• Authentic North West Vietnam

    Duration: 16 Days
    Start: Hanoi | Finish: Hanoi
  • This tour is particularly designed for young or middle age travelers who are seeking for “the real authentic” Vietnam. You will be amazed at the less touristy areas of Moc Chau, Son La, Lai Chau, the stunning terraced rice fields in Sapa, the vibrant history of the most violent battle - Dien Bien Phu, the amazing waterscape of one wonder of the World - Halong Bay, as well as the unique culture and cuisine of North West hill tribes.

    The best months to enjoy the most scenic views of these areas are from August to October; especially the Rice Harvest time in September with many national festivals will make your journey become a once-in-a-lifetime trip.


    • Discover the bustling and dynamic Hanoi with French colonial structures, pagodas, and markets on Minsk.
    • Sail along the peaceful waterways of Tam Coc
    • Explore the culture of ethnic minorities in Mai Chau
    • Discover breathtaking villages and wonderful tea plantation in Moc Chau
    • Visit the most violent battle in Dien Bien Phu
    • Discover some ethnic hill tribes in the mountain areas of Sapa
    • Take a cruise on Halong Bay to explore the breathtaking beauty of more than 2000 islands rising from the emerald water of Halong Bay, recognized World Heritage Site by UNESCO
    • Charming hotels in excellent locations
    • Comfortable spacious vehicle for transfers

    Itinerary in brief:

    Day 1: Hanoi arrival (-/-/-)
    Day 2: Hanoi - Authentic city  on Minsk/ Group tour (B/L/-)
    Day 3: Hanoi - Hoa Lu - Tam Coc - Bich Dong (B/-/-)
    Day 4: Ninh Binh - Thung Khe pass - Mai Chau (B/L/D)
    Day 5: Mai Chau -Moc Chau - Ang village (B/-/-)
    Day 6: Moc Chau - Tan Lap tea plantation - Ngu Dong Ban On (B/-/-)
    Day 7: Moc Chau - Chieng Hat - Son La (B/-/D)
    Day 8: Son La - Chieng Den - Dien Bien (B/-/-)             
    Day 9: Dien Bien Exploration (B/-/-)
    Day 10: Dien Bien - Lai Chau (B/-/-)
    Day 11: Lai Chau - Tram Ton pass - Sapa (B/-/-)
    Day 12: Y Linh Ho - Lao Chai - Ta Van (B/-/-))
    Day 13: Phanxipang Peak - Traditional Thai Massage - Drive back to Hanoi (B/-/-)
    Day 14: Hanoi - Drive to Halong overnight on boat (B/L/D)
    Day 15: Halong - Drive to Hanoi (B/Br/-)
    Day 16: Hanoi - Departure


    • In some areas: Moc Chau, Mai Chau, Son La, Dien Bien, Lai Chau, there is hardly a good 4*/5* (except in Son La), therefore, the best 3* hotels in these areas are recommended
    • Ability to change the direction of the program
    • Possibility of an extension in Laos or Cambodia 




    3 Star Category

    4 Star Category

    5 Star Category


    Quoc Hoa Hotel 3*


    Essence Hanoi Boutique Hotel & Spa 4* (Deluxe Window)

    De L’Opera Hanoi Hotel 5* (Deluxe)

    Ninh Binh

    Tam Coc Horizon Bungalow3*  (Deluxe)

    Hidden Charm Hotel & Resort 4* (Superior)

    Emeralda Resort Ninh Binh 4.5* (Superior)

    Mai Chau

    Homestay - Traditional House on Stilt (Private Room)

    Mai Chau Ecolodge 4*


    Mai Chau Ecolodge 4* (Junior Deluxe)

    Moc Chau

    Muong Thanh Moc Chau 3* (Deluxe)

    Son La

    Muong Thanh Son La 4* (Deluxe)

    Dien Bien Phu

    Muong Thanh Dien Bien 3* (Deluxe)

    Lai Chau

    Muong Thanh Lai Chau 3* (Deluxe)


