19 Day Vietnam Family Adventure Vacation

Booking this Active Family Vacations with Trekking in Vietnam trip, you will have the opportunity to visit some of Vietnam’s most important travel highlights such as Mai Chau, Sapa, Bac Ha, Halong bay, Hue, Hoian, Mekong Delta. Trekking is the key activity of the tour. The trip begins in Hanoi, northern Vietnam and ends up in Ho Chi Minh city.

Description

Booking this 19 Day Vietnam Family Adventure Vacation, you will have the opportunity to visit some of Vietnam’s most important travel highlights such as Mai Chau, Sapa, Bac Ha, Halong bay, Hue, Hoian, Mekong Delta. Trekking is the key activity of the tour. The trip begins in Hanoi, northern Vietnam and ends up in Ho Chi Minh city.

Itinerary

DAY 1: ARRIVE HANOI

Arrive at Noi Bai airport, Hanoi at ?h. Flight??? (???-HAN). You’ll be greeted at the airport by our local guide and driver and then escorted to your hotel downtown. Overnight in Hanoi.

DAY 2: HANOI -> MAI CHAU

Breakfast at hotel. A half day city tour of Vietnam’s capital. Hanoi is a unique city with tree-lined boulevards, French colonial architecture, peaceful lakes and oriental temples. The city tour includes such sights as the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda and the Temple of Literature – The first National University of Vietnam and the Ethlology museum where you can find the biggest object collection of 54 Vietnamese ethnic groups .

In the afternoon, depart Hanoi for Hoa Binh province and the town of Mai Chau. This scenic drive takes around three hours. Along the way we pass fields of tapioca and sugar cane as well as rice paddies. Arrive in Mai Chau village, we take a short walk around Lac & Poom Coong village to have the first sights of the White Thai community culture.

In the evening, assist to the traditional music and dance show which is performed by The Thai young girls and boys. Try also some rice alcohol made of traditional plants and local sticky rice.

Overnight on a stilt house.

DAY 3: MAI CHAU TREKKING

Breakfast at the Thai stilt house then we leave the village for a full day hiking around. We will pass many different Thai hamlets, through rice fields, hill sides…Stop sometimes to visit local houses and talk with local people. And one of the highlight on this walk is to experience the everyday life and culture white Thai people and stay in their traditional house on stilts as honoured guests.

DAY 4: MAI CHAU -> NINH BINH

Breakfast then we say good bye to the warm-hearted Thai people. Depart for Ninhbinh. We will arrive at Kenh Ga around noon.

Have lunch in a local restaurant and try some specialty of the region. After lunch, the car will drive you to Kenh Ga floating village. Set on the banks of the Hoang Long River, Kenh Ga is a remarkable place, not only because it is surrounded by the same massive rocks that dominate Hoa Lu, but also because for most of the year the entire community lives on the water itself. The floating village of Kenh Ga receives relatively few visitors compared to nearby Hoa Lu and the peoples’ aquatic way of life has changed little over the centuries.

Then take to boat trip to the floating village. Here there are many people live on their boats. They formed a community with their particular ways of life and culture. Have some stop on the way to visit local people and talk with them.

Overnight at local guest-house.

DAY 5: NINH BINH -> HANOI -> LAO CAI

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. Thus Tam Coc is also called Halong-Bay-On-Land.

We move on to Tam Coc for a 3-hour boat trip along the Boi river. Along the way we will visit caves and ancient temples. After lunch we can make a visit Bich Dong Pagodas before making our way back to Hanoi.

After dinner (at your own account), transfer to Hanoi railway station to take the night train to Laocai. Overnight on the train.

DAY 6: LAO CAI -> BAC HA

The train arrive Laocai station early morning. You will be meet by another Lotussia local guide and driver. After having breakfast in town, start the ride up to Can Cau market. The ride is relatively flat from Lao Cai to Bao Nhai, where you will be taken through rural area. Situated in the mountains in border area, 20 km from Bac Ha, Can Cau is a small, but very colorful market. Opening only on Saturdays, it always delivers a very photogenic display of Flower Hmong, Black Zao, Phu La ethnic costumes. Chinese people also come for trading. After spending the whole morning exploring the market, you will leave the market for Bac Ha town for lunch.

In the afternoon, you will take a walk to Ban Pho village of Nung and Flower Hmong, which locate in a small valley. The villagers grow vegetables and fruit trees. One of the most famous fruit of the area is plum. You will be able to visit a local house, where you might have chance to taste a cup of corn wine, another famous product of the village. You will go back to hotel late in the afternoon.

