Are you excited by local and regional cultures in foreign lands? If yes, then you are ideally suited for this 9-day tour in the Northern provinces of Vietnam. Arrive at Hanoi and experience the thriving art and cultural scene by taking a tour around the city, visiting the opera house, and visiting the many local handicraft villages. Discover the various ethnic tribes living in the mountains of Southwest Hanoi. Travel across several villages and spend nights in local homestays to gain valuable insight into indigenous lifestyles and the preservation of ancient creative arts and crafts. Enjoy the picturesque Ninh Binh and the tranquil town of Pha Diem to enjoy the scenic beauty of Northern Vietnam and visit the various religious and cultural monuments.
What is included in the tour
- All meals and beverages specified in the itinerary
- All local transport as defined in the itinerary
- All local permits and day tickets
- English-speaking local guides for day tours
What is NOT included in the tour
- International Airfare
- Travel insurance (if any)
- Meals not specified in the itinerary
- Additional services not specified in the itinerary
Enjoy a tour around the vibrant Hanoi city
Learn about Northern Vietnam cultures at handicraft villages near Hanoi
Visit several ethnic villages in the mountains of Southwest Hanoi
Enjoy an overnight trip to Ninh Binh and Phat Diem
- Arrive at Hanoi, the capital city of Vie tnam. Reach your hotel where a delicious lunch is waiting for you. Feast on authentic Vietnamese dishes and without further ado set out to explore the city.
- Visit the most significant cultural landmarks that make Hanoi unique. One such site is the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Explore the history of the revered leader at the mausoleum and his former residence where you will gain insight into his everyday life.
- Go on to visit the One Pillar Pagoda, an eleventh-century Buddhist Temple built by the Emperor Ly Thai Tong. The temple is designed like a lotus, which is the Buddhist symbol of purity. You will come across the Temple of Literature – considered as the first university in Vietnam, built over a thousand years ago. The site is much revered by the intelligentsia of Vietnam.
- Finally, take a walk around the scenic Hoan Kiem Lake and visit the Ngoc Son Temple on the Jade Island close to the northern side of the lake. Feel free to enjoy a cup of Vietnamese coffee at a restaurant before heading back to your hotel.
- This day tour will unravel the various cultural features of the Red River Delta. Visit the Bat Trang Village to learn about pottery. Observe the local artisans busy in their art of shaping, painting and glazing a variety of pots, and how the products are put in large kilns to bake for some days. The Kieu Ky Village, on the other hand, specialises in the craft of making gold leaf and leather goods.
- Visit the But Thap Pagoda to learn about the art of woodcarving and sculpture for which this place is renowned.
- Visit the Dong Ho village to observe traditional block printing. Enjoy lunch at a restaurant in Bac Ninh.
- The next stop is the home of the celebrated contemporary artist Thanh Chuong. The Thanh Chuong Mansion is a majestic structure that covers almost 10,000 square meters. It houses many precious art pieces and antiques.
- Return to Hanoi in the afternoon, and spend the rest of the day as you please.
- Today you will embark on a journey across the mountains of Southwest Hanoi. Learn about the lives of ethnic minority groups living in this region along with enjoying the breath-taking sceneries of these forested mountains.
- Start early from your hotel to reach the meeting point in the city. The car will pick you up from there, and soon you will be on your way to Mai Chau. Admire the view of the majestic mountain range along your way. Enjoy some light refreshments at a restaurant in Mai Chau and continue your journey to the adjacent Mai Hich valley.
- You will be accommodated at the Minh Tho Homestay and will receive ample opportunity to observe local lives.
- After enjoying lunch with your host family, set out for a bicycle tour around the area. Observe the people belonging to the local hill tribe engaged in their daily activities of farming and livestock tending. Immerse yourself in the varied sights and sounds of the Mai Hich valley before returning to your homestay.
- Spend your night in a dormitory-style room.
- Bid goodbye to your host family after breakfast, and trav el to Pa Co Village. You will stay at the house of an artisan belonging to the H’mong tribe. The H’mong people are among the few who continue to preserve their ancient art form of Batik and indigo techniques for fabric dyeing. Observe as the artisan shows you how to form intricate patterns of beeswax on the cloth to seal parts of it from the indigo dye.
