out.
Take a walk down to the South-west of Sapa (around 3 km) to visit Cat Cat Village of the Black H’mong, one of the more well-known ethnic village of Sapa. Relax at the foot of the stunning waterfall and the vestige of a hydroelectric power station that was constructed by the French during the colonial time in Vietnam.
Enjoy picnic lunch by the side of the river, and then continue trekking to 3 km to Sin Chai Village, located at the foot of Fansipan Mountain - “the Roof of Indochina”, where you enjoy a stunning landscapes of the mountain.
Then come back to the main road to be transferred to Sapa town on a jeep for 3km.
15:00 - 15:30 Driver will pick you up & transfer 5 hours to Hanoi.
Halong Bay is listed by UNESCO as a World Natural Heritage and voted as a Wonder of Nature by the New7Wonders Foundation. You will have a night staying in this world famous bay.
After breakfast in Hanoi, depart the capital for the 3hr 30mins drive to Halong Bay. Arrive to Halong City’s jetty (around noon) and proceed with check-in formalities. After a welcome onboard, lunch will be served while cruising towards the bay. In the afternoon, enjoy some sightseeing, on-board activities (depending on each boat’s itinerary) or just spend some time relaxing on the vessel. Towards the end of the day the boat sets anchor for the night among the karst formations. Dinner is served on board.
Wake up the next morning at sunrise, you are invited to practice Tai Chi on the sun deck. Enjoy the feel of the early morning salt water scent and bask in the early sun rising from behind the mountains. Continue sightseeing in the wonderful bay, enjoy brunch on board while cruising back to mainland. Arriving at the harbor, you will be picked up for transferring back to Hanoi.
Drop off at your hotel in Hanoi (owned arrangement)
- Accommodation in TWN/ DBL sharing accommodation at hotel, except overnight on train and homestay (if any)
- All in-tour stationed local English speaking guide.
- Overnight train ticket Hanoi - Lao Cai (4 soft berth sharing cabin with air conditon)
- Entrance fees for Vietnam attractions, as per itinerary
- Meals as indicated in the program
- Hotel EARLY check in & LATE check out
- Peak season surcharge & compulsory dinner at the hotel (if any)
- International flights to or from Vietnam with taxes
- Visa or Passport Fees
- Travel Insurance
- Tips, laundry and gratuities
- Meals not marked on itinerary, and water during meals
Cancellation by Customer
- Cancellation received before 60 days: FREE of charge
- Cancellation received from 30 days to 59 days prior arrival date: 10% of total rate
- Cancellation received from 15 days to 29 days prior arrival date: 30% of total rate
- Cancellation received from 7 days to 14 days prior arrival date: 50% of total rate
- Cancellation received less than 7 days prior arrival date or No show: 100% of total rate
- The rate for children applicable for one child sharing a twin or double cabin with two adults
- For infant (<04 years old): FOC except domestic ticket cost
- 04 - 11 years old without bed: 50% adult rate
- 04 - 11 years old with extra bed: 75% adult rate
- 04 - 11 years old in twin share: 90% adult rate