9 days Northern Explorer

Hanoi, Ba Be Lake, Cao Bang, Bai Tu Long Bay, Hanoi

This trip from Ba Be Lake to Bai Tu Long Bay is diverse and adventurous, offering out-of-the-way experiences that many travellers miss out on: We visit Pac Po, trek through hill tribe villages and explore Bai Tu Long Bay.

Day 1 Hanoi / Ba Be Lake
Departing from Hanoi between 7:30am to 8:00am, we embark on a route up into mountain areas north of Hanoi.

Then onwards to Ba Be Lake National Park, one of the largest natural lakes in Vietnam, home to many kinds of bird, scenic valleys, towering rocky outcrops, underground tributaries rivers, a gigantic cave and local ethnic minorities, including the Tay, Red Dao and Hmong. 

Following a relaxing boat trip, we stroll along the river front. The night is spent in the traditional stilt-house of a Tay family. (Lunch and dinner are included).

Day 2 Ba Be Lake / Cao Bang
We take to the road again for a 90 km drive, arriving in Cao Bang town around lunch time.

The rest of the day we go to the border village of Pac Po, home to the local Nung ethnic minority and visit Coc Bo (the Source), the tiny natural cave lived in briefly by Ho Chi Minh when he returned to Vietnam after thirty years of self-imposed exile. 

We hike along a rocky path, take in the cave and explore its stunning visual neighbourhood, before we return to the town for an overnight stay in a hotel. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included).

Day 3-4 Cao Bang Trek
The day begins by driving to the border town of Ta Lung, in an area marked by massive limestone cliffs jutting out of the rice fields, spotted by scenic hill tribe hamlets. We begin our adventure with a trek. 

We trek for 15 km per day, with breathtaking scenery, staying in simple village accommodation with our friendly hosts of the Tay ethnic minority people. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included).

Day 5-6 Cao Bang Trek
Another serious day’s trekking through several minority hamlets. We stop for lunch at the village of Dong Khe before venturing on to the Red Dao settlement of Pac Khoang.

The following day we cover a 17 km trek to the Tay village of Na Pang where we stay overnight. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included).

Day 7 That Khe / Lang Son
We leave our hosts this morning and trek for a further 12 km until we reach the village of That Khe. After lunch in a local restaurant we meet up with our vehicle for a 2-hour drive 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. 

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 hotel in Lang Son. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included).

Day 8 Lang Son / Bai Tu Long Bay 
Halong Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay of the submerged Dragon boasts 1,669craggy 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, we enjoy a boat trip through spactacular 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 for the night to experience their way of life. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included).

Day 9 Bai Tu Long Bay / Hanoi
We have breakfast and stroll around the stunning visual surroundings of 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. We also spend time paddling our kayaks to explore the bay.

Finally, we reach Cai Rong Island for boarding our vehicle for our return journey to Hanoi, arriving there at around 5pm. (Breakfast and lunch are included).

The facts…

Physical activities: 

Our itinerary includes walks, hikes and treks with:

- a 3-5 km hike on Day 1.

- a 5-7 km hike on Day 2.

- a 12-14 km trek from Day 4. 

- a 14-16 km trek on Day 5.

- a 10-12 km trek on Day 6.

- a 15-16 km trek on Day 7. 

- a 1-2 hour kayak ride on Day 8.

We need to be reasonably fit as the hikes and the treks can be challenging sometimes, depending on the weather conditions. 

From July to September, the climate is usually humid and hot. From October to June brings cooler and more pleasant weather.


- vehicle.

- boat.

- kayak.

Tour Guides: 

Our experienced and friendly tour guides speak fluent English. 

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


- hotels (4 nights).

- homestays (4 nights). 

Clean and comfortable homestays with mosquito nets provided.


- 8 breakfasts.

- 9 lunches.

- 8 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 please request this at time of booking. 

Trip cost: 

- $588USD per person for a group of 2 to 6 people. 

- $497USD per person for a group of 7 to 8 people.

The cost of the trip includes: 

- accommodation.

- transportation.

- meals listed on the itinerary.

- tour guides.

- entrance fees.

- permits during guided excursions.

The cost of the trip does not include: 

- travel insurance.

- expenditure of a personal nature, such as drinks, gratuities etc.

What to take:

Pack essentials for 9 days, including light comfortable clothes suitable for outdoor activities, comfortable walking shoes.

Take a small day pack for walking, hiking and trekking. 

It is essential to bring your passport on this trip.

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

Have a great journey!!!