This 9-day trill will help you to discover Hanoi historic capital, Sapa mountainous areas with spectacular rice terraces, get understanding about the different hill tribes and their culture, an overnight trip on a deluxe cruise in Halong Bay will be relaxing before discovering Ninh Binh countryside area and soft trekking in Cuc Phuong National Park.
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.
With food stalls on every corner Hanoi is famous for its street food cuisine and Bia Hoi, a draft beer that is brewed daily and sold on street corners. Start your evening at ‘Bia Hoi corner’ and pull up a stool to taste the local brew and do a spot of people watching. Then walk through the bustling streets of the Old Quarter as your guide introduces you to the various foods on offer. You will stop at one of the many pop up restaurants and try a Vietnamese barbeque of flame grilled meats, tofu and vegetables on skewers just like the locals. End the evening with a walk along Hoan Kiem Lake for dessert at Hanoi’s most famous ice-cream street. You will spend the night in Hanoi.
Hanoi, Vietnam's capital, ranks amongst the world's most attractive and interesting cities. It was first the capital of Vietnam in A.D. 1010, and though the nation's capital moved to Hue under the Nguyen dynasty in 1802, the city continued to flourish after the French took control in 1888. In 1954, after the French departed, Hanoi was declared Vietnam's capital once again. The remnants of over 1,000 years of history are still visible here, with that of the past few hundred years wonderfully preserved.
Day 2: Hanoi Orientation – Night train to Lao Cai (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)
After breakfast at your hotel, you will be taken to visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and historical presidential relics and then the Temple of Literature nearby. Afterwards you will head to Ngoc Son Temple and Hoan Kiem Lake. The Ngoc Son temple is set on a tiny island on the Hoan Kiem Lake and dates back to the 13th century. The lake itself is a picturesque focal point of Hanoi, frequented by tourists and locals alike. In the afternoon, you will visit Museum of Ethnology, widely acknowledged as the best in the country which houses a display dedicated to Vietnam's 54 ethnic minority peoples. Then you will 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. After that, you will be transferred back to your hotel to take refreshment before being transferred to the railway station to take the overnight train to Lao Cai.You will spend the night on the train.
The Ho Chi Minh mausoleum is closed every Monday and Friday (outside grounds and garden area will be open on these days) and normally closed from September 4 through November 5 for preservation and maintenance of the building.
On Mondays, the Museum of Ethnology is closed. If our tour of Hanoi is on a Monday, our visit to the Museum of Ethnology will be replaced by a visit to Hanoi's History Museum or Fine Arts Museum.
Day 3: Lao Cai – Sapa market (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)
You’ll arrive in the early morning then be picked will be picked up and taken to the local hotel to have breakfast and a short rest before continuing driving to Bac Ha market, which is one of the most interesting hill tribe markets in North Vietnam. Here you will observe and photograph Nung, Flower H'Mong, Black Dao and Dzay minority people buying and selling their local produce. After spending the morning casually strolling around and photographing the markets, you will visit a Flower H’mong village called Ban Pho.
After a picnic lunch, you’ll return to Lao Cai and continue your journey into the mountains to Sapa, a small town perched on the mountainside opposite Mt. Fan Si Pan, Vietnam’s highest peak. You’ll arrive with time to relax and stroll around the town.
After checking into hotel you can soak up the fresh climate as much as you want by spending time to wander around. The ethnic people are frequently seen in this hill town and small vendors along the street sell local textiles and handicraft. You will spend the night in Sapa.
Although it’s quite a long drive, the landscape is attractive and the ethnic markets are a fascinating experience. Unlike those in the tourist areas, the markets that we choose are for not only for buying and selling, but are also meeting places for ethnic minority people to meet and exchange news. There will be plenty of colour and authentic costumes, but very little to buy as souvenirs unless you want to barter for a water buffalo or a sack of fertilizer!
The trips to ethnic minority markets must be on Tuesday (Coc Ly or Ban Cam market), Thursday (Lung Khau Nhin market), Saturday (Can Cau) or Sunday (Bac Ha, Muong Hum or Muong Khuong markets).
