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14 Days - Far North Expedition

This trip is designed for those seeking adventure off the beaten tourist tracks like no other. We hike and trek through hilltribe areas in the north, boat and kayak in Lan Ha Bay, explore the Red River Delta and immerse ourselves in the local culture of a family homestay in Mai Mai Hich. A brilliant experience!

Day 01: Arrival
 in Hanoi
Upon your arrival, we pick you up from airport and transfer to hotel in the Old Quarter. Why not start the adventure by exploring the bustling streets and sampling some of the delicious local food

Day 02:  Hanoi - City Tour (Breakfast, lunch included)
Let's get a feel for some of the history of this lovely country we are in, starting the day with a little sightseeing around Hanoi. The complex dedicated to Vietnam's hero Ho Chi Minh, honoured for his role in liberating Vietnam from colonial rule is where we start.
This gives us some insight into Vietnam's recent history. The Temple of Literature, founded in 1070, is our next port of call, this beautiful temple was Vietnam's first University. 

Lunch is at KOTO- a great restaurant set up with the intention to train former street kids and help them start a career, then we head through  the centre of the Old Quarter, through the tangle a small streets on bicycle rickshaws, a perfect pace to catch the atmosphere of this bustling area. 

Then you might like to spend some time wandering around Hoan Kiem Lake for some quiet time to watch the world go by. Let us share dinner together tonight overlooking the city and celebrate our fist day on tour.

Day 03:  Hanoi - Ba Be National Park - Pac Ngoi (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included)
Leaving Hanoi at 8 am, we embark on a route up into mountain areas north of Hanoi. Then onwards to Ba Be Lake National Park, one of the largest natural lakes in Vietnam, home to many kinds of bird, scenic valleys, towering rocky outcrops, underground tributaries rivers, a gigantic cave and local ethnic minorities, including the Tay, Red Dao and Hmong. 

Following a relaxing boat trip, we stroll along the riverfront. The night is spent in the traditional stilt-house of a Tay family.

Day 04: Ba Be National Park (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included)
Today we have a spectacular boat trip on the lake. We stroll along the riverfront, visit some lovely villages and hike to the upper reaches of the lake, in an area marked by massive limestone cliffs and mountains. We spend the night in the park’s headquarters.

Day 05: Ba Be - Cao Bang (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included)
We take to the road again for a 90 km drive, arriving in Cao Bang town around lunch time. The rest of the day we go to the border village of Pac Po, home to the local Nung ethnic minority and visit Coc Bo, the tiny natural cave lived in briefly by Ho Chi Minh when he returned to Vietnam after thirty years of self-imposed exile. 

We hike along a rocky path, take in the cave and explore its stunning visual neighbourhood, before we return to the town for an overnight stay in a hotel.

Day 06: Cao Bang - Ta Lung (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included)
The day begins by driving to the border town of Ta Lung, in an area marked by massive limestone cliffs jutting out of the rice fields, spotted by scenic hill tribe hamlets. We begin our adventure with a trek.
We trek for 15 km, with breathtaking scenery, staying in simple village accommodation with our friendly hosts of the Tay ethnic minority people.

Day 07: Ta Lung - Lang Son (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included)
We leave our hosts this morning and trek for a further 12 km until we reach the village of That Khe. After lunch in a local restaurant we meet up with our vehicle for a 2-hour drive to the border town of Lang Son. This town has become a booming trading town since the normalization of relations between China and Vietnam in the early 1990s. 

We go to visit To Thi Mountain, which received its name from the local legend concerning the lady named To Thi. The night will be spent in a hotel in Lang Son.

Day 08: Lang Son - Catba island - Lan Ha Bay (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included)
Arriving on Catba is an opportunity to kayak through picturesque limestone outcrops and hidden caves and swim in the clear waters. Visit a local family to experience their way of life.

