- Active Adventure
- Culture & Heritage
- Learning Discovery
- Nature & Landscapes
- Ocean Cruising
- Off The Beaten Path
- Tours for Couples
Explore the best destinations of Northern Vietnam with us in 8 days! Discover the farmlands and be a farmer for the day in a rural village of Hanoi. In Sapa, you will trek through the lush forests to Sa Seng village, Muong Hoa valley and other remote villages, where you will meet and get to know more about the hill tribe people. Admire the wonderful scenery of limestone karsts and spectacular caves in Halong Bay while enjoying a delicious fresh seafood meal on the cruise deck.
- Day 1: Arrival in Hanoi
- Day 2: Hanoi – Experience Life in the Countryside
- Day 3: Hanoi – Overnight train to Lao Cai (Sapa)
- Day 4: Sapa – Hill tribe Village Trek
- Day 5: Sapa – Ma Tra and Ta Phin Villages – Hanoi
- Day 6: Hanoi – Ha Long Bay
- Day 7: Ha Long Bay – Hanoi
- Day 8: Hanoi – Departure
- This itinerary is a privately guided tour, designed just to show you what is possible.
- We can tailor this trip, it's inclusions and the accommodations, to meet your requirements, budget, and interests.
Arrival in HanoiDay 1
Xin Chao! Welcome to Hanoi, Vietnam.
Upon arrival at Hanoi Airport, your private guide and driver are waiting to meet you, holding up a welcome signboard with your names on it and take you directly to your hotel in the Old Quarter.
After checking-in, you will have time to relax and adjust to the pace of Hanoi. There will be a short tour briefing this evening with your guide followed by a welcome dinner at KOTO restaurant, a social enterprise that trains and employs underprivileged youth to provide a step up in life.
Please note: Your travel documents contain a Visa-on-Arrival letter (unless otherwise arranged). Please ensure to pack this in your carry-on luggage. Your Visa-on-Arrival letter must be presented to Customs upon entry into the country.
Overnight in Hanoi
Hanoi – Experience Life in the CountrysideDay 2
After breakfast and check out of the hotel your private guide and driver will collect you from the lobby and transfer a farming village in the Red River Delta on the outskirt of Hanoi.
Upon arrival, you will be welcomed by a local family and you will be their guests for the night.
After checking into the bungalow and changing your clothes, it’s time to become a real local farmer in the fields. Take a tour around their property as they describe their daily tasks. Through the guidance of the family hosts, you will learn the traditional methods for tilling the soil, planting and watering the organic farms. Certainly, you will have a chance for some hands-on fun.
After the farming section, a delicious lunch will be served at the local home. Then enjoy your rest afterward. You may want to take a nap during midday.
Get a feel for life in the countryside with a leisurely bike ride for 6km (4 miles) through quaint villages and agriculture fields, along the quiet, paved paths. Make stops along the way to enjoy the beauty of the green fruits garden, chat with the local people and observe their way of life. You also pay a visit to a local ancient temple and pass through the VIP area to see a different side of Hanoi, the Beverly Hills of Vietnam.
At the end of the day, join a fun game with future football stars in the village playground and see how passionate the kids are for sports.
Ride back to the local family for your free time. Roll into the kitchen to prepare a traditional Vietnamese meal with your hosts.
After a hot and nice shower, you will enjoy the meal and engage in lively conversations with the family. Tonight you will spend the night at the Riverside bungalow owned by the family.
Overnight in the Village
Hanoi – Overnight train to Lao Cai (Sapa)Day 3
Get up early to do some morning exercises with the local people, then your guide will take you to visit a local market where you will meet the local people and see how they make tofu and bread. Get back to the local home for your breakfast.
Later, you can either go visit the Primary school where you can teach the children an English lesson or you can enjoy your free time going fishing on the river.
If you are keen, again you can help the family to prepare your delicious lunch. This will definitely be an unforgettable experience for you during the time in Vietnam!
After finishing up your meal, bid a fond farewell to the family and drive back to your hotel in Hanoi where you will have the rest of the day at leisure. Pack up your bags for the train trip tonight.
Your guide and driver will transfer you Hanoi Railway Station at Tran Qui Cap Street where you will board the night train to Lao Cai. Accommodation on the train will be on a shared basis in a four-berth soft sleeper compartment with air-conditioning. The train leaves around 21:00 and arrives in Lao Cai City at 06:00 the next morning where you’ll travel 1 hour to Sapa.
