The northern area of Vietnam is always an attractive destination for tourists visiting the country. You will take a night train to Lao Cai – a China-Vietnamese border city.
From Lao Cai, there will be a short transfer to the hill town of Sapa. After exploring the area, you will return to Hanoi and visit Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site and New Seven Natural Wonder of the World. Halong Bay offers out-of-this-world kayaking experiences (optional), suitable for both first-time paddlers and the serious marine explorer. Unique and remote limestone islands sprout from the sea, making kayaking through the inlets an exploration on its own. Many of these isolated islands feature dramatic sea caves and sheltered, pristine beaches that can only be reached by kayak. You will enjoy ending your trip with a relaxing traditional junk trip and take part in a wide variety of activities like kayaking, cave climbing or just simply sitting on the sundeck for a glass of wine.
Before customizing the itinerary to be more suitable for you, let’s discover the reasons why Sapa and Halong must be included in your trip to Vietnam.
1. Sapa, Vietnam – Savoring the beauty & tranquility of “A Town in Cloud”
Sapa, the city with the special nickname “A Town in Cloud”, offers you a good view of colorful hill tribes and fabulous rice terrace. Tucked high in Vietnam’s far north region, close to the Chinese border, Sapa boasts a handful of the former French Military Outpost which will bring you the most colorful experiences. When visiting Sapa, you shouldn’t miss the chance to discover the Fansipan – Vietnam’s highest peak. That 3,143 – meter Mount looms overhead, while the surrounding valleys feature terraced rice paddies and blazing green fields, riddled with fast-flowing streams. In addition, that region is home to several ethnic minority groups, all wearing their traditional and colorful attire.
What to experience in Sapa?
a. Discovering the colorful local markets
Visitors to Sapa will have the opportunity to discover the unique customs of the local residents by visiting the Bac Ha market, running every Sunday. Coc Ly market is open on Tuesday, Can Cau market on Saturday, Cao Son market on Wednesday and Lung Khau Nhin on Thursday.
b. Sensing the charm of surrounding villages
Sapa is home to many ethnic minorities such as H-mong, Tay, Xa Pho, and Red Dzao minority. Time seems to forget those villages; therefore, the local people here live the same way as they have done for centuries. You can opt out for traveling by “xe om” (motor-taxi) from the central town, or for the full mountain challenge, you can follow our travel guide and trek there on foot. Then, discover many off the beaten path villages including Ban Ho Village, Cat Cat Village, Lao Chai Village, or Ta Van Village.
c. Enrich your knowledge with local tradition & culture.
Visiting Sapa is also a great chance to observe Vietnamese ancient tradition and cultural highlights. One of the most interesting activity is joining the “Love Market” where ethnic minority people go to find their life-long partner. Besides, you can visit Muong Hoa Valley by going hiking and trekking through the lush and green valley. Then, meet the friendly locals en route and stay overnight in a home-stay in the villages.
2. Halong Bay – The Natural Heritage of Vietnam
Not only declared as The World Heritage Site and One Of Seven Natural Wonders, but Halong Bay has also been praised and written about by many thanks to its magnificent beauty. The bay is steeped in mythical legends, reflected in its name which means ‘where the dragon descends into the sea”. For many years, Halong Bay has received the golden reputation for its emerald water, incredible karst caves, majestic limestone towers, and a wide range of luxury cruises and junk boats.
What to discover in Halong Bay.
What to discover in Halong Bay?
a. The intriguing limestone islands & islets
Halong Bay is home to nearly 1900 uninhabited limestone karsts and islets, in various sizes and shapes, which rise dramatically from the emerald-green sea.
The islands in Halong Bay are larger than those in Bai Tu Long Bay and riddled with cave systems, several of which can be visited, and whose stalactites and stalagmites can appear to be mythological creatures or fantastical animals.
The evocative shapes of the many islands encountered in the bay have given rise to many special names such as “Trong Mai” (the name of two chicken-shaped rocks facing each other), “Ga Choi” (which means the fighting cocks). Therefore, if travel with the local guide, you will have chances of enjoying the natural beauty and enriching knowledge of Halong Bay’s story.
b. The amazing karst caves
Many caves have been discovered there and those that are accessible have been opened up and lighting installed to highlight their ethereal beauty. One of the most beautiful caves you shouldn’t miss is the Thien Son Canh Cave. Also known as Grass Cave, this cave comprises three large grottoes appearing to be animals, mythical beings, and flowers. In the reflection of the lights, the walls, stones, and stalactites appear to glisten like stars in the night sky
c. The peaceful floating markets
There are a number of floating villages in Halong Bay, where people have lived a way of life that has changed little over the centuries. The villages are an integral part of the setting, with their colorful wooden houses bobbing and down on the sea. A visit to Vung Vieng floating village in Bai Tu Long Bay entails traveling from the main cruise boat in small traditional bamboo basket boats, just like the ones used by the villagers to move around or the children to attend the floating school.
- Private door-to-door pick-up & drop-off services
- All private transportation
- Accommodation shared in Double room with daily breakfast
- All domestic flights
- Experienced English speaking guide
- Private boat trip as per tour
- Meals as stated in the itinerary (B: Breakfast; L: Lunch; D: Dinner)
- All sightseeing tickets
- Tissues and water on coach
- Vietnam Visa On Arrival pre-approved letter
- Services charges and government tax
- Exclusive and personalized single agent/single customer service
- No extra charge after services confirmation
- 24/7 hotline support guaranteed
- International flights & departure taxes if any
- Personal expenses, tips, and gratuities
- Travel insurance
- Peak season or public holidays surcharge (if any)
- Compulsory Gala dinner on X-Mas or New Year (if any)
- Vietnam visa stamp fee (US$ 25 & 1 passport photo for each person)
- Other services not mentioned above