Trip Description & Detailed Itinerary
The 11-day North Vietnam highlights tour, tailor-made by Lotussia Travel Hanoi is ideal for family holidays, travel with kids or small group holidays and those seeking an off-the-beaten path holidays to Vietnam. Different travel, outdoor activities have been added to the tour such as overland expeditions, ethnic culture experience, day walking tour, countryside cycle, boat trip, junk cruise, sea kayaking, water puppet show, cooking class. The tour takes you through both north-vietnam popular tourist destinations and less travel places including Mai Chau, Tam Coc, Ba Be National park, Bao Lac, Cao Bang, Dong Van, Meo Vac, Yen Binh, Quan Ba, Ha Giang, Bac Me, Halong bay and Hanoi.
North Vietnam highlights tour itinerary
Day 1: Hanoi – Mai Chau. Hiking Mai Chau valley.
Depart for Hoa Binh province and up then to Mai Chau valley. This scenic drive takes around four hours. Along the way we pass fields of tapioca and sugar cane as well as rice paddies.
Arrive Mai Chau around noon. Check into a local stilt-house where your lunch will also be provided.
Leave the village for a half day walking around. We will pass many different Thai hamlets, through rice fields, hill sides…We will stop by some local houses to talk with local people to understand their customs and culture.
In the evening, assist to the traditional music and dance show which is performed by The Thai young girls and boys. They all come from this village. Try also some rice alcohol made of traditional plants and local sticky rice.
Homestay in Mai Chau.
Day 2: Mai Chau – Tam Coc. River boat trip & easy countryside cycling.
After breakfast, enjoy a four hour drive to Tam Coc, also called “Ha Long Bay on land”, or the “Vietnam’s second nicest grotto” (to Huong Tich) for its poetic and inspirational natural scenery.
Arrive in Tam Coc around noon then have lunch in a local restaurant.
After lunch, take a 2-hour boat trip along the Boi river. The river trip in Tam coc is wonderful for photo hunters, especially when local people come to harvest the water rice planted along the river, or when they transplant some seedling for the next crops. The tourists often compare the place with Guilin – China, or more closely, to the limestone islets of Halong Bay in the Tonkin Gulf for their similar geological structures and shapes.
Cycle around Tam Coc visiting either Bich Dong pagoda or Thai Vy temple.
Dinner & overnight in Tam Coc.
Day 3: Tam Coc – Hanoi.
Cycle along the village roads with beautiful sightseeing and friendly local people. Arriving in Hoa Lu, we will visit Hoa Lu – The Acient Capital and the remaining two temples of Dinh King & Le King.
Have lunch in a local restaurant then travel back to Hanoi.
Free afternoon for your personal discovery.
Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 4: Hanoi – Ba Be National Park.
Leaving hotel, we will travel northwards along national road 3.
Stop in Thai Nguyen City after about 2 hours drive for visiting the Museum of Ethnology. Leaving Thai Nguyen and continue the road ride to Cho Moi townlet for lunch break and then continue the road ride to Na Phac junction. Visit a local Dzao village before arriving hotel around late afternoon.
Dinner & overnight in a stilt house (homestay).
Day 5: Ba Be lakes boat trip. Travel to Bao Lac, Cao Bang.
After breakfast, we will take a short walk to the boat pier and then enjoy the whole morning mainly on boat for exploring the pure nature of Ba Be lake and national park with some highlights including visiting to Dau Dang Waterfall and Puong Cave.
Lunch will be provided in a local restaurant on spot (simple).
After lunch, transfer uphill for 160 km to Bao Lac with several stops along the way for admiring spectacular scenery of the western part of Cao Bang Province and paying visit to villages of the Nung peoples.
Arriving in Bao Lac in late afternoon, check-in hotel. Dinner and overnight in a local hotel in Bao Lac.
Day 6: Bao Lac – Meo Vac, Ha Giang.
Leaving Bao Lac at about 09.00 for a drive along the Gam River for an hour before turning right and traveling uphill to the higher land, heading north to Meo Vac Townlet of Ha Giang Province. Stop along the way for visiting several small hamlets of the Nung, Tay and H’mong ethnic peoples scaterring along the Nho Que River. Arriving in Meo Vac at about 13.00, having lunch and check in hotel for a short rest.
Spend the the afternoon by walking along the stunning Nho Que River, admiring scenery of the spectacular Ma Pi Leng Pass, paying visit to villages of the H’mong, Zao and Red Lolo ethnic peoples.
Dinner and overnight in Meo Vac.
Day 7: Visit Meo Vac market. Travel to Dong Van, Yen Minh.
Get up early and visit Meo Vac market, the biggest hill tribe market in the area. Meo Vac is famous for its “Cow Market” where 300-400 cattle are sold every Sunday in northern Vietnam’s largest bovine exchange.
The sellers, who can earn tens of millions of dong per animal, always invite the buyers to enjoy local wine after the transactions.
Leaving Meo Vac, you will enjoy one of the most stunning landscapes of the northern mountain – The Ma Pi Leng Pass. Visit a small H’mong hamlet, set amongst the rock field featuring the very tough life on this limestone highland before continuing along the road 4c to Dong Van, the northernmost townlet of Vietnam. Walk along the ancient street of Dong Van before having lunch.
After lunch, enjoy an hour drive to Lung Cu, the northernmost commune of Vietnam, walking to visit a Red Lolo village for half an hour and then driving downhill 24 km to Xa Phin to pay visiting to the famous historical site of the Vuong Family’s Palace famous for its mixture of H’mong architectural style.
Continue our road to Yen Minh where will spend the night.
Day 8: Yen Minh – Nam An Lake.
Leaving Yen Minh for a drive up and downhill over the spectacular Yen Minh mountain pass with some stops for overviewing scenery and visiting a Red Zao village.
Leaving the main road, crossing the Nho Que river by suspension bridge and walk along the bank of the river for an hour through a H’mong village before taking the road ride again to Quan Ba Townlet.
Lunch will be provided in a local restaurant en route.
In the afternoon, we will take another short walk in a H’mong village before driving downhill all the way to Ha Giang Township and onto Nam An eco spot.
Day 9: Nam An Lake – Hanoi.
Full day road trip from Nam An to Ha Noi along national road 2 with several stops and break along the way.
Arrive Hanoi in the afternoon at about 05.00 PM. Check-in hotel. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 10: Hanoi – Halong bay. Cruise and kayaking tour.
Enjoy the journey through the rich farmlands of the Red River Delta and the scenery of rice fields, water buffalo and everyday Vietnamese village life. Arrive in Halong and board the Bai Tho traditional sailing junk (or similar junk). Whilst cruising the exquisite waters sample the regions fresh seafood. Visit the recently discovered Surprise Grotto with its great views, and on the next island see the yawning mouth of Bo Nau Cave. Alternatively journey to Dau Go Cave and nearby see the famous stalagmites and stalactites of Thien Cung Cave. Enjoy a swim in the emerald waters of Halong Bay or take a kayaking trip to explore the Bay.
Watch the sun set over the bay whilst enjoying a delicious dinner.
Overnight on board junk.
Day 11: Halong bay – Hanoi.
Wake up to fresh coffee and a wholesome breakfast before cruising back to Halong City. Disembark at the dock at Halong City at 11:00 and travel back to Hanoi.
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