Itinerary Highlights
    • Visit a traditional village in the heart of Northern Vietnam and enjoy a home-cooked lunch with a local family

    • Discover the Thai-influenced culture that’s present in the beautiful rural area of Mai Chau

    • Visit the UNESCO-protected Trang An, otherwise known as 'Halong on Land'

    • Relax and soak up some sun on the beautiful beaches around Hoi An

Contact one of our specialists + 44 (0) 20 3958 6120

The north of Vietnam is home to some of the country’s richest culture and lushest landscapes, making it a long-standing highlight of many of our trips. Majestic mountain ranges, cascading rice terraces and a kaleidoscope of different cultures form the patchwork of this region, where you’ll find sleepy villages snuggled next to paddy fields. On this two-week adventure, focus solely on this northern area to get off the beaten track and see why Vietnam and the Vietnamese people are stealing so many hearts. Highlights include exploring a traditional village on the outskirts of Hanoi, visiting the UNESCO-designated Trang An and relaxing on one of Hoi An’s sun-baked beaches. Our local Concierge will be on hand throughout your holiday to offer insider advice and restaurant recommendations.

Route

Everything is 100% tailored to you
DAY 1

INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT

Your adventure begins with a connecting international flight to Hanoi. There are several airlines to choose from and even the occasional direct flight available, so we can find something to suit a range of budgets and preferences.

DAY 2

ARRIVE AND EXPLORE HANOI

Landing in Hanoi airport this morning after your long journey, you'll find a driver waiting with a sign bearing your name. Hop in the car and he will whisk you straight to your hotel. Once checked in and refreshed, spend a few hours wandering to get your bearings and adjust to Vietnamese life. For dinner we have arranged for you to be taken on a guided street food tour, so that you get a real introduction to the fantastic Vietnamese cuisine.

Start by wandering along the Old Quarter's small lanes, where a multitude of vendors set up their stalls and stools along the roadside. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the city at night and then stop at one of Hanoi's best pho shops, where you'll have your first chance to sample this noodle broth, the delish national dish.

Move on with the tour to try banh cuon, steamed rice paper stuffed with pork and mushrooms, and nem chua ran, fried spring rolls, as well as several other dishes. Finish up the eating and the evening by tucking into some grilled meats and vegetables, and then head to a traditional bia hoi (small shop selling draft beer) for a cold beer as you watch the locals doing the same.

DAY 3

EXPLORE MONG PHU

40 miles from Hanoi, north of the Red River plains, the village of Mong Phu is renowned for its extraordinarily preserved century-old houses. Today you’ll get the chance to walk around the village with a local guide and meet the people who live here. While here you’ll get to enjoy a traditional lunch, before biking around the surrounding countryside and visiting Mia Pagoda. Built in the 15th century, the pagoda is surrounded by nearly 300 statues representing Buddhist deities. Return to the hotel in the evening, with time to relax before dinner in one of the restaurants we recommend in our detailed destination Dossier.

DAY 4

TO MAI CHAU

This morning you'll be met after breakfast to make the journey to Mai Chau, one of Vietnam's lesser known rural gems. The journey is around four hours south west, so sit back and settle in to the comfortable car and take in the stunning scenery out of the window. En route, you will find the road ascends gradually until you find yourself in the middle of a landscape of mountains set at a medium altitude. Upon arrival in Mai Chau, check into your hotel, then spend the afternoon relaxing and enjoying the tranquillity of the countryside after the hustle and bustle of Hanoi. Since the area is largely inhabited by ethnic Thais, there is a really different side to the culture and food here, so make the most of those influences as you meet the locals and tuck into your dinner.

DAY 5

MAI CHAU TREKKING AND VILLAGES

After breakfast this morning, spend some time exploring the centuries old Thai villages around your hotel with a guide. You’ll head to Cum village where you’ll start your hike to Mai Hich. The hike will take you into the heart of Northern Vietnam, with its mountainous landscapes set at medium altitude, and its green valleys filled with rice fields. Upon arrival at Mai Hich, enjoy a traditional lunch with a Thai ethnic family. Continue your hike for two more hours in the afternoon, crossing the wildly beautiful valley of Mai Chau with its small villages of wooden stilt houses, rice fields, corn fields and serene atmosphere.

DAYS 6 & 7

MAI CHAU BIKE RIDE & PU LUONG

Start this morning with a leisurely bike ride to some more of the villages in Mai Chau Valley. There are two choices of route for this bicycle tour; opt to take the easier one along flat roads that lie among rice fields, passing from one village to another, or follow the more adventurous path which loops ten miles around the valley. In the afternoon, you will leave Mai Chau and transfer to Pu Luong. A natural reserve in northwest Vietnam, Pu Luong offers lush mountains and beautiful landscapes of rainforests, waterfalls and rice fields, dotted with traditional villages.

Spend your full day in Pu Luong hiking in the valley, surrounded by terraced rice fields. The hike will take around five hours and includes a stop at the village of Kho Muong, before crossing cornfields and passing through other small villages. Along the way, you’ll be treated to a picnic lunch.

