Hanoi, LaoCai, Sapa, Mt Fansipang, Halong
Tour Code: VD-NWT101
Duration: 10 Days / 9 Nights
Day 1: Hanoi Arrival
Arrival Hanoi by morning. Transfer to hotel for check in and freshen up. Our guide will meet you for the trip briefing and to escort you to lunch at Brother's cafe- a wonderful fusion of Viet/French buffet style cuisine. After lunch, discover the unknown parts of Hanoi's Old Quarter by Cyclo and on foot. The bewildering maze of narrow streets tells a fascinating story of Hanoi where past meets present. Sample typical Northern Vietnamese cuisine at a local restaurant in the evening. Overnight Hanoi.
Day 2: A day city tour
After breakfast, we ready for visit to the Mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh and then drive on to the Museum of Ethnology. The Museum of Ethnology is one of Vietnam's best with interactive displays and a wide collection of well. preserved objects and documents. It is also a great place to learn about Vietnam's 52 ethnic minority peoples. From the Museum of Ethnology, drive back to the centre of town. Lunch at "Pho 24" to sample a typical noodle soup dish. In the afternoon take a guided walk to some of Hanoi's hidden markets and old streets or enjoy free time. Dinner & transfer to the station for the overnight train to Lao Cai. Overnight on board in a 4 berth cabin.
Day 3: Laocai - Sapa Trals trek
Arrival Lao Cai and be greeted by your local trekking guide. Drive for one hour and a half up into the mountains and to the former French hill station of Sapa, home to some of Vietnam's most colorful ethnic groups. Have breakfast in a restaurant teaching local ethnic minority children the restaurant trade and skills for life. After checking into your hotel, we start exploring the region. Today's trek will pass through many minority villages. As there are not so many villages on the ascent of Fansipan, today is aimed at experiencing as much cultural contact as possible. From Sapa transfer 20km down hill to the Black Hmong Village of Supan. From here we start trekking down to the bottom of the Sapa valley to Ban Ho, a Tay village located on the banks of a stunning river. From here the trek undulates continuously and then rises steeply to several minority villages. Return to Sapa for overnight. Overnight Hotel. 5-7hours trekking.
Day 4: MT Fansipan - Pine camp 2100m
Begin trekking from Sapa with your Black Hmong Porter team, who come from nearby villages. Starting at 1500 m, you pass through Sapa's 1960s style market and hike downhill to the bottom of the Cat Cat valley. After a 20-minutes, reach the Hmong village of Cat Cat, where pigs scuff freely among wooden houses, and children look curiously at your strange attire. The valley is quite wide and there are expansive views. The forests have been cut to make way for human habitation. At the bottom of the valley (1200 m) cross River Linh Ho, carefully edging across a bamboo bridge. From here the long climb starts. Hike on a small trail running up through cardamom farms. After approx. 2 hours, reach to the altitude of 1700m, where lunch will be prepared by your cook. In the afternoon, continue the ascent into thick rainforest, passing some tricky, short steep slopes. The steps made by tree roots are very helpful! Count the numbers of species of orchids on your way up. Before nightfall, you will reach the first camp base at 2000-m altitude, located next to a small stream, in a clearing surrounded by pines. Overnight in tented camp.5 - 6 hours trekking.
Day 5: Base camp 1
Start after a leisurely breakfast with a 100m descent, before again moving upwards. Keep an eye open for giant butterflies - some can reach a wingspan of 25 cm. At around 2400 m the rainforest gradually gives way to huge, succulent bamboo. You will trek up some short slopes, but it is a little easier on the muscles than the previous afternoon. Stop for lunch at a scenic spot in the forest at 2500 m. The first real challenge comes in the afternoon. Scramble up a long steep stone slope, which will take about 2.5 hours to the altitude of 2650 m, where your camp will be based today.
From here, you will enjoy the nice view down through the long Sapa valley, over the area you have just passed, to the mountain range on the other side. The lights from Sapa below and the lights of the stars above will give you a magnificent night. And you will have an exciting day tomorrow: the summit day. It is possible to continue to a smaller camp at 2600m. There will be no views though as the site is situated in a small steep valley near a waterfall. Overnight in tented camp.7 - 8 hours trekking.
Day 6: Summit 3143m- Base Camp 2
After an early breakfast, continue climbing on limestone through wet bamboo forest. The ascent is steep, and after an hours hard climbing, emerge from the forest to trek
through an Eco zone where only canes, miniature bamboo, long grasses and water-rail flowers can grow. Trek on a narrow track through canes, up to 3000 m. From here one can enjoy the enormous view of the surrounding mountain ranges and Sapa town deep below. Follow a stream down through bamboo forest to 2600 m then continue trekking up another steam up again to 2800 m, and lunch. After lunch the going is tough. Trek on rocky footpaths through miniature cane forests eventually and triumphantly reaching the summit at 3143 m. This is the highest point in Indochina, and the views are stunning, to the North into China as well as South to Laos, with the mountainous area of Lai Chau and Dien Bien Phu in between. After celebrations on the summit descend along a slippery trail to base camp at 2800 m on the other side of the summit. The forest is clearer here so there are views all along the way. Base camp is pleasant set among the canes.
Overnight in tented camp. 7 - 8 hours trekking
Day 7: Base camp 2800m- Heaven Gate- Sapa- Laocai
A shorter days trek allows for leisurely morning-coffee and contemplation of the sounds of nature, while our porters take down camp and move ahead down the mountain. Descend through a bamboo forest on a light slope, and then trek through forest down streambeds eventually emerging at Hoang Lien National Park's gate. From here the jeeps will take you back to Sapa, with an opportunity to visit Silver Waterfall. This trek is 4 -5 hours. Check into a day room in Sapa, or LaoCai before early dinner and departure to Lao Cai for the overnight train to Hanoi. Overnight on train. 4 hours trekking
Day 8: Hanoi-Halong Bay overnight
Bay and a cruise on board the luxurious Emeraude, a wonderful replica of a classic steamship for the ultimate Halong Bay experience. Enjoy optional high tea in the late afternoon. A sunset cocktail is served on the sundeck followed by a buffet dinner. If a steam ship doesn't fit, cruise by private or shared wooden junk. Overnight on board of the Emeraude.
Day 9: Halong Bay - Hanoi
Wake up to fresh coffee and a wholesome breakfast before cruising back to BaiChay Pier. Early morning Tai Chi is an optional extra on the sundeck before your brunch time. At 09h00am, disembarkation and say goodbye to Emeraude Cruise. Transfer back to Hanoi by car. In the late afternoon walk to Hanoi's Thang Long theatre for a traditional performance of water puppets. Dinner at one of Hanoi's best restaurants. Overnight in Hotel.
DAY 10: Hanoi Departure
At leisure until transfer to the airport for onward flights (B). End of Services.
- Escape The North Vietnam (VD-NWT103 / 7 Days / 6 Nights)
- Northern Vietnam and Halong Bays (VD-NWT102 / 9 Days / 8 Nights)
- Explore The Northern Vietnam (VD-NWT104 / 16 Days / 15 Nights)
- The Hidden North (VD-NWT105 / 12 Days / 11 Nights)
- The North-west Loop (VD-NWT106 / 6 Days / 5 Nights)