This 10-day tour focuses on the highlights of North Vietnam. You start in the pristine valley of Mai Chau and the beautiful Pu Luong Nature Park and meet up with many local minorities. Then you explore the capital, Hanoi, as a true local. Via the stunning karst region of Tam Coc you reach one of the seven natural wonders of the world, Halong Ba, where you spend two nights aboard a traditional Vietnamese junk. A varied trip that emphasize on nature as well as urban explorations.
Day 1 & 2 - Hanoi > Ninh Binh (Day 2: B+L)
Arrival in Hanoi. Your driver / guide welcomes you and takes you to Ninh Binh south of Hanoi where you check in at your hotel. Good afternoon at leisure to scan your surroundings.
On day 2, after breakfast, you explore the historic 10th century capital, Hoa Lu, in the company of your guide. more particularly the imperial temples of kings Dinh & Le. Next on your pragramme is Tam Coc, often referred to as 'Halong Bay on land'. After lunch you cycle through rice paddies, board a sampan and sail through this impressive landscape. The river meanders as it makes its way through the rice fields and along karst rocks. Unique!
Day 3 - Ninh Binh > Pu long Nature Reserve (B+L+D)
After breakfast at your hotel you travel to the outstanding Pu Luong nature reserve. This leg of your trip will not go unnoticed especially when you stand in awe of the valleys views from the hilltop mountain road. a lovely meal awaits you at your hotel. In the afternoon, you go for a bamboo river rafting trip. An experience not to be missed! At the beautiful Tan Lap Bridge, you return to the hotel for dinner.
Day 4 - Pu Luong Nature Reserve > Mai Chau (B+L)
While walking through the fields and rice paddies this morning, you observe scenes from their daily life and meet the villagers who live near the hotel. You also learn about their colourful weaving processes. After breakfast you set out to Mai Chau. During the scheduled bike ride you come face to face with the local minorities and their markets. While you will find it hard to pick what to photograph first, life and local traditions display themselves in full glory.
Day 5 - Mai Chau > Hanoi (B+L)
After breakfast your guide takes you on a visit to the rural villages Na Meo and Na Mo is scheduled. You pop in at the local market and before you leave for Hanoi you enjoy lunch at your hotel.
Day 6 - Hanoi
Those who are inclined to participate in the daily tai chi & aerobics morning session that is an integral part of this culture are more than welcome. Today’s focus will be on the Ngoc Son Temple in the middle of the Hoan Kiem lake, a stroll through the old city centre of Hanoi, the Hoa Lao prison and the B-52 lake, named after a U.S. bomber wreck.
After a local lunch you visit the Temple of Literature and its gardens. Wandering over the railway tracks provides a mass of photogenic moments. And what to think of a local beer tasting in Bia Hoi? That way you round of your day the way the locals do!
Day 7 - Hanoi > Halong Bay (B+L+D)
The next highlight of your programme is one you have been looking forward to tick off on your bucket list: Halong Bay. You board a Vietnamese junk and set sail straight away. On board all is focussed on pampering you: the personal attentions of the crew, a delicious lunch and an exceptionally beautiful nature which glides by as you sail past. Feel like investigating the impressive rock formations up close. Done. Just board a kayak and off you go. At dusk you paddle back to the boat from where you can enjoy unforgettably colourful sunset. A cookery class on the top deck teaches you how to prepare true Vietnamese Spring rolls. You spend the night on board.
Day 8 - Halong Bay (B+L+D)
As regret always come too late, we strongly recommend you rise early today. Experiencing dawn here is magic as it paints an unforgettable picture on the canvas on your mind. And why not take part in a tai chi session on the sun deck just before breakfast. Today the bow of your ship points in the direction of Me Cung or Maze Cave, which you explore on foot with your guide. After a tasty BBQ on the deck you visit the floating fishing village of Vung Vieng and explore the extraordinary bay of Vung Ha by kayak. Again you spend the night on board in the heart of Halong Bay.
Day 9 - Halong Bay > Hanoï (B+L+D)
You awaken again in this picturesque setting of Halong Bay. This morning a visit to the cave of surprises Sung Sot has been scheduled The cave is often described as breathtakingly beautiful. Lunch is served one last time on board the junk. Then you sail back to the port of Tuan Chau and hop on the shuttle bus back to Hanoi where you set out to explore this city with French charm.