    Sapa  Diamond Hotel 3*


              Amazing Sapa 4*         


    Silkpath Sapa Hotel resort & Spa 5* (Classic)

    Bai Tu Long / Lan Ha

    Renea Wooden Cruise 14 cabins 3*   Deluxe)

    V’Spirit Premier Cruise 4*  (Deluxe Suite Balcony)

    Dragon Legend Cruise 5* (Deluxe)


    + Accommodation can be amended or exchanged amongst options to fit your needs
    + We specialize in “tailor-made” tours for groups of two or more. We carefully inspect each step of your journey from the accommodation to the perfect guide to suit your needs
    + The itinerary is open to modification to fit your personal travel needs
    + Modifications to the itinerary may increase the price of the package
    + For the price of this trip, just ask for a quote by clicking on "TOUR PRICE" 

    + If you are looking for a trip modified to your requirements, please send us your needs by filling out the form in Customize your trip” 
    + We will contact and send you a quote, excluding holiday period, within 48 hours of receiving your request 

  • Day 1: Hanoi arrival [-/-/-]

    Hanoi - Airport: 30km, ~40min drive

    Upon arrival at Noi Bai Airport, meet our driver who then escorts you to the city center. After making sure of successful hotel check-in, the rest of the day is free to relax or stroll around the streets.

    Meals Included: None
    Hotel in Hanoi

    Day 2: Hanoi - Authentic city tour on Vintage Minsk – Half day [B/L/-]

    In the morning, 8:00 am, we join in Hanoi insight on Minsk.

    Part 1: Explore the parts-unknown of Hanoi     

    • Riding through the maze of zigzagging backstreet and narrow alleyways & markets
    • Diving into the rivers of motorbikes and Hanoi street symphony.
    • Travelling with all your senses heightened: Watching, Hearing, Touching, Tasting, Smelling…
    • Experiencing the GOOD, the BAD and the WEIRD of the city as it is what it is.
    • Experiencing different slides of life behind the scene, the hidden part of the iceberg, the parts unknown.
    • Meeting people where they live, work, learn and pray.
    • Building personal connections and culture exchanges.

    Part 2: Hanoi Classical Romance & City’s highlights

    • Riding through the chronology of time in Hanoi from the thousands year old parts to the modern parts of the city.
    • Cruising around the enchanting French Colonial Quarter, vibrant Hanoi Old Quater.
    • Passing by the must-see highlights of Hanoi such as Ho Chi Minh mausoleum, Presidential palace, Ba Dinh square, Temple of literature, Tran Quoc temple, West lake, Truc Bach lake, HoanKiem lake, Opera House, Saint Joseph cathedral and train tracks.

    Part 3: Red River Delta Countryside Epic

    • Cruising along the off-roads and trails of the Red river farming villages
    • Immersing yourselves into the colorful and peaceful flower, vegetable and banana plantations.
    • Experiencing different slices of life and the contrast in harmony between the city life and countryside life of Hanoi.
    • Crossing and watching the sunset on the historical and legendary Long Bien bridge.

    Then we come back to the hotel in Hanoi for your relaxation.

    Reach back to the hotel at about 14:00. The rest of the day is free for your own exploration.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    Hotel in Hanoi

    Day 3: Hanoi - Hoa Lu - Tam Coc - Bich Dong [B/-/-]

    Depart the hotel this morning at 8.30 for the 2 and half-hour drive through rural northern Vietnam to the site of Vietnam’s first capital, Hoa Lu. Visit the temples dedicated to Emperor Dinh Tien Hoang of the Dinh Dynasty (968-80), and Emperor Le Dai Hanh of the Le Dynasty (980-1009). The ancient Hoa Lu Citadel (most of which has since been destroyed) once covered an area of three square kilometers.

    If time permits after visiting Hoa Lu (for the fit and strong), take a half-hour walk up one of the surrounding limestone karst hills, the climb is rewarding with spectacular views.

    In the late morning depart for Tam Coc Town for a Vietnamese lunch, along the way stop where you wish to take photographs of local villages and the stunning landscape.

