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Vietnam Family Adventure: Northern Vietnam Holiday & Vacation Itinerary in 10 Days

Perfect for travelling with kids & teenagers, Vietnam offers the perfect combination of adventure and excitement for all the family. Explore the backstreets of Hanoi by cyclo, experience rural life in Bat Trang, cruise through spectacular Halong Bay, discover fascinating lives of the ethnic minority villagers in Sapa.

HIGHLIGHTS

Various activities on sites

  • Exploring the city of Hanoi and the daily life of a Hanoian from behind the scene.
  • Joining the special water puppet show and learning to paint the puppet by yourselves
  • Trying making the pottery at Bat Trang Village and learning the skill from local artists.
  • Walking the mountain of Sapa and visit the colorful hill-tribe villages.
  • Cruising the beautiful Lan Ha Bay and the countryside of Ninh Binh

Unforgettable moments

  • Watching the special performance of water puppet show at a local family house.
  • Admiring the colorful market of Sapa with various ethnic tribes
  • Admiring the sunset & sunrise of Lan Ha Bay
  • Cruising along the countryside of Ninh Binh, Ha Long Bay on land 

Nature exploration

  • The mountainous area of Sapa & its surrounding area
  • The countryside of Tam Coc & Thung Nham in Ninh Binh
  • The pure atmosphere of Lan Ha bay and the surrounding

Culture experience

  • Learn about the never-fading culture of Hanoi, the behind the scene experience of a special water puppet show, and the art of making a pottery at Bat Trang Village
  • The life & culture of hill tribe people in the northern Vietnam
  • The peasant life of the countryside in Ninh Binh

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 - Exploration

This morning, embark on a Hanoi city tour. The first stop is the Temple of Literature, or Quoc Tu Giam. Built in 1076, The Temple of Literature was Vietnam's first university and was established within a temple to educate Vietnam's royalty, mandarins and members of the elite. The university functioned for an incredible 700 years and its gardens and well-preserved architecture offer a fascinating glimpse into Vietnam’s past. Then meander through the bustling Old Quarters. View the local kids’ toy world in the Old Quarter and explore the daily life activities around the Restored Sword lake.

Welcome Vietnamese lunch is at Cau Go restaurant with the best view in town.

This afternoon, get ready for an immersive, behind-the-scenes experience in Hanoi. Step into the home of Mr. Liem, a passionate seventh-generation puppet maker and performer. Get an introduction to water puppetry, a traditional North Vietnam art form that dates back to the 11th century. Take a tour of Mr. Liem’s workshop where shelf after shelf is lined with wooden puppet parts in all shares and sizes.

Be entertained by a half-hour performance at a small theatre in his house. Learn about the folklore and legends presented in the show and the significance of the performance itself. After the show, join the puppeteers and learn basic techniques, using bamboo rods to move the puppets through the water. Then return to the workshop and paint a puppet. Use a range of typical bright and shiny colors to create a one-of-a-kind puppet, all the while learning more about this local art form.
Following this insightful glimpse into one of Vietnam’s most beloved art forms, say farewell to Mr. Liem and return to the hotel.

Overnight in Hanoi

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Day 3 - Hanoi - Bat Trang Villge - Lao Cai (O/N Train)

Today’s tour begins at 08:30. After a sumptuous breakfast, drive 30 minutes to the ancient village of Bat Trang, a traditional porcelain and pottery community. Start exploring the old charms of the pottery village by walking through ancient and narrow alleys while admiring the unique architecture. Step into a local house and learn the intricate steps involved in making ceramic works of art from skillful craftsmen. Next, sleeves will be rolled up and hands sunk into soft clay while creating pottery using the time-tested techniques of the local craftsmen.

Afterwards, venture deeper into the village to discover a house where locals worship their ancestors. Here, a local elder explains the unique aspects of Vietnamese culture and its spiritual beliefs.

Continue the trip by learning all about banh cuon or rice pancakes, a dish of northern Vietnam. Pay close attention to the master chef as he explains the art of creating this local specialty, and typically rewards visitors who are able to prepare the best banh cuon. After this fun and rewarding experience, sit down and enjoy a tasty self-made lunch of local specialties.

The trip concludes with a tour of the ceramic market that really puts the influences of Vietnam’s growing economy into perspective. Expected return to the hotel is around mid-afternoon.

