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Things to do in Northern Vietnam

Our most recommended things to do in Northern Vietnam

From Hanoi: 2-Day Halong and Lan Ha Bay La Pandora Cruise

1. From Hanoi: 2-Day Halong and Lan Ha Bay La Pandora Cruise

La Pandora Cruise 2 Days/1 Night (Ha Long Bay - Lan Ha Bay) (01 night on La Pandora cruise) Day 01: Hanoi – Ha Long Bay – Lan Ha Bay (L/D) 08:15 – 08:45: Hotel or private address pick up with our shuttle bus. Short break half way. 11:45 – 12:00: Arriving Tuan Chau marina, transferred by tender of La Pandora cruises. 12:45 – 13:00: Welcome aboard the cruise. Refresh with our welcome drink. Meet the captain, crew in the cruise briefing, safety instruction. 13:00 – 13:15: A special lunch in Vietnamese cuisine of fresh seafood and an assortment of appetizing favorites are served while sailing through Islets of Con Vit. 16:00: The Cruise sails through Lan Ha Bay. The area is surrounding of extraordinary limestone karsts landscapes. We progress to Ong Cam Area of Lan Ha Bay- a separate part of Ha Long Bay. This is a quiet tourist paradise in Vietnam, enjoy kayaking and/or enjoy swimming in the crystal-clear waters of the Bay. 17:30: Back to La Pandora Cruise, drop anchor for staying overnight. Enjoy cooking demonstration (teaching you how to make our speciality, Spring rolls) and the complimentary Sunset Party on the sundeck with local wine and fresh fruit. 19:00: Dinner is served in the restaurant. Enjoy delicious local food prepared and served for you by our wonderful onboard catering staff. After dinner, retiring to your cabin or join the fishing excursion, watch a movie, have a drink at the bar, wifi access or play exciting games. Overnight on board. Day 02: Dark & Bright Cave – Ha Long Bay – Hanoi (B, L) 06:00: Enjoy sunrise and admire the never-ending miraculous scenery of the Bay. Practice an invigorating Tai Chi session on the sundeck. 06:30: Light breakfast, coffee and tea served. 07:00: Visit Dark & Bright Cave and islets by local rowing boats which is a wild and mysterious beauty in the middle of the World Heritage. 09:15: Back to our La Pandora Cruise, relax before checking out. 10:00: Lunch is served on board. 12:00: Disembark at the Tuan Chau marina by tender. Take our shuttle bus to return to Hanoi 15:00 – 15:30: Arrival back at your hotel or home. Included: •Welcome drink, cold handkerchief, fresh fruits basket, two bottle of mineral water in each cabin. •Full furnished deluxe en-suite cabin with A/C, hot water. •Hi – class A/C shuttle bus (round trip). •All meals on board (02 Lunches, 01dinner, 01 breakfast). •Complimentary morning tea and coffee. •Cooking demonstrations. •Entrance and sightseeing fees. •Kayaking, Tai chi exercise, Local rowing boat, swimming (if the weather permits), Squid fishing. •English speaking tour guide. Excluded: •Beverages, tips, and gratuities. •Personal expenses Note: •The itinerary may be changed upon the weather condition.