- If you arrive on a Sunday, you will have the option to visit the weekly Pa Co Market, which also serves as a meeting place for locals. You will find some unique products in the market, such as the colourful handwoven brocades sold by H’mong women.
- After visiting the market, hike to a deep valley and reach Hang Kia, a charming H’mong village. The place is well-known for its pleasant weather.
- Check into the Y Mua Stilt House, another homestay registered with the Community Based Tourism Project (CBT) in Vietnam that promotes sustainable tourism. Enjoy your dinner at the Stilt House.
- Venture out further into the unknown as you travel northwards to visit ethnic villages of the Muong and Thai people. Reach the Na Bai Village, from where you will move rather steeply downwards and reach the Thai ethnic village Phu Mau, which stands quite close to the enchanting Tat Nang Waterfall.
- After your visit to the falls, return to Nai Bai for lunch at a local home. Take a tour around Na Bai before leaving for Hua Tat, another H’mong village.
- Check in at a CBT homestay, and spend the evening watching the young people playing on the commune grounds; the friendly locals will be more than happy to include you in their games. Enjoy your dinner at the homestay.
- Enjoy the scenic beauty of Hua Tat by walking through the village lanes and the surrounding pine forests. Enjoy a delicious picnic lunch as you explore the woods on the hills.
- Soon it is time for you to depart your homestay and drive back to Mai Chau. Spend the night at the Hoa Ban Homestay.
- This homestay, along with the local brocade weaving cooperative supports underprivileged and disabled women from the neighbouring communities. The products made by these women (such as brocades and toys) are supplied all over the country, and the profits are used for the betterment of the lives of these marginalised women.
- Start early from Mai Chau to return to Hanoi in time for a day tour. You will feel the vibrancy of the city even more after a five-day retreat to the pristine mountains of the north. Explore the cultural side of the city by visiting the Hanoi Opera House. You will be welcomed into the VIP lounge and given a detailed account of the history and the architecture of the building. Look around the displaying room and enjoy the traditional Hon Viet (Vietnamese Soul) art show comprising dances, opera, ceremonial singing and flute performances.
- Continue to experience slices of Vietnamese art and culture after lunch. Enjoy a drive to the spectacular Westlake. Visit the lacquer workshop of Mr Tran Anh Tuan, a lecturer at the Hanoi College of Industrial Arts. He will give you a fascinating account of the history of lacquer craft in Vietnam.
- Try out some fundamental steps to make a lacquer painting at the workshop.
- Go on to visit the Dang Thai Mai Street lined with street stalls and cafés to witness the chaotic yet charming suburban life.
- Tour the market gardens that grow the Kumquat trees, essential for the occasion of Lunar New Year in Vietnam.
- Visit the Tay Ho Temple dedicated to the goddess St. Lieu Hanh.
- Taste some of the delicious local snacks such as shrimp cakes and snail soup from the nearby market.
- Embark on a two-day trip to Ninh Binh, also known as the ‘Dry Halong Bay’ for its comparable scenic beauty. Our pick-up will arrive at your hotel in the morning. Drive for a couple of hours to reach Ninh Binh. You will come across beautiful places like Tam Coc.
- Visit this cluster of three caves by travelling along the streams on a boat through lush paddy fields, and admire the sparkling limestone karsts rising from the cropland.
- After lunch at a local restaurant, go on to visit the Bich Dong Pagoda complex situated on the Ngu Nhac Mountain. Visit the Ha, Trung and the Thuong temples and enjoy a panoramic view from the mountaintop. Your final stop is Hoa Lu, where you will visit temples from the reign of the Dinh and Le dynasties.
- Drive to Phat Diem in the morning to view various churches and other places of worship. Each of these is built in different architectural design – you will find Chinese, Vietnamese, as well as French colonial examples. The most famous among the churches is the Phat Diem Cathedral – a Catholic Church built in the nineteenth century. It displays a unique blend of Vietnamese and European designs. Walk around the surrounding gardens of the church that has some beautiful rock formations.
- It is now time for you to return to Hanoi, from where you will depart for your flight. On your way back, ponder over the variety of cultures that you witnessed in Northern Vietnam in the past week. The memory of this tour is guaranteed to last forever!