Day 1: Welcome to Hanoi
When you arrive at Noi Bai International airport in Hanoi, you'll be met and transferred to your hotel in the downtown. The remainder of the day will be your own. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 2: Hanoi City Discovery Tour - Overnight Train to Lao Cai (B, L)
This city tour of Hanoi takes in essential sites which will commence from your hotel lobby at 08.30 am (or late if you arrive in the evening). In the morning, you'll visit the Ho Chi Minh Complex including the Mausoleum, his former stilt-house residence, the Presidential Palace and the Ho Chi Minh Museum; The Temple of Literature - Vietnam’s first university dating back to 1070.
After lunch at a local Vietnamese restaurant, you'll continue visiting the Museum of Ethnology, widely acknowledged as the best in the country, containing an extensive display of life-size structures dedicated to Vietnam’s 54 ethnic minority peoples; 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 evening, you'll be picked up by your guide to the train station for the overnight train leaving at 21.50 to Lao Cai. Stay overnight on the train. Accommodation aboard the train in four berth shared cabins, which are simple but comfortable. You might consider to pay extra for full cabin occupancy if you wish to.
Note: the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is closed all day on Monday and Fridays, as well as from 1st October to 30th November (approx.) for annual conservation.
Day 3: Lao Cai - Sapa Hiking [Cat Cat - Y Linh Ho – Ta Van] (B, L)
You'll arrive at Lao Cai train station in the early morning where Hainam Travel's private tour guide will take you to your hotel in Sapa town for check-in and refreshing.
You first sneak through the market and leave the busy town behind. After a couple of minutes, you will follow a road going downhill to Cat Cat village. You will stop by a waterfall and a hydroelectric station for a while before you trek on a dirt trail through rice paddy terraces. You will also enjoy spectacular scenery while walking along a narrow river. You eventually arrive in Y Linh Ho village of Black Hmong minority, where you can take a rest while you are served lunch nearby the river.
After lunch, you head Muong Hoa valley. You will pass through Lao Chai village of Black Hmong minority and then Ta Van village of Giay minority by following a very popular trekking route. From there, you'll be transferred by private vehicle back to Sapa for overnight stay.
Tour summary: Road transfer approx. 20 minutes/Hiking and village visiting 5 to 6 hours/Grade 2 of 5.
Note: As you arrive in Sapa very early, we will arrange an early check-in for you to take a nap, refresh and have breakfast, which is one special feature of our private tours).
Day 4: Sapa - Ethnic Market - Lao Cai - Overnight Train to Hanoi (B, L)
07.00 a.m. Drive on winding road for ~102km to Bac Ha Town via Lao Cai city. The road is good but having many sharp bends which takes about 2,5 hours including one or two breaks en-route.
Arrive at the market at about 09.30 a.m. at the most crowded time where you will spend two hours joining the hill tribal peoples including Flower H’mong, Black Zao, Phu La and Tay for the market activities and festive atmosphere. All peoples in their best traditional costume gather every Sunday for shopping, but socializing is of great importance. The cattle and clothing sections are the most interesting until 11.00 and then comes the food section where peoples meet, talk, enjoy food and especially drink locally made corn-whisky.
After lunch break in a local restaurant, drive for half an hour downhill to Trung Do village which is beautifully setting in a valley on the eastern bank of the Chay River. Stroll around to explore this prosperous village of the Tay ethnic people who live in large stilt houses and have maintained well their traditional way of life. Walk to the boat pier in mid afternoon to embark on a motor-boat for an hour downstream cruise along the Chay River to Bao Nhai.
Pick up and transfer 45km to Lao Cai city where spend half an hour to see trading activities at the border gate and coffee break before transfer to Lao Cai station for dinner before overnight train to Hanoi at 20:20. O
Tour summary: Road transfer 4 to 5 hours/ Market, village visit & Walk about 4 hours/ Boat trip 1 hour/
Day 5: Hanoi - Halong Bay by Shuttle Bus [Join with other travelers on the cruise] (B, L, D)
You’ll arrive in Hanoi Railway station in the early morning where your guide will be waiting for you to take you to your hotel [day use room in Hanoi and breakfast are included in package cost].After breakfast, you'll leave for Halong Bay with a refreshment break en route.
Meet the crew upon boarding the traditional wooden junk, then relax and enjoy lunch while the boat heads towards the secluded islands. Visit ancient limestone caves and go sea kayaking and swimming if the weather permits. Return to the junk refreshed and invigorated and relax on deck with a drink to watch the sunset. Enjoy a freshly prepared seafood dinner under the stars. Overnight on a wooden junk in Halong Bay.
Day 6: Halong Bay - Return to Hanoi (B, L)
Enjoy an early morning swim (if weather permits) followed by breakfast. The tour then visit one of the famous caves in the middle of the bay before cruising back to the main harbor for the return drive to Hanoi, arriving in the late afternoon. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 7: Depart Hanoi (B)
Your time will be your own until being picked up for your onward journey or departure flight.