Hanoi: 3-Day Lan Ha Bay 5 Star Cruise & Private Balcony Room

2. Hanoi: 3-Day Lan Ha Bay 5 Star Cruise & Private Balcony Room

Day 1 Get picked up at your hotel in Hanoi's old quarter. Transfer to Tuan Chau marina, welcome aboard to cruise. Refresh with a welcome drink. Meet the captain, crew, and join the briefing and learn safety instructions. Have lunch in the luxury dining room indoors. Continue cruising through Con Vit islet, Thumb islet, and Gia Luan harbor which belonged to the Cat Ba area. Discover the lagoon natural area belonging to Lan Ha bay. Kayak or swim or just simply sunbathe on the cruise. Enjoy a sunset party — the ideal time to make new friends or just relax. Join a short cooking demonstration. Dinner is served with a fresh food menu. After dinner, reward yourself with a large selection or enjoy one of the onboard activities like squid fishing. Day 2 Join a Tai Chi session for the early risers on the sun deck. Have a light breakfast with a panoramic view of the world heritage site. Transfer to a boat cruise for a full day trip and relax while taking in views of Lan Ha Bay. Enjoy lunch before boarding a smaller boat to explore some of the areas that the main boat cannot go through. Head to Viet Hai Village and take a bicycle ride to enjoy the scenery along the village roads and rainforests. Visit a local family’s house to see the daily life of local people. Back to the boat, continue cruising further into Lan Ha Bay. Arrive at a natural beach area for swimming. Back onboard the cruise, take time to refresh or relax in the sleeping area. Dinner is served with a different menu. After dinner, enjoy the landscape of the bay at night. Enjoy on-board activities like squid fishing, and watching movies in the restaurant. Day 3 Join a Tai Chi session on the sundeck for early risers before enjoying a light breakfast. Depending on the weather, try kayaking and swimming at Ao Ech. If there's time, visit a cave in the area. Take the option of either exploring the cave by yourself on a kayak or comfortably on a boat rowed by the locals. Check out the room. Vietnamese cuisine is served. Disembark from the cruise as the crew says farewell. Transfer by ultra-luxurious limousine (if you book our transfer). Arrival back at your hotel at approximately 3:00 PM.

Sapa: 3 Days 3 Nights Trek & Hotel with Overnight Train

3. Sapa: 3 Days 3 Nights Trek & Hotel with Overnight Train

Day 0: Transfer from Hanoi to Lao Cai by overnight train - At 9pm you need to be at Hanoi station (120 Lê Duẩn street) where you board the overnight train from Hanoi to Lao Cai. The train leaves at 10pm. Enjoy the night on the train and reach your destination in the next beautiful morning. Day 1: Sapa center - Cat Cat village (L,D) - Morning: Meet your tour guide at the train station then to Sapa at 6am. Then, indulge in breakfast at your hotel before taking a walk around Sapa, visiting the market and old cathedral, and meet Black H’mong and Red Zao ethnic minorities selling handicrafts. A walk down to the South-west of Sapa (around 4 km) to visit Cat Cat village of the Black H’mong. Relax at the foot of the stunning waterfall and the vestige of a hydroelectric power station that was constructed by the French during colonial time in Vietnam. Enjoy picnic lunch by the side of the river, and then next 3 km to Sin Chai, the village located at the foot of Fansipan Mountain, “the roof of Vietnam and Indochina”. From here you can enjoy huge stunning landscapes before climbing up on the way back to Sapa. - Evening: After dinner, you are free to explore the charm of Sapa by night, enjoy roasted corn, baked eggs beside a charcoal fire or go shopping. - Overnight in Sapa Hotel ( 3 stars hotel) Day 2: Sapa – Y Linh Ho – Lao Chai – Ta Van (B,L,D) - Morning: Have breakfast in hotel. And then 6km of walking down to the south east of Sapa along the side of Muong Hoa valley to Y Linh Ho village of the Black H’mong. Continue on 2km of trekking down to Lao Chai village of the H’mong. - Enjoy a cooking class and lunch at a local family, and then walk through terraced rice fields to Ta Van village of the Dzay minority people where we stay for the night. It gives you a worth chance for you to learn about the local house architecture which is full of their daily life styles and exclusive custom. Enjoy the landscapes. - Overnight in a local homestay Day 3: Ta Van – Giang Ta Chai – Su Pan – Sapa (B,L,D) - After breakfast, continue on trekking to visit 2 villages of the red Dzao, the H’mong. Visit a beautiful waterfall and rattan bridge. Enjoy landscapes… through bamboo forest to the main road to catch the Car to return to Sapa. - If any roads are too far or too difficult to trek, we can go by electric car or motorbikes. - Afternoon: around 2pm you’ll be back and pack your things. Say good bye and preapre to leave Sapa, get on the limousine back to Hanoi at 2.30pm. - Evening: around 9-10pm drop off at your hotel in Hanoi. End of tour

2-Day Traditional Cruise to Lan Ha Bay & Cat Ba Island

4. 2-Day Traditional Cruise to Lan Ha Bay & Cat Ba Island

Day 1: Ha Noi - Cat Ba Island - Lan Ha Bay Start your 2-day adventure with a convenient pick up from your hotel in Ha Noi's old quarter. At your accomodation you will have a short meet and greet with your driver before being transferred to Cat Ba. You will first take a short and scenic drive to God Harbour (Hai Phong city), from here, you will board your speed boat for the island of Cat Ba.  Once you arrive at the dock in Cat Ba you will be taken on a scenic drive through National road until you reach the main city centre of Cat Ba. Here you will check into your cruise.  After a morning of transit you will have worked up an appetite! Enjoy lunch at a local and recommended restaurant with seafood and vegetables. For the rest of the day you will get to see such sights as Monkey Island, Twin Beach and Ben Beo floating village.  After lunch you will first stop in the Hang Ca area, here you will be able to paddle along hidden lagoons and tunnels. At sunset your cruise will anchor overnight at three peaches island. Here you will be able to swim and enjoy cocktails at the bar before spending the evening on the ship. Day 2: Lan Ha Bay - Viet Hai Village - Cat Ba Island After you enjoy your delicious breakfast you'll be ready to start your second day of adventure. Continue on your cruise to Ha Long Bay - you will have the choice to either take a walk along the beach or ride a bicycle to Viet Hai Village. Once you reach the Viet Hai Pier you will start your 6-km cycle to a remote village in the middle of Cat Ba. Once here you will get a chance to see how the locals live.  After your cycling adventure you will head back to your cruise ship and travel back to Lan Ha Bay. Enjoy an early lunch on your boat surrounded by beautiful views and check out of your cabin. From here you will visit a fishing village on a boat through hundreds of islands at Lan Ha Bay. After this you will return to Beo harbour before being transferred via bus back to Ha Noi. 

Bai Tu Long Bay: 3-Day & 2-Night Swan Cruises

5. Bai Tu Long Bay: 3-Day & 2-Night Swan Cruises

On the first day, you will be picked up from your hotel and head to the northeast of Vietnam. On arrival at 12:30 PM, you will be transferred to the cruise. Then, enjoy a welcome drink, and listen to a safety briefing before checking into your cabin. At 1:30 PM, enjoy a delicious Vietnamese set menu while leisurely cruising to the core of Bai Tu Long Bay. Arrive at Cap La Island, the beautiful area in Bai Tu Long Bay, at 3:00 PM. Enjoy swimming, relaxing, or kayaking through the karst and the breathtaking nature. At 5:30, arrive back to the boat and enjoy a sunset party while sailing to the overnight anchorage. At 7:00 PM, indulge in a sumptuous set-dinner onboard. Then, at 8:30 PM, enjoy free time and join in with games, or try your luck at squid fishing.  Your second day will start at 6:30 AM with Tai Chi on the Sundeck. At 7:00 AM, a Western-style breakfast will be served with traditional Vietnamese food. At 8:30 AM, explore the well-hidden Thien Canh Son Cave. Your tour guide will explain the history of Ha Long Bay and this cave, made by Mother Nature. At 9:30 AM, you'll cruise past several floating hamlets including Cap La and Vung Ha, and enter the center of the pristine Bai Tu Long Geology Park. On arrival, enjoy a whole day of fun and relaxation with more kayaking, swimming, and sandy beaches. Be back to the boat for a delicious hot lunch at noon. At 2:00 PM, spend more time relaxing, kayaking, cave visiting, and swimming. Then, return to the main boat at 4:30 PM and enjoy a sunset party. Again, dinner will be served at 7:00 PM and then you can enjoy free time at 8:30 PM to join in with games, or try your luck at squid fishing.  On the third day, start at 6:30 AM with a Tai Chi demonstration on the sundeck. At 7:00 AM, a Western-style breakfast will be served with traditional Vietnamese food. At 9:30 AM, finish packing and check out of your cabin. At 10:30 AM, a Vietnamese cooking demonstration will take place on the boat. Enjoy a traditional Vietnamese brunch at 11:00 AM before disembarking at 12:00 PM. At 12:30 PM, it is time to say farewell to Halong Bay and then return to Hanoi. You will be dropped back to your hotel at around 5:30 PM. 