You have free time to stroll around the city before taking the transfer to the train station for a night train to Lao Cai. Stay overnight on train (04 pax per cabin)

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Day 4 - Lao Cai - Sapa Exploration

This morning, you arrive at Lao Cai station. A private bus will pick you up and transfer to Sapa. Sapa is notable as a hill resort, a market town for timber and love trade and known as the "queen of mountains". On arrival, enjoy a delicious breakfast at a local restaurant.

Then start a day walking tour to visit Lao Chai & Ta Van Village, Silver Waterfall and Heaven Gate. Rest of the day is free for you to relax in the hotel and discover the lovely small town.

Stay overnight in Sapa.

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Day 5 - Sapa - Hanoi by Shuttle Bus

Today, we would like to suggest you visit one of the most colorful markets in Lao Cai:

  • Sunday Bac Ha market
  • Tuesday Coc Ly market
  • Wednesday Cao Son market
  • Thursday Lung Khau Nhin market
  • Saturday Can Cau market

These markets are only held one day per week so every people from different hill tribes try to go there to meet friends and exchange their goods.

Transfer to Lao Cai to catch a shuttle bus to Hanoi.

Up on arrival in Hanoi, you will check in your hotel and relax.

Overnight in Hanoi

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Day 6 - Hanoi - Ninh Binh

After breakfast, our guide and driver will transfer you directly to Ninh Binh, which will take about 1.5 hours.

Arrive around 10:00AM, board a sampan boat rowed by a local for about 1.5 hours.  Known as “Halong Bay on land”, the boat trip is a nice journey along the river with the peaceful scenery of limestone mountains, rice paddy if traveling during harvest season.

After that, enjoy delicious lunch served at the bungalow’s restaurant with Vietnamese cuisine.

In the afternoon, visit a local family in Tam Coc. They are a traditional Vietnamese family with three generations living together. Here you will get the chance to see the house architecture and their daily life and their handicraft job of making traditional embroidery.

You have ample time to relax or stroll around the village before having dinner with Vietnamese cuisine while sharing the experience you have during the day with the host family, then stay overnight at the bungalow.

Notes
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Day 7 - Ninh Binh - Exploration

After breakfast at the Bungalow, take a bike to Mua Cave, which is one of the most alluring places to view in Ninh Binh.

Hiking up to the peak of Ngoa Long Mountain to take your amazing views of the Tam Coc, Ninh Binh area.

In the afternoon, you will continue the ride to explore the rice fields and limestone mountains with a unique route.

Continue the tour and board a small sampan to visit Thung Nham bird park, discover the most features of this area with more than 50.000 birds of 40 species flying to inhabit every day.

Departure to Hoa Lu, the ancient capital of Vietnam in the 10th century, visit the temple of King Dinh. Under the introduction of our local guide, you will get to know more about the Vietnamese history.

Before the dust falls, cycling back to the host family for free time relax with afternoon tea break.

Overnight at the bungalow.

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Day 8 - Ninh Binh - Lan Ha Bay

Leave Ninh Binh after breakfast for a 3.5-hour transfer to Hai Phong City with a 15-minutes stop on the way. 

Arrive at Got Pier towards noon then proceed with check-in formalities. Welcome aboard, followed by lunch while cruising towards the bay. Spend the afternoon enjoying some visits and/or activities (depending on each boat’s itinerary) or relaxing onboard with panoramic views of the karst limestone formation. Complete the evening with dinner served onboard.

Overnight on Lan Ha Bay.

Notes
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Day 9 - Lan Ha Bay - Hanoi

Wake up to the fresh morning amidst the bay and have breakfast (brunch on some boats) while leisurely immersing in the serene setting of the spectacular rock formations. Proceed to checkout as the cruise arrives towards port.  Disembark and transfer back to Hanoi.

Notes
  • This tour may be subject to change depending on weather conditions.
  • From Hai Phong to Hanoi (140km): approx. 2hrs
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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

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NOT READY YET?

We believe you have the right to arm yourselves with as much information as possible before making any decision.

Check below our detailed tips & guide for every places to visit in Vietnam, recommendation regarding the inclusion in each theme you prefer, and what you can do based on the time frame you have.

