The Best of Vietnam Mountains and Cruise
Northern Vietnam Trekking & Halong Bay

Northern Vietnam Trekking & Halong Bay

13 nights

Sapa terraces seen on The Best of Vietnam Trekking and Cruising TourSapa people seen on Best of Vietnam Trekking and Cruising Tour in VietnamTour in Vietnam includes visiting numeral authentic villagesLocal village people met on Best of Vietnam Tour in VietnamSwimming in Halong Bay is one of the highlights of Best of Vietnam TrekSeen on Best of Vietnam Trekking and Cruising Tour in VietnamTop of Ky Quan San on Best of Vietnam Trekking and Cruising TourBest of Vietnam Tour in Vietnam is an amazing trekking adventureResting during the hike on Best of Vietnam Trekking and Cruising TourExpansive views seen on Best of Vietnam Trekking TourBest of Vietnam Trekking and Cruising Tour includes visiting Sapa villagesTour in Vietnam is a great way to learn about Vietnam cultureSunset over the bay on Best of Vietnam Trekking and Cruising TourBooking the Best of Vietnam Tour is the best way to learn about Vietnam

Experience the best of Northern Vietnam with mountain hiking and cruising around Lan Ha Bay

This 14-day tour in Northern Vietnam is the perfect mix of adventure and relaxation. Here you’ll get to combine hiking and cruising into a wonderful guided tour in Northern Vietnam.

Climb one of Vietnam’s highest mountains until you’re above the clouds. Explore the rural landscape on hikes to tribal villages and markets and see the spectacular scenery this region is famous for.

Then, relax and wind down on an overnight cruise to Halong Bay. More remote than Ha Long Bay, this bay is far from the tourist trail. You’ll see one of the world’s most iconic landscapes with your own eyes, and enjoy dinner, cocktails and activities on the boat.

Highlights of Northern Vietnam Trekking & Halong Bay Tour

Climb Ky Quan San, one of Vietnam’s highest mountains
Hike to tribal villages and visit colorful markets
Explore Ba Be National Park and stay overnight in a Tay stilt house
Cruise to Halong Bay with its iconic scenery

Prices

From $1,495USD
14 days / 13 nights
Difficulty
Guided
Hotels, Train, Cruise Ship
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The Best of Vietnam Mountains and Cruise

The Best of Northern Vietnam Trekking & Halong Bay Tour Itinerary

Day 1 Hanoi

Today you'll arrive in Hanoi and be transferred to your hotel.
Overnight Location: Hotel in Hanoi
Distance: None
Meals: None

Day 2 Rural Biking & night train to Sapa

This morning get a snapshot of rural life during a tour of a farming village. You'll see the houses, market and temples, learn how rice is cultivated and watch a cooking demonstration. Lunch will be in the company of a local family. In the afternoon there is free time in Hanoi before you take the overnight train to Lao Cai.
Overnight Location: Sleeper train to Lao Cai
Distance: None
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 3 Trek to Sang Ma Sao commune

After traveling overnight on the sleeper train you’ll wake up in the highlands of North Vietnam. A car will transfer you to Sang Ma Sao Valley, where you’ll catch your first glimpse of the famous rice terraces. Your two-day ascent of Ky Quan San begins this morning with a 9 km hike to an elevation of 1,100 m. The hike can be rocky and uneven in parts. After a picnic lunch, you’ll continue another 6 km to 2,100 m. Here there is a rest stop with some basic wooden cabins where you'll spend the night. The guides will cook dinner while you admire views of mountain peaks swathed in clouds.
Overnight Location: Wooden cabins on Ky Quan San
Distance: 6 hours, 15 km
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4 Climb Ky Quan San peak

Today you’ll ascend to the summit of Ky Quan San (3,045 m). This section is quite difficult, with some steep climbs over rocks and boulders. When you reach the top you'll feel a fantastic sense of achievement. Take in the views of mountain peaks disappearing into the clouds. When you’re ready, descend to the wooden cabins (9 km) for the night.
Overnight Location: Wooden cabins on Ky Quan San
Distance: 6 hours, 18 km
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5 Climb Muoi peak

