North Vietnam Eco & Photography Tour – 14 Days
Starts/Ends: Hanoi/ Hanoi
Tour Duration: 14 days 13 nights
Dates: No fixed departure dates. You may go whenever you wish. The best time to take this tour is from May to October (the best time to see the most beautiful terraced rice fields is from Sep – to 10 Oct).
Tour Type: Adventure, Landscape, Nature, and Cruise.
Day 1: Hanoi arrive at 07:30Am – Hanoi half day city tour (Meal: No)
Day 2: Hanoi – Pu Luong (Meal: Breakfast)
Day 3: Pu Luong – Ban Hieu – Pu Luong (Meal: Breakfast)
Day 4: Pu Luong – Phu Tho - Nghia Lo (Meal: Breakfast)
Day 5: Nghia Lo – Tu Le – Mu Cang Chai - Trekking around villages (Meal: Breakfast)
Day 6: Mu Cang Chai – Lai Chau – Sin Ho (Meal: Breakfast)
Day 7: Lai Chau – Sin Ho Sunday market – Tam Duong - Sapa (Meal: Breakfast)
Day 8: Sapa – Bac Ha (Meal: Breakfast)
Day 9: Bac Ha – Hoang Su Phi (Meal: Breakfast)
Day 10: Hoang Su Phi (Meal: Breakfast)
Day 11: Hoang Su Phi - Hanoi (Meal: Breakfast)
Day 12: Hanoi – Ha Long (Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 13: Ha Long – Hanoi (Meal: Breakfast, Lunch)
Day 14: Hanoi departure (Meal: Breakfast).
Day 01: Hanoi arrive at 07:30Am – Hanoi half day city tour (Meal: No)
Arrival at Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport, collect your luggage process through custom. Our tour guide and driver will be waiting for you outside the baggage claim/ customs area to transfer you in a private vehicle to the hotel downtown.
Note: For the Vietnamese Visa on Arrival, please make sure you have 2 passport sized 4 cm x 6 cm photos and $25 for the stamping fee.
We start a city tour of Hanoi, visit:
- The Ho Chi Minh complex, including the One Pillar Pagoda, the former leader’s house on stilts and his Mausoleum.
- Transfer to West Lake to visit Tran Quoc Pagoda as known the oldest pagoda in the city, originally constructed in the sixth century during the reign of Emperor Ly Nam De.
- Thang Long Citadel (the most recent UNESCO World Heritage Site of Vietnam),built in the 11th century by the Ly Viet Dynasty, marking the independence of the Dai Viet (former Vietnam)
- The peaceful Temple of Literature - the first university of Vietnam.
- Traveling by cycle rickshaw is the best way to get a real feeling for the town as well as capture great photographs on your first day in Hanoi then attend water puppet show.
Overnight at the hotel in Hanoi
Day 02: Hanoi – Pu Luong (Meal: Breakfast)
After breakfast, we transfer to Pu Luong.
You enter Pu Luong Nature Reserve by road via a breathtaking mountain pass giving you a panoramic view of the whole valley. You arrive at your accommodation in time for a delicious lunch, followed by free time to explore the beautiful retreat, with its captivating panoramic views and tranquil setting.
You will be transfer to a suspension bridge over the Cham River, where you begin your walk in search of stunning water wheels. Get up close to each wheel and discover how water is moved from river to handmade bamboo aqueducts via simple constructions of all sizes.
Arriving at a local fisherman’s house, you have a short rest to gear up for the bamboo river rafting with Dinh and his team. Float along the calm river and enjoy the views, in between learning how to paddle and steer your handcrafted rafts.
Arriving at scenic Tan Lap Bridge, you disembark to be transferred back to Pu Luong Retreat for dinner.
Overnight at Pu Luong
Day 03: Pu Luong – Ban Hieu – Pu Luong (Meal: Breakfast)
After breakfast, we drive to Don Village, trekking along Don hamlet, then down to the beautiful valley of terraced rice fields & waterfall. Continue on, we will have more trek of 6 kms along the dirt trails with peaceful view of waterwheels, streams & villages. We reach the area of Hieu waterfalls running day & night, where we will trek up to remote Hieu village - located on the high mountain slope, opens its immense view to multi-layered terraced fields, river & forest & waterfalls. We will enjoy a lunch with a friendly local host in Hieu village. Return to Pu Luong in the afternoon.
