Best of North Vietnam

  • Destination: Vietnam
  • Duration: 6 days
  • Price: $850

Discover North Vietnam’s cultural diversity and breathtaking scenery. From Hanoi’s colonial charm to Sapa’s the mist-entwined mountains and finally the turquoise, island dotted, Halong Bay. This tour includes all of North Vietnam’s key sites.

Day 1

Hanoi Arrival

Welcome to Hanoi, Vietnam’s bustling colonial capital. Your driver and guide will meet you outside the baggage claim of Noi Bai Airport and take you to your hotel in the city center. In the afternoon, enjoy an orientation walk, visiting some of Hanoi’s main attractions: the Opera House, Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple. In the evening, savor a welcome dinner of authentic Vietnamese food at one of Hanoi’s finest restaurants. Meals: Dinner.

Accommodation: Mercure Hanoi La Gare Hotel  or similar, Grand Plaza Hanoi Hotel or similar

Day 2

Hanoi City Tour – Night train to Laocai

Today you have a full day to explore Vietnam’s charming capital. With its wide tree-lined boulevards, French colonial architecture, peaceful lakes and ancient oriental pagodas, Hanoi is an eclectic mix that offers something for everyone. Your city tour will take you to Hanoi’s key sites: the Ho Chi Minh Complex (Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum and stilt house), the nearby One Pillar Pagoda; the Presidential Palace; the Temple of Literature; the Quan Thanh Temple, the sedate Tran Quoc Pagoda & West Lake; and one of the city’s museums (a choice between the History Museum and the Ethnology Museum). In the evening enjoy a traditional Water Puppet Performance – a unique Vietnamese Art form hailing from Southeast Asia’s wet-rice culture – before heading to the train station to catch your night train to Laocai. Meals: Breakfast.

Accommodation: On train (in a shared 4 soft berths cabin with A/C)

Day 3

Laocai – Sapa

The train arrives at the Laocai railway station in the early morning. Your guide and driver will meet you there and take you on the 40km drive to Sapa – Northwest Vietnam’s premier travel destination. Enjoy breakfast at the hotel then catch a few hours of rest before beginning your adventure in this beautiful mountain landscape and home to many minority hill tribe peoples. In the late morning, your guide will take you on a two hour trek through the terraced rice fields to visit the villages Cat Cat and Sin Chai, where you will learn about local traditions and daily life. Rest of the day, you are free at leisure or explore the town on your own. Meals: Breakfast.

Accommodation: Sunny Mountain Hotel, Bamboo Sapa Hotel

Day 4

Sapa – Visit hill tribe villages

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel, before setting out on a full day’s trek to explore Sapa’s cultural diversity and haunting natural beauty. Take a guided hike through yawning valleys decorated with terraced rice fields and pass through remote hill tribe villages. You have three trekking options to choose from: Soft trek (~ 3 km), medium trek (~ 6km) and long trek (~ 12km). Trekking is an excellent way to explore the daily life and familiarize yourself with the cultures of the H’mong, Dzao and Dzay people who populate the region. Have lunch at a hill tribe village then drive back to Laocai to catch your return night train to Hanoi.  Meals: Breakfast, Lunch.

Accommodation: On train (in a 4 shared soft berths cabin with A/C)

Day 5

Hanoi – Halong Bay – Overnight on cruise

Arrive in Hanoi in the early morning. Your guide and driver will meet you at the railways station and take you to a local restaurant for breakfast, before setting out on a 3 to 4 hour drive to the UNESCO World Heritage Site: Halong Bay. Spend 24 hours on a traditional Junk Cruise in the amazing bay: a natural wonderland composed of jutting limestone islands and sparkling turquoise waters. Arrive at the dock around noon and board your junk. Savor a gourmet lunch of fresh seafood onboard as we sail out into the mystical bay. In the afternoon, cruise around some of Halong’s many islands, including Dinh Huong and Ga Choi. Along the way visit one of the bay’s 3 largest caves (Thien Cung, Dau Go or Sung Sot). Stop at an island cove with a sheltered white-sand beach and take a dip in the warm waters of the Tonkin Gulf (weather permitting). Pass the night on your junk, lulled to sleep by the gentle rocking of calm waters.  Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

Accommodation: On Cruise

Day 6

Halong Bay – Hanoi – Departure

Awake early and participate in Tai Chi on the top deck or simply relax and enjoy the sunrise over the bay’s towering islands. Enjoy a morning cup of coffee or tea, before setting out to explore nearby islands by rowboat. Return to the junk for breakfast then take advantage of the sundeck and admire the amazing rock formations of Bai Tu Long Bay as you navigate back to Halong City. Have brunch on board the boat before returning to Halong pier. Your driver will meet you at the dock and take you to Noi Bai Airport of Hanoi to catch your departure flight home. Safe journey home.

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Inclusions
Accommodation
Breakfast & meals per mentioned in the itinerary
Transportation by private car with A/C
English-speaking guides
Return train ticket Hanoi – Laocai – Hanoi (shared 4 berths cabin)
All entrance fees, performances, boat trips & excursions.