From Halong Bay to Luang Prabang
- Soak up the hustle and bustle of Hanoi’s Old Quarter.
- See remarkably well-preserved ancient buildings and experience rural tranquility in Duong Lam Village.
- Be enchanted by the dreamlike scenery of Ha Long Bay, Vietnam’s must-see natural wonder of limestone islands.
- Trek through H'mong hill tribe's villages and experience homestay at the Zay ethnic people.
- Learn Vietnamese/ French war history in Dien Bien Phu.
- Connect with local culture in Luang Prabang - a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Age range
- 13 - 90 years old
- 3 / 4 / 5
This 12-day tour from Halong Bay to Luang Prabang is designed to highlight two of Indochina’s most exceptional destinations: northern parts of Vietnam & Laos. Imagine you walk across the exciting streets of Hanoi is Old Quarter, experience a homestay with the Zay tribe people of Sapa, visit the old French battle field in Dien Bien Phu. Moreover, you also will visit UNESCO World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang and the beautiful Kuang Si Waterfall. This breathtaking and inspiring journey is sure to astound you at every turn.
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ItineraryDownload PDF Brochure
Day 1: Hanoi Arrival.
Welcome to Hanoi, Vietnam’s bustling colonial capital. Upon arrival at Noi Bai International Airport, your guide and driver will welcome and escort you to your hotel in the city center.
In the afternoon, enjoy an orientation walk, visiting Hanoi’s main attractions: the Opera House, St. Joseph's Cathedral, Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple & the Old Quarter. Enjoy dinner at one of Hanoi's finest restaurants.
Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi.
Day 2: Hanoi – Duong Lam Village – City Tour.
After breakfast, depart for the day’s excursion west of Hanoi to Duong Lam village, a purely agricultural village of the Northern Red River Delta. Visit Mong Phu Temple, located in the only hamlet whose original village entrance remains intact, and continue on through narrow alleys to see old laterite houses. Continue driving to the 15th century Mia Pagoda, housing some 287 statues of all sizes.
Head back to Hanoi, visit the Temple of Literature, which is well known as the first university of Vietnam. Follow it with the Ba Dinh Square, where stands the Mausoleum of President Ho Chi Minh who led Vietnam to independence from French colonial rule. This site has become an important city landmark and a perfect place to learn more about Vietnam’s rich history.
From there, wander through the beautiful surrounding gardens toward the One Pillar Pagoda and Presidential Palace, where a replica of Ho Chi Minh’s simple working space is on display.
Conclude the day with a visit to Tran Quoc Pagoda while watching the sun set over the West Lake.
Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi.
Day 3: Hanoi – Halong Bay – Overnight on cruise.
(The route and activities depend on specific cruise, weather condition and permission of the Halong Authority and could be changed by season) Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before setting out on a 2.5 hour drive to the UNESCO World Heritage Site: Halong Bay.
Spend nearly 24 hours cruise on the amazing Halong Bay: a natural wonderland composed of jutting limestone islands and sparkling turquoise waters. Arrive at the dock around noon and board your junk. Savor a gourmet lunch of fresh seafood onboard as you sail out into the mystical bay.
In the afternoon, cruise around some of Halong’s many islands, including Dinh Huong and Ga Choi. Along the way visit one of the bay’s 3 largest caves (Thien Cung, Dau Go or Sung Sot). Stop at an island cove with a sheltered white-sand beach and take a dip in the warm waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. Pass the night on your junk, lulled to sleep by the gentle rocking of calm waters.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.
Accommodation: on cruise.
Day 4: Halong Bay – Drive back to Hanoi.
Awake early and participate in Tai Chi on the top deck or simply relax and enjoy the sunrise over the bay’s towering islands. Enjoy a morning cup of coffee or tea, before setting out to explore nearby islands by rowboat. Return to the junk for breakfast then take advantage of the sundeck and admire the amazing rock formations of Bai Tu Long Bay as you navigate back to Halong City.
Have brunch on board the boat before returning to Halong pier. Your driver will meet you at the dock and take you back to Hanoi.
Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi.
Day 5: Hanoi – Drive to Sapa – Cat Cat Village.
Early morning, your guide & driver will meet you at the lobby of the hotel then leave Hanoi for Sapa on a six hour journey on the Vietnam’s longest and modern highway.