Overnight at Pu Luong
Day 04: Pu Luong – Nghia Lo (Meal: Breakfast)
Wake up early and start early to descend into the beautiful valley facing the Retreat where you walk around tumbling rice terraces. Trek through small paths shrouded in vegetation to slowly reveal a picturesque village sitting at the base of a towering mountain. Your camera will not be able to sit still!
Back to the retreat then drive to Nghia Lo. You are flexible on the way with stops to take photos of beautiful scenery.
Overnight in Nghia Lo
Day 05: Nghia Lo – Tu Le – Mu Cang Chai - Trekking around villages (Meal: Breakfast)
After breakfast, we bid farewell to the host family and head for Tu Le town. Tu Le is a little town located at beautiful valley at the foot of Khau Pha Pass. Upon arrival, we get ready for a soft trek to the rice valley and visit some villages. Taking photographs and meeting local people. Back to the town and having lunch at a local restaurant. In the afternoon, we start our drive up the famous Khau Pha Pass. This mountain pass is known for terraced rice paddies. The scenery over the valley from the pass is so stunning at the rice reason, especially during the harvesting time. We will have some stops for photo opportunities on the way to Mu Cang Chai. Arrive in Mu Cang Chai town late in the afternoon. Check in another home-stay by the town. After getting our baggage stored, we will end the day with a gentle walk to visit a village of the Thai ethnic minority at the foot of a mountain nearby.
Overnight in Mu Cang Chai.
Day 06: Mu Cang Chai – Binh Lu - Than Uyen - Lai Chau - Sin Ho (Meal: Breakfast)
After breakfast, your support vehicle will transfer you up a steep mountain pass to the starting point where you'll glide down 60kms to Than Uyen through valleys where the old growth forest, tea plantations and verdant rice paddies surround you during your ride. After lunch in Than Uyen, you'll have a wonderful afternoon as you explore some single track trails to visit local minority villages, including the interesting Lu people with their distinctively black teeth.
Continue on to Sin Ho. Then you will have the opportunity of having a walk around in the small town, soft trekking in the mountains, floating downstream the river...or just taking a shower and relax over a cup of coffee or a beer.
Overnight at the hotel in Lai Chau.
Day 07: Lai Chau – Sin Ho Sunday market - Sapa (Meal: Breakfast)
Wake up early for breakfast then drive to Sin Ho Sunday market.
Every Sunday, the different and colorful ethnic minority come all here to sell their homemade products or buy something for the family.
Independently attend the market known as the most remote ethnic market of all Northwest Vietnam. It is a fusion of many different hill tribes inhabiting in Sin Ho district but you can easily distinguish them by their different colorful costume dressing. They are Tay, the Dzay, the Red Dzao, and the Black H’mong minorities. Some of these ethnic minorities can’t be met in any other areas.
After the market we continue our trip on the hidden loop to Tam Duong for lunch.
In the afternoon, drive on the thread road up to the Heaven Gate for universal view of Lai Chau and Sapa and Hoang Lien Son mountain range with Fansipan summit of 1343m high
Afternoon arrive in Sapa. Check in hotel then free time to relax and stroll around Sapa
Overnight in Sapa.
Day 08: Sapa – Bac Ha (Meal: Breakfast)
This morning, together with your tour guide you will have a nice trek down the valley of Muong Hoa to visit the rice terraces and hill tribe village of the Black H'mong at Y Linh Ho and Lao Chai Villages. After having lunch at a family-run restaurant in Ta Van village.
Continue on, you will take a cable car to Fanxipan Mountain (Optional). Currently the highest point of Fanxipan is at 3,143m high. As you know the cable in Sapa is the world’s longest and highest cable car, running up from sleepy Sapa town to the Peak of Fanxipan Mountain, known as Indochina’s rooftop. Enjoy the view from the highest point of this incredible mountain. The lush green and subtropical vegetation makes this mountain really very beautiful. Take some pictures for unforgettable experience from the top.
