Begin your two weeks in Hanoi, Vietnam, then head down to Halong Bay to cruise this fantastic World Heritage Site. From there you will hit the hills for 3 days of soft trekking and homestays in the mountains around Sapa in northwest Vietnam. Via the historic town of Dien Bien Phu, you will cross the Laos border into a region rich in ethnic culture. Over four days you will cruise down the Nam Ou River, with a gorgeous side trek to a homestay in a remote village, eventually reaching the Mekong River and the former royal capital city, Luang Prabang. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is an ideal place to relax at the end of the tour, and has great opportunities to explore Lao culture and history.
|Sample travel plan only: for a 'no obligation' comprehensive itinerary within 24 hours, click here.
HANOI / HA LONG BAY
Day 1: Arrival in Hanoi Airport: chauffeured transfer to your hotel, traditional water puppetry performance, Welcome Dinner at Vietnamese restaurant, and overnight in Hanoi.
Day 2: Visit Temple of Literature - Vietnam’s first university, Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, Museum of Ethnology, Tran Quoc Pagoda on West Lake, and the bustling Old Quarter.
|Alternative: Cycling and Hanoi’s Specialty Villages
Day 2: Drive to Bat Trang Village, stroll the alleys and visit specialty pottery workshops and showrooms; pick up your bicycle and ride 7km, meet your car to drive to Dong Ho Village to see traditional wood-block prints being made; continue to Tam Tao Village for lunch and a performance of Quan Ho music, a living heritage of Vietnam.
Day 3: After breakfast, drive to UNESCO World Heritage area Ha Long Bay, board your own private vessel to cruise the isolated corners of the bay, swim or visit amazing limestone caves, and stop at a quiet spot for overnight in your luxury on-board cabin.
Day 4: Continue cruising the bay, explore a fishing village and hidden lagoon by rowboat, visit a pearl farm, return to dock around noon and drive back to Hanoi, free evening in Hanoi until time to transfer to Hanoi station to board your overnight train to Lao Cai.
SAPA / DIEN BIEN PHU
Day 5: Arrive early in Lao Cai and be driven up to Sapa, after breakfast and time to refresh yourself at your hotel, hike down scenic valley through ethnic Hmong villages, overnight at homestay in an ethnic Day village.
Day 6: Start early on trek to visit ethnic Red Dao village where you’ll have lunch, later meet your jeep for transfer to Ban Ho Village, overnight in ethnic Tay stilt house.
Day 7: After breakfast, transfer back to Sapa and continue driving 100km to Phong Tho for lunch, then drive 180km through scenic Nam Na Valley to Dien Bien Phu.
LAOS: NAM OU AND MEKONG RIVERS
Day 8: Early transfer to Laos border, after completing immigration formalities, meet guide and transfer to Muang Khua for lunch, then board boat and cruise down Nam Ou River, overnight at Muang Ngoi.
Day 9: From Muang Ngoi trek 4-5 hrs to ethnic Khmu village of Kioukhan, enjoying incredible mountain scenery and stopping to visit a cave / wartime shelter, overnight in a family home in Ban Kioukhan.
Day 10: After breakfast in the village, trek a 4-5 hr descent to riverside Khmu village of Hadsapheai, board boat for magnificent cruise down the Nam Ou to Muang Ngoi where you’ll stop for lunch, continue cruise about 1 hr to Nong Khiew for overnight.
Day 11: Breakfast in Nong Khiew, cruise down Nam Ou to where it joins the Mekong, visit Pak Ou Caves, stop by village producing Lao rice liquor, dock at Luang Prabang; after a break, visit Traditional Arts & Ethnology Centre, climb Mt. Phousi and visit evening market.
Day 12: Get up early to witness the daily solemn alms-giving ritual, tour the National Museum, visit Wat Mai, Wat Sene and Wat Xieng Thong, spend afternoon at weaving centre in dyeing class and take home your work, enjoy sunset view over the Mekong.
Day 13: Free day to relax and explore Luang Prabang on your own.
Day 14: Free time until transfer to airport for your departing flight.
The prices for this sample tour are per person in US dollars
These prices are valid until 30 September, 2018. Please note that bank transfer fees are not included.
|Number in group
Single room occupancy supplement*
|01 Nov 2017 to 30 Apr 2018
|01 May 2017 to 30 Sep 2018
* ‘Single room occupancy’ refers to the accommodation element of the programme only, and applies to someone who is travelling with others but requires an additional room for him or herself. Single traveller prices are available on request.
Inclusions in brief:
- Breakfast and accommodation sharing a twin or double room.
- Eleven lunches and five dinners
- Experienced English-speaking guides
- Private chauffeur-driven air conditioned vehicles
- Full board on Halong cruise and all boat transport as listed in itinerary
- Hanoi – Lao Cai rail pass
Exclusions in brief
- Drinks, gratuities and personal expenses
- Alternatives in blue
ACCOMMODATION OF MID-RANGE STANDARD:
- Hanoi: Golden Lotus Luxury Hotel (*** boutique hotel in the heart of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, a short walk from Hoan Kiem Lake, stylish furnishings and decoration art – Lotus Deluxe room) or similar.
- Ha Long Bay: Dragon Pearl Junk: traditional junk [Unique] (Superior quality wooden junks modelled on Imperial Court vessels)
- Sapa: Homestay
- Dien Bien Phu: Muong Thanh Hotel (** city centre, local standard – Standard room)
- Muang Ngoi: Lattanavongsa (Standard)
- Muang Ngoi Village: Homestay
- Nong Kiau: Nong Khiaw Riverside Resort (** Spacious bungalows with private balconies overlooking the Ou River and mountain range – Standard room)
- Luang Prabang: Satri House (** In the city centre, was once residence of Prince Soupha-nouvong, refur-bished in 2002, design inspired by Lao culture – Deluxe room)
Please note that Vietnam hotels do not recognise provisional reservations, so specific hotels cannot be guaranteed until you have booked your chosen tour. As many of the better hotels are often full during the October to April peak season, early booking is advisable.