Discover the Splendour and Cultures of Northern Vietnam
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  Duration: 15 DAYS/14 NIGHTS STYLE: Special Interests

Discover the Splendour and Cultures of Northern Vietnam

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Vietnam has 54 ethnic groups living in Vietnam each with their own culture and linguistic characteristics and many of them live in Northern Vietnam. During this tour of these spectacularly beautiful northern provinces, you will visit and discover the charms of many villages, mountains and valleys. Along the way, you will go to villages and meet people from 17 different ethnic minority groups including the H'mong tribes (Black, White, Hoa and Red), Dao, Lolo, Giay and Thai. As you travel from one base to another, you will be amazed by the splendour of the countryside and the variations in the cultures of the people you will meet. You will enjoy short treks, explore the colourful ethnic markets and see a palace that formed the stronghold for the Black H'Mong people during the war with the French.

Come further south, you will not be disappointed. Tam Coc and Ha Long Bay both have more than their fair share of splendour to share with you. Both involve water and both involve large rock formations emerging from water but you will discover that they have totally different characteristics and treats to offer.

Your trip to Vietnam finishes in the capital city where you can enjoy the splendid buildings and a culture that is all of its own. This vibrant and unique city is the perfect culmination of this adventure into the northern regions of Vietnam. 

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WHY YOU SHOULD BOOK THIS TOUR WITH US?
  • Personal attention to detail by all HGH from the time of your initial enquiry through to the end of your tour
  • 24 hour support available during the tour
  • Enjoy the degree of historical and cultural information throughout your tour from our local and knowledgeable tour hosts to the degree that you and your group are interested.
  • We focus on sustainable tourism by creating the very best experience for you as the tourist while supporting our local environment and local people
Itinerary Highlights
Day 1: Arrival Ha Noi

On your arrival at Noi Bai International Airport, your guide will be waiting to take you to the center of Hanoi City to check into the hotel. Hanoi is over 1000 years old and is the capital of Vietnam as well the commercial, political, and cultural heart of the country.

You then have the opportunity to visit the oldest part of Vietnam when you take an exciting 1-hour cyclo ride around the 36 streets in the Old Quarter of Hanoi where you will see tiny buildings nestling in narrow streets lined with shops and street vendors selling all manner of goods to locals and tourists alike.  We then go for a welcome dinner at one of the many local restaurants after which you can relax in your hotel or explore more on your own.

Hotel in Ha Noi

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Day 2: Ha Noi – Ha Giang (320km)

After breakfast, we head north out of Hanoi to the Ha Giang Province, a remote and spectacular area of Vietnam. We will stop for lunch en route arriving at the village of Me, where you will spend the night and enjoy dinner with your host family.

Overnight stay in Me

Day 3: Ha Giang – Dong Van (160km)

Travelling north, We are go to the district of Yen Minh via the photogenic Quan Ba pass. We visit the villages of White Hmong and Dao people before moving on to Dong Van. The itinerary today offers opportunities to explore or relax as you choose. We have dinner in Dong Van and stay overnight. Remember to charge the batteries on your cameras as tomorrow offers even more irresistible opportunities for photography.

Overnight stay in Dong Van

Day 4: Dong Van – Meo Vac – Ha Giang (170km)

Start the day with a stroll down the Dong Van Streets, near to the market to see the old houses that the Hmong built centuries ago of clay bricks and tile roofs. On the outskirts of the town is the village of Pho Cao, a typical village showing the unique architecture of the old houses of the Hmong and Lolo people. Next stop is the Vuong's Palace- a building used to belong to a King of the Hmong people during the French domination. The palace attracts keen interest from those interested in buildings due to its mixed style of European and Chinese architecture.

Overnight stay in Ha Giang

Day 5: Ha Giang – Hoang Su Phi

Today we travel to Hoang Su Phi across the mountains an drice terraces of Thong Nguyen. We stop in the village Ta Phin to meet the Dzao people, then on to Hoa, La Chi Den and Pa Then villages. Dinner will be at a local restaurant.

Overnight stay at the Pan Hou Eco-lodge in HoangSuPhi

Day 6: Hoang Su Phi – Sapa

After breakfast, we will leave for Sapa. Stopping en route for photographs and to visit villages of the H’mong Hoa, Black Dao, Tay, Giay, Ha Nhi and the Nung tribes. We also make a stop at Coc Ly market for a cruise on the Chay river to village Trung Do of the Tay people. In the late afternoon, we arrive in Sapa. Sapa is a charming town nestling into the mountainside at an alttitude of 1560m. The French built the town as a retreat to escape the hot and humid summers of Ha Noi.

Day 7: Sapa – Lao Cai – Ta Van – Sapa

The first excursion in Sapa takes us to Ham Rong (Dragon Raw) to get a panoramic view of the town and the tiered rice paddy fields carved out of the sides of the mountain. In the afternoon, we drive to Lao Cai before heading downhill to visit the Black H’mong Villages.

The H’mong people are Chinese descendants, who immigrated to Vietnam approximately 300 years ago. You will learn about the many different traditions and beliefs of the H’mong people. After a drive of 12 km’s, we start our walk to Ta Van village to visit the Dzay people. You will love the breathtaking views along the way, probably meet some friendly and helpful people from the different ethnic minority groups who will be all too willing to help you if you are finding the slopes a little steep or slippery. You will return for dinner in Sapa.

