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Essence of Northern Vietnam 8 days

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8 days

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Tour Type

Daily Tour

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Group Size

35 people

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The Essence of Northern Vietnam 8 days is an in-depth exploration of the culture, people, and landscapes of northern Vietnam. Leaving the graceful boulevards of Hanoi behind, we explore rural Mai Chau and the amazing limestone landscape of Tam Coc, by bike and by boat. We continue to Sapa and take a step back in time to visit remote hill tribe villages surrounded by rolling green hills and mountain streams overlooked by dramatic limestone karsts. The trip’s grand finale is at Halong Bay. We’ll stay overnight on a comfortable junk boat, with island visits, delicious food, swimming, sunbathing, and kayaking. A perfect end to our showcase of the cultural and scenic charms of northern Vietnam!


  • Trek through the rolling rice terraces, waterfalls, mountains, and lush green hills of Sapa and get in touch with people from ethnic minority groups
  • Cast away on a traditional junk boat and set sail through hundreds of limestone karsts that rise dramatically from the emerald waters of Halong Bay
  • Experience Mai Chau on 2 wheels, cycle around the stunning lush landscape and learn about Thai culture by visiting the nearby villages
  • Get a glimpse of life in the countryside in Vietnam, and enjoy the peace with endless rice paddy fields


Day 1: Hanoi Half day City tour

The tour departs either in the morning or in the afternoon depending on your availability.

- You can also have the option to choose to travel either by car or by motorbike.

- The routes of the tour can change subject to your interest.

- The tour starts with a visit to the Temple of Literature, the first university in Vietnam.
- Then you head to One Pillar Pagoda, the Mausoleum of President Ho Chi Minh
- Visit West Lake and Tran Quoc Buddhist Pagoda.

*The pagoda is regarded as the most ancient pagoda in Hanoi with a history line of more than 1,500 years.

- Have a meal at an authentic Vietnamese Restaurant.

- Free time at leisure for rest of the day.

Meals: Lunch
Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi
- Visit Temple of Literature, One Pillar Pagoda, the Mausoleum of President Ho Chi Minh

- Explore West Lake and Tran Quoc Buddhist Pagoda.

Day 2: Hanoi – Mai Chau - Road transfer


- After breakfast at the hotel, you will be picked up

- Then get on the van for the drive to Mai Chau.
- There will be a short break along the way

- You will arrive in Mai Chau around midday

- Get a welcome drink

- Enjoy the traditional lunch in the village (vegetarian available)


- Join a bicycle tour with the local tour guide- See the farmers working in the fields, local people waiving scarves

- Visit surrounding peaceful villages

- Have free time for shopping and walking around

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: Bungalow in Mai Chau
- Join a bicycle tour with the local tour guide

- See the farmers working in the fields, local people waiving scarves

- Have free time for shopping

Day 3: Mai Chau – Hanoi


- Complete your breakfast, then go with the local tour guide to visit more remote villages such as Na Meo and Na Mo villages

- Learn more about the traditional culture and customs of the local people.

- Around midday, you will be back homestay for lunch and checking out.

- Free time for shopping and relaxing. Afternoon

- 15:00- 15:30: Leave Mai Chau on the bus to drive back to Hanoi.

(Travel time is around 4 hours).

- Stay overnight in Hanoi.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi
- Visit Na Meo and Na Mo villages

- Learn more about the traditional culture and customs of the local people.

Day 4: Hanoi – Ninh Binh – Hoa Lu & Tam Coc - night train to Lao Cai

Hoa Lu Tam Coc day tour

Today, you will join a full-day tour to Hoa Lu, Tam Coc in Ninh Binh.


- Enjoy your breakfast at the hotel

- Get picked up for the transfer to Ninh Binh

- There will be a short break along the way, which is the chance for you to enjoy the fresh air in the middle of the giant rice fields

- Arrive in Tam Coc, you will get on the small boat rowed by a local for about 2 hours
- Explore many limestone mountains, rice fields, and temples along the way.

- See the golden rice carpet along the river banks if you travel during the harvest season.

- After a wonderful adventure, you will get back to the mainland for lunch in a local restaurant.

- Following lunch and break, it is now time to do some optional activities such as fishing, visiting local people, etc


- Hop on a bicycle, go around the beautiful villages and enjoy the fresh air in the rural area.

- Travel to Hoa Lu Ancient Capital, the ancient capital city of Vietnam one thousand years ago.

- Learn more about Vietnamese history, which is interesting and worth knowing.
- Get back to Hanoi, and wait for the pick up for the transfer to Hanoi train station.

Night train to Lao Cai train station

- Around 20:00, met by the tour guide at the hotel

- Transfer to Hanoi train station

- Have an overnight train to Lao Cai train station.

