Travel to northern Vietnam, This north Vietnam Tour brings you a chance to discover and explore some of the most remarkably scenic regions in South East Asia. Beginning in the national capital, Hanoi, we uncover the charms and curiosities of this graceful old city and its fascinating Old Quarter on foot before setting out to cruise amongst the towering limestone karsts of awe-inspiring Halong Bay. Last, but definitely not least, we take the night train to the northern border town of Lao Cai. From here we’ll trek through the breathtakingly beautiful mountain scenery around the northern hill tribe minority town of Sapa, and spend the night in a village longhouse, before returning to Hanoi where our trip ends.
Day 1: Welcom to Hanoi
Our trip starts today with your arrival in Hanoi. No activities are planned, so you may arrive at any time. There will be a pre-departure briefing with your tour Leader around 6pm this evening.
Day 2 Hanoi city tour
On arrival in Hanoi, transfer to your hotel. Meet the rest of the small group that will accompany you on your coming adventure with a welcome drink. Learn about ‘Uncle Ho’ at his former home and mausoleum and visit the infamous Hanoi Hilton prison then explore the ancient Temple of Literature. Uncover Vietnam’s hilltribes at the intriguing Ethnology Museum, before traveling to the beautiful upland valley of Mai Chau. An overnight home-stay in a Tai family house offers an insight into of daily life in the region. Back in Hanoi an evening water puppet performance awaits.
Day 3: Halong Bay
Ha Long means ‘descending dragon’ and legend has it that a giant dragon plunged into the ocean at this point cutting the bay from the rocks as it thrashed its way into the depths. We prefer Mother Nature’s version and awe-inspiring Halong Bay with its 3,000 limestone karsts thrusting skyward out of the sea is one of her finest pieces of work. Our Halong Bay excursion begins with a 3½-hour drive through the fertile Red River Delta to the bayside resort town of Bai Chay. We’ll board our chartered boat shortly before midday and enjoy a full afternoon lazing on the deck as we cruise through this most amazing seascape. A seafood lunch will be served on board and we’ll have the opportunity to go for a swim before going ashore on one of the islands to explore its colourful limestone caves. With any luck we’ll witness a fabulous sunset over Halong Bay before enjoying dinner prepared by our crew. Accommodation tonight is on board our boat in simply furnished cabins. Bedding will be provided but if the weather is fine you may prefer to sleep on the top deck under the stars. There are showers and sometimes there is hot water and sometimes not!
Day 4: Hanoi And Overnight Train To Lao Cai
Following breakfast we make our way back to Hanoi and arrive shortly before lunchtime. Our remaining time in Hanoi is free for shopping and sightseeing, or relaxing in one of the lakeside cafes. This evening we begin our exciting journey up to Sapa when we board the overnight train for the Vietnam – Non Nuoc border town of Lao Cai.
Day 5-7: Sapa – Overnight Trek
We’ll catch a glimpse of Non Nuoc over the other side of the river this morning as we disembark from the overnight train and begin our drive into the mountains and on to the picturesque minority hill tribe town of Sapa. Set amidst some magnificent mountain scenery and in the shadow of Vietnam’s tallest peak, the 3,143-metre-high Mt. Fansipan, the former French colonial hill station town of Sapa is home to some of Vietnam’s most colourful minority hill tribes. Like Dalat in the south, the French developed Sapa in an effort to replicate parts of the Alps and the Pyrenees. A number of their villas remain but many were lost in 1979 when the Vietnamese army evicted the invading Chinese. We’ll spend the afternoon discovering the charms of this magic little town and set out the next morning on an adventurous two-day trek up the Muong Hoa River Valley with its lush vegetation and rice terraces. There are no hotels up here so we spend the night at a minority village in the cosy longhouse of one of the village’s families. The next morning, after a hearty hill tribe breakfast, we trek back into Sapa. In the evening we make our way back to Lao Cai, where we once again board the overnight train, for the return trip to Hanoi.
Day 8: Hanoi
Northern Escape comes to an end with our arrival back in Hanoi at approximately 5am. Additional accommodation is available on request.
An experienced Vietnamese tour leader and, on occasion, the services of local guides at some sites. All transport, accommodation, meals (4 breakfasts, 1 lunch & 1 dinner) as indicated in the above itinerary.
International flights, entrance fees, arrival and departure transfers, departure and airport taxes, visas, all other meals, all optional tours or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature.