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Vietnam Adventure Tours: 18-Day The Unseen Northeastern

With its endless mountains and forests, green hills and sweeping rice paddies, northeastern Vietnam is a place unlike any other. The region’s natural beauty is breathtaking and will make a trip here one of your top experiences while in the country. The journey will guide you through the endless exploration of the colorful northern area with chances to interact with local tribe people. At the end, wrap up your trip with some days exploring the world heritage site of Ha Long and nearby area.

HIGHLIGHTS

Various activities on sites

  • Trekking the northeastern Vietnam visiting plenty of colorful ethnic tribe villages
  • Kayaking the peaceful Ba Be Lake and the amazing Ha Long Bay
  • Cycling around to explore the local village in Ba Be lake area
  • Cruise Ba Be Lake and Ha Long Bay
  • Sharing the dinners and spend the nights with various tribe host families and learn about the different culture

Unforgettable moments

  • Admiring the calm view on Ba Be Lake and surrounding area
  • Admiring the panoramic view of the northeastern area of Vietnam, especially during the rice season (April to May or September to November)
  • Seeing the amazing Ban Gioc Waterfalls
  • Watching the sunrise and sunset on Ha Long Bay

Nature exploration

  • The evergreen nature of mountainous northeastern of Vietnam
  • The calm nature of Ba Be Lake and the surrounding area
  • The amazing Ban Gioc waterfall and Nguom Ngao Cave
  • The pure nature of Ha Long Bay & Lan Ha Bay

Culture experience

  • The various culture of northeastern Vietnam tribe people
  • The never-fading culture of Hanoi capital

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 - Ba Be National Park

You will leave for Ba Be National Park early in the morning. The beautiful Ba Be Lake is situated in the Bac Kan province, approximately 240 km northeast of Ha Noi capital. 

Today, on the way from Ha Noi you will pay a visit to the Thai Nguyen Minority and Culture Museum where you can discover more about the customs and traditions of the different ethnic minority groups in Vietnam. 

After having lunch at a local restaurant, you will continue your journey to Ba Be Lake. 

On arriving at Ba Be Lake in the afternoon you will have the chance to relax before your evening meal of locally sourced delicious food. 

You will stay overnight with a local Tay minority family in their traditional stilt house.

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Day 3 - Ba Be - Cycling & Trekking Experience

At around 08:30, after breakfast, your tour guide will take you on a trek to Pac Ngoi Village where the local people live by fishing and growing rice and corn on the land of "Soi Bai". 

You will then walk along the edge of the stream to view the stilt houses. 

After, you will borrow bikes from a local family and cycle to the Tày ethnic village area where we explore an amazing cave in the mountain. 

The journey continues to Hua Ma cave and Silk Waterfall which is about another five km by bike. 
If it is hot, copy the local kids and jump in and swim. You will have a picnic lunch beside the waterfall. 

In the afternoon you will return the bikes and walk around Ba Be Lake and try to capture some great photo shots of the sunset. 

We will go to the local markets for souvenirs and then travel back to the homestay by boat. 

You will have dinner and spend the night in Coc Toc Village.

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Day 4 - Ba Be - Kayaking Experience

This morning's walk will take you through the lush forest, home to many species of flora and fauna, to the shores of Ba Be Lake. On the way, you will pass through Nam Dai Village. 

After lunch, you will take to the water first on a boat and then in kayaks to discover an amazing cave. 
The kayaks will be loaded onto a boat which will take you along the Nang River to the massive tunnel of Puong Cave with its stalagmites and stalactites and thousands of bats. 

After exploring the cave, you will take the kayaks to explore the lake and get up close to the dramatic karst. 

If you like, you can also jump into the refreshing waters to cool off. 

You will kayak towards Bo Lu Village for dinner and an overnight stay in a homestay.

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Day 5 - Ba Be - Hoang Su Phi

After breakfast, you have ample time to relax and enjoy the fresh air before heading the road again for an 7-hour drive following a route through ever-changing scenery, from the delta to the foothills before entering the mountainous northern region. 

There are plenty of chances to stop along the way and visit the local hill tribe villages, admire the panoramic view, or just stretch your legs.

We arrive in Hoang Su Phi around late afternoon, just before the sunset.

Overnight at Panhou Lodge in Hoang Su Phi.

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Day 6 - Thong Nguyen - Nam Hong Village

After the breakfast at lodge, start trekking to Nam Hong Village (5 -6 hours) passing rice terrace fields, mountainous scenery, bamboo forests and houses of the hill tribes. The hill tribe group here is mainly Man Ta Pan and long-dress Dzao. Stop for a picnic lunch en route. 

Overnight at home stay in a Dzao house.

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Day 7 - Nam Hong - Phin Ho

Today embark on a 5-to-6-hour trek to the local hilltribe village of Phin Ho, an area known for its special herbal teas. Lunch at a Red Dao hilltribe village in Giang and learn about the local culture. Continue through lush valleys, passing remote villages and hilltribes en route to Phin Ho. 

Overnight at home stay in a Man Ta Pan house.

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Day 8 - Phin Ho - Hoang Su Phi

After breakfast start the trek back to PanHou Village (5 -6 hours). On the way visit Nam Nghi Villages to experience the breathtaking scenery of the rice terraces. Following the Phin Ho Stream,stop for a short break for lunch before continuing to Pan Hou Village where there will be time for relaxation or personal exploration. Why not try the Traditional Herb Bath in the Lodge to recover after several days trekking?

Dinner and overnight in Pan Hou Village

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Day 9 - Hoang Su Phi - Quan Ba - Yen Minh

Enjoy the breakfast at the ecolodge, then the drive up to the highland region of Ha Giang will take us to the Karst Geo-park with plenty of stops for taking photos as you will take a succession of stunning passes over the rolling mountains and valleys. 

The highlight will be at Quan Ba pass, getting the feeling of touching the sky in Quan Ba Heaven Gate and admiring the special art of nature of Quan Ba Twin Mountains.

Arrive in Yen Minh town, check in your hotel and you can spend the rest of the day rambling around the nearby village named Buc Ban, home of the Tay minority. Dinner and overnight in Yen Minh.

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Day 10 - Yen Minh - Dong Van - Meo Vac

Breakfast at your hotel, then drive through Dong Van Karst Geo – park, a unique combination between geo-heritages and cultural heritages.

On the way, the car will stop over for taking the photos, enjoy amazing scenery and exploring local life and the culture of the hill tribes in Pho Cao, Pho Bang and the residence of the Vuong family called “Palace of Hmong King”.

After lunch, we continue driving towards Meo Vac town via Ma Pi Leng Pass, one of the most spectacular roads in the whole of Vietnam, which clings to the side of the undulating mountains, giving unrivalled views of the valleys and terraces fields at an elevation of 2000 meters. Next to the road is a narrow gorge created by Nho Que river as it squeezes through the mountains, creating one of the deepest gorges in Southeast Asia.

Arriving in Meo Vac, check into a local hotel and take a rest. Dinner and overnight in town.

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Day 11 - Meo Vac - Cao Bang

If it is Sunday, you can visit the unique hundred year old Meo Vac market where you can find cultural quintessence of all mountainous ethnic minorities in Ha Giang as people from villages around come not only to exchange the goods but also to gather, drink alcohol, enjoy food.

After the market, our drive will descend to Cao Bang city. Check in your hotel. Dinner and overnight in Cao Bang.

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Day 12 - Ban Gioc Waterfall - Nguom Ngao Cave

After the breakfast at your hotel, we will embark the morning drive to the remote area, Trung Khach District. 