Day 09: Halong Bay - Lan Ha Bay - Viet Hai Village (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included)
Breakfast aboard. Cruise to Rang Dua and Hon Ngon Tay islet. Back on board to cruise to Lan Ha Bay, the bay where children dragons would have gone down. Seafood lunch will be served in the bay If the weather permits it. Then, cruise to the wonderful beaches of Ba Trai Dao where you could swim at private beach.  Enjoy a short biking tour to discover Viet Hai village nested in the heart of Catba national park. Dinner and night aboard in Lan Ha bay.

Day 10: Lan Ha - Catba Island - Inland Halong Bay ( Tam Coc ) (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included)
Enjoy beautiful morning cruise in Lan Ha bay, stop to visit flishing farms and make a wish to the perfect panoramas of the dramatic rock formations, before we board our vehicle and drive through Red River Delta to Tam Coc, an area which is well-known for its beautiful limestone mountains and peaceful backwaters. We settle in a local family where we observe the various steps required to make rice noodles, which are time-consuming and labour-intensive.

The day would not be complete without making authentic Vietnamese food, such as succulent spring rolls, zesty dipping fish sauce. We then enjoy the family’s gracious hospitality as they share dinner with us. We spend the night in a Tam Coc Ecolodge hotel.

Day 11: Tam Coc - Kenh Ga - Cuc Phuong National Park (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included)
Cuc Phuong National Park, located within three different provinces of Ninh Binh, Hoa Binh and Thanh Hoa and covering over 200 sq km.
Thanks to its special terrain set on Truong Son Mountain Range, Cuc Phuong is comprised of rugged outcrops and tangled jungle growth and claims to be home to some of Asia’s rarest species of fauna and flora, among them: Langur, weasels, black giant squirrel, loris and small carnivores.

This is Vietnam’s most famous park offering a perfect hiking place. Morning finds us in the floating village of Kenh Ga. Here, we take an unusual foray into the rural life and spirit of the delta. 

We combine a wonderful boat ride along a scenic canal with walking around open rice fields and looking at the amazing folds of the rock formations caused by earth movement some hundred million years ago. 

In Cuc Phuong National Park, we take a short hike along a narrow path winding its way in an area rich in wildlife, lush foliage and blessed with a bounty of ancient trees.Following that we visit the Prehistoric Cave.
The night is spent at a comfortable guest house at the park’s headquarters in the midst of spectacular mountains and rainforest.

Day 12: Cuc Phuong National Park - Mai Hich  (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included)
Situated in a scenic valley 160 km northwest of Hanoi, Maichau is home to the White Thai and Muong ethnic minority people. Known for their hospitality and resistance to assimilation, their indigenous and diverse cultures provide an individualism unique to others. The rolling hills coupled with their sculpted rice terraces make an ideal place for hiking. 

In the morning we visit the impressive Endangered Primate Rescue Centre and a drive takes us to Mai Chau, home to White Thai, Muong, Green H'mong people and breathtaking scenery.
Here, we take a hike through open rice fields, pass tiny villages and meet the local farmers at work, as they plough their paddies behind water buffaloes, tend their seasonal crops or fish in the river. 

We arrive at the village of Te, nestled in a picturesque valley and inhabited by White Thai people. Our host offer us a toast and we stay overnight in a traditional wooden stilt-house to experience their way of life.

Day 13: Mai Hich  Mai Chau - Hanoi (Breakfast, lunch included)
The day begins by a morning hike along a footpath amid splendid rice terraces and verdant small hills. We have plenty of time to explore Mai Chau at our leisure. 
 Following lunch in a local restaurant, we make our journey back to Hanoi, arriving there at about 5pm.

Day 14: Hanoi - Departure (Breakfast included)
Following breakfast at hotel. Transfer to airport for your departure flight. End of our service (Breakfast is included).

What to take:

Pack essentials, including light comfortable clothes suitable for outdoor activities, small day pack for cycling, walking and hiking. It is essential to bring your passport on this trip. We also recommend packing: comfortable hiking shoes, insect repellent, sun cream, raincoat, sun hat…

Private Holidays off beaten paths in Vietnam

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