Overnight in Bac Ha.

DAY 7: BAC HA -> SAPA

After having a morning coffee, you take a short walk to visit the old castle of the former Hmong King. From there you can have a view over the town. You will then visit the huge market of Bac Ha with its colorful array of ethnic minority people such as Flower Hmong, Phu La, Black Dao, Tay, Nung who gather to buy and sell. After spending the whole morning exploring the market, your lunch will be served in a local restaurant.

After lunch, you drive downhill for about half an hour. You will then start a short walk to Trung Do village, which belongs to the Tay minority. Here you can stop by a traditional Tay house for a cup of tea before you get on a boat. You will have a cruise upstream the Chay River to experience the picturesque scenes and the magnificent sight of a beautiful cave. The boat ride ends at Coc Ly Market, where you get on the car for the journey to Sapa.

Overnight in Sapa.

DAY 8: SAPA TREKKING

The day commences with a jeep ride to the trekking route. The trek starts by walking through the incredibly scenic “Ban Ho” valley. Here you will have the opportunity to visit and explore the wooden houses, which traditionally belong to the Tay ethnic minority. You will then continue to walk to Thanh Phu village where you stop for lunch in a local house.

After lunchtime, you head to Sin Chai village of Red Dao minority where the night will be spent in bamboo huts. The wonderful hospitable atmosphere of the Red Dao will attract you.

Overnight in Sapa.

DAY 9: SAPA TREKKING

Today’s trek takes you through several villages where you will be able to meet Tay, Hmong and Xa Pho ethnic minorities. You will have time to photograph the beautiful rice paddy terraces and the surrounding mountain. On the way you will visit a local school. Your lunch will be prepared and served in a local house.

In the afternoon, you head back to Thanh Phu village of Tay minority. Here you will spend the night. You can take a walk to explore local daily life while your dinner will be served with Vietnamese dishes.

DAY 10: SAPA -> LAO CAI -> HANOI

On the last day of the trek you will cross several suspension bridges and trek through lush rice paddy fields and stunning scenery. You have a unique opportunity to meet Xa Pho minority in My Son village, one of the smallest group ethnic living in Northern Viet Nam. They always maintain their unique costume and nomadic life. You trek uphill to Nam Toong village of Red Dao minority, where you have lunch in a local school.

In the afternoon, your trek will be firstly downhill to Ban Ho village where you will have time for a swim in the river. You will then climb toward Su Pan. The car will meet you there and take you then to Laocai railways station for the night train back to hanoi.

Overnight on the train.

DAY 11: HANOI -> HALONG BAY

Arrive in Hanoi in the early morning, transfer to a local restaurant for early breakfast then depart to Halong. 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 at any spot that you wish to visit 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 12: HALONG BAY -> HANOI

Wake up to fresh coffee and a wholesome breakfast before cruising back to Halong City. En route the junk weaves through strange-shaped rock formations that invite comparisons from fighting cocks to dragons. After another wonderful fresh seafood lunch (early) on board disembark at the dock at Halong City. Transfer back to Hanoi airport for a domestic flight to Ho Chi Minh city. Meet up by another Lotussia guide and driver at Ho chi Minh airport and you will be transferred to your hotel in the city center.

DAY 13: HANOI -> HUE

Breakfast at hotel then transfer to Noibai airport for your flight to Hue. Flight number???. Dpt. At ?h. HAN-HUI.

You will be greeted at Hue airport by another Lotussia guide and driver and transfered to the hotel downtown.

Starting visiting Hue by taking the boat trip on Perfume River to visit Thien Mu Pagoda considered as Royal Pagoda of the Nguyen Dynasty and Imperial Citadel.

In the afternoon, visit Mausoleums of Tu Duc or the one of Khai Dinh King. Visit a typical garden-house in Hue (Hue has another name as “city of garden”). Overnight at hotel.

DAY 14: HUE -> DA NANG -> HOIAN

Breakfast at hotel. Depart for Lang Co, a small village of fishermen. Taking photograph from Hai Van Pass (The pass of Sea and Cloud). Visit Cham Museum in Danang. Free lunch en route.

You will arrive in Hoian in the afternoon. Free dinner and overnight in Hoian.

