North Vietnam Discovery 8 days / 7 nights discovering the beauty of north Vietnam, explore the charms of Hanoi, cruise Halong Bay and trek through stunning scenery in the Tonkinese Alps. A wonderful Vietnam trip for those with limited time or already based in Southeast Asia
Day 1: Hanoi Arrival (D)
Arriving at our one-thousand-year-old capital of Hanoi, you will be welcomed with our guide and escort you to your hotel in the heart of the city. Check in your hotel and be free for relaxing after a long-haul flight. In the evening, you will enjoy a welcomed dinner at a local restaurant with traditional live music. You will spend the night in Hanoi.
Day 2: Hanoi Orientation – Overnight train to Lao Cai (B/L)
Breakfast will be served at your hotel and then follow our professional guide for a Hanoi orientation. You can choose a classic excursion that comprises of Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (viewed from outside on every Monday, Friday and afternoons because it’s closed), One-Pillar Pagoda, Tran Quoc Pagoda, Westlake, the temple of Literature – the first university in Vietnam dating back to the 11th century – And after a lunch served at a local restaurant, you will return to the Old Quarter of Hanoi to visit Hoan Kiem Lake, Ngoc Son Temple. Enjoy one-hour cyclo ride between crowded and small streets of the bustling Old Quarter where you can observe the most of local life. Your day ends with a Water Puppet Show at Thang Long Theater.
OR if you’re brave and adventurous, you can choose a day on motorbike, the most popular vehicle of local residents. You can ride your own motorbike or our guide will drive and you just seat behind to take photos. We’re opened to your decision! Wear your helmet and ride thru small streets, reach each conner of Hanoi. The places that can’t be missed are Saint Joseph Cathedral, Long Bien Bridge – the oldest bridge in Hanoi built by French colonialist, West Lake, Quang Ba Flower Market and Ho Chi Minh Complex. You can join in Hanoian daily life style by sipping drinking street iced tea, coffee or eating street foods.
In the evening, you will take a night train to Lao Cai. Your overnight will be on the train.
There are many train branch names from/to Sapa per day. They’re rated from 3-star to five-star. Size of cabins on these trains is the same because they were rented and renovated from old trains of the Vietnam Railway Corporation. Each branch name has only a few carriages on a train, so it’s no surprise that in the same train, there are many different branch names and they depart at the same time. The only differences are the luxurious level of facilities inside cabin and the way of decoration. These decide the train price! There is no private toilet in cabin of all trains even the most luxurious train of Victoria. There are only two shared toilets in each carriage. Each carriage comprises of 7 cabins. Each cabin has either 6 berths, 4 berths or 2 berths.
Day 3: Lao Cai – Hill Tribe Market – Sapa (B)
Arrive at Lao Cai Train station early morning, you will be met by our local guide and enjoy a breakfast with beef noodle or pan cake followed by Vietnamese strong coffee. Next, you will take three hours drive through the marvelous scenery of Vietnam’s northwest mountains to a colorful hill tribes market. You must reach the market at its most crowded and beautiful time. Markets are special cultural character of minority people in the mountainous area of Vietnam. It’s not only the place where the local exchanges farm crops but the place to meet and find lovers. Girls and men wear their most beautiful hand-made clothes, so viewing from the top, the market look like a flower garden. The most colorful markets are Bac Ha Market on Sunday, Coc Ly Market on Tuesday and Can Cau Market on Saturday. Lunch is at your own arrangement and drive to Sapa. Check in your hotel and spend the night in Sapa.
Day 4: Sapa – Lao Chai – Ta Van – Lao Cai – Train back to Hanoi (B)
Today is a hard day for whom who sticks their life with air-conditioned offices and morning exercise is just in their imagination. But we trust it’s easy for challenging people like you. Warm up yourself by walking down to Muong Hoa Valley where locates the Cat Cat Village of Black H’mong minority. Small stone stair leads you through the village. Somehow, you will see little children looking out from their houses and say “hello”. You can give them back a big smile and say “xin chao” (means hello in Vietnamese). Keep your camera ready for beautiful photo shoots of rice terrace or just a face with pure and innocent eyes. Return to the town for lunch at your own and relax before a half day hard trekking to Lao Chai and Ta Van Village.
