Cultural Excursion

Vietnam Northern Overture

Hanoi, Vietnam

We customize every trip

Prices From: $1,568 per person

Mountains and minority villages of Vietnam's North

The custom itinerary allows you the opportunity to experience the rich culture and natural environment of northern Vietnam in just 7 short days. Begin your jouney by submerging yourself in the history of Vietnam's capital city of Hanoi, the "Paris of the Orient." Continue onto Lao Cai and the mountains of Sapa where you will have the opportunity to mingle with the local ethnic minority villagers. Your amazing journey will take you aboard a traditional junk for an overnight cruise of the incredible Halong Bay. This tour truly offers the very best of Vietnam in a limited amount of time.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 - Hanoi Arrival

Arriving at Noi Bai airport in Hanoi, you’ll be met and driven to your hotel. You’ll have time to relax after your journey before a ‘Welcome’ dinner at a restaurant in a restored French colonial building. In the evening, you’ll have tickets for a performance of traditional Water Puppetry, an art form unique to northern Vietnam, and a good, light-hearted introduction to its rural culture.

Overnight: Silk Path Hotel (Dinner included)

Day 2 - Hanoi - Lao Cai

You’ll have the whole day to explore Vietnam’s capital city. Your guide will take you to the Temple of Literature, the first university in Vietnam dating back to the 11th century. After lunch, you’ll drive to the excellent Ethnology Museum for an overview of Vietnam’s 54 distinct ethnic groups. Later, you’ll cruise ride around the Colonial and Old Quarters on a cyclo, discovering the city’s architectural mixture of French colonial style, social realism, pagodas and communal houses with many Chinese features, merchants’ residences, ‘tube’ dwellings, modern buildings and vernacular houses. You’ll be free until your car arrives to take you to Hanoi railway station in time to board the overnight sleeper to Lao Cai.

Overnight:Overnight Train(Breakfast and lunch included)

Day 3 - Lao Cai - Sapa

You’ll arrive in the early morning, where you’ll be met and taken by car to visit a market frequented by the ethnic minority peoples. Here you'll have a chance to experience ethnic Vietnamese culture firsthand. Unlike those in the tourist areas, the markets that we choose are not only for buying and selling, but also used as a community gathering place for ethnic minority people to meet and exchange news. There will be plenty of color and authentic costumes! After a picnic lunch, you’ll return to Lao Cai and continue your journey into the mountains to Sapa. You’ll arrive with time to relax and stroll around the town.

Overnight: Victoria Sapa Resort(Breakfast and lunch included)

Day 4 - Sapa - Lao Cai

After breakfast and a morning stroll to the town’s busy market, you’ll hike down a scenic valley, stopping at a few H’mong ethnic minority villages along the way. After a streamside picnic lunch, you’ll drive to more villages belonging to the H’mong, Day and Red Dao ethnic minority groups. You’ll then return to Sapa and, later in the evening, your driver will take you to the Lao Cai station for the overnight train to Hanoi.

Overnight:Overnight Train(Breakfast and lunch included)

Day 5 - Hanoi - Ha Long

Upon your early morning arrival in Hanoi, you'll be met and transferred to your hotel, where you'll have the chance to freshen up. After breakfast you’ll leave for Ha Long Bay, one of the most spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Areas and the world’s largest marine limestone ‘karst’ landscape. There you’ll board a wooden junk to take you to the busy World Heritage area and then to an island beach. Weather permitting, you’ll be able to swim, fish, and climb a hill for an overview of the Bay’s remarkable seascape. From there, you’ll continue your cruise to visit a fishing village - you’ll also have an opportunity investigate one of the bay’s sea level caves in a small sampan or a kayak. The route is designed to avoid the busy areas and includes a very quiet location for your overnight stay.

Overnight: Traditional Junk (Deluxe Cabin) (Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included)

Day 6 - Ha Long - Hanoi

Start your morning off right with either a swim or a yoga session on the large sundeck. After a light breakfast pastry and tea or coffee, you’ll dock to visit one of the most famous caves in the Bay. You’ll return to the junk for a brunch while cruising back to the dock around noon whereupon you’ll leave for Hanoi. Arriving at your hotel in the mid-afternoon, the remainder of the day will be your own.

Overnight: Silk Path Hotel (Brunch included)

Day 7 - Hanoi Departure

After breakfast, you’ll be free until your driver arrives to take you to Noi Bai airport for your departure.

(Breakfast included)

Accommodation Information

Silk Path Hotel

The chic and elegant Silk Path Hotel, is conveniently located in the heart of Hanoi's old quarter. The property is gracefully designed in an elaborate symphony, blending sophisticated elegance with modern beauty while preserving the heritage of the oriental spirit. The hotel offers a superb choice of luxurious accommodation. Each room and suite is tastefully designed with glamour, timeless elegance and luxurious comfort to create a welcoming and inviting atmosphere.

Victoria Sapa Resort

Built as a traditional mountain chalet with accented wooden décor and a welcoming stone fireplace, The Victoria Sapa Resort & Spa overlooks the village, blending perfectly with the natural surroundings. The Victoria features 77 stylishly designed rooms, each with private terrace, wood flooring and a warm touch of local decoration. Guests will feel at ease in the “mountain chalet” atmosphere. All guest rooms offer views over Sapa village, the resort’s lush gardens or Mount Fansipan. After an exciting day of sightseeing, refresh your soul and body with a revitalizing spa experience. Full resort facilities include swimming pool, spa, tennis courts, games room and fitness center.

Indochina Sails

For your two-day Ha Long excursion, you'll board the Indochina Sails, one of the best wooden boats on the Bay. It’s a wooden junk based on the model of the old Vietnamese court vessels with two barge sails, a wide transom and rectangular superstructure. All cabins are air-conditioned and have windows overlooking the bay. Each cabin is furnished with two twin beds or a double queen size bed, wardrobe, desk, pillows, white cotton sheets, and an en-suite toilet and shower with a good selection of high-quality toiletries. All meals, usually based on fresh seafood, will be provided on board. Kayaking is available upon request and at surcharge.


Region: Asia - Southeast

Nearest Airport: HAN



Breakfast Breakfast

Day Tours Day Tours

Hiking Trekking Hiking Trekking

Archeology Indigenous Archeology Indigenous

Fishing Fishing

GBC Staffpick GBC Staffpick

General Information

The price includes:

  • Breakfast and accommodation sharing a twin or double room
  • Late check-out before the train journey to Lao Cai and early check-in after the train journey are included
  • Pick-ups and transfers by private air-conditioned vehicle as specified in the itinerary above
  • Return train tickets: Hanoi – Lao Cai (private air-conditioned soft four-berth cabin in ‘Fanxipan/Sapaly’ carriage)
  • Boat cruises as specified in the itinerary. All Ha Long Bay boats will be fully licensed and comply with current safety regulations
  • The services of experienced English-speaking guides as indicated in the itinerary
  • Where necessary, entry fees for all visits as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Lunches and dinners (as specified in the itinerary) in the best local restaurants, or picnics where no suitable restaurant is available, and full board on the boat in Ha Long Bay

The price excludes:

  • International flight tickets and airport tax
  • Visas
  • Dinners, except as specified above
  • Drinks, gratuities and personal expenses
  • Insurance
  • Taxes and Fees