NORTHERN VIETNAM & ETHNIC MINORITIES 14D13N

Duration

14 days

Location

Tour Type

Overview

Highlights:

❖ Cultural, historical, natural, and relaxation moments.

❖ Essential visits enhanced by approaches to local life.

❖ Amidst the cradle of Vietnamese culture, vibrant colors, and colorful costumes of minorities.

❖ Immersion in the authentic life of typical villages with nights in locals’ homes.

❖ Rich in contact and encounters with local populations and ethnic minorities.

❖ Visit to a village of Black Lolo people, featured in the show “Rendez-vous en terre inconnue.”

❖ Exploration of Dong Van Geopark, the Ha Giang region, and its stunning landscapes of green karst peaks.

❖ Ba Be Lake, a haven of serenity and the green lung of Northern Vietnam.

❖ Junk boat cruise in Halong Bay.

❖ Numerous original recreational activities offered for children.

❖ Various activities: walking, cycling, cyclo-pousse rides, boat rides. Presentation of dishes, and local aperitifs.

❖ Opportunity to embrace a different way of life (schools, villages…).

Included/Exclude

  • English Tour-Guide
  • Accommodation with breakfast
  • Meals as mentioned
  • Gift: 1 map of Indochina
  • A/C Transportation
  • Visit
 
  • Tour-Guide during free time & private transfer
  • International and domestic flights
  • Visa Vietnam
  • Tips for guide & driver
  • Personal spending
  • Drinks in the meal
  • Activities, meals out of the program

