8 Day Adventure in Northern Vietnam

From £1284 pp

Northern Vietnam

8 Days

1-10

What you'll do

Northern Vietnam is one of the most incredible landscapes on earth. Discover its highlights and get off the beaten track with expert guides, from magical bays to bustling cities, isolated mountain villages and incredible valleys, see it all like a local.

Arriving in Hanoi, you’ll be taken directly to your accommodation before embarking on the trip of a lifetime around the stunning wilderness and the magnificent natural landscapes of Northern Vietnam.

From vibrant, bustling Hanoi where you’ll eat incredible street food and sip cold beers as old trains come rattling through the very busy streets, to cruising amongst the incredible limestone karsts that erupt out of the sapphire blue waters of Ha Long Bay where you’ll see incredible caves and climb island peaks for panoramic views, you’ll be doing it all with expert local guidance.

Because off the beaten track, in places deep in Northern Vietnamese countryside like Mai Chau or Chieng Lau, you’ll be able to make a connection with the local people that stays with you as you see real, authentic Vietnam, unaffected by tourism.

Learn local crafts and see ancient traditions in action, eat truly authentic Vietnamese cuisine (no tourist menus where you’re going), and explore magnificent mountain landscapes where the pace of life trickles by deliciously slowly.

Lam

Your Local Host:

Lam

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Experience Itinerary

Welcome to Northern Vietnam

You will be picked up from the airport, any accommodation or any bus station in Hanoi, and taken directly to your accommodation in the heart of Hanoi’s atmospheric Old Quarter.

Take some time to relax and recuperate from your journey, then we recommend you go and explore the hustle and bustle of Hanoi 36 Streets area.

Accommodation

Hotel L’Heritage (or something similar)

Located on an ancient street in Hanoi’s historic Old Quarter, the newly opened Hanoi L’Heritage Hotel offers a panoramic view of ancient streets with luxurious and stylish design in 55 rooms widely ranging from Superior, Deluxe to Suite.

Hanoi Like a Local

Begin your Vietnamese adventure with an exploration of manic, atmospheric Hanoi. Starting with a walking tour that shows you Ngoc Son Temple, the gem at the heart of Hoan Kiem Lake, where you’ll learn about Vietnamese religion and culture, in a relatively calm oasis in the madness.

Then, join the moped tsunami as you hop on a traditional cyclo (don’t worry you’re just the passenger) and experience the organised, and sometimes not so organised, chaos of Hanoi traffic.

Later, stroll back to the Old Quarter, where you can while away the afternoon heat by enjoying Hanoi’s staple ‘Bia Hoi’, a fresh, cold beer brewed and served by incredibly friendly locals, as trains rattle through the old narrow streets.

Whilst you’re here, enjoy some of Vietnam’s legendary street food such as pho, banh mi, bun cha or egg coffee.

That evening, sit down for a traditional water puppet performance, a northern tradition stretching back over one thousand years. Performed with traditional Vietnamese music such as drums, wooden bells, horns and bamboo flutes it’s an essential experience for a bit of true Vietnamese culture.

Accommodation

Hotel L’Heritage (or something similar)

Cruise Ha Long Bay

You’ll be picked up at around 7:45 am to be transferred via bus to the Tuan Chua Marina, where you’ll be welcomed on board your cruise at around midday. You’ll meet the captain and the crew, and learn about the lives of the people who make their home in Ha Long.

Check in to your cabin and refresh and unwind before an exquisite lunch on deck as you cruise past the magnificent, otherworldly landscape of Ha Long Bay. Jaw-dropping limestone islands rise dramatically out of emerald waters, and floating villages hide in small sheltered coves, shaded by massive white walls and lush rainforest.

See Ha Long Bay’s most beautiful cave, the aptly named Surprise Cave. You’ll jump off for an explore of this magnificent grotto dripping with stalectites, before heading to Titop Island for a refreshing swim.

You can’t visit Titop without a climb to the peak, where the best views of the bay are offered, with islands stretching into the horizon.

Back on the cruise, soak up the last of the sun’s rays as the sky turns a brilliant orange, and enjoy a wonderful on deck dinner as you socialise with other guests, fish for squid, or simply drink in the incredible surroundings.

Accommodation

Overnight on cruise (Rosa Cruise)

These cabins are designed to see Ha Long Bay through the large window even when you are lying in bed, or sitting at a comfy chair on your balcony.

  • Type of cabin: Twin or Double size
  • Private sitting area
  • Shared balcony
  • LED TV
  • Air conditioning
  • Wardrobe
  • Hairdryer
  • Bath linen
  • En-Suite bathroom
  • Private toilet
  • Safety box
  • Lamp
  • Life jacket
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Emergency hammer
  • Slippers
  • Complimentary mineral water

Another Day in the Bay

Start today early with a Tai Chi session on deck as the sun rises amongst the lush green islands, then enjoy breakfast on deck as you cruise towards a Natural Preservation Zone.

