On arriving at Noi Bai Airport, you will be picked up and transferred to the hotel in the city centre. Hotel check-in is available at 2 pm. Free time to discover the Old Quarter on your own.
Nội dungThis morning we will drive to Bat Trang, 15 km from the city centre, known as the earliest ceramic village, established in Vietnam. There you will have a chance to explore a pottery workshop where villagers still make everything by hand. Your children can try their hand at clay spinning to make their own products. They will be more than happy bringing their mini masterpieces back home as a souvenir. We then return to Hanoi. Time to immerse yourself in the old Hanoi by visiting the Temple of Literature (Van Mieu Quoc Tu Giam), the first University of Vietnam. It was built in 1070 at the time of Emperor Ly Thanh Tong and is one of several Vietnamese temples dedicated to Confucius.
Drive back to the Old Quarter for a 1.5-hour walking tour, specially designed for a deeper insight into Hanoian daily life. We will also visit the Ngọc Son temple (Temple of the Jade Mountain) which sits on a green islet in the middle of Hoan Kiem Lake, connected to the lakeside by a graceful scarlet bridge named The Huc (meaning the early sunlight welcoming place). The temple is dedicated to Tran Hung Dao - the General who defeated the Mongols in the 13th century and Van Xuong De Quan - the patron of literature and examinations. Ngoc Son Temple and Hoan Kiem Lake are frequently visited by tourists and locals. Night at the hotel.
Today we escape the busy city and head to Mai Chau - a beautiful and quaint valley mainly occupied by the White Thai. We get to the town around noon and a special lunch prepared by the Thai people will be waiting for you. The afternoon visit will continue with a nice bike ride, to immerse yourself in the authentic countryside untouched by mass tourism. You will be charmed by the friendly and welcoming smiles of the White Thai people, their traditional houses on stilts, green rice fields and vegetable gardens. Glide by bamboo forests along our cycle path passing through Chieng Sai, Cha, Cha Long, Na Tang, Tong Dau villages. Return to the lodge in time to enjoy its beautiful natural surroundings when the sun sets. After dinner you will enjoy a traditional music show. Night at the homestay.
After having breakfast prepared by the family, we get in the car and say goodbye to the pretty Mai Chau valley. A short transfer by car will take you to the Moc Chau plateau, a famous region of green tea plantations, temperate climate, and dairy farms (depending on the route we take, a stop for tasting tea and milk will be possible. When the water level is too low or if the river gets too wild, making crossing the reservoir by ferry impossible, we will have to take another road). We will traverse lush and green landscapes to get to the ferry terminal. Along the way you will meet some H’Mong, Thai, Muong villagers. While navigating the lake by ferry you will be able to observe beautiful landscapes decorated with rice terraces, bamboo rafts for fish farming, and traditional wooden houses… We will have a short stroll in the valley of Phu Yen. In the afternoon we will go to the capital of the Thai people. Flooded rice fields, vegetable gardens, and peaceful villages adjacent to mountains make perfect photo shooting scenes. Arrival in Muong Lo (Nghia Lo) at the end of the day. Night at the homestay.
Today we depart from Nghia Lo to Mu Cang Chai town, the road meanders through Hoang Lien Son Mountain range, one of the grandest in Vietnam. We will stop at Tu Le for an easy hike through rice terraces to reach villages of the Thai and H’Mong people, who still wear traditional clothing. Tu Le is a small tribal town enclosed by scenic landscape and full of warm-hearted people living in small wooden houses nestled among the foothills. We then leave Tu Le and continue to drive across Khau Pha Pass (1550m above sea level) to reach La Pan Tan village. Predominant in the entire region of La Pan Tan for hundreds of years, the H’Mong are loyal to their customs and culture. They grow maize and other vegetables in plots of land embedded between rocks, and of course rice on terraced fields. Despite the invasion of modern life, they still keenly preserve their traditional clothing and language. A new path will take you to the village centre where you can discover H’Mong culture, meet and talk with villagers, and the unmissable opportunity to capture stunning landscape pictures. Overnight at a homestay in Mu Cang Chai town.
We leave Mu Cang Chai in the morning for the mountainous drive to Sapa. After two hours on the road, we begin to ascend to Tram Ton Pass. With an elevation of 2047 meters above sea level, it’s recognized as the highest pass in Vietnam. Stopping at the peak is a must, to take photos of the magical valley from afar and enjoy the fresh air. From here you can also see Fansipan Mountain, known as “the Roof of Indochina”, with its peak, draped in cloud, at 3143m. Arrive in Sapa at noon.
