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Northern Trek Vietnam, 11 Days

Style: Vietnam Adventure Tours

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Activities:

Hightlights: Ha Noi - Mai Chau Trekking - Cuc Phuong Trekking - Ha Long Bay - Ha Noi

Description: Trekking through beautiful terrace rice fields, landscapes; Meeting smiling and warm-hearted Black Hmong and Red Dao people; Talking with them to understand a bit more about their way of life, their customs and traditions...

Day 1: Arrival - Ha Noi
On arrival at Noi Bai Airport, you are met and transferred to hotel for check in. Then, a tour by cyclo around the old quarter streets to discover the local people life.
O/N in Ha Noi.

Day 2: Ha Noi - Mai Chau - Hang Kia
Drive to Mai Chau via Hoa Binh town, through picturesque scenery with beautiful views of the mountains along the way. On arrival in Xa Linh, we spend a 4-hour trek to Hang Kia, stopping en route for seeing the Hmong hill-tribe people.
Overnight at Hang Kia village.
 
Day 3: Hang Kia - Cun Pheo
An early morning start to trek mountainsides to Cun Pheo. The trekking is difficult at times with some steep uphill and downhill walking, but the views are incredible however some physical preparation will enable you to fully appreciate today's trek.
Overnight at Cun Pheo village.

Day 4: Cun Pheo - Xam Khoe
The spectacular countryside and simple lifestyle of the Thai ethnic minority people are a highlight of Mai Chau valley although conditions are very basic. En route to Sam Khoe we have the chance to meet local people, all friendly and welcoming.
Overnight at Sam Khoe village.

Day 5: Xam Khoe - Cuc Phuong
This morning we spend few hours walking out of Mai Chau Valley before we take a short drive to Cuc Phuong National Park. On arrival, we enjoy a guided visit to Cuc Phuong Museum and Zoo
Overnight in Cuc Phuong.

Day 6: Cuc Phuong Trekking
We continue venturing into the national park of Cuc Phuong. A 6-hour trek with picnic lunch en route gives us a great opportunity to explore one of Vietnam most beautiful primeval forests and also see the Muong hill-tribe people.
Overnight at a Muong village.

Day 7: Cuc Phuong - Ninh Binh
Upon leaving Cuc Phuong National Park we are transferred by car to Tam Coc. A boat trip on a river through “Ha Long inland” - the quiet and peaceful landscape of rice fields surrounded by limestone formations to visit three grottoes of Tam Coc.

Day 8: Ninh Binh - Ha Long Bay
A long day travelling through the rich farming land of the Red River Delta to Halong Bay but you can make stops as you please, to stretch your legs and visit many farmers at work and Keo Pagoda, one of the most beautiful pagoda in Vietnam.
Overnight in Ha Long.

Day 9: Ha Long Bay - Ha Noi
A 5-hour boat trip to visit Ha Long Bay, listed as a World Heritage Area of outstanding natural beauty. This picturesque “Dragon descending to the sea” Bay has 1,969 limestone islets rising from the sea, many of them containing beautiful grottoes. During the boat trip, we will have a fresh seafood lunch prepared and served on board. Drive back to Hanoi.
O/N in Hanoi

Day 10: Ha Noi City Tour
The morning, we start the city tour to visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Tran Quoc Pagoda and Quan Thanh Temple. Then continue to visit the Temple of Literature well known as Vietnam’s first university.
The afternoon, after visiting the Ethnologic Museum and the peaceful lake of Hoan Kiem with its sacred Ngoc Son Temple, a short walk in the old quarter streets will give you the opportunity to do shopping.
Evening: Water puppets show, the unique Vietnam traditional art.
O/N in Ha Noi.

Day 11: Ha Noi - Departure
At leisure until transfer to Noi Bai Airport for departure flight (check out hotel before 12h00).

