The unrivalled beauty of Hanoi and Halong Bay are explored in this luxurious tour of Vietnam. Uncover the intriguing blend of east and western influenced architecture in Hanoi as you relax with fresh coffee at one of the quaint cafes before exploring the vibrant local art scene where a number of galleries await your visit. Unwind in the evenings with a spa session followed by a traditional Vietnamese dinner in one of the cities most charming restaurants. Stay overnight in Hanoi at the luxury designed Sofitel Legend Metropole, a spectacular residence with every need catered to.
Receive an insider’s biking tour of the Long Bien Bridge which was built in 1902 by Sir Gustave Eiffel and helped shape the future of Hanoi as you continue on your tour of Vietnam. From Long Bien guests are driven to the capital’s Old Quarter, an area of bustling narrow streets and alleyways that are home to literally thousands of small businesses and shopkeepers. This is the true heart of Hanoi, and one of the original ancient capitals of Southeast Asia. Be sure to take your camera for some fantastic photo opportunities.
Dinner on your final day in Hanoi is served at one of the cities finest eateries, Madame Hien, which serves authentic Vietnamese cuisine in a traditional villa setting.
Spend 2 days in the dramatic setting of Halong Bay, with over 3,000 islets to cruise amongst. Your final night of this tour in Vietnam is spent aboard a luxury cruise vessel the takes guests through the many spectacular rock formations. Enjoy lunch aboard the boat and watch as the sun drops behind the shimmering sea.
From Hanoi, take the deluxe overnight train to Sapa; the train has made this area of Vietnam more accessible than ever – and getting there is part of the fun. Sapa is one of Vietnam’s most intriguing destinations, set high in the mountains near the China border; it is most famous for its terraced rice paddies and colorful local markets. Home to numerous ethnic tribes and boasting the highest mountain in Indochina, visitors to the region will understand why the area was a favorite with French colonialists as far back as 1920.
Day 1: Hanoi Arrival (Dinner, Guide pickup)
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 enjoy a water puppet show, an art form in which puppets are suspended over water, directed by puppet masters who must sit semi-submerged for hours at a time. The tradition of water puppetry is at least 1,000 years old, originating with peasants in the Red River Delta of the north. The puppets, which the French used to call “the souls of the Vietnamese rice fields,” are made of the water-resistant wood of the fig tree and depict villagers, farm animals, dragons, and more.
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: Cycling around Hanoi (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide)
After breakfast, depart for an insider’s tour of the capital by a bicycle. You will start with a tour of the Long Bien Bridge (originally name Doumer Bridge) which was built in 1902 by Sir Gustave Eiffel. You will enjoy the fascinating structure to learn more on how this bridge helped shape Hanoi’s future.
From Long Bien, you will cycle back to the capital’s Old Quarter. This bustling area of narrow streets and alleys is home to literally thousands of small businesses and shopkeepers.
It's a great place to explore with plenty of photo opportunities all around you. It is here in this area that lies the soul of the city, one the most ancient capitals of Southeast Asia. A mixture of village and old way of life amidst a modern and growing city offer amazing contrasts.
You will then have lunch at Koto Restaurant. KOTO or ‘Know One Teach One’ is supported by Street Voices, an NGO dedicated to offer a brighter future to street and disadvantaged youth in Vietnam. The youth in the KOTO training program study hospitality, English and life skills and gain essential experience working at KOTO restaurant.
You will continue to the Temple of Literature. In 1076 Quoc Tu Giam - Vietnam's first university, also referred to as Van Mieu, was established within a temple to educate Vietnam's royalty, mandarins and members of the elite. The university functioned for an incredible 700 years and its gardens and well-preserved architecture offer a fascinating glimpse into Vietnam’s past.
For sunset, you will cycle to West Lake and one of the oldest Buddhist pagodas in Hanoi, Tran Quoc. The romantic Than Nhien causeway where the pagoda and temple are situated makes an excellent backdrop for photographs.
You will enjoy dinner in one of Hanoi’s best restaurants, Madame Hien which serves authentic Vietnamese cuisine in a traditional villa setting before cycling back to your hotel for stay overnight.
Day 3: Hanoi - Halong Bay (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide)
You’ll arrive 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 4: Halong Bay – Hanoi – Lao Cai (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 back to Hanoi for refreshment. In the evening, you will be transferred to the railway station at 21.00 to catch the overnight train to Lao Cai. You will spend the night on the train.
Day 5: 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 6: Village Trek - Overnight Train to Hanoi (Breakfast, Lunch)
After breakfast, you will trek down the mountain to Ta Van village. Along the way you will photograph the magnificent terraced rice fields and local minority people going about their day-to-day activities. After an enjoyable picnic lunch, you will continue our trek, walking through a number of minority villages and getting up close to the terraced rice fields. You will take photograph the sunset over the terraced rice fields before coming back to Sapa town to refresh. In the afternoon, you will be transferred back to Lao Cai station to take night train back to Hanoi. You will spend the night on the train.
Day 7: Hanoi departure (Breakfast, Driver pickup)
Arrival in the early morning, you will be pickup and transferred back to your hotel for breakfast and refreshment before being transferred to the airport for the departure flight.
- Breakfast and accommodation sharing a twin or double room.
- Pick-ups and transfers by private air-conditioned vehicle as specified in the itinerary above. For description, see below
- Boat cruise as programme. For Ha Long Bay, you’ll cruise on a high quality private wooden boat good facilities and an experienced crew. The boat will be fully licensed and comply with current safety regulations.
- 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.
- Where necessary, entry fees for all visits as mentioned in the programme.
- Lunches and dinners, as specified, in the best local restaurants, picnics where suitable restaurants are not available, and full board on the boat in Ha Long Bay.
- Good quality touring cycles for all cycling days in the programme.
- Drinking water for cycling days as itinerary.
- Simple first aid kit.
- 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 season (if any)
- Compulsory meals (if any)