Day 1: Arrival - Hanoi
Upon your arrival, you will be picked up for a transfer to our hotel in old quarter of Hanoi . Check-in. Walk amongst the maze of Hanoi'sold quarter to get an insight into local life. Overnight at hotel in Hanoi.
Day 2: Hanoi (Meals: B)
This morning we drive to the Ho Chi Minh complex, containing the mausoleum of the nation's founder Ho Chi Minh. The complex also contains the One Pillar Pagoda, whose origins date back to the founding of the city in the 11th century. We follow this with a walking tour of Hanoi's vibrant Old Quarter and Hoan Kiem Lake, the focal point of the city. The Old Quarter with its bustling streets are home to hundreds of small thriving businesses, each street denoting its trade, such as Tin Street or Fish Street. In the afternoon, we will visit the Temple of Literature, the site of Vietnam's oldest university, dating back to the 11th century. The temple is dedicated to one of the world's most famous scholars, Confucius. From here we visit the impressive Museum of Ethnology, the finest museum in Vietnam. This museum is dedicated to Vietnam's 54 ethnic minorities, several of which we will see on our forthcoming trek.
Day 3: Hanoi - Son La (Meals: B)
Drive to Son La. The journey will take in beautiful landscaped hillsides and the undulating terrain of tea plantations. On the way stop to visit the Tai and Muong hill tribe people, all friendly and welcoming. Overnight in Son La.
Day 4: Son La - Dien Bien Phu (Meals: B)
Am: Visitthe former French Prison and then drive to visit the colorful market of Thuanchau, with pleasant encounters with friendly tribal people at the market and villages along the way. Visit Blue H’mong village at Phadin pass. Lunch in Tuanchau before making our way to Dienbien Phu – you can see the former battle field and the display of war scraps from battlefields. It was here that the French planned to lure the Viet Minh, led by Ho Chi Minh, into the valley by sending 16,000 French troops as bait. The French however did not count on the brilliant leadership of General Vo Nguyen Giap who somehow managed to place the Vietnamese artillery on the surrounding ridges. Overnight at hotel in Dienbienphu. ( B, L, D )
Day 5 : Dien Bien Phu - Tam Duong (Meals: B)
Upon leaving Dien Bien we spend a full day travelling through Vietnam’s most mountainous region. Along the way there are some opportunities to explore the spectacular scenery with a mixture of terraced fields and hill villages and visit the Red Hmong, Kho Mu, Mang & Dao hill tribe people. Overnight in Tam Duong.
Day 6: Tam Duong - Sa Pa (Meals: B)
The scenery of the north is unequalled although the conditions are very basic. In the morning we continue to drive on bumpy roads to Sa Pa. At an elevation of 1,500 meters, Sapa is a former French hill resort and home to some of Vietnam’s most colorful ethnic minority groups. The afternoon is free time to explore the town. Overnight in Sa Pa.
Day 7: Sa Pa (Meals: B)
Am: Free to wander through the busy market where Red Zdao, Black H'Mong, Giay and other hill-tribe people gather to sell their handicrafts and buy their provisions.
Pm: A pleasant walk to visit nearby hill-tribe villages. Overnight at hotel in Sapa.
Day 8 : Sa Pa - Bac Ha (Meals: B)
Drive to visit Muong Khuong area. The road conditions are very poor in parts , but the stunning scenery and colorful friendly tribal people will make up for our effort to get here. Visit the Flower Hmong, Thu Lao, Yao LanTen, Tu Di (Boyei) hill-tribe people.This will be the most colorful and unique experience you've ever have. Overnight in Bac Ha.
Day 9 : Bac Ha - Hanoi (Meals: B)
Rising to the sounds of the morning coming to life for another lovely day, we breakfast and head out for a stunning spectacular of the bubbling bazaar. Bacha is considered one of the most wonderful and colorful markets in the extreme north of Vietnam where thousands of local people in their traditional attires busily buy and sell the local produce. Dogs, cats, pigs, horses... are all on sale. This is a golden opportunity to take the best shots! In the afternoon we will have a pleasant walk to Ban Pho village, home to the flower H'mong people. This is an opportunity to interact with friendly local people and have a pleasant walk amongst tribal villages. Drive back to Hanoi . Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 10 : Hanoi - Ha Long (Meals: B)
Heading out of town we travel by road to Ha Long Bay with a stopover in Hai Phong, the biggest port town of northern Vietnam. A short sightseeing tour of Hai Phong takes us through tree lined boulevards to Hang Kenh Communal House, Du Hang Pagoda with beautiful wooden carvings and the Hang Kenh carpet factory. Overnight in HaLong.
Day 11 : Ha Long - Hanoi (Meals: B, L)
Ha Long Bay boasts one of Vietnam's most impressive scenic sights.This morning, we embark on a cruise to explore the picturesque scenery blending into the sky and some 3,000 islands rising amazingly from the clear and emerald water. Along the way we will anchor for a leisurely swim in a secluded cove. After a seafood lunch on board we return to Hanoi, with a stopover at the Dong Trieu pottery village. Overnight in Ha Noi.
Day 12 : Hanoi - Departure (Meals: B)
At leisure or further exploration of Hanoi. Transfer to airport for your flight home.