Tour Route: Hanoi – Halong Bay – Sapa – Ninh Binh – Hoi An – Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
Duration: 12 Days/ 11 Nights
Date: No fixed dates
Start/ End: Hanoi/ Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
Tour Type: Landscape, Nature, Culture and Light Adventure
Tour Customizable: Please advise if you have any other requests
Day 1: Hanoi Arrival
Day 2: Hanoi – Halong Bay
Day 3: Halong – Hanoi – Night Train to Sapa
Day 4: Sapa Villages
Day 5: Sapa – Hanoi
Day 6: Hanoi – Bear Sanctuary
Day 7: Ninh Binh – Hanoi – Danang – Hoi An
Day 8: Hoi An Farming & Fishing Tour – Cooking Class
Day 10: Hoi An – Fly to Saigon – Cu Chi Tunnels
Day 11: Saigon – Mekong Delta – Saigon
Day 12: Saigon Departure
Day 1: Hanoi Arrival
On arrival at the airport in Hanoi, you’ll be greeted by our guide and driver then transfer to hotel. The rest of the day is your leisure to explore the city. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 2: Hanoi – Halong Bay (Overnight on Cruise) (B, L, D)
Take a take 180 KM drive to Halong Bay – The Bay of Descending Dragon which has been recognized by UNESCO as the World Natural Heritage thanks to its universal values of landscape, geology, and geomorphology. Capture a giant picture wearing cosmetics created from 2000 limestone islands with many shapes affixed to a lot of Vietnamese legend stories.
After a short break at Glory Legend Private Lounge, transfer to a boat and enjoy a buffet lunch with Vietnamese dishes served while passing Incense Burner, Dog Stone Islet, Fighting Cock, Soi Sim beach, Coconut Three Island.
In the mid-afternoon, visit Luon cave, the combination of limestone mountains and jade-green sea by bamboo boat with local people or kayaking based on your preference. Passing through the pretty entrance, you come across a tranquil round lake, surrounded by luxuriant trees and high dangerous stone walls. Then we transfer to Ti Top beach to cool off when the heats start to get to you. The beach boasts pristine white sand, clear and blue water and small waves, which make it ideal for recreational activities like swimming and other sea sports.
Day 3: Halong – Hanoi – Night Train to Sapa (B, L)
After Tai Chi Session in the early morning, taste a charming cup of coffee, tea and having some pastries for the breakfast while admiring the glory of the gorgeous sunrise on the sea. Sightseeing this morning introduces you to Sung Sot Cave, one of the finest and widest grottoes of Ha Long Bay.
Ascending to the grotto, the way is covered by trees and foliage and consists of great paved stone blocks. Go inside the cave to see its almost perfectly smooth walls that generate a variety of lush colors harmoniously blending with the setting of the area. Then cruise back to the Tuan Chau Wharf, relax on the sundeck or in the dining room and enjoy the bay scenery as we approach the pier before the drive back to Hanoi. In the evening, transfer to the train station for an overnight train to Sapa.
Day 4: Sapa Villages (B, L, D)
On arrival at Sapa, you’ll be picked up by our black Hmong guide and driver. Start the day trekking through the beautiful Lao Chai via the scenic Cat Cat to Y Linh Ho route passing by spectacular mountains and emerald terrace fields. Stop at Lao Chai, an established Hmong minority village which has been inhabited for centuries, you can have time for cleanup, rest or leisure activities such as traditional Batik painting, relaxing herbal bath or preparing dinner with the homestay. Black Hmong handicrafts are available for purchase.
You will experience the tribal way of life of ethnic minorities, help with the cooking and explore the village as the sun sets behind the majestic Mount Fansipan. Enjoy the flavors of traditional Hmong cuisine along with a glass of homemade rice wine. Overnight at a local homestay
Day 5: Sapa – Hanoi (B, L)
Delicious breakfast with an available choice of pancakes or traditional meal is provided at the homestay. Then go for the final trek along the beautiful Giang Ta Chai Waterfall and Bamboo Forest route. You will set off on an 18km trek through terraced rice paddies, bamboo forest, and stunning waterfalls to reach the home of the Red Zao who wear plain black trousers and a long black tunic with embroidered cuffs and lapels. Afternoon transfer to the station for getting back to Hanoi.
