Essence of Northern Vietnam 9 days

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!

Highlights

Trek through the rolling rice terraces, waterfalls, mountains and lush green hills of Sapa and get in touch with people from ethnic minority groups .

Cast away on a traditional junk boat and set sail through hundreds of limestone karsts that rise dramatically from the emerald waters of Halong Bay.

Experience Mai Chau on 2 wheels, cycle around the valley; enjoy the stunning lush landscape and Thai culture by visiting the nearby villages. Get a glimpse of life in countryside in Northern Vietnam, enjoy the peace with endless rice paddy fields and fresh air.

Essence of Northern Vietnam 9 days

Day 1: Hanoi arrival

The car/van will pick you up from Noi Bai airport (in Hanoi) and will take you in the heart of the city. Arrive at the hotel after a 40-minute drive, check in and have a free day to walk around Old Quarter, night market in Hanoi down town.

Overnight in Hanoi hotel located in the old quarter.

Meal: No

Accommodation: 3 star hotel

Day 2: Hanoi – Ninh Binh – Hanoi

07:45-8:30 Picking up from hotel/stay.

08:30 Starting drive to Ninh Binh Province

10:30 Arriving at Hoa Lu Ancient Capital

10:45 Visiting King Dinh and King Le’s temples.

12:15 Arriving in Tam Coc Wharf.

12:30 Having buffet lunch with Vietnamese Cuisine.

13:30 Getting on Sampan boats through caves and visiting countryside landscape

15:00 Back to Tam Coc Wharf to chill out.

15:15 Biking on country roads around the village

16:00 Getting on the shuttle bus to go back to Hanoi

18:30 – 18:45 Saying goodbye to you at your hotel/stay. Trip ends 

Meal: B, L

Accommodation: 3 star hotel

Day 3: Hanoi – Ba Be Lake

07h00: Pick up from hotel in Hanoi to Ba Be National Park.

12h30: Lunch in Ba Be Lake View homestay, the highest homestay in our village.

14h00: Take a walk to boat station in Pac Ngoi village (1km).

14h30: Enjoy 2 hour boat trip around the lake to Fairy Pond, An Ma temple.

16h30: Swimming in the lake – the most special activity in Ba Be Lake.

17h30: Hiking back to the homestay and have dinner here.

20h00: Enjoy traditional Tay musical performance (excluded). You can share the show with other tourists.

21h00: Overnight at homestay of Tay people’ traditional house-on-stilt.

Meal: B, L, D

Accommodation: Homestay

Day 4: Ba Be Lake – Hanoi

07h30: Breakfast at our homestay.

08h00: Cycling to visit to Hua Ma Cave (6km), biggest one in Ba Be National Park.

11h00: Come back to homestay. Check out and have lunch here.

13h00: Get in the van then come back to Hanoi.

18h00: Arrival in Hanoi. Drop off at your hotel. Free time to leisure and dinner.

20h30: Meet at your hotel in Hanoi 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.

Meal: B, L

Accommodation: Overnight train

Day 5: Lao Cai – Sapa – Lao Chai – Ta Van – Sapa

Pick you up from train station when you arrive

06:00: Enjoy your breakfast and relax at our restaurant while your luggage is arranged

08:30: Start 4 hours trekking to Lao Chai Village – Home of Black H’mong minority. Trekking through Muong Hoa Valley with a lot of beautiful sceneries along the river

12:00: Having lunch at a local restaurant before reaching Ta Van village to make friend with a Giáy family homestay

13:30: Be picked up by car to gets back to Sa Pa for checking in the hotel. The rest of the day will be at your leisure to discover to town ( Dragon Mount, Orchid garden, the market).

18:30: Having diner. Overnight at hotel (2*)

Day 6: Sapa – Cat Cat – Hanoi

08:00: Having breakfast. Half day trekking through lush rice terraces towards villages, experience Black H’Mong people’s daily life. Visiting Cat Cat village

12:00: Having lunch. Free afternoon to discover Sa Pa town, fresh up and make friend with friendly local

18:00: Transfer to Lao Cai Railway Station for the return train ride to Hanoi

Meal: B, L

Accommodation: Overnight train

Day 7: Hanoi – Halong Bay

05:00: Arrive at Hanoi. Take a taxi to hotel. Take a rest and have a breakfast.

07.45  –  8:30: The shutter bus will pick you up from your hotel  in Hanoi and heading to northeast of Vietnam. At the middle of the way, we have a quick stop to stretch your leg and refresh then continue our way to Halong Bay.

12.30: Arrive  in cruise office  in Hon Gai Pier, have a bit time to relax and enjoy a cup of tea/coffee. Wait for our captain and transfer by tender to cruise.

12.45: Enjoy welcome drink and spend a couple minutes to briefing about safety on boat and activities included then we check in our cabin.

13.30: Delicious Vietnamese set menu will be served while leisurely cruising further into Bai Tu Long Bay.

15.00: Arrive in  kayaking area  –  that is Cap La Island. Enjoy kayaking through the karst and breathtaking nature, swimming and relaxing.

17.30: Get back to the boat and enjoys Sunset party while our cruise sailing to the overnight anchorage.

19.00: Sumptuous set-dinner onboard.

20.30: Free time  to challenge yourself in Vietnamese puzzle games, or gather your group/family for a board game; try your luck with squid fishing or simply has a cocktail and enjoy the quiet night on the bay.

Meal: B, L, D

Accommodation: Overnight on boat

Day 8: Halong Bay – Hanoi

06.00: Start your day with a Tai Chi routine on sundeck or catch a morning  view of Bay’s landscape with a cup of tea or coffee.

07.00: Breakfast will be served in Western style and furthermore with Vietnamese popular breakfast – Pho.

08.00: Explore the well hidden  Thien Canh Son  Cave  and  enjoy a white sandy beach at Hon Co Island, swimming or kayaking.

09.30: Upon return to the boat you will have about 30 minutes to freshen up and finish packing.

10.00: Attend in a Vietnamese cooking demonstration. You can quickly learn a simple but delicious Vietnamese dish that Gordon Ramsey (a 2 Michelin Star Chef) used to guide – Nem Cuon.

11.00: Enjoy a traditional Vietnamese lunch on boat.

12.00: Back to the harbor and disembark in Hon Gai pier.

12.30: Farewell Halong Bay then our bus will take you back to Hanoi.

17.00: Drop off at your hotel.

18:00: Free time for dinner.

Meal: B, L

Accommodation: 3 star hotel

Day 9: Hanoi departure

After having breakfast at your hotel, you have free time until we pick you up to transfer to the airport.

Meal: B

Accommodation: No

Essence of Northern Vietnam 9 days

Price Includes

  • Accommodation in TWN/ DBL sharing accommodation at hotel, except overnight on train and homestay (if any)
  • 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

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