Kaleidoscopic Northern Vietnam

Hanoi, Vietnam

This psychedelic journey gives you a first-hand view of life in Vietnam outside of the urban mainstream. In your leisurely passage through the mountainous – and incredibly beautiful – Sapa region, Ha Long, and Ninh Binh, you will see, experience and admire the various shades of life in Vietnam.

Book now for a razzle-dazzle experience in Vietnam – just 10 days!

Places Covered: Hanoi, Sapa, Bac Ha, Ninh Binh, Hoa Binh, Mai Chau, Lac and Van Village, Halong Bay

Package Highlight: 10D/9N

Your exploration of Northern Vietnam begins in Hanoi, a city that reflects even today its long and rich history. You will be taken around Hanoi, before heading into the hills of the Sapa region, which are home to indigenous minority communities and also boast of rich natural diversity due to its unique ecosystem. The Bac Ha Market here, considered the most colourful in Vietnam, is sure to astound you. Visits to the rural countryside, including minority villages and paddy plantations, will immerse you in the lifestyles of the marginal communities while acquainting you with the serenity of rural landscapes. You also get to experience both the "inland" and the actual Ha Long Bay, with a sampan ride and a cruise!

Places Covered

  • DAY 01: ARRIVAL AT HANOI
  • DAY 02: HANOI - SAPA
  • DAY 03: SAPA - BAC HA- SAPA
  • DAY 04: SAPA - HANOI
  • DAY 05: HANOI - NINH BINH
  • DAY 06: HANOI - HOA BINH - MAI CHAU VILLAGE
  • DAY 07: MAI CHAU VILLAGE - LAC AND VAN VILLAGE - HANOI
  • DAY 08: HANOI - HA LONG
  • DAY 09: HA LONG - HANOI
  • DAY 10: HANOI - DEPARTURE

Detailed Itinerary:

DAY 01: ARRIVAL - HANOI

On arrival at Noi Bai Airport, you will be welcomed to Vietnam by our guide and transferred to your hotel for check-in and refreshment. Hanoi, Vietnam's capital, is a city whose grace comes from its long history; it also boasts of some of Asia's most striking colonial architecture. Its many lakes and parks will make for a relaxing atmosphere.

Meals: Dinner
Overnight Stay at Hotel in Hanoi

DAY 02: HANOI - SAPA

In the morning, set out on a city tour, visiting Ho Chi Minh Complex comprising the Mausoleum of the nation's founder Ho Chi Minh, his house on stilts, the Presidential Palace, and the One Pillar Pagoda whose origin dates back to the foundation of city. Following this is a trip to the Temple of Literature (Van Mieu), which is well known as the first university in Vietnam, built in 1070. Other sights on the tour include the Ethnological Museum and the Tran Quoc Pagoda, which is Vietnam's oldest pagoda, built in the 6th century located in the middle of a lake. Your tour will then take you to the peaceful lake of Hoan Kiem, within which the Ngoc Son Temple is located. Later embark on a 1-hour long Cyclo trip around the "36 streets" in Hanoi's old quarter, besides enjoying the famous Vietnamese art of water puppetry at the Thang Long Theatre. In the evening, proceed to Hanoi station for the overnight train to Lao Cai, which departs at 8:20 PM.

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

DAY 03: SAPA - BAC HA (Sunday) - SA PA

On arrival at Lao Cai our representative will take you to a local restaurant for breakfast. Your Sapa adventure begins with a scenic drive through the border town of Lao Cai to the colourful Sunday market at Bac Ha. This market attracts a wide variety of ethnic minorities, which till day retain their age-old cultural traditions and can be recognizably by their attire. You will be lunching at a local restaurant. After visiting the market go on a walk around the area, visiting the H'mong King's former residence and Ban Pho where the villagers make the potent local maize alcohol. (be sure to try some). You will return to Sapa, where you are free to continue to wander on your own.

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch
Overnight Stay at Hotel in Sapa

DAY 04:SAPA - HANOI

Create some memorable moments in the morning by capturing the charming scenery from your hotel balcony. Later visit the bustling Sapa market where the Red Dao, Black H'mong, Tay and Xa Pho ethnic minorities converge from the nearby mountains and valleys to trade goods and buy provisions. Climb up the Sapa hill, which is a short walk from your hotel to see the mystic rock formations, rare orchids and flowers. In the afternoon, you take a short drive to the rim of a deep valley, visiting the Dzay and Dzao people. Peek into their daily life to understand their culture and customs - before heading back to Lao Cai for the overnight train to Hanoi.

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

DAY 05:HANOI - NINH BINH

At Hanoi you will be met by our representative and taken for breakfast at a local restaurant before beginning your adventure to Ninh Binh province which is known to travellers as Vietnam's "Inland Ha Long Bay". You will experience a sampan cruise on a creek across three vast stretches of rice fields. You will also go to the Temples of Dinh King and Le King built on the site of the Hoa Lu Ancient Citadel. Your sampan trip along the stream will take you to Tam Coc caves - three limestone caves, adorned with beautiful stalagmites and stalactites. Later on, you will visit Bich Dong Pagoda.