Day 6: Hanoi – Ninh Binh Bear Sanctuary (B, L)
After breakfast, transfer directly to Bear Sanctuary in Ninh Binh, the only sanctuary in Southeast Asia. On arrival, you will have a chance to see the lovely and naughty black bears which are saved, raised up, and taken care of. After a vegetarian lunch, you can join the staff here to prepare foods for the bears, have a closer look at the daily life of the bears living in the semi-wild environment. Each bear has its own name and you will be told stories about their pained and depressed life before being rescued. Watching their happiness when larking together will absolutely leave you funny moments and the respects to efforts of bear’s rescuers. In the late afternoon, return to the Ninh Binh city center for dinner and overnight.
Day 7: Ninh Binh – Hanoi – Fly to Hoi An (B, L)
Today, transfer back to Hanoi airport to take a domestic flight to Danang. On arrival and lunch in Danang, continue to reach Hoi An ancient town. The long journey will reward you with the rustic and ancient beauty of this trading center once upon a time. The remainder is your leisure to explore this town which will be colorfully lit up by various lanterns.
Day 8: Hoi An Farming & Fishing Tour – Cooking Class (B, L)
Start the day from the early morning to set off on our Farming and Fishing Tour. The first stop was Tra Que Village to see & learn how the local farmers grow the herbs by using the organic fertilizers. Learn how to make the Vietnamese rice papers together with the local farmers and then commence the leisurely cycling along country roads witnessing local Vietnamese rural life first hand, discovering all manner of photo opportunities.
Late morning we will board our Hoi An Eco-tour boat for a river cruise. Here we will meet and witness local fishermen working their craft, before enjoying a hands-on experience of traditional net fishing. We then transfer to a Vietnamese bamboo basket boat for a quick race and ride down a coconut palm-lined waterway.
Before joining the fantastic Cooking class at Red Bridge restaurant, visit Hoi An colorful market to experience the amazing sights, sounds and aromas of this busy market; and purchase some of the ingredients to be used in the cooking lesson later.
Following this board the Red Bridge boat for a leisure cruise to the Red Bridge Cooking School. Explore the cooking school’s herb and vegetable garden before learning about some of Hoi An’s and Vietnam’s well-known dishes. After the lesson, have dinner with the dishes you have cooked.
Day 10: Hoi An – Fly to Saigon – Cu Chi Tunnels (B, L)
Have a brief introduction of Marble Mountain – the five elements of the Universe (water, wood, air, fire, and earth) as transfer to the airport. On the arrival at Tan Son Nhat airport in Ho Chi Minh City, you’ll be greeted by our guide and driver and depart to Cu Chi Tunnels for the half-day of discovery. Dig deeper underground to witness the scent evidence of vicious fighting, bombing, and destruction that convulsed Cu Chi during the war.
We will watch a short introduction video showing the foundation, activities… of Cu Chi tunnels and people lived here in the past then we will crawl all the safe parts of the tunnel system; enjoy some special cassava and tea that served free on the tour. Later, we can go to the shooting range where we can try to fire real bullets: (costs US1/bullet) or free for shopping at the souvenir shops. Back to Ho Chi Minh City for overnight.
Day 11: Saigon – Mekong Delta (B, L)
Sightseeing this morning introduces you to Cai Be in the Mekong Delta. The first stop is Cao Dai Temple which symbolizes the local unique religion and then visits one of the reminders of Vietnam’s colonial past – Cai Be Cathedral with its bell tower standing 171 feet tall. After that embark on a boat to discover a water world that moves to the rhythms of the mighty Mekong, where boats, houses, and markets float upon the rivers. Continue with the rowing boat, see to understand the difference between inland and floating market as well as observe the daily life of local people.
Back to the main tourist boat and transfer to our Mekong Ecolodge located Tan Phong Island for insights into traditional handicraft workshops of handbags, rice papers. Stop at local schools, talk with the lovely children and visit a farmers’ family to learn about the importance of agriculture in the Mekong Delta. Have a short break before embarking on a boat to leave Tan Phong Island for the pier to come back to Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 12: Saigon Departure (B)
Before sending the airport for departure, we will visit 02 spots in Saigon. First up is War Remnants Museum where you’ll see the scars of the decades of war the country has endured. Then the included itineraries take you to visit Ben Thanh market, one of Saigon’s oldest landmarks to enjoy a great atmosphere that is absolutely authentically Vietnamese or scour for special gifts. Transfer to the airport for departure. Trip ends.