North Vietnam Explorer tour

North Vietnam Explorer tour

Tour Experience

Adventure tour of North Vietnam including sightseeing and activies


All year round


Hanoi, Lao Cai, Sapa, Ninh Binh, and Halong Bay

This tour of Vietnam covers much of what is a diverse and interesting about the north of the country. Starting in Hanaoi, the capital, we have included Sapa for its trekking and minority villages, Ninh Binh region for its limestone peaks which rival those of Halong Bay and of course time exploring spectacular Halong Bay itself.

Your itinerary begins with a city tour of Hanoi before taking the overnight train to Lao Cai and the trekking area of Sapa. We will spend two days exploring the valleys and peaks of this beautiful region while getting to know the local people and their customs. We then return to Lao Cai for the overnight train back to Hanoi for an early breakfast at the hotel before having the rest of the day free to explore this city. After a night back in Hanoi we travel to Hoa Lu, famous for being the country's capital from 968 and 1009 AD. This area is one of stunning natural beauty which you will see best during your boat ride along the Boi River. Next we travel to stunning Halong Bay and spend 2 days cruising on a traditional junk around the limestone outcrops as well as sea kayaking and swimming - this is bound to be one of your tour highlights. Your tour ends back in Hanoi.

This tour combines well with a further exploration of southern Vietnam, a visit to a relaxing beach destination, or an extension into Cambodia to visit Angkor Watt and Tonle Sap.



  • All accommodation as stated in the itinerary
  • All transport and transfers
  • 24-hour airport arrival & departure transfer service
  • Services of a local tour guide during sightseeing and activities
  • Admission fees, with instruction where necessary
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary


  • International flights (available on request)
  • Visas fees (currently waived for GB nationals. We can arrange a pre-registration VISA letter for other nationalities - you will still need to pay for visa stamp fee upon arrival into the country, at customs check in counter, at a cost of $45 per person together with 2 passport photos. Please contact us for more information about the cost of this letter as prices vary depending on nationality.)
  • Travel insurance (compulsory, available on request)
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Drinks, snacks, tips and other personal expenses (e.g. laundry)
  • Tips for tour guides and drivers
  • Any other items not mentioned above



DAY 1 Arrive Hanoi and transfer to hotel

We meet and greet you at the airport and provide a private transfer to your hotel where you can settle in and explore your new surroundings. In the evening your guide will take you on a tour of Hanoi’s street food. We start our adventure into the world of street food with a taste of the local brew called “bai hoi”. This very fizzy draft beer originated from eastern Europe. We continue though the streets and stalls, sampling the many wonderful culinary delights on offer, including Vietnamese flame grilled barbecue of meats, tofu and vegetables on skewers and much more. We end the evening with a wander around the lake and take dessert at Hanoi’s most famous ice cream parlour.
Hanoi – 3-star hotel
Single room supplement (VETMNV)

DAY 2 Hanoi city tour & overnight train to Lao Cai

This city tour takes in Hanoi’s essential sites. In the morning you’ll visit Ho Chi Minh Complex including the Mausoleum, his former stilt-house residence, the Presidential Palace and the Ho Chi Minh Museum. You then have time to expore the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long – centre of regional political power for almost 13 centuries. This has recently been recognized as the World Cultural Heritage Site.
After lunch you visit The Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first university dating back to 1070, and Long Bien bridge, constructed from 1899 – 1902 whilst Vietnam was under French occupancy. Later you’ll take a fun one-hour cyclo tour through the narrow, chaotic streets of the Old Quarter – a must for any visitor to Hanoi!, before finishing the day with a Vietnamese coffee in a local cafe overlooking Hoan Kiem Lake.
Note: The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is closed all day on Monday and Fridays, as well as from 1st October to 30th November (approx.) for annual conservation.
Later in th evening you board an overnight train from Hanoi to the border town of Lao Cai. Catch some sleep along the way in soft sleeper berths on the express train (4 berth shared cabins). The train departs around 21:00pm and arrives into Lao Cai the following day at around 06:00am.
On board sleeper train
Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 3 Lao Cai, drive to Sapa, start trekking