Day 4: Sapa – Hill tribe villages (Lao Chai & Ta Van Villages) – night train to Hanoi (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)
After breakfast, you will take a drive to visit Lao Chai village – home of Black H’Mong – here you trek through terraced rice fields to villages, you will meet and talk with locals to learn more about their daily life and habits. You will trek through Ta Van village – home of Dzay hill tribe and get on car back to Sapa. The rest of the day will be free until you will be transferred back to Lao Cai to take the overnight train to Hanoi. You will spend the night on the train
Day 5: Hanoi - Halong Bay (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide)
You’ll arrive in Hanoi 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 Halong Bay. 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 6: Halong Bay – Ninh Binh (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)
Greet the day with a morning Tai Chi exercise with an opportunity to view the sunrise over the bay. After breakfast, you will visit beautiful limestone grotto then back to the boat for a final glimpse of the Halong Bay while cruising back to the dock. Your driver will be waiting for you at the pier and drive you to Ninh Binh where you will spend the night.
Day 7: Tam Coc Boat Trip – Hoa Lu Ancient Capital – Cuc Phuong National Park (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide)
After breakfast, your guide will pick you up to visit Hoa Lu - the ancient capital of Vietnam. Upon arrival in Hoa Lu, you will start to visit the two temples of the two first kings of Vietnam, and then climb up to the mountain to enjoy the panoramic view of the ancient capital.
After that, you’ll visit Tam Coc where you’ll be rowed along a river meandering through rice paddies and caves in a peaceful valley between limestone ‘karst’ mountains. In the afternoon, you’ll drive to Cuc Phuong Forest National Park to visit the Primate Rescue Centre and the Botanical Garden. Your overnight stay will be in a guesthouse in the Park.
The Endangered Primate Rescue Centre is a temporary home for many gibbons and langurs that have been injured, or been orphaned by poachers. Among them are two of the rarest species in the world, Delacourt’s Langur, confined to two or three spots in north Vietnam, and the elegant Cat Ba Golden Langur, now reduced to a colony of around 50 individuals in Cat Ba Island National Park. Strenuous efforts are being made to conserve both species. When those in the rescue centre have regained their strength, a carefully staged programme will release them into the wild.
You may consider an optional ‘night spotting mini-safari' (if weather permits). In the late evening, you'd set off into the primary forest, an opportunity to see the park's nocturnal dwellers: the Black Giant Squirrel, the Indian flying Squirrel, Samba deer, the Slow Loris and several other small carnivores.
Day 8: Cuc Phuong - Hanoi (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)
You’ll hike through a subtropical forest, rich in flora and fauna with thousand-year-old trees and dripping vines. On the way back, you’ll visit a cave where prehistoric graves and relics have been found. Later in the afternoon, you’ll drive back to Hanoi.
Day 9: Hanoi - departure (Breakfast, Driver pickup)
After breakfast, you will be free until the driver arrives to take you to the airport for departure flight. End of travel service.
- Vietnam Visa invitation letter.
- Private door-to-door pick-up & drop-off services.
- Travel in an appropriate private air-conditioned vehicle with an experienced safe driver.
- Breakfast and accommodation sharing a twin or double room.
- Return train tickets: Hanoi – Lao Cai (air-conditioned soft four-berth cabin, good local standard in Fanxipan Train carriage or similar)
- The services of experienced English-speaking guides as indicated in the itinerary
- Boat cruises as specified in the programme. All Ha Long Bay boats will be fully licensed and comply with current safety regulations.
- Lunches and dinners (as specified in the itinerary) in the best local restaurants and full board on the boat in Ha Long Bay.
- All sightseeing tickets.
- VAT and other taxes
- 24/7 hotline support guaranteed
- International flight tickets and airport tax.
- Lunches and dinners, except as specified above.
- Drinks, gratuities and personal expenses.
- Travel insurance
- Surcharges for Peak seasons (if any)
- Vietnam visa stamp fee
- Other services not mentioned above.