Day 1: Arrival in Hanoi
Welcome to Hanoi! You'll be transferred to the city and your hotel, where you'll then have the rest of the day to relax and settle into your new surroundings. Depending on your interests, we'll be happy to recommend a few great places to check out.
Day 2: Hanoi Sightseeing – Overnight train to Sapa
Today, in the early morning, you can take a walk through the local morning market. This is a great chance to observe the daily life of the locals and capture some memorable pictures. Then, start to explore the diverse architecture of Hanoi and its famous 36 streets of the Old Quarter on a walking tour.
Hanoi’s architecture reflects the atmosphere and soul of Hanoi. You'll see influences from Vietnamese, Chinese and French colonial to Communist architecture. Hanoi is an architectural treasure and has been the political and historical center of Vietnam for over a thousand years, with a wealth of sights to explore. Heavily influenced by French colonial architecture, Hanoi is both historically beautiful and a vibrant capital city sure to entice you.
Visit the humble house on stilts from which ‘Uncle Ho’, as he is affectionately known, ruled Vietnam until his death in 1969. You can also view the nearby Presidential Palace, One Pillar Pagoda, and the intriguing Ho Chi Minh Museum, which houses an almost surreal exhibition of the life of Ho Chi Minh and Vietnam’s struggle for independence. The next stop will be Tran Quoc pagoda, a beautiful pagoda, located by the side of the West lake.
After lunch, we pay a visit to the Ethnology Museum where you can discover the diversity of Vietnam’s many ethnic groups. The balance of the day is free at your leisure. In the evening, a local driver and guide will take you to Hanoi Railway Station for an overnight train to Lao Cai.
Day 3: Lao Cai – Sapa – Sa Seng – Hau Thao
We will arrive at Lao Cai Station around 6.30 am. After breakfast at local restaurant in Lao Cai Station, we will drive to a remote ethnic village of Sa Seng where you will be able to see how the Black H'mong's daily life is. You will continuously pass through Sa Seng for another village of Hang Da where you will spend some time here for rest and a delicious picnic lunch.
After lunch, you can visit the Catholic Church and explore the village with your guide. Along the mountain side will appear the amazing scenery of the Muong Hoa valley with its river, rice terraces and villages located close together. Keep trekking down the trail to the center of Hau Thao commune and then the sealed road where your car is waiting for the pick-up and transfer to Sapa Town.
Day 4: Sapa – Y Linh Ho – Lao Chai – Ta Van - Overnight train back Hanoi
After breakfast at the hotel, we start the trek to the most impressive areas of Sapa. We drive to the small village of Sin Chai, inhabited by Black H’mong people. Upon arrival at the village, you start the walk around and experience the daily life of the villagers who still maintain their ancestor’s way of life. You continue the walk out of the village, following a dirt trail running through a rice paddy and corn hill along a narrow river, enjoying the spectacular scenery surrounding.
Follow the trail to Y Linh Ho Village of the Black Hmong people from here you will hike along small paths down the valley to the Muong Hoa River to visit the Black H’mong village in Lao Chai, one of the biggest minority groups in Sapa area. They are proud of their culture and keep their own traditions and lifestyle. Continue to Ta Van village (1.2 km) to visit Zay hill tribe people, a fairly small minority group of about 38,000 people who live mainly in the mountains in Northwest Vietnam. Zay women still wear traditional shirts with a purple, blue or green color. The Zay houses are built of wood and bamboo with a clay floor. Return to Sapa in the late afternoon.
Enjoy your lunch at a local house. You'll have some free time before your drive back to Lao Cai Station for the night train to Hanoi. Room in Sapa is at your disposal until noon time only. Overnight on the train in an air-conditioned cabin with soft sleeper berth.
Day 5: Hanoi – Halong
Arrival in Hanoi Railway train station in the early morning. Transfer to your hotel for breakfast and a short rest before transfer to Halong Bay, a stunning UNESCO World Heritage site with its 3,000 islands of towering limestone dotting the bay and Gulf of Tonkin (180 km / 3-3.5 hours traveling time).
Arrive in Halong in the late morning and board a traditional wooden boat and begin your exploration of magical Halong Bay, one of Southeast Asia’s premier travel destinations. A fresh seafood lunch and dinner will be served on the boat.
Day 6: Halong Bay - Hanoi
Wake early to enjoy a spectacular dawn over the bay. After a light breakfast, you will continue your cruise to view the beauty of the islands that dot the bay. In the late morning, you can enjoy brunch served on board your junk as you head back to the pier ready to travel back to Hanoi.
Day 7: Hanoi - Departure
Breakfast at the hotel, be ready for the transfer to the airport for the flight home.