INCLUDING:
- Accommodation in hotels, guesthouses (twin shared room), village huts
- Transportation in private air-conditioned vehicle with driver
- English or French speaking guide and local guide for trekking
- Meals as mentioned: B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner
- Entrance fee to indicated sights
- Water puppet show
- Permit for trekking
- Boat trips

EXCLUDING: Other meals, tip, drinks, airport tax, single room, personal expenses, insurance...

When to trek in North Vietnam
The north is cooler than the rest of the country. Winter months, from November until January, can be quite cool, especially in mountainous areas. Northern temperatures range from 60°F to 90°F (16dg]C-32°C). If you are going far north to Sapa, Lai Chau, Dien Bien Phu, Bac Ha, Ha Giang along the China/Laos border, be sure to bring one extra layer of warmth (a pullover will do); near Sapa is Fansipan, Vietnam’s highest point, and there is even the occasional freeze and snow at this altitude.
Hanoi, the capital and in the north, as well as nearby coastal regions around Haiphong, Mai Chau, Ninh Binh, Halong Bay, experience relatively high humidity year-round and a rainy season from May to October. Winter months are cool (as low as 57°F/14°C) and somewhat damp, but the heat starts to pick up in April and makes for a hot, wet summer.
The best time to arrange a visit or a hiking/trekking tour in the north, though cold in midwinter, is from November to the end of April.

Suitcase
We understand that the trek is just one portion of your vacations to Vietnam and you may travel with a big suitcase that contains your clothes and your personal belongings you will need for the whole journey. Your suitcase should be left at your hotel before you start the trekking tour since the trek is usually arranged in the area where driving is difficult or impossible. If you start the trekking tour immediately after your arrival in Vietnam, then you can leave your suitcase in our office.

Medium size bag
Please prepare what you will need only for the trek. The longer the trek will be, the bigger bag you may need. This bag will be taken care by Lotussia support team. We usually use motorbike to transport this bag from one village to another. Before your daily departure, please put everything that you will not need during the day hike in this bag. Our support motorbike will transport the bag to the place where you will spend the night. The number of motorbike that will be used is up to group size. We usually use one motorbike for every two people.

Day bag
Please put in this bag what you will need during the day such as your first aid kit, insect repellent spray, camera… This bag should be small and light. So that you can focus on the trek and enjoy the scenery.

HOMESTAY
Staying overnight in a village-house is very exiting, but rather basic and simple with an earthen floor and an open fireplace. You will share the house with family with private bedding setup. Soft mattresses, mosquitoe net and sleeping bags are provided either by the local host or Lotussia Travel.
Sometimes we offer the opportunity to sleep in a camping tent at night. If camping is provided on the tour, our local porters will raise this on the spot.

PORTERS
We use a Vietnamese tour-leader and local porters on multi-day trek. The number of porters is up to group size. The bigger the group is, the more porters there will be.
The porters carry all the trekking equipment and most of the personal baggage. So that you will only need to carry a small rucksack with the things needed during the day and can concentrate on enjoying the trek and the beautiful scenery.
Most of the porters are from the local tribe, and through the years we have established a close relationship with several of them.

FOOD
We bring a cook along, all the way. It is amazing what he can produce over a small fire. You should expect good homemade Vietnamese dishes, where rice and noodles are the main ingredients, supplemented with meat, fresh chicken and vegetables. Lunch is mainly homemade soup, produced on the spot. We attempt that all food is made of fresh ingredients, and as varied as possible. And in our opinion, a tablecloth and a bit of style does not spoil a good experience!

ENVIRONMENT
We put an emphasis on protecting the local environment (nature, local traditions and values) as much as possible. This is to the benefit of all, including us and who follow, and can be epitomized in the concept of Minimum Impact Tourism.
Campfires and the use of wood as fuel, no matter how cozy it is, is thus avoided, and we use transportable field-kitchens. Likewise, by using ceramic water-filters we avoid the problem of empty drinking-water bottles left in nature. This way we get purified drinking water and protect nature at the same time. Naturally, no garbage is left anywhere.