Vietnam Northern Escape Tour 8 Days

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DestinaVietnam Northerntion: Hanoi, Halong, Sapa
This concise tour of northern Vietnam allows you to discover and explore some of the most remarkably scenic regions in South East Asia. Beginning in the national capital, Hanoi, we uncover the charms and curiosities of this graceful old city and its fascinating Old Quarter on foot before setting out to cruise amongst the towering limestone karsts of awe-inspiring Halong Bay. Last, but definitely not least, we take the China-bound train to the northern border town of Lao Cai. From here we’ll trek through the breathtakingly beautiful mountain scenery around the northern hill tribe minority town of Sapa, and spend the night in a village longhouse, before returning to Hanoi where our trip ends.

Itinerary:

Day 1: Hanoi

Our trip starts today with your arrival in Hanoi. No activities are planned, so you may arrive at any time. There will be a pre-departure briefing with your tour leader around 6pm this evening. Overnight in Hanoi.

Day 2: Hanoi (B)

After breakfast we’ll set out on a half-day tour of the city, showcasing some of Hanoi’s most interesting attractions. We’ll begin our tour with a visit to the ‘One Pillar Pagoda’ situated near the dour, soviet inspired mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh. One Pillar Pagoda was first constructed in 1049 and as such it was Hanoi’s oldest structure. From here we’ll walk to the Temple of Literature, a wonderful name for a wonderful place. Founded in 1070, it was Vietnam’s first educational institute and a place where candidates for the position of Mandarin were examined. Finally we’ll visit the Hoa Lo Prison, probably better known to most of us as the ‘Hanoi Hilton’. One of the best places to do this is the city’s ‘old quarter’, situated to the north of the lake. It’s a great place (and an easy place) to get lost in for a couple of hours. However, it’s easy to find our bearings if we remember that its boundaries are the railway line to the west and the north, the Red River to the east and Hoan Kiem Lake to the south. This evening we have the option of attending a performance of Vietnam’s world famous ‘water puppet show. Overnight in Hanoi.

Day 3: Hanoi – Halong Bay (B/L/D)

Our Halong Bay excursion begins with a 3½-hour drive through the fertile Red River Delta to the bayside resort town of Bai Chay. We’ll board our chartered boat shortly before midday and enjoy a full afternoon lazing on the deck as we cruise through this most amazing seascape. A seafood lunch will be served on board and we’ll have the opportunity to go for a swim before going ashore on one of the islands to explore its colourful limestone caves. With any luck we’ll witness a fabulous sunset over Halong Bay before enjoying dinner prepared by our crew. Accommodation tonight is on board our boat in simply furnished cabins. Bedding will be provided but if the weather is fine you may prefer to sleep on the top deck under the stars. There are showers and sometimes there is hot water and sometimes not!
Day 4: Halong – Hanoi – Overnight Train to Lao Cai (B)

Following breakfast we make our way back to Hanoi. Our remaining time in Hanoi is free for shopping and sightseeing, or relaxing in one of the lakeside cafes. This evening we begin our exciting journey up to Sapa when we board the overnight train for the Vietnam – China border town of Lao Cai. Overnight on train.

Day 5 – 7: Sapa – Overnight Trek (B/D)

We’ll catch a glimpse of China over the other side of the river this morning as we disembark from the overnight train and begin our drive into the mountains and on to the picturesque minority hill tribe town of Sapa. Set amidst some magnificent mountain scenery and in the shadow of Vietnam’s tallest peak, the 3,143-metre-high Mt. Fansipan, the former French colonial hill station town of Sapa is home to some of Vietnam’s most colourful minority hill tribes. Like Dalat in the south, the French developed Sapa in an effort to replicate parts of the Alps and the Pyrenees. A number of their villas remain but many were lost in 1979 when the Vietnamese army evicted the invading Chinese. We’ll spend the afternoon discovering the charms of this magic little town and set out the next morning on an adventurous two-day trek up the Muong Hoa River Valley with its lush vegetation and rice terraces. There are no hotels up here so we spend the night at a minority village in the cosy longhouse of one of the village’s families. The next morning, after a hearty hill tribe breakfast, we trek back into Sapa. In the evening we make our way back to Lao Cai, where we once again board the overnight train, for the return trip to Hanoi.

Day 8: Hanoi (B)

Northern Escape comes to an end with our arrival back in Hanoi at approximately 5am. Additional accommodation is available on request..

Rates vary frequently. Please contact us to get the best possible price based upon your travel period and specific touring needs.

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