15-days Northern Vietnam Travel
Discover the beauty of Northern Vietnam around Hanoi, Sapa, Dien Bien, Halong, Duong Lam and Mai Chau in 15 days. The trip will take visitors to most of popular tourist destinations in Vietnam such as the spectacular Halong Bay, foggy Sapa, tranquil Mai Chau, historic Dien Bien and millennial cultural Hanoi.
Considered charming colonial city, tourist would find Hanoi very typical feature of oriental city alive with its tree-lined boulevards and lakes and its blend of French, Chinese and Vietnamese architecture. Hanoi is the jewel of Asia. Visitors to Hanoi is likely to enjoy walking around its 36 old streets. Hanoi keeps a millennial culture and is renowned as a city of lakes, shaded boulevards and verdant public parks. Most interesting places for tourists in the capital of Vietnam are all relatively close to each other, which makes it easy to enjoy the best parts of the city on foot or by cyclo. You could probably explore the Ancient Quarter, the West Lake, Sword Lake and Ngoc Son Temple, etc in a single day.
Saying good bye to Hanoi, we travel towards Sapa - the common hone of several minority tribes such as Black H’Mong, Red DZao. It is the place where you can find the beauty of nature in valleys, mountains, streams, waterfalls and the warmly welcome of the ethnic people. Come to Sapa to enjoy the scenery and explore daily activities of the tribal people.
Travelling towards Northwestern Vietnam, we will reach the tranquil Mai Chau - a beautiful mountainous area which carries rich ethnic identity and profound human values. Guests will enjoy the feeling of standing on top of Cun Slope catching panoramic view of Mai Chau valley. Golden ripen fields, green plantation and nice stilt houses blend well together to make up graceful Mai Chau. Enjoying traditional alcohol and watching dance performance of Thai girls is something that captivate the heart of any visitor. A great way to soak up in the local culture is "homestay" (staying with indigenous people in their homes).
Duong Lam ancient Village has been known as a museum of surviving laterite (red clay formed from weathered basalt found in northern Vietnam) with ancient houses aged up to 400 years old. After the recognition of Hoi An ancient town and Hanoi Old Quarter, Duong Lam was recognized as a national relic in 2005. Visiting Duong Lam is a journey to trace back the origin of Vietnam's culture and its traditions. It is also the great chance to experience unique architecture of ancient houses while wander along its narrow alleys, visit temples of the two kings born there, and chat with locals in their ancient houses. Van Phuc Silk Village also touch the heart of visitors who keep a great love for Vietnam tradition.
DAY 1: HANOI ARRIVAL – FREE TIME
Arrival in Hanoi. Driver transfers you to APT Travel's office. Free time to do shopping and explore Hanoi old quarter by yourself. Overnight in Hanoi.
DAY 2: HANOI CITY TOUR (B/L/D) – PRIVATE TOUR
In the morning: 08:00 – 08:30 a.m: Our guide and driver pick you up from your hotel and start to visit Ho Chi Minh complex, including Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum – the final resting place of Vietnamese great father or Uncle Ho, President Ho Chi Minh’s stilt house – where Ho lived on and off from 1958 to 1969, then visit Ho Chi Minh’s museum where tourists will learn what he had done for Viet Nam and some other countries and a lot of information about President Ho Chi Minh. The next place is One Pillar Pagoda which is a group of structures consisting of a pagoda and a tower built in the middle of a square pond. Leave One Pillar Pagoda for the Temple of Literature the first college of Viet Nam dedicated to Confucian. Have lunch at local restaurant.
In the afternoon:
If Tuesdays/Thursdays/Saturdays or Sundays: After lunch, drive to visit Tran Quoc Pagoda, Which is on the shore of West Lake, the Museum of Ethnology. The last place of city tour is Hoan Kiem Lake (Restored Sword Lake), Ngoc Son Temple. Drop you off at your hotel.
If Mondays/Wednesdays or Fridays: Afternoon we take a short drive to visit Bat Trang, one of the most well known handicraft village in Vietnam, where you can find a whole world of pottery and ceramic items. They are reproductions of various traditional styles which are renowned to the world for their harmonious beauty, original shape, enameled screen and drawing stroke. They come in many forms and sizes, from dinner sets and bowls to vases and lamp bases, from statues of Buddha to small figurines of animals. You will see the complete production procedure, starting from preparing the clay, shaping the items, drawing and putting them into the kiln. The offered items can be purchased here at reasonable prizes. Head back to Hanoi in the late afternoon, drop you off at your hotel.
In the evening: Bus and guide will pick up again then transfer to Railway Station to catch night train to Sapa. Overnight on the train.