From Hanoi: 2-Day Sapa Trekking Tour with Limousine Transfer

6. From Hanoi: 2-Day Sapa Trekking Tour with Limousine Transfer

Day 1: Hanoi – Sapa (Lunch) Start with pickup from your hotel in the Old Quarter of Hanoi and depart for Sapa. Follow the highway to Lao Cai city where you will make your first stop for breakfast by yourself. Stop off at Lao Cai city before arriving in Sapa, where you'll see the colorful traditional costumes of H’mong, Dzao, and Tay People. Here enjoy a lunch of local Vietnamese dishes at the hotel. Take a short trek to the gate of Cat Cat village, home of the Black H’mong ethnic people and located near the bottom of a deep valley at the foot of Fansipan Peak. A local guide will give you insight into the daily life of the locals. Trek down to the bottom of the valley to the waterfall, where the French built a hydraulic power station. Stop to take photos before walking back uphill to meet the bus. The trek is approximately 2.5 kilometers and lasts for 2 hours. In the evening, return to Sapa Town, where you can enjoy your evening at your leisure. Stay overnight in Sapa Lodge/Charm Sapa Hotel or similar. Day 2: Sapa – Hanoi (Breakfast/Lunch) Have breakfast at your hotel and prepare a light pack for trekking. You can keep your luggage in storage at the reception. Take a Trek to Lao Chai Village through the rice terraces and along Muong Hoa Streams to the Black Hmong village of Lao Chai.  See the spectacular landscape of Hoang Lien Son Mountain before heading to Ta Van village, home of the Dzay People. The trek takes around 3.5 hours and covers about 9-12 kilometers. The tour guide will make the best itinerary for the trek depending on your ability of trekking. The bus will pick you up at Ta Van Bridge to take you back to the center of Sapa. Take a break at the hotel and have lunch, before enjoying some time to explore at your own leisure. After some free time, meet the rest of your group at the hotel to prepare for your return to Hanoi. Get back on the bus around 2:30 PM to go back to Hanoi. During the journey, stop for a break. Arrive back at your accommodation in Hanoi in the late evening at about 9:00 PM.

Hanoi: 2-Day Ha Long Bay 5-Star Cruise Tour with Activities

7. Hanoi: 2-Day Ha Long Bay 5-Star Cruise Tour with Activities

Day 1: Ha Long Bay and Kayaking Start with pickup from your hotel in Hanoi. From there you will drive through the green fields on the Red River Delta to Ha Long City. Once having arrived at the harbor, you will check in for your cruise on the Ha Long, which will begin with a welcome drink and cruise briefing. Enjoy lunch while cruising to Ha Long Bay. Explore the Eo Ech area where you can do some kayaking around limestone islets or some swimming in the sea. Enjoy a picturesque sunset on the sundeck for watching the sunset. Enjoy Happy Hour on board with some cakes and fruit. Watch a cooking demonstration, and have the chef help you prepare Vietnamese spring rolls. Enjoy a seafood set menu onboard. Then make your way to the bar with a large selection of cocktails. Or choose to take part in some onboard activities: squid fishing, or simply relax in your cabin for the night. Day 2: Dark Cave and Bright Cave Watch the sunrise with a Tai Chi session on the sundeck. Enjoy a light breakfast before setting off exploring. Visit the beautiful Dark Cave and Bright Cave on a local bamboo boat or by kayaking to the caves. If you prefer, visit the Ba Trai Dao beaches and enjoy a relaxing day kayaking or swimming. Arrive at the picturesque lagoon, surrounded by magnificent mountains. Upon return to the boat, tuck into a buffet brunch. Return to shore, and be transferred back to Hanoi.