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch
Overnight Stay at Hotel in Hanoi

DAY 06: - HOA BINH - MAI CHAU

Leave Hanoi and head west towards Hoa Binh City where you will stop for refreshments, followed by a climb towards the Mai Chau valley, about two hours away, stopping on the way to take in the spectacular scenery and capturing as many photos in your camera's. Following lunch in Mai Chau town, you will be drive to the White Thai village of Poom Cong. In the afternoon walk to the surrounding villages. Your hosts that evening will be the White Thai minority people, thanks to whose hospitality you will experience and learn about their lives and cultures with a cultural exchange following the evening meal.

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch
Overnight Stay at Homestay at Mai Chau

DAY 07: MAI CHAU VILLAGE - LAC AND VAN VILLAGEs - HANOI

Following breakfast you will embark on a lovely walk to the villages of Lac and Van. On your walk you will be encountering local villagers going about their daily business, i.e. tilling the fields, logging, or herding buffalo. You will be lunching in Mai Chau before visiting the Muong village in Hoa Binh. After that, you will be driven back to Hanoi

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch
Overnight Stay at Hotel in Hanoi

DAY 08: : HANOI - HA LONG

You will go to Ha Long by car, a three-and-half hour drive, and en-route seeing rural Vietnam, while passing through the Red River delta. You will observe Vietnamese farmers tilling vast green paddy fields, besides visiting a handicrafts workshop featuring fine clothes and embroidered paintings. In Ha Long, you will checkin-in and board the junk, at which time you will be served a welcome drink. You will have lunch during your cruise through Ha Long Bay, later visiting the islands of Dinh Huong, Ga Choi, Dog and Sail. You will also be stopping at Sung Sot cave and swimming at Titov beach. The overnight stay on the cruise will give you plenty of time to relax and even try fishing!

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight Stay on Cruise

DAY 09: HA LONG - HANOI

If you are awake early (we recommend you do), you will enjoy the view of the Bay's landscapes and the breath-taking beauty of rocky islands rising from the crystal-clear water of the Bay. You will be visit Man's Head Island and Tortoise Island, and also Bai Tu Long Bay. After lunch you will return to Hanoi This brings to the end of this adventure, we are sure that you would have your things planned and for this we leave the rest of the day for you to experience.

Meals: Brunch
Overnight Stay at Hotel in Hanoi

DAY 10: HANOI - DEPARTURE

You will be free until proceeding to the airport for your departure flight.

Meals: Breakfast

Inclusions & Exclusions:

Package Inclusions:
  • Hotel Accommodation with breakfast for 6 nights, based on twin sharing
  • Return train ticket from Hanoi - Sa Pa
  • One night accommodation on board in Ha Long based on twin sharing
  • Private boat for sightseeing as stated in the program
  • Entrance fees & Sightseeing as indicated
  • Meals at local restaurant as mentioned
  • Government tax and service charge
  • Visa approval letter
  • One bottle of mineral water every day
Package Exclusions:
  • Airfare (international and domestic) and airport tax
  • Visa handling fee, visa stamp fee
  • Drinks and other meals not clearly mentioned
  • Surcharge for special request on food, and meals
  • Insurance, gratuities and personal expenses
  • Tipping for guide and driver
  • Camera and Video Recorder Tickets are NOT INCLUDED in the mentioned cost of Sightseeing & Transfers.
  • Surcharge for public holidays (if any)
  • All other service not stated in the program
  • Compulsory dinner for Xmas and New Year Eve: TBA *

Cancellation Policy:

  • More than 30 days prior to trip departure: ₹1000 per person
  • 20-30 days before departure: 25% of the full payment
  • 15-20 days before departure: 60% of the full payment
  • Within 15 days before departure: 80% of the full payment
  • No Show: No Refund

Accommodation Details

Deluxe Accommodation
Hanoi City: Movenpick Hanoi, Nikko Hotel or similar (based on availability)
Sapa:Victoria Sapa Hotel or similar (based on availability)
Halong Bay: Paradise Luxury Cruise, Ginger Cruise or similar (based on availability)

Premium Accommodation
Hanoi City: Sunway Hotel, Lan vien Hotel or similar (based on availability)
Sapa: Chau Long Hotel II, Topas Ecolodge or similar (based on availability)
Halong Bay: Victory Cruises, Syrena Sails or similar (based on availability)

Standard Accommodation
Hanoi City: La Belle Vie Hotel, Authentic Hotel or similar (based on availability)
Sapa: Royal View Hotel, Sapa Elegance Hotel or similar (based on availability)
Halong Bay: V'Spirit Cruise, Bai Tho Junk or similar (based on availability)

All accommodations photos are indicative

Additional Information about the Destinations

Hanoi
Hanoi

Oozing with charm, Hanoi the capital city of Vietnam has a personality that has shaped from its rich history. Invaded by Chinese and then ruled by the French, be it its great architecture, culinary art, friendly locals and the vibrancy in the air. the city will never cease to amaze you.

