Price is based on double or twin hotel room occupancy and includes accommodation, transfers, car/driver, English-speaking guide, activities and entrance fees, breakfasts and some casual lunches while touring. Flights and optional special activities will be quoted separately. Most personal expenses, including dinners, alcoholic beverages, spa treatments and gratuities can be paid on the spot while traveling. Prices may vary depending on season, choice of accommodation and other factors.
Experience the commotion and calm of life in Northern Vietnam. Explore the ancient streets of Hanoi, Vietnam’s millennium-old capital, where modernity and history meet in an eruption of intensity, color, culture and the beauty and bustle of urban chaos. From the heights of cityscape to valley low, observe the calm of rural life. Travel through lush valleys spotted with stilt homes and rice paddies. Interact with the locals in their fishing and farming communities. From ancient architecture, to majestic limestone-faced mountains, to turquoise bays and luminous grottos, this seven-day voyage has something for everyone.
Touch down in Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, where your private car will be waiting for you. After hotel check-in, rest and refresh before embarking on your first adventure: a cyclo (Vietnamese rickshaw) tour through the ancient streets of Hanoi’s Old Quarter. Embrace the frenzied juxtaposition of old and new, urban bustle and nature’s beauty with a tour around Hoan Kiem Lake and the ancient temple it surrounds. The city’s historic center hosts several galleries, museums, temples and gardens for your exploration. Round-off your first day with some relaxation and divine dining.
Traverse 4 hours westward to the province of Hoa Binh. In perfect contrast to yesterday’s experience, today, you will observe a calmer side of Vietnam. Your destination, the Pom Coong village, is nestled in the valley of Mai Chau. Here you will stay at the Mai Chau Lodge, where you can relax before you continue your journey tomorrow.
After a good breakfast, hop on a cycle and explore the villages of Northern Vietnam’s highlands. Immerse yourself in the simplistic purity of the vibrant local culture. Relish the serenity of the countryside before returning to the rush of Hanoi. Enjoy an enchanting evening of entertainment as you take in a water puppetry performance, a unique Vietnamese tradition that dates back to the 11th century.
Today you will visit UNESCO World Heritage site, Halong Bay - a 3-hour drive from Hanoi. The impressive limestone bay and its crystal-blue waters are nothing short of breathtaking. Take in the site while enjoying a lunch buffet aboard a cruise. Following this, you will have the opportunity to visit an authentic fishing village. Take time to appreciate the unique beauty and ingenuity of the floating homes and way of life in small water-based communities. Then it’s back to the cruise for a sunset mocktail, cooking class, dinner and a movie.
Do as the locals do and greet the sun with a morning Tai Chi class on a rooftop deck. After an early breakfast take a boat-ride to the enchanting Sung Sot cave. Living up to its alternative names “Amazing” cave and “Cave of Surprises” this ancient system of grottos and their chambers filled with stalactites and stalagmites reaching up to 100 feet are simply spectacular. Enjoy your last evening in Hanoi and relax for the day ahead.
A scenic 2-hour southbound drive will bring you to the province of Ninh Binh where you will enjoy lunch and prepare for a boat trip through the village of Kenh Ga. Set amongst an impressive, mountainous landscape of limestone cliffs, winding rivers and tranquil lakes the Kenh Ga village-tour offers a glimpse into the peaceful patterns of these rural communities. A short drive to where the mountains meet the sea will bring you to Truong An, home to the 17th century temples of Dinh and Le, built in honor of monarchs long-past. Check in to your hotel and enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.
For the final day of your guided tour enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the hotel and travel by car to Cuc Phuong National Park. Vietnam’s first National park, Cuc Phuong is a pristine window into Vietnam’s rich biodiversity. A unique opportunity to observe hundreds of mammal, bird, reptile, and fish species, keep an eye out for everything from primates to porcupines. Alas, all good things must come to an end, it is time to return you to Hanoi.