Highlights of Northern Vietnam
Day 1: Rendezvous at the group hotel in Hanoi. Clients arriving on the preferred flights will be met and transferred to the hotel. KE Land Only package services begin with dinner.
Day 2: We leave Hanoi and drive north to Viet Quang on mountainous roads, taking lunch at Doan Hung en route. We should arrive mid-afternoon in time to prepare for our trek the following day. Overnight in a local guest house or homestay in Yen Binh.
Day 3: We meet with our local guide and porter team and start our trek on a small villagers track. Passing by a village of the Pa Then ethnic group, we descend via tea plantation fields to Tan Nam, a village of Tay people. Overnight in Tay stilt houses. Approximately 6 - 7 hours trekking.
Day 4: We trek on easy trails through the jungle, passing several houses of the Ao Dzai people. We take our lunch in a traditional stilt Tay house and stay overnight in the home of one of the Ao Dzai in Phieng Lan village. A fascinating meeting of cultures!
Day 5: Today our trail contours around the hillsides, allowing us to enjoy the views of hills in the distance. At the end of the day we arrive in Quang Nguyen, a small remote market town beside a river and 700m/2300ft above sea level. Tonight we stay in a traditional Tay house. 4 - 5 hours trekking.
Day 6: We begin by ascending above Quang Nguyen to reach Nam Li from where we have a stiff ascent through primary rain forest to reach the summit of Xin Man (2000m). Here we are entering the territory of the Hmong people, one of Vietnam's largest minority ethnic groups. Tonight we will stay in a Coc Dong, a village of the Nung people. 8 hours trekking.
Day 7: Our trek continues on local paths today, through rice paddies and beautiful landscape. Today we will mostly encounter Hmong people, the girls dress very colourfully as they work in the fields or go to the market. After stopping for lunch in Coc Re we continue on a flat track to Xin Man, a small mountain town where we stay overnight in a local guesthouse. 5 - 6 hours.
Day 8: We drive by jeep to Bac Ha, and time permitting visit Can Cau market. Arriving in Bac Ha we will have the afternoon free to explore and we will spend the night in a local guesthouse. 2 hours jeep.
Day 9: In the morning we will visit Bac Ha or Lung Phin market. We then trek for 4 - 5 hours to reach Coc Ly. From here we travel by boat on the Chay River to Bao Nhai, and then transfer to the train station at Lao Cai, close to the Chinese border. All aboard for the overnight train journey south to Hanoi!
Day 10: We arrive in Hanoi early in the morning, while the city streets are still peaceful. The rest of today is free for everyone to spend exploring this magical city. Overnight hotel.
Day 11: After breakfast we transfer to Kenh Ga floating village which we explore by boat. It's all action as we then enjoy a bike ride to Tam Coc, a pretty ricefield set amongst limestone outcrops where we board another boat for a journey around the limestone outcrops and caves. Overnight in a local guesthouse.
Day 12: Today we set coordinates for beautiful Halong Bay, a UNESCO world heritage site. The bay, part of the South China Sea is dotted with karst outcrop islets. We board our boat for a 2 day cruise, visiting Dinh Huong several small islands, and stopping to swim at Titov beach. Overnight on board.
Day 13: After spending some time relaxing on board, we board a smaller boat so we can visit some fishing villages in the middle of Lan Ha Bay. Later there will be time to try kayaking in the bay. Overnight on board.
Day 14: We return to the harbour around lunchtime, and drive back to Hanoi. In the evening we'll visit the famous water puppet theatre and enjoy a celebratory dinner on our last night in this fantastic city.
Day 15: KE Land Only package services end after breakfast. A transfer to the airport will be provided around lunch time for clients travelling on the preferred group flights.