Vietnam multi activity holidays: Travel Hanoi Mai Chau Tam Coc Lao Cai Sapa Halong bay Saigon Mekong Delta 11 daysThursday, May 17, 2012
The 11-day tour offers the opportunity to visit all Vietnam essential travel destinations as you travel from the northern to the southern Vietnam. Begin the tour in Hanoi, travel through Mai Chau, Tam Coc, Lao Cai, Sapa, Halong Bay, Ho Chi Minh city, Mekong Delta, Can Tho, Cu Chi tunnels. Different travel activities have been added to the tour making your holidays enjoyable – mountain hiking, homestay, sampan cruise, countryside cycle, boat junk cruises, sea kayaking, cycling, war sites. Optional travel activities such as scuba diving, cooking class, spa are also available upon request. The tour can also be extended with a beach break to the southern beach such as Mui Ne beach or Phu Quoc island beach. Contact your travel consultant for more details.
Day 1: Hanoi – Mai Chau. Hiking Mai Chau villages.
Depart Hanoi for Hoa Binh province and up then to Mai Chau valley. This scenic drive takes around four hours. Along the way we pass fields of tapioca and sugar cane as well as rice paddies. Upon arriving in Mai Chau valley, we take a short walk around Lac & Poom Coong villages to have the first sights of the White Thai community culture.
In the evening, assist to the traditional music and dance show which is performed by The Thai young girls and boys. They all come from this village. Try also some rice alcohol made of traditional plants and local sticky rice. Overnight at stilt-house.
Day 2: Maichau – Tam Coc, Ninh Binh.
Breakfast then we say good bye to the warm-hearted Thai people. Depart for Ninhbinh. We will arrive at Kenh Ga around noon. Have your lunch in a local restaurant and try some specialty of the region. After lunch, the car will drive you to Kenh Ga floating village where you will take the boat trip along the beautiful river. Set on the banks of the Hoang Long River, Kenh Ga is a remarkable place, not only because it is surrounded by the same massive rocks that dominate Hoa Lu, but also because for most of the year the entire community lives on the water itself. The floating village of Kenh Ga receives relatively few visitors compared to nearby Hoa Lu and the peoples' aquatic way of life has changed little over the centuries. Overnight at local guest-house.
Day 3: Tam Coc sampan cruise tour. Travel back to Hanoi. Overnight train to Lao Cai.
The river trip in Van Long is wonderful for photo hunters, especially when local people come to harvest the water rice planted along the river, or when they transplant some seedling for the next crops. The tourists often compare the place with Guilin - China, or more closely, to the limestone islets of Halong Bay in the Tonkin Gulf for their similar geological structures and shapes. Thus Van Long is also called Halong-Bay-On-Land. We will have a 3-hour boat trip along the river before making our way back to Hanoi. After dinner, transfer to Hanoi railway station to take the night train to Laocai. Overnight on the train.
Day 4: Arrive Laocai. Travel to Sapa. Hiking Sapa villages.
You will be met up at Lao Cai railways station by another Lotussia Travel local guide and driver then transferred to Sapa for a short rest and breakfast. Then we will travel down hill to Ban Ho. We will trek through the scenic valley of “Ban Ho”. This is a village of Tay ethnic minority. The Tay preserve a traditional and fairly developed agriculture with cultivation of all kinds of plants including rice, maize and sweet potato as well as seasonable fruit and vegetables. Then we continue walking to Thanh Phu village where your lunch will be provided in a local house. After lunchtime, you head to Sin Chai village. This is a village of of Red Dao people. Dinner and overnight at the village.
Day 5: Continue trekking Sapa. Return Sapa town. Travel to Lao Cai. Overnight train back to Hanoi.
After breakfast, we will start our day with a long trek towards Lao Cai. The route from Sin Chai, one of the most remote area in Sapa offers beautiful scenery and landscape. The trek will take us through rice paddy fields, bamboo forest, old trees jungle. Your lunch will be provided at Nam Ket. After lunch, we will trek downhill. Upon arriving in Ta Thang village, a Tay village we will be greeted again by our driver who transfer us then to Laocai station for our journey back to Hanoi. Overnight on the train.
Day 6: Arrive Hanoi. Travel to Halong bay. Cruise tour with kayaking.
Arrive in Hanoi in the early morning, transfer to a local restaurant for early breakfast then depart to Halong. Enjoy the journey through the rich farmlands of the Red River Delta and the scenery of rice fields, water buffalo and everyday Vietnamese village life. Arrive in Halong around noon and board the Bai Tho traditional sailing junk (or similar). Whilst cruising the exquisite waters sample the regions fresh seafood. Visit the recently discovered Surprise Grotto with its great views, and on the next island see the yawning mouth of Bo Nau Cave. Alternatively journey to Dau Go Cave and nearby see the famous stalagmites and stalactites of Thien Cung Cave. Take a kayaking trip to explore the Bay. Watch the sun set over the bay whilst enjoying a delicious dinner. Overnight on board junk.
Day 7: Halong Bay - Hanoi.
Wake up to fresh coffee and a wholesome breakfast before cruising back to Halong City. En route the junk weaves through strange-shaped rock formations that invite comparisons from fighting cocks to dragons. After another wonderful fresh seafood lunch (early) on board disembark at the dock at Halong City at around 11h00am. Transfer back to Hanoi. Overnight in Ha Noi.
Day 8: Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh city. City tour.
After breakfast, transfer to Hanoi airport for the morning flight to Ho Chi Minh city (Saigon). Upon arrival in Ho Chi Minh city airport, you will be met by another Lotussia Travel local guide and driver and transferred to your hotel in the city center. After your free lunch in town, start the tour with Ho Chi Minh City highlights including the Post Office, cathedral, Reunification palace, centre town, then continue towards Cholon, visit Thien Hau temple and Binh Tay market. Overnight in Saigon
Day 9: Travel to the Mekong Delta. Biking on flat roads (Ho Chi Minh city – My Tho – Can Tho).
After breakfast, transfer (approx 2 hrs) to My Tho to avoid the teeming traffic. My Tho is the gateway to the Mekong Delta and a wonderful place to start our ride. In My Tho, unload the bikes and start to pedal on the beautiful and quiet country lanes along the Tien River to Cai Be. Along the way, pass through the heart of rural Mekong along narrow lanes, passing banana plantations, sugarcane fields and the lush rural landscape of the Delta. After Cai Be, cross on Dinh Khao ferry to Cho Lach. After the ferry, cycle for a couple of kilometres and then shuttle the rest way to Can Tho. O/N in Can Tho.
Day 10: Continue cycling. Travel back Ho Chi Minh city.
After enjoying an early morning breakfast visit the Cai Rang floating market, weave through teeming early morning market bustle along the banks of an active riverfront. Ride on a narrow paved road to Phong Dien floating market. Absorb the sights of endless cottage industries, timber merchants, coconut shredders, small docks loading/unloading rice, tiny vibrant markets. Local lunch in town. Continue by bike on the narrow lane to explore the hidden backwaters of the Mekong Delta. Return to Saigon. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh city.
Day 11: Day trip to Cu Chi tunnels.
Enjoy a scenic drive through typical southern Vietnamese countryside to Cu Chi to visit the famous Cu Chi Tunnels, an incredible underground tunnel network constructed by Vietnamese resistance fighters during the long struggle for independence. Back to Saigon. Trip ends.
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