Day 1: Hanoi arrival (D)
Welcome to the "city inside river", Hanoi, the bustling colonial capital of Vietnam. The designated driver and tour guide will meet you at the Noi Bai Airport and drive you to the Hanoi city center, your hotel. You will be taken for a breezy cyclo tour of Hanoi, through the narrow streets of the Old Quarter lined up with French colonial buildings. Then a showing of the traditional Water Puppet Performance – a unique Vietnamese art of Southeast Asia’s wet-rice culture. The day ends with a delicious traditional welcome delicacy at one of Hanoi’s finest restaurants.
Day 2: Hanoi City Tour (B)
Another awesome day to explore the whole of Hanoi. Hanoi is an eclectic mix of culture and diversity with its wide tree-lined boulevards, French colonial architecture, peaceful lakes and ancient oriental pagodas, that caters for everyone from all walks of life. Some of the Hanoi’s important centers that you will visit are:
- The Ho Chi Minh Complex (Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum and stilt house)
- One Pillar Pagoda, which is close to the Ho Chi Minh Complex
- The Presidential Palace
- The Temple of Literature
- West Lake, including the Quan Thanh Temple and the sedate Tran Quoc Pagoda
- An option of the Hanoi History Museum or the Hanoi Ethnology Museum
Day 3: Hanoi – Mai Chau (B, L, D)
Rise up to a day of adventure with a delicious breakfast before heading to the colorful town of Mai Chau, a picturesque city of rice paddies, valleys and amazing karst rock formations.
Take a deep breath of the fresh countryside air, enjoy the picturesque views of the day beautiful landscapes which is a mixture of rural villages and magnificent pagodas. Then take a tour of the Muong tribe villages and familiarize yourself with the people, move on to the Thung Khe Pass to immerse yourself in the amazing Mai Chau Valley scenery.
Trek through the usual tourist along the Song Ma River, then trek through the hamlets and terraced rice paddies, exposing you to the customs and life of the White Thai people who are dominant in this region, and also to the wonders of the valley. All these can be done in the afternoon, after lunch.
You will be spending the night with a local family at a Thai village, have dinner and an enjoyable homestay in their longhouse.
Day 4: Mai Chau – Ninh Binh (B, L)
After having a delicious traditional breakfast, you will proceed from the homestay to Hoa Lu, the first capital of Vietnam. Once in the historic former capital, you will go on a tour of the ancient temples - these places contain ancient wisdom - and walk up the walk up a hundred steps to the top of a mountain to see the breathtaking city in its entirety.
Have a wonderful lunch before taking a leisure cruise to Trang An, an occasional natural reserve which is similar to Tam Coc. The reserve consists of limestone hills which surround a serene river flowing through a series of caves. The Trang An is an “eco-tourism” natural reserve, and the only sources of disturbance are the chirping of birds and sounds of paddling as the rowboat across the river.
The night will be spent at the Emeralda Ninh Binh Resort & Spa located at the edge of the Van Long Nature Reserve's jungles.
Day 5: Ninh Binh - Halong Bay (B, L, D)
Your designated tour guide will pick you up at the resort and take you to Halong city for a tour of an UNESCO World Heritage Site and a wonder of the world - the majestic Ha Long Bay. You will set out at noon on a junk cruise to the Bay. The cruise will take you through a tour of over 2,000 islands present on the Ha Long Bay, several enchanting and beautiful grottoes, and a tour of the Sung Sot cave, before taking a dive in the Soi Sim beach or Ti Top beach waters.
You will have dinner on the cruise, enjoy the full measure of our hospitality before "hitting the haystack" in one of our comfortable cabins.
Day 6: Halong Bay – Hanoi – Departure (B, L)
Spend the last morning before your departure basking in the magnificent view of the Ha Long Bay, then take a small bamboo boat on tour of the Luon cave passing through the Man’s head island and Tortoise island.
Brunch will be served on the boat as it moves gently back to harbor. You will check out at the harbor and your driver will take you back to your hotel in Hanoi.