1: ARRIVE HANOI (D)
arrival at Hanoi airport your guide will accompany
you to your hotel and assist with your check-in
procedures. Whilst there are no activities planned
for today, your guide will be on hand to offer any
advice and assistance regarding your free time,
and this evening will take you out to dinner at
one of Hanois superb restaurants.
DAY 2: HANOI
we have a tour of the city's highlights including
the Temple of Literature, site of Vietnam's first
university, dating back to the 11th century. The
temple is dedicated to one of the world's most famous
scholars, Confucius. Inside the temple grounds huge
stone stele rest on the backs of even larger stone
turtles (in Vietnamese culture the turtle represents
longevity). The stele recorded the names of the
successful candidates who would later go on to become
mandarins in the Emperor's court. We also visit
The Ngoc Son Temple on Hoan Kiem Lake and the vibrant
Old Quarter. The Old Quarter's bustling streets
are home to hundreds of small thriving businesses,
each one identified by its name, such as Tin Street
or Fish Street. Following lunch we visit the Museum
of Ethnology, dedicated to the country's 54 ethnic
minorities. This is a must for us as tomorrow we
embark on a trek into the homeland of several minority
peoples. The remainder of the day is free.
DAY 3: HANOI BA BE
an early departure from Hanoi we journey towards
Ba Be Lake. The drive of 270 km takes approximately
seven hours as we travel through the flatlands of
the Red River Delta and up into the mountain areas
north of the capital. The further north we progress,
the more picturesque the scenery becomes. Our scheduled
lunch stop will be at Bac Can town. From here it
is only around 2½ hours to our destination. Arriving
in Ba Be town by mid to late afternoon we will check
into our guesthouse and then head out for a bit
of an exploration before sunset.
DAY 4: BA BE LAKE
breakfast we board our private boat for a cruise
on the lake. Weather permitting you will have the
opportunity for a swim in the crystal clear waters
before having lunch on board. Following lunch we
will work off our feast with a three-hour trek to
a Dzao village. Here we will see firsthand how life
in these remote areas has remained unchanged. Arriving
back at the jetty we transfer back to our hotel.
Tonight we spend our second night in Ba Be.
DAY 5: BA BE LAKE
morning we take to the road again for the 90km drive
(2.5 hours) to Cao Bang. Here the H'mong, Zao, Tho
and Nung ethnic minority people live together in
harmony. We will arrive at Cao Bang slightly before
lunchtime and spend a little time learning more
about the people and their culture. This afternoon
we take a short 1 hour drive to visit a traditional
smith village befor returning to Cao Bang.
DAY 6: VISIT PAC PO
CAVE, TREK TO NAM NHUNG (BLD)
morning we enjoy breakfast before departing Cao
Bang for the 1½ hour drive to Pac Po, the hideout
used by Ho Chi Minh when he came back to Vietnam
after 30 years of self imposed exile. It was here
that he organized his resistance army against the
French. We embark on an 8-day trek covering a distance
of over 140km through mountainous rain forest. We
will be sleeping and eating in villages of various
ethnic minorities and generally living as the locals
do. Some of the hiking is quite arduous as we follow
ill-defined buffalo paths and trails. There will
also be some steep climbs over the mountain ranges.
We will be rewarded with some beautiful scenery
that the majority of travellers to Vietnam never
get the chance to experience. As we trek we will
witness the hardships and joys of people whose way
of life has been virtually untouched by modern times
and despite their extreme poverty, the people we
meet are some of the friendliest and hospitable
in Vietnam. Please note that to respect the traditional
customs of local hill tribe people, men and women
are not allowed to share the same bed, even if you
are married, when we are at the home stays. From
Pac Po we trek 12 km to Nam Nhung village inhabited
by the Nung minority people.
DAY 7: TO TONG COT VILLAGE
(Trekking 20kms) (BLD)
is our first day of full trekking and we will cover
20 km. Most of the walking is along dirt roads,
passing many villages of Tay and Nung people along
the way. After approximately 3 hours we arrive at
our accommodation for this evening at Tong Cot village.
There are few vehicles here and most travel as we
do, by foot!
DAY 8: TO NA MA (Trekking
terrain today is very similar to yesterday, following
dirt roads and passing many villages of different
minority groups, a great opportunity to experience
the different cultures living in the area. Na Ma
village, our home for the evening, is one of the
smallest villages in the North of Vietnam and consists
of only two families.
DAY 9: TO QUAN UYEN
is the longest day of the trek at 26km, however
the terrain is not too arduous and the scenery is
DAY 10: TO THA MENG
(Trekking 17kms) (B,L,D)
morning we have a 30 minute drive in our support
vehicle before we continue trekking to Tha Meng
Village. Once we arrive at Tha meng Village we can
cool down and refresh our bodies by swimming in
the nearby river.
DAY 11: TO TA LUNG (Trekking
we continue our trek along a river to Ta Lung, a
small border town. We expect to arrive by early
DAY 12: TO BAN LA (Trekking
is more challenging than the previous trekking days
as the terrain becomes more undulating with some
steep sections. Our trail winds through primary
forest and is a beautiful part of Northern Vietnam.
This is where your pre-trip training comes in handy.
This afternoon we have a well deserved rest at La
DAY 13: DRIVE TO HANOI
VIA LANG SON - HANOI (B,L,D)
trek concludes today as we bid farewell to our porters
and camp crew. From here we drive to the border-trading
city of Lang Son. We enjoy lunch and a visit to
the local markets at Lang Son before our afternoon
drive back to Hanoi. On arrival we can freshen up
at our hotel before embarking for a celebratory
meal at a Hanoi restaurant. Overnight in Hanoi hotel.
DAY 14: IN HANOI
is free for further exploration of this fascinating
city and to do some last minute shopping.
DAY 15: HANOI TRIP
arrangements conclude after breakfast. If you are
departing Vietnam today, a transfer will be provided
to the airport.
NB: The hotels we stay
in may change from those listed in the itinerary
itinerary may alter
due to weather or local conditions.