DAY 1 Hanoi
Late afternoon your tour begins as you venture into Hanoi’s old quarter on a cyclo ride to see the narrow old streets, bustling activity of this exciting 1,000-year-old city.
Then enjoy your first taste of the wonderful Vietnamese cuisine with dinner at a local restaurant for you to discover the cuisine and meet the rest of your tour group.
DAY 2 Hanoi
Join your guide for an early start this morning to take part in seeing how local Hanoians start their day. Say ‘Good Morning Hanoi’. This walking tour visits the historic and spiritual centre of Hanoi – Hoan Kiem Lake – where you will see residents enjoying Tai Chi, exercise and meditation. You’ll also get to sample a popular local taste treat.
Then return to your hotel for breakfast with time to freshen up, before heading out to experience the cities major sights and history beginning with a photo stop outside Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and a visit to Ho Chi Minh’s house which are splendid reminders of the great man who once led this country. A visit to the Women’s Museum is an insight into the cultural beliefs of Vietnam and a great understanding of the role women play in Vietnam’s culture, a peek into the historic past and a look at the traditional costumes of different ethnic communities.
Then have lunch at KOTO – an opportunity for you to support a fantastic organisation. KOTO is a not-for-profit restaurant and vocational training program that is changing the lives of disadvantaged youth in Vietnam.
Late afternoon and evening is at leisure – you may wish to visit Vietnam’s historic Temple of Literature (opposite KOTO) or explore Hanoi’s narrow streets and the fascinating old quarter.
For a touch of tradition, a visit to the Water Puppet Theatre (not included) is a colorful form of traditional entertainment. Your guide is available to assist you.
DAY 3 Mai Chau
Today depart Hanoi to travel through stunning countryside on your way to Mai Chau. There are stops along the way to take advantage of the fantastic photo opportunities that this area affords as well as some short treks to visit some of the local villages of the Muong people.
On arrival lunch is at the Lac village. Having lived here for over 700 years, residents of Ban Lac are mostly black Thais living from generation to generation with the income from rice on the flooded terraced fields and from weaving. The stilt houses of Ban Lac maintain the ancient architectural style.
Walking around the lush valley you’ll see how the local people plant rice and herd buffalo; trek to the nearby villages of Pom Coong and Lac where you can shop for local handicrafts; or take a short buffalo cart ride. If you wish sample the rice wine!
At late evening, a traditional music and dance show with local cuisine.
DAY 4 Mai Chau
This morning pass beautiful valleys as we take a short drive to Xa Linh which is home to the Red and Blue Hmong minority people. The Red Hmong women are well known for their ‘big hair’. Walk through the village and surrounding rice fields to get up close to this traditional lifestyle.
Then we return to Hanoi with lunch at Mai Chau and with stops along the way to take photographs of the picturesque panoramas.
DAY 5 Halong Bay
Departing Hanoi this morning travelling past rice fields and small towns to Halong Bay, here we board a traditional style boat for a trip through the magical seascape of Halong Bay which includes stops at various islands and caves.
For those who wish, time is spent anchored for a swim or optional kayaking is available (payable to your guide).
DAY 6 Halong Bay – Hanoi
Awake to the sunrise over Halong Bay for breakfast on the cruise back to Halong by late morning, where we head back to Hanoi with a stop to visit a local village popular for embroidery and textile products.
Late afternoon arrive back in Hanoi with drop off at your chosen hotel.
Please contact us for more details.