Today begins with your second hike in the Hoang Lien Son mountains. You'll set off from the cabins and head east to a neighboring mountain, Nui Muoi (2,850 m). This is just a short 1 km hike but is worth doing as the views from this mountain are also spectacular. Then you’ll make the descent back to Ky Quan San village. Dinner and overnight accommodation is in a local homestay.
Overnight Location: Homestay in Ky Quan San village
Distance: 8 hours, 20 km
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6 Visiting Ha Giang and Quan Ba

You'll leave the mountains behind today and drive more than 300 km northeast to Quan Ba. This corner of rural Vietnam is famous for its mysterious landscape of cone-shaped limestone hills. Many of Vietnam’s ethnic communities live here in villages and small towns. The drive takes all day with breaks and lunch in a local restaurant along the way. You’ll spend the night in Tam Son village.
Overnight Location: Homestay in Quan Ba
Distance: None
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7 Trekking around Quan Ba

Explore the rice terraces this morning on an 8 km trek from village to village. You'll finish at the Lung Tam Commune, a handicraft center where you can buy products made from traditional textiles. In the afternoon you’ll transfer to Dong Van. Have your camera ready as there will be some good views of the limestone karsts along the way. You'll also stop for a look around Vuong Palace, a mansion once owned by Hmong king Vuong Chinh Duc.
Overnight Location: Guesthouse in Dong Van
Distance: 4 hours, 8 km
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8 Dong Van hill tribe market & Bao Lac

Have a wander around the village this morning before your visit to the market. People from the many different ethnic tribes of the area gather here and you can haggle for some souvenirs if you like. Then you'll set off for Bao Lac. On the way, don't miss the views of the UNESCO-protected Dong Van Geopark with its otherworldy limestone mountains. You'll drive over the Mai Pi Leng Pass, where the road winds its way along the side of a cliff, with breathtaking views.
Overnight Location: Guesthouse in Bao Lac
Distance: None
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9 From Bao Lac to Ba Be

Your destination today is Ba Be National Park. Ba Be means ‘three lakes’ and refers to the three lakes at the centre of the park, which join to form Vietnam’s largest natural lake. A paradise for nature lovers, the park is teeming with wildlife. Enjoy the peaceful, natural environment during a boat excursion on the lake. Your accommodation this evening is in a traditional Tay stilt house.
Overnight Location: Homestay in Ba Be
Distance: None
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10 Tea plantation and return to Hanoi

Today you’ll depart rural Vietnam for Hanoi, stopping en route at a tea plantation to discover how tea is grown and picked. Lunch is at the plantation with a chance to taste the tea before continuing. You'll arrive in Hanoi around 4 PM and check into your hotel.
Overnight Location: Hanoi Boutique Hotel
Distance: None
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 11 Cruising to Hai Phong and Lan Ha Bay

This morning you'll travel to Hai Phong, one of North Vietnam’s most important cities and tourism hubs. Check out the views from Vu-Lach Huyen Bridge, the longest sea bridge in the country, on the way. Board your boat and enjoy a welcome drink followed by lunch. In the afternoon you'll sail to Lan Ha Bay (avoiding crowded Ha Long Bay). Take in the beauty of the hundreds of limestone islands, have a swim and watch the sunset with a cocktail. In the evening, several activities are offered on board, including a cooking demonstration and a traditional tea ceremony.
Overnight Location: Heritage Cruise to Lan Ha Bay
Distance: None
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12 Cruising to Bai Tu Long Bay Hideaway

If you're up early, have a go at Vovinam, a Vietnamese martial art, on deck. Later you’ll visit a traditional village on Cat Ba Island where you can cycle around the pretty countryside and have lunch before getting back on the boat. In the afternoon, the boat will sail to Bai Tu Long Bay, an idyllic bay where you can kayak, take out a bamboo boat or go for a swim. Back on board, enjoy the sunset, dinner, and the evening’s activities.
Overnight Location: Heritage Cruise to Bai Tu Long Bay
Distance: None
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13 Returning to Hanoi

