Day 1 : Hanoi arrival
Arrival at Hanoi airport, welcome by Vietnam Evasion driver, then transfer to the hotel.
The rest of the day is free for rest and personal discovery at your own pace.
Our hotel is located in the heart of the old quarter in the center which allows us to stroll easily for a complete change of scenery by immersing us in the lively and populous streets.
Night at hotel
Day 2 : Hanoi visits - Night train to Lao Cai (B)
The whole day is dedicated to the visit of Hanoi, a fascinating city with many facets.
After breakfast, we will visit Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum where the father of the nation rests and the single pillar pagoda.
And then the visit of the ethnographic museum which gathers costumes, tools, musical instruments and exposes some typical houses of the 54 ethnic groups of Vietnam (closed every Monday).
We then visit the Temple of Literature which is the "first university of Vietnam".
A walk in the alleys of the old quarter of Hanoi.
Attend the puppet show on water.
In the evening, transfer to Hanoi train station for the night train to Lao Cai.
Night on board the train in comfortable air-conditioned berths (4 persons/cabin)
Day 3: Lao Cai - Sa Pa (B)
Early arrival, a shower and breakfast in a mini-hotel near the station allow us to start the day in a state of well-being.
Transfer to Sa Pa. Perched at an altitude of 1600 m, near the Sino-Vietnamese border, Sa Pa is the starting point for various excursions in the middle of nature. Overlooking huge rice terraces and vast green valleys, this former colonial highland resort hosts an important market that attracts hundreds of Black Hmong and Red Dzao mountain people every morning. Mount Phan Si Pan (3143m), the highest in Indochina, is less than ten kilometers from the city.
Stop for a walk in the Ma Tra village (1h30) with black Mong people. Walks through the beautiful rice terraces with wooden houses where locals raise buffaloes, black pigs, chickens..., meeting with local people.
Visit the public garden Ham Rong.Then visit the cathedral and the market.
Night at hotel
Day 4 : Sa Pa - Bac Ha (B, D)
Walking tour in Lao Chai and Ta Van villages, consist of mountains, hills, covered with greenery including rice terraces and vast valleys, dotted with fields and hamlets, populated by the Hmông and Dzay minority.
Visits to schools, meeting people and discovering the daily life of the locals on the way.
Afternoon drive to Bac Ha.
Night at homestay.
Day 5 : Bac Ha - Night train to Hanoi (B)
Visit a weekly multicolored market in Bac Ha where the different tribes from the surrounding mountains gather. Each ethnic minority wears its traditional costumes and speaks its own language. The atmosphere is particularly picturesque: the mountain people in colorful traditional dresses go to the market with their horses, agricultural products and children. These ethnic minorities coming from far away hamlets sell animals (buffaloes, oxen, pigs, dogs, horses...), fruits, vegetables, forest products, basketry objects, clothes... The market is not only the place for commercial exchanges but also for reunions and meetings. A truly authentic place where the locals still preserve cultures and traditions.
Walking tour in the minority villages around Bac Ha to meet and contact local people. The village is framed by a sumptuous landscape of traditional houses, hills covered with vegetation between rice fields.
Transfer to Lao Cai station for the night train to Hanoi
Overnight on board the train in comfortable air-conditioned berths (4 persons/cabin)
Day 6 : Hanoi - Mai Chau - Xam Khoe (B, L, D)
Early arrival in Hanoi, a shower and breakfast in a mini-hotel next to the station allow us to start the day of visits in all serenity and well-being.
Departure for Xam Khoe via Mai Chau (Xam Khoe is 25 km from Mai Chau, still authentic and much less touristic).
This valley surrounded by green mountains and dotted with lakes, rice fields, rivers and houses on stilts of the Thai minority, is an excellent breath of fresh air.
Lunch at a local's house in the village.
Walking tour (2h) in the villages, meeting people, discovering the daily life and the beautiful landscapes: green rice fields, karst mountains in the shape of "hump, sugar loaf" covered with lush vegetation, fertile crop fields, fish farming and garden...
In the evening: participation in the folkloric dance and music show presented by the villagers.
Night at homestay
Day 7 : Xam Khoe - Pu Luong (B)
Departure for the Pu Luong nature reserve.
We then walk through the small green rice fields in the villages of the Thai ethnic group located along the way in the mountains, beautiful rural and natural landscape, immersion in daily life and contact with local peasants.
The landscapes, rice fields warm up our camera.
Night at hotel
Day 8 : Pu Luong - Ninh Binh (B)
Transfer to Ninh Binh.
This trip allows us to observe the landscapes, the Vietnamese countryside and the activities of the local daily life.
Visit the great Bai Dinh pagoda with its recognized records.
Then visit the Dinh and Le temples in the ancient capital Hoa Lu
Night at hotel
Day 9 : Ninh Binh (B)
In the morning, we embark on a small rowing boat (1h30 of boat) to discover the caves of Tam Coc. We pass under the successive tunnels carved by the passage of water. Fairy-like atmosphere in the middle of the peaks and limestone sugar loaf, a natural landscape made of karst mountains overhanging an exceptional aquatic landscape.
Transfer to visit the stone cathedral of Phat Diem (30 km from Tam Coc). The architectural complex of Phat Diem is one of the most original centers of Catholicism in Vietnam with a dozen stone and wooden structures built in a style combining the architecture of Buddhist pagodas and Catholic churches.
Return to Tam Coc.
A climb on Hang Mua offers a panoramic view on the region.
Then bike ride through villages, rice fields and limestone forest around Tam Coc to Hai Nham, Thung Nham and then Thai Vi temple.
Night at hotel.
Day 10 : Ninh Binh - Halong Bay - Bai Tu Long Bay (B, L, D)
Departure in the morning for Halong Bay.
Arrival around 12:30 pm, boarding on a comfortable traditional junk for an extraodinary excursion to the splendid Halong Bay then continuation to the less touristic Bai Tu Long Bay.
Lunch is served on board while the junk sails along the turquoise water in the paradisiacal setting with its 1969 islands and islets, "sugar loafs and peaks" of all shapes and sizes emerging from the emerald water surface in an area of 1553 km².
During the cruise, we make a stop for a sampan ride around a floating fishing village.
In the late afternoon, the boat drops anchor to spend the night in the bay. It is then possible to take a bath in the middle of the sea or to rest on the upper deck.
Dinner is taken on the junk in the middle of the idyllic landscape.
Night on board a junk.
Day 11 : Bai Tu Long Bay - Hanoi (B, L)
Morning: We wake up early to watch the sunrise over Lan Ha Bay.
Then we will continue our cruise in this bay by sailing through the thousands of "sugar loaves" emerging from the waves. We will have the impression to be in a world of fossilized animals millions of years ago.
Bike ride in the beautiful village of Viet Hai on a small path between fields and limestone peaks.
Return of the cabins around 10:00 am.
And then the junk sets off peacefully towards the pier. The return cruise allows us to discover other corners of the bay.
Early lunch in the form of brunch on board.
We disembark in the late morning, transfer back to Hanoi.
Day 12 : Hanoi - Return Flight (B)
Free time for your personal discoveries until transfer by our driver to the airport for your return flight.