Day 1: Hanoi Arrival (D).
Welcome to Hanoi! The tour guide will be welcoming you at Noi Bai airport. It takes you 35 minutes to drive to the centre of Hanoi. Check in the hotel and relax. (Dinner at the hotel). Overnight in Hanoi. Please note! Optional tour will be advised upon exact time of arrival.
Day 2: Hanoi – Halong – Overnight On Board (B/L/D).
If you wish to see how the Hanoi people rise and shine in the morning, wake up early and run to a lake close by your hotel, you can join an exciting scene of hundreds of locals, passionately attentive in their morning exercises of Tai-Chi quan, jogging, martial arts, classical dance and so on.
After breakfast at the hotel, we will drive to Halong via Dong Trieu ceramic town with stopover to enjoy paddy landscape and visit the ovens making ceramics in Dong Trieu. Go on to Halong, one of the earliest World Heritages Sited designated by UNESCO for Vietnam in 1994. Check-in our boat and enjoy a lunch of fresh seafood while the boat goes about unusual seascape with thousands picturesque rocks and islets, beaches and hollow islands. We can stop to visit some karsts grottoes or just go swimming, or stop at a beach and enjoy the sunset on the sea. (Lunch and dinner on board). Overnight on the boat in Halong Bay.
Day 3: Halong – Hanoi City Tour – Lao Cai (B/L/D).
You should wake up early to enjoy the dawn on the sea in the early morning. The Vietnamese call the “East Sea” by a point-oriented name “Eastern Sea”, so you may guess how miraculous seeing the sunrise over the islets of the Bay. After breakfast our boat will continue to cruise in marvelous areas, where almost each islet has its own name, adopting its shape or reminiscent like Sail Island, Fisherman’s head rock, Butterfly rock or Turtle islet etc. Take our car back to Hanoi. Visit This afternoon we will start our Hanoi City tour with the Ngoc Son Temple and the Sword Lake, the centre and the soul of the city. Stroll around the Old Quarter of Hanoi before stop at Ngoc Son Temple and the Sword Lake for visits. (Lunch on the way back from Halong, Dinner in Hanoi). After dinner, transfer to Hanoi Railway Station to take the night train at 21.30 to Lao Cai. Overnight on the train.
Day 4: Lao Cai - Sapa - Cat Cat, Lao Chai, Ta Van Villages – Sapa (B/L/D).
Arrive at Lao Cai Station at 06.00. Picked-up and transferred to Sapa by car (40km mountain road from Lao Cai). The mountain landscape of Sapa is magnificent and beautiful in both winter mist or green springtime. Stop at misty pinewoods, graceful terraced paddy fields and get lovely pictures of charming Hmong or Dzao girls we see on the mountainside. After arriving in Sapa, we will have breakfast before and leave our luggage at the hotel before hanging around with our guide to Sapa market, where we can meet the montagnards and admire their handicrafts made of wood, silver, or dyed and embroidered fabrics and clothes. Take a 2-km short trekking to Cat Cat Village, the home of Hmong Ethic. Meeting and talking with locals to learn more about their daily life. Go on to Lao Chai (10km from Sapa) and walk thru 3km to Tavan with stops at the villages of the tribal people Hmong, Tay and Dzay en route. Back to Sapa town for overnight. (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner in Sapa).
Day 5: Sapa – Hanoi (B/L/D).
OPTION 1: If today is Saturday, Sunday or Tuesday, nothing will be better than driving overland to a market of the hill tribal people, mainly from Flower Hmong ethnical group. Depending on the day, you can choose either Can Cau (Sat), Bac Ha (Sun) or Coc Ly (Tues).
At 7 o’clock we will drive toward Bac Ha, about 110km from Sapa. With a dozen of tribes living in the surroundings, including Flower Hmong, Chinese, Nhang, Dzao, Nung, Phu La, Thai and King (or Viet), the market is extremely exciting esp. in the early morning. The winding road to Bac Ha helps maintain the colours (in both literal and figurative sense) of the area. The distance to Can Cau and Coc Ly from Bac Ha is 30 – 50km. In all these markets, we can meet hundreds of beautiful women from Flower Hmong tribe, who are famous for their wonderful craft and hand-made flowering clothes and textile fabrics, or intermingle with people from Black Hmong, Dzay, Dzao and other ethnic groups coming to the market not for purchasing stuffs, but for meeting and chatting – just once a week - like in a real cultural center. After lunchtime, we can hike around or take our car heading to further hamlets in Ban Pho, Trieu Cai, or Na Hoi. Back to Lao Cai Station later afternoon to take the night train from Lao Cai to Hanoi. (Lunch in Bac Ha, Dinner Lao Cai). Overnight on the train.
OPTION 2: If today is not Tuesday, Saturday or Sunday, we will take a pleasant drive to Taphin village (12km from Sapa) of Red Dzao ethnic people, then hike thru paddy fields and pass an old seminary in Taphin Valley, reach the villages of the Hmong and the Red Dzao, who are skillful in making clothes and embroidery by traditional, old silk thread ... Here you have a good choices to buy woven and textile brocades made by the locals. Visit Taphin Cave and small hamlet of Black Hmong people. Return to Sapa and be transferred to Lao Cai Station for the night train to Hanoi. (Picnic Lunch. Dinner in Lao Cai). Overnight on the train.
Day 6: Hanoi - Hue (B/L).
Picked-up by car at Hanoi Station around 05.00. Before having breakfast, we can join the Hanoians in their early exercises, esp. nearby the lakes, diversified from jogging, yoga, sword dance, fan dance, and Taichi-quan. After breakfast and a short relax, we will go on to Noi Bai Airport for a short flight to Hue.
Being recognized by UNESCO as the 1st Cultural World Heritage for Vietnam, Hue is highlighted by the old royal architectural works and the most traditional Vietnamese lifestyle. We will discover the charm of the city from the Royal Citadel, Forbidden City, Hue Royal Museum. Go on to Thien Mu pagoda and visit the Tombs of King Tu Duc – the best-reserved monuments of the Nguyen Emperors since early 19th and early 20th centuries. (Lunch in a Garden-housed restaurant in “Hue” style, Dinner at your own arrangement for flexibility). Overnight in Hue.
Day 7: Hue - Danang - Hoian (B/L/D).
After breakfast and check-out hotel, we will depart from Hue to Hoian by the Hai Van Pass (the “Ocean Cloudy Mountain Pass”) and enjoy the beauty of Lang Co Beach before reaching Hoian. Visit the Hoian ancient town of Hoian including the tile-roofed Japanese Bridge, taciturn Chinese Assembly Halls and Trading Houses, Pagodas, and the market located by Thu Bon river. Go shopping in Hoian famous handicraft shops. (Lunch and Dinner in Hoi An). Overnight in Hoian.
Day 8: Hoi An – Da Nang – Hanoi Departure (B).
After breakfast at the hotel, back to Da Nang Airport for a short flight to Hanoi. Take your flight back home from Hanoi. End of services.
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