Upon your arrival in Hanoi, you will be welcomed by a Rahhalah representative, and you will be transferred toyour hotel. Enjoy the rest of the day exploring the capital of Vietnam at your own pace, before re-assembling in the evening for a hearty welcome dinner in a fine local restaurant (Ly Club).
Accommodation in Hanoi: Golden Silk Boutique Hotel or similar (Check-in at 14.00).
After breakfast, you will leave Hanoi heading towards Ha Long Bay – The Bay of the Descending Dragon – located in the Northeast of Vietnam (180 km away from the Capital). Ha Long Bay has been recognized twice (in 1994 and 2000) by UNESCO as a World Natural Heritage thanks to its stunning landscape, geology and geomorphology.
Upon arrival, you will refresh at the Oasis Bay Lounge for about 20 minutes before boarding the boat.
When onboard, you will be welcomed with a drink, and then you will go through a presentation of the safety instructions before checking in your cabins.
Lunch will be served on board while you will be cruising by Dog islet, Fighting Cock islet (symbol of Ha Long Bay), the Hoa Cuong fishing village, and Swan islet.After lunch, you will continue your exploration passing by the Soi Sim Beach and the Coconut Tree Island. The vessel will be anchored at the Frog Pond area.
In mid-afternoon, you will embark on one of the highlights of this trip: paddling through the mysterious formations of Ha Long Bay and swimming in the emerald waters. Few landscapes can feel so otherworldly and, yet, so peaceful. As your kayak slides on the surface of the sea distorting the reflections of the mystical designs, you will feel as if you transcend through time and space, being taken on a short trip to the Centre of the Earth.
You will later enjoy the sunset on the romantic sundeck with relaxing music, delicious tropical fruits and exquisite local wine. Then, you will attend a unique cooking demonstration, during which the boat’s Chef will reveal to you some of the secrets of the Vietnamese cuisine, especially the traditional spring rolls and the flower décor art. If cooking is not your passion, you can refresh yourself in the big hot Jacuzzi.
In the evening, you will enjoy a delicious dinner full of local aromas and flavors, while surrounded by a romantic ambience. Free evening activities include squid fishing or hot Jacuzzi.
Accommodation in Ha Long Bay: Oasis Bay Cruise or similar.
After an early wake-up call, you can enjoy a Tai Chi session on the sundeck, before a healthy breakfast on coffee and tea with assorted homemade pastries and fresh juices.
You will then head to the Sung Sot Cave, hiking up and down the 600 steps to the magnificent limestone formations of the biggest and most beautiful cave in Ha Long Bay.
Upon your return to the boat, you will prepare for check out, and you will enjoy brunch while the Oasis Bay Cruise heads back to the pier. At the Oasis Bay Lounge, you will resume your seat in the car to return to Hanoi.
The rest of the day will be free to relax or explore the city at your own pace until you all gather again at 8:30 pm to head to the Railway Station and board the overnight train to Sapa.
Note: you may refresh at the hotel “La Rosa” in Hanoi (a few meters away from the Railway Station)(from 17.00 – 20.00).
Train: Hanoi – Lao Cai (2 people per cabin).
Upon arrival at the Lao Cai Station, you will be welcomed by your new guide and be driven to Sapa. After breakfast in a local restaurant, you will be transferred to the Sin Chai village (of the Black Hmong minority), perched at the foot of the Hoang Lien mountain range. From the top of the mountain, you will trek on a small trail with spectacular views and, then, you will gradually descend to the Cat Cat village.
The trail snakes through the mountain, and you will have the opportunity to marvel at stunning landscapes before arriving at the Y Linh Ho village of the Black Hmong minority, where you will rest in a lovely spot nearby the river. You will then continue trekking towards Lao Chai Village where you will have lunch with a local family.
In the late afternoon, you will be back to Sapa town to enjoy its picturesque streets and relaxing ambience.
Note: Trekking Distance 14 KM – 6 (to 7) Hours.
Accommodation in Sapa: Silk Path Grand resort and spa or similar.
After breakfast at the hotel, you will take the Mountain Train that passes through valleys, viaducts and tunnels offering beautiful views on the surrounding villages and nature. At the Cable Car station, you will get off the train and enjoy another 20 minutes of cable-car ride to the top. Typically, it takes at least two or three days to reach the Peak of Fansipan Mountain on foot. However, with the newly constructed three-rope cable-car system, you can reach the peak and enjoy the surrounding views within half a day.
