From the Mountain to Halong Bay

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Overview

This little (but extendable) loop takes you along a limestone mountain range stretching from the western boundaries of the country to the legendary seascape of Halong. Sceneries change every day, from green paddies of Mai Chau valley, through the forest of Pu Luong nature reserve and the towering limestone peaks of Ninh Binh, to Halong and Bai Tu Long bays. If you want the pleasure to last longer, contact our travel consultants to add an extra day at any of those destinations.  

Highlights

  • Leisure cycling across Mai Chau valley
  • Trekking to remote ethnic village for homestay overnight
  • Fantastic, changing sceneries
  • A comfortable cruise on the less traveled routes of Halong and Bai Tu Long bays

What to bring

  • Sun & rain gear (including sun cream, brimmed-hat)
  • Insect repellent
  • Warm clothes in winter (mid Nov to early Mar)
  • Trekking shoes/sandals
  • Daypack for trekking
  • Toiletries, towel and flashlight
  • Original passport
HANOI – MAI CHAU

Day 1 HANOI – MAI CHAU

Meals: lunch, dinner | Accommodation: Homestay at a traditional house-on-stilts

8.00 am - departure from your hotel. On the morning drive to Mai Chau, we'll leave the city behind and pass through craggy, mountainous landscape. We drive up a massive pass and end in the mountainous circus of Mai Chau. On arrival in the small remote village of Mai Hich, we'll check in to the traditional guesthouse of a Thai ethnic minority family, wooden and on stilts, like we love them.

In the afternoon, you take a warm up cycling ride around the green hills letting your guide point out and explain the wonders along the way. Afterwards, we return for dinner and overnight in the stilt house with our friendly Thai hosts.

With ‘Homestay’ experience, your overnight accommodation is provided by a local family in their traditional house-on-silts. There’s no private room and you’ll sleep on the floor in a large communal area. The sleeping corner is set up with a single mattress (thin, but adequate), blankets (ditto), pillow and mosquito net. The restroom is at international standard and a few steps from the main house.

MAI CHAU – PU LUONG

Day 2 MAI CHAU – PU LUONG

Meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner | Accommodation: Pu Luong retreat – shared-house

We leave our hosts after breakfast and drive East for about 15 km before entering the Pu Luong nature reserve. You’ll then get down the car for 2-hours trekking on single trail through Thai villages and rice terrace, with opportunity to take a break at local houses en-route.

Meet your car again for a quick transfer to Pu Luong retreat lodge, where you’ll check-in its’ traditional house-on-silts (sharing) and enjoy lunch break.

In the afternoon, we take another hiked on trails to Kho Muong village. The trek is not too hard and lasts about 2.5 hours at intermediate level. Plan to bring along good shoes and batteries for your camera. You’ll back to the lodge for dinner and overnight.

PU LUONG – TAM COC

Day 3 PU LUONG – TAM COC

Meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner | Accommodation: Chez Loan hotel - bungalow

After breakfast, we say goodbye to Pu Luong and head to Tam Coc. We arrive at destination just the time to drop the luggage and there we go for our little exploration. We propose you to hop on bicycles for an easy cycling around the Halong-like sceneries of Tam Coc and have lunch at a local house.

Later in the afternoon, when most tourists are gone and the sun is blowing orange light, we get on a local rowed sampan and discover the scenic waterways of the area. We come back to our cozy bungalow and get ready for dinner.

TAM COC – SAILING HALONG & BAI TU LONG BAYS

Day 4 TAM COC – SAILING HALONG & BAI TU LONG BAYS

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner | Accommodation: Superior Cabin, on board the Treasure Junk 

We depart early for an approximate 4-hour drive to Halong City through the Red River Delta region. Upon arrival, we will give farewell to our guide and driver, since they will bring us to join our little group cruise. 

Upon arrival, we will board the Treasure Junk and start to cruise towards the boundaries of Halong bay while a delicious lunch with fresh seafood is served (vegetarian and kid’s menus available).

Make yourself at ease and just relax after lunch. Hundreds of emerging limestone rock formations will parade all around us for about 2 hours before our first stop. We will reach then the perfect spot, where the waters of Halong and Bai Tu Long hit and wave together. Let's get ready for a closer look to the water and explore the bay in depth paddling on our own kayak.

We’ll get back on the Treasure before sunset, when we will be able to enjoy a cocktail on board while we will sail till the anchorage area where we will spend the night offshore. The dinner will be served either inside or outside on the deck, depending on weather conditions. Overnight on board in our cosy air-conditioned cabin with en-suite bathroom. 

HALONG – HANOI

Day 5 HALONG – HANOI

Meal: breakfast, lunch | Accommodation: not included

Wake up smoothly while witnessing the silence of the beautifully misty bay. From 6:30 am, coffee, tea and cakes will be served. We will be free to join a 30-minute Tai Chi session at the first light of dawn, organized by our Tai Chi master on board, so we will have the chance to energize our body, mind and soul, although if we prefer, we can simply enjoy a sunbath with a cup of coffee.  

We will hop later on a bamboo boat to visit a secluded floating village surrounded by mountains. We will trace our way among numerous floating houses and small rowing boats that are used in everyday life as vehicle, itinerant shops, fishing utility and even sometimes as an overnight shelter.

We will be back on the Treasure before 9:00 am to start cruising back to the pier. From 9.30, a brunch will be served. Take a last glance at the emerging rocks, standing still as the eternal guardians of a kingdom, we are about to reach the pier.

Once in Terra Firma, we will be transferred from Halong to Ninh Binh. The drive will take us around 5 hours, reaching Tam Coc (known as one of the most scenic spots of the region) in the late afternoon.

Note: On our way to Hanoi, we will stop at a place with food, beverages and souvenirs for sale. Please bear in mind that we are not trying to incite you to buy any product. This is just the only place on the way with proper facilities that our travellers, guide and driver can use without being forced to buy anything. Thanks for your understanding.

Good deal

When booking online this trip, our travellers will count on a free transfer from Hanoi to the airport OR from the airport to Hanoi. 
*Please kindly note that it will be only the transfer with driver and vehicle, no guide.
You can find all our current promotions at Our Last good deals.

PRICE PER PERSON based on a group tour

Validity Price per person
based on group of 2
Single supplement
1 Jan - 31 Dec 2019 USD 572
[vnd 13 270 000]
USD 90
[vnd 2090 000]

 

* Fixed prices in USD. Prices in VND are subject to currency fluctuations upon making the trip reservation.

* Single supplement: to be applied for those who travel with others but require a single room for her/himself.

* Prices valid till 31 December 2019 for the ready-to-book adventure outlined on this detailed program which has been handcrafted by our production team and that includes the best of the destination (highlights and some lesser known assets as well!). Our travel consultants will also be glad to customize this journey to suit your specific interests and travel-style. 

* Would you like to adapt the itinerary, accommodation, length of the trip or any activity as per your needs and preferences? Then just forward us your comments at info@handspan.com.

* Special prices for groups of more than 2 people, children and the possibility to connect the tour with other stages of your trip around Indochina by contacting us. 

Included

  • Accommodation as mentioned on the program.
  • Meals as specified.
  • Travel in an appropriate air-conditioned vehicle with an experienced driver.
  • The services of an experienced English-speaking guide.
  • A one-night cruise on board the Treasure Junk.
  • All entrance fees, visitis and activities mentioned  (cycling, trekking, traditional sampan, kayaking)
  • VAT and other taxes.

Not included

 

  • Accommodation in Hanoi.
  • Flight tickets or visas.
  • Beverages, gratuities and personal expenses.
  • Personal travel insurance.
  • Supplements on peak season.

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