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This 05 day Northern Vietnam tour is perfect for those who have limited time to explore most popular attractions in Northern Vietnam. Start and end in Hanoi, you will wander the vibrant maze of street in the Old Quater, step back in time at the Temple of Literature. Stay at a local homestay to experience the life of local people in Mai Chau Town. Explore the limestone karsts and lush forests of Trang An Grottoes before boarding a boat to cruise the real Halong Bay, the magnificent natural wonders with thousands of amazing islands and islets.
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DAY 01: HANOI ARRIVAL
Upon arrival in HANOI, you will be welcomed by our Asia Senses travel guide then transferred to hotel for check in. After that, depart for a visit to the Temple of Literature, one of Hanoi’s most picturesque tourist attractions. Founded in 1076 by Emperor Ly Nhan Tong, it is Vietnam’s first university and dedicated to Confucius, scholars and sages. The university functioned for an incredible 700 years and its gardens and well-preserved architecture offer a fascinating glimpse into Vietnam’s past.
Nearby, visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, which houses the embalmed body of the communist leader in a glass coffin. During this visit, we will take a look at the wooden stilt house where Ho Chi Minh lived in his later years. Nearby is the One Pillar Pagoda, one of Vietnam’s most iconic temples, founded by fatherless King Ly Thai Tong in 1049.
NOTE: Sites are viewed from outside; closed Mon and Fri and from October - November
Later in the afternoon, continue to picturesque West Lake and visit Tran Quoc Pagoda, Hanoi’s oldest Buddhist temple, originally built in the sixth century then the Taoist Quan Thanh Temple, dedicated to Tran Vu, one of the principal deities in Taoism. Alternatively, visit the Fine Arts Museum which displays a vast and wonderful collection of art and sculpture, ancient stone carvings, Buddhist statues and contemporary artworks.
Stroll along the Hoan Kiem Lake to Lotus Puppet Theatre for an entertaining water puppet show, a famous Vietnamese art with over 1000 years of history. See puppets come to life performing traditional folklore, legends, and historical tales. Check in the hotel and free at leisure.
In the evening, you are free at leisure to take a walk through the Old Quarter. Also known as the 36 streets, this bustling area of narrow streets is home to literally thousands of small businesses and shopkeepers. It's a great place to explore with plenty of photo opportunities and shopping.
This morning, leave the hustle and bustle of Hanoi and drive west towards the Laos border. After a scenic 4 hour drive, reach the beautiful valley of MAI CHAU, which is home to the White Thai ethnic minority group. Upon arrival, check into our lodge and have lunch at a traditional family-run guesthouse on stilts in a charming little Mai Hich village.
This afternoon, enjoy a leisurely walk through the back roads and rice fields of the valley for our first encounter with the Thai people, going about their daily lives. Returning to our lodge by car, spend the remains of the day at leisure. You can relax by the swimming pool or there are bikes for hire at the lodge for you to explore more of the countryside.
OPTIONAL: In the evening, enjoy the dinner then watch the Thai’s traditional dance and drink the ethnic traditional wine “ruou can”.
After breakfast, drive through changing scenery to the mountainous province of Hoa Binh and the rocky plateau to NINH BINH. Arrive at the destination after 3 hour drive.
Start the sightseeing today with a visit to the Bai Dinh Pagoda, a religious complex covering a total area of 539 hectare, with both the ancient and the newly renovated Bai Dinh pagoda, green parks and lake system. Here, you will see the biggest bronze Buddha statue in Vietnam with with 10 meters high and 100 tons heavy, and the “Great Bell” with the weight of 36 tons. Furthermore, you will be astonished at the collection of 500 Arahat statues (2.3 meters high) on the hill on the right – hand side of Phap Chu Temple. During the visit, your guide will gives you an introduction of beliefs and religions in Vietnam.
After lunch, leave for Trang An Ecotourism Area. You will be amazed by neglected area while having boat trip through cave chains: Sang Cave, Toi Cave, Ba Giot Cave, Sinh Cave. While rowing through Trang An grottoes in the quiet, fresh air of the highlands, with only the sound of birds and the oars stirring the clear water and surrounded by magnificent forested mountains upon which graze white goats, you will enjoy a heaven on earth.
This morning a scenic drive takes us to the spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Site of HALONG BAY where two thousand rugged karst islands dappled with lush vegetation protrude from pristine emerald coloured waters. Here we board a deluxe junk boat for an overnight cruise around this beautiful bay.
Savor a sumptuous lunch. Based on traditional designs, these wonderful vessels combine oriental style with modern luxury. Soak up the panoramic views from the sundeck as the boat gently plies its course. This afternoon, visit the spectacular Tien Ong Cave which was recently opened to the public in 2010, with its stunning stalagmites and stalactites. There is also an opportunities to explore the limestone islands of Fighting Cock, Dog Rock, Incense Burner, Amazing Cave.
Later this evening back on board, watch a Vietnamese cooking demonstration held on the sundeck before settling down for a sumptuous seafood dinner.
Early birds can start the day with a relaxing Tai Chi class on the sundeck or a traditional massage - the perfect way to start the day. Before heading back to port we'll explore by kayak the Floating Village of Cua Van, which is home to generations of fishing families. Here we’ll see the traditional and colourful floating wooden houses and the locals going about their daily lives.
On arrival back into HANOI mid-afternoon, laid back until your private transfer will ferry you to the airport where you will catch your return flight home.
Private Tour (for 02 pax, cheaper if more)
Tour Price Includes
04 hotel night accommodation
Local English speaking guide
Meals as mentioned
Water Puppet Show
Boat in Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex
All sightseeing as specified and entrance fees included
Bottled drinking water per touring days
Overnight junk boat in Halong Bay
Tour Price Excludes
Other meals not mentioned in the program
Culture dance show in Mai Chau
International & domestic flights (quote separately)
Items of a personal nature such as laundry, drinks, souvenir, etc...
Tips for your guide and driver
When to Go
See estimated monthly temperature and rainfall for this itinerary