Day 10 - Hanoi
Hotels & Meals
In Laos, sticky rice (khao niao) is very popular. Laotians have traditionally eat with their (right) hand (s). If there is cutlery on the table, it is usually only a spoon and a fork. With the fork, slide your food unto the spoon. Then put the spoon in your mouth (never the fork). Chop sticks are used for eating feu or any other noodle soup. There is no fixed order in serving dishes.
Bia hoi: pavement pubs where fresh beer is produced daily and served cold in small, local bars. Not particularly alcoholic but very refreshing.
Banh mi: baguette style sandwich with meat, veggies and herbs (sometimes sambal), a remnant of French colonial times.
Banh Xeo: filled pancakes
Chà Cá: White fish noodles
Com hen: rice served with clams. Popular in Hue.
Goi Cuon : translucent spring rolls
Nuoc Mam: fermented fish sauce, widely used
Nom Hua Chuoi: Banana flower salad
Pho: an omnipresent noodle soup usually with beef
Saigon Beer & rice wine
- All Belgian nationals travelling on a Belgian passport (children and babies included) must be in possession of an international e-passport (electronic) containing min. 2 blank pages, valid for at least 1 month at the date of your arrival.All Belgian travellers need a visa for Vietnam !
Please be informed that customers who book a Connections day-by-day tour receive an invitation letter with which they can apply and pay for the visa-upon-arrival in Vietnam. Travellers who book flights only will not receive the former mentioned letter. As such the acquisition of an online visa is mandatory for them. In case a (typing )mistake has been made in any of the personal details filled out on the visa application form, you must re-apply for a visa via the official site. The Immigration Authorities in Vietnam are very strict on this matter. Please note it usually takes up to 3 days to acquire this visa!
Belgian citizens who book flights only can apply for an e-visa via the official website of the government. Please access this link for the list of countries and this link for the list of ports that allow e-visa. The online e-visum a well as the visum upon-arrival cost 25USD/person (subject to change). No refund is given should access to the country be refused.. Please kindly note the e-visa is applied for 1-month single-entry visa only.
- Travelers with a non-Belgian nationality and/or travelers travelling on a foreign passport are invited to spontaneously reported this matter to the Connections travel consultant and shall contact their respective embassy (s) or Consulate (ate) to obtain the latest updates concerning all current travel requirements and documents.
Have a safe and carefree trip: travel fully insured with our Protections travel insurance! Our Protections insurance policies offer various formulas in order to offer you the widest possible cover (with even a fly-on-time, natural catastrophes and epidemics) for both single journeys or for the entire year. We guarantee you the best protection at the best price.
The tours in our brochures are just a few examples of travel itineraries possible. Our trips can be tailored to suit your specific needs. If you want to book a specific destination or combine it with a mini-tour then we will gladly make you a tailor-made offer. For a personalised day-by-day program please contact our destination experts.
Would you like to travel in a group; with your entire family, friends or colleagues (min. 10 people required)? Put our know-how to the test and send us your details and wishes. We will gladly turn the blueprints of your trip into a detailed quote and a lasting memory for you to cherish. Contact our Connections Group Service by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on +32 (0)2 550 01 65. We would love to hear from you.
+5 h (summer); +6 h (winter)
Vietnamese Dong (VND) 100.000 VND = 3.94 EUR & 1 EUR = 25372 VND (01/05/2020)
There are no coins in circulation. Credit cards are mainly accepted in top hotels and restaurants in Vientiane and Luang Prabang. In these cities you can also pin. The north and the Laos' countryside have hardly any,if any, ATMS. It is good to carry cash euros, and even better US dollars or Thai baht. Dollar bills must be new and non-creased. The latest series (old dollar bills, or folded / crooked bills cannot be exchanged). You get a better exchange rates for 50 and 100 dollar bills. Smaller dollar bills are useful for souvenirs.
In modest restaurants a tip is uncommon. You do give a tip to the bell man and room personnel at hotels. Local guides and drivers appreciate a tip too.
The Laos rainy season lasts from May to October with occasional heavy showers. The countryside is very green then and the rice paddies look fabulous. The dry season falls between November and the end of April. March and April are the warmest months of the year with temperatures well above 30 ° C. At high altitudes, however, it may still freeze at night.
Average Temperature (°C):
- 8 night accommodation in listed hotels or equivalent
- Meals as mentioned (B= breakfast; L= lunch; D= Dinner)
- All transfers with private car and driver
- All admission fees to listed visits with English speaking guide
- Letter of introduction for your Vietnam visa request (Belgian nationals)
What's not included?
Good to Know
Standard Price per person
Superior Price per person