14 days The Depth of North Vietnam

Hanoi, Hagiang, Quan Ba, Dong Van, Meo Vac, Ba Be Lake, Cao Bang, Ban Gioc Waterfall, Lang Son, Bai Tu Long Bay, Halong Bay, Ninh Binh, Te Village
 

Day 1: Hanoi / Ha Giang
We depart Hanoi at 7:15am to 7:30am from your hotel and our first stop is at the tiny village in Thung Uyen, home to Dao and H’mong people. This offers us ample opportunities to meet the locals going about their way of life.

As the day progresses, we arrive at the village of Thon Tha, home to a Tay ethnic community, for taking a relaxing hike around peaceful villages.

Here, we have some free time to capture the tranquil pace of life before our dinner which is freshly prepared by a local family. After dessert we retire to our cosy and friendly home stay for a good night’s rest. (Lunch and dinner are included).


Day 2: Ha Giang / Quan Ba / Dong Van
The hike for today is through remote and beautiful countryside of Quan Ba and Dong Van where we pass through several villages along tracks used by the local people.

We are rewarded with a brilliant backdrop of picturesque valleys covered in rice paddies. The night is spent in a hotel in Dong Van. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included).


Day 3: Dong Van / Meo Vac
This morning we hike up through rugged outcrops to the beautiful town of Meo Vac. Set among towering mountains, Meo Vac is home to some H’mong and Hoa farming families.

The scenery up here is breathtakingly beautiful. As the sun sets, we descend due to the township of Meo Vac for the night in a local family. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included).


Day 4: Meo Vac / Bao Lac / Ba Be Lake
We depart Meo Vac and embark on a route up into mountain areas onwards to Bao Lac then onto Ba Be Lake.

This is one of the largest natural lakes in Vietnam, home to many kinds of birds, scenic valleys, towering rocky outcrops, underground river tributaries, and a gigantic cave.

All of the villages in the park are not necessarily ethnic Tay. Those located high up on the slopes are inhabited by Green H’mong and Red Dao hill tribal people.

Arriving in Ba Be Lake time permitting we enjoy a beautiful stroll along the lake. The night is spent in a Tay family in a traditional wooden stilt-house. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included).


Day 5: Ba Be
The day begins with a morning hike in the park. Later, we descend into the scenic valley, home to the Tay minority people and encircled by rock formations. We cross the rolling hills and pass H’mong and Red Dao villages.

The scenery is extraordinary, with rural farmland and rugged mountains jutting out of the tangled jungle growth. We end our day back to our host for the night. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included).


Day 6: Ba Be Lake / Cao Bang
Today we enjoy a beautiful boat ride along the lake. This followed by a scenic drive through rugged mountains to Cao Bang. We settle into a local Tay family for the night. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included).


Day 7: Cao Bang / Ban Gioc Waterfall / Lang Son
We head to the waterfall of Ban Gioc set amidst the beautiful mountains. Here we hike around and appreciate the beauty of the waterfall.

Next, we explore the Nguom Ngao Cave cave filled with stunning stalactites and stalagmites, before we journey due to north east to the border town of Lang Son.

This town has become a booming trading town since the normalization of relations between China and Vietnam in the early 1990s.

Time permitting we go to visit To Thi Mountain, which received its name from the local legend concerning the lady named To Thi. The night is spent in a local family. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included).


Day 8: Lang Son / Bai Tu Long Bay / Quan Lan Island
Halong Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay of the submerged Dragon boasts more than 1,669 craggy and towering islets and are amongst the most picturesque places in Vietnam.

The fantastic beauty of the bays has given rise to many legends, some of them dating back to the ancient past as a dragon descended into the deep water.

Departing Lang Son we head for Cai Rong Island. Here, we enjoy a boat trip through spectacular limestone outcrops. Those who are energetic can enjoy a kayak ride around the bay.

Upon our arrival on Quan Lan Island, we settle in with a local family lodge for the night. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included).


Day 9: Quan Lan / Cai Rong / Ha Long Bay
We have breakfast and stroll around the stunning visual surroundings of the island. This is followed by a delightful bicycle ride across the island. Later in the morning, we board our boat and explore the extent of the bay.

The return journey follows a different route, allowing us a few hours to soak up the transquil beauty only found in Bai Tu Long Bay.

Kayaking is one of the best ways to discover a delightful floating fishing village, an example of a way of life where some families spend their life living on the sea.

Then onto Cai Rong Island. From here we board our vehicle for a transfer to Halong City. This is followed by our boat trip among some of the spectacular limestone peaks – time to relax and appreciate the sublime beauty of the bay.

Well off the tourist trail, we indulge in Hang Trong, a beautiful spot, perfect for the night on our traditional boat. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included).


Day 10: Ha Long Bay / The Red River Delta / Yen Mo 
We have breakfast and this is followed by a kayaking ride through a magnificent cave, before we continue navigating through the stunning limestone scenery of the bay. There's time to enjoy great food on our boat.


