Starting in Hanoi, capital city of Vietnam, this 10-day tour of Hanoi and Northern cities takes you sightseeing, hiking, kayaking, cruising and relaxing in the country’s most fascinating destinations of elegant Hanoi, colorful Sapa as well as travelling to the ancient city of Hoa Lu where you will bike through the very scenic countryside
Day 1: Hanoi Arrival (Dinner, Guide pick up)
Arriving at Noi Bai airport in Hanoi, you’ll be met and driven to your hotel, the capital city of Vietnam, is an elegant city located on the banks of the Red River with tranquil Restored Sword Lake at its heart. North of the lake are the bustling streets of the Old Quarter, each street named after the trade that used to take place there. Much of the city was transformed by the French when it became a French protectorate in the 1880s and there are wide boulevards and large colonial buildings which are now home to government departments and foreign embassies. You will have time to relax before having tickets for a performance of traditional Water Puppetry, an art form unique to northern Vietnam, and a good, light-hearted introduction to its rural culture. In the evening, you’ll have a ‘Welcome’ dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant in a restored French colonial building. You’ll spend the night in Hanoi.
Day 2: Hanoi Orientation – Lao Cai (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)
After breakfast, your guide will take you to visit interesting sites in the city like Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda, The Temple of Literature "Vietnam's 1st University built in the 10th C". You will then have lunch before visiting the Vietnam National History of Museum with good collection of prehistoric artifacts and everyday items of early history through eras and dynasties. You will then take 1 hour by cyclo ride through Hanoi's Old Quarters to experience daily life of people who are living in the oldest parts of the city then come back to your hotel to refresh before leaving for the railway station to board the 21.10 p.m. overnight sleeper to Lao Cai. You will spend the night on the train.
Day 3: Lao Cai - Sapa - Half Day Biking (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide)
You’ll arrive in the early morning, where you’ll be met and taken up into the mountains by carto Sapa, a small town perched on the mountainside opposite Mt. Fan Si Pan, Vietnam’s highest peak. After breakfast at your hotel, you will be transferred uphill to Heavens Gate (Tram Ton Pass), the highest pass of Vietnam. Here is the breathtaking view over the Muong Hoa valley, where you will have the opportunity to pass by during the days cycling trip. You will get on your bike and start descending into the Sapa valley, observing the fantastic scenery of mountains and rice paddy fields along the way. After leaving Sapa town behind for a while, you make a turn and follow a dirt road to the Black H'mong village of Lao Chai. From Lao Chai the road will take you to a village inhabited by the Giay tribe. You stop in a local house where you will enjoy lunch and have time to explore the village. After lunch you continue your ride along the valley. You arrive at Topas Ecolodge in the mid afternoon. You check in to your bungalow and enjoy the view over the valley and dotted mountain surroundings. You will spend the night at Topas Ecolodge.
Day 4: Ban Ho Village Tour (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide)
The ride today starts from Topas Ecolodge and goes to Ban Ho, the village next to the river which you may already have seen from the balcony of your bungalow. Descending almost all the way will give you more time to enjoy the amazing scenery of mountains and rice paddy terraces. Upon arrival at the beautiful village, which is inhabited by the Tay minority, you will walk around the village, experiencing the normal life of minorities in the highland. After a short break in Ban Ho, you will continue the ride deep into the valley to Thanh Phu village. Here you stop for lunch in a traditional Tay house. After lunch, your ride will be mostly downhill back to Ban Ho where you will get in your supply jeep for a drive back to Topas Ecolodge
Day 5: Sapa - Hanoi by overnight train (Breakfast)
The morning is at your leisure at Topas Ecolodge. At 11h30 you will take the Topas Ecolodge shuttle bus to Sapa. The afternoon is at your leisure to visit the town. At 17h30, you will take the shuttle bus to Lao Cai for the night train back to Hanoi. You will spend the night on the train.
Day 6: Hanoi - Ninh Binh - Countryside Biking (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
You’ll arrive in the early morning, where you’ll be met and taken by car to your hotel to have breakfast and take a short rest before departure to Ninh Binh for the 2-hour drives through rural northern Vietnam to the site of Vietnam's first capital, Hoa Lu. Ready the bikes and start the trail route cycling to the temples dedicated to Kings Dinh and Le. Touring the temples and then we continue cycling for 1-hour to Tam Coc through stunning limestone karst valleys surrounded by picturesque fields and villages, along the way stop where you wish to take photographs. Having Vietnamese lunch at a local restaurant and then we board a private sampan for a leisurely 2.5-hour cruise. You will then visit floating village of Kenh Ga - set amongst stunning limestone scenery and a network of peaceful waterways , walking around scenic outcrops and open rice fields. Enjoy local cuisines and stay overnight at hotel in Ninh Binh.
Day 7: Ninh Binh - Halong Bay (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide)
After breakfast at your hotel and you will then drive to Halong bay through Hai Phong city. On the way, you will go through the scenic countryside. The wondrous Halong Bay is truly one of Vietnam’s most impressive scenic sights. Heading out of the town then you embark on a boat for an exploration of the legendary Halong Bay. This exciting cruise will provide you a fantastic view of the picturesque scenery blending with the sky and some 3,000 limestone islands rising amazingly from the clear and emerald water. The limestone karsts formations are littered with beaches, grottoes and beautiful caves. Along the way you will anchor for a leisurely swim in a secluded cove and an enjoyable visit to one of the many hidden grottoes beneath towering cliffs. You will stay overnight on the Junk Cruise
Day 8: Kayaking & Relaxing (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide)
Greet the day with a morning Tai Chi exercise with an opportunity to view the sunrise over the bay. Then move to a day trip boat and spend your day with various activities of caving and kayaking to remote areas in Halong Bay. In the late afternoon, you will come back to the mother boat and stay overnight.
Day 9: Halong Bay - Hanoi (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)
After a light breakfast pastry and tea or coffee, you’ll dock to visit one of the most famous caves in the Bay. You’ll return to the junk for a brunch while cruising back to dock around noon whereupon you’ll leave for Hanoi. Arriving at your hotel in the mid-afternoon, the remainder of the day will be your own. Your overnight accommodation will be in Hanoi.
Day 7: Hanoi Departure (Meals: Breakfast, Driver pick up)
Free at leisure until the driver arrives to take you to the airport to take your flight onward. End of service
- Breakfast and accommodation sharing a twin or double room.
- Pick-ups and transfers by private air-conditioned vehicle as specified in the itinerary above (Please note: pick-ups will be by a guide and driver or, where a guide is not necessary, a driver only. All unaccompanied drivers will be briefed in advance, and will carry a mobile phone to ensure smooth transfer arrangements)
- Return train tickets: Hanoi – Lao Cai (air-conditioned soft four-berth cabin, good local standard in Fanxipan Train carriage or similar)
- Boat cruises as specified in the programme. All Ha Long Bay boats will be fully licensed and comply with current safety regulations.
- Travel in an appropriate private air-conditioned vehicle with an experienced safe driver.
- The services of experienced English-speaking guides as indicated in the itinerary (please note: guides will be on hand from pick-up until guests’ return to their hotel or reaching their destination). Free days or part days will not include the services of a guide unless requested and included in the final itinerary.
- Where necessary, entry fees for all visits as mentioned in the programme.
- Lunches and dinners (as specified in the itinerary) in the best local restaurants and full board on the boat in Ha Long Bay.
- VAT and other taxes
- International flight tickets and airport tax.
- Lunches and dinners, except as specified above.
- Drinks, gratuities and personal expenses.
- Surcharges for Peak seasons (if any)
- Compulsory meal (if any)