In the afternoon, we descend into the Muong Hoa Valley passing Y Linh Ho and Lao Chai villages inhabited by the Black H’Mong, and Ta Van village, home to the Day ethnic people. On the way your eyes will be well rewarded with marvellous views of the terraced rice fields curving around the hillside, meandering rivers and streams sparkling in the sun. Night at the hotel in Sa Pa.
After breakfast, we leave the hotel early to drive to Bac Ha to visit Can Cau market near the Chinese border. The road is relatively flat from Lao Cai to Bao Nhai bridge. After crossing the bridge, we begin the journey uphill with beautiful views over the valleys. Situated 20 km from Bac Ha, Can Cau is a small, but very colourful market which opens every Saturday. The Flower H’Mong, Black Dao, and Phu La people from the surrounding villages flock here to exchange their products. Their colourful dresses create a photogenic and vivid image with a green mountain landscape in the background. We spend the whole morning strolling around and exploring the local hill tribe market. After having lunch, we will drive back to Hanoi.
After breakfast, depart for Lan Ha Bay - Halong Bay's little sister. After a three-hour drive, you arrive at Cat Ba Island, the largest island in The Gulf of Tonkin, and reach the Ben Beo pier. Boarding on a traditional junk for a magical cruise on Lan Ha Bay. Discovery of floating villages and seafood farming. Lunch on the junk.
Around 1:30 p.m., the junk will stop in front of the wild beach of Van Boi. Free time: swimming on the beach or lazing on the junk. Later in the afternoon, you will head to Hang Ca or Dau Be cave for a kayaking excursion, another way to experience the bay. At the end of the day, the junk will return to the middle of the bay and drop its anchor for the night. Dinner and overnight on board.
Nothing can be compared to waking up to a serene morning surrounded by karsts. You can have an early morning dip and then breakfast on board. We will continue to sail through the bay during the morning to explore hidden areas. The junk will stay close at all times serving as a backup vessel for those who need it. Around midday we will return to the main harbour & drive back to the airport in Hanoi to catch the flight to Hue. Pick up and transfer to the hotel. Overnight in Hue.
Transfer to the city centre to discover the Imperial City: Ngo Mon porch, Palace of Supreme Harmony, Royal Theater, Khon Thai Palace, The Mieu Palace. Then, visit the mausoleum of Tu Duc, the 4th emperor of the Nguyen dynasty. The Tomb includes 50 monuments arranged asymmetrically and highlights the perfect harmony of buildings and nature. Around 2 p.m., short transfer to reach the Dam Chuon lagoon, little known to travellers. On the way, visit the village of Duong No with its communal house and a small house where Ho Chi Minh spent his childhood. Arrival in Dam Chuon and boarding a sampan to discover the life of fishermen. Stop at a small restaurant on the top of a hill to eat freshly caught seafood and watch the sunset. Return to the city centre and free time to explore the old quarter of Hue.
After breakfast we get on the car and take the Mandarin road from Hue to Hoi An. The scenic journey allows you to treasure the stunning landscapes of beaches and dense tropical forest. Along the road we can stop to take photos of Da Nang Beach. We will visit the Marble Mountains and Cham Museum before arriving in Hoi An.
We spend the afternoon wandering to explore the UNESCO-recognised world heritage and its highlights: the Japanese Covered Bridge (built by the Japanese then living in Hoi An to connect their quarter and the Chinese’s one), old Phung Hung house, Hoi An’s market and ancient port. We make a special stop at the Reaching Out tea house - a tranquil oasis in the bustling centre of Hoi An.
Remark: On the 1st and 15th of every lunar month, all the fluorescent lights will be turned off and the whole town will be illuminated with warm multi-coloured lanterns.
Follow a local guide for this experience which starts with a leisurely biking trip along the country roads. Observe traditional Vietnamese rural life as the local people work in the paddy fields. Farmers and water buffalo working the fields have become a symbol of Vietnamese countryside life. This is sure to provide you with a rich array of picture opportunities to share with family and friends. Along the way, watch out for buffalos ploughing rice fields while ducks swim across the top. You will have a chance to hop off your bicycle to visit vivid green paddy fields and a beautiful organic vegetable village. Join a farmer to tend to the vegetables and hoe the soil. As you meander through the countryside you will experience the friendliness of the local people greeting you along the way.
