North to South Vietnam 13 Days Itinerary

The North to South Vietnam 13 Days Itinerary is specially customized for family holidays in Vietnam. The tour takes you to almost Vietnam major travel destinations including Hanoi, Van Long, Kenh Ga, Ninh Binh, Mai Chau, Lao Cai, Sapa, Halong Bay, Hue, Da Nang, Hoian, Saigon, Mekong Delta.

Description

The North to South Vietnam 13 Days Itinerary is specially customized for family holidays in Vietnam. The tour takes you to almost Vietnam major travel destinations including Hanoi, Van Long, Kenh Ga, Ninh Binh, Mai Chau, Lao Cai, Sapa, Halong Bay, Hue, Da Nang, Hoian, Saigon, Mekong Delta. The multisport trip is a combination of easy outdoor actitivies and sightseeing culture highlights. Begin the holidays in Hanoi; enjoy the boat trip in Van Long, Kenh Ga village; hiking Mai Chau villages; The trip continues with Sapa trek, Hue and Hoian discovery; Take an overnight tour to the Mekong delta before you finish the tour in Ho Chi Minh city.

Map

Itinerary

Day 1: Hanoi – Van Long, Ninh Binh.

Depart for Ninh binh. Visit the Phat Diem Cathedral. Phat Diem Church is really a group of different churches made of stone and wood, and is the centre of Catholicism in Northern Vietnam. It is designed in Vietnamese style mixed harmoniously with European Catholic traditions. Then we go back to Van Long your for lunch (not included in the package). Van Long Nature Reserve – The most typical water landed land in the northern – Viet Nam – The habitat of the White Hipped Languor and other precious fauna and fauna. In the afternoon, have a rowing boat trip around natural caves and grottoes, admire the wonderful landscape of the tourist area. Overnigt in Van Long.

Day 2: Van Long – Kenh Ga – Mai Chau.

Transfer to Kenh Ga – “The Chicken Canal” for another motorized boat trip along the Hoang Long river to experience the real life of a Vietnamese catholic community. 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. After the boat trip, continue our journey to Mai Chau valley where we stop for overnight. Overnight on stilt-house.

Day 3: Hiking Mai Chau.

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. Your picnic lunch will be provided on spot. 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. In the evening, assist to the traditional music and dance show which is performed by the Thai young girls and boys who all come from the village. Try also some rice alcohol which is made of traditional plants and local sticky rice.

Day 4: Mai Chau – Hanoi. Overnight train to Lao Cai.

After breakfast, we take our journey back to Hanoi. Arrive in Hanoi around noon. Free lunch in town. In the afternoon, enjoy a short cyclo excursion through the bustling old quarter streets named after the specific goods once offered for sales at these places. After free dinner, transfer to Hanoi Railways Station for taking overnight train to Laocai. Overnight on the train.

Day 5: Lao Cai – Sapa. Sapa village trek.

Arrive Lao Cai approximately 5h30am. Our local team will meet the group at the station and transfer to Sapa. Breakfast will be provided at a local restaurant in Sapa before trekking uphill through mountainous area. Enjoy while walking the spectacular view over rice paddy terraces, corn fields. Your picnic lunch will be provided on the spot. After lunch, we continue our trek downhill towards Taphin village where you will meet Red Dao and Black Hmong minorities, two largest ethnic groups in Sapa area. Stop by a house to talk with local people to know a bit more about their daily life, their customs and tradition. Have dinner and overnight in the village.

Day 6: Continue trekking Sapa. Travel to Lao Cai. Overnight train back to Hanoi.

After breakfast, we start our trek towards Sapa. We will pass through several minority villages; rive paddy terraces along the way. Upon arriving in Matra village inhabited by Black Hmong people, we will stop for our lunch. Then, we continue our walk to Sapa. Have a short rest/shower before transfer to Lao Cai station and get the night train back to Hanoi. Overnight on board the superior train.

Day 7: Arrive Hanoi. Travel to Halong Bay. Boat cruise. Kayaking tour.

Arrive in Hanoi in the early morning, you will be met by another Hiking Vietnam team guide, driver then transferred 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 (optional). Watch the sun set over the bay whilst enjoying a delicious dinner. Overnight on board junk.

Day 8: Halong Bay – Hanoi. Fly to Hue.

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. Disembark at the dock at Halong City at 11h00. Transfer back to Hanoi. Free time for shopping. In the evening, transfer to Hanoi Railways station for taking the night train to Hue. Departure at 19h00. Overnight on the train.

Day 9: Hue city tour.

Upon your arrival in Hue Railways station at around 08h00am, you will be welcome by another Hiking Vietnam team guide and transferred to your hotel in town for breakfast and quick shower. Then we will board a private boat for a cruise on the romantic Perfume River. The charming Lady Pagoda (Thien Mu Pagoda), setting in converge of rivers will be the first stop of the day. The pagoda gives you a great view on the Perfume River and the surrounding area. Then we will be picked up again by our car for a short drive to the Minh Mang tomb. In the afternoon, we will experience the Hue citadel, which is recognized as a World Heritage Site. Overnight in Hue.

Day 10: Hue – Danang – Hoian. Hoian city tour.

Depart for Lang Co, a small village of fishermen. Taking photograph from Hai Van Pass (The pass of Sea and Cloud). Arrive in Hoian ancient town around noon. Free lunch in town. In the afternoon, start the visit of this charming small town, first commercial center in Vietnam since the 15th century, with more than 800 classified buildings such as Japanese Covered Bridge, Tan Ky Old house, Assembly Hall Chinese. Phuc Kien Pagoda, Hoian Museum and Market. Free dinner in town. Overnight in Hoian.

Day 11: Hoian – Da Nang. Fly to Ho Chi Minh (Saigon). City tour.

After breakfast, transfer to Danang airport for the morning flight to Saigon. Upon arrival in Ho Chi Minh city airport, you will be met by another Hiking Vietnam team local guide and driver and transferred to city center. Free lunch in town. In the afternoon, 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. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh city.

Day 12: Travel to the Mekong Delta (Saigon – My Tho – Can Tho).

Today we depart hotel at 8h00 and make our way to My Tho. On arrival we embark on a boat navigating around the intricate small canals to observe the local lifestyle close-up and catch a view dotted by many islands. The exciting excursion will lead us to the famous Unicorn Island where we stroll around an orchard, taste many seasonal fruits and enjoy wonderful traditional music. We continue to Ben Tre Province to visit some fascinating local industries. We meet up with our vehicle for three hour drive to Can Tho, the capital city of the Mekong Delta. Overnight in Can Tho.

Day 13: Return Ho Chi Minh city.

The impressive floating market of Rai Rang is a major part of our sightseeing tour in delta region. Upon leaving hotel we set off on a short drive and enjoy a boat trip to explore Cai Rang, whose the trading way is unique; each boat usually sells one particular item, whether it be pumpkins, pineapples, sugar canes. In order that the customer knows where to shop, they hang that item from the highest part of the boat. At the end of the river trip we drive back to Ho Chi Minh.

Hiking Vietnam specializes in tailor-making private guided trekking hiking tours in Vietnam. This North to South Vietnam 13 Days Itinerary is only a sample itinerary that can be further customized to better fit your personal requirements. Just follow this trip or contact us for designing your own itinerary.

Additional Information

Depart from

End at

Ho Chi Minh City

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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