After lunch, our private car takes you to Lao Chai village of Black H’mong people. From there, you will start two hours trekking to Ta Van village of Dzay people. Some people can shorten the trekking time by going quickly and keep their eye straight but it’s not our suggestion to you. Trek slowly and stop on the way for photo shooting. You will find and experience the most interesting things of the route. Our car will wait you at Ta Van Village and take you back to Sapa. You have to reach Lao Cai before sunset, so we will drive straight there. Check in a mini hotel for shower before an overnight train back to Hanoi. You will spend the night on the train.
Day 5: Hanoi – Ha Long Bay (B/L/D)
Arriving in Hanoi early morning, you will be picked up by our driver and transferred to a mini hotel for breakfast and shower. Afterwards, you will proceed to Ha Long Bay. The route takes around three hours and a half drive. Ha Long Bay, one of the World Natural Heritages recognized by UNESCO with over 3,000 spectacular limestone islands rising from the clear, emerald sea in the Gulf of Tonkin. Upon arrival, welcome aboard. Enjoy welcome drink before check in at your cabin. While the junk is passing many rocky islets, caves, floating villages and beaches, your lunch will be served on board with fresh seafood. In the afternoon, visit a floating fishing village by rowing boat. Meet and talk and take photos with the villagers. Late afternoon, your cruise will stop at a quiet lagoon for overnight where you can take time to swim, relax on sundeck or kayak (with extra charge of US$20 per double kayak. Followed the sunset, your dinner will be arranged in a warm atmosphere restaurant between gently lapping waves. Overnight on board.
Day 6: Ha Long Bay – Hanoi (B)
Breakfast is served while the junk cruises around Ha Long Bay, passes by many islets named by their shapes such as Dog, Incense Urn, Fighting Cock, Finger, etc. Stop for a while to explore Surprise Cave – one of the most beautiful caves of the bay. The junk then continues cruising towards the wharf. Check out your cruise at 10:00am. Our car/bus is ready there to pick you up back to Hanoi. Check in your comfortable accommodation and overnight in Hanoi.
Day 7: Hanoi – Perfume Pagoda (B/L)
After breakfast at your hotel, you will take 2 hours drive through the rich farming land of the Red River Delta to Perfume Pagoda- one of Vietnam’s great pilgrimage sites. The complex is not just one pagoda but many shrines and sanctuaries built into the mountainsides. On arrival, enjoy a leisurely boat cruise on Yen Stream, passing by spectacular landscape of flooded rice fields and undulating mountains. Upon disembarking at Duc Quay, take a short walk to Thien Tru Pagoda before getting uphill by electric cable car to visit the sacred Huong Tich Grotto where pilgrims used to pray for health, luck, etc.
Go downhill on foot for a picnic lunch at Thien Tru Pagoda’s ground, then take the boat trip back to the wharf where your waiting vehicle will take you back to Hanoi with a short stop en route at Van Phuc – a traditional silk craft village. You will spend the night in Hanoi.
Day 8: Hanoi – Departure (B)
You will be free today until our driver and guide come to pick you up the Noi Bai International Airport for your departure flight.
Our prices include:
Breakfast and accommodation sharing a twin or double room.
Travel in an appropriate private air-conditioned vehicle with an experienced safe driver.
The services of an experienced English-speaking guide throughout the tour (please note: guides will be on hand from pick-up until guests’ return to their hotel or reaching their destination).
Where necessary, entry fees and permission to enter border areas for all visits mentioned in the program.
Returned train tickets from Hanoi to Lao Cai, in shared 4-berth cabin with soft sleeper and air-conditioning
Lunches and dinners (as specified in the itinerary) in the best local restaurants, or picnics where no suitable restaurant is available.
VAT and other taxes
Bottled mineral waters and wet wipes on car during transfer
Our prices do not include:
International flight tickets and airport tax.
Vietnamese visa stamp and handling fee
Dinners, except as specified above.
Drinks, gratuities and personal expenses.
Camera fees (if any)