Later, board the boat for a river cruise to meet and engage with local fishermen. Enjoy a hands-on experience of traditional fishing net. You will also take a paddleboat trip in a unique Vietnamese bamboo basket boat down the waterways of a coconut palm paradise before returning to Hoi An.
Free time to discover Hoi An or enjoy the beaches 5 km from the city.
In the morning, take the car (no guide) to Da Nang airport to catch the flight to Ho Chi Minh City.
Afternoon, you will visit the Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon, constructed between 1877 and 1880 by the French. Only a few steps from the Cathedral is the General Post Office. People come here not for sending postcards or letters, but mostly to admire its interior with the arched roof and curved windows, reminiscent of early European railway stations. The city tour then continues along Dong Khoi Street heading to see the Opera House and the Peoples’ Committee building, built in 1897 by French architect Ferret Eugene. The 800 seat Opera House served as the home of the Lower House Assembly of South Vietnam after 1956. Visit the Reunification Palace, formerly known as the Presidential Palace, which was the residence of the president of South Vietnam until the end of April 1975.
We depart from HCM City in the morning for Cai Be, located in the heart of the Mekong Delta, where the river divides into multiple canals and arroyos. Upon arrival, we take a bicycle ride on Tan Phong Island to discover its fertile fruit orchards. There are several stops to visit family workshops of rice paper (banh trang re) and baskets made from water hyacinths. During lunch we will have a chance to taste various specialities cooked with the love of the locals. In the afternoon, we return on board to visit a ceramics factory where they make pottery and tiles from clay. Transfer back to the landing stage and drive toward Can Tho.
Early in the morning, you will take a boat trip to Cai Rang floating market, the largest and most bustling floating market in the Mekong Delta. The ambiance is so animated: hundreds of motorized sampans full of rice, fruits and crafts gathering on the river to exchange and sell local products.
After leaving the market, you will take a bike ride in the Vam Xang region, a Mecca for fruit lovers for its huge variety of fresh produce. A meeting with villagers on the way will provide you better knowledge about their daily lives. You will stop and have lunch in a local farmhouse. Afternoon, transfer to Saigon for an overnight stay.
Free time to discover HCM City then transfer to the airport for your departure flight.
A journey of discovery in a picturesque mountain scenery. Visiting ancient pagodas and staying in authentic stilt houses allows you to better understand local traditions. The journey of discovery from North to South includes Ho Chi Minh City, the Mekong Delta, Hoi An ancient town, peaceful Hue, Hanoi - Vietnam's capital, misty Sapa with its ethnic villages and cruising on the Lan Ha Bay...
• Spectacular rice terraces of Nghia Lo, Mu Cang Chai and Sapa
• Massive Hoang Lien Son Mountain range
• Ethnic minorities and local markets
• Royal palace and tombs of Hue – Vietnam’s ancient capital
• The exceptionally well-preserved town of Hoi An
• The colonial streets of Saigon
OUR SERVICES INCLUDE:
- Accommodation with breakfast on a Double/Twin Basis in Hotels listed or similar
- 2 days/1 night cruise in Lan Ha Bay
- All entrance fees and sightseeing as mentioned in the program
- Experienced English speaking tour guides except on free days (for other language guides supplements will be applied)
- Meals as mentioned in the program (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)
- Transportation in private air-conditioned vehicles with driver
- Boat trips in the Mekong Delta as mentioned in the program
- Domestic flights Hanoi - Hue, Da Nang – Ho Chi Minh City in economy class
- Bottled water during the tour day
OUR SERVICES DO NOT INCLUDE:
- Rates and Hotels are subject to availability
- Domestic & International flights when not mentioned
- Drinks and meals other than those mentioned
- Gratuities to guides, drivers, boat crews, wait staff... We recommend you allow USD$3-6 per day, per traveller. Tipping your guide is an entirely personal gesture.
- Personal expenses of any nature like, laundry, telephone calls, shopping, incidentals at hotels etc.
- Visa Stamping Fee for Vietnam
- Travel Insurance
- Peak season or Public holiday surcharges if any
- Other services not mentioned in the itinerary
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