Today you’ll fly to Hanoi. Upon arrival you will meet your driver who will take you to your hotel downtown. Rest of the day at leisure.
Today you will discover Hanoi with your guide. Take your time in the old city: Hoan Kiem lake in the city centre and the Ngoc Son pagoda, Saint-Joseph cathedral, crafts street, beautiful Chinese merchant house, Dong Xuan indoor market, the East Gate and Long Bien bridge also designed by the Eiffel team. You’ll keep visiting the city on a cyclo, and pass by the old colonial buildings such as the Opera. You’ll discover the Litterature Temple, actually the first University in Vietnam, Tran Quoc pagoda, and Quan Thanh Temple. At the end of the day, enjoy a Puppet show on the water. Finally, your driver will take you to the train station, where you’ll get on a night train to Lao Cai.
In the morning you will arrive at the train station and enjoy a shower and breakfast at a hotel nearby. Then you will drive to Can Cau village and wander across the local market of this isolated place. Many people of various ethnic groups come here to exchange goods and news. In the afternoon, discover the H’mong villages of Ban Pho, known for their corn alcohol distilleries. Tonight you will sleep at a traditional Tay stilts house for a special homestay experience.
After breakfast you will drive to Sapa (2.5hrs). This old meteorological station is now known for its beautiful rice fields and the ethnic villages in the valley and hills. In the afternoon, enjoy a 2-3hrs walk in the rice fields, between the H’mong and Red Dao ethnic villages. You’ll discover the use of indigo tincture and the Batik making process.
This morning you will reach the top of Fansipan Mountain by cable car and funicular, up to 3140m. Enjoy the view and atmosphere from the rooftop of Vietnam. In the afternoon, you will drive back to Hanoi (5hrs drive).
Today you’ll explore Ninh Binh, also known as the terrestrial Ha Long Bay (2hrs drive). You’ll start discovering the ancient capital city of Hoa Lu, with its beautiful temples dedicated to Emperors of the 10th century. Then you’ll reach the Dancing Cave on Mua Mountain, after a climb of 450 stairs. Enjoy a wonderful panoramic view on Tam Coc area’s limestone peaks forest, Ngo Dong river and rice fields. In the afternoon, you’ll embark on a paddle boat through Van Long natural reserve. Maybe you’ll get to see some Langur monkeys in this wild landscape. You’ll finish your day on a bicycle across the fields and villages, before reaching your hotel.
This morning, you will drive to Hai Phong (3.5hrs) and take a ferry to Cat Ba island (20mn). You’ll embark for a cruise to Lan Ha Bay, an extension to Ha Long Bay but a bit less touristic. Reaching a fishermen’s floating village, you will stop and visit a local family’s floating house. After learning about their way of life, your boat will take you to Ong Cam Bay for a kayaking experience, surrounded by amazing cliffs. Your cruise will go on through the Bay’s islets, and Bai Trai Dao beaches will appear for a bathing time in a magical place. Back on board, you can either enjoy the sunset or learn how to cook with the chef. You can even try fishing squids! You’ll spend the night in the bay.
Today, you can get up early to contemplate the sunrise on Lan Ha Bay, an unforgettable moment. You’ll disembark on Cat Ba island, for a morning walk or bicycle ride through the forest to Viet Hai village. Discover how people live on this island, before reaching Ben Beo port. From there you’ll drive back to Hanoi and stay in the city for this last night of your trip.
Today, your driver will take you to the airport, where you will board a flight to your next destination.