: Everyday Saturday
Ha Long bay, Sapa, Ba Be lake, Ban Gioc waterfall, Northeast, Vietnam.
Minimum 2 people
Night 1: Ha Noi – Sapa
On the first night, your guide will collect you from your hotel in Hanoi and take you to Hanoi Train Station where you will board the sleeper train to Lao Cai. The carriage will be a soft sleeper with AC.
Day 1: Bac Ha Market – Sapa (B, L, D)
You will be picked up from Lao Cai Train Station, and take a 2-hour drive along the border with China, through the wonderful mountainous landscape, to Bac Ha town and the famous Bac Ha Market, the largest and the most colourful market in the northeast of Vietnam.
The whole market is a technicolour buzz of activity, ever increasing in size but always serving locals' needs, selling hardware, fruit and vegetables, meat and fish and live pigs, cats, dogs, buffaloes and horses.
You will return to Bac Ha at noon to have lunch and check in to the hotel. In the afternoon you will walk round Thai Giang Pho Village (4 km) to learn about the life of the Flower H'mong and the Nung. You can spend your time meeting the local people (you may even be invited to drink tea or corn wine) and taking photos. After exploring the village, you will travel to Sapa taking a short break in Lao Cai by the border gate with China. Here you can see a beautiful temple and the point at which the Red River runs into Vietnam. You will stay overnight in a hotel in Sapa.
Day 2: Cat Cat – Y Linh Ho – Lao Chai (B, L, D)
After breakfast, your local guide will take us along buffalo paths and trails and through several hill tribe villages including Cat Cat Village and Y Linh Ho Village which are home to H'mong, and Dzay communities. This is an absolutely spectacular walk through stunning scenery inhabited by some of the friendliest people you can meet. You will have dinner stay overnight with a local family in Lao Chai.
Day 3: Lao Chai – Ta Van – Thanh Kim – night train to Hanoi (B, L, D)
After the breakfast, you will continue to visit a Zay community in Ta Van village. From here you will hike along the local trails to Thanh Kim, a Tay Village. After a great day of hiking, you will return to Sapa for your transfer to Lao Cai Train Station. You will board the night train back to Hanoi departing at 21:05.
Day 4: Ha Noi – Ha Long Bay (B, L, D)
You will arrive back in Hanoi at 06:00 where you will be taken for a delicious traditional breakfast. At 08:00 your guide will collect you for your transfer to Ha Long Bay. On arrival, you will board your cruise and enjoy welcome drinks check into your cabin. On board, you can enjoy a tasty Vietnamese lunch whilst starting your cruise through the fairytale scenery of Ha Long Bay. Along the way, you will pass Stone Dog Islet, Incense Burner Islet, Fighting Cocks, Swan and Duck Islets. In the afternoon, you will anchor to explore Sung Sot (Surprising) Cave, with time to kayak, swim or relax. Dinner will be served on board, and in the evening, you can enjoy drinks in the bar, karaoke, fishing, or whatever takes your fancy. You spend the night on board the boat.
Day 5: Bai Tu Long – Ha Noi (B, L)
If you are up bright and early to catch the sunrise, you also have the option of joining the morning exercises on the deck or taking a morning dip in the bay. After breakfast, the boat will set sail for Bai Tu Long Bay. As part of the cruise, there is a cookery demonstration to show you how to make our traditional Vietnamese spring rolls. You will then enjoy one last meal aboard the boat before you goodbye to the crew, disembark and return to Hanoi City.
Day 6: Hanoi – Ba Be (B, L, D)
You will be picked up early in the morning for the journey to Ba Be Lake, a drive of approximately 150 miles (230 kilometres). Along the way you will visit a Tay ethnic minority community, the second largest ethnic group in Vietnam after the Viet-Kinhs, mostly living off the cultivation of rice.
You will continue to Ba Be National Park to explore the rich forests and magnificent lakes surrounded by towering karsts. The diverse landscapes of Be Be make it a haven for many different species of fauna and flora which you will be able to spot as you journey through the park. You will take a boat ride along the Nang River, with time to explore Ba Be Lake, the caves of Puong Grotto, the rapids of the Dau Dang waterfall and the tiny Widow Island. You will also visit the stilt houses of the Tay community in Bo Lu Village, where you will spend the night in Mr Linh's Homestay, a traditional style Tay house.
Day 7: Ba Be – Ban Gioc waterfall (B, L)
After breakfast, you will depart for Cao Bang, a region which shares its border with China. You will stop in the Nung village of Phuc Sen where you can admire the work of the local villagers who are famed for their production of farming tools.
As well as the production of tools, many of the local villagers make their living through rice cultivation. This is evident in the endless terraced rice paddies which you will see en route to Ban Gioc Waterfall. The heavy cascades of water at Ban Gioc create a dramatic and immensely beautiful scene. The falls make up part of Vietnam's border with China, half of the falls sitting in each country. You will spend some time at leisure relaxing and taking souvenir photos as you soak up the sublime atmosphere of Vietnam’s most beautiful waterfall. You will stay overnight in Quang Uyen in a homestay.
Day 8: Cao Bang – Ha Noi (B, L)
After a night in a traditional Nung house, you will depart for your transfer south to Hanoi. It is a journey of approximately 185 miles (310 kilometres) through vertiginous rice terraces and remote villages allowing one last chance to marvel at the incredible landscapes of northern Vietnam.
You will also get the chance to stop at an ethnic village known for its tobacco production. There will be a stop for lunch before you are ped off at your hotel back in the bustling city of Hanoi.