Head out on a bamboo boat this morning to explore tunnels under the limestone karsts which lead to caves and hidden lakes. After brunch on board, the boat will return you to the harbor where you'll disembark and be transferred back to your hotel in Hanoi.
Overnight Location: Hanoi Boutique Hotel
Distance: None
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 14 Farewell

Today it’s time to say goodbye to Vietnam as you’re transferred to the airport for your return flight.
Overnight Location: None
Distance: None
Meals: Breakfast

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The Best of Northern Vietnam Trekking & Halong Bay Tour Prices and Dates

This guided Best of Vietnam's Mountains and Cruise Tour is always run as a custom tour for your group only and price depends on the size of the group.
The best time to travel to Vietnam for this tour is between September and April.

Prices of Private Guided the Best of Northern Vietnam Trekking & Halong Bay Tour

Have your own private tour with just your group! Prices below are per person:

  • Guided Groups of 2: $1,895 USD per person
  • Guided Groups of 3: $1,665 USD per person
  • Guided Groups of 4-5: $1,550 USD per person
  • Guided Groups of 6+: $1,495 USD per person
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Accommodation on The Best of Northern Vietnam Trekking & Halong Bay Tour.

On this tour, you’ll be staying in hotels, guesthouses and homestays. Homestays are basic accommodation. They allow you to learn about local culture by staying with an ethnic minority family and living and dining in the traditional way.
In some cases, the accommodation listed below may need to be substituted for other, comparable accommodations.

Single Rooms and Solo Travelers
You can pay a supplement of $685 USD to have a private room in a hotel while traveling with your group. Contact us to find out the price for solo travelers.

Hotels on Standard Tour

Hanoi Boutique Hotel in Hanoi

Centrally located hotel in the heart of the old town with Wi-Fi, air-conditioned rooms, laundry facilities, restaurant, spa, and health club.

Night 2

Sleeper train to Lao Cai

Spending a night on a sleeper train is a must-do while in Vietnam. It saves time and lets you taste an important part of Vietnamese life.

Night 3-4

Wooden cabin on Ky Quan San

Although the wooden huts are quite basic, but authentic feeling and cozy hiking atmosphere more than make up for it.

Night 5-9

Guesthouses and homestays along the trail

Staying in authentic local homestays is the best way to learn about local culture and is one of the highlights of the trip!

Hanoi Boutique Hotel in Hanoi

Centrally located hotel in the heart of the old town with Wi-Fi, air-conditioned rooms, laundry facilities, restaurant, spa, and health club.

Heritage Cruise to Lan Ha Bay

A boutique cruise ship with 20 rooms, spa, outdoor lounge, and pool.

Hanoi Boutique Hotel in Hanoi

Centrally located hotel in the heart of the old town with Wi-Fi, air-conditioned rooms, laundry facilities, restaurant, spa, and health club.

What’s included on The Best of Northern Vietnam Trekking & Halong Bay Tour?

Meals

13 breakfasts, 12 lunches, 9 dinners are included.

Accommodation

Accommodation for 13 nights along the tour.

Transportation during the Tour

Transportation is included for you and your luggage. This includes overland transfers, boat tickets, sleeper train ticket.

Also Included

  • English speaking tour guides
  • Entrance fees, taxes and community permits
  • Bike rental for biking days
  • Porter during the climb to Ky Quan San peak
  • Camping gear during the climb to Ky Quan San peak
  • Drinking water
  • All activities mentioned in program

Not included

  • Getting to and from starting and ending points of the tour
  • Visa
  • Insurance
  • Personal expenses
  • Anything not stated as ‘included’

Optional Extras

  • Additional night in Hanoi before and after the tour

Frequently Asked Questions about Northern Vietnam Trekking & Halong Bay

Footprint Vietnam is a boutique tour operator running adventure-based tours in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.  Footprint have been showing the best of adventure, culture and food since 2001, and have been featured in Frommers, Lonely Planet and Footprint Guides.

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Northern Vietnam Trekking & Halong Bay Map

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Is this tour for me?

We rate this tour as a 4/5. The difficulty of the tour varies day-by-day. This tour is made for fit trekkers who can do long treks up and down hills.

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