Tour Plan

Arrival at Hanoi Airport. Immigration and customs procedures followed by baggage claim. Welcoming and assistance provided by your French-speaking guide, then transfer to the hotel. (Please note that check-in is available at 2:00 PM, early check-in is subject to room availability, and the hotel may guarantee early check-in for an additional charge.) Settling in at the hotel to rest after a long flight. In the late afternoon, explore the old quarter of Hanoi by cyclo-pousse, allowing you to discover the main points of interest in the Vietnamese capital. Visit the "36 Corporations" district with its small shopping streets: Silk Street, Cotton Street, and more. Explore the embassy district with numerous colonial houses, the Opera House, and the surroundings of Hoan Kiem Lake. Take a short walk in the old quarter of Hanoi, where houses still retain facades dating back to 1954. Streets like the Goldsmith Street, Lantern Street, and Medicinal Herbs Street create a truly exotic atmosphere. Pause for a photo in front of the neo-gothic St. Joseph's Cathedral, built in 1886, and its charming neighborhood. Have dinner in the city with a tasting of "Pho," a specialty made from beef broth, thinly sliced meat, and rice noodles, flavored with various herbs and spices. Overnight at the hotel.
Guided tour of the residential area of Hanoi, including the former Governor's Palace. Photo stop at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Stroll through the historic Ba Dinh Square, then explore the famous One Pillar Pagoda known for its unique construction. Visit the Temple of Literature, dating back to 1070, a symbol of education, history, and culture in the country. Lunch at a local restaurant specializing in Hanoi's famous dish: "Cha Ca," where fish is cooked on a brazier with parsley and dill, served with rice and peanuts. A delightful experience. Explore the Museum of Ethnology (closed every Monday) and take a leisurely walk in its beautiful garden showcasing typical houses of different ethnicities in the country. An excellent introduction to Vietnamese minorities, enhancing your appreciation for the upcoming mountain excursion. Take a stroll on the former Paul Doumer Bridge, a part of Hanoi's history, offering views of the Red River and the special atmosphere of local traffic on the other side. Walk through the picturesque quarter between the Restored Sword Lake and the Ly Thai To statue. Enjoy a water puppet show, a typical Vietnamese art where each puppet represents a popular character, and each scene relates to daily life. For dinner, explore Hanoi's old quarter through its gastronomy and charming alleys. Experience the local "sidewalk" culture with a draft beer and taste some Vietnamese "street food" in the bustling district. Overnight at the hotel.
Morning drive to Lao Cai via the national road, a province in the Northwest mountainous region of Vietnam sharing the border with China. Continue towards Sapa, perched at an altitude of 1600m, renowned for its breathtaking natural setting, especially its famous terraced rice fields. Founded by the French who appreciated its coolness during the summer. Take a short stroll through the charming small town, exploring the district of small shops and its stone church that dominates the town. Enjoy a regional specialty lunch at a local restaurant. In the afternoon, explore Muong Hoa, the most beautiful valley in the region, with a short hike to the Lao Chai Hmong village, nestled in a splendid setting where inhabitants preserve their ancient customs. Discover the art of weaving, the houses of the Black Hmong, and the work of the flooded terrace rice fields. Continue the hike within the Muong Hoa Valley to reach the Ta Van village amidst breathtaking landscapes of terraced rice fields sculpting the mountain, encountering the unique communities of the Mong, Dzay, and Red Dzao. Stay overnight at a Dzay local's home. Dinner and night at the homestay with basic amenities: a large communal room separated by curtains, equipped with mattresses, sheets, blankets, mosquito nets, and toilets isolated from the room.
Simple breakfast at the homestay. Departure for Bac Ha, a small town nestled in the Northwest mountains, considered the capital of the Flower Hmong, one of the most dynamic ethnic groups in Vietnam, living harmoniously with Tay, Nung Dzao, Phu La, and others. Stop at the Sino-Vietnamese border to witness the bustling activities of traders and visit a tea plantation. Hiking around Bac Ha, through beautiful landscapes of terraced rice fields, rice fields, and other crops, with hamlets of tribes. Lunch during the excursion. Dinner and overnight stay at the homestay with basic amenities: a large communal room separated by curtains, equipped with mattresses, sheets, blankets, mosquito nets, and toilets isolated from the room.
Simple breakfast at the homestay. Visit the Bac Ha ethnic market (every Sunday), frequented by various local ethnic minorities such as the Flower Hmong, known for their spectacular multicolored costumes, as well as the Hmong, Tay, Nung, Dzay, and more. It's a meeting place for these mountain minorities and an opportunity for trading. The market is a colorful and vibrant spectacle. Free time for you to explore the market. Depart for Ha Giang, a region with fantastic wild mountain landscapes. Lunch en route. Upon arrival in Ha Giang, visit the picturesque Tay village of Thon Tha: terraced rice fields, granite rocks, small ponds, stilt houses, and more. Stay overnight at a homestay in the Thon Tha village. Dinner and night at the homestay with basic amenities: a large communal room separated by curtains, equipped with mattresses, sheets, blankets, mosquito nets, and toilets isolated from the room.
Simple breakfast at the homestay. Departure for the Dong Van limestone plateau through sublime landscapes. Dong Van is at the heart of an astonishing geological phenomenon that has distinguished it as a UNESCO Global Geopark. This region is home to karst peaks, canyons, and cave networks. Panoramic view of the Nui Doi valley (twin mountains). Explore the Palace of the former Hmong king to understand the rich history of this ethnic group in Vietnam, and villages scattered with houses made of rammed earth. Lunch during the excursion. Continue to Meo Vac, crossing the Ma Pi Leng Pass that offers a heavenly landscape of limestone mountains, the Nho Que River, and Hmong villages perched on mountain tops. Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Meo Vac.
Breakfast at the hotel.
Early departure for Ba Be on a small mountain road through a beautiful karst mountain landscape. Ba Be National Park is the green lung of northern Vietnam, a haven of serenity surrounded by green peaks. Ba Be Lake is one of the most beautiful freshwater lakes in the world (classified by UNESCO). Passing through Bao Lac, visit a village of the Black Lolo people, featured in the show "Rendez-Vous En Terre Inconnue." Lunch during the excursion. Depart for Ba Be through a charming mountain road. Arrival at the destination and visit the Pac Ngoi village where the Tay ethnic group lives, engaging in fishing and agriculture. Stay in a stilt house with a view of the river flowing into Ba Be Lake. Dinner and overnight at the homestay with basic amenities: a large communal room separated by curtains, equipped with mattresses, sheets, blankets, mosquito nets, and toilets isolated from the room.
Simple breakfast at the homestay. Transfer to the Buoc Luom pier to start the boat excursion on Ba Be Lake, situated at 150m altitude in the limestone mountains. The boat follows the Nang River through a landscape of limestone peaks, passing by the stalactites and stalagmites of Puong Cave before reaching the Dau Dang waterfall. Walk through the villages of the Tay ethnic group in Pac Ngoi, nestled in lush vegetation at the foot of a limestone cliff. This large hamlet is home to about sixty families, with bamboo houses resting on wooden pillars. Lunch during the excursion. Return to Hanoi via a beautiful mountain road, crossing picturesque landscapes and typical villages. Stops along the way to visit some Tay-inhabited homes and discover local attractions. Arrival in Hanoi and check-in at the hotel. Dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight at the hotel.
Travel towards Halong Bay through the Red River Delta. En route, visit a local market and a craft center. Upon arrival at Halong Bay, embark at the Tuan Chau port. Check-in and board the non-private junk. Enjoy a welcome drink during the cruise safety briefing. Settle into your private cabin. Junks provide a unique way to explore Halong Bay off the beaten path. Cabins are equipped with fans, private bathrooms with shower and toilet, and hot water. The junk sails towards either Halong Bay or Bai Tu Long Bay, adjacent to Halong Bay (depending on the junk's itinerary). Cruise on the bay to admire the most stunning landscapes in Asia. Return to the boat to relax and enjoy the sunset on the upper deck. Get an introduction to Vietnamese cuisine on board. Dinner featuring seafood and fish. Spend the night on the junk, creating unforgettable memories. To end the day, weather permitting, a night fishing session will be organized. Note: The order of visits depends on tides and weather conditions, so the itinerary may be adjusted on the same day by the captain.
Tai Chi class on the upper deck. Continue sailing through the most beautiful spots in the Bay. Early lunch on board in the form of a "brunch." Travel to Ninh Binh with unique stops to observe the daily life scenes of this agricultural region. Continue towards Ninh Binh. Dinner and overnight in Ninh Binh.
Visit Thai Vi Temple, well-located in an exceptional natural setting. Take a flat-bottomed boat ride on the river winding through the massive karst peaks. Bicycle ride through typical villages, along the village path to meet local residents, with a stunning landscape along the way. Lunch during the excursion. Return to Hanoi in the late afternoon. Dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight at the hotel.
Breakfast at the hotel. Free time for personal exploration and last-minute souvenir shopping. Check-out before 12:00 PM. Lunch on your own. According to the flight schedule, meet the driver (without a guide) at the hotel reception, then transfer to the airport for the return flight to Paris. In-flight services provided.
Arrival in your city.

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