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Northern Vietnam Explorer 8 Days

(8 Days - Departs Daily on a Private Basis)

Hanoi, Sapa, Halong Bay Overnight cruise


Spend 8 days exploring Vietnam’s legendary vibrancy through its art, heritage and ancestry. Start by discovering the cultural hub of Hanoi, known as the City of Ascending Dragon. See the highlights of the city and learn the history of the region’s ethnic minorities before heading into the countryside to meet the traditional tribes firsthand. Afterwards, set sail into the mist through the picturesque waters of Halong Bay, spending a night amongst its limestone cliffs. A perfect trip for those with limited time or already based in Southeast Asia. 


** All our tours are Exclusive Private Tours, so you will not be put together with other guests **



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Day 1: Welcome to Hanoi

Fly to Hanoi, VIETNAM                                                   


Welcome to Vietnam. Upon arrival at Hanoi Airport, obtain your Vietnam visa (please refer to your Special Program Note), and then clear Immigration and Customs. After collecting your baggage, exit the airport to meet outside a local Guide of Global Travel & Tours. He/she will be holding a sign with your names on it. Please note that local guides are not allowed inside the airport.


From the airport, you will be privately transferred to your lovely boutique hotel. Hanoi, originally named Thang Long or “City of the Ascending Dragon” was the first capital of Vietnam in A.D. 1010. Situated in the Centre North of Vietnam, the city is known as one of the most attractive and interesting places for visitors. In addition, after the fusion in 2008, Hanoi ranks in the top 20 biggest cities in the world.


Settle in and enjoy the afternoon and evening at your leisure.


Accommodation: Stay 1 night in Hanoi


First Class 4 Star Hotels: Hanoi La Siesta Hotel, Silk Path Boutique, Apricot Hotel


Luxury 5 Star Hotels: Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, InterContinental Hanoi Westlake


Day 2: A palace, a prison, pagodas & water puppets in Hanoi Overnight Train to Lao Cai

Meals Provided: Breakfast


Full day guide tour of Hanoi: Your guide will meet you at 8am at your hotel, you'll head out with your guide and begins with a visit Ba Dinh Square to see Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, the museum to his life and the simple cottage where he lived and worked, along with his "house on stilts" and his final resting place; and take in Hanoi's famous One-Pillar Pagoda, constructed in 1049 to resemble a lotus blossom. Next, you’ll continue to the Temple of Literature, which dates back to 1070 and is dedicated to the cult of Confucius and visit the Museum of Ethnology, where we'll learn about the fascinating cultural diversity of this ancient land.


This afternoon, drive through Colonial Hanoi, seeing the Opera House and other local sights. Go inside infamous Hoa Lo Prison (“Hanoi Hilton”), where Senator John McCain and Douglas “Pete” Wilson were once imprisoned, and continue to the National History Museum of Vietnam. Take a cyclo ride through the Hanoi’s Old Quarter, a network of narrow alleys and shop houses also known as “The 36 Streets.” This is a wonderful place to watch the local life, and peruse items from fabrics to crafts to exotic medicines. Enjoy a traditional Vietnamese water puppet performance, a uniquely North Vietnamese art form celebrating rural life and folklore for over 1,000 years, this evening.


Early this evening is free to relax at your hotel or explore independently until evening transfer to the train station in time to catch the overnight train to Lao Cai, the nearest station to Sapa.


Train journey to Lao Cai: You will be booked on the Victoria Express in a private cabin. The train will depart from Hanoi this evening around 9.15pm. The Victoria Express is a luxurious train service linking Hanoi with Lao Cai, the closest train station to Sapa. The elegantly refurbished train has two sleeping carriages and dining carriage "Le Tonkin", serving high quality Western and Vietnamese cuisine accompanied by a varied wine list. Each sleeping carriage has 6 superior cabins (4 berths) and 1 deluxe cabin (2 berths), each with air-conditioning, wood panelling, individual reading lights, baggage storage, bathroom and oversized windows.


