Trip Description & Day-by-day Itinerary
North Vietnam itinerary 10 days. The north of Vietnam has a lot of place to see such as Hanoi, Halong, Sapa, Mai Chau, Hoa Lu Tam Coc in Ninh Binh province, Ha Giang so on. 10 days is not much but enough to do a trip to Hanoi 2 days, Halong 1 night on boat, Sapa with 2 nights and the rest of your time can be added Ninh Binh or go to suburb of Hanoi to visit Hanoi countryside, handicraft villages.
Day 1: Arrival in Hanoi.
Upon your arrival at Noi Bai airport in Hanoi, you will be greeted by Lotussia Travel guide, driver and escorted to your hotel in town. Check-in hotel and stay free at leisure (check in time from 12h00). Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 2: Hanoi full day city tour. Hanoi – Laocai. Overnight train.
Breakfast at hotel. Then we will have a half day tour of Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi. Hanoi is a unique city with tree-lined boulevards, French colonial architecture, peaceful lakes and oriental temples. The city tour includes such sights as the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda and the Temple of Literature – The first National University of Vietnam. In the afternoon, continue to visit the Ethnology museum where you can find the biggest object collection of 54 Vietnamese ethnic groups. In the evening, attend to the water puppet show, one of famous Vietnamese traditional art.
In the evening, transfer to Hanoi Railways Station for the night train to Laocai. Overnight train.
Day 3: Arrive early Laocai. Transfer Laocai – Sapa. Sapa full day trekking.
Upon your arrival at Lao Cai Railway Station, you will be met up by Lotussia Travel local guide, driver then transferred uphill to Sapa. After a short break and breakfast, provided in a local restaurant in town, transfer to Su Pan village, there we will start walking downhill through the breathtaking scenery. On the way you will pass through the Ban Ho village where you will be able to witness the stunning views of the valley and rice paddy terraces. You will have the opportunity to explore the Ban Ho village of Tay minority before crossing the suspension bridge over the river. The walk then continues uphill to the Red Dao minority village of Nam Toong, where you guide will prepare a delicious lunch either in local school. After lunchtime, you descend to the valley where locates My Son village of Xa Pho minority, one of the smallest groups ethnic in Northern Vietnam. From there you take a short walk to Thanh Phu village of Tay minority. Here you spend the night in traditional house of the Tay. You can take a walk to explore local daily life while your dinner will be served with Vietnamese dishes.
Day 4: Sapa full day trekking.
Today’s trek will be relatively short and soft. Once leaving Thanh Phu, you follow the trekking route built in the bottom of the valley, which offers the best view to the surrounding mountains. You stop at a nice spot for lunch. After lunchtime, you continue the walk toward Sin Chai village of Red Dao minority where the night will be spent in Red Dao Village.
Day 5: Sapa full day trekking. Transfer Sapa – Laocai. Laocai – Hanoi. Overnight train.
You wake up for an early breakfast and repack your luggage for the long trek heading toward Lao Cai. Once you leave Sin Chai, the trip takes you into a fabulously mountainous area, the most remote part of Sapa. En route you meet children’ curious eyes as you are very first tourists passing by. Red Dao ethnic minority inhabits the entire area. You will enjoy the fresh of bamboo forest and jungle until you make a stop at Nam Ket for lunch. After lunch, your trek will be mostly downhill. After about half an hour, you will have an opportunity to enjoy one of the most beautiful views of days over a green valley lying along the Red River. You eventually arrive in Ta Thang village of Tay minority. Here you will be transferred by car to Lao Cai.
Day 6: Arrive early in Hanoi. Transfer Hanoi – Hoalu. Cycling to Tamcoc. River boat trip.
Arrive in Hanoi in the early morning, you will be met by another Lotussia Travel guide, driver then transferred to a local restaurant for early breakfast then depart to Hoa Lu, Ninh binh. The journey will take us around two hours and a half before we reach Hoa Lu, the first capital of Vietnam. Visit the historic capital of Viet Nam and the famous ancient temples of Le and The Dinh Dynasties. Then we will cycle for an hour on picturesque quiet roads through villages, rice fields, rivers and rocky outcrops to Tam Coc, “Halong bay On-land”. After lunch, we will take a boat trip to visit TamCoc to see the beauty of the karst formations as you pass along their base and row into one of the many caves carved through the limestone. Overnight in Tamcoc.
Day 7: Tam Coc – Halong Bay. Cruise / Kayaking. Overnight on the boat.
