Day 1: Arrive Hanoi (-/-/D)
Warm welcome upon your arrival in Hanoi. Your guide and driver will meet you at the airport for a transfer to your hotel located in the Hanoi downtown. Your guide’s welcome speech will give you overall information about the city of Hanoi. After check in you will have free time to relax, then your guide will see you again for a welcome dinner at a local restaurant. Your first day will be completed by a water puppet show – a unique art performance in Vietnam – before you return to your hotel for overnight stay in Hanoi.
Day 2: Hanoi – Lao Cai by night train (B/L/D)
This full day tour takes you around Hanoi’s most interesting sights, including the Ho Chi Minh Complex and Mausoleum, House-on-Stilts, the Presidential Palace and the One Pillar Pagoda. After that you will visit the Quan Thanh Temple and the Tran Quoc pagoda, the oldest pagoda originally constructed in the sixth century. For lunch you have two options: enjoy a Hanoi special dish “Cha Ca” at Cha Ca La Vong restaurant, one of the most unique (over a hundred years old) restaurants located in the Hanoi Old Quarter. Or you can taste a “Pho”, another worldwide famous dish from Hanoi. Afternoon you can choose to visit one of the city’s Museums: Vietnam History Museum, Vietnam Ethnology Museum, Vietnam Military History Museum, and the Temple of Literature, before having a walk around the Lake of the Restored Sword, visit the Ngoc Son Temple and enjoy a cup of Vietnamese coffee at a street-pub. Dinner at one of the French-built restaurants located in the Hanoi Old Quarter then you have a transfer to Hanoi station for a night train to Lao Cai – a Vietnam-China border city. You will stay overnight on train.
Day 3: Lao Cai – Sapa (B/-/D)
Your train will early arrive in Lao Cai station at around 6:00. You local driver will wait to transfer you to your hotel located in Sapa town. This 40-minute journey offers you the first impression of the North Vietnam mountainous area with its winding road, terrace rice fields and minority ethnic villages. Your breakfast will be at the hotel. Time for relaxation or explore the mountainous town on your own (early check-in is subject to availability). In the afternoon you will have a short walking tour to visit the Cat Cat village – home of the H’Mong ethnic people located in the beautiful valley. Meet local people and visit their houses to learn about their unique customs and practices. Stop at the Cat Cat waterfall for some photo shots before returning to hotel for a break then enjoy dinner at local restaurant. You will stay overnight in Sapa.
Day 4: Sapa – Lao Cai – Hanoi by night train (B/-/D)
Following breakfast you embark on a soft trek along buffalo paths through several hill tribe villages of the H’Mong and the Day ethnic peoples, through stunning scenery inhabited by some of the friendliest people you can meet. Lunch at local restaurant. In the afternoon your driver will pick up you from the village and transfer you back to Sapa for a short break then to Lao Cai for night train to Hanoi – departure at around 21:15. You will overnight on train.
Day 5: Hanoi – Mai chau valley – Homestay (B/-/D)
Early arrive Hanoi in the morning, your driver will meet you at the station and offer you a drive to watch local people do morning exercise at the lakes or join in the morning flowers market before having a breakfast and a cup of coffee.You leave Hanoi for Mai Chau valley, the gateway to the North Wets of Vietnam. You have some stop on the ways to enjoy the wonderful scenery of the moutainous area. Mai Chau is the capital of the White Thai ethnic people. Upon arrival you are warmest welcome by the host to their house-on-stilts. Time to relax. Dinner at the local house-on-stilts. Tonight you will share this house-on-stilts with the host and other tourists.
Day 6: Mai Chau – Hoa Lu Citadel (B/L/D)
In the morning you will have a soft trek to explore the Mai Chau valley, get in touch with local villagers, walking on the path through the rice fields, visit some local house to learn more about their livings, customs. Your driver will meet you at the other end for a transfer back to your house for lunch then you depart for Hoa Lu citadel located in the Ninh Binh province surronded by the Red River Delta villages Check-in. At leisure. Dinner at local restaurant and overnight stay in Ninh Binh.
Day 7: Hoa Lu (B/L/-)
Today you will visit Hoa Lu Ancient Capital and the Tam Coc caves. Yourfirst stop of the day is the king Dinh temple and king Le temple. These two temples are constructed by local residents near the center of the old capital in order to honor Dinh Bo Linh, the first emperor of Vietnam and Le Dai Han who founded the Le Dynasty in the 10th and 11th centuries.From here you take a bycicle riding through the village paths then you have a sampan rowing to explore the Tam Coc caves. Lunch with Vietnamese rural cuisines at local restaurant. In the afternoon you have a drive to visit the Van Long Natural Reserve. Take a boat trip sailing on the Van Long Swamp . You can obseve white short langurs and enjoy the camly scenery. Enjoy a short ride by the buffalow cart then rejoin your car back to hotel. overnight stay in Ninh Binh.
Day 8: Hoa Lu – Halong Bay (B/L/D)
Leaving Hoa Lu citadel for Halong Bay (a World Natural Heritage site) via the Red River Delta. Upon arrival you will have a short break at the Café Lounge. Welcome on board. You will set out on a junk cruise on the bay while seafood lunch is served. After lunch, you will take a short trek to a nearby summit for a panoramic view of the bay, swimming on a quiet beach or sunbathing on the sundeck. In the late afternoon, you will take a take a bamboo row boat to visit an interesting fishing village with an opportunity to interact with fishermen who have been living in the bay for almost three generations. You also take a kayak to discover a water tunnel with many coral reefs in a scenic lagoon. Back on board to enjoy watching the peaceful sunset, joining a Vietnamese cooking demonstration and later unwind at a restaurant. Tonight you stay overnight onboard.
Day 9: Halong Bay – Ceramic village – Hanoi (Brunch)
Early birds will have a chance to join in the Tai Chi lesson on the sundeck and view the sunrise over the bay with a cup of coffee or tea. After brunch you will take a tender to visit one of the most beautiful limestone grottos – Sung Sot cave. Your junk sets sail to cruise back to the dock while you enjoy a final glimpse of Halong Bay. On the journey back to Hanoi you will have a stop at the Phu Lang ceramic village – one of the most famous ceramic brands dated from 17th – 19th century in the North of Vietnam. Then you will drive back to Hanoi for overnight stay.
Day 10: Departure (B)
Enjoy your free time at your hotel or you can do your last minute souvenir shopping before meeting with your guide for a transfer to airport for your flight home.