DAY 3: LAO CHAI - TA VAN - BAN HO - THANH PHU - NAM TOONG VILLAGES (B/L/D) by private Motorbike
5:30 – 6:30 am: pick you up at Lao Cai train station by our staffs. Then we take you to Sapa by bus. Arrive in Sapa around 7:00 - 8:00 am. Come in Holiday Sapa hotel to refresh.
7:30 – 9:00 am: enjoy breakfast at Holiday Sapa before joining in your tour.
9:00 – 9:30 am: our guide with motorbike comes to see you at the hotel. The tour begins with driving the motorbike to the Lao Chai and Ta Van villages. Have lunch on the way of the trip or in the family of the ethnic people. After that, keep driving to Ban Ho, Thanh Phu, and Nam Toong villages considered the typically traditional villages of the minorities in Sapa. It is a time for you to experience the daily life of residents and natural beauty of mountainous area.
18:30 – 19:00: have dinner and overnight in Ban Ho village (homestay).
DAY 4: SAPA - SILVER AND LOVE WATERFALLS - TRAM TON PASS - HOANG LIEN SON NATIONAL PARK – LAO CAI (B/L/D) – by Motorbike
6:30-7:30: wake up and have breakfast in Ban Ho village. We continue the tour by driving motorbike back to Sapa town. Then we drive to Silver and Love waterfalls, Tram Ton pass, and Hoang Lien Son National park. Have lunch on the way of the journey.
15:00: you take turn to Sapa for a rest.
Enjoy dinner at your hotel. Overnight in Sapa.
DAY 5: SAPA – DIEN BIEN PHU (B) by private car
On the 5th day of the adventure, we will get up early to head towards Dien Bien Phu. It is a trip of approximately 9 hours. The scenery you will observe along your journey is magical. Upon your arrival at Dien Bien Phu, we will take you to your hotel, where you can rest up. Overnight in Dien Bien Phu.
DAY 6: DIEN BIEN PHU - HANOI (B)- by flight
Dien Bien Phu marks the key period in the history of Vietnam. After the breakfast, for those who enjoy learning about the history, there you can visit: The history museum, trenches, hills, tunnels ... But for those who want to focus more on exploring the place, we can organize the schedule for such activities, as well.
After lunch, you will be transferred to the airport, where you take your flight to Hanoi. Check in hotel in Hanoi downtown. Overnight in Hanoi.
DAY 7: HANOI – HALONG BAY (B/L/D) – DRAGON SUPERIOR CRUISE – Group tour
07:45 - 08:30 Tour guide and shuttle bus of Ha Long Dragon Cruise pick you up then take 3.5 hour scenic drive to Ha Long city. Have a break 20 minutes en-route to free your legs.
12:15 Embark Tuan Chau harbor, get transferred to Dragon Cruise by a tender and enjoy a welcome drink.
13:00 Receive a cruise briefing then savor delicious lunch while cruising among wonderful limestone island.
14:30 Visit Sung Sot “amazing” cave, the most beautiful with millions of surprising stalactites and stalagmites.
15:30 Stop at Ti Top Island one hour for swimming, sun-bathing or getting a panoramic view on island peak.
16:30 Do kayaking among hidden parts and around Bo Nau cave to discover mysterious beauty of Ha Long.
17:30 Drop anchor in a calm water area, rest on the sundeck to enjoy Ha Long views at sunset.
19:00 Have a delectable dinner in cozy restaurant of Dragon Cruise in the middle of Ha Long.
20:00 Entertain evening by karaoke singing or try your luck doing squid-fishing. Overnight on Ha Long Dragon Cruise.
DAY 8: LAN HA BAY – MONKEY ISLAND – BUNGALOW VIET HAI (B/L/D) – Group tour
07:00 Start your new day with a cup of tea or coffee, enjoy breakfast while sailing to Van Gia fishing village.
08:30 Get changed onto a day-boat and cruise to an emerald water of Lan Ha bay area for second day activities.
10:00 Get on Monkey Island, if lucky you can see wild monkeys and endangered white-headed langurs.
11:00 Stop at Viet Hai harbor. Enjoy 5km cycling ride through wonderful jungle to Whisper of Nature Bungalow in Viet Hai village. Do a short trek inside Cat Ba National Park.
Get your room right after the trek, have meals in Whisper of Nature. Free and easy in the afternoon. Overnight in Bungalow.
DAY 9: BUNGALOW – HALONG - HANOI (B/L) – Group tour
Have breakfast at your Bungalow. Transfer to the harbor to get on boat.
08:00 Experiencing unforgettable memory passing through “tunnel cave” to a wonderful secluded lake.