Accommodation: Stay 1 night onboard the Victoria Express (Superior Cabin or Deluxe Cabin)


Day 3: Lao Cai / Sapa

Meals Provided: Breakfast


Full day guided tour in the Sapa region: Early morning (approximately 06:30 hrs) arrival at Lao Cai, the border town to Yunnan, China. On arrival in Lao Cai you will be met by your Sapa guide and transferred directly to the Victoria Sapa Resort and Spa for early check-in. Have breakfast and relax this morning. Your guide will then meet you again and take you for lunch at a local restaurant where you can try some local dishes.


After lunch, you will be driven to the Black Hmong village of Ma Tra, located approximately 25km north of Sapa. There is limited access for vehicles and so you will stop and finish the last bit of the journey on foot (3km).


Follow the buffalo trails to visit the hospitable villages of the Black Hmong minority people in Ma Tra.


Enjoy looking around this authentic village which is less visited by tourists and where you can see local weavers at work in their own homes. Make your way back to your vehicle and continue on to Ta Phin village where you will meet Red Dao people who are famous for their weaving skills. Here you will visit a local family, learn more about their local customs and daily lives. Discover Sapa town, its bustling market, and the colourful dresses of the ethnic people, tea and coffee shops as well as the local life in this mountain town.


Accommodation: Stay 2 nights at the Victoria Sapa Resort (Superior Room)


Day 4: Sapa

Meals Provided: Breakfast


Private Guide Tour in Sapa Region: Your guide will meet you at your hotel at 8am to take you from Sapa town down to Lao Chai village. Views of the Muong Hoa Valley and magnificent surroundings of mountains and rice terrace fields can be seen from this road. Along the road, people from many ethnic minority groups (H’mong, Zay, and Red Dao) are likely to be met, and there are stalls along the way that serve tea, fruits and sweets. Soon after turning off the main road and taking a local path, we will arrive in the Black H’mong village of Lao Chai, where you will experience the daily life of the villagers. Continue walking from Lao Chai to Ta Van village, where the Zay hill tribes live. Here you take a rest and enjoy a delicious lunch prepared by local house.


At the end of the afternoon, you’ll then be met by your driver and taken back to your hotel.


Day 5: Sapa / Lao Cai / Hanoi

Meals Provided: Breakfast


Today is free to explore Sapa town, or arrange another excursion locally such as mountain biking.


Train journey to Hanoi: This afternoon you will be taken back to Lao Cai for the overnight on the Victoria Express sleeper train to Hanoi. You will be booked on the Victoria Express in a private cabin. The train will depart from Lao Cai this evening around 7.30pm.


Accommodation: Stay 1 night onboard the Victoria Express (Superior Cabin or Deluxe Cabin)


Day 6: Hanoi / Halong Bay Overnight Cruise

Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner


Upon arrival in Hanoi early this morning you will be met and transferred to a local hotel where you will have the use of a room to freshen up and have breakfast.


Overnight Halong Bay Cruise on Halong: This morning, after breakfast transfer to Halong Bay to board an overnight cruise on Halong Bay. Halong Bay is listed as a World Heritage Area of outstanding natural beauty. “Dragon descending to the sea“ as it is known in Vietnamese, picturesque Halong Bay has more than 1,000 limestone islets rising from the sea, many of them containing beautiful grottoes. Welcome onboard and set sails boarding time is at 12:15 pm. Upon boarding guests are greeted with a welcome drink and gather in the dining room for a comprehensive safety and boat orientation briefing followed by itinerary details. After the briefing and check in we have a bit of free time till lunch is served at 1:00pm. Lunch is a multi-course Vietnamese and Western set menu. Any and all dietary needs will be catered to. During lunch we cruise through the Bai Tu Long Bay, cruising through the most beautiful and quiet area in Bai Tu Long Bay and Halong Bay to visit Cua Van Fishing Village. Cua Van Floating Fishing Village is one of the largest fishing villages on the Bay. Guests can choose between kayaking through the village or visiting on small bamboo boats (sampans) rowed by the villagers.


