Day 1: Hanoi - Arrival
You are welcome at Noi Bai airport and then transfer to the hotel for check-in. Balance of the day is free time. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 2: Hanoi city tour – Vietnam cyclo - Night train to Lao Cai (B,L)
The colonial capital city Hanoi is a unique Asian city with tree-lined boulevards, French colonial architecture, peaceful lakes and oriental pagodas and temples. This full day tour takes you around Hanoi's most interesting sights, including the Ho Chi Minh Complex: Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum and his Stilts House, Presidential Palace and One Pillar Pagoda nearby, the Lake of the Restored Sword and Ngoc Son Temple, the Temple of Literature, peaceful West Lake with lovers street Thanh Nien, the sedate Tran Quoc Pagoda. Take 01 hour cyclo tour around the Old Quarter to enjoy the soul and sound of Hanoi.
After that, transfer to the Railway Station for the night train to Lao Cai.
Overnight on train with A/C, soft sleeper cabin (4 people/cabin).
Day 3: Arrival in Lao Cai - Sapa, trek to Ta Phin (~ 14 km) (B,L,D)
The train arrives at about 6:00 am and then we take a morning drive through the clouds by private vehicle to Sapa, about 1.5 hours. When you arrive in Sapa you will be taken to a local restaurant for a morning shower, breakfast, a short rest and some last preparations before our inspiring trek.
We will then take short ride from Sapa to our trekking base. Our trek through the terraced valleys, up and down hills will take about 5 to 6 hours. We will pass rice paddies, bamboo forests, and minority villages. Lunch break along the way depending on our pace.
When we arrive in Taphin village, our Dao host family will welcome us to their home where we will share in an ethnic style dinner and stay the night.
Day 4: More in Ta Phin and back to Sapa (B)
At the first gleam of daylight, you will see and hear the sounds of morning village life. You can join your host family in some of their morning activities like feeding the animals, cleaning the houses, gardening or preparing breakfast. After breakfast, we can take a short wander around the village or spend more time enjoying the view and company at the homestay.
You will be then supported by our car / van back to Sapa (30 minutes). When we arrive back in Sapa, check into the hotel, shower, and pause for lunch on your own. At 2:30 pm we will take an easy 5 km walk to Cat Cat village, home of Black H’mong hill tribe, and to take part in a traditional ethnic music performance put on by the ethnic minority people. Dinner and the evening on your own. Overnight in the hotel in Sapa.
Note: The music show in Cat Cat village is closed on Wednesday afternoon, an alternative will be arranged.
Day 5: Bac Ha Sunday market - Night train to Hanoi (B,L)
Sunday is a common market day for many tribes in Northwest Vietnam and Bac Ha has become renowned for its colorfulness. The market is packed different ethnic minorities coming from different villages. Their vibrant trading activities last from early morning till midday. Look for hand-made fabrics, the black smithing area, as well as the buffalo zone.
We will leave Sapa early by 7:00 am so that we can be there on time. Please pay respect to the locals here and ask permission before you taking a photo of anyone.
Lunch in Bac Ha on your own account then we will leave for a boat trip along the Chay river, The boat ride is about 1.5 hours. Return to Lao Cai near the train station. Dinner on your own well before the train leaves for Hanoi.
Day 6: Hanoi – Ha Long, overnight onboard (B,L,D)
The train arrives at Hanoi in the early morning (05.00 AM). Pick up from here and transfer to a hotel for breakfast and short rest before a journey to Ha Long.
Around 08.00 AM, drive to Ha Long Bay with 4 hours travelling for the overnight cruise on a deluxe junk. Begin with a seafood lunch then explore some limestone caves. In the afternoon enjoy a swim or relax in the sun on the top deck or try your hand at some kayaking.
Day 7: Ha Long – Night train to Hue (B,L)
Early risers can enjoy the sunrise and the quiet breath-taking beauty of karst landscape. From 7:30 to 8:00 am have breakfast in the fresh air, then visit Vong Vieng fishing village by a rustic row-boat. Meet the locals, visit a floating school & fish farms. Later take one more swim in the middle of the bay. There is ample time for the 11:45 am check-out from the cabin while cruising back.
Lunch on the boat as we slowly cruise back to port. We will be ashore then hit the road back to Hanoi, arriving there around 4:00 pm.
Free time until 6:00 pm, when we will pick you up from the hotel for the night train to Hue. Boarding is at 7:00 pm. You will be in a shared AC soft sleeper cabin.
Day 8: Hue City excursion (B,L)
The train arrives in Hue at 08.00 AM. After breakfast at a local restaurant, you board the Dragon Boat for cruising on the romantic Perfume river heading out for the countryside. Being the ancient capital, Hue is surrounded with ancient tombs of emperors past, and a visit to the most beautiful tombs will be the itinerary for today.
The charming Lady Pagoda (Thien Mu Pagoda) will be the first stop of the day. You will enjoy a great view on the Perfume River and surrounding area. Thien Mu Pagoda is considered the symbol of Hue, and of Buddhism in Vietnam. Continue to visit Hue Citadel and Dong Ba market.