Hanoi: Ninh Binh Tour and Ha Long Bay Cruise 3-Day Trip

8. Hanoi: Ninh Binh Tour and Ha Long Bay Cruise 3-Day Trip

Experience the beauty of Ninh Binh and Ha Long Bay on a multi-stop 3-day trip from Hanoi. Ride a traditional bamboo boat, kayak to scenic caves, join a Vietnamese cooking class, and go squid fishing. Most meals, entry fees, and overnight accommodation are also included. Day 1: After morning pickup in a spacious and climate-controlled bus, relax on the scenic drive through the countryside on the way to the ancient capital of the Lê dynasty at Hoa Lu.  Get free time to climb to the Hang Mua Viewpoint to capture pictures before sitting down for lunch. Later, experience traditional travel with a bamboo boat ride. Explore one of the pristine karst caves in Tam Coc before checking in to the ecolodge. Swim in the lodge pool, try more local food, or rent a bike to explore the village during your stay (costs not included). Day 2: Hop on the shuttle bus in the morning and transfer from Ninh Binh to Halong Bay (no guide during the transfer). Pause for a 15-minute rest stop at the Hai Duong Province and arrive at the cruise ship in the early afternoon. Enjoy a welcome drink once you board the boat. Sample fresh, local seafood for lunch while cruising through Ha Long Bay. Admire views of Incense Burner Island, Fighting Cock Islet, and the Stone Dog rock formation. Soak up some sun onboard or go kayaking to marvel at sights like the Limestone Mountains, the Luon Grotto, and Titop Island. Join a sunset party onboard the ship and pick up some new skills with a Vietnamese cooking class. As day turns to night, indulge in a set-menu dinner of Vietnamese food. Afterward, join a squid fishing outing with the crew. Get hands-on while cooking fresh squid with the cruise chef. Continue the fun onboard with activities like card games or sing your heart out during karaoke. Sleep overnight in a cozy cabin. Day 3:  Wake early and admire the sunrise over the bay from the sundeck. Take in the morning views of Halong Bay with a cup of tea or coffee and a hearty breakfast. Transfer by boat to Surprise Cave, the biggest cave in Halong Bay. Dig into a traditional Vietnamese lunch while cruising back to the pier before being transfered back to your accommodation in Hanoi.

From Hanoi: 2-Day Luxury 5-Star Lan Ha Bay Cruise

9. From Hanoi: 2-Day Luxury 5-Star Lan Ha Bay Cruise

Day 1: Start with pickup from your hotel in Hanoi. Arrive at Tuan Chau pier and board the boat. Enjoy the buffet lunch while the boat is cruising towards North East of Ha Long Bay. Cruise next to the Dark and Bright Caves, the ideal place for you to get up close to Ha Long Bay by bamboo boat or kayak. Then enter a less populated area at Tra Bau - Lan Ha Bay. Select the option to discover Ba Trai Dao Beach, which is ideal for kayaking and swimming. Enjoy a refreshing dip in the green emerald water. Onboard you may join a cooking demonstration as you learn about Vietnamese dining culture. The chef and staff will instruct you in making a traditional dish from Vietnam. Enjoy happy hour at the bar while watching the view of the bay at sunset. Sit for a deluxe dinner made with the freshest ingredients in a sophisticated space with elegant French neoclassical style and traditional oriental touches. Admire the beauty of the bay at night. You may want to try your luck with squid fishing or watch a movie in the restaurant. Day 2: Rise early in the morning for a Tai Chi session on the sundeck. Enjoy breakfast at the restaurant while continuing the cruise. Take part in a kayaking tour in the Ao Ech area, before checking out of your cabin. Brunch will be served at the restaurant on the 2nd deck. Return to Tuan Chau Marina for your transfer back to Hanoi.

