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This trip explores Sa Pa and it's environs, located in northwest Vietnam near the Chinese border. Situated in the highlands, Sa Pa was originally built as a hill station during the French colonial days, and with a cooler climate than Hanoi, served as an escape from the hot city summers. It is an area of terraced rice fields and verdant valleys, and is rich in it's variety of flower and fauna. The region is also home to many ethnic minorities, most prominently the Red Dzao and H'mong. The area is reached by overnight train from Hanoi. Also included in the program is Hanoi, the modern-day capital of Vietnam that still retains the mystery and charm of past centuries. Narrow lanes and traditional shophouse invite exploration by cyclo, while it's many beautiful public spaces - lakes, parks, tree-lined boulevards and monuments - give it an air of elegance and harmony with nature unique among Asian capitals.

Day 01: Start in Hanoi
Arrive at Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport and transfer by sedan to your hotel in Hanoi. Overnight at your hotel in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam

Day 02: Hanoi City Tour
Full-day private tour of Hanoi City. Sights include the Temple of Literature, One Pillar Pagoda, Ho Chi Minh Memorial Complex, Ho Chi Minh's Stilt House, Hoan Kiem Lake, and view colonial landmarks such as the Opera House and St. Joseph's Cathedral. From the lake, explore the Old Quarter on foot. The network of narrow alleys and shophouses are also known as "The 36 Streets," each street being named after the merchandise traditionally sold there. In the afternoon visit one of Hanoi's famous museums, either the History Museum, including exhibits spanning the entirety of Vietnam's history, or the Museum of Ethnology which brings to life the astonishing ethnic diversity in Vietnam. Finish the day by seeing a Water Puppet Show, a fantastic art form where puppets appear to "dance on water." (breakfast).

Day 03: Hanoi  - Train to Lao Cai
Enjoy a free day in Hanoi to relax and enjoy the restaurants and shops. Tonight board the Victoria Express Train for an overnight ride to Lao Cai. The train features two sleeping carriages, each with 6 cabins that are all air-conditioned, wood paneled, with individual reading lights, baggage storage, toilets and oversized windows. The journey takes 8.5 hours. (breakfast).

Day 04: Lao Cai - Sa Pa
After an early morning arrival in Lao Cai, continue by road to Sa Pa. After breakfast depart for an excursion to Ta Phin, inhabited by the Red Dao people, known for their distinctive red headscarves and skill at handicrafts. Continue on to visit scenic Ham Rong Mountain, and San May (Cloud Yard) for a panoramic view of Sa Pa town. (breakfast).

Day 05: Sa Pa
Explore the dramatic countryside around Sa Pa, visiting some of the local villages that nestle in the surrounding valleys and hillsides. The area is mainly inhabited by the Black Hmong and Red Dao peoples, as well as the Tay, and continue a traditional way of life. Trekking today covers some moderately hilly terrain, past terraced rice fields, mountain streams, and bamboo stands. (breakfast).

Day 06: Sa Pa - Lao Cai
Return to Lao Cai by road to board the overnight Victoria Express train to Hanoi. On Sundays, visit the colorful market at Bac Ha, where ethnic minorities from around the region gather to trade water buffalo, livestock, and handicrafts. The people inhabiting the area are mainly Flower H'mong, but there are also Dao, Nung, Xa Fang, Phu La, and many more ethnicities as well. (breakfast).

Day 07: Depart Hanoi
Following breakfast at local restaurant. Arrive back in Hanoi and transfer to Hanoi International Airport. (breakfast). End of our service

Our deluxe Vietnam tours are carefully designed to provide a unique experience in the destination, promote cultural understanding and exchange, flow smoothly from place to place, allow time for relaxation and exploration on your own, provide maximum value, and very importantly to be enjoyable. The itinerary can be modified to suit your tastes, time frame, budget, and special interests. Please contact us at [email protected] for the best price of this tour

Private Holidays off beaten paths in Vietnam

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