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Vietnam Trek & Cruises: From Pu Luong to Ha Long Bay Vacation in 10 Days

Trek and cruise the remote sites of north Vietnam. Beginning at Pu Luong National Park, trek through hidden villages with basic homestay experiences. Then take a boat trip in Tam Coc to discover spectacular caves before completing this adventure on an overnight cruise on Halong Bay.

HIGHLIGHTS

Various activities on sites

  • Exploring the city of Hanoi learn about its history and culture
  • Trekking to the remote villages in Pu Luong & Ninh Binh
  • Experiencing the local life of hill tribe people and enjoying the local cuisine
  • Cruise along the beautiful Ha Long Bay and exploring and surrounding area

Unforgettable moments

  • Strolling around Hanoi old quarter, admiring local life whilst the sea of motorbike running around
  • Admiring the rural life of the countryside in Pu Luong & Ninh Binh
  • Seeing various ethnic people and admire their way of life
  • Admire the sunrise and sunset on Ha Long Bay

Nature exploration

  • The amazing nature of the countryside in Pu Luong & Ninh Binh
  • The pure nature of Ha Long Bay with open scenic view

Culture experience

  • Learn about the never-fading culture of Hanoi and its magnanimous history
  • The colorful culture of various hill tribe people in the northern Vietnam

Map

Detailed schedule

Day 1 - Welcome to Hanoi

Upon arrival at Noi Bai International Airport, Sonasia’s guide & driver will pick you up and transfer directly to the hotel in the old quarter of Hanoi.

Vietnam's capital races to make up for time lost to the ravages of war and a government that as recently as the 1990s kept the outside world at bay. Its streets surge with scooters vying for right of way amid the din of constantly blaring horns, and all-around layers of history reveal periods of French and Chinese occupation – offering a glimpse into the resilience of ambitious, proud Hanoians.

Notes

Check out the Hanoi travel guide

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Day 2 - Hanoi - Pu Luong Nature Reserve

Depart in the morning towards the west, to the Hoa Binh Mountains and the Pu Luong Nature Reserve 22km from Mai Chau Valley.

Arrive in the late morning and lunch at the village of Lac.  In the afternoon, take a short hike through the rice terraces and bamboo forests. Arrive late afternoon in Hang Village. Dinner and night at a house on stilts of the Thai ethnic group.

All homestays are equipped with a clean bathroom, a shower (save water please), simple mattresses, mosquito net and blanket.

Notes

From Hanoi to Pu Luong: 200km Transfer time: 4h Trek about 2.5 - 3 hours (8km)

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Day 3 - Hang Village - Kho Muong Village

For those who do not mind the early wake up, take part in the local morning activities or take a stroll around Hang Village before breakfast.

Then, embark on a more difficult day of hiking where there will be 50% village paths and 50% on an old, disused, unpaved French road. There are some steep climbs throughout the day, as well as some stream crossings. When the trek gets more remote, one is never far from a villager tending fields or walking back from the early morning market (subject to availability).   

While lunch is being prepared, relax from the heat of the day in a local home inside the village. After lunch, continue along the old jeep road to a village nestled between steep karst mountains. Arrive early with spare energy to hike a two-hour return trip to a newly discovered and incredibly large cave.

Hidden on high ground surrounded by thickets and hanging vegetation, the cave is now protected by forest rangers due to the delicate ecosystem and bat species inside.
Overnight at homestay in Kho Muong Village.

Notes

Trekking: 4 hrs or 12km Difficulty: Medium

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Day 4 - Kho Muong - Lan Village - Hin Village - Nua Village

This morning, hike through the forest and the peaceful villages of the ethnic Thai people. Beginning at Ban Uoi, hike through rice terraces, Ban Lan Trong and Lan Ngoai with beautiful houses on stilts preserving the traditional architecture of Thai.

Continue walking through villages Cao, Trinh. and Hin. The path of hiking goes uphill and downhill through the forest with scenes of rice terraces and pretty ethnic villages.

Spend the night with an ethnic Thai family in the village of Nua.

Notes

Trekking: 5 hrs (14km) Difficulty: medium

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Day 5 - Nua Village - Hieu Village

Wake up early to the sound of chickens and ducks, and village children preparing to go to school. Take an early morning walk through the village to experience morning life in a farming community. Hike approximately 4-5 hours to reach the village of Hieu located at the east end of the reserve. Nice walk in easy terrain with a picnic en route. On arrival at the village, visit a beautiful waterfall near the village.
Overnight in a house on stilts with a Thai ethnic group.

Notes

Trek about 4-5 hours ( or 12km) Difficulty: medium

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Day 6 - Hieu Village - Pho Doan - Tam Coc

Take a morning walk around the village of Hieu to observe daily life of local people then  trek towards Ma River Pho Doan. The trek is quite a gentle descend to a wide open valley. Arrive at Pho Doan Town.

If this day falls on a Sunday, pay a visit to the busy Pho Doan Market.

Lunch at Pho Doan before heading back to Tam Coc / Hoa Lu, which is known as Halong Bay on land.
Spend some time at leisure or choose to walk to Thai Vy Temple which is in a beautiful corner in the middle of the green rice fields.

Overnight at the hotel.

Notes
  • About 2.5 hours walk, 5 hours on transfer.
  • Transfer: 4 hours Trekking: 2.5 hrs Difficulty: easy
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Day 7 - Tam Coc - Galaxy Cave

After breakfast, begin a leisure 5 to 15 km (according to preference) cycling trip around Tho Ha Village passing by peaceful villages and enjoying the rustic countryside landscapes. Continue to Dong Tam Hamlet to join in some engaging agricultural activities such as catching crabs, fishing and transplanting, watering vegetables and more.

Enjoy lunch before cruising on a 2-hour boat trip through small canals among the paddy fields (rice fields seen between March and early June), then stroll along the winding rocky path of the foot for 200m and go up 20 steps to reach the Galaxy Cave Gate. Get inside the cave and admire the spectacular stalactites above the cave ceiling.

Continue to discover But Hien Cave and be attracted by many natural sparkling stalactites with shapes and figures before returning to the pier and transfer to the hotel.

Notes

Transfer: 1 hrs Cycling: 5-15km Difficulty: easy

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Day 8 - Tam Coc - Ha Long Bay

After breakfast, leave Tam Coc for an overnight boat trip on Halong Bay. The journey out runs through the rich farmlands of the Red River Delta, where it’s possible to observe the everyday life of Vietnamese villagers as they work the rice fields.

Arrive in Halong City late in the morning and board the traditional wooden junk for the overnight journey into the Bay (with lunch served enroute.)

After sailing along the idyllic rock formations, end the day by setting anchor in the middle of the Bay. As the sun sets over the water, dinner is served on board, consisting of fresh seafood, salads, and fruits.
Overnight on shared cruise in Halong Bay

Notes

Transfer: 3.5 hrs

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Day 9 - Ha Long Bay - Hanoi

Spend the morning returning to Halong City, enjoy a wholesome brunch as the boat weaves through strange-shaped limestone rock formations. Upon reaching the port, the driver will be waiting to provide transport back to Hanoi.

Overnight in Hanoi.

Notes

Transfer: 3.5 hrs

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Day 10 - Hanoi - Departure

You are free to stroll around the town for your own exploration before taking the departure flight

Notes

45-minute transfer from Hanoi Center to Noi Bai International Airport

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PLACES TO VISIT IN Vietnam
Hanoi
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Reveal off-the-beatentrack routes, least explored destinations, and unknown tribe groups

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Children under two don’t need to be tested.

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