Only have one week to discover Vietnam? The mission seems to be impossible to cover all the stunning sceneries in this S-shape land. However, seven days are pretty enough to emerge in the Northern culture, unearth top picked attractions with an extensive range of must-do experiences.
Northern Vietnam is a massive area featuring almost all distinctive topography. From the delta to the highland and the coastal zone, our seven-day itinerary will cover them all.
- Explore the ancient vibe of Hanoi during the daylight and ready to be taken by storm in the vibrant nightlife of the thousand-year-old city.
- To the mountain top where the ethnic minorities are settling in. You will gain a completely different view of the routines of the local people by joining a family stay. I bet that it is never the same as any accommodation you have stayed in.
- Enjoy some ocean breezes on a UNESCO Heritage Site. The beachfront sundeck of a luxury cruise is ideal for a seafood barbecue at night and a taichi practice session the next morning.
Below will be the detailed schedule for each individual day for an Essential North Package on a seven-day trip.
Day 1: Hanoi Overnight Food Tour
After landing in Noi Bai International Airport, it’s highly recommended that you transfer to your accommodation to unpack the luggage before exploring the city. Hanoi is a bustling city all day long; carrying a lot of bags with essential items from one destination to another is not a good idea.
After check-in at the hotel, you can take a rest for some time or discover the surrounding area. The staff will kindly show you nearby attractions or famous restaurants in the area. However, don’t fill up your stomach because there is a food tour to satisfy your appetite in the evening.
Though Hanoi after dark is less lively than big capital cities like Tokyo, Seoul, the leisurely lifestyle with the hospitality of the locals is no inferior. A food tour will show you all aspects of Hanoi cuisine. You can try the taste of long-standing dishes such as Pho, Bun Cha, Bun Thang. Also, a more fashionable, Westernized cooking style can be found in fast-food chains. Stop by Ta Hien street on the Old Quarter to feel a youthful vibe of Hanoi before heading back to the hotel and have a night sleep.
Day 2: A City Tour And Catch Night Train To Lao Cai
Hanoi in the morning is beautiful and fresh. The native people often get up very early for exercising. Therefore, the best city tour should take off at 8:30 at the latest. Today, you will see this city during the nice lense of the sun. The first stop is Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. It is a building to commemorate the merits of Ho Chi Minh Uncle – a great leader of Vietnam. Within the surrounding area, you can pay a visit to his house and One Pillar Pagoda which owns the design resembling a lotus flower.
After that, move to the Temple of Literature and the Imperial University. It is considered the first University of Vietnam and dedicated to Confucius (Khong Tu). Here you will see a lot of stones with names of the students carved on them. It was a display of praise for the lifelong learning tradition of the Vietnamese.
The morning city tour finishes at a local restaurant for you to relish an authentic taste of Vietnam cuisine. Then in the early afternoon, ‘let’s leave for the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology. Do you know that there are more than 50 ethnic groups in Vietnam? In the museum, you will learn a little bit about their tradition and prepare to meet and greet with the hill tribes. Before going back to the hotel, why not riding a cyclo around the Old Quarter? The antique look of the Old Quarter well matches with that ancient kind of vehicles. And you will feel like traveling back in time in Hanoi.
But ‘don’t get lost in that feeling because you have to catch the night train to Lao Cai. ‘It’s a great way to save time and reduce the cost of accommodation. If you think this arrangement is too tight, you can spend one more night in Hanoi and travel to Lao Cai in the next morning. All the itinerary of Travel Sense Asia allows large room for customization. So no need to worry whether it fits you.
Day 3: The Mountain Breath
After a long night’s sleep, you will be at Lao Cai station at around 06:00. Our tour guide will be there to pick you up on a private van and transferring to a local restaurant for breakfast. Enjoy the morning mountain with some cold breezes. You can either choose to go to the hotel first or go straight away downhill to Cat Cat village. This is the local community of ‘H’Mong people. They live in stilt houses with gardens and rice terraces surrounding them. Go deep in the town, a giant waterfall and a hydroelectric station will open up in front of you. The local hill tribes make their customs by themselves using a unique knitting machine. You can try on their clothes and turn into a mountain resident to take spectacular photos in Cat Cat.
After exploring Cat Cat, we will return to the town center for lunch. Sapa is famous for a wide selection of dishes such as a whole roasted pig or veggie barbecue. Still, what food for lunch will be your choice.
When you finish lunch, ‘let’s get in the van. We will take you to the most break-taking view of Sapa. Drive to the Heaven Gate of Tram Ton; we will pass the greenery forested mountains and enjoy the marvelous views of Fansipan, the rooftop of Indochina. This is also our destination for the next day.
Day 4: A Touch Of Sky
As Fansipan is super high, the only way to get there is via a system of cable cars. We will drive you to the station where you start your 30-minute cable car journey through a magnificent Muong Hoa valley.
Finishing a long ride in the cabin, you can choose between climbing to the mountain top or taking a mountain train to the top. The first option can leave you exhausted, but the view is absolutely amazing. The latter choice seems more comfortable, but you ‘won’t be able to capture the magnificence of nature. It all depends on your preference. Both will lead you to the rooftop of Indochina, where it feels like the earth has met the sky. The sun looks so big and close while you can touch the clouds.
After grasping the spectacle of Fansipan, we will travel back to Hanoi, resting a night in the capital city and regaining energy for the next adventure in the sea.
Day 5: A Night On The Peaceful Bay
When you wake up, we will start another trip to Halong, one of the new Seven Wonders. Also known as Land of the Descending Dragons, Halong Bay is an island complex with nearly 3000 islands dotted with magnificent grottoes, creating ethereal beauty.
You will meet the cruise member before lunch and boarding on one of the most luxurious cruises in Halong. If you feel hungry, make yourself at home with a fresh lunch while cruising into the magnificent maze of thousands of Limestone Mountains.
All the afternoon will be your time to join a photo hunt in a World UNESCO Heritage Site before getting on the sampan boat ridden by residents to explore the Dark and Bright cave, two gorgeous caverns with a vast and enclosed lake on the other side. If you love the beach, ‘don’t forget to emerge in the turquoise water here.
When the sun begins to set, we will come back to the cruise, preparing for a sunset party on board. You can witness the talented chef performing his techniques and even participate in his cooking class right at the site.
After that, the atmosphere will go deeper into the sound of the exceptional performance of traditional Vietnamese music on the top deck. The slow melody acts as a lullaby, comforting you into a night of sweet sleep on board. If you ‘don’t feel sleepy, ‘don’t miss the squid fishing activities.
Day 6: Nature Exploration
Say Good morning by a taichi session, you will feel like recharging your battery. The morning practice is organized on the top deck, so you can exercise and watch the sunrise at the same time. Let’s have breakfast before going for a kayaking tour around the Tra Bau area. If you don’t know how to do kayaking, a local tour guide is willing to help. As we have multi-language guides, they will give you a lot of interesting facts about the bay.
‘Don’t lose track of time because, after lunch, ‘it’s time to come back Hanoi. The farewell lunch will be served with a wide selection of specialties, particularly seafood.
Expectedly, we will be back at the hotel in Hanoi before dinner so that you can have a free night to explore the city on your own. We will give you a list of suggestions, so ‘don’t worry if you ‘don’t know where to go. ‘Let’s chill out and have a fabulous last night in Vietnam.
Day 7: Ready To Say Goodbye
As sad as it is, you will have to round up the North Package here. But the good news is you have got all the valuable moments in the pictures taken by our guides. Moreover, despite the short trip, you have set your foot on the three most iconic landmarks of Northern Vietnam. Such a glorious success!