After the 20-minute ride, you can challenge yourself by climbing the 636, steep steps to the Fansipan Summit – ‘The Roof of Indochina,’ 3,143 meters of altitude. Alternatively, you can take the cable car. Enjoy the spectacular scenery of Hoang Lien Mountain and the lush forests, before retaking the cable car and, then, the Mountain Train back to the town.
You will have some free time to stroll around Sapa until 4 pm when you board the Express Bus to return to Hanoi, where you are expected to arrive at 9.30 pm, and check-in in the hotel for the night.
Express Bus Sapa – Hanoi: Sapa Express Bus (Joined bus)
Hotel in Hanoi: Golden Silk Boutique Hotel or similar.
After breakfast, you will embark on a Hanoi city tour to visit the Ho Chi Minh complex where you will spend time at the Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum, his former stilt-house, the Presidential Palace, the Ho Chi Minh Museum and the One-Pillar Pagoda. Afterwards, you will visit the Temple of Literature, which was initially built as a temple to Confucius.
After lunch at the Alfresco Restaurant, you will visit the Museum of Ethnology (widely acknowledged as the best in the country with an extensive display dedicated to Vietnam's 54 Ethnic minorities), and the infamous Hoa Lo Prison Museum (also known as the ‘’Hanoi Hilton’’, where former US-presidential candidate John McCain was incarcerated for over 5 years).
You will then take a one-hour cyclo tour around the Old Quarters, known as the 36 streets. This bustling area of the narrow streets is home to thousands of small businesses and shopkeepers. Initially, the names of the 36 streets were related to the products being sold there and the respective guild.
In the afternoon, you will have free time for shopping, before meeting in the evening for the farewell dinner.
Accommodation in Hanoi: Golden Silk Boutique Hotel or similar.
After breakfast, you will be picked up from the hotel to be transferred to the airport for your departure flight.
Optional Extension: Hang En Cave Adventure (4 days)
Today in the afternoon you will head to the airport to catch your flight to Dong Hoi.
Recommended flight:VDH – HAN 19.10 20.30
Today, after breakfast, you will embark on a beautiful hike into the famous National Park, ending at the Hang En Cave.
The trek starts with a steep downhill section, leading into the jungle. After a short uphill, there is a long and steep descent (rocky at times) towards a small stream which you will follow for half an hour, with multiple crossings, until you arrive at Ban Doong: a small minority village inside the National Park. There, you will enjoy a delicious lunch and learn more details about the village before continuing your hike for another 20 minutes, reaching the main river and the Hang En river valley.
The route to the cave follows the river, so there are constant river crossings, surrounded by stunning landscapes. Arriving at the cave, you will enter through the small, river entrance, and you will climb over a small rocky hill to reach your camping site, which is located in a vast chamber with a large opening that allows the daylight to enter and offers stunning views. Enjoy a swim in your tent-side pool before the porters’ team serves dinner.
- Difficulty: Level 3 – Moderate.
- Group: you will be joining a group trip of international travelers (2-16 people; 16+ years old).
- 22 km of trekking in the jungle and the mountain on rocky terrain.
- Multiple river crossings: 30 times (knee deep, 10–50m wide river).
- Elevation change up to550m (between the road and the valleys).
- 4km caving
Accommodation: Campsite inside the cave.
In the morning, you will climb the rocky hill behind the camp, following the dry passage to the main river path.
After a few more river crossings, a small sandy hill, and a higher rocky hill, you will arrive at the incredible exit of Hang En. Make sure your cameras are fully charged, as you are about to take countless photos here!
You will return to the camp via the river passage, and you will enjoy lunch in the cave, before the inevitable goodbye as you head back to the river valley. You will take a different route through the forest, but you will not avoid the steep uphill ascent (around 350m). In the end, you will enjoy a cold drink before heading back to Phong Nha (where you are expected to arrive at around 5pm).
Accommodation in Phong Nha: Phong Nha Lake House Resort or similar.
After breakfast you will explore The Phong Nha cave by boat.
The Phong Nha cave (Dong Phong Nha) is a wonder of nature, but also a relic of the historic Ho Chi Minh trail which, connected with the Xuan Son Ferry crossing, was part of the route that supported the battleground of the North Vietnamese during the war with the USA. As such, by visiting the cave, one steps on this legendary trail as well.
In the afternoon you will head to the airport to catch your domestic flight to Hanoi ( (Recommnded flight VDH – HAN 19.10 20.30) and, from there, your international flight back home.