Northern Vietnam Exploration features seven-day touring the highlights of northern Vietnam. On this trip, you will visit Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, hike the spectacular mountains of Sapa, and paddle through hidden coves of Halong Bay.
After a two-night stay and exploring the charming Hanoi City, you will board a night train to head up to the mountains for 2-day hiking in Sapa. In the morning you come back from Sapa, we drive to Halong Bay for 3-day cruising and kayaking in this northern Vietnam’s most famous destination.
Day 1: Hanoi Arrival
Get picked up and taken to your hotel in Hanoi Old Quarter by your tour guide, rest of the day is free at leisure.
Day 2: Hanoi City Tour – Night Train to Sapa
After breakfast, your guide will take you to visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and its surrounding grounds. It is an impressive display of architecture that connect to a vibrant past, where thousands of Vietnamese following a long line leading to the marble edifice to see their greatest leader.
The path in the garden behind the mausoleum brings you to a bright yellow French building, the Presidential Palace. This opulent building was once home to the governor of the French in Indochina, the structure reminds of the country’s occupied past. Nestling along a small pond is a traditional house on stilts where Ho Chi Minh chose to live instead of the opulent palace. The house shows the modest lifestyle of the former leader, who devoted his whole life to liberate his nation.
Your exploration of Hanoi continues with your arrival at the Museum of Ethnology, where you will learn about 54 ethnic groups living in Vietnam. With the purpose of promoting the socio-cultural diversity within the country, the display in the museum range from jewelry to tapestries, textiles to daily working tools. In the open yard behind the indoor exhibit is elegant displays of traditional ethnic houses standing among the surrounding greenery.
Continue on to see the famous “Hanoi Hilton” museum, build by the French to keep the Vietnamese political prisoner and later used by North Vietnam government to house American prisoner of war. The museum will help you understand how Hanoi was damaged and how much it has changed since the end of the war.
A bicycle rickshaw, also known as a cyclo will tour you through Hanoi’s busiest area, the Old Quarter. You can see locals sitting on little green plastic chair drinking iced tea and eating on the sidewalk. The old streets were once, and continue to be, divided by guilds and filled with neighborhoods. The sights, sounds, and aromas will soon be welcoming you. (B, L)
From your hotel, we transfer to the station for the overnight train to Lao Cai, with an air-conditioned sleeper compartments and a shared bathroom. The total rail journey is about 8 hours; train is departing at 10h00pm and arrives in Lao Cai about 6h15am. (B, L)
Day 3: Sapa – Hiking Lao Chai and Ta Van
Arrive in Lao Cai in the early morning and transfer to Victoria Sapa Resort & Spa for your early check in, refreshment and breakfast at the hotel.
Today, you will enjoy a light hike to discover Sapa’s quaint hill tribe villages. The hike commences from Sapa on a trail running through the beautiful gardens and lush pine forests. You will then pass by a small village of Ma Tra village, which is inhabited by the Black Hmong ethnic minority. Houses of H’mong people are usually built low without windows to avoid cold weather in the winter.
Continues your hike through rice paddy fields, primary schools and spectacular scenery. The trip also offers you the opportunity to visit the local houses, chance to talk to the locals who are watching you hiking from yards. You will learn more about about the unmixed cultural life of Black Hmong and Red Dao minorities, 2 largest ethnic groups in the area. By now you can recognize them by dressing while they are both very famous of handicraft. End your way at Ta Phin villages of the Black H’mong and Red Dao. You will return Sapa by car. (B, L)
Notes: Sapa is becoming more and more popular with tourists. Many local ethnic people having limited income take selling souvenir items as a main source of income. Expect hill tribe vendors to follow you and to be persistent in persuading you to buy their handicraft. If you are not interested, just say “no” and ask your guide to walk away.
Day 4: Sapa – Ma Tra – Ta Phin – Night Train to Hanoi
Today, you will discover Sapa town and its valley. The town is orientated to make the most of the spectacular views emerging on clear days. It overlooks a plunging valley of cascading rice terraces, with mountains towering above on all sides. Views of this epic scenery are often subdued by thick mist rolling across the peaks, but even if it’s cloudy, Sapa is still a fascinating destination, especially when local hill-tribe people fill the town with their colorful dress.
The town’s French colonial villas, built in 1920s, fell into disrepair during successive wars with the French, Americans and Chinese, but following the advent of tourism, Sapa has experienced a renaissance.
From the town, hike down terraced rice fields (or drive) to Lao Chai – Black H’mong village. Along the way, enjoy views of the valley and the surrounding mountains, and meet people from many ethnic groups, including the friendly Hmong, Giay, and Red Dao. Continue to a visit to Ta Van village, where the Giay hill tribes live. After a picnic lunch, take a scenic hike through bamboo forest to Giang Ta Chai hill tribe village of the Red Dao. Please note that this itinerary is flexible, and those who don’t wish to hike all the way will be transferred between villages by car. Transfer back to Sapa and on to the hotel near the train station to freshen up before taking the overnight train back to Hanoi. (B, L)
Day 5: Hanoi – Halong Bay
After your breakfast, pick up for a 3.5-hour drive toward Halong Bay. Upon arrive in Tuan Chau Island, aboard Bhaya Cruise. Enjoy welcome drinks and briefing about the cruising itinerary from the boat’s cruise manager.
Lunch is served while the boat is cruising out to the bay, visit Cua Van floating village by being rowed on a local fishing boat. After the village, you will come back to the boat and relax or enjoy some traditional massages.
In the late afternoon, cruise to the anchorage cove to anchor for the night. Dinner and relax on the boat deck. (B, L, D)
Day 6: Halong Bay – Bai Tu Long Bay
Rise up early for ttart off your day with a Tai Chi lesson on the sundeck with complimentary tea and coffee.
Today, you will cruise to Bai Tu Long Bay. The cruising route unveils lots of beautiful spots before you start kayaking in Ho Ba Ham area. This morning, you can kayak as many as you want. For those who don’t want to paddle longer than 2 hours, you can just relax on a beach where the boat is anchored.
In the afternoon, you will visit the Surprise Cave, the biggest limestone cave in Halong Bay. Then you can swim or hiking the famous Titov island. After dinner, relax in your cabin or join our staff at the reception for squid fishing. (B, L, D)
Day 7: Halong Bay – Hanoi Departure
Start off your day with an other Tai Chi lesson on the sundeck with complimentary tea and coffee, today you must be an expert!
This morning, you will visit Luon cave and see the lagoon behind. Return to Bhaya Classic. Brunch is served onboard. The vessel cruises leisurely back to harbor. Get picked up by your tour guide and drive back to the airport for your flight back home. (Brunch)
Notes for cruising Halong Bay:
|Length:||7 Days/ 6 Nights|
Price per person: $600
TRIP COST INCLUDES
TRIP COST DOES NOT INCLUDE
CANCELLATION AND TRANSFER FEE SCHEDULE