Have a short stop on the way to visit Phuc Sen village of the Nung people where you can learn how basically the local blacksmiths are making their farming tools such as knives, sickles, plough plates... 
Arrive at the Waterfall around 11.30. Take a short walk down to Quay Son River and get on a bamboo raft to visit the most beautiful waterfall of Vietnam. 

Have lunch at a local restaurant nearby. 

In the afternoon, continue with a visit to Nguom Ngao limestone Cave, which is located about 2 km from Ban Gioc.

Walking through this cool cave offers you a great chance to admire how wonderful the stalagmites and stalactites have been formed. Back to car and return to Cao Bang City. 

Overnight in Cao Bang.

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Day 13 - Cao Bang - Bac Son Valley

Check out of the hotel after breakfast and get ready for the morning drive to Bac Son Valley in Lang Son province. The drive includes some stops on the way for you to take photographs whenever you want. 

Arrive at Quynh Son village of the ethnic Tay people and have lunch on a stilt house. 

This afternoon you will walk to visit the village and hike up to the top of the telephone-station mountain for a stunning scenery over the valley. 

This is a great point for those who love photographing. Dinner and chat chit with the host of our homestay tonight.

However, you can choose to stay at a basic mini hotel or at a homestay of the Tay people 

Notes

If you stay overnight at the homestay, you will be separated to different beds (for couple) as it is the culture of the local people for guests – men and women sleep separately

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Day 14 - Bac Son Valley - Ha Long Bay

After the traditional breakfast, this morning we will embark on a 3,5-hour hike on a rural back road. Along the hike, you can have a close look at the local farming, enjoy the peaceful atmosphere in a good harmony of mountains, forests, and local life. At the end of the hike we get picked up by our private transport back to the family. 

After lunch, leave for Halong, via a bit bumpy but scenic road, which makes the drive worthwhile. We will drive through beautiful mountains and coastline of Quang Ninh province, the hometown of Halong.
Arrive Halong city in the afternoon, free discovery and relaxation.Overnight at hotel in Halong.

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Day 15 - Ha Long Bay Cruise

Spend your free time at leisure in the morning. 

At around 10:00AM, our driver will pick you up and transfer to the boat pier, then check in your cabin and start cruising around the bay to see the amazing karsts with different formations: Lion, Tea Pot, Toad, Dau Nguoi (Human Head) islet, and then stop for a walk through the Sung Sot cave “Amazing Cave”.

There will be plenty of time for swimming and sunbathing (If weather permitted) after the boat anchors at a clean calm sea. Enjoy a wonderful sunset dinner in our beautiful restaurant before retiring to the comfort of your cabin. Dinner and overnight in Imperial Junk Boat. Go fishing.

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Day 16 - Ha Long Bay - Cat Ba - Viet Hai Village

Breakfast on boat. After that, start cruising toward Cat Ba Island. Stop at Van Gia village and transfer to another boat for your cruising to Viet Hai village which belongs to Cat Ba National Park.

Cycle from Viet Hai primitive forest, trek through the forest up to the Navy Peak where you are overwhelmed by the beauty of Ha Long Bay and Cat Ba National Park. Cycle back to the boat and BBQ lunch on a white sandy beach.

In the afternoon, kayaking around Lan Ha Bay with full of exploration. Relaxing and swimming and spectacularly you have time to visit Cat Dua beach (Monkey Island) and Lan Ha Lagoon.

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Day 17 - Cat Ba - Hanoi

Rise early to have breakfast at your hotel before checking out from your room. You will be picked up by bus for the trip to Cat Ba National Park at 08:00AM, to join the trek for about 1.5 hour through the national park and arrive Gia Luan Pier by late morning. We'll board the boat, relax, enjoy the scenery and have your lunch while cruising along Halong Bay.

We'll arrive the mainland by noon and take the bus back to Hanoi, you'll be dropped off at your hotel or at drop off points in Hanoi's Old Quarter.

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Day 18 - 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 BLOG ARTICLES

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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.

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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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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.
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