Day 1: Arrive - Hanoi
Upon arrival at Noi Bai Airport, our guide and driver will pick you up and transfer to hotel for check in. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 2: Hanoi city tour (B, L, D)
You are met at 08:30 am in the hotel lobby. There is a morning and afternoon schedule, as well as an organised lunch.
- Ho Chi Minh Complex including the Mausoleum, his former stilt-house residence, the Presidential Palace and the Ho Chi Minh Museum
- The Temple of Literature - Vietnam’s first university dating back to 1070
- A local Vietnamese lunch
- Hanoi Hilton museum (Hoa Lo prison)
- Ngoc Son Temple and Hoan Kiem Lake - the Ngoc Son Temple is set on a tiny island on Hoan Kiem Lake, its history dating back to the 13th century
- A one-hour cyclo tour through the narrow, chaotic streets of the Old Quarter - a must for any visitor to Hanoi!
- A traditional performance of the famous Vietnamese water puppets.
18:30 We start Hanoi street food tour. We will give you an insight into the intricacies and traditions of Vietnamese food culture including details on ingredients and historical backgrounds of popular northern dishes. We eat as we go, trying seasonal fruits and sampling a tasty French-inspired snack from a street cart.
Walking through the maze of bustling streets that make up Hanoi’s Old Quarter, we tempt our tastebuds with the famed Hanoi dishes such as Bun Cha Ta, Banh Cuon at a local eatery. Watch in awe as the skilled chefs demonstrate for you how this tasty dish is put together. Continuing into the atmospheric heart of the Old Quarter, we wander past street stalls and quiet residential lanes where you can observe local life that has changed little since Hanoi was founded over 1000 years ago.
Our next two snack stops are at outdoor barbeque stalls. We sit down with the Hanoi locals and sample various meat, vegetable and bread specialties that are flame grilled over hot coals for extra flavour. It’s then time for dessert as we venture down a small alley to join in the local tradition of feasting on fresh fruit served in a cup and smothered with crushed iced and condensed milk – this speciality is one not to be missed!
Our guide will take you to one of Hanoi’s best kept secrets, a hidden street food restaurant to taste top ten street foods in Hanoi is Banh My Hanoi, Vietnamese Rice Wine and famous Egg Coffee. This hard-to-find café is one of the few left in the narrow street inside the old quarter of Hanoi. Or, if coffee is not your style, a cold beer awaits!
Back to hotel and relax. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 3: Hanoi - Nghia Lo (B, L, D) - by car
Breakfast at hotel.
07:30 Departing Ha Noi northwest towards Nghia Lo town on 32 highway, this journey passes through stunning mountainous landscape, featuring with fertile hilly area covered with green tea plantations, the mountains get higher and higher.
Along the way you can see thick forests cover high mountains with stops at many scenic spots in Thu Cuc and Van Cha
- First stop to to visit nice Bonsai garden with huge bonsai on Phuc Tho district
- Stop to visit and tea farm and Thai village in Tan Son
- Stop to visit hilltribe village in Deo Khe (Khe Pass)
- Stop to take photo of many tea terraces in Ba Khe
- Stop at to see local farming in Muong Lo valley
Arriving in Nghia Lo, a pretty mountainous town, we spend the remaining hours of the day wandering the town including the market area, we will check in the hotel. Dinner and Overnight in Nghia Lo.
Day 4: Nghia Lo - Mu Cang Chai - Sapa (B, L)
After breakfast, we transfer from Nghia Lo to Tu Le. The road ride today takes only 2 hours so we have a lot of time exploring the area for real mountainous life of the local ethnic minority people. Fancy a four hour trekking along a trail which connect villages to villages, meeting different tribal people such as White Thai, Black Zao, Red H’mong…who seem very surprise, staring at you for the first moment and turn out very friendly and inviting you to their homes in which you will be hosted with tea or home made wine. Next to Mu Cang Chai, we enjoy another home staying in a large Thai village, which offers fantastic hours for your culture discovery. At the bottom of the valley you’ll arrive in the town of Than Uyen for lunch break.
From Than Uyen, the road follows the Hoang Lien Son mountains and winds through tea plantations and rice terraces as it hugs the Nam Ma river. This stunning valley is dotted with Tay, Dzao and H’mong hill tribe villages. Drive up the highest mountain pass in Viet Nam named Tram Ton pass at 2,047 meters, the views looks out over the main range for miles and miles, before we descend to the mountainous town of Sa Pa. Stop at Heavens Gate, the highest stretch of road in Vietnam as well as the provincial border of Lao Cai and Lai Chau provinces and Silver Waterfall. The Silver Waterfall is located about a half hour from Sapa town which offers stunning views over surrounding mountains and lush forests belonging to Hoang Lien National Park. Check in hotel on arrival. Relax and overnight in Sapa.
