The Northern Vietnam 13 Days Itinerary is arranged in the northern Vietnam and includes such activities as jungle treks, overland tour, sampan cruise tour, hiking, homestay, highland market, boat junk cruise, se canoeing. Depart from Hanoi, travelling through Cuc Phuong National Park, Trang An, Mai Chau, Son La, Dien Bien Phu, Lai Chau, Sin Ho, Sapa, Halong bay. The tour focuses on the wild nature, the rich ethnic culture of the northern region. The itinerary is highly recommended for individuals, small group tours, family holidays and those who are interested in dmz, war sites.
Day 1: Hanoi – Cuc Phuong National Park. Jungle treks.
Make a pleasant journey to Ninh Binh, about 120km in the south of Hanoi. Upon arriving in Cuc Phuong National park, we start visiting the Rescue Center where we will see and learn about the park’s biodiversity and variety of endangered species. Then, we begin our trekking holidays through the life and songs of the local rain forests. A picnic lunch will be served en route. In the late afternoon, we will arrive at a village of the Muong minority people where we will spend our night in a local house. Dinner, then free time to talk with the host family and learn about the Muong people’s life and culture. Overnight at the stilt house.
Day 2: Cuc Phuong – Trang An. Trang An sampan cruise tour. Travel to Mai Chau.
After breakfast, we will take a short walk of to get reach the main road where we will get picked up by our car and transferred to Thung Nang which can be called “Vietnam’s Inland Halong Bay”. Thung Nang is wonderful for photo hunters. 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 Thung Nang is also called Halong-Bay-On-Land. Along the way we will visit caves and ancient temples. After the pleasant boat trip, we disembark the sampan and take our car again for Mai Chau. Arrive in Mai chau late afternoon.
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. 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. We will return to the village around late afternoon. Have a short break before enjoying the Thai traditional Music and Dance show which is performed by the village young gilrs and boys. Althrough they are not professional artistes, they will give you an unique experience of their culture life.
Day 4: Mai Chau – Son La – Dien Bien Phu.
The road to Son La is lined with fruit orchards, tea plantations, towering mountains and the traffic of Black Thai, Muong and White Thai hill tribe people heading to markets. Upon arriving in Sonla, we visit the Sonla Prison Museum, which remains as a poignant reminder of the inequities of the former. Then we continue the journey to Dienbien. Impressive scenery, and hill tribe villages fill the journey to Dien Bien Phu, the last bastion of French power in Indochina. Monuments, museums and preserved bunkers tell the story of the final and victorious liberating battle of 1954. Overnight at hotel in Dien Bien.
Day 5: Visit Dien Bien Phu war sites. Travel to Muong Lay.
Half day touring around the battlefields. You see the museum of Dien Bien with exhibits collected during the fiercest war in Indochina during the 1950s, then we visit the vestiges of bunkers and fortified stations of over 16,000 French Expeditionary troops (including Elliane Hill and De Castries bunkers…). Free lunch in town. In the afternoon, we depart for Muong Lay. The road through Muong Lay valley is both breathtaking and dramatic. Hugging rice terraced mountainsides and fording turbulent rivers, our travels today are visually spectacular. Overnight in Muong lay.
Day 6: Muong Lay – Sin Ho – Lai Chau.
From Muong Lay, the drive to Sin Ho is stunning with tiered tea plantations and verdant rice terraces carved into the landscape. Sin Ho is the most authentic market in the North West region which takes place every Saturday morning. There are many ethnic groups coming from different villages to sell their home made agricultural products such as rice, corn, vegetable, chicken, pork…In the afternoon, continue our drive downhill to Lai Chau for the night. Overnight in Laichau.
Day 7: Trekking Lai Chau.
Breakfast at hotel. Then the car will drive us to Binh Lu market where we will have a short visit to the very big and colorful market which take place only on Sunday morning. The town is bustling with activity as the local hill tribes gather for their weekly market day here. Then we start our hiking day. The area you are walking in this morning is a wide valley, spotted with limestone hills wherever you look. You will pass through several villages of Flower Hmong and Giay minorities where you can stop for lunch in local house. After lunch you continue towards the village of Ban Giang, which is around 1.5 hours away. The Giay people also inhabit Ban Giang. You will then follow a small but good trail to the Lu village of Ban Hon, where you will stay overnight in a local house. You will enjoy dinner in the house, and taste, together with the family of the house, how rice wine tastes in this area of Vietnam. Our car will pick us up and get back to hotel for overnight.
Day 8: Lai Chau – Sapa. Visit Sapa town.
After breakfast, we will continue our drive uphill to Sapa passing Tram Ton Pass which offers beautifull views over the Hoang Lien mountain range. This route part is also considered the most beautiful stretch of road in Vietnam. Upon our arrival in Sapa, we will have a walk around Sapa town. Climb up to Ham Rong mountain to enjoy the wonderful views of Sapa town.
Day 9: Sapa villages trek.
After breakfast at hotel, we begin our hiking day by taking a jeep ride to Ban Ho village. This is a village of Tay ethnic minority. The Tay preserve a traditional and fairly developed agriculture with cultivation of all kinds of plants including rice, maize and sweet potato as well as seasonable fruit and vegetables. Then we continue walking to Thanh Phu village where your lunch will be provided in a local house. After lunchtime, heading to Sin Chai village. This is a village of of Red Dao people. Special dinner to celebrate the New Year Festival. Hiking Vietnam team is delighted to offer each guest 01 bottle of French wine to make the New year more special.
Day 10: Continue trekking Sapa. Travel to Lao Cai. Overnight train back to Hanoi.
After breakfast, we will continue our day with a long trek downhill to Lao Cai. The route from Sin Chai, one of the most remote area in Sapa offers beautiful scenery and landscape. The trek will take us through rice paddy fields, bamboo forest, old trees jungle. Your lunch will be provided at Nam Ket. After lunch, we will trek further downhill. Upon arriving in Ta Thang village, a Tay village we will be greeted again by our driver who transfer us then to Laocai station for our journey back to Hanoi.
Day 11: Arrive Hanoi. Travel to Halong bay. Boat cruise with kayaking tour.
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. Water puppet show.
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 early lunch on board disembark at the dock at Halong City. Transfer back to Hanoi. In the evening, attend to the water puppet show, one of famous Vietnamese traditional art. Overnight in Ha Noi.
Day 13: Day trip to Duong Lam ancient village.
We travel west of Hanoi to visit Duong Lam village, a purely agricultural village of the Northern Red River delta where still preserve many hundred-year-old houses. It will be your unique experience as you walk along tiny ancient alleys; visit Mong Phu temple in Mong Phu hamlet – the only hamlet whose original village entrance gate remains intact, dedicated to national heroes. Then cycle to Cam Lam by village’s roads. Magnificent landscape with rice-fields and hills. The two Kings Phung Hung & Ngo Quyen were born there and the village people are very proud of this. That’s why it has the second name as “The village of 2 Kings”. At Cam Lam, we can visit the temple of Phung Hung – very beautiful temple and also the Mausoleum of Ngo Quyen in the countryside facing rice fields and nice landscape. Back to Hanoi in the late afternoon. Trip ends.
Hiking Vietnam specializes in tailor-making private guided trekking hiking tours in Vietnam. This Northern 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.