Northern Highlights of Vietnam

This 12-day route takes in the best of northern Vietnam, including Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Ninh Binh, Cuc Phuong National Park, and Sapa

Northern Highlights of Vietnam

Discover northern Vietnam on foot, by bike, by train and by boat on this 12-day itinerary that focuses on the region's natural and cultural highlights. Go hill-walking in Sapa, take the sleeper train between Hanoi and Lao Cai, and cruise Ha Long Bay. Other regions visited include beautiful Cuc Phuong National Park and the Duong Lam & Ky Son ancient villages.

Outline Itinerary

  1. Day 1: Arrive Hanoi

    You will be met on arrival in Hanoi and transferred to your hotel in the city centre. Rest of the day is at leisure.

  2. Day 2: Explore Hanoi

    Your full-day tour of Vietnam’s capital begins with its central landmark, the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum, a huge marble edifice housing the embalmed body of North Vietnam’s first president.

  3. Day 3: Ky Son village tour; Hanoi to Lao Cai by train

    Depart Hanoi this morning and drive 55km north-west to Ky Son Village.

  4. Day 4: Lao Cai to Sapa

    Arrive in Lao Cai this morning and, after a stop for breakfast at a local restaurant, set off for the mountain town of Sapa. On arrival in Sapa, tour the local market, a lively meeting and trading place, before checking in to your hotel.

  5. Day 5: Sapa

    At leisure in Sapa. Visit the local markets, or explore one of the region’s many beautiful trails at your own pace.

  6. Day 6: Trekking in Y Linh Ho; Sapa to Hanoi

    Depart for Y Linh Ho in the morning, where a scenic trail will take you down into the Muong Hoa Valley, festooned with lush terraced paddy fields (at their best September to October). Enjoy a 3-hour trek along the Hoang Lien Mountain Range, stopping to admire the scenery, before continuing to the Lao Chai Junction for a stunning panoramic view of the valley. Return to Sapa by car.

  7. Day 7: Hanoi to Ha Long

    Arrive in Hanoi early morning and have breakfast at a local restaurant. Then, depart Hanoi for Ha Long Bay.

  8. Day 8: Ha Long to Ninh Binh

    Spend the morning cruising through the limestone cliffs and emerald waters of Ha Long Bay before returning to the wharf, where you’ll meet with your guide and your driver and set off south for Ninh Binh.

  9. Day 9: Ninh Binh; Dong Tam and But Cave Complex

    Start the day with a leisurely bike ride (~5km) through paddy fields to Dong Tam Village, where you’ll enjoy a traditional lunch prepared by a local family.

  10. Day 10: Ninh Binh to Cuc Phuong National Park

    After breakfast at your hotel, depart with your driver and guide for Cuc Phuong National Park.

  11. Day 11: Cuc Phuong National Park – Hanoi

    Start the day with a visit to the Endangered Primate Rescue Centre – a project overseen by the Frankfurt Zoological Society – where you can view some of the rarest primate species in the world, including various species of gibbon, loris and monkey.

  12. Day 12: Hanoi – Departure

    Transfer to the airport for your international flight home or onward transfer.

Price guide

Price based on two travellers in shared twin/double accommodation and subject to availability at the time of booking.

12 days from £1495pp


12 days from £1495pp

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All our guides were very knowledgeable and helpful – we particularly warmed to Hnaung Hnaung Htwe at Inle.


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It is difficult to pick a favourite place but I think Gheralta and the remote rock hewn churches just take it.