Day 5: Sapa - Fanxipan - Lao Chai - Ta Van (B, L)
After breakfast, we drive to Silver Waterfall. The Silver Waterfall is located about a half hour from Sapa town which offers stunning views over surrounding mountains and lush forests belonging to Hoang Lien National Park. You are advised to stop by a farm for a cup of tea and talk with people to understand their local life. Then we continue our drive uphill to the Heavens Gate, the highest stretch of road in Vietnam as well as the provincial border of Lao Cai and Lai Chau provinces. Enjoy fantastic view over the valley!
Then take a cable car to Fansipan mountain. Currently the highest point of Fansipan is at 3,143m high. As you know the cable car in Sapa is the world’s longest and highest cable car, running up from sleepy Sapa Town in Lao Cai Province to the peak of Fansipan 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. After taking scenery then get cable car back to Sapa.
Then we start trekking. The first part is on the road but we soon turn to the right and walk on a small path down the valley to the Muong Hoa River and from here to the Black H’mong village Lao Chai. Black H’mong is one of the biggest minority groups in the Sapa area. They are proud of their culture and keep their traditions and way of living. They have their own language and wear traditional indigio blue clothing. After this you continue to Ta Van village (1.200 m) to visit Zay people. Zay is a fairly small minority group of about 38.000 people who live mainly in the mountains in Northwest Vietnam. The development has meant that some of their old customs have been lost but many women still wear traditional shirts with a purple, blue or green color. The Zay houses are build of wood and bamboo with a clay floor. Overnight in Sapa.
Day 6: Sapa - Bac Ha market - Lao Cai - Hanoi (B, L) - by car
After the breakfast, we go to the Bac Ha market for two hours by a private car (AC). This is the largest market in the region, a place where many ethnic groups gather to buy and sell, eat and drink together. There are 10 minority groups in the Bac Ha region. You can buy homemade handicrafts and clothes. In the afternoon we will have a 2 hour trek to Ban Pho village (Flower H’Mong people). In the village we can have a look in their house and understand little more about their lifestyle and traditional customs. Especially, we can try homemade wine from corn. Then transfer to the station in Lao Cai for the night train back to Hanoi at 20:15pm, arrive around 05:00am. Overnight on train.
- Note: Bac Ha market only takes place on Sunday. This itinerary can be changed upon your departure date.
Day 7: Hanoi - Halong Bay (B, L, D)
7.30 – 12.00 Pick up and drive to Halong City through the paddy fields in the Red River Delta by shuttle van. Stopover at Hai Duong province for refreshment about 20 – 30 minutes.
12:30 – 13:00 Embark to Aphrodite vessel welcome drinks on the dining area, follows by Cruise Manager Safety Briefing.
13:30 – 14:30 Lunch served at the dining room.
15:00– 16:00 Visit cave and explore the stalagmite & stalactite formation. (1 Hour Tour).
16:15 – 17:15 Explore Luon cave by bamboo boat
17:30 – 19:00 Enjoy Happy Hour Promo (buy one gift one) (House Wine, Long Drinks, Beers, Soft drinks & Canned Juice).
17:30 – 18:15 Cooking demonstrations with the chef on the sundeck/dining room.
19:30 – 21:00 Dinner served at the dining room.
21:00 – onwards Enjoy squid fishing or watch movie in dining area, relax time. Overnight on Bai Tu Long Bay.
Day 8: Halong Bay (B, L ,D)
6.15-06.30 Begin the day mastering energy flows during a Tai Chi session, while the sun rises.
07.00 Breakfast buffet will be served at the restaurant.
09.00 You will be transferred to a day-boat to Three Tunnel area
11.30 Enjoy kayaking or visit beach
13:30 Have lunch on dayboat
16:30 Come back Aphrodite boat, relax and join with the new passengers.
18:00-23:00 The same programme with the 1st day. Overnight on board in Cong Do area.
Day 9: Halong Bay - Hanoi (BR)
06:15 – 06:45 Start your day with Tai Chi class on the sundeck (Wake –up Call request is also available at the reception).
06:45 – 07:30 Light breakfast buffet
07:45 – 08:45 Visit Titop island to go swimming or hike to the top of mountain.
09:00 – 09:45 Regular check-out time (if you have any heavy luggage just put outside of your cabins & settle your bills at the reception counter).
09:45 – onwards: Brunch buffet served while cruising back to main port.
10:30 Disembark Aphrodite vessel. Say goodbye to the crew and drive back to Hanoi.
16:00 Arrive in Hanoi.
Check in hotel and relax. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 10: Hanoi - Depart (B)
Breakfast at hotel. Then our driver will pick you up and drive to the airport for your flight. End of services.