    After lunch board your private sampan (you will sit on a sampan boat with local rower). Known as “Halong Bay on land”, Tam Coc are three limestone caves stretching along Ngo Dong river. The boat trip is a nice journey along the river with peaceful scenery of limestone mountains, rice paddy and the site of some temples along the way from Hang Ca (first cave) to Hang Hai (second cave) and Hang Ba (third cave).  As the boat gently slices through the water, notice the enormous limestone karsts jutting out from the green rice fields giving rise to another name, ‘Halong on Land’.

    Should you feel adventurous, bike from Tam Coc to Bich Dong Pagoda on nearby Ngu Nhac Mountain, dating to 1428 and comprising three structures: Ha, Trung, and Thuong Pagodas, in ascending order.

    Note: Please be aware that some women on boats may try to sell local products to tourists. Guests should refer to their guide if this situation makes them uncomfortable.

    Meals Included: Breakfast
    Accommodation: Hotel in Ninh Binh

    Day 4: Ninh Binh -Thung Khe pass - Mai Chau - Traditional Dance Show B/L/D]

    Mai Chau - Ninh Binh: 140km, ~3h drive

    After breakfast at the hotel, we will drive towards to Mai Chau,

    Stop on the way to visit a Muong villagein Thung Khe pass and enjoy the panorma view of Mai Chau valley.  Arrive in Mai Chau around noon, we check-in the hotel.

    After lunch with the locals, we spend time walking tour around the villages of Mai Chau for about 1.5 hours and local crafts. It’s a serene life complemented by verdant landscapes, friendly and hospitable people who live here will leave you unforgettable memories.

    Excellent home dinner will be served along with some local rice whiskey. In the evening, you have a chance to enjoy the friendliness of the people by participating in a traditional dance show of the ethnic Thais.

    Then we drive back to the hotel for your relaxation

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Accommodation: Hotel in Mai Chau

    Day 5: Mai Chau - Moc Chau - Ang village [B/-/-]

    Mai Chau - Moc Chau: 60km, ~1h drive

    This morning, after breakfast at the hotel, at about 8:30 am, we depart for a visit to Moc Chau.

    On the way to Moc Chau farm town, we will take a visit to Moc Chau dairy farm and several hamlets with hundreds of fruits and flowers species on the way, Upon arrival in Moc Chau, you will spend time visiting tea plantation hills in Moc Chau tea village and communicate with the locals to learn how to make tea and try some tea.

    Reaching the top of the hills to see the panorama view of the farm town.

    After having lunch at a local restaurant, we check-in the hotel and relax before driving to Ang village.

    Taking an electric car to have an exploration of the large lake in Ang village and stop for about 10 minutes to see the beautiful view of rice fields, pine trees, and the lake.

    You then visit a strawberries farm and enjoy delicious fresh strawberries there.

    Then we drive to Moc Chau market for your exploration before having dinner at a local restaurant.

    Meals Included: Breakfast
    Hotel in Moc Chau

    Day 6: Moc Chau - Tan Lap tea village - Ngu Dong Ban On [B/-/-]

    After breakfast at the hotel, at about 8:30 am, our guide and driver wil pick you up at the hotel and then we drive about 15 km to Ngu Dong Ban On in Tan Lap area.

    Ngu Dong Ban On complex where you can discover a place still retains the pristine beauty as it was in the beginning.

    You need to walk for about 1 km along the winding roNgu Dong Ban On Complex has 4 main caves located on the same hill in which the fourth cave is placed separately on the left, people have to go quite far to be there so there are not many visitors go there.

    The way to conquer Ngu Dong Ban On is full of thorns but when overcoming the difficulties you will be witnessed the splendid beauty of nature, immersed in the clear sound of birds, enjoyed the scenery of thousand flowers.

    Then we have lunch at a local restaurant.

    In the afternoon, we continue our trip to Tan Lap tea plantation. It is time for you to see the beautiful view of the endless tea hills. Moc Chau Plateau is famous for its green tea plants stretching across all the hills. Tea is grown everywhere here and mixed with the beautiful small houses among them. Somewhere along with the spring flowers, paper flowers are blossoming in the frosty mist like the poetic scenery.

