Sapa Holidays

Sample Itinerary - REF SOUTHEAST ASIA 787

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Women practising Tai Chi by Hoan Kiem Lake

Day 1: Hanoi

Welcome to Hanoi! Upon arriving you shall be transferred to your hotel where you have the rest of the day at leisure. Known as the ‘Paris of the Orient’, Hanoi is the gracious capital and cultural heart of Vietnam. Located on the northern Red River Delta, Hanoi is dotted with scenic lakes and leafy boulevards, including tranquil Hoan Kiem Lake at the epi-centre of Old Hanoi, where residents gather at dawn to practice tai chi and enjoy light exercise. It is a city of fascinating contrasts - where Parisian chic meets Asian vigour. Brightly coloured pagodas and crumbling 11th century buildings, stand alongside modern high rises and grand French colonial style villas.

A street in the Old Quarter of Hanoi

Day 2: Hanoi

After breakfast, we shall take a drive to visit some of the attractions in Hanoi city including Ho Chi Minh complex, One pillar pagoda and the Temple of Literature. In the afternoon, you shall visit the Ethnology museum, then enjoy a 1 hour cyclo tour (rickshaw ride) around Hanoi French quarter to get an overview of the local life. A water puppet show at Thang Long puppet theatre will end the day tour.

The Huc Bridge

Day 3: Hanoi - Halong Bay

Today you shall take a scenic three-hour drive from Hanoi to Halong Bay from where you will embark on Bhaya Classic Junk boat. Savor a delicious Vietnamese buffet lunch as Bhaya Classic heads east to Vung Vieng floating fishing village. Visit the Vung Vieng by local rowing boat (1 hour) then return to the vessel for free time. later the vessel cruises back through the bay to its overnight anchorage near Ho Dong Tien.

A junk sailing past a limestone peak in Halong Bay

Day 4: Halong Bay - Hanoi

Awake to morning tai chi and a buffet breakfast, before cruising back through the bay to Tuan Chau Island, arriving at 10.30am. Meet up with the vehicle for the drive back to Hanoi where you shall spend the night.

Vietnamese Water Puppets

Day 5: Hanoi - Mai Chau

Today you shall depart from Hanoi to Mai Chau – an idyllic valley which is home to many hill tribes including the Dzao, Muong and Thai. Arrive in Mai Chau around noon, check in your room and enjoy lunch. In the afternoon, inspect Mai Chau Ecolodge then hike to explore Mai Chau beautiful ethnic villages including Na Thia, Nhot, Pom Coong, Lac and Chieng Chau villages. Be welcomed by the friendly local people, talk with them and discover their traditional culture. Total walking time is around 2 – 3 hours. Take it all in, the spectacular scenery of Mai Chau and the relaxed rhythm of the local life. Later you shall return back to Mai Chau Ecolodge for dinner. Enjoy a traditional dance show and taste Ruou Can, a local rice wine.

Ladies enjoying a bike ride in Mai Chau

Day 6: Mai Chau

After breakfast today cycle to a pristine Thai village which are rarely visited by tourists. The rest of the day is at leisure.

Children by a river in Mai Chau

Day 7: Mai Chau - Sapa

Today spend the morning to relax at your pleasure in our natural haven. Check out around and transfer back to Hanoi. Later you shall be transferred to Hanoi railway station to catch a night train to Lao Cai Overnight – on train

A lady from one of the hill tribes near Sapa

Day 8: Sapa

After an early arrival in Lao Cai, being picked up and transferred to a local restaurant for breakfast. Later you will transfer to Coc Ly which offers beautiful scenery. Enjoy several photo stops along the way, especially of the beautiful tea farms near Phong Hai. Arrive in the market place at about 09.00am, join local people for about 2 hours of the morning to enjoy the exciting atmosphere as well as activities of this weekly market. Leaving the market at noon, we board a motor boat and cruise down stream the Chay River for 1.5 hours to Trung Do village which is beautifully set on the bank of the river. Spend about an hour walking to explore this charming village before continuing onto Sapa.

A local child in Sapa

Day 9: Sapa

Sapa - Tribal Villages. This morning we head to the Lao Chai Vilage and begin a walk to Ta Van village - home to the Dzay tribe for a rest and a picnic lunch. After lunch we continue our walk through a bamboo forest to Giang Ta Chai. This is a village of the Red Dao tribe, who dress in beautiful embroidered trousers topped with bright red turbans and chunky silver jewellery. Before we head back to Sapa we visit another beautiful waterfall for a refreshing end to the day.

Villagers in Sapa

Day 10: Sapa - Hanoi

Today is spent at leisure in Sapa. Why not take a walk up to the Sapa radio tower where you can get spectacular views of the surrounding rice paddies, terraces and the valley. Sapa also has a local market where you can buy souvenirs and try your hand at haggling. This evening we climb aboard our train back to Hanoi.

Rice paddy fields in Sapa by Ronan Crowley

Day 11: Hanoi

Upon arriving in Hanoi you shall be transferred to the hotel where we have arranged an early check in for you. The rest of the day is at leisure.

Food prepared at a Saigon Cooking School

Day 12: Hanoi

The day is at your leisure until we transfer you to the airport for your onward flight home.