PLACES TO VISIT IN Vietnam
Hanoi
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Ha Long Bay
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Sapa
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Hoi An
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Hue
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Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
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Vietnam PLANS BY TRAVEL THEME
Must-see
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Check out all the must-see places and things to do & see

Luxury Holiday
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Unique experience combined with top-notch services

Honeymoon Vacation
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Easy excursions combined with unique experience making the long-lasting romantic memories

Wellness & Leisure
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Easy excursion combined with week-long beach break

Cruise
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The combination of some must-see experience and the cruise tour along the mighty rivers

Family Vacation
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The combination of fun and educational activities

Unseen
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Reveal off-the-beatentrack routes, least explored destinations, and unknown tribe groups

Cycling & Biking
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Explore every corners of the destination on two wheels

Trek & Hike
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Explore the least visited destinations and unknown experience on foot

Vietnam PLANS BY TIME FRAME
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Vietnam TRAVEL TIPS & GUIDE

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Vietnam BLOG ARTICLES

"Should I visit Thailand or Vietnam?" is some of the most frequently asked questions that we have from our travelers

Well, Vietnam and Thailand are the most popular holiday destinations in Southeast Asia. They are similar in climate and food, though obviously different in culture, lifestyle and travel experience.

Below we list 13 major differences between the two countries, to give you a quick overview and help you decide which to visit first. These are based on our own travel experiences, investigations, and partnerships with local operators.

...more

How long to spend in Vietnam may seem like a ridiculous question to address, but if you have plenty of time and aren’t sure how much to dedicate, this blog will definitely help you out.

You can find here and there that you should spend 10 days, 2 weeks, 20 days, or 1 month to best explore Vietnam. So what is the best Vietnam tour duration for you?

Well, as long as you like! From 10 days to a month, there are various ways you can travel across Vietnam and uncover its secrets. Advising an ideal trip length for Vietnam is a bit of a complex challenge, as it depends on several factors such as the places you wish to visit, the activities you plan to join, or if you want to combine Vietnam with its neighbor countries. 

Stay tuned! We are going to sort all these things out including the step-by-step guide to create the best itinerary in Vietnam.

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Vietnam would scrap the Covid-19 testing requirement for all arrivals starting Sunday, May 15th 2022, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has directed.

In a document issued Friday, the Prime Minister requested the Ministry of Health to closely follow the coronavirus situation and provide proper guidance. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs should direct Vietnamese authorities outside the country to inform people who wish to enter Vietnam to follow appropriate disease prevention measures, he said.

The latest decision has been made as the number of Covid-19 infections and deaths drops both in Vietnam and around the world. Several countries have been taking steps to relax coronavirus restrictions, including scrapping testing before entry.

Current policies issued by the health ministry require entrants to have negative results from PCR tests done within the previous 72 hours, or a negative result from a rapid test done within the last 24 hours.

Those who don’t have a negative test result must refrain from making contact with others during the first 24 hours after entry. They will be able to move freely once they test negative after arrival.

Children under two don’t need to be tested.

Vietnam stopped requiring medical declarations from those arriving from abroad starting April 27, and for domestic travel starting April 30.

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The “Colorful Hanoi” hot air balloon festival is one of the attractive activities within the framework of the program “Hanoi tourism welcomes 2022” taking place from March 25-27, 2022.

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The Ministry of Health said on Wednesday, March 16th, 2022, foreigners entering Vietnam only need to furnish a negative Covid-19 test certificate and are not required to quarantine.

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Vietnam is determined to fully reopen its tourism industry and will adopt measures to treat foreign and domestic tourists alike, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said Tuesday, March 15th, 2022

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Friendly and food-obsessed, hedonistic and historic, cultured and curious, Thailand tempts visitors with a smile as golden as the country's glittering temples and tropical beaches.
Cambodia
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There's a magic about this charming yet confounding kingdom that casts a spell on visitors. In Cambodia, ancient and modern worlds collide to create an authentic adventure.
Myanmar
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It's a new era for this extraordinary and complex land, where the landscape is scattered with gilded pagodas and the traditional ways of Asia endure.
Laos
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Vivid nature, voluptuous landscapes and a vibrant culture collide with a painful past and optimistic future to make Laos an enigmatic experience for the adventurous.
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