Overnight at hotel in Hue.
Day 9: Hue, easy cycling – transfer to A Luoi, hill tribe homestay (B,L,D)
Breakfast at your hotel then we pick you up for your morning cycling trip and visit to Vong Canh hill (a great spot for pictures). Cycle and explore hidden charm of Hue's traditional, handicraft villages and countryside as well as many historical sites for the Nguyen Dynasty. Back to hotel for a shower, check out at noon 12:00 then followed by our lunch at a local restaurant.
In the afternoon, leave Hue city for A Luoi (~ 60 km). Along the way you can see the life and daily activities of the Katu and Ta Oi hill tribes. On arrival A Luoi town, you will visit Ashau village (a historical war site). Travel to a second village, named A Roang for some time relaxing and enjoying a local hot spring there.
We'll check-in to our homestay at Aka Chi village then take some time to meet and learn about the local culture of the Ta Oi people. Have dinner and enjoy a traditional music show. Overnight in stilt-house homestay.
Day 10: A Luoi to Hoi An (B,L)
Wake up early morning to enjoy the fresh mountain air. Breakfast will be served at our homestay. Check-out, then we take an easy walk through the Aroang jungle (~ 3 hrs) to learn more about the rich fauna and flora system here. Lunch at a local restaurant on the way to Hoi An. Overnight here.
Tip: This is a very good chance for you to get great tailor-made clothes at reasonable prices. Hoi An is well known for its tailoring.
Day 11: Hoi An - Biking to Tra Que village and boat trip on Thu Bon river (B,L)
In the morning, we cycle to visit Tra Que village (5 km–15 minutes from Hoi An). Tra Que is famous for its vegetables and aromatic herbs like mint and basil, which has unique local flavor. You have chance to discover the life of the farmers while they are working strenuously with joys and enthusiasm on the fields. Have lunch in local restaurant.
In the afternoon, take a boat trip around 4 hours on Thu Bon River - the poetic river that shapes Hoian verdant nature and rich cultural heritage. Stop enroute to visit two handicraft villages nestled on the river banks: Thanh Ha pottery village and Kim Bong carpentry village well- known for their craft-making tradition over centuries.
Overnight in Hoi An
Day 12: Hoi An – Danang – Fly to Saigon – City excursion (B,L)
Transfer to Danang's airport for a short flight to Ho Chi Minh in the early morning.
On arrival, drive to Cu Chi tunnels. The tunnels were part of an underground network that was built by the Vietcong during the American War. It reached from the southern tip of the Ho Chi Minh trail near the Cambodian border to the Saigon River. You will have the opportunity to creep into a tunnel to experience how the Vietcong lived and fought during this time.
Back to the city center and visit the Reunification Palace, the former palace of President Thieu and his predecessors. Nearby are the Post Office and the Notre Dame Cathedral.
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh.
Day 13: Saigon – Cai Be – Vinh Long (easy cycling & homestay) (B,L,D)
8.00 am departure for Cai Be (2.5 hrs).
On arrival, take boat trip to Tan Phong island. You will explore the island by rowing boat along the creek.
Proceed to An Binh island by motor boat. The next attraction is to take a motor boat deeper into the countryside on smaller canals and enjoy the peaceful time. Lunch at a local house. Visit a nursery garden where you will learn agriculture and you will enjoy traditional music with a cup a warm green. Take motor boat to homestay, a short rest after check-in the home stay, then balance of the day will be at leisure on your own, take a walk around the village yourselves or take bicycle around the village on the narrow paths. Stops on the way can be made upon request for particular visits or photos making. These evergreen islands among the Mekong River still remain unknown to many people for more discovery of the area before dinner. Overnight at local house.
Day 14: Cai Rang floating market – Saigon (B,L)
After breakfast, you start walking on a small trail along the river to see the daily life of the locals, and visit the village market which is just held early in the morning for the so busy farmers to buy things for the day. The market is also a place where you can interact with and take photo of the locals.
Afterwards, you bid farewell to your hosts and take your morning boat trip to visit of Cai Be colorful floating market.
We will proceed by the visit of some local home factories such as rice paste making, rice pop corn, coco candies, longans drying processing, fish sauce & soya sauce, sewing coconut-leaves for cottage proof....
The next attraction is to take a rowing boat deeper into the countryside on smaller canals and enjoy the peaceful time. Or one more option for you if you like to biking around the village on the narrow paths. Stops on the way can be made upon request for particular visits or photos making. These evergreen islands among the Mekong River still remain unknown to many people. Visit at an ancient mandarin house dating from the last century where the family descendants will welcome you with a cup a warm green tea. Back on board the boat for a 20 minutes cruise to Phu An hamlet passing by Cai Be beautiful church.
The excursion will end at Cai Be pier boat around 12.30pm, where your own private transportation vehicle will await you.
17.00: Drop at your place in Saigon.
Day 15: Saigon – Departure (B)
Breakfast at hotel. Depending on your flight you may have some more time for shopping. Then we will transfer you to the airport for your flight home. Goodbye, and hope to see you again soon!