On arrival at Noi Bai Airport, you are met and transferred to hotel. Ha Noi, Vietnam's capital, is a stylish and gracious city that retains an unique old world charm and some Asia's most striking colonial architecture. (If time permits) we enjoy a short cyclo ride around the old quarter streets, giving you a chance to explore the different local ways of life. Oernight in Hanoi.
Day 2: Hanoi (Breakfast)
Today we enjoy a full day city tour starting with the Ho Chi Minh Complex. This famous site contains the mausoleum of the nation's founder Ho Chi Minh, the Presidential Palace and the Ho Chi Minh's house on stilts. Close to this complex is the One Pillar Pagoda, whose origins date back to the foundation of city. We follow this with a trip to the Temple of Literature, which is well known as the first university of Vietnam and the impressive Ethnologic Museum, dedicated to Vietnam's 54 ethnic groups. The beautiful West Lake and the History Museum with an excellent collection of artifacts illustrating the Vietnamese history, are not to be missed. We visit these sights before continuing to the peaceful lake of Hoan Kiem. In front of this lake is the famous water puppet theatre where we will see a fantastic performance. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 3: Hanoi - SaPa (Breakfast)
An early morning start to drive along the Red River to SaPa. The roads are bumpy at times, but various scenic landscape changing from the delta area to the Tonkinese Alps make for an interesting journey. At an elevation of 1,500 meters, SaPa was once a hill resort of French administrators when the summer heat became unbearable. The remoteness and the simple lifestyle of ethnic minority people are a highlight of SaPa although conditions are basic. After checking into hotel in SaPa we can soak up the fresh climate as much as we want by spending time to wander around this hill town. The ethnic people are frequently seen on the main street of SaPa and small vendors along the street sell local textiles and handicraft. Overnight in SaPa.
Day 4: SaPa (Breakfast)
The range of Phan Si Pan boasts Vietnam's highest mountain and lends an alpine feel to the area surrounding this hill station. Today we have enough time to visit the bustling SaPa Market where the Red Dao, Black Hmong, Tay and Xa Pho ethnic minorities converge from the nearby mountainsides and valleys to trade their goods and buy provisions. We then get well off the beaten track as we embark on a walk to explore this beautiful mountain region. Along the way we visit several rustic villages and see many mountaineers doing their daily works such as logging, herding buffalo and tilling the field. The blend of verdant mountain backdrop and colourful population makes for an unimaginable view. Overnight in SaPa.
Day 5: SaPa - Bacha (Breakfast)
Upon leaving SaPa we set off on our scenic drive through the border town of Lao Cai to the colourful Sunday Market at Bacha. This market also attracts a wide variety of ethnic minority groups including the Variegated Hmong, Dao, Phu La, La Chi and Tay. They still retain their old cultural traditions and are recognisably distinct from each other by their dress. The experience of this congregation is colorful and unique. After the market we enjoy a walk around the area, visiting the Hmong King's former residence and Ban Pho where the villagers make the potent local maize alcohol. Overnight in Bac Ha.
Day 6: Bacha - Hanoi (Breakfast)
The return journey begins as we depart Bac Ha Town and pass through the verdant and rugged mountain scenery to Hanoi. These back roads are a great way to explore the real Vietnam. We see very few other travellers, mostly rural dwellers who are just as interested in finding out about our lives as we are of theirs. The drive is very long, but we can make many stops along the way to stretch our legs and take some wonderful photographs. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 7: Hanoi - Perfume Pagoda - Ninh Binh (Breakfast)
An interesting drive through the rich farming land of the Red River Delta to the Perfume Pagoda, which is not just one pagoda but many shrines and sanctuaries built into mountainsides. This famous complex of pagodas is also one of Vietnam great pilgrimage sites. On arrival we enjoy a leisurely boat excursion on the Yen River past the spectacular landscape of flooded rice fields and undulating mountains. After two hour river trip we embark on a rugged walk uphill to explore some of the many pagodas and the sacred grotto of Huong Tich. We then drive to Ninh Binh, our final destination. Overnight in Ninh Binh.
Day 8: Ninh Binh - Haiphong (Breakfast)
The capital of Vietnam during the Dinh and early Le Dynasties is Hoa Lu, which however has left its legacy in the form of two small temples, each one nearly a thousand years old. After a short drive we visit these two remaining structures, dedicated to the Dinh and Le Rulers, then climb 200 steps to the top of Ma Yen mountain for a fantastic view over the surrounding areas. The next stop of our trip is Tam Coc which is surnamed "Inland Halong Bay". We take a boat trip on a river through the quiet and peaceful landscape of rice fields surrounded by limestone formations to the grottoes of Tam Coc. Upon leaving this site we commence our scenic drive to Hai Phong, the biggest port town of northern Vietnam. Overnight in Haiphong.
Day 9: Haiphong - Halong (Breakfast/Lunch)
Heading out of town we travel by roads to Halong Bay, truly one of Vietnam's most impressive scenic sights. On arrival we embark on a boat for a memorable trip around the Bay which will give us a chance to explore the picturesque scenery blending with the sky and some 3,000 limestone islands, rising amazingly from the clear and emerald water. The limestone karst formations are littered with beaches, grottoes and beautiful caves. Along the way we will anchor for a leisurely swim in a secluded cove and an enjoyable visit to one of the many hidden grottoes beneath towering cliffs. After a seafood lunch on board we continue our exciting cruise and have time for another swim. Overnight in Halong.
Day 10: Halong - Bat trang - Hanoi (Breakfast)
The very good roads make our journey back to Hanoi much more pleasurable. Today we have plenty of time to observe the rural landscape and visit the riverside village of Bat Trang, where distinctive ceramics are made and used throughout the delta region for over 500 years. The vitality of this village is still blown up by the hundreds of pottery kilns on fire day and night. We stroll around various cottage industries and watch craftsmen forming, painting and glazing their products in traditional ways. The reminder of the day will be free to explore Hanoi's older quarters or simply to relax. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 11: Hanoi - Departure (Breakfast)
There is a free time for you to relax or further explore Hanoi. The trip ends after your transfer to Noibai Airport for your ongoing flight. End of the tour.
Tour Prices with Luxury Hotels
Tour Prices with Standard Hotels
Prices are per person in US Dollars based on double occupancy.
Any parts of the itinerary e.g. tour length, activities & hotels can be tailored to your individual interests.
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