Day 01: Hanoi arrival (D)
You will be welcomed by our guide by arrival at Hanoi Airport. We transfer you with a comfortable vehicle to the city center of Hanoi to check-in in your hotel. This day is scheduled to take some rest after your long flight. You have the opportunity to get some first impressions of the city by yourself and of course our tour guide is always available at your request. Tonight you have dinner in a local restaurant and you overnight in your hotel in Hanoi.
Day 02: Hanoi - Halong Bay (B, L, D)
After a Vietnamese style breakfast we take you to one of the wonders of nature; Halong Bay. During our way we pass magnificent green rice paddies tended by peasant women with conical hats. The entire rice paddy strip is like a beautifully designed patchwork which leads us to the heart of the Red River Delta. In Halong City we enter our private boat for a full afternoon of cruising in the bay of the dragon, with more than 3000 limestone islands scattering up from the emerald water. An environment of sublime beauty and serenity. Ha Long Bay was recognized as Natural World Heritage by UNESCO in 1994 and is worldwide known for its unique landscape endowed by wind and water. We visit some of the most beautiful grottos and have the opportunity to get a panoramic view of the bay as we climb the Ti Top Mount. In the evening you enjoy a meal of fresh seafood, including shrimps, squids, fishes and other delicious bites prepared by our professional cooks. After watching the sun go down in this fairytale-like environment we sleep on board of our boat. By night the emerald water even glows up when you paddle through it by hand!
Day 03: Halong Bay - Cat Ba (B, L, D)
After waking up in this dreamy environment, white sandy beaches appear as the tide begins to fall. Great opportunities for swimming and sunbathing! We take a small boat to reach some fishing villages in the middle of Lan Ha bay to experience their floating life. We visit their floating schools and experience their floating mini-supermarkets! During the afternoon we visit Cat Ba Island, a former hiding place for sea pirates. Nowadays, Cat Ba has been recognized as National Park with its beautiful lush vegetation and rain forest. We will spend the night on this island in one of its hotels.
Day 04: Cat Ba - Hai Phong - Tam Coc (B, L, D)
In the early morning we leave Cat Ba by the local ferry to travel to Hai Phong. Hai Phong is one of the most important economic centers of the north. During a trip around town we will visit the impressing Communal House and the Du Hang Pagoda. Via Thai Binh and Nam Dinh, the two main provinces of the Red River Delta, we drive to Tam Coc. In Thai Binh we visit the Keo Pagoda, a beautifully designed pagoda constructed of wood, built in the 18th century. We will continue our way up to Tam Coc and overnight in a local guest-house.
Day 05: Tam Coc - Mai Chau (B, L, D)
Tam Coc is situated in a wonderful and spectacular setting of lime stone rocks rising between the magnificent green rice paddies. This place is also called the "Halong Bay on Land". While making a site-seeing tour per boat downstream the river, you will immediately recognize why this place deserves this name. By boat we will sail through stunning tunnel grottos to experience the serenity of the environment. You have the time to evaluate your experiences as we leave by vehicle towards the highland of Mai Chau. During the ride we make a stop at the top of the pass to get a panoramic view of the sublime valley. In the late afternoon we arrive in Pom Koong, a village of the White Thai people who are the main inhabitants of the area. In the evening we join a traditional dancing show and drink Ruou Can, a local made rice wine. We have dinner and spend the night in the houses of the native people, which will be without a doubt an experience for life. Be prepared that the living conditions are different from the ones you are accustomed to at home. However, mattresses, blankets and mosquito-nets are present for you.
Day 06: Mai Chau - Hanoi (B, L, D)
The chickens and cocks of the village wake you up in the early morning. After a by our host prepared breakfast we are going to walk around village to experience the true essence of daily life of the local people. After this interesting experience we will steer the course for Hanoi. During our ride we will make a few stops to visit some villages of the Muong hilltribe and the Dzao hilltribe in Hoa Binh. We also visit several interesting pagodas situated in the Ha Tay province. After arrival in Hanoi we bring you to your hotel where you will spend the night.
Day 07: Hanoi, train to Hue (B, L)
Today we have plenty of time to discover the pearl of South-East Asia; Hanoi. With charming streets, lined with dozens of old trees, beautiful lakes, colonial architecture and countless interesting monuments, this city will impress you with its lively character. We begin our city-trip at the Restored Sword Lake, famous of the legend of the tortoise and the sword of 15th century . After the bombardment of this lake by the Americans in 1968 the huge turtle was killed and the little pagoda in the water is the final resting place of this legendary animal. We will continue our way with a visit to the Temple of Literature, dedicated to Confucius and his disciples. This temple used to be Vietnam's first university founded in 1076. After visiting this historical sight then we invite you to visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and the house of the hero Ho Chi Minh, who lives in the heart of every Vietnamese. We also bring a visit to the Tran Quoc Pagoda and the Quan Thanh Temple. We finish our city-tour by participating in an one-hour ride in a traditional rickshaw (bike) around Hanoi