Enjoy the journey through the rich farmlands of the Red River Delta and the scenery of rice fields. Arrive in Halong around noon and board the Bai Tho traditional sailing junk (or Duc Phuong junk). Whilst cruising the exquisite waters sample the regions fresh seafood. Visit the recently discovered Surprise Grotto with its great views, and on the next island see the yawning mouth of Bo Nau Cave. Enjoy a swim in the emerald waters of Halong Bay or walk uphill the Titop mountain to have a great view or take a kayak to paddle navigating through the “forest stones” emerging from the sea. Watch the sun set over the bay whilst enjoying a delicious dinner. Overnight on board.
Day 8: Cruise/Kayaking..
Breakfast on board. Then we continue kayaking zigzagging through many small islets of different shapes. The journey is really wonderfull and adventurous! Back to the support boat for our lunch which will be provided on board. In the afternoon, we cruise towards the Islands of Rocks and visit the Fishermen floating village. We will kayak in Ba Men temple area which is also a important highlight of our journey. Swimming at the sandy Three Peach beach if weather permits and enjoy the great view of Halong bay sunset. Dinner and Overnight on board.
Day 9: Halong Bay – Hanoi. Free afternoon.
Breakfast on board. Then we continue our cruise in Halong bay. Arrive at Ha long wharf about 11h00 and take our car for our journey back to Hanoi. Arrive in Hanoi at around 15h00. Rest of time will be free at leisure or personal discovery. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 10: Departure.
Breakfast at hotel. Free time till transfer to the airport for your onward flight back home. End tour.
Contact us for more information about this North Vietnam itinerary 10 days
Occasionally our tour itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travelers’ comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the service proposal. It’s very important that you print and review a final copy of your itinerary prior to travel. If you have any queries, please contact us.
Please note that while we operate successful cycling holidays in Vietnam throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.
Bargaining is not a strange fact in Vietnam. There are many places in Vietnam where people bargain, especially in open-air markets, street shops and rural areas. Therefore we are not good at bargaining. We don’t like this trick neither. Our time is precious and we appreciate your time as well. We would prefer spending our time on the tour arrangements to the price negotiation. Our price is fixed.
Our trip cost usually includes the following services. Please bear in mind Lotussia Travel is specialized in tailor-made trips. Trip cost vary depending on group size and other details.
- Vehicle for transfers and support
- Tour guide. The English-Speaking guide is provided by default. Other language may be available upon request (with extra charge).
- Bicycle rental
- Sightseeing entrance fees.
- Bottled water.
Unless required most of the following services are usually not included in our tour price.
- Visa (required)
- Flight/Train tickets.
- Accommodation pre/post trip.
- Travel insurance
- Personal expenses
Visitors are required to have a valid visa to enter Vietnam. A one month tourist visa is usually sufficient for most visitors, though it is possible to arrange three months or six month – multiple entry visa for regular visitors.
The official national currency is the Vietnamese Dong (VND), but the US dollar is widely accepted in Vietnam. However, small towns and the villages the VND is preferred, ATM are available in all major cities and towns, tourist destinations, Vietcombank, Agriculture banks are the two largest networks with a limit a single withdraw limit of 2,000,000 d (95 USD). Most major currrencies can be exchanged in Vietnam, but the USD is the most preferred. The exchange rate 1 USD = 22.400 VND (Nov. 2016)
Vietnam has a tropical monsoon climate. Broadly speaking, the weather in Vietnam is dictated by two seasons – the southwest monsoon from April to September and the Northeast monsoon from October to late march or early April.
Due to regional climate differences, there are no right or wrong seasons to visit Vietnam. The north Vietnam is cool, damp in winters between November and December and February with tempreture in Hanoi falling to around 15oC. The summer months from April to October are hot and dry. The best time visit Vietnam is spring (February – April) or Autunm (late September – December) when it is not so humid. The weather turns quite cold and wet in January and this continues to march. The humidity can prove oppresive from May to the early September.
Wearing a helmet is compulsory on all our biking adventures. Our tour guide often carry first aid kit while riding. Please follow your guide while biking, and much attention is required while you cross streets.
To assist you visualize how our bike trip is difficult, we have graded our Vietnam cycling tours into three categories, easy, moderate, and challenging. We group many factors into consideration into this grading, including distant covered, terrain, altitude, and vehicle support.
Involves cycling for up to two to three hours a day at easy pace and usually, less than 3 days in duration. The cycling distances is around 15 – 30 km per day. There are likely to be no steep and sustained descents as well as demand for technical riding. We will normally ride on flat roads. Suitable for bikers who enjoy occasional weekend riding on trails at home. Push bikes are sometimes used for these itineraries.