From Hanoi: Sapa 3-Day Medium Trek and Limousine Trip

10. From Hanoi: Sapa 3-Day Medium Trek and Limousine Trip

Day 1: Hanoi – Sapa by limousine, trek Cat Cat village Start with pickup from your hotel in Hanoi and begin the journey to Sapa Around noon, arrive in Sapa, have lunch and then check into your hotel room. Take a quick break to freshen up then walk around this charming town, paying a visit to Sapa market and the old cathedral. Meet local people such as Black H’mong and Red Zao wearing their traditional colorful dresses, selling farming products and handicrafts as souvenirs. Around 5:45 PM,  enjoy dinner at the restaurant in the hotel. Overnight at a 3-star hotel with a mountain view room. Day 2: Sapa - Y Linh Ho – Lao Chai – Ta Van village (breakfast, lunch, dinner) Wake up in the morning and enjoy the fresh air. Have a local breakfast in the restaurant, then, get ready for trekking. Check out of the room and begin your exploration trip to Muong Hoa valley. Follow the main road heading south for about an hour before turning right to a footpath downhill to Muong Hoa Valley. This part offers spectacular scenery of the highest part of Hoang Lien Son mountain range and on a nice day, Fansipan Peak can be seen. Crossing the river by a suspension bridge you will challenge your feet uphill to Y Linh Ho village. Here, pay a visit to some H’mong families, and watch them doing their daily work. After a picnic lunch, the trail continues up and downhill for about 2 hours as you reach Lao Chai, a large village of the H’mong, and then follow the river bank to Ta Van of the Zay people. Visiting local homes, enjoy your cultural discovery as well as the breathtaking scenery of the Muong Hoa Valley. Settle down in Ta Van village for an overnight homestay. Day 3: Ta Van - Giang Ta Chai - Sapa – Hanoi (breakfast, lunch) Leaving Ta Van village after breakfast, take the trail uphill, passing fascinating terraced rice fields and some small hamlets of the H’mong before getting through a bamboo forest to a waterfall. Enjoy a break for some magnificent scenery and then continue walking for half an hour to Giang Ta Chai village of the Red Zao people, which sits on the top of a hill and looks down Muong Hoa river. After spending time visiting the village, making friends with the Zao, and experiencing their hospitality, cross the river by another suspension bridge and then go uphill again to Hau Thao village. Visit a local handicraft center where H’mong and Zao women gather to exchange experience and skills of making handicrafts. A late lunch will be prepared nearby this center and then you have time to relax and prepare before heading back to Hanoi. The tour guide will take you to the bus station. The limousine journey back to Hanoi takes five or six hours (depending on traffic). Arrive in Hanoi around 9:30 PM to 10:00 PM. Drop-off location: - During weekdays (Monday to Thursday): your hotel/apartment in the Old Quarter - During Weekends (Friday to Sunday): the bus office or street corner that is close to your hotel/apartment in the Old Quarter.

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What people are saying about Northern Vietnam

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 581 reviews

Although the weather was clearly not on our side in Sapa (rain, muddy, foggy, and cold), yet, we had an enjoyable and memorial trip. Lana proactively provided a guidance and an arrangement before the trip. The night train from Hanoi to Lao Cai was really comfortable with private beds. Thanks to Lana, we luckily got a free upgrade to a private cabin. Our favourite tour guide, Lily (an ethnic local lady) who was nice, supportive, and knowledgeable. During the trip, we learned a lot about the richness of the local culture and the insight stories. The home stay at the village was also excellent, where we had a good evening and chat with other visitors and the locals. The foods were average but the hot drinks were outstanding. The home stay could consider providing heaters rooms for the cold nights. The hotel was good. The return trip to Hanoi on a Van (called Limousine!) was interesting as we sat on the first row to experience the “traffic”. We would definitely recommend the tour.

Great communication from the start. My partner and I had special travel arrangements that the tour company was very accommodating about. At no point was I unsure about the plan for pickups and drop-offs. The itinerary for the day was well-planned and the crew made sure everything ran as smoothly as possible. Special shoutout to our guide, Ken, for being such a wonderful host. He was very informative and very funny

Fantastic Tour and Guide. Asia Fun Adventures is a great travel agency. Easy to connect, quick response, very flexible and helpful. My experience Fantastic. Thank you.

Fantastic cruise, Thuy our host was great and very welcoming. Highly recommend.

Wonderful tour. The guide was excellent and we love it!