Overnight on A/C train
Sapa – Hill tribe Village TrekDay 4
Early morning arrival at Lao Cai Railway station, your private guide and driver will greet you and transfer to your hotel in Sapa. Early check-in for your comforts and breakfast will be arranged.
Established as a hill station by the French in 1922, Sapa today is a must-visit destination in the Northwest. This is northern Vietnam’s premier trekking base, from where hikers launch themselves into a surrounding countryside of cascading rice terraces and tiny hill-tribe villages that seem a world apart.
After breakfast and some rest, your guide and driver will meet you again and transfer you to Hau Thao village, home to the Black H’mong minority. Here you will embark on a medium trek for 2,5 – 3 hours. Along the way, you will get to see the farms, orchards and rice paddies carved into the mountains enjoy the breathtaking view and endless photo opportunities.
After a picnic lunch (prepared by your guide) you continue to trek towards Sa Seng Village. Tucked away in the beautiful Muong Hoa Valley, Sa Seng is home to the H’mong people who live their own way without any influence from the modern life of Sapa town.
Walk along the length of the valley you will pass the other two hamlets. Continue your trek until you reach the top of a hill. From the high elevation, the panorama of the Muong Hoa Valley opens wide under your footpath. Enjoy a long break here before proceeding to the main road where your driver is waiting for you and take you back to your hotel in Sapa town.
The remainder of the day is free at your leisure. You can stroll around the town and dine in one of many great restaurants.
Overnight in Sapa
Sapa – Ma Tra and Ta Phin Villages – HanoiDay 5
After breakfast, you will meet your tour guide again and begin the day with a 3km-trek through the breathtaking landscape to the village of Suoi Ho.
Continue your hike toward the stunning village of Matra. You will pass the impressive ruins of a French Catholic church built in the early twentieth century. Take a few minutes to explore this intriguing sight and take some photos as you wish.
Your hike will grow deeper until your arrival at Ta Phin Village, inhabited by the Red Dzao ethnic minority tribe, with their beautiful traditionally embroidered outfits and practice of shaving their hair and eyebrows as a sign of respect. Ta Phin village is also home to the Black H’mong minority who live their own way with no cultural mixture.
Pause at a Red Dzao family and over a cup of tea, have a chat with them learning about their lifestyle. Enjoy a delicious lunch cooked and served by the family.
After lunch, you have time to stroll around the village, take pictures and do some fun shopping. The Red Dao people are known for their expertise in herbal medicine as well as the usage of plants from the land to treat many illnesses. If you’re a bit sore from the activities of the day, sample a traditional herbal bath made by a local Dzao specialist, famous for its therapeutic qualities.
Leaving Ta Phin you will be picked by your private driver and taken back to Sapa town. After that, you will catch the limousine bus for five hours back to Hanoi.
Arrive and check into your hotel in Hanoi. Pack up your small bags for the overnight trip to Halong Bay tomorrow.
Overnight in Hanoi
Hanoi – Ha Long BayDay 6
After breakfast, your private tour guide will pick you up and take you through the rich farmlands of the Red River Delta to the legendary Halong Bay where you will board a traditional-style Vietnamese Junk Boat that is your home for the evening. The limestone karsts and tropical islets rising up from the emerald waters of the bay provide an ethereal backdrop for your leisurely cruise.
Upon arrival you’ll be welcomed aboard your Stylish Junk boat, each with its own individual route, to begin your cruise around the bay’s thousands of limestone islets and caves.
After a delicious lunch on board, you will spend time to sunbathe on the sundeck and enjoy the peaceful tranquility of the bay.
Later you will visit Sung Sot Cave “Grotte des Surprises” a hidden gem of mother nature. Float peacefully through magnificent limestone formations containing thousands of stalagmites and stalactites.
Continue to cruise. As you weave your way through the islands, you’ll come across secluded bays, white sandy beaches, and floating villages.
There is plenty of leisure time to enjoy activities both onboard and around the fantastical scenery of the Bay. Pamper yourself at the cruise spa or swim in the emerald waters.
Toward the end of the day, you will sail to the overnight mooring area. During this time – the magical “blue hour” – Halong Bay reveals its true, magnificent beauty. You have a chance to attend the chef’s cooking demonstration or enjoy a mesmerising sunset on the top deck before a scrumptious dinner.
The rest of the evening will be at leisure. You can watch a movie or join the crew for squid fishing before retiring to your room for a restful sleep.
