Day 1: Welcome to Hanoi & Afternoon City Tour & Water Puppet Show (L)
Upon arrival at Noi Bai International airport, you'll be met and transferred to your hotel in the downtown.
Afternoon city tour including The Temple of Literature - Vietnam’s first university dating back to 1070; Tran Quoc pagoda, Ngoc Son Temple and Hoan Kiem Lake - the Ngoc Son Temple is set on a tiny island on Hoan Kiem Lake, its history dating back to the 13th century; a cyclo ride for 1 hour touring through the narrow, chaotic streets of the Old Quarter - a must for any visitor to Hanoi! The day finishes with a traditional performance of the famous Vietnamese water puppets in the city centre. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 2: Off to Mountainous Town of Sapa & - Gentle Hike through Rice Fields (B, L)
After an early breakfast, drive to Sapa in the northwest of Vietnam. The first section takes you on the new Express Way from Noi Bai to Lao Cai and the second section is the winding mountain road for 1 hour from Lao Cai to Sapa. You will arrive in Sapa in the early afternoon.
After check-in and a short break, the afternoon is devoted to a beautiful hike through the breathtaking scenery of Muong Hoa valley. Your trip begins with a short transfer by road toward Muong Hoa valley. Start your hike by descending into the valley, which is the largest rice paddy terraced among Sapa area. Your guide will share with you interesting information about Vietnam agriculture as well as rice cultivation in the area. If you visit the valley sometime in between May and October, you will be able to observe and experience how the local planting and harvesting, one of the most important activities in their daily life. The hike takes you from Lao Chai village of Black Hmong minority to Ta Van village of Giay minority including a visit to the local Catholic Church. After visiting Ta Van, return to Sapa by road! Overnight in Sapa.
Tour summary: Road transfer approx. ~5 hour/ Hiking and village visiting ~3 hours/ Grade 1 of 5.
Day 3: Sapa – Visit Colorful Weekly Ethnic Market - Return to Hanoi (B, L)
After breakfast, transfer by road to visit a weekly ethnic market and arrive at the busiest time where you will meet a large variety of ethnic minorities inhabited in the region in their colorful dresses. The ethnic market is not just a place for buying and selling but also opportunity for ethnic people from different minorities meeting and socializing, exchanging news, for women to demonstrate their beautiful handmade traditional costume and even for youngsters to find their dates. Though many ethnic people and vendors have to walk a long distance to reach the market, distance has never discouraged them from joining the market day and the festive atmosphere. At the market, you will stroll from one section to another to explore different local produces, spices, vegetable, farming tools, handicrafts, medicinal herbs…Especially you will encounter smiling people everywhere. At food section, you might be invited a cup of locally made whisky. Return to Sapa for lunch at a local restaurant. Afternoon you will take Sapa Express Bus leaving at 15.45 back to Hanoi, arriving in the late afternoon. Stay the night in Hanoi.
Trips to the weekly ethnic markets often involve in long drive but the landscape, the fascinating experience and plenty of photo opportunities compensate. Once you have the fixed travel dates, we will suggest the most suitable market to your preferences.
Tour summary: Road transfer approx. ~9 hours/ Sightseeing & Market visiting ~2 hours/ Grade 1 of 5.
Day 4: Hanoi - Halong Bay Cruising - Hanoi (B, L)
The day trip takes you to the famous Halong Bay and through the most attractive areas of the Tonkin Golf. Our well-designed cruising route offers you an excellent opportunity to see the most beautiful high points, in and around the water of the World Heritage site, in a very relaxed way. You witness the tranquil beauty and breathtaking scenery from sundeck of a comfortably traditional junk, from which you can enjoy the bay landscapes, the serene floating village which are slowly passing by.
Leave your hotel at 08h00 for 3.5 hour drive through the country side of the Red River Delta to Ha Long City. Water buffaloes, paddy fields (rice transplanting time: February and June) and daily Vietnamese farmer life are on both sides of the way.
Around noon you will arrive in Halong City, board a traditional wooden junk and start the cruising trip to the centre of the bay. Fresh seafood lunch (vegetable menu available) is served while the boat is gliding out. Get ready for exotic photos and absorbing the most magnificent natural splendors, limestone bedrocks and sheer cliffs of tiny islands highlighted with fanciful names: Fighting Cocks (symbol of Halong Bay), Duck, Finger, Incense Burner, and Stone Dogs.
Stopping for a rowing boat trip around Ba Hang Floating village then keep cruising to the most beautiful cave named Thien Cung (Heaven Palace Grotto) and explore huge chambers adorned with stalactites and stalagmites of all kinds. Continue to enjoy this relaxing cruise on the way back to Ha Long harbor, our waiting vehicle transfers you back at your hotel in Hanoi around 20h00. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 5: Depart Hanoi (B)
Your time will be free at leisure or go shopping until being picked up and transfer to Noi Bai airport for your departure flight home. Farewell from Vietnam!