Transfer to Bac Ha.
Overnight in Bac Ha.
Day 09: Bac Ha – Hoang Su Phi (Meal: Breakfast)
Remark: Bac Ha market is available on Sunday only.
This morning, we drive to Hoang Su Phi. Hoang Su Phi is a rural district of Ha Giang province in the northeastern region of Vietnam. While Dong Van Karst Geo-park makes Ha Giang a bigger name for visitors from far and wide by the grey limestone mountains, Hoang Su Phi offers visitors a different taste with stunning rice terraces. The highlights and must-see places for the terraces are near and along the main road between Hoang Su Phi and Xin Man, where those terraces are classified as a National Heritage by the Vietnamese Government.
Overnight in Hoang Su Phi.
Day 10: Hoang Su Phi trekking (Meal: Breakfast)
After breakfast, we depart for 6-7 hour trek to explore the villages on high altitudes around Thong Nguyen. The path goes up slightly for half an hour and we'll find ourselves hiking through a forest, tea plantations, terraced rice fields, scenic mountain slopes… Our lunch is at a local ethnic family. There are possible nice encounters with locals going about their daily work on the trek.
We arrive back at our lodge. Have free time for refreshment.
Overnight in Hoang Su Phi.
Day 11: Hoang Su Phi - Hanoi (Meal: Breakfast)
Breakfast at the hotel then we drive back to Hanoi.
Arrival Hanoi in the late afternoon, check in hotel then free time to explore the city.
Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 12: Hanoi – Ha Long bay (Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
We depart Hanoi for Ha Long Bay, listed as a World Heritage Area of outstanding natural beauty. “Dragon descending to the sea“ as it is known in Vietnamese, picturesque Ha Long bay has more than 1.000 limestone islets rising from the sea, many of them containing beautiful grottoes
Upon arrival at Ha Long Bay we embark on a boat trip to cruise discovering this magnificent UNESCO World Wonder. This is a great journey among surreal islands rising from a tranquil emerald sea. You will visit several key locations.
– One of the most stunning caves of Halong Bay
– Stop at a beautiful beach and take a refreshing swim or sunbathe on the sundeck; take a short trek to the nearby summit for a panoramic view of the bay.
Back onboard the junk, you will watch the sunset and be served a sumptuous dinner, with cocktails available for purchase from the bar. You will spend the night onboard the junk, in a cabin with an ensuite bathroom.
Overnight on cruise
Day 13: Ha Long bay – Hanoi (Meal: Breakfast, Lunch)
Early morning coffee and tea will be served on the sundeck followed by a Tai Chi class. After breakfast we take a Sampan boat or Kayak to explore the bay. We may have a chance to see the wild monkeys that gather around waiting for food from the tourists. After that we continue to cruise around the bay. Lunch is served on the boat on our way back to the docks. Say good bye cruise’s staffs then we visit Ha Long market before transfer back to Hanoi.
Overnight in Hanoi
Day 14: Hanoi departure (Meal: Breakfast).
This will mark the end your trip in Vietnam. Depending on the time of your departure flight, your private driver will pick you up from the hotel and take you to the airport for your outbound flight home. Your driver will ensure that you are taken to the correct gate.
What is included?
- 12 nights accommodation as noted or similar
- 01 night on the junk in Ha Long bay
- Transportation in private air-conditioned vehicle
- Boat trip in Ha Long bay
- English speaking guide
- Admission fee to indicated sights
- Meals as stated in the itinerary (B - breakfast, L - lunch, D - dinner)
- Visa approval letter (Excluded visa stamping fee at the airport)
- Souvenir gift and mineral water.
- Gift for children in the poor area such as Giang Ta Chai, Sin Ho, Hoang Su Phi.
What is excluded?
- Visa stamping fee on arrival
- Int’l Air tickets to / from Vietnam
- Travel Insurance in all kinds
- Meals is not mentioned
- Tip, drinks and personal expenses.
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