On arrival, check in to your hotel and relax. Later in the afternoon, transfer to Sapa Museum to admire a large display of traditional costumes, handicrafts and tools used by the ethnic minorities in the area. Learn about the history of Sapa, its military past and the French influence. Visit a remnant of the colonial past at nearby Sapa Church, built by the French in 1930.
After visiting this stone edifice, transfer a short distance to Cat Cat Village nestled in a beautiful valley. Explore the wonderful surroundings with a two-hour hike, following your guide off the beaten path and along a scenic mountainside track. En route, encounter local Hmong villagers going about their daily lives, planting water rice and tending to their animals. At the half-way point, stop for a drink by the river’s edge before continuing to the magnificent Cat Cat Waterfall and an old French hydro electricity plant. Enjoy the sights and sounds of this powerful waterfall before returning to the town.
Optional (ticket excluded in the tour package): The world’s most modern three-rope cable car system, Fansipan Legend, was opened to public use on February 2016. At the inaugural ceremony, representatives from Guinness World Records presented a certificate recognizing the system as the world's longest three-rope cable car (6,292.5 meters).
The facility was also named the three-rope cable car system with the world's biggest height gap between its departure and arrival stations (1,410m). The cable car system stretches from Muong Hoa valley in Sapa Town, Lao Cai Province to the peak of 3,143-meter Fansipan, known as Indochina’s rooftop. Passengers used to spend two days climbing to Fansipan summit, but now it takes only 15 minutes thanks to this system. The dream of reaching Indochina’s rooftop, which used to be hard to do, becomes easier for everyone.
As soon as you reach Fansipan station in an altitude of 2,800m above sea level, 600 stairs await for you to climb up to the summit. Standing on the top of Fansipan, it seems that you are enjoying a life on heaven. Surroundings are range of mountains and cloud only. And then you return the station for a ride back to Sapa.
Start: 7:30 A.M – End: 17:30
- Adult and child (taller than 1.3m): 36 USD/ person
- Child: 28 USD/ person.
Accommodation: Hotel in Sapa.
Day 6: Sapa Trekking – Lao Chai – Ta Van.
Begin today’s trek from Sapa town, heading to Y Linh Ho Village. Pass along buffalo paths and trails, as well as through several hilltribe villages and resident minority groups such as Hmong and Red Zao people. This is a spectacular walk, winding through stunning scenery and elegant rice paddy terraces. Be sure to watch your footing here as there can be uneven slopes, muddy patches, and rocky inclines. The idyllic countryside scenes are like something out of a storybook, and you will encounter some of the friendliest people you could ever hope to meet.
Stop for a picnic lunch by Muong Hoa stream in Lao Chai Village, and finally. Keep walking to Ta Van Village, where you will spend the night in the home of a Zay family. Perhaps take some time to explore the village after you arrive, wandering down to see the locals paddling in the river and the Hmong guys cruising around on their motorbikes.
Enjoy an included meal of delicious Vietnamese dishes for dinner tonight, prepared by your hosts. A traditional homestay is the perfect way to access remote parts of this region and get a real glimpse of Vietnamese life!
Meals: Breakfast, Picnic Lunch & Dinner.
Accommodation: Homestay in Ta Van Village.
Day 7: Sapa – Drive to Dien Bien Phu.
Today you will wake up early to take the transfer from Sapa to Dien Bien Phu. En route, visit the Silver Waterfall with marvelous scenery of the surrounding nature, stop at Tram Ton Pass, Heaven’s Gate – the highest peak of roads in Vietnam (over 2,000m). Admire the spectacular views, even the Fansipan summit, the highest peak of Indochina mountains (weather permits). You will have the chance to stop along the way to visit the local tribe villages. Upon arrival Dien Bien Phu, check in to the hotel and relax.
Accommodation: Hotel in Dien Bien Phu.
Day 8: Dien Bien Phu Discovery.
Nestled in a heart shaped basin near the border with Laos, lies Dien Bien Phu. The famous historical battleground, where the Vietnamese successfully defeated the French, marking the end of French colonial occupation in 1954.
Start the day early with a visit to the local market where you will meet charming Thai tribes in their traditional costume purchasing their farm products. The next is military base and historical site of the First Indochina War. We drive 30 minutes out of city to the base of The Command of Dien Bien Phu Campaign (Muong Phang) – Located in a primitive forest in Muong Phang commune to the commanding bunker of General Commander-in-chief Vo Nguyen Giap and Hoang Van Thai.
