Twin (Superior)from AUD $1770.00
Twin (Deluxe) from AUD $2005.00Prices per person
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Day 1 – Arrival in Hanoi – On arrival at Hanoi Noi Bai International Airport, you will be welcomed by our airport representative who will provide the private vehicle transfer to your hotel. The remainder of the day is at your leisure.
Day 2 – Hanoi full-day tour and overnight train to Lao Cai – After enjoying breakfast at your hotel, meet your guide and embark on a day of touring, and start the day with a visit to the Temple of Literature. Built in 1076, The Temple of Literature was Vietnam’s first university and was established to educate Vietnam’s royalty, mandarins and members of the elite. The university functioned for an incredible 700 years. Its gardens and well-preserved architecture offer a fascinating glimpse into Vietnam’s past. Proceed to Hanoi’s UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Thang Long Imperial Citadel. The Citadel was constructed on a Chinese fortress dating back from the 7th century and re-built in the 11th century by the Ly Viet Dynasty. The historical site and remains represent a unique fusion of traits, with influences from China in the north and the ancient Kingdom of Champa in the south. Continue to The One Pillar Pagoda, which was founded by King Ly Thai To in 1049. This structure is one of Vietnam’s smallest but most iconic temples. Close by is the Mausoleum of the historic Father Figure of modern Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh, and the Former President’s House on stilts where he lived from 1958 to 1969. His former home illustrates the modesty of this Vietnamese revolutionary. (The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is closed Mondays & Fridays and from Oct.-Nov, you will view from the outside)
In the afternoon you will visit the beautiful Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple. Hoan Kiem Lake was already considered the most beautiful lake in Hanoi when Ngoc Son Temple was built on an island in the 19th century. Initially, the temple was called Ngoc Son Pagoda and was later renamed Ngoc Son Temple, since temples are dedicated to saints. Saint Van Suong, considered to be one of the brightest stars in Vietnam’s literary and intellectual circles, was worshipped there along with other National heroes. Afterward, enjoy a leisurely one-hour trishaw tour through the streets of this fascinating city, you will come face to face with the daily lives and activities of Hanoi’s streets as you pass through the congested, but delightful, Old Quarter. Ride pass the fascinating streets, which still bear the names of the shops that could be found in them in the 15th to 18th centuries. In the late afternoon attend the performance of the famous water puppet show. The Vietnamese traditional art of water puppetry has roots that date back to the 10th century when it originated in the Red River Delta area of northern Vietnam. The farmers in the region celebrated festivals and harvests by performing this unique art form. Learning to manipulate the puppets is usually a tradition that is passed on as a family secret. It takes a great deal of skill and because the puppeteer’s hands are underwater, it is easy for them to hide their methods. The fascinating part is that the central stage is below the waterline, and the puppeteers stand in the waist-deep water. A rattan curtain hides them, but they can see the stage and the audience through the bamboo slats.
Approx 20:00 hrs you will be transferred to Hanoi Railway Station and enjoy an overnight train trip to Lao Cai in superior 4-berth compartments sharing with other passengers. The train departs at approximately 21:50 hrs. (B & L)
Notes: The train schedule is subject to change. Train journeys are part of a great local experience. Cabins are shared with other local passengers (unless a private cabin is requested, and all berths paid for – with supplement). Restrooms at either end of the carriages complete the local experience.
2 ways private compartments on request at surcharge of US$ 160/ pax/ (1 pax in 1 private cabin), US$ 110/ pax/ (2 paxs in 1 private cabin), US$ 60/ pax/ (3 pax in 1 private cabin)
Day 3 – Lao Cai to SaPa and Cat Cat Village – Early morning (approximately 06:30 hrs) arrival at Lao Cai, the border town to Yunnan, China. The journey starts with a 38 km drive on winding roads up the mountains to SaPa, located approx. 1,500 m above sea level. On clear days you can see the highest mountain in Vietnam, the Fansipan.
After enjoying breakfast at a local restaurant, enjoy a morning walking tour of SaPa for a visit to the market. It is here that the Red Dao, Black H’Mong, Tay, and other ethnic minority people converge from the surrounding countryside to sell their silverware and handicrafts, and to buy provisions. Enjoy a short drive to Cat Cat village of the Hmong people, here you will enjoy light trekking around then share their daily lives for a rare glimpse into their culture and customs. Return to SaPa town for lunch. The rest of the afternoon is free at your leisure. (B & L)
Appropriate footwear must be worn on treks in Sapa. Note that if conditions are wet, programs may be diverted.