*The train departs around 21:15, and it is a shared sleeping compartment (2 lower & 2 upper berths per compartment)


Our tour guide will not accompany you during the train trip
Train schedule is subject to change.
Private compartments on request at a surcharge.
Train journeys are part of a great local experience. Cabins are shared with other local passengers (unless a private cabin is requested and all berths paid for - with supplement). Restrooms at either end of the carriages complete the local experience.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: Overnight on train
- Discover Ninh Binh-Tam Coc- Hoa Lu

- Experience Lao Cai night train

Day 5: Lao Cai – Road transfer to Sapa – Y Linh Ho - Lao Chai - Ta Van


- At 5:30- 6:00, you will arrive at Lao Cai train station.

- The bus driver will pick up you from the train station to Sapa.

(The transfer is around 1 hour).

- Early check-in the room on arrival if possible with a little bit of surcharge.

- Relax to get ready for a full-day tour.

- At around 9:30, you will be met by the local tour guide

- Trek to Y Linh Ho village, which is settled down by Muong Hoa River

- Travel to Lao Chai village which is home to Black H’mong.

It is one of the biggest minority groups in the Sapa area. Black H’mong have their own language and wear traditional indigo blue clothing.


- After Lao Chai village, we head to Ta Van village which is situated 1200 meters above sea level.

*Ta Van village is the place where Zay people live. There you can learn more about the tradition and customs of Zay people.

- Return you to Sapa.

- Free at leisure the rest of the day.

- Overnight at Sapa Hotel.
Meals: Breakfast, Picnic Lunch
Accommodation: Hotel in Sapa
- Trek to Y Linh Ho village.

- Travel to Lao Chai village

- Head to Ta Van village

Day 6: Cat Cat - Sin Chai - Sapa - Hanoi - Road transfer


- Enjoy your last breakfast in Sapa and then check out.

- Start a 3 km trek to Cat Cat village of Black H’mong.

- Relax to enjoy the tour around the village.

- Picnic lunch will be served by the side of the river

- Continue to trek 3 km to Sin Chai village, the village is located at the foot of Fansipan Mountain - “the Roof of Indochina”

- Enjoy the stunning landscapes of the mountain.

- Come back to the main road to be transferred to Sapa town on a jeep for 3km.


- 15:00- 15:30: The driver comes to pick you up at the hotel for transfer back to Hanoi.

- Overnight at the hotel in Hanoi

Meals: Breakfast, Picnic Lunch
Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi

Day 7: Hanoi - Halong Bay - Overnight on cruise


- Get up and get your breakfast

- The driver picks up and transfers you to Halong Bay, which is one of seven natural wonders in the world.

- Upon arrival, you will be welcomed by the crew staff.

- Check in on the cruise,

- Enjoy the delicious seafood served while the boat is cruising in the bay.

- Get your break after being full


- Join some activities such as visiting the cave, doing kayaking, or just swimming in the sea.

- Get on the boat to relax and enjoy dinner.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Cruise in Halong Bay
- Transfers you to Halong Bay

- Visit the cave, do kayaking, or just swim in the sea.

Our tour guide will not accompany aboard the cruise in Halong Bay. Resident English speaking guide on board available.

Day 8: Halong Bay – Hanoi

Start your second day in Halong Bay by getting up early and joining Tai-Chi lesson. If you are not interested in this activity, you can just relax on the sundeck, and witness the amazing sunrise on the bay.

- After breakfast, it is time to explore the most stunning caves in Halong Bay.

- Lunch will be served on the way back to the main dock

- Then you will be transferred back to Hanoi.

- You will have free time for exploring Hanoi Old Quarter and try Vietnamese street food by yourself.

Meals: Breakfast, Brunch
Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi is not included
- Join Tai-Chi lesson

- Explore Halong Bay caves

- DIscover Hanoi Old Quarter and its cuisine

Hotel in Hanoi is at clients owned arrangement


  • 7 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 1 Brunch, 2 Picnic Lunch, 1 Dinner
  • Car, Train, Cruise, Trekking
  • Hotel (5 nights), Bungalow in Mai Chau (1 night), Overnight on train (1 night), Cruise in Halong Bay (1 night)
  • Accommodation in TWN/ DBL sharing accommodation at hotel, except overnight on train and home-stay (if any)
  • Car transfer as per itinerary (excluding airport pick up and drop off)
  • All in-tour stationed local English speaking guide.
  • Overnight train ticket Hanoi - Lao Cai (4 soft berth sharing cabin with air condition)
  • Sharing luxury limousine Sapa - Hanoi
  • Sharing shuttle bus Hanoi - Ha Long Bay - Hanoi
  • Entrance fees for Vietnam attractions, as per itinerary
  • Meals as indicated in the program
  • Hotel EARLY check in & LATE check out
  • Peak season surcharge & compulsory dinner at the hotel (if any)
  • International flights to or from Vietnam with taxes
  • Visa or Passport Fees
  • Travel Insurance
  • Tips, laundry and gratuities
  • Meals not marked on itinerary, and water during meals

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