In the afternoon, you will visit Dien Bien Phu Museum, built in 1984 on the occasion of the year 30th after Dien Bien Phu Victory before visiting A1 Hill - the most important camp of the French and Bunker of the French General De Castries.
Some free time of your own in the afternoon relax by strolling around the town.
Accommodation: Hotel in Dien Bien Phu.
Day 9: Cross border to Muang Khua – Drive to Nong Khiaw.
After breakfast in the hotel, drive down south through the peaceful Muong Thanh Valley to the Tay Trang border gate to Laos where your Laotian tour guide and driver are await you. It may take some 30 minutes for Immigration and customs processes.
Crossing the border, continue through one of Laos’ most remote regions to Muang Khua, a border town located on the banks of the Nam Ou River.
Have an early lunch here (paid by your own account) in Muang Khua then we continue the journey to Nong Khiaw – a charming rustic little town on the bank of the Ou River. It is squeezed in between some of the most fantastic limestone mountains north of Laos.
Accommodation: Hotel in Nong Khiaw.
Day 10: Nong Khiaw – Pak Ou Cave – Luang Prabang.
Have breakfast in the hotel then ride a bicycle around the village enjoying the fresh air and peaceful scenery. After lunch, say goodbye to peaceful Nong Khiaw to drive to Luang Prabang, the UNESCO World Heritage Site. This exquisite town in Laos is not to be missed under any circumstances. Situated on the peninsula formed by the Mekong and the Nam Khan River, Luang Prabang is a perfect spot to unwind, eat good food and enjoy the scenery. This relatively small, palm fringed place is packed with fabulous colonial villas, top class restaurants, coffee shops and stunning Buddhist temples. On the way to old town, stop to visit Pak Ou Cave, a mysterious cave packed with hundreds of Buddha statue into the nooks of the limestone cliffs. Head to Ban Xang Hai. Stop here to learn how local make "Lau Lao" (Lao whisky) and Lau Hai (Lao wine).
Accommodation: Hotel in Luang Prabang.
Day 11: Luang Prabang City Tour – Kuang Si Waterfall.
This morning you will wake up early (5:30 AM) and take participate in the daily early morning ritual of saffron-clad monks with their black Alms-giving bowls being given offerings from the local people, including the ubiquitous sticky rice. Back to hotel for breakfast.
Your visit will start with Royal Palace Museum which was built between 1904 and 1909 during the time of French colonial occupation as the residence of the Laos Royal Family. Then head to Wat Xiengthong, once known as “The Temple of the Golden City”. It’s the most historic and enchanting Buddhist monastery in the entire country. After lunch, drive and take soft trek to visit the Ban Ouay, Hmong Hill tribe and Ban Ou, Lowland Lao.
Our next visit is Butterfly Park which is just 300m before the entry of Kuang Si Waterfall. Continue driving to the beautiful Kuang Si Waterfall where you can splash around in the pools or walk along the forest paths. Back to Luang Prabang to climb on Phousi mountain to admire sunset over ancient town.
Accommodation: Hotel in Luang Prabang.
Day 12: Luang Prabang Departure.
Have breakfast at the hotel and then enjoy a free morning at your leisure before driving to the airport to catch your departure flight.
AccommodationRated Excellent by past passengers
All the hotels/ cruise are subject to availability and can be changed. In case any of the listed hotels are fully booked, alternatives of equivalence will be taken.
GuideRated Excellent by past passengers
English Speaking Tour Guide (other language on request)
MealsRated Excellent by past passengers
As mentioned in the itinerary: Daily breakfast at hotel (except Senali Guest House), 2 lunches , 1 brunch & 1 dinner.
TransportRated Excellent by past passengers
Private Car/Van with Air-Conditioning.
There is no domestic flight or international flight included in this package
Please note that airfares are subject to availability and to change without notice
• Accommodation with daily breakfast.
• Services of private drivers and air-conditioned vehicles.
• Service of English speaking guides as mentioned in the itinerary.
• Halong Bay Cruise Package (2 days/ 1 night)
• Entrance fees, performances, boat trips & excursions.
• Meals as mentioned in the itinerary.
• International flight into Vietnam and out Laos.
• Early check-in and late check-out at hotels.
• Personal expenses (such as laundry, telephone, drinks, etc.).
• Tips for guides and drivers.
• Personal travel insurance.
• Vietnam & Laos Visa fee.
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