This North Vietnam Itinerary 11 Days includes all the North Vietnam essential travel highlights such as trekking in Pu Luong Nature Reserve; Diving and kayaking in Halong bay world wonder. Join this 11 day trip to discover the real Vietnam, the country and its people in another way, active and different!
Day 1: Arrival in Hanoi
Upon your arrival at Noi Bai airport in Hanoi, you will be greeted by Hiking Vietnam team guide, driver and escorted to your hotel in town. Check-in hotel and stay free at leisure. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 2: Hanoi full day city tour (B)
Breakfast at hotel. Then we will have a half day tour of Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi. 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. In the afternoon, continue to visit the Ethnology museum where you can find the biggest object collection of 54 Vietnamese ethnic groups. In the evening, attend to the water puppet show, one of famous Vietnamese traditional art. Overnight in Ha Noi.
Day 3: Hanoi – Hang village (B,L,D).
After breakfast, depart for Pu Luong Nature Reserve. This scenic drive takes around four hours. Along the way we pass fields of tapioca and sugar cane as well as rice paddies. Following lunch in Ban Sai village we drive further into the reserve where we begin our trek. We trek for approximately three hours before arriving at the Thai village of Hang. We spend the night with a local Thai family who will be our host in a traditional house on stilts. Whilst enjoying their hospitality we will discover a little more about their lives and culture.
Day 4: Hang village – Kho Muong village (B,L,D)
Today we will walk for about six hours. Along the way we pass through several Thai villages and hamlets before arriving at the village of Kho Muong. As the name suggests this is a Muong minority village and we will be their guests for the night.
Day 5: Kho Muong village – Hin village (B,L,D)
This morning we set out from Kha and trek for roughly three hours on an uphill gradient through a picturesque forest passing several villages along the way. We break for lunch in the village of Nua before setting off again for a further two hours, this time the trail is predominately downhill. Our final destination for today is Hin village, another Thai community. Dinner and overnight at village.
Day 6: Hin village – Hanoi
After breakfast, we will catch motorbike-taxi to La Han ferry where our car will be waiting for us for our journey back to Hanoi. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 7: Hanoi – Halong Bay.
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. Enjoy a swim in the emerald waters of Halong Bay or walk uphill the Titop mountain to have a great view. Watch the sun set over the bay whilst enjoying a delicious dinner. Overnight on board.
Day 8: Halong Bay Diving – Catba Bay.
At 8h00, you will be picked up at the boat/junk by Hiking Vietnam team Diving Team and transferred by another wooden boat to our first dive site, Chim Island. Enjoy 01 dive before having lunch on board. In the afternoon, we will move to another dive site, Me Cung Island where we will enjoy one more hour diving before being dropped off at another boat-house for overnight. Dinner and overnight at local boat-house.
Day 9: Catba Bay Kayaking.
Breakfast in the boat-house. You will be picked up by another Hiking Vietnam team support boat and transferred to Hai Pies Beach. Briefing and gear-up before start paddling through Lan Ha Bay towards Ba Trai Dao beach for a lunch break. In the afternoon, continue paddling along the cliff through the Monkey Lagoon to Ranger’s base. Fresh seafood home cooked dinner then bunk down in your tents on the front yard or overnight at our eco base-camp.
Day 10: Catba Bay Kayaking. Catba – Haiphong – Hanoi.
After breakfast, navigate your way through quiet small bays through floating fish farms. Lunch break on the way before docking at Gia Luan to take the local shuttle bus to Cat Ba town. Then take hydrofoil to Hai Phong where your car will be ready for your journey back to Hanoi.
Day 11: Departure.
Breakfast at hotel. Free time till transfer to the airport for your onward flight back home. End tour.
Hiking Vietnam specializes in tailor-making private guided trekking hiking tours in Vietnam. This North Vietnam Itinerary 11 Days 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.
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.
Our trekking tours can be classified into three levels
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…
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.
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.
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)
- Sightseeing entrance fees.
- Bottled water.
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
- Personal expenses
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.
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
Depending on the nature of the tour, journeys will be accompanied by an air-conditioned car/minibus cover the larger overland sections.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.