Note: If your time permits, we would highly recommend an additional night on board which gives you a lot more time to relax and take in the amazing landscape. You’ll get to cruise deeper into the Bay where it’s more beautiful and less crowded.
Overnight on board in Halong Bay
Ha Long Bay – HanoiDay 7
The graceful practice of Tai Chi eases you into your day as is the local custom. Join a ‘Local Specialist’ on the deck of the Junk boat for a morning class in exquisite natural surrounds. You’ll have time for an early morning swim at one of Halong Bay’s quiet beaches and, if you’re feeling energetic, hop on a kayak and paddle through the Dark and Bright Caves admiring the glittering stone walls.
Back to the Junk boat. Check out of the cabin and then enjoy a full brunch buffet as you cruise back to port. Disembark around midday for your return drive to Hanoi.
Arrive at your hotel in Hanoi where you spend the remainder of the afternoon and evening at your leisure. You may head to Bong Sen theater to attend the unique traditional Water Puppet Show dating back for a thousand years.
Overnight in Hanoi
Hanoi City – DepartureDay 8
Your private transfer greets you at the hotel after breakfast and escorts you to Hanoi International Airport where you board your flight home or travel on to more adventures, we will help you with the planning.
Inquire this trip
We are a member of:
We are a fully licensed company:
License No: 01-327/2014/TCDL-GPLHQT
Hanoi: The Hanoian Hotel & Spa/ Deluxe Room (3*++)
Homestay in Hanoi: Green Farmstay
Sapa: Freesia Sapa Hotel/ Deluxe Room (4*)
Halong bay: Glory Cruise/ Deluxe room (4*)
Note: Amendments CAN be made to this tour to suit your requirements.
- Spend a day being a farmer on the outskirt of Hanoi and experience the local culture
- Take an overnight train ride to Sapa. Discover the Hill tribe villages
- View the thousands of limestone islands rising out of the sea during the Halong Bay Excursion
- 7 hotel buffet breakfasts.
- 3 dinners and 6 lunches at well-selected restaurants
- Your own private guide and driver for in-depth cultural touring based on your interests
- Firsthand, sophisticated destination knowledge and recommendations from our locally born travel specialists
- Itineraries that are customized according to your interests and preferences
- A seamless travel experience, including all logistics, hand-picked hotels and restaurants, private airport transfers, internal transportation, and entry visa assistance…etc
- Around-the-clock support from your travel designer and concierge before, during and after your trip
Private English speaking guide, accommodation, private tours and transfer, domestic flights, A/C train, some main meals, all entrance fees, tax, and service charge.
What’s Not Included?
Your international flights from and to Vietnam, the entry visa to Vietnam, personal expense, tips to guide and driver.
How to Plan a successful Trip to Vietnam, Step-by-Step
Why to visit Vietnam
Where to Go
When to Go
Obtain a Vietnam Visa
How to Book a Tour
Packing and Luggage Allowance
Why to visit Vietnam
Vietnam, the S-shaped country, also commonly likened to the shape of a dragon, is located to the west of the South China Sea. The perfect combination of colonial elegance and rustic charm, it guarantees to satisfy all types of travelers with its rich experiences made all the more special by its charming people.
With cities to explore, temples to admire, and green countrysides to roam, there is plenty to see and do in Vietnam. Known as a colorful and diverse country from the wild mountainous north, with its myriad of ethnic communities, to the sleepless city of Ho Chi Minh City (previously known as Saigon) on the edge of the Mekong Delta, it is difficult to pick just one region to visit when coming to Vietnam.
The charming capital of Hanoi is a fascinating mix of fading colonial buildings and national monuments; the scenery of Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is bound to leave you speechless; Hue, home to the old Kings of Vietnam, appears to have been frozen in time for several hundred years with its ancient atmosphere and architecture.
With a 3260km coastline, Vietnam is home to many top-tier beaches; the country’s most unsung beauties. My Khe beach – “one of the most attractive beaches on the planet” as described by Forbes – offers blue skies, smooth white sand, clear & warm water year-round. Phu Quoc island, boasting several luxury resorts, is also a favorite escape for the rich and famous. The abundance of mountains, rainforests, and natural lakes also makes Vietnam a great destination for trekking, hiking, mountain biking, sea and river kayaking, and classic overland tours.