Our trekking adventure starts with the drive from Lao Cai Station to the mountain town of Sapa. This drive takes about an hour, but it’s worthwhile as the scenery on our northward journey into the highlands is both dramatic and breathtaking. We arrive in Sapa around 8.00 am and start the day proper with a good breakfast.
Sapa is a former French hill station set in a high valley near the Vietnam-China border and is surrounded by picturesque mountains. At 1600m, its cool climate inspired the French to build villas here as their summer retreat from Hanoi. Today, Sapa attracts visitors from around the world due to its stunning scenery, crisp climate, colourful markets and ethnic hill tribes living in nearby villages.
After breakfast we take a jeep ride to the trekking route. The trek starts by walking through the wonderfully scenic “Ban Ho” valley. En route you’ll have a chance to explore the wooden houses, which traditionally belong to the Tay ethnic minority. We continue trekking to Thanh Phu village where we stop for lunch in a local house.
After lunch you continue on to Sin Chai village of the Red Dao minority where you’ll spend the night in bamboo huts. The wonderful hospitably of the Red Dao will make you feel so at home.
Approx: 1 hour driving/ 5 hours trekking/ 1 hour lunch.
Sin Chai village – Bamboo huts
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4 Sapa, trekking then train to Hanoi

You start the trek today downhill toward the My Son village, which belongs to the Xafo ethnic minority, one of the smallest group’s ethnic in Northern Vietnam. After an hour and a half walking you’ll reach the Red Dao village of Nam Toong, where we will take lunch. After lunch you’ll continue descending back to Ban Ho village, where you’ll be able to enjoy a swim at the nearby refreshing waterfall of La Vie.
In the afternoon, transfer to Lao Cai for the overnight train journey to Hanoi.
Catch some sleep along the way in soft sleeper berths on the express train (4 berth shared cabins). The train departs around 20:00pm and arrives into Hanoi the following day at around 05:00am.
On board sleeper train
Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 5 Arrive Hanoi, drive to Ninh Binh

Hoa Lu, 100 km south of Hanoi, was the Vietnamese capital city under the Dinh and Le Dynasties between 968 and 1009 AD. Some of the structures and tombs have survived the years and can still be seen today. The area is also one of an outstanding natural beauty with limestone peaks whose splendour is said to surpass even that of Halong Bay. This morning, your tour guide will be meeting you at the train station then depart for Ninh Binh province, which will take two hours driving. Upon arrival you’ll spend time visiting the Dinh and Le sanctuaries before we head to Tam Coc for lunch at a local restaurant. Next we take a traditional boat ride along the Boi River which is lined by the rice paddies and protected by the limestone cliffs, and en route you’ll pass through caves and ancient temples. Following the boat trip head to Cuc Phuong national park for the evening.
Ninh Binh – 4-star hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6 Ninh Binh to Halong bay

After early breakfast, you’ll be transferred to Halong Bay.
You’ll enjoy an overnight boat cruise on Halong bay, which is listed as a World Heritage Area of outstanding natural beauty. The trip of Halong Bay is unforgettable. Visit ancient limestone caves and enjoy sea kayaking and swimming, weather permitting. Back on board the junk boat you can relax on deck with a drink to watch the sunset. In the evening you’ll enjoy a freshly prepared seafood dinner under the stars.
Halong Bay – Junk boat
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 7 Lan Ha Bay

This morning we board a smaller boat to explore Lan Ha, a remote corner of the bay. Here we visit the Leaning Tower, a popular rock climbing cliff, then off at some small floating fishing villages to see the farm pens that hold a variety of fish, shrimps and crabs that the locals farm in the bay. Later in the morning there is more time for swimming or to explore the area in a kayak. After lunch the boat cruises to Three Peaches beach, a beautiful white sandy beach, where there is plenty of time top up your tan, weather permitting!
Halong Bay – Junk boat
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 8 Halong Bay, return to Hanoi for flight home

Enjoy an early morning swim followed by breakfast. The tour then visits the “Cave of Surprises” before cruising back to the main harbour for the return drive to Hanoi.
In the evening you are transferred to the airport for you flight home.
Note: Day use room in Hanoi is not included.
Breakfast, Lunch


8 days




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