ITINERARY BY DAY
DAY 1: HANOI – MAI CHAU (-/L/D)
08:00 am depart for Hoa Binh. Photo stops to admire the hills covered with tea plantations, rice paddies and dotted with limestone rocks. Visit a village market on the way. Continue to Mai Chau valley, through typical steps on the road to Dien Bien Phu, visiting authentic villages where you are greeted by the Thai ethnic groups living in houses on stilts. Lunch in a traditional house in the village Van. Then do an exciting bike tour to the villages of Van, Pomcong and Lat to discover the daily life of the Thai ethnic minority. Overnight in a hotel in Mai Chau.
DAY 2: MAI CHAU – PU LUONG (B/L/D)
Breakfast. Enjoy your time in the early morning in Mai Chau before transfer to next destination: Pu Luong Retreat. On arrival, you will be transfered to a suspension bridge over the Cham River, where you begin your walk in search of stunning water wheels. Get up close to each wheel and discover how water is moved from river to handmade bamboo aqueducts via simple constructions of all sizes. Transfer back to Pu Luong Retreat for lunch.
In the afternoon, descend into the beautiful valley facing the Retreat where you walk around tumbling rice terraces. Trek through small paths shrouded in vegetation to slowly reveal a picturesque village sitting at the base of a towering mountain. Your camera will not be able to sit still! Overnight at Pu Luong Retreat.
Optional: you can enjoy rafting or kayaking on Cham river (with supplement)
DAY 3: PU LUONG – NINH BINH (B/L/-)
Breakfast. 8:00 Leave the Retreat for Ninh Binh. On the way, stop to visit to the Citadel of the Ho Dynasty, recognized as a World Cultural Heritage by the UNESCO, situated at Vinh Loc district, Thanh Hoa province. It was the capital of Vietnam from 1398 to 1407. The citadel of the Ho Dynasty is considered as the only stone citadel remaining in Southeast Asia and is one of the few remaining in the world.
Continue to Ninh Binh, passing through the beautiful landscape with immense pineapple plantations. Arrive in Ninh Binh at about 1PM. You will have lunch in local restaurant
Bike (about 2.5 km) through rural villages, limestone rocks and impressive rice towards Thung Nham. You will have the opportunity to admire a magnificent panorama view of the region that is considered the Halong Bay on land. A rowboat ride on a small river through 3 caves that give you the impression of being in a magical space. Inside the 3rd cave, there is a large stone resembling an elongated Buddha that brings luck, happiness and prosperity to man. This place is called the cave of Buddha.
Then landing for a walk (10 minutes) in the amount up to Thien Ha cave (Celestre River) where you will continue a boat ride inside the cave over 300 meters with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites . Back in the boat at the pier Thung Nham, then back to Tam Coc by bicycle. Dinner by your own. Overnight in hotel in Ninh Binh.
DAY 4: NINH BINH – HALONG (B/L/D)
Breakfast. 7:30: Depart Ninh Binh for the world famous Halong Bay, ‘the descending dragon’, a journey of approximately 3.5 hours. Listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO, Ha Long Bay is a stunning limestone archipelago stretching over some 1500 square kilometers and comprising nearly 2000 islands. You will board our junk for a memorable cruise through the ‘eighth wonder of the world’ gliding gently past fishing communities and hidden cave systems. Lunch on board.
During our time on board , you will visit the ‘Cave of Surprises’, where you can marvel at strangely formed stalactites and stalagmites. After anchoring at a nearby beach you can go for a swim or climb to the top of Titop Island to get a panoramic view of the bay and surrounding islands. Dinner will be served with delicious local seafood on board, with other options available. Overnight on the junk.
Remark: Cruise itinerary and schedule are subject to change due to weather and operating conditions.
DAY 5: HALONG – HANOI (B/L/-)
After breakfast on board, continue your journey cruise through the breathtaking scenery of Bai Tu Long Bay. Brunch. After disembarking, transfer back to Hanoi or to Noi Bai airport for the flight to the next destination.