DAY 8

TO NINH BINH

It's back on the road this morning as you're heading for Ninh Binh, another undiscovered rural gem in Vietnam's north. The first leg of your journey will take you to Hoa Lu, with some seriously spectacular scenery along the way, so keep your eyes peeled. Upon arrival here you'll want to tuck into a freshly prepared lunch, before heading out on a bike ride around Long Van reserve. After this, you’ll board a small boat for a journey of one-and-a-half hours through the rice fields and spectacular landscape of rocky pits, canals and greenery, before reaching Ninh Binh by road at the end of the afternoon.

DAY 9

TRANG AN

Early in the morning, you will set off for a day trip to Hoa Lu, one of Vietnam’s most famous sites, renowned for its historical remnants and impressive limestone peaks, which give it the name ‘Terrestrial Halong Bay’. Here you will also discover the temples of king Dinh and Le deep in the heart of the forest, dating back to the tenth century.

In the afternoon, you’ll be transferred to the docking point to board a private sampan (flat-bottomed boat), which will take you to the UNESCO protected area of Trang An. Situated near Tam Coc, Trang An is a nature reserve similar to Tam Coc but much less visited. Limestone hills surround a peaceful river which passes through a series of caves, including one which takes 15 minutes to pass through in total darkness! A designated 'eco-tourism' area, this is a region where the only interruptions are the sound of birds and the gentle dip of oars in the crystal clear river. As the boat gently slices through the water, notice the enormous limestone karsts jutting out from the green rice fields and experience what the locals call 'Halong on Land'.

DAY 10

TO HOI AN

This morning you'll leave the lush green of rural Vietnam behind, in favour of the soft sands on the coast. To get there you'll first need to make the two-hour drive to Hanoi airport, and then catch a short flight to Da Nang. When you arrive at your hotel, drop your bags and head to the bar for a sundowner, while overlooking the East China Sea - bliss.

DAY 11

MY SON AND HOI AN OLD TOWN

Feeling relaxed and ready for some activity again, spend today getting immersed in the rich history of Central Vietnam. Your tour will begin as you're picked up from your hotel to make the trip from Hoi An to My Son, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Arriving at My Son, where dozens of ruins are scattered about the tranquil landscapes, you'll find yourself back in the lush countryside. Built during the era of the Champa Kingdom from the fourth to 13th centuries, many of the brick structures here are dedicated to Hindu gods or reflect Hindu mythology. Hear tales of the Champa Kingdom while exploring these atmospheric structures that have stood the test of time.

After this glimpse into Central Vietnam's ancient history, return to Hoi An. Take a break at a popular local restaurant to sample some of the dishes recommended by your guide, before the afternoon is spent exploring Hoi An's old town on a guided walking tour. Despite the passing of 200 years and the ravages of weather and war, the centre of Hoi An remains much the same as it was in its heyday. This walking tour is the best way to see the wooden-fronted houses, the Japanese-covered Bridge, the colourful market, and the many antique shops and galleries. When the tour is finished, you can either head back to your hotel for dinner or ask your guide to suggest somewhere in town for you to try a more authentic experience.

DAY 12

BEACH CHILL

After a busy week or so of travelling and adventuring, we thought you might be ready to spend a few days doing very little. Sit back on your sun lounger and admire the sea views with the sand between your toes and the sun on your face. In our opinion, a good day or two here and there doing nothing but relaxing is essential, even for the busiest of folks. Should you start to get itchy feet, rest assured the sleepy old town of Hoi An is a lovely place to explore. Barter for gifts in the markets, sunbathe on the beach or enjoy a massage in your hotel spa.

DAY 13

FINAL DAY IN VIETNAM

Spend the day at leisure, relaxing on the beach or by the pool. On your final evening, we'll arrange a sunset boat cruise down the Thu Bon River. As you cast off from the town centre, watch the UNESCO World Heritage-protected ancient trading houses fade from view. The boat will then make its way north, entering smaller estuaries surrounded by leafy palm trees and dotted with quaint houses. Witness scenes of life on the river as local farmers return from the fields, their boats laden with vegetables, and school kids frolic on the riverbanks.

Pass by local fishermen, watching as they gracefully cast their massive nets for the evening's fresh catch. Then, for a closer look, climb into a small bamboo vessel known as a thung chai and paddle along the calm waters with them. The cruise comes to a close in the last light of day, so watch the sky turn brilliant shades of pink and orange as the sun sets over the river - a magical way to end the trip.

DAY 14

HOME TIME

Sadly the time has come to leave Vietnam behind and head home. You'll be collected from your hotel to make the journey back to Da Nang airport, where you can catch your flight back to the UK. Most routes will connect through a hub city in Southeast Asia en route and involve flying overnight.

A Rough Idea of Price

Dependent on season, accommodation and activities
The cost for this trip starts from £2,920 per person. The final cost of the trip depends on the way we tailor it especially for you. The final cost varies according to several factors, which include the level of service, length of trip and advance booking time. The exact price will be provided on your personalised quote. The average starting price for this trip is £3,360 per person.
A few of the benefits of travelling with us
Get in touch
Our experts have the inside track on the destinations they sell and will tailor-make a holiday to your unique requirements.
Contact one of our Vietnam specialists