DAY 15: HOIAN

Start the visit of this charming small town, first commercial center in Vietnam since the 15th century, with more than 800 classified buildings : Japanese Covered Bridge, Tan Ky Old house, Assembly Hall Chinese. Phuc Kien Pagoda, Hoian Museum and Market. After lunch, continue the visit. In the evening, walk on the river Thu Bon in sunset. Free diner in town. Overnight at hotel.

DAY 16: HOIAN -> DA NANG -> SAIGON

After breakfast, transfer to Danang airport for the morning flight to Saigon. Upon arrival in Ho Chi Minh city airport, you will be meet by another Lotussia local guide and driver and transferred to city center.

Start the tour with Ho Chi Minh City highlights including the Post Office, cathedral, Reunification palace, centre town, then continuation towards Cholon, visit Thien Hau temple, Binh Tay market. Free lunch in town.

Overnight at hotel.

DAY 17: SAIGON -> TAY NINH -> CU CHI TUNNELS -> SAIGON

Breakfast at hotel. Enjoy a morning drive through typical southern Vietnamese countryside to Tay Ninh Province in the west of Vietnam. At Tay Ninh visit the incredible Cao Dai Great Temple, with architecture that could have come straight from a Walt Disney fantasy and where all the major faiths of the world blend together in a unique religious cocktail. After lunch in a local restaurant visit the famous Cu Chi Tunnels, an incredible underground tunnel network constructed by Vietnamese resistance fighters during the long struggle for independence. Overnight in Saigon

DAY 18: MEKONG DELTA DAY TOUR

Breakfast at hotel. Leave Ho Chi Minh City for Vinh Long. On arrival at Cai Be, board a boat to explore the floating market, typical of the Mekong Delta. Continue by boat to Binh Hoa Phuoc Island to visit orchards of tropical fruits. After lunch continue by boat to Vinh Long Town for transfer back to Ho Chi Minh City. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.

DAY 19: DEPARTURE

Breakfast at hotel. Free time till transfer to the airport for your onward flight back home. End.

Additional Information

Depart from

End at

Ho Chi Minh City

Departure

Upon request

Difficulty

Moderate

Places to visit

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Travel style

Trip duration

Itinerary disclaimer

Occasionally our tour itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travelers’ comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the service proposal. It’s very important that you print and review a final copy of your itinerary a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact us. We are here to help you!

Please note that while we operate successful trips in Vietnam throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.

Difficulty levels

Our trekking tours can be classified into three levels

Easy

There are about 8 – 10K to walk on flat roads. No previous experience is necessary. Anyone in good health and fit enough to perform an occasional hike can take an easy level trek. Vietnam easy walks are provided in Hanoi, Bac Giang, Mai Chau, Ngoc Son Ngo Luong…

Moderate

There are about 10 – 15K to hike on flat and hilly roads. At this point too, no special background is required. Hikers accustomed to trekking in hilly areas of Mai Chau, Pu Luong or Lai Chau, Yen Bai successfully accomplish our treks “moderate”, provided they are in good health and to have a correct fit. These treks are moderate or easy hikes with an average duration or shorter but more difficult steps.

Difficult

There are about 16 – 23K to trek on uphill/downhill dirty, rocky trails. Physical fitness is very important for these treks and you may have to lead you home before the trek. Most treks in this level are comparable with long rides in the Fansipan mountain or the the mountainous region of Ha Giang, Cao Bang, sometimes higher altitudes. The climate and isolation can also participate in difficulty. Prior trek experience is preferable but not vital if you have confidence in your fitness.

Inclusions

Our trip cost usually includes the following services. Please bear in mind Lotussia Travel is specialized in tailor-made trips. Trip cost vary depending on group size and other details.

  • Car transfers
  • Local tour guide. The English-Speaking guide is provided by default. Other language may be available upon request (with extra charge).
  • Local porter(s)
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • Sightseeing entrance fees.
  • Bottled water.

Exclusions

Unless required most of the following services are usually not included in our tour price.

  • Visa (required)
  • Flight/Train tickets.
  • Accommodation pre/post trip.
  • Travel insurance
  • Tips
  • Personal expenses

Tour Guide

Our tour guides speak English or French. They hold a university degree in tourism and national license as a guide. If you wish to send a tour leader along with any group, he or she can fully rely on the knowledge and experience of our local guides.

Remote treks are always accompanied by a local representative to deal with permits and authorities and manage the porter team. They speak the local dialects, know the cultural traditions and give tips on suggested behavior in fragile ecological areas and tribal communities. For some itineraries, the role of tour leader and representative is combined.