Back on board after visiting the village there will be free time of about one and a half hours before the Cooking Demonstration on board will be held by our Chef and all the passengers could attend to this. During that time the chef will conduct a Cooking Demonstration showing the guests how we decorate and make some Vietnamese food which is traditional food in Vietnam. In addition we will have the first of our double happy hours from 6:00 till 7:00 during which time one free drink will be received for each one ordered. The dinner is served at 7:30pm. Dinner is a sumptuous buffet featuring an array of salads, seafood, meat dishes, seasonal fresh fruits and deserts. After dinner guests can relax in the dining room and lounge or on the upper deck and enjoy the second happy hour from 9:00 till 10:00.


Accommodation: Stay 1 night onboard Cruise


First Class 4 Star Cruises: Indochina Sails Cruise, Bhaya Cruise, Indochina Junk


Luxury 5 Star Cruises: Paradise Luxury Cruise, Jasmine Cruise, Halong Violet Cruise


Day 7: Halong Bay to Hanoi

Meals Provided: Breakfast


The next morning coffee, tea and breakfast pastries are on offer from 6:45. Tai Chi lessons are led by our tai chi master at 7:00 before we leave the boat at 7:45 for a walking tour of Titov Beach Island. About one hour is spent on the island allowing time for a climb up the steps to the peak for a breathtaking 360 degree view of the Bay (there is also an expansive viewing deck half way up). After the climb there is time left to relax on the beach and have a swim. Back on board it’s time for final packing and freshening up before enjoying a full breakfast buffet, including traditional Vietnamese Noodles (Pho). After breakfast guests may relax in the dining room and lounge or on the deck enjoying the last Bay views before disembarkation at 11:00am. The crew will bid you farewell and you disembark with our tender boat to the Tuan Chau Pier. On arrival at the quay you will be met by your guide and transferred back to Hanoi. En-route you will stop off at the Dong Trieu ‘ceramic village' where the villagers have been practicing this traditional craft for generations. You’ll then continue to Hanoi and you will transfer to your hotel and enjoy the remainder of day free at leisure or explore independently.


Settle in and enjoy the afternoon and evening at your leisure.


Accommodation: Stay 1 night in Hanoi


First Class 4 Star Hotels: Hanoi La Siesta Hotel, Silk Path Boutique, Apricot Hotel


Luxury 5 Star Hotels: Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, InterContinental Hanoi Westlake


Day 8: Depart Hanoi

Meals Provided: Breakfast


Today free at leisure until transfer to the Hanoi airport in time for your flight to the next destination. We wish you a safe and pleasant journey.



Price guideline:


The above tour costs from $985*per person, based on 2 people sharing a double or twin room.


*Please note this price is subject to change at the time of booking, and depends on the date of travel and the availability of accommodation.


Our price includes (Private tour): 

• Accommodation base in a shared double or twin room throughout

Daily buffet breakfast at hotel and all hotels taxes and service charges.

Pick-ups and transfers by private air-conditioned vehicle as specified in the itinerary.

Travel by private, air-conditioned vehicle with an experienced, safe driver.

Private sightseeing with local, English-speaking guides as indicated in the itinerary.

Meals included as indicated as in program: B: breakfast, L: lunch & D: dinner.

Boat cruise as specified in the programmed.

Entrance fees according the above program.

Local bottled water while sightseeing and transfers.

VAT and all taxes and service charge.


The price does not include

International flight tickets and Visas

Any items of purely personal nature such as laundry and telephone calls

Personal, travel and health insurance

Early check in and late check out

Drinks during meals

Meals that are not specified

Gratuities/tipping to tour guide, driver and hotel staff and restaurant’s staff



All of our itineraries can customized as you wish, add extra days, change a hotel, and see different sights. For information on this or our other tours please email us at: