Day 1: Arrival in Hanoi
Welcome to Vietnam! Your local guide and chauffeur take you to town. We leave the rest of the day for your leisure to while off the jet lag and acclimatize yourself. If you arrive in the morning, we have some interesting optional activities in the afternoon or evening ready upon your request.
We start our tour at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, see his home and the Presidential Palace. Next, drive through some buzzing streets towards the West Lake and visit Tran Quoc Pagoda, the oldest one in Hanoi with its original erection dating back to the 6th century. Afternoon we visit the Museum of Ethnology with an elaborate collection of replicas of tribal houses on display where you learn about the diversity of ethnic traditions in Vietnam. Go to the the Old Quarter and follow your guide for a fascinating walk through the colorful narrow backstreets. Enjoy the riot of sights and sounds and the daily life scenes.
In the morning we start our expedition of the Far North mountains. Drive northwest towards Bac Ha lying at 950 meters elevation. The mountains and valleys here are an ethnic patchwork of indigenous tribe villages surrounded by rice terraces and lush vegetation. The rest of the afternoon we walk through the quiet town Bac Ha.
Day 4: Bac Ha Market (Sunday)
Sunday morning. Thousands of inhabitants in the region come together in their colorful costumes from all directions. For them, the market is the most important event of the week. Don’t forget why from the beginning we try to come here right on Sunday.
Afternoon when the market has dismissed, we take our first hike in Bac Ha, going through corn fields and pine forests to the village of Nam Tho and onward through a quiet valley to the village of Thai Giang Pho.
Today we have our next hike, going continuously uphill through the picturesque landscape of rice terraces to the village of Ta Van Chu, in which clans of the Flower Hmong live. In the late afternoon we return to Bac Ha.
Take a scenic drive to Sapa, the main town of the region lying at the foot of Vietnam's highest mountain, the Fansipan. We walk down the valley to Cat Cat village and observe the ways of life of the Black H’mong. In the afternoon we return to Sapa. If there is still time, you may like to take the cable car up to the 3,143 meter high summit (under own expense).
Day 7: Sapa to Mu Cang Chai
Today we take a journey across the enormous Hoang Lien Son range to its western side. Enchanting scenery gives us numerous photo opportunities. From the small town of Mu Cang Chai we walk to the village of La Phu Kho, home to the Thai people. We spend the night in a house of villagers. We enjoy the family connection and dinner prepared by the ladies of the house.
Day 8: Mu Cang Chai to Nghia Lo
We wake up to the daily sounds of village and have a Thai breakfast. Soon we set out setting out for the next hike over the magnificent rice terraces towards the villages of Na Hang and Trong Sua. After the hike we continue towards our destination for Muong Lo. We spend the night in the traditional houses of the locals.
Day 9: Nghia Lo to Mai Chau
Breakfast at our local host family. Next we travel through the mountains and rice terraces towards Mai Chau. To break the long drive, we will have a one-hour walk to a Thai village en route. Late afternoon we reach Mai Chau and move into our rooms in an eco lodge which is beautifully situated on the hillside overlooking the rice fields.
As we arrived in Mai Chau almost in the afterdark on the day before, today we enjoy the daylight over beautiful landscape of Mai Chau Valley. We explore the surroundings and wander through several villages of the White Thai.
Day 11: Mai Chau to Ninh Binh
Set out from Mai Chau. We take a scenic drive from the mountains towards the lowlands in Ninh Binh. We drive through different landscape with picturesque rugged karst hills rising from the flat green paddy fields. Arriving in Tam Coc, we hop onto a rowboat and glide along the river winding its way through towering limestone cliffs and mysterious tunnels. Back on shore, we cycle to our hotel. Approximately 12 km cycling and 1 hour hike.
Day 12: Ninh Binh to Ha Long
From a UNESCO site to the next. Today we travel to Halong Bay, a magical creation of nature in the form of thousands of half-submerged karst pillars. Here we have an overnight exploration cruise on board of a traditional wooden junk. When the darkness settles slowly over the bay, we let ourselves be enchanted on board by the unique atmosphere.
Day 13: Ha Long to Hanoi
After the night away from the civilized world, wake up in the tranquil settings of the bay. Continue with the morning cruise while the junk glides through further dramatic scenery. We visit a magnificent stalactite cave before heading back to the harbor in Halong. Upon disembarkation we take the drive back to Hanoi. You have the evening at leisure or to stroll around town before the next departure day.
Day 14: Departure from Hanoi
You are at leisure till transfer time. If you have late flight we will arrange extra activities or accommodation upon your request. We wish you a good journey home.
Tour Review Scores And Score Breakdown
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