09:30 Check out your cabin. Relax on sundeck for sun-bathing, photo hunting while sailing back to the harbor.
11:30 Leave Dragon Cruise, have a short rest and take a bus drive to a local restaurant for lunch.
13:30 Say goodbye to Ha Long Bay then return to Hanoi. Have a rest en-route again to free your legs.
17:30 -Get dropped off at your hotel. Overnight in Hanoi
DAY 10: PERFUME PAGODA (B/L) – Private tour
07:40 - 8:30 Get pick up by our tour guide and bus then depart for Perfume Pagoda (60 km west of Hanoi). Have a break 20 minutes half way to relax and experience Vietnamese handicraft products such as lacquer wares, paintings, embroideries…
10:00 Upon arrival prepare your things and start a 40 minute boat ride along the river side to enjoy beautiful landscapes of streams and paddy fields.
11:00 Leave the boat and do hiking up to the unique pagoda inside the cave (Huong Tich cave) on the mountain summit (2.5km in height). Reaching the cave, you will have a feeling of entering the holy land of Buddhism. Also experience the breath-taking views of the mountainous landscape.
12:30 Go back down and enjoy Vietnamese lunch in a local restaurant nearby.
14:20 Visit Thien Tru Pagoda (called celestial kitchen), viewing the beautiful religious architectures.
15:00 Board the boat back to Duc dock and return Hanoi.
18:30 Arrive back in Hanoi. Get dropped off at your morning places. Overnight in Hanoi.
DAY 11: DUONG LAM ANCIENT VILLAGE – VAN PHUC SILK (B/L) – Private tour
08:00 Get picked up at your hotel then depart for Duong Lam ancient village (60km from Hanoi center).
09:30 Stop-over at Son Dong traditional sculpture village producing and supplying wooden statues to most of pagodas and temples in Northern Vietnam. Photograph skillful people mastering the technique of making marvelous wooden statues in numerous states.
10:30 Arrive at Duong Lam ancient village. Visit Mong Phu temple, some ancient houses and enjoy local products: rice wine, rice cakes.
11:00 Enjoy bicycle ride along peaceful countryside road to some historical vestiges such as: Giang Van Minh worship-house, Temples of King Ngo Quyen and Phung Hung.
11:30 Cycling uphill to see a natural holy “milking- well” storing clear water all the year round. It is believed to help childless couple produce a baby if drinking this water.
12:30 Become a member of the 400-year ancient house while having lunch in here.
13:30 Get ready to return Hanoi.
14:15 On the way back, visit Tay Phuong pagoda built in the 8th century. It is the best example of old typical pagodas in the North of Vietnam, being special with 18 ancient Arhan statues.
16:00 Visit Van Phuc silk village, the cradle of best silk in Vietnam once. The house owner gives an introduction of the silk making process. Then experience the local silk market in Van Phuc village.
17:30 Get dropped off at hotels. Overnight in Hanoi.
DAY 12: HANOI – MAI CHAU (B/L/D) – Group tour
07:30 - 08:00 - Pickup at your hotel in the Old Quarter in our comfortable van.
10:00 - Short break.
11:30 - 12:00 - Scenic photo stop of Mai Chau valley/arrive in Mai Chau.
12:15 - Traditional lunch in local village (vegetarian available).
13:00 - 15:00 - Bicycle ride with local tour guide, see farmers working in fields, locals weaving scarves and visit surrounding peaceful villages.
15:00 - 18:00 - Free time for bicycling, walking, shopping.
18:00 - Visit Thai living museum for Traditional BBQ dinner.
19:30 - Watch Thai traditional dance in the stilt house. Enjoy traditional alcohol (ruou can) with the community.
DAY 13: PU LUONG NATURE RESERVE (B/L/D) – Group tour
07:30 - 08:00 - Wakeup and have breakfast.
08:30 - 10:30 - Drive / ride motorbikes 35km to Pu Luong Nature Reserve (motorbike drivers available).
12:00 - Lunch in Hang Village.
13:00 - 15:00 - Trekking in Pu Luong Nature Reserve.
17:00 - Return to Mai Chau.
18:00 - Have dinner and stay overnight in Mai Chau.
DAY 14: MAI CHAU – HANOI (B/L) – Group tour
07:30 - 08:00 - Wake up and have breakfast.
08:30 - 11:30 - Hike to 1000 Step Cave and local market.
12:15 - 15:00 - Lunch and free time to relax before getting on the van to Hanoi.
18:30 - 19:00 - Drop you off at your hotel. Overnight in Hanoi.
DAY 15: HANOI DEPARTURE (B) by Private car
Having breakfast at your hotel. Free time to relax and do shopping until our driver transfers you to Noibai airport. End of tour.