This 12-day adventure tour is designed is a great combination of activities, local life experience and nature wonders in northern Vietnam. The tour firstly takes you to the scenic valley of Mai Chau for cycling the remote parts of the valley. Thence venture into Pu Luong Nature Reserve for 3-day trek before heading to Halong Bay for 2-night on a traditional styled boat for cruising and kayaking.
Hanoi – Mai Chau
After breakfast, your guide will meet and take you on 2.5-hour journey to Hoa Binh. Your first visit will be the Muong Cultural Space Museum to have an overview of Muong people and its culture. Continue driving to stunning valley of Mai Chau for lunch at a stilt-house. In the afternoon, you will pick up your bike to ride to remote parts of Mai Chau valley passing different authentic villages and lush paddy fields. Spend the night at a homestay with a Thai family.
Overnight in Mai Chau (Lunch, Dinner).
Mai Chau – Pu Luong
This morning will devote to 3-hour hiking which takes you mainly downhill, firstly with a gentle descent on a wide track, then turns into a narrow path winding through hamlets, cultivated fields where you enjoy beautiful views over the valley below. The trek involves several stream crossings, steep descents and balancing between rice paddies. There are lovely views of karts rock formations at a distance.
After a home lunch with a local family, you'll be picked up to the starting point of the trail leading to Pu Luong Nature Reserve where you will commence a 3-hour trek to Hang village. The route takes in peaceful landscape of the Nature Reserve, quaint stilt houses and rice paddy fields. You will cross a small stream which later can be seen snaking its way at the bottom of the valleys. Enjoy a delicious home dinner with the local family of White Thai minority with whom you will stay the night.
Overnight in Pu Luong (Lunch, Dinner).
Today you might consider getting up early to get a true feeling of remote village life and wander around to witness daily activities of the locals such as feeding the cattle and poultry, and watering and harvesting vegetable in their gardens.
After breakfast, start the day with trekking along a small hilly path all the way to Eo Ken village, observing and interacting in the everyday life that goes on around you, soaking up the fresh air and slow pace of this picturesque valley. The trek also involves stream crossing and a steep ascent towards beautiful mountain views.
After lunch, you will slowly descend and pass through a series of small villages. Late afternoon, you will arrive at Kho Muong village, nestled beneath steeply walled limestone karsts in a tranquil valley. This is no doubt the village is one of the most beautiful villages in the area. Stay another night with a local family in their traditional stilt-house.
Overnight in Overnight in Pu Luong (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner).
Pu Luong – Ninh Binh
Today you might consider hiking to an incredible cave which has only been recently discovered and is now protected by forest rangers. Afterwards. continue trekking through the valley with some steep climbs and yet more stream crossings. The trekking becomes more remote yet one is never far from a villager tending to their fields. You will pass by a steep limestone mountain and a rainforest inside the Pu Luong Nature Reserve to Nua village, with en-route stop for a break by a cool stream for stream bathing (weather permitting). After picnic lunch, the route will take you to Hin village, home of Thai people, where your car will wait for you and take you to Ninh Binh for a sampan ride through three caves.
Overnight in Ninh Binh (Breakfast, Lunch).
Ninh Binh – Dong Hoi
After breakfast, drive to Cuc Phuong National Park, head into the core zone for a 7km hike to learn about the variety of fauna and flora of the forest in a fresh atmosphere. See the Cho trees - the huge ones can grow to ten arm’s lengths in circumference. After lunch at Park’s Canteen, visit the renowned Endangered Primate Rescue Center to see some of the rarest apes and monkeys in the world and learn about the conservation efforts to save them.
In the late afternoon, return to Ninh Binh to board one of the fastest overnight trains to Hue leaving at 20:35.
Overnight in Dong Hoi (Breakfast, Lunch).
Dong Hoi – Phong Nha
Start your ultimate adventure with a pick-up from your hotel in Phong Nha between 8:00 and 8:30 and short transfer to Oxalis Headquarters. Learn all about safety and collect your gear before driving 45 mins through the National Park to reach the trailhead. A steep jungle hill starts the adventure, with a refreshing river at the bottom. Hike through rich jungle to reach the Ban Doong minority village, where a hot cup of tea welcomes you. Lunch takes place shortly after near the river, and then it’s back into the jungle, through river streams, and across the river valley until Hang En lays on the horizon. Enter the cave around 15:00 and enjoy an afternoon swim before a sizzling BBQ dinner is served, complete with rice wine and beautiful flocks of swifts overhead.
Overnight in Phong Nha (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner).
Trek through the dry passage to the viewpoint high above camp, where 300 million-year-old fossils can be seen. In the late morning, trek back through the mountainous river valley, through jungle and across streams, until you return to Doong village. Enjoy a picnic lunch by the stream and then prepare for the biggest challenge ahead; climbing the treacherous hill up to the Ho Chi Minh Road. Watch out for leeches and push ahead to the road, where cold drinks are waiting. Return by vehicle to Phong Nha by 17:00.
Overnight in Phong Nha (Breakfast, Lunch).
Phong Nha – Hanoi
Morning transfer to Dong Hoi airport for a short flight to Hanoi. The remainder of the day will be yours to spend at leisure!
Overnight in Hanoi (Breakfast).
Hanoi – Halong Bay
Leave at 8.00 for a 4-hour drive to Halong City through the Red River Delta. Upon arrival, get on board of the Treasure Junk. Start cruising from Hon Gai pier to the boundaries of Halong Bay while lunch with fresh seafood is served (vegetarian and kids menus available). After lunch, just make yourself at ease
and relax. We are slowly getting off the classic cruising routes, far from the clichés of a busy tourism spot. Limestone rock formations will parade around us for about 2 hours before our first stop. We reach the perfect spot, remote and scenic, where the waters of Halong and Bai Tu Long hit and wave together. Let's get ready for serious things. Swimming suits, kayaks and tender boat, paddles and gears. Get closer to the water and explore the bay in depth. After one and a half hour of kayaking, you will get back on board to refresh and start the aperitif on the sundeck. 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).
Breakfast will be served from 7:15. But if you like, we invite you to share a cup of tea or coffee from 6:30 and participate in a Tai Chi session before breakfast. Around 8.30, you will board a smaller boat that will take you even farther from the touristy area, to the hidden nooks of the archipelago.
You will have a whole day of fun and relaxation with more kayaking, more swimming, more sandy beaches, more floating houses, and more local cuisine. The exact program depends on tide and weather conditions but we guarantee that we will make this trip extension worth it. 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 yourselves and get 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).
Halong Bay - Hanoi
You will be back at the pier about 11:00 and driven to Hanoi with an expected arrival time of about 16:00. The day will be short so be sure to wake up early to take advantage 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 to energize your body and soul, or just allow yourself some idle time with a sunbath and a cup of coffee.
At about 7:45, you will hop on bamboo boats to go visiting a secluded floating village surrounded by the mountains. You will 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. Take a last glance at the rocks, standing as the eternal guardians of a kingdom, as you reach the pier. Once on land, you will sit in a small café to wait for your vehicle which takes you to Hanoi, where you will be arriving at around 16:00.
Overnight in Hanoi (Breakfast, Brunch).
Transfer to the airport for your departure flight. End of services.