Day 4 – SaPa to Nam Cang – At the completion of breakfast leave SaPa town behind and head into the beautiful Hoang Lien National Park (by car), taking note of the grand rice terraces and high mountain peaks. Be introduced to some of the biggest groups of minorities in this area, particularly the striking Black H’mong people, famous for their indigo-coloured clothing and silver necklaces. Enjoy a light trek of a few hours, with plenty of time to learn about history, traditional customs, and to enjoy the panoramic views. Continue the transfer deeper into the valley and cross the beautiful Muong Bo River before reaching Thanh Phu village of the Tay minority. Enjoy lunch sitting next to the rice fields in a local house or restaurant. After lunch, continue to the small village of My Son for an interesting afternoon walk. This remote village is home to the smallest minority group in the Sapa area, the Xa Pho people.
In the late afternoon, arrive in the remote, quiet Red Dao village of Nam Cang. Cross a private bridge to access the night’s accommodation; check into the room in the rustic but charming Nam Cang Riverside Lodge. After check-in, take some time to explore the village, swim in the river, or relax at the riverside veranda. Accompanied by your guide, you will explore around the village and learn how the local villagers make writing paper from rice, silver jewellery, and embroidery.
Dinner is served at the lodge’s big wooden table or the terrace overlooking the river. Note that this an atmospheric wooden lodge in a remote location, with small and simple private guest rooms and shared bathrooms. (B, L & D)
Day 5 – Nam Cang to Topas Eco Lodge – In the morning enjoy a guided walk into the nearby beautiful valley. Walk along the river before reaching the local forest, famous for its cardamom. Enjoy stunning views on this walk and the peaceful silence of the remote countryside. On the way return, visit one of the small, remote houses of the Red Dao families. On arrival at Nam Cang Riverside Lodge, enjoy a final splash in the river or a final walk through the village before enjoying lunch.
In the afternoon, a private transfer will be provided to the spectacularly located Topas Ecolodge. This lodge has perhaps the most breathtaking location and finest views in Vietnam! From a private bungalow balcony, enjoy an aerial view over the surrounding mountainous area.Approx.: Grade: Easy/ 2, 5 – 3 hours walking. (B & L)
Approx.: Grade: Easy/ 2, 5 – 3 hours walking.
Day 6 – Topas Ecolodge to Hanoi by road – This morning for a change of pace, enjoy a cycling trip with the local guide. Follow the main road for three kilometres to Lech village of the Red Dao minority, observing the magnificent valley view on the way. Leave the bikes and take a short walk on a dirt road to visit a traditional Red Dao family; experience the culture of the minority villagers who are living peacefully in the same way as their ancestors. Next take a further ride to the new Lech village, with a longer break to learn how the women create their exquisite embroidery, which the Red Dao people are very famous for. From the village, head back to the Lodge. Note that the cycling route may be adjusted depending on guests’ fitness, energy levels, and road and weather conditions.
At approx 1500, Topas Mountain Express will transfer you by road to Hanoi. Check-in the hotel and free on your leisure. Overnight at hotel in Hanoi (B)
Day 7 – Hanoi to HaLong Bay – Meet your driver in the hotel foyer and embark on the 3-hour drive to HaLong Bay. On arrival at the jetty in HaLong City towards noon you will board your Junk boat and proceed with check-in formalities. You are welcomed on-board and enjoy lunch while cruising towards the bay itself. In the afternoon, enjoy visiting local beaches and/or activities (depending on each boat’s itinerary) or just spend some time relaxing on board. Towards the end of the day, the boat sets anchor for the night among the karst formations. Tonight enjoy dinner onboard and then enjoy a relaxing evening at your leisure. (B, L & D)
Hanoi to HaLoing Bay (160 km): 2.5 – 3.0hrs
Day 8 – HaLong to Hanoi – Enjoy the fresh morning in the middle of the bay, as the sun rises you may choose a lesson in Tai Chi on deck, or simply breakfast (brunch on some boats) while the vessels cruise slowly through the magnificent rock formations and back towards port. Your driver will greet you as you disembark and provide the private vehicle transfer to Hanoi Noi Bai International Airport for your onward flight, or back to Hanoi to a hotel of your choice. (B)
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