Hotel in Sapa

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Day 8: Sapa – Tam Duong – Lai Chau (200 km, 4 hours of driving)

Lai Chau is the ultimate destination for today. While en route, we will stop to visit the Tam Duong and Binh Lu markets. The ethnic minority people in these areas are different from those in Sapa. The ancestors of these people were believed to have originated from Laos, which and are called the Black Zao, Zaowith coins, Red H’mong, and especially Lu & Lao. We go trekking through the rice terraces and villages of the red H’mong and Red Dzao after which we continue to Lai Chau.

Overnight stay in Lai Chau

Day 9: Lai Chau – Son La (330 km, 7 – 8 hours of driving)

Today, you will meet people from the Black Thai, White Thai, and Red H’mong tribes. We then drive via the Pha Din Pass to the town of Son La stopping to visit Tuan Giao Market.

Hotel in Son La

Day 10: Son La – Mai Chau – Hoa Binh – Kim Boi (250 km, 5 – 6 hours of driving)

From Son La, we travel south via the Moc Chau Plateau with its tea plantations, waterfalls and beautiful terraced rice fields to the charming village of Mai Chau. Mai Chau nestles in an enchanting valley and is home to the friendly Thai ethnic minority group. We take a leisurely walk around the Lac and Poom Coong Village. During the walk, you will see farmers working in fields, locals weaving scarves and get a sense of the nature of these hospitable people.

Later in the afternoon, we will take a ride to HoaBinh through a mountainous regioninhabited by the Muong tribe before heading for the famous hot springs at KimBoi. You will have dinner and spend the rest of the night in Kim Boi.

Ovenight stay in Kim Boi

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Day 11: Kim Boi – Hoa Lu (160 km, 4 hours of driving)

From Kim Boi, there is a short drive to the area that abounds with stunning landscapes, ancient culture and history of Vietnam. The Ninh Binh Province is also known as “Ha Long Bay on land” and is characterized by the jutting of huge rock structures from water and land that is reminiscent of Ha long Bay itself. The province is located just 80 km South of Hanoi.

We start the tour by going for a relaxing sampan ride through the gentle but breathtaking landscape of plains and mountains, which lead us to the beautiful and mysterious Thung Nang Valley. We then change our mode of transport to abicycle and take a gentle ride (4km) to Bich Dong Cave. From Bich Dong Cave, we go to Hoa Lu, formally the capital of the Dinh and early Le dynasties between the 10th and 11th centuries.

Overnight stay in Hoa Lu

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Day 12: Hoa Lu – Ha Long

After breakfast, we drive to Ha Long Bay, one of the most beautiful places in Southeast Asia and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The day starts with a leisure boat ride through the breathtaking Ha Long Bay where you will see unique rock peaks (karsts) reaching majestically out of the water. We eat our delicious lunch onboard while cruising to Bai Tu Long Bay, Teapot Islet, Blockhouse Islet, and Goat Head Islet.

We explore the mystery of Sung Sot Cave, one of the most beautiful caves in Ha Long Bay before getting the opportunity to relax at a beautiful beach to enjoy swimming and kayaking.

While cruising to the Hang Trong area to anchor for the night, get your camera at the ready to capture a spectacular sunset. During the evening, relax in the casual and comfortable atmosphere on the luxury boat where you will have an elegant dining experience.

To finish off a perfect day, relax under the clear, starry sky and enjoy the peace and quiet of the Bay before retiring to your cabin for the night.

Overnight onboard.

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Day 13: Ha Long – Ha Noi

After breakfast, we continue to cruise through the karsts, some of which display fantastic and mystical shapes before getting into a small boat to visit the Luon Cave. Back on board for an early lunch before saying goodbye to our boat and crew before heading back on the road to Hanoi and stopping off at the Bat Trang ceramics and pottery village. The village sells all kinds of ceramics, embroidery and marble statues. Eat dinner at the “Rung” Restaurant.

Hotel in Ha Noi.

Day 14: Ha Noi

Today there is a full city tour of Hanoi starting with a visit to the Ho Chi Minh Complex, which includes the Mausoleum–the final resting place of the Vietnamese great father or ‘Uncle Ho’ as he is commonly known. You can also see the stilt house where Uncle Ho lived and worked from 1958 to 1969, then visit Ho Chi Minh Museum where tourists can learn about his devotion for Vietnam. Then shift from a historical to spiritual perspective by visiting the One-Pillar Pagoda. A short drive then takes us to the Temple of Literature. Built in October 1073 to worship Confucius, it is the first known university in Vietnam. The final stop for the morning is the Tran Quoc Pagoda. This is located beside the dazzling West Lake in Hanoi. It is the oldest pagoda in Hanoi and acknowledged as a cultural symbol of Vietnamese Buddhism.

 

Later in the afternoon, we will get a chance to explore the multi-colored features of the 54 ethnic groups who live in Vietnam during a visit to the Ethnology Museum. During the evening, relax to the unique and intriguing Water Puppet Show, a traditional folk performance held on the Red River Delta.

Hotel in Ha Noi

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Day 15: Ha Noi – Departure

On the day of your departure, you are free to shop, relax and do whatever you would like at your own leisure until your time for transfer to Noi Bai International Airport for the departure flight.

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