Here, you’ll have the chance to kayak through the clear, cool water beneath the dramatic karsts of rock, there’s no better way to appreciate the sheer drama of the landscape than when a sheer limestone wall is looming directly above you.

Jump back on the cruise ship and check out of your room, and begin cruising back through the bay, passing Ba Hang fishing village, Dog Islet, and more.

Learn to make that Vietnamese staple that is served everywhere from the grittiest street food stand to the most decadent restaurant, the humble spring roll, before an early lunch up on the deck.

Disembark at Tuan Chau Marina, then you’ll be transferred by minibus back to your accommodation in Hanoi for around 16:30/17:00.

Accommodation

Hotel L’Heritage or similar

Into the Wilderness at Mai Chau

Leave Hanoi at around 8:30 am, embarking on a drive that becomes more and more spectacular as it goes on, culminating in a twisting ribbon of tarmac that scales steep valley sides, high above a flat plateau of rice fields – Thung Khe Pass.

Nestled in a further valley, Mai Chau is an isolated, traditional Vietnamese village where houses lean heavily on stilts, perched below the rice paddies that cut steps up the sweeping mountains.

You’ll arrive for a delicious, authentic Vietnamese lunch, before heading out to explore on a bike ride that takes you through the local villages to a local dam that stands surrounded by rice fields.

Take a swim in a natural pool that, suspended above the valley, overlooks the stunning panorama of green rice fields, in your own natural infinity pool. Otherwise, continue to explore the area by bike, learning about life in remote Vietnam, the traditions, the crafts, the agriculture, and enjoy being welcomed into a truly authentic community.

Accommodation

Local homestay in Mai Chau

The homestay is basic as it is in a remote part of Vietnam and run by a local family, but very comfortable and has all the amenities you could need. Staying here is a truly authentic Vietnamese experience.

Mai Chau to Pu Luong

Your next morning will be spent on another incredible drive past scenery that only seems to get higher, deeper, and more dramatic every turn you take. More mountain passes and more panoramic views of chains of hills stretching onto the hazy distance are the order of the day.

Arrive at your accommodation in time for another delicious lunch, before heading out to explore the incredible scenery of an area of lush green rice fields, crisscrossed with fresh, sparkling streams and dotted with old, timeless waterwheels that turn lazily in the warm air.

Cross the Cham River on a suspension bridge, then wander along the river as the landscape of rice fields, idyllic villages, creeping streams and the sun splashing through the waterwheels unfolds before you.

At Chieng Lau village, take a rest and soak up the slow, simple pace of life that perfectly compliments the picturesque scenery. Then, you’ll be transferred back to the Pu Luong Retreat for a delicious, authentic dinner.

Accommodation

Pu Luong Retreat

One of the highlights of your places of accommodation. Sustainable and responsible, far, far off the beaten track and authentic, Pu Luong Retreat is an incredible place to stay.

Discover True Natural Beauty

Start early today, as you descend into the stunning valley overlooked by your retreat, walking around the tumbling rice terraces to the river.

Trek through narrow trails hemmed in by vegetation that parts to slowly reveal a village sitting defiantly at the base of a towering mountain. As you continue to the base of the valley, you’ll pass more villages, ponds, rivers, waterfalls, wild fields and mountains.

The one constant in all the changes in the scenery is the incredible beauty the land possesses.

Enjoy some bamboo rafting on the river, then head back to the retreat for a ride to Ninh Binh, a place famous for its relics of the ancient capital Hoa Lu, as well as the breathtaking landscape many call ‘Ha Long Bay on land’.

Accommodation

Tam Coc Garden Resort or similar

  • Safe
  • Wifi
  • Air conditioning
  • Coffee, tea and water
  • Kettle
  • Desk
  • Wardrobe
  • Sofa
  • Minibar
  • Cot (on request)
  • Shower
  • Bath
  • Toilet
  • Terrace

Ninh Binh Back to Hanoi

After breakfast, you will be transferred back to Hanoi, where we will help you to the airport.

If you are extending your stay in Vietnam, then we can help you book travel for your onward journey, or accommodation in Hanoi.

Hen gap lai!

Location Info

The tour begins in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam in the north of the country. You can be picked up from the airport, any accommodation or any bus station in Hanoi, to be taken to your accommodation in Hanoi for the start of the experience.

The tour goes from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay, then back to Hanoi before heading into the rural part of Northern Vietnam. The tour finishes back in Hanoi, where you can be dropped off at any accommodation, bust station or airport in the city.

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  • Accommodation
  • Transport
  • Activities as noted in the itinerary
  • All entrance tickets and permits as mentioned in the itinerary
  • English speaking local guides

8 Day Adventure in Northern Vietnam