Essence of Northern Vietnam 8 days

Departure Date



8 days



Maximum Seats


What's Included?

All Transport
All Meals
All Entrance fees
Tour guide
Airline tickets on tour


Hanoi – Ninh Binh – Mai Chau – Sapa – Halong Bay

Northern Vietnam offers more than the vibrant streets of Hanoi and the charming 36 old quarters. If you wish to explore every facet of this region, our 8-day Essence of Northern Vietnam tour is designed for you. From mountains to seas, our journey spans from Sapa to Halong Bay. We delve into the past, encountering remote hill tribe communities nestled amidst lush hills and streams, overlooked by striking limestone karsts. Halong Bay crowns our adventure, offering a magnificent experience on a comfortable junk boat—exploring islands, relishing delightful meals, swimming, sunbathing, and kayaking. This tour encapsulates the visual and cultural wonders of northern Vietnam!

Tour Overview

Day 1

Day 1: Hanoi Half day City tour

Tours are available in the morning at 8:00 or in the afternoon starting at 1:30, and you can opt for either a car or a motorbike for transportation. The itinerary is flexible and can be adjusted based on your preferences. Begin the tour by visiting the Temple of Literature, Vietnam's first university. Proceed to the One Pillar Pagoda and the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (Viewed from outside; closed on Mon and Fri, and during Jun - Aug). Explore West Lake and Tran Quoc Buddhist Pagoda, recognized as Hanoi's oldest pagoda with a history spanning over 1,500 years. Enjoy an authentic Vietnamese meal at a local restaurant. The remainder of the day is free for leisure activities. Meals: Lunch Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi
Day 2

Day 2: Hanoi – Mai Chau - Road transfer

Morning: Begin the day with breakfast at the hotel. Hop on the van for the journey to Mai Chau. Take a brief pause during the trip. Arrive in Mai Chau by midday. Receive a welcome drink upon arrival. Delight in a traditional village lunch (vegetarian options available). Afternoon: Engage in a cycling excursion guided by a local expert. Observe farmers tending to fields and locals crafting scarves. Explore the serene neighboring villages. Enjoy leisure time for shopping and leisurely strolls. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch Accommodation: Bungalow in Mai Chau
Day 3

Day 3: Mai Chau – Hanoi

Morning: Indulge in your morning breakfast. Explore further remote villages like Na Meo and Na Mo villages. Immerse in understanding the traditional customs and cultural practices of the local populace. Return to the homestay around midday for lunch and check-out. Enjoy leisure time for shopping and relaxation. Afternoon: Between 3:00 PM and 3:30 PM: Depart from Mai Chau by bus for the approximately 4-hour drive back to Hanoi. Overnight stay in Hanoi. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi
Day 4

Day 4: Hanoi – Ninh Binh – Hoa Lu & Tam Coc - Night Train to Lao Cai

Hoa Lu Tam Coc Day Excursion Morning: Begin your day with breakfast at the hotel. Be picked up for the transfer to Ninh Binh between 7:15 - 7:45. Enjoy a brief stop en route, allowing you to relish the fresh air amidst the expansive rice fields. Arrive at Tam Coc, where you'll board a small boat operated by a local for a two-hour ride. Marvel at the limestone formations, rice paddies, and temples along the waterway. Witness the breathtaking golden carpets of rice during the harvest season along the riverbanks. Return to the mainland for lunch at a local restaurant. Post-lunch, engage in optional activities like fishing or visiting local communities. Afternoon: At 13:30, embark on a cycling tour through picturesque villages, savoring the rural atmosphere. Proceed to Hoa Lu Ancient Capital, once the focal point of Vietnam a millennium ago. Delve deeper into Vietnamese history, a captivating and enriching experience. Return to Hanoi and prepare for the transfer to Hanoi train station. Night Train to Lao Cai Train Station: Around 20:00, rendezvous with the tour guide at the hotel. Transfer to Hanoi train station for the overnight journey to Lao Cai. *The train typically departs at approximately 21:15, offering shared sleeping compartments (2 lower & 2 upper berths per compartment). Notes: During the train trip, our guide will not accompany you. Train schedules are subject to change. Private compartments are available upon request with an additional fee. Train journeys offer an authentic local experience, sharing cabins with other passengers unless a private cabin is requested and paid for in full. Restrooms at either end of the carriages are part of the local train experience. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch Accommodation: Overnight on the train
Day 5

