Discover a corner of North Vietnam where ancient history and stunning landscapes collide. Travel from the modern capital to the first capital city, Hoa Lu and admire ancient relics. Meet the Hmong people and other minority villagers on a hilltribe excursion in Sapa. Explore the limestone karsts and rice paddies of ‘Halong on Land’ before boarding a boat to cruise the real Halong Bay. This trip offers great value as it introduces the region’s main sights, providing plenty of flexibility so you can experience an adventure you’ll never forget.
Day 1: Half day Hanoi city tour
Meet at your hotel’s lobby and join with us for a Half day Hanoi city tour (by car or by motorbike – upon client’s interest) – Routes can change subject to client’s interest. Begin the first day of the trip with a tour of Hanoi. Depart from the hotel at 08:30 for a visit to Vietnam’s first university: the Temple of Literature. Founded in 1076, Quoc Tu Giam was established within a temple to educate Vietnam’s royalty, mandarins and members of the elite.
Continue with a visit to the iconic One Pillar Pagoda, one of Vietnam’s most iconic temples. Nearby is the mausoleum of the historic father figure of modern Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh, and his modest house on stilts. (Sites are viewed from outside; closed Mon and Fri and from Oct-Nov)
Wrap up the morning with a visit to the picturesque West Lake and its sixth century Tran Quoc Buddhist Pagoda. From here transfer (or stroll along the lakeside) 700 meters to the nearby Taoist temple of Quan Thanh dedicated to Tran Vu, one of the principal deities in Taoism.
Have lunch at an authentic Vietnamese Restaurant. Around noon you will have the option for your Tour Guide to take you to any location in the Old Quarter or to your hotel. Free time at leisure for rest of the day.
Day 2: Hanoi – Ninh Binh – Lao Cai
Just a couple hours’ drive outside of Hanoi and the tour heads deep into Vietnam’s picturesque countryside. Discover Hoa Lu, the ancient capital of Vietnam during the Dinh and Le dynasties, before taking a sampan trip down the Tam Coc River. Also called the ‘Halong Bay on Land,’ this region is famous for its charming grottoes and limestone karst mountains.
Depart from the hotel around 08:00 for the 2-hour drive through rural northern Vietnam. Stop off at Hoa Lu, where there are temples dedicated to Emperor Dinh Tien Hoang of the Dinh Dynasty (968-80) and Emperor Le Dai Hanh of the Le Dynasty (980-1009).
If time permits after visiting Hoa Lu, take a half-hour walk up one of the surrounding limestone karst hills; a difficult but highly rewarding climb with spectacular views. (A moderate level of physical fitness is required.)
Continue on for Tam Coc Town where a Vietnamese-style lunch will be waiting; there will be ample opportunity to stop for photographs of the villages and landscapes along the way.
For those feeling adventurous, climb up to the 15th century Bich Dong Pagoda on nearby Ngu Nhac Mountain, comprising three structures: Ha, Trung, and Thuong Pagodas (in ascending order).
Then get on bus and our driver will take you back to Hanoi.
Meet at your hotel in Hanoi at around 20:00 hrs and transfer to Hanoi train station. Overnight train trip to Lao Cai in shared sleeping compartments (sharing with other passengers in 2 lower & 2 upper berths per compartment). Train departs at approximately 21:15 hrs.
– Our tour guide will not accompany during the train trip
– Train schedule is subject to change.
– Private compartments on request at surcharge.
– Train journeys are part of a great local experience. Cabins are shared with other local passengers (unless private cabin is requested and all berths paid for – with supplement). Restrooms at either end of the carriages complete the local experience.
Day 3: Lao Cai – Sapa – Lao Chai – Ta Van – Giang Ta Chai
05:30 ~ 06:00 Arrive at Lao Cai Train Station. Pick up at the train station and transfer to Sapa by a tourist shared bus (1 hour to get to Sapa). Early check in upon arrival is possible upon room occupancy (Surcharge applicable) otherwise we will provide you a basic room where you can have shower. Relax for awhile to get ready for our full day tour.
Start the trip at around 9:00. Our guide takes you to visit two villages of the H’mong and Dzay People, called Lao Chai, Ta Van and Giang Ta Chai villages. You will start trekking from Lao Chai to Ta Van with the distance about 3km.
Lunch at a local family, it gives you a worth chance for you to learn about the local house architecture which is full of their daily life styles and exclusive custom. When you finish the trekking trip at the end of the village, our bus will pick up you back to Sapa town (if you stay in the village you will trek 2km more to your homestay).
Day 4: Sa Pa – Cat Cat – Hanoi
Have breakfast at hotel (or at your homestay). Our guide takes you to visit Cat Cat village of Black H’mong people. You have a chance to visit a waterfall and the hydroelectric power station built by the French, see the life of local through their houses, their handicraft products. Back to Sapa town and have lunch on restaurant. You are free and easy to discover Sapa town on your own until 15:00.
Transfer back to Hanoi by shuttle bus. Arrive in Hanoi in the evening.
Day 5: Hanoi – Halong Bay
Halong Bay is listed by UNESCO as a World Natural Heritage and voted as a Wonder of Nature by the New7Wonders Foundation. You will have a night staying in this world famous bay.
After breakfast in Hanoi, depart the capital for the 3hr 30mins drive to Halong Bay. Arrive to Halong City’s jetty (around noon) and proceed with check-in formalities. After a welcome onboard, lunch will be served while cruising towards the bay. In the afternoon, enjoy some sightseeing, on-board activities (depending on each boat’s itinerary) or just spend some time relaxing on the vessel. Towards the end of the day the boat sets anchor for the night among the karst formations. Dinner is served on board.
Day 6: Halong Bay – Hanoi
Early risers can enjoy a memorable sunrise over the karst formations of Halong Bay. Breakfast will be served shortly thereafter.
Enjoy breakfast (brunch on some boats) while the vessels cruises slowly through the magnificent rock formations back towards port. Arriving at the harbor, you will be picked up for transferring back to Hanoi.
Drop off at your hotel (hotel in Hanoi is not included)
- Accommodation in TWN/ DBL sharing accommodation at hotel, except overnight on train and homestay (if any)
- All transport and transfer as per itinerary
- All in-tour stationed local English speaking guide.
- Overnight train ticket Hanoi – Lao Cai (4 soft berth sharing cabin with air conditon)
- Entrance fees as per itinerary
- Meals as indicated in the program
- Hotel EARLY check in and LATE check out
- Peak season surcharge & compulsory dinner at the hotel (if any)
- International flights to or from Vietnam with taxes
- Transfer from and to airport
- Visa or Passport Fees
- Travel Insurance
- Tips, laundry and gratuities
- Meals that were not marked on itinerary, and water during meals
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