When to hike

The north Vietnam experiences two distinct seasons; winter and summer. Winter is cool, dry and lasts from November to April. Temperatures range between 15 to 25°C during the day and 0 to 10°C during the night. With little rain, the winter season offers the most pleasant weather conditions for trekking in Vietnam. Read more about Vietnam weather.

Porter

During all trekking tours we may use local porters to carry your luggage as well as our trekking equipment, where required. To generate local income we employ local villagers for this task. Participants will have their own porter, carrying trekking equipment and luggage to a maximum of 15 kg per client. Travelers only have to carry their day packs. Read more how to pack

Vehicle

Depending on the nature of the tour, journeys will be accompanied by an air-conditioned car/minibus cover the larger overland sections.

Accommodation

Campsites and lodges are not common in Vietnam, instead we make use of homestays; staying the night in tribal villages along the way. Facilities are clean, but very basic. Travelers share a bamboo-slat floor, separated by curtains. Animals usually sleep under the house and restrooms and showers are often absent. Water sources are available outside. Mattresses, blankets and mosquito nets are taken care of.

Over the years Lotussia Travel has established a number of projects to upgrade home stay accommodation into a bit more comfort. Basic facilities aside, spending the night in a tribal village and enjoying a meal with the locals brings travellers unforgettable cross-cultural experiences. In the past 15 years of organizing trekking by this way, we never received a complaint.

Food

During all treks meals will be arranged on the spot, in local restaurants and at home in local villages along the way. The meals are prepared by our cooks, the local guide or by the local host. Our cooks are well trained to prepare and serve food hygienically and they cook a variety of local delicacies. Sometimes this may include the slaughter of a chicken, duck or pig. We sometimes have the chance to bring western food, and snacks from Hanoi for breakfast and picnics along the way, and coffee and tea are available in abundance. Our cooks make a special effort to provide as much variety as possible. The porters give necessary assistance on the spot.

Drinking water

There are many shops and villages that have bottled water for sale. On remote trekking tours, we buy a sufficient supply of water for the next couple of days. We recommend bringing some water purifying tablets.

Packing

Comfortable lightweight clothing in natural fabrics such as cotton is most suitable for travelling in Vietnam. The dress code is fairly casual as in most parts of the tropics but it is advisable to cover arms and legs in the evenings against biting insects. A lightweight raincoat is a good idea in the rainy season. During the winter months warm clothing is needed for visiting the north of Vietnam. Visitors should not wear shorts, short skirts or other skimpy clothing when visiting religious buildings such as pagoda, temple, communal house and shoes should be removed before entering a private home.

What you take will naturally depend upon where you are travelling and the style of journey you are undertaking, and it can often be difficult to decide what to pack. Nevertheless, the following should act as a useful checklist of essential items worth thinking about taking.

  • 1 medium-sized backpack.
  • Comfortable walking shoes with good grip
  • 1 long (easy to dry) pants and 1 long sleeved shirt to wear during the trek (easy to dry).
  • 1 pair of flip flop (sandals).
  • 1 pair of shorts and T-shirt to wear at camp site (2 if you do 4-day trek).
  • 1 medium-sized towel.
  • 1 medium-sized dry bag.
  • Hiking poles/walking sticks
  • GPS

Responsible Tourism

We strongly believe that Responsible Tourism can support to local communities: proving incomes,positive cultural exchanges and an incentive to protect natural environment. We recognize that there is always space for improvement. We continually strive to narrow the gap between principle and practice.

Environment

We have been turning environmentally responsible tourism into practices to minimize tourist impact upon the local habitat. From biodegradable soaps to re – usable water containers, we provide clients with the best information and mean to help them identify and implement effective ways to positive protect local nature and communities. It is a vital criteria that can be passed on and abided by all, long after the trip ended.

Community

Prior to our tours, we contact and work with local community leaders to make sure we are welcome and in a manner that minimizes negative social and cultural impacts. We visit local development and community projects specific to the region, encouraging customers to donate and assist such a projects in appropriate and sustainable manner.

Where make sure that where and whenever possible our tours positively benefit the local community. We stayed at locally owned accommodation and visit cottage industries for local handicraft souvenir, generating income for local business. We often employ, hire support team such as local guide, motor-taxi drivers, cook assistants on all trips to ensure that the local community benefit not only short term but with increased employment opportunities for the future.

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