Day 5: Lao Cai – Road transfer to Sapa – Y Linh Ho - Lao Chai - Ta Van

In the morning: Between 5:30 and 6:00, you'll reach Lao Cai train station. A bus will be waiting to transport you from the station to Sapa (approximately 1 hour). If you require early check-in, it is available for an additional charge. Take some time to relax and prepare for the full-day tour. Around 9:30, meet with the local guide and begin the trek to Y Linh Ho village, nestled by the Muong Hoa River. Journey to Lao Chai village, the dwelling of the Black H’mong community. In the afternoon: Following Lao Chai village, proceed to Ta Van village, perched at an elevation of 1200 meters. Return to Sapa by the evening. During the evening: The remainder of the day is yours to spend at your leisure. Spend the night at Sapa Hotel. Meals: Breakfast, Picnic Lunch Accommodation: Hotel in Sapa
Day 6

Day 6: Cat Cat - Sin Chai - Sapa - Hanoi - Road transfer

In the morning: Enjoy your final breakfast in Sapa and proceed with the check-out. Embark on a 3 km trek towards Cat Cat village, home to the Black H’mong community. Take your time to explore and appreciate the village during the tour. A picnic lunch will be arranged by the riverside. Continue trekking for 3 km towards Sin Chai village, nestled at the base of Fansipan Mountain - known as the “Roof of Indochina”. Return to the main road and travel back to Sapa town via a 3 km jeep ride. In the afternoon: Between 3:00 and 3:30, your driver will arrive at the hotel to transfer you back to Hanoi. Spend the night at a hotel in Hanoi. Meals: Breakfast, Picnic Lunch Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi
Day 7

Day 7: Hanoi - Halong Bay - Overnight on cruise

Morning: Rise and have your breakfast. At 8:00, the driver will collect you for the journey to Halong Bay, renowned as one of the world's seven natural wonders. Upon arrival, you'll receive a warm welcome from the cruise staff. Check-in to your designated cabin on the cruise. Relish a delightful seafood meal while the boat sails through the bay. Enjoy leisure time until the afternoon. Afternoon: Engage in various activities like exploring caves, kayaking, or simply swimming in the bay's waters. Return to the boat for relaxation and a dinner experience. Note: Our tour guide will not accompany you on the cruise in Halong Bay. However, there will be a resident English-speaking guide available on board. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Accommodation: Cruise in Halong Bay
Day 8

Day 8: Halong Bay – Hanoi

Wake early to partake in a Tai-Chi lesson or simply unwind on the sundeck while marveling at the breathtaking sunrise over the bay. Following breakfast, venture into the mesmerizing caves within Halong Bay. Lunch will be served during the return journey to the main dock. Transfer back to Hanoi. Enjoy leisure time to explore Hanoi's Old Quarter and savor Vietnamese street food at your own pace. Meals: Breakfast, Brunch Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi not included

Trip Map


Option Private Tour Small Group Hotel
 Standard 1028 USD 628 USD 3star
Deluxe 1228 USD 828 USD 4star

* From prices subject to availability and subject to change. Please check all prices, availability and other information with your travel consultant before booking. If you book with Indochina Royal Travel Travel an additional 3% fee applies to credit card or charge card payments .


* All nights hotel accommodation
* Breakfast daily & Meals as specified in the program .
* All transfers and transport in modern air-conditioned vehicles.
* Sightseeing as specified
* Expert Vietnamese local guides

  • Hotel EARLY check in & LATE check out
  • Peak season surcharge & compulsory dinner at the hotel (if any)
  • International flights with taxes
  • Entry permit or Passport Fees
  • Travel Insurance
  • Tips, laundry and gratuities
  • Meals not marked on itinerary, and water during meals

Children Policy

  • The rate for children applicable for one child sharing a twin or double cabin with two adults
  • For infant (<04 years old): FOC except domestic ticket cost
  • 04 – 11 years old without bed: 50% adult rate
  • 04 – 11 years old with extra bed: 75% adult rate
  • 04 – 11 years old in twin share: 90% adult rate

Responsible Travel

Indochina Royal Travel practices a thorough, realistic Responsible Travel Policy, full details of which can be found in our website – Click here.

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Essence of Northern Vietnam 8 days $ 628 $ 0 8 Anytime 8 days

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