Nothing compares to the misty atmosphere and emerald waters of Halong Bay. We find some fishing villages surrounded by towering rock formations we are warmly welcomed into the home of a fishing family.


Returning to the port we board our vehicle for a journey to The Red River Delta then onto Yen Mo for the night. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included).

Day 11: Yen Mo / Thung Nang / Trang An / Yen Mo
Departing our lodge between 8.00am to 8.30am we journey to Trang An. Trang An boasts a maze of rivers and caves and the UNESCO World Centre defined by its craggy limestone facades and jade green water. The surrounding areas are now home to tiny villages, pretty paddy fields, temples and hiking trails.

On arrival we combine a wonderful boat ride along Ngo Dong River with hiking around open rice fields and looking around at the amazing folds of the impressive rock formations.

The Ngo Dong River is one of the most serene sights in Vietnam. Best experienced aboard a local rowboat, a two-hour trip along this enchanting river passes through the Thung Nang cave system - a series of several caverns, including the stalactite-studded Thung Nang cave - and incredible karst scenery all around.

Time is also spent taking a bicycling ride riding in between towering limestone mountains, tranquil waterways, through tiny villages, serene rice paddies and charming historic sites. This is a wonderful chance to see everyday rural life.

Following that we settle in with a family for our cooking lessons. We head out to a local market, which is laden with fresh meat, fish, vegetables and fruits. We also pick up vegetables from our host's beautiful garden.

Together we learn how to make authentic Vietnamese food, such as succulent Spring Rolls, zesty dipping sauce and sticky rice.

We then enjoy the family’s gracious hospitality as they share a hearty dinner with us. The night is spent in the same comfortable lodge. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included).


Day 12: Yen Mo / Hoa Binh / Mai Chau / Te Village 
After breakfast we journey due to south west to Mai Chau then on to the Te village, passing through the dramatic mountain scenery. On arrival we hike around the open rice fields, and idyllic villages in a particularly picturesque part of the area, home to beautiful mountains and rolling hills.

We absorb the daily life and appreciate the warmth and friendliness of the local people we meet along the way. The night is spent in one of the White Thai family. The Thai people are an ethnic minority group originally from southern China and ethnically linked to the Thai in Thailand.

We enjoy the warm hospitality over a dinner with the host and an overnight stay in a traditional stilt-house. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included).


Day 13: Te Village / Na Mo / Na Meo / Te Village
This morning we hike through the forest of Na Mo then descend to the village of Na Meo and Na Meo.

We see the villages and people going about their day. In the afternoon, we return to our local family for the night. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included).


Day 14: Te Village / Sam Khoe / Mai Ha / Hanoi
Today we hike through the tiers of splendid rice terraces, past several idyllic villages, verdant hilllocks, lush farmlands and beautiful mountains.

Time is also spent cycling through White Thai villages and along scenic mountains and lush hills. This is followed by our journey to Hanoi, arriving there at about 5pm. (Breakfast and lunch are included).


The facts…

Physical activities: hiking, trekking, cycling and kayaking with:

- a 2-5 km hike on Day 1.

- a 6-8 km hike on Day 2.

- a 10-15 km hike on Day 3.

- a 3-6 km hike on Day 4.

- a 12-15 km hike on Day 5.

- a 3-5 km hike on Day 6.

- a 2-3 km hike on Day 7.

- a 1-2 kayaking ride on Day 8

- a 1-hour bicycling ride and a 1-2 hour kayaking ride on Day 9.

- a 1-hour kayaking ride on Day 10.

- a 1-2 hour bicycling ride on Day 11.

- a 4-6 km hike on Day 12.

- a 12-15 km hike on Day 13.

- a 8-10 km hike and a 1-2 hour bicycling ride on Day 14.


Transport:


- boat.

- kayak.

- bicycle.

- private air-conditioned car
(minibus).


Tour Guides:

all of our experienced, friendly and professional tour guides speak fluent English.

They are knowledgeable about local cultures, history and the environment.


Meals: 

13 breakfasts.

- 14 lunches.

13
 dinners.

We choose local ingredients, typical of the way people eat in the area, at local restaurants, markets or homes. We also cater for Vegetarians but please request this at time of booking.


Accommodation:

- local families (8 nights).

- hotel (1 night).

- overnight boat (1 night).

- lodges (3 nights).

C
lean and comfortable home stays with mosquito nets provided.


The trip cost:

$986USD per person for a group of 4 to 6 people.

- $925USD per person for a group of 7 to 12 people.

 

The cost of the trip includes:

- accommodation.

- transportation.

- tour guide(s).

- meals listed on the itinerary.

- admission fees and permits where applicable.

- two bottles of mineral water.


The cost of the trip does not include:

travel insurance.

- drinks (soft drinks, alcohol and bottled water).

- personal expenses.


What to take:

pack essentials, including light comfortable clothes suitable for outdoor activities, comfortable hiking shoes.

Take a small day pack for hiking, cycling and kayaking.

We also recommend packing: swimsuit, personal articles, insect repellent, sun cream, raincoat and sun hat...

                               
                                  
Have a great trip!!!