Day 1: Hanoi Arrival
Xin chao! Welcome to Hanoi!
Upon arrival, your guide or driver will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel.
Day 2: Hanoi Cooking Class, Cyclo & Water Puppet Show
For your authentic culinary experience, we partner with Rose Kitchen, the no.1 cooking class provider in Hanoi. Today you will be picked up at your hotel by shared transfer. Head straight to a local market to purchase ingredients for the class and learn about produce integral to Vietnamese cuisine. Learn to cook in a local luxurious villa of 500m2 with a local chef. In the kitchen, you’ll prepare and cook authentic dishes, such as spring rolls, a salad of banana flowers, and barbecue pork with noodles and fish sauce. Once you’ve finished cooking, you’ll sit down to feast on the fruit of your labors,accompanied by free and unlimited local wine tasting, herbal tea, coffee,mineral water, our herbal welcome drink and free 1 beer/1 soft drink. You will then be dropped off at your hotel.
In the afternoon take a breezy cyclo ride through the Old Quarter’s 36 streets, named after the products that were sold from their shops. Today, vendors on Tin and Bamboo Streets still sell the same wares. Next, sip a strong Vietnamese coffee in a café overlooking Hoan Kiem Lake - an important symbol in Vietnamese folklore. End your day with a delightful water puppet show, a traditional art that is still being performed today.
Day 3: Hanoi - Mai Chau
Today depart for Mai Chau. Discover ethnic minority villages, lush green mountains, rural culture and delicious northern cuisine during your stay.
Upon arrival check in your hotel and relax. In the afternoon, why not ride through the rice paddies field in Mai Chau valley which is dotted with stilt houses? The ride offers opportunities for taking photos, visiting local families and interacting with the locals.
Day 4: Mai Chau Half Day Trekking Tour
This easy trekking tour unveils the beautiful landscape of Mai Chau at a relaxed pace. A short transfer brings you to a collection of fabulous Thai villages, one of which, Sam Pa, acts as the peaceful starting point of your hike across Pu Poc Mountain. You will be rewarded with views of rice terraces, traditional villages and shaded jungle. Eventually, your hike leads you back to a local village, where you can talk with the locals and learn more about their history of cassava and corn farming.
Day 5: Mai Chau - Ninh Binh
Morning at leisure.
After breakfast embark on a journey of about 3 hours to Hoa Lu, the ancient capital of the Dinh and Le dynasties dating back to the 11th century. Having been eroded over the millennia, the dilapidated ruins have nearly been absorbed by the spectacular scenery creating a mystical atmosphere that will be sure to titillate your imagination.
After lunch in a local restaurant you will continue to nearby Tam Coc, popularly known for its outstanding natural beauty and the scenic karst formations which contribute to its reputation as being the “Halong Bay on land”.
Board a small boat and meander lazily down the peaceful river while passing through a series of caves. While enjoying the sounds of soaring birds overhead and paddling along the crystal-clear waters of the river, jagged limestone hills jutting skyward out of electric green rice paddies will be sure to bring out the photographer in you.
Finally, return to the pier, where your vehicle will be waiting for you for your transfer to your hotel in Ninh Binh.
Day 6: Ninh Binh - Ha Long Bay - Lan Ha Bay
Depart from Ninh Binh and travel by road to Tuan Chau Island pier in Halong Bay Set off on Heritage Cruise, where you’ll be pampered in style and comfort whilst meandering through the towering limestone cliffs and emerald green waters of Ha long Bay. Stop in Tra Bau, a secret hideaway in Lan Ha Bay that has beaches, caves and coves. You can try kayaking or simply swim in the clear waters of the bay.
Back to your boat, enjoy life aboard the vessel or in your suite, and with cocktail in hand watch the sunset over the Gulf of Tonkin. In late afternoon part in a professional cooking demonstration before indulging in a luxurious dinner in the dining hall. Spend the rest of the evening as you’d like: watch a movie in the dining area, relax on the deck with a cocktail, or go squid fishing under the cover of night.
Day 7: Ha Long Bay - Hanoi - fly to Luang Prabang
Rise with the sun and practice Vivonam on the sundeck while taking in majestic views of the surrounding bay and the cool sea breeze. Wrap up your experience with a bamboo boat trip to visit Dark and Bright Cave before cruising back to Tuan Chau Marina. Your guide and driver will take you to Hanoi airport for your flight to Luang Prabang.
Upon arrival in Luang Prabang you are met and transferred to your hotel.
Day 8: Luang Prabang - Alms Giving and Kuang Si Waterfall
Start your tour with the ancient walled Citadel, which was closely modelled along the lines of the Forbidden City in Beijing. Then visit Khai Dinh tomb, admire the unusual combination of architecture that blends a traditional Chinese past with a modern Western future. Khai Dinh was the Nguyen Dynasty’s most eccentric and unusual king, who reportedly embraced French colonialism. Much like his father, Khai Dinh favoured imported luxuries, spent huge sums of money on his tomb, and was the subject of ridicule by nationalist leaders. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.
In afternoon you’ll have a tour of Thien Mu pagoda, one of iconic sights in Hue and An Hien garden house. An Hien garden house contains many large and small architectures built according to the traditional architecture style of Vietnam in general and Hue in particular. The garden house is strongly influenced by fengshui. The main architecture of An Hien garden house is a 3-room 2-gable house with wooden structure and beautifully sculpted patterns. Over a century of existence, An Hien remains almost intact both in landscape and architecture
Day 9: Temple Tour and Pak Ou Cave
Explore many of the former royal capital’s cultural highlights. You’ll visit Wat Xieng Thong, one of the largest and most decorative temples, and Wat Mai, with its beautiful gilded façade. Then continue on to the former Royal Palace, a commanding structure in the center of town that until 1946 was the heart of the Lang Xang Kingdom. Today it serves as the National Museum, containing rare religious and cultural artifacts. Next, climb 328 steps to the top of Mount Phousi and enjoy panoramic views of the city.
Travel by boat up the orange colored waters of the Mekong River to the sacred Pak Ou Caves, long considered a holy spot for the Lao people. The caves are home to hundreds of statues of Buddha, big and small, that have been left by devotees. You’ll be amazed to see how many are crammed in! Along the way you will stop at a riverside village to see weavers working on ancient looms before returning to town later in the afternoon..
Day 10: Living Land Half Day Tour
Travel from Luang Prabang to the Living Land Farm, a community project in Pong Van Village. In response to the destructive use of chemicals and pesticides, several farming families combined their land and adopted alternative methods to grow organic rice, vegetable, and herbs. The farm now sells their produce to restaurants and hotels, and also supports the local community through a range of projects, including education for underprivileged children.Spend the morning in the beautiful rice fields where farmers plough, plant, and harvest without the aid of machinery. Get knee deep in the mud to help plant rice and to help steer a water buffalo to plough the field. Pick fragrant herbs and colorful vegetables and learn to husk rice the traditional way. There is plenty to do on a farm, so the local farmers always appreciate the help. However, it is not compulsory to join in the fields. If you would prefer, relax on the veranda and watch from afar.
Day 11: Depart Luang Prabang
At leisure till you are transferred to the airport for your departure flight.