This adventure trip takes you to the most untouched part of the mountainous area in the northwest of Vietnam. You will go further than others and stay overnight in a remote but beautiful village of the Red Dao minority, in a comfortable riverside lodge with its own bridge, terrace and private rooms. The trek comes with one night at the Topas Ecolodge situated on a beautiful hilltop deep in the mountains of Hoang Lien National Park approximately 45 minutes outside Sapa town. Next up is two nights aboard a traditional junk to discover some of the quietest parts of Halong Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay with a harmonious combination of comfortable cruising and fun activities, paddling among the dramatic karst formations, floating houses and deserted sandy beaches. The 7-day adventure enables you to enjoy unique experiences in northern Vietnam and it can be operated year-round except late December, January and February when it’s too cold in Sapa area.
When you arrive at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, you'll be welcome by our representative and transferred to your hotel downtown. The remainder of the day will be spent at leisure for you to independently explore the highlights of the city, wander around the Old Quarter or just relax.
At 21:00 you will be transferred to Hanoi Railway station for an overnight train leaving at 22:00 to Lao Cai.
Overnight in Lao Cai.
Lao Cai – Sa Pa
Upon your arrival, you will be met and transferred to Sapa.
You will meet your guide after breakfast and head off into the beautiful Hoang Lien National Park by car. Along the road you will have the chance to see big rice terraces and the high summits of the mountain range. Soon your guide will introduce you to the biggest group of minorities in this area, the colorful Black H’mong people, famous for their indo-colored cloths and silver necklace.
The walk is on a good path and will take few hours, plenty of time to learn about the area’s history and traditional customs. You will then continue the transfer deeper into the valley and cross the beautiful Muong Bo River before reaching the Thanh Phu village of the Tay minority. Here you will see the big difference in culture as the group wears lighter colors of silk clothing.
Your lunch will be served next to the rice fields in a local restaurant. After lunch the tour continues to the small village of My Son and an interesting afternoon walk. This remote tribe is the smallest minority group in Sapa area and home to Xa Pho people. In the afternoon, you will arrive in the remote and quiet Red Dao village of Nam Cang. Walking along the small roads you will soon understand that this is the “off the beaten trail” that people are always looking for. Finally, you will cross a private bridge and check into your private room in the comfortable Nam Cang Riverside lodge. You can now explore the village or relax in the river or at the riverside veranda.
Overnight in Sa Pa (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner).
The Red Dao minority dominate Nam Cang and surrounding villages. The Red Dao women wear some of the most colorful and diverse costumes of all Vietnam’s ethnic groups. Herbal bath, local medicine and embroidery are some of the things that the Red Dao are very skilled at. Accompanied by your guide, you will explore the village and learn how the local villagers make writing paper, jewelry and embroidery.
Today you can choose a longer trek to different minority villages in the mountains, to walk into the hidden valley close to Nam Cang or to transfer to the great hilltop where Topas Ecolodge is located in 1000m. From your bungalow’s balcony, you may enjoy your aerial view over the mountainous area where you have just been to.
Overnight in Sa Pa (Breakfast, Lunch).
Sa Pa – Hanoi
Start the day with breakfast at the lodge. At 9:00 you begin your half day hike to the Red Dao ethnic minority village of Lech. You will follow the road for a while before descending towards a river. Walking through rice paddy terraces will give you many opportunities to enjoy the magnificent valley view.
Cross the river by a stone bridge and then follow a trail up to the village where you may experience daily life and learn how the women in their doorways do their traditional embroidery. From here, head back to the lodge where you may rest for the remainder of the day or take the scheduled shuttle bus into Sapa. Depart Sapa town at 17:30 by private vehicle to Lao Cai to the night train back to Hanoi; you will be on the train overnight.
Overnight in Hanoi (Breakfast, Lunch).
Hanoi – Halong Bay
You will arrive at Hanoi Railway Station in the early morning where your private guide will meet you and take you to a hotel near the train.
At 8:00, you will be picked up at your hotel and start the scenic 3.5-hour drive to Halong Bay. Enjoy the landscape of the Red River Delta countryside and have a short break on the way. Meet the crew and embark at Hon Gai International harbor, followed by a welcoming drink and a cruise briefing. Then relax and enjoy lunch while the boat glides through the magnificent Bai Tu Long Bay, allowing you to admire the fascinating rock formations in the bay for about 2 hours before your first stop. Drop anchor where the waters of Halong and Bai Tu Long meet. Explore the bay on a kayak for 1-1.5 hours before getting back on board to freshen up and start the aperitif on the sundeck. The boat will then cruise to its secluded anchorage area. Dinner is served either inside or outside depending on weather conditions. Overnight on board in a cozy air-conditioned cabin with en-suite bathroom facilities.
Overnight in Halong Bay (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner).
Your breakfast will be served from 7:15. But if you like, you can get a cup of tea or coffee from 6:30 and then participate in a Tai Chi session before breakfast. Around 8:30, you’ll board a smaller boat which will take you away from the crowds to the hidden nooks of the archipelago. The whole day will be filled with fun and relaxation, kayaking, swimming, secluded sandy beaches, floating houses, and sampling local cuisine. The exact program depends on tide and weather conditions but we guarantee that we will make this trip extension worthwhile.
Lunch will be served on the support boat. The guide will lead you back to the Treasure Junk in the mid-afternoon. Time to refresh and to make yourself cozy on the sundeck. Dinner will be served again either in the dining room or on the deck. Enjoy the second night onboard.
Overnight in Halong Bay (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner).
The day will be short so let’s wake up early to make the most of it! Coffee, tea and cakes will be served from 6:30. Wake up smoothly while witnessing the silence of a beautiful misty bay. A 30-minute Tai Chi session will be organized, where you can energize your body, and soul or just allow yourself some idle time on a sunbath with a cup of coffee. About 7:45, hop on bamboo boats to go visit a secluded floating village surrounded by the mountains. You’ll make your way between numerous floating houses and small rowing boats that serve the everyday life as vehicle, itinerant shops, fishing utility, sometimes overnight shelter. Back on the boat before 9:00., start cruising back to the pier. From 9:30, a brunch will be served (included). Take a last glance at the rocks, standing still as the eternal guardians of a kingdom, on your way to the pier. Once on land, your private vehicle and driver will be waiting for you and transfer you back to Hanoi, arriving around 16:00 for the end of the tour.