Where to Go
Most popular sites of Vietnam
• Sapa & Mai Chau – visit the hill tribe villages and plantations
• Hanoi – the capital of Vietnam
• Halong Bay – a UNESCO World Heritage site
• Hue – the ancient capital of Vietnam
• Hoi An – the kitchen of Vietnam and paradise on Earth
• Ho Chi Minh City (previously Saigon) – the economic heart of Vietnam
• The Cu Chi Tunnels – walk through the history of the Vietnam War
• Mekong Delta – see the floating markets
When to Go
Even though Vietnam lies entirely in the tropic zone, its climate varies surprisingly from region to region. Therefore this charming land is well-known as an “all-year-around” available destination for travelers.
In the north, from Sapa to Hanoi, there are 4 seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter.
In the central region, from Nha Trang to Hue, sunshine lasts throughout the year, except for the months of November and December when heavy rainfalls occur. Dalat, at an altitude of 1500m, is cooler than the coastal area, particularly from November to March. Da Nang and Hue both experience typhoon activity from mid-October to mid-December when the climate becomes cooler, more overcast and wet.
In the south, from Ho Chi Minh City to Phan Thiet, there are two main seasons: wet and dry. The wet season falls between April and September, with sudden heavy showers that don’t last very long. The dry season spans the months of October to March, with higher temperatures and long days of sunshine, followed by cooler nights.
Obtain a Vietnam Visa
Almost all visitors to Vietnam need a visa to enter the country, although some exemptions apply for citizens of countries with reciprocal agreements with Vietnam. Depending upon the nationality and passport of the applicant, a tourist visa can be obtained at the Vietnamese diplomatic office or consulates in foreign countries. Visas can also be obtained with the help of a licensed Vietnamese Travel Company, known as a “Visa on Arrival”. Visas may be either single-entry or multiple-entry, as requested at the time of application.
Visa on Arrival (VOA)
The easiest way is to get your visa through a licensed Vietnamese Travel Company, such as Indochina Pioneer. We can quickly and efficiently organize your pre-arranged VOA if you wish. Our visa processing fee is a reasonable rate of USD$10 / person only. Except for American citizens who are required to pay a stamping fee of USD$135 to get a 1-year, multiple-entry tourist visa, other nationalities need to pay just USD$25 / person for a single entry and USD$50 / person for multiple entries.
- To apply for your VOA please email us the following information:
- Arrival and departure dates
- Full passport details:
- Passport number
- Issuing date
- Expiry date
Note: your passport must be valid for 6 months beyond your travel date, and there must be several blank pages left on your passport.
- Once we have received your information, we will secure a Visa Approval Letter for you. This usually takes about 2 – 4 working days (ie. excluding weekends). We will then send you the letter via email or fax. You must present this letter upon boarding your flight. Also, you will need to prepare two photos (6 cm high x 4 cm wide – white background, no glasses, no smiling).
- On arrival at the airport (in Hanoi, Da Nang or Ho Chi Minh City) please find the Visa on Arrival window/counter where you will hand over your passport and photos, and be given a simple form to fill out. Pay the stamping fee of USD$25 for the single entry and USD$50 for multiple entries. The staff at the airport will shortly return your passport with your visa, after which you will be allowed to exit the airport.
The citizens of the following countries do not need a visa to enter Vietnam for a certain amount of time:
- Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Indonesia (maximum stay of up to 30 days)
- Philippines (maximum stay of up to 21 days)
- Japan, South Korea (maximum stay of up to 15 days)
- Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and United Kingdom (maximum stay of up to 15 days)
Unfortunately, citizens of the following countries are ineligible for a VOA and will have to apply at their nearest Vietnamese embassy/consulate :
South Asia – Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka
Africa – Algeria, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa
Starting from February 1st, 2017, the Vietnamese government officially launched the electronic visa plan for foreign tourists of certain countries visiting Vietnam. To apply for an e-visa, please visit http://www.xuatnhapcanh.gov.vn or http://www.immigration.gov.vn. For the list of
countries whose citizens are eligible to apply for an e-visa to Vietnam, click here.
How to Book a Tour
Booking your holiday with Indochina Pioneer cannot be easier! Follow our 3 simple steps:
Step 1: Browse our website www.indochinapioneer.com for tours, cruises and other destination information.
Should you find something that matches your interest, fill in the REQUEST A FREE QUOTE forms. Can’t find something that fits your needs? Then fill the BUILD YOUR OWN TRIP or CONTACT US form and click SUBMIT.
Then sit back! One of our travel experts will get back to you shortly with our customized package and most favorable offer!