Brewed in history with modernisation you will not fall short of things to do in this city. The ‘Temple of Literature’ a tribute to Confucius is a well preserved Vietnamese architecture. Just about 2 kms is the Ho Hoan Keim (Lake of the restored sword). The Ngoc Son Temple sits on an island in Hoan Kiem Lake. The ramshackle Thap Rua (Turtle Tower), on an islet near the southern end, is topped with a red star and is often used as an emblem of Hanoi. Other interesting landmarks in Hanoi are one pillar pagoda, Tran Quoc, the presidential palace, National museum of fine arts, Ho Chi Min Mausoleum etc.

Too excited to sleep, step out late night, actually early Vietnamese morning to Quang Ba flower market which buzzes at 2am. Early morning, if you take a walk in one of the many parks you will notice locals practice Tai Chi, you might fancy trying the same.

In Hanoi, you may find yourself sitting in a cafe sipping excellent coffee and nibbling a pastry in one of the many French cafes. The coffee served is world class - served strong and rich in demitasses. One of the best blends to try is smooth and chocolatey. Feeling adventurous try out the ‘caphe sua chua’ (iced coffee with yogurt)

Here’s a city you would pray to get lost in. You might just discover something new and extraordinary, not only about the city but also about yourself.

Sapa
Paddy Plantations in the SAPA Valley

Sapa: A Hillside Wonder in Tropical Vietnam

For those who mentally pictured Vietnam as simply a country of humid tropical climes, Sapa offers an interesting counterpoint. It is located in the so-called Tonkinese Alps, or the Hoang Lien Son mountains, and is unique in many a respect, with diversity being its chief hallmark. This variation is not just in terms of the human population, which spans several minority communities like the H'mong and the Dao/Yao.

The mountains surrounding Sapa include Vietnam's highest peak, Fansipan, which is counted among the Ultra prominent peaks in the world. The frequent rainfall, especially in the summers, tends to give these mountains in Northern Vietnam a cloud-capped appearance. No wonder that they are a hotspot for trekkers from all over the world! The trekking trails usually connect one village with another; there are also trails going all the way to the summit of Fansipan.

The valley also boasts of the largest paddy terrace in Northern Vietnam, and, if you arrive in the right season, you can learn a thing or two about rice cultivation and harvesting. Among other visual delights in the Sapa region is the Silver Waterfall, which drops down from a height of a hundred metres, and is truly a spectacle in the rainy season (May to November). The Hoang Lien National Park forests can be viewed from Silver Waterfall, thus making them a fantastic vantage point.

Sapa is a mere forty kilometres from Lao Cai, which is well-connected by rail with Hanoi, with the Express train making for a convenient overnight journey. Start planning your visit to this delightful spot in Northern Vietnam today!

Halong

Ha Long Bay- where dragons descend into the sea.

A very long ago when Vietnam was invaded, the Gods sent a family of dragons to defend the land. As the dragons charged towards the coast their flapping tails scraped out valleys and crevasses filling it with water and leaving the pinnacles visible. This barrier obstructed the invaders from attacking and thus protecting the mainland now known as Vietnam. The dragons then descended into the sea along the bay, now aptly known as Ha Long bay.

Located in the Gulf of Tonkin, Ha Long bay includes 1600 islands and islets forming a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars. Because of their precipitous nature, most of the islands are uninhabited and relatively unaffected by human influence. It has been designated as a world heritage site by UNESCO and is truly an geographical art piece.

Here you can not only take a cruise but also explore the caves or grottoes, lakes and islands. As the saying goes ‘seeing is believing’ – it is a must visit place as no photo or picture would do justice to what your eyes can capture.

Mai Chau

Set in an idyllic valley, away from the hustle-bustle of Hanoi, Mai Chau area is stunningly beautiful, mountainous region. It is a unique place, offering cultural exploration and splendid vista of lush green. Vietnam's 54 indigenous ethnic minority groups live in this region, making the Sunday markets colourful place to be in. The villagers are most prominently White Thai, H'mong, Zao, Muong, Tay, Hoa and Viet. These hill tribes are warm and welcoming and famous for their handicrafts - in particular for their skills in embroidering clothes.

The friendly locals and the cluster of small villages make this an ideal destination to break from your routine activities. The region provides an excellent base for light trekking, cycling, swimming, kayaking and rock climbing. Even those interested in learning about the culture have the options of watching traditional dance performance or watching the locals spin their silk and weave it into spectacular patterns.

Let the culture and scenery meshed with luxury and modern amenities wrap you to create striking and lasting memories.

The Do's & Dont's

Dos:

  • Pack comfortable clothing and footwear
  • Keep an extra set of clothes handy
  • Carry your camera, we are sure that you will have a field trip taking photos in this trip
  • Pack sunscreen lotion and mosquito repellent
  • Always carry an extra plastic bag to store waste, which can be later disposed into bins
  • Make sure you have all your travel documents on you, at all times
  • Try and pick up some phrases in Vietnamese prior to undertaking the trip
  • Familiarize yourself with the itinerary, and gain some understanding of the culture to avoid any faux pas

Don'ts:

  • It's impolite to click pictures of tribal people without prior permission. Always ask
  • Don't forget to have a very good time