Involves biking for up to six hours a day at a steady pace and are usually between three to five days in duration. The cycling distance is about 35 – 55 km per day. Sometimes it can be long flat rides or medium ride with fews up and downhill climbs. The support vehicle will not always be available. We will need a good level of fitness. We use either mountain bikes or road bikes for these itineraries.
Involves biking in mountainous areas with big climbs for up to seven or eight hours a day and usually more than a week in duration. Cycling distance is about 60 – 80 km per day. There will be steep and sustained ascents and descents. The support vehicle will not always be available. These trips will provide a real sustained workout even for fit and experienced mountain bikers.
When cycling we mostly stay in small hotel, guesthouse or homestays. Some are more basic than others! Bear in mind that some of the places we overnight in are not on the standard tourist trail. In larger cities and towns, our hotels are generally more western style and are three or four hotels. Camping is not available on cycling tours in Vietnam unless it is required and this should be booked months in advance. Please see the details at the session “inclusions”.
Most of our tour guides speak English. Some other speak French. Few speak other language such as German, Russian, Spanish. All our guides have great knowledge of history, local culture, and religions of the area where you are cycling. Our guides have been trained in this field and is fully licensed in tour guiding.
We arrange a mechanic, with extra charge only for big groups or when it is required. When there is no mechanic, our guide will take care of problem which may occur during the bike ride.
Depending on the nature of the tour, our cycle journeys will be accompanied by an air-conditioned car/minibus cover the larger overland sections. We often use mini bus or bus for transfer and back up (guided tours).
- 1 – 4 people: we use minivan to support and carry bikes. Sometimes we use car with support truck.
- 5 – 8 people: we use one van and one truck to support
- 9 people – over: we use one bus and truck to support
We only provide bike rental and truck to support for self-guided bike tours.
Basic spares and tools kit are generally carried by our guide or mechanic or on the support vehicle, although we can not guarantee having spares for every conceivable problem.
Food and drinks
All the meals which, are mentioned in itinerary (B=Breakfast; L=Lunch; D=Dinner), are included in the tour price. Most of meals are Vietnamese local food. Vegetarians are certainly welcome and are always accommodated, please let us know of any dietary concerns at time of booking. Beverage and alcoholic drink are not included at mealtime or in restaurants.
Snacks and water
When we transfer, ride by minibus (no cycling day), our bottled waters are always available for you in the car/van. When we have cycling days, we will offer cold water (summer) plus fresh tropical fruits, soft drinks. Please find out what is included in our service proposal.
Comfortable lightweight clothing in natural fabrics such as cotton is most suitable for travelling in Vietnam. The dress code is fairly casual as in most parts of the tropics but it is advisable to cover arms and legs in the evenings against biting insects. A lightweight raincoat is a good idea in the rainy season. During the winter months warm clothing is needed for visiting the north of Vietnam. Visitors should not wear shorts, short skirts or other skimpy clothing when visiting religious buildings such as pagoda, temple and shoes should be removed before entering a private home.
What you take will naturally depend upon where you are travelling and the style of journey you are undertaking, and it can often be difficult to decide what to pack. Nevertheless, the following should act as a useful checklist of essential items worth thinking about taking.
- 2 pairs of riding shorts
- 2 riding jerseys (quick-dry)
- 2 pairs of quick dry socks for cycling
- Comfortable shoes for biking and walking
- Riding gloves
- 2-3 t-shirts or casual shirts
- Trousers or jeans
- 1-2 pairs of casual socks for non-cycling activities
- 3-5 sets of underwear (quick-dry)
- Cool-weather jacket or rain jacket
- Extra layers and gloves for cooler season or climate (thin, thermal, water-wicking)
- Bathing suit
- Tooth brush and tooth paste
- Hair brush
- Hand sanitizer
- Passport, wallet and ID
- Health insurance card
- Travel insurance card
- Cash and/or credit cards
- Camera (with spare battery)
- Plastic bags (for dirty laundry, wet clothes)
- Electronic chargers (for camera, e-reader, cell phone)
- Adaptors or convertors
Tipping for good services is always appreciated. It is customary, though not compulsory, to tip tour guides and drivers at the end of the tour. Hotels and station porters should also be tipped a small amount for.
Prior to our tours, we contact and work with local community leaders to make sure we are welcome and in a manner that minimizes negative social and cultural impacts. We visit local development and community projects specific to the region, encouraging customers to donate and assist such a projects in appropriate and sustainable manner.
Where make sure that where and whenever possible our tours positively benefit the local community. We stayed at locally owned accommodation and visit cottage industries for local handicraft souvenir, generating income for local business. We often employ, hire support team such as local guide, motor-taxi drivers, cook assistants on all trips to ensure that the local community benefit not only short term but with increased employment opportunities for the future.