Last updated on November 15th, 2016 at 05:01 am
The 11-day North Vietnam tour package, tailor-made by Lotussia Travel Hanoi is ideal for family holidays, travel with kids or small group holidays and those seeking an off-the-beaten path holidays to Vietnam. Different travel, outdoor activities have been added to the tour such as overland expeditions, ethnic culture experience, day walking tour, countryside cycle, boat trip, junk cruise, sea kayaking, water puppet show, cooking class. The tour takes you through both north-vietnam popular tourist destinations and less travel places including Mai Chau, Tam Coc, Ba Be National park, Bao Lac, Cao Bang, Dong Van, Meo Vac, Yen Binh, Quan Ba, Ha Giang, Bac Me, Halong bay and Hanoi.
Day 1: Hanoi – Mai Chau. Hiking Mai Chau valley.
Depart for Hoa Binh province and up then to Mai Chau valley. This scenic drive takes around four hours. Along the way we pass fields of tapioca and sugar cane as well as rice paddies.
Arrive Mai Chau around noon. Check into a local stilt-house where your lunch will also be provided.
Leave the village for a half day walking around. We will pass many different Thai hamlets, through rice fields, hill sides…We will stop by some local houses to talk with local people to understand their customs and culture.
In the evening, assist to the traditional music and dance show which is performed by The Thai young girls and boys. They all come from this village. Try also some rice alcohol made of traditional plants and local sticky rice.
Homestay in Mai Chau.
Day 2: Mai Chau – Tam Coc. River boat trip & easy countryside cycling.
After breakfast, enjoy a four hour drive to Tam Coc, also called “Ha Long Bay on land”, or the “Vietnam’s second nicest grotto” (to Huong Tich) for its poetic and inspirational natural scenery.
Arrive in Tam Coc around noon then have lunch in a local restaurant.
After lunch, take a 2-hour boat trip along the Boi river. The river trip in Tam coc is wonderful for photo hunters, especially when local people come to harvest the water rice planted along the river, or when they transplant some seedling for the next crops. The tourists often compare the place with Guilin – China, or more closely, to the limestone islets of Halong Bay in the Tonkin Gulf for their similar geological structures and shapes.
Cycle around Tam Coc visiting either Bich Dong pagoda or Thai Vy temple.
Dinner & overnight in Tam Coc.
Day 3: Tam Coc – Hanoi.
Cycle along the village roads with beautiful sightseeing and friendly local people. Arriving in Hoa Lu, we will visit Hoa Lu – The Acient Capital and the remaining two temples of Dinh King & Le King.
Have lunch in a local restaurant then travel back to Hanoi.
Free afternoon for your personal discovery.
Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 4: Hanoi – Ba Be National Park.
Leaving hotel, we will travel northwards along national road 3.
Stop in Thai Nguyen City after about 2 hours drive for visiting the Museum of Ethnology. Leaving Thai Nguyen and continue the road ride to Cho Moi townlet for lunch break and then continue the road ride to Na Phac junction. Visit a local Dzao village before arriving hotel around late afternoon.
Dinner & overnight in a stilt house (homestay).
Day 5: Ba Be lakes boat trip. Travel to Bao Lac, Cao Bang.
After breakfast, we will take a short walk to the boat pier and then enjoy the whole morning mainly on boat for exploring the pure nature of Ba Be lake and national park with some highlights including visiting to Dau Dang Waterfall and Puong Cave.
Lunch will be provided in a local restaurant on spot (simple).
After lunch, transfer uphill for 160 km to Bao Lac with several stops along the way for admiring spectacular scenery of the western part of Cao Bang Province and paying visit to villages of the Nung peoples.
Arriving in Bao Lac in late afternoon, check-in hotel. Dinner and overnight in a local hotel in Bao Lac.
Day 6: Bao Lac – Meo Vac, Ha Giang.
Leaving Bao Lac at about 09.00 for a drive along the Gam River for an hour before turning right and traveling uphill to the higher land, heading north to Meo Vac Townlet of Ha Giang Province. Stop along the way for visiting several small hamlets of the Nung, Tay and H’mong ethnic peoples scaterring along the Nho Que River. Arriving in Meo Vac at about 13.00, having lunch and check in hotel for a short rest.
Spend the the afternoon by walking along the stunning Nho Que River, admiring scenery of the spectacular Ma Pi Leng Pass, paying visit to villages of the H’mong, Zao and Red Lolo ethnic peoples.
Dinner and overnight in Meo Vac.
Day 7: Visit Meo Vac market. Travel to Dong Van, Yen Minh.
Get up early and visit Meo Vac market, the biggest hill tribe market in the area. Meo Vac is famous for its “Cow Market” where 300-400 cattle are sold every Sunday in northern Vietnam’s largest bovine exchange.
The sellers, who can earn tens of millions of dong per animal, always invite the buyers to enjoy local wine after the transactions.
Leaving Meo Vac, you will enjoy one of the most stunning landscapes of the northern mountain – The Ma Pi Leng Pass. Visit a small H’mong hamlet, set amongst the rock field featuring the very tough life on this limestone highland before continuing along the road 4c to Dong Van, the northernmost townlet of Vietnam. Walk along the ancient street of Dong Van before having lunch.
After lunch, enjoy an hour drive to Lung Cu, the northernmost commune of Vietnam, walking to visit a Red Lolo village for half an hour and then driving downhill 24 km to Xa Phin to pay visiting to the famous historical site of the Vuong Family’s Palace famous for its mixture of H’mong architectural style.
Continue our road to Yen Minh where will spend the night.
Day 8: Yen Minh – Nam An Lake.
Leaving Yen Minh for a drive up and downhill over the spectacular Yen Minh mountain pass with some stops for overviewing scenery and visiting a Red Zao village.
Leaving the main road, crossing the Nho Que river by suspension bridge and walk along the bank of the river for an hour through a H’mong village before taking the road ride again to Quan Ba Townlet.
Lunch will be provided in a local restaurant en route.
In the afternoon, we will take another short walk in a H’mong village before driving downhill all the way to Ha Giang Township and onto Nam An eco spot.
Day 9: Nam An Lake – Hanoi.
Full day road trip from Nam An to Ha Noi along national road 2 with several stops and break along the way.
Arrive Hanoi in the afternoon at about 05.00 PM. Check-in hotel. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 10: Hanoi – Halong bay. Cruise and kayaking tour.
Enjoy the journey through the rich farmlands of the Red River Delta and the scenery of rice fields, water buffalo and everyday Vietnamese village life. Arrive in Halong and board the Bai Tho traditional sailing junk (or similar 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. Alternatively journey to Dau Go Cave and nearby see the famous stalagmites and stalactites of Thien Cung Cave. Enjoy a swim in the emerald waters of Halong Bay or take a kayaking trip to explore the Bay.
Watch the sun set over the bay whilst enjoying a delicious dinner.
Overnight on board junk.
Day 11: Halong bay – Hanoi.
Wake up to fresh coffee and a wholesome breakfast before cruising back to Halong City. Disembark at the dock at Halong City at 11:00 and travel back to Hanoi.
Need further information about this north Vietnam tour package ? Contact us here
Last updated on November 15th, 2016 at 05:01 am
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 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 temperature 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 Autumn (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 oppressive 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 on the quote.
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.