In a hurry? Don’t like filling forms? Then call +84 982 116 630 (MR. LAM) or +84 983 145 799 (MR. Quyen). We’re available 24/7 and would be more than happy to talk! Certainly, your request will be carefully noted and a nicely crafted package with a pleasant price will follow!
Step 2: Reviewing/ Customizing our offer!
It’s your holiday so everything should be exactly what you want! We encourage your careful review of what we offer, letting us know what changes you would like to make. We’ll be more than happy to fine-tune the tour to fit best your interests, budget and time! This step may require several emails/call exchanges until perfect!
Step 3: Confirming/Paying/ Packing for the trip!
Once you’re satisfied with the customized tour, please let us know and Indochina Pioneer will need a few working hours to place reservations for all of the tour services. As soon as the availability and reservations of the services are confirmed, we will request a deposit. Please refer our Payment Guide for more details.
Once your deposit is received by Indochina Pioneer, we will send you the service voucher which confirms all the services of the tour and provides ground contact details and a guide for the final payment schedule.
And then you start counting down the day for your most fabulous trip!
Booking Amendment & Cancellations:
Booking Amendment: Flexibility is our strongest point. You can amend your booking even after it is made. Just contact your salesperson or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your booking number. Our reservations team is glad to amend your booking with your preferable alternatives. Please kindly note that you will be responsible for any change of the final price caused by your amendment requests.
Travel smart with Indochina Pioneer!
Packing and Luggage Allowance
Packing Checklist – Be sure to check them all 😉
- Travel documents (passport, visas, travel insurance certificate, air tickets, tour voucher)
- Money (cash, credit card, debit card, traveler’s cheques and money pouch)
- Day pack for your personal needs during the day
- Camera and extra memory cards and batteries
- Cell phone and cell phone charger
- Laptop charger (if you are bringing your laptop)
- Travel plug/international adapter
- Medication (including a doctor’s letter if you are carrying a large amount of medication)
- Prescription glasses / contacts and if necessary, contact lens solution
Best to bring along
- First aid kit
- Insect repellent
- Refillable water bottle with filter
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Comfortable clothing, either light or heavy options, depending on the season you are travelling
- Clothes suitable for visiting temples (long pants / skirts, long sleeved tops)
- Waterproof jacket / raincoat / umbrella
- Hat & sunglasses
- Bathing suit
- Ear plugs & eye mask
- Sleep sheet for home stays / trains
- Lightweight travel towel
- Local language phrasebook
Reviews on Our Service
We are committed to giving our customers unforgettable experiences in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and beyond, not just something staged for tourists. Read reviews written by our customers about their experiences in Indochina after they have returned home. These include the ratings and comments on attractions, guides, activities, hotels and food.
We had a wonderful 7-day trip last July; Kata was awesome to work with. So professional, reliable and helpful!
"Lifetime of Memories"
Lam did an amazing job putting together an itinerary based on phone/text conversations. We told him the where and what and he did the rest. The accommodations were beyond expectation, the guides were unbelievably friendly, and the places we were taken were spectacular. Having guides and drivers is worth every penny. So much time and money would have been wasted had we tried to accomplish this ourselves.
We got to experience so much more because of our guides local knowledge. Lastly, how great it was not to worry about how we were getting to the next adventure. Had we not used Indochina Pioneer I truly believe I wouldn’t have as many astonishing memories.
"Amazing 30 Day Journey with Indochina Pioneer"
If you are looking for a private tour of SE Asia, look no further than Indochina Pioneer. I recently returned from a 30-day private tour of Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand all arranged by Indochina Pioneer and could not have been happier with everything they arranged for me. They are top-notch from working directly with you on planning your trip, arranging visas, having individuals at the airports to meet and walk you through everything when entering the countries, having amazing tour guides and drivers as well as organizing everything for you on the ground and being there to help you all along the way if you have any questions or problems. My tour was amazing with not only the normal tourist sights, but many off the beaten track sights and with your own guides, you learn so much more from these individuals who actually live in the places you will visit. I can’t recommend this tour agency enough. If you are looking to travel to any of the locations Indochina Pioneer has tours, you must book through them, you will not be disappointed.
"Excellent from the very beginning"
We had 21 days on a private tour and every detail was perfectly arranged. Perhaps, the Spanish speaking skills of guides can ve improved, but overall they were very helpful and committed with their job. I want to highlight the performance of Juan (Hanoi), Miguel (Hoi An), Chao (Ho Chi Minh City) and La (Luang Prabang, Laos).
Hotels were as we asked and the timing for the visits was very good.
I recommend this travel agency!