    You then reach the top of the hills to enjoy the panorama view of endless tea hills,  plump and peach gardens, you will have a chance to interact with the local farmers to learn how to make tea, then we visit a flower garden nearby to have wonderful photos.

    We drive back to the hotel for your relaxation.

    At the end of December until January, The plum valley of Na Ka (puts on her new dress as all the plum flowers are in full bloom, creating a magnificent view infatuating visitors and people from different localities flock to this wonderland to take into their eyes this splendid scene.

    Meals Included: Breakfast
    Accommodation: Hotel in Moc Chau

    Day 7: Moc Chau - Chieng Hat - Son La [B/-/D]

    Moc Chau- Son La : 120 km, ~3h drive

    After breakfast at the hotel, we leave Moc Chau for the road to Son La. We stop for a stroll. A small dirt road takes us through fields of corn and rice terraces. The road winds between mountains, vegetable gardens that are always very green and traditional houses of black Thai, Muong, Hmong green.

    Reaching Son La, we are in the capital of black Thai with rice terraces, traditional houses in iroko wood, teak forests ... We continue to make a nice walk in the village of Chieng Hat where live the Thai black for centuries. They grow flooded rice, and other food crops: corn, beans, soybeans, potatoes, cassava.

    In the afternoon, we will visit Son La prison and Son La museum and Son La market, then we continue our trip to the village of Mong to have a bath with hot spring (if you like) and then enjoy the delicious traditional dinner of Thai people.

    Then we drive back to the hotel and the rest of the day is free for your own exploration.

    Night at the hotel.

    Meals Included: Breakfast,  Dinner
    Hotel in Son La

    Day 8: Son La - Chieng Den - Dien Bien [B/-/-]

    Son La ~ Dien Bien : 170 km, ~4h drive

    After breakfast at the hotel, at about 8:00 am, we depart for Dien Bien visits.

    Stop at the village of Chieng Den, in the middle of a very peaceful valley, to see the culture of coffee and rubber trees. Then walk to other Thai villages are: Thom, Pa, Mom. We really live in Thai culture, meet Thai girls in traditional costumes with very colorful and interesting patterns.

    By car, we continue to Pha Din pass (1648 m) - one of the 4 largest passes of the North to see the panoramic view of villages at the foot of the mountain.

    Possibility of stopping in a village of H’mong people at 1300m and hides behind clouds where live Mong with red pompoms. Arrival at Dien Bien Phu in the afternoon.

    You will have time to explore Dien Bien market before a delicious dinner will be served at a local restaurant.

    The rest of the day is free for your own exploration.

    Meals Included: Breakfast
    Hotel in Dien Bien

    Day 9: Dien Bien Phu Exploration [B/-/-]

    After breakfast this morning, you will visit the underground hideout of French General De Castries, Muong Thanh historical bridge and Nam Rom river. Our tour guide will tell you details about the campaign against the French in 1054

    The next destinaton is Dien Bien Phu victory monument, visit A1 cemetery and A1 Hill Battlefield.

    Then, you visit the historical relics of Dien Bien Phu campaign headquarter of Vietnamese soldiers, working tunnel and shack of General Vo Nguyen Giap,  tunnel of Chief Hoang Van Thai and areas in Muong Phang where Vietnamese army stationed.

    18h30: You have dinner, drink rice wine and enjoy cultural exchange with Thai people in Ban Ten village.

    Meals Included: Breakfast
    Accommodation: Hotel in Dien Bien

    Day 10: Dien Bien Phu - Lai Chau [B/-/-]

    Dien Bien - Lai Chau : 200 km, ~5h drive

    Today is driving from Dien Bien to Lai Chau, the distance about 200 km – 5 hour drive. Still keeping on winding road and spectacular scenery.

    There will be stops to visit the H’mong and ZDao villages on the way and you will have chances to interact with the local people and understand more about the local lives.

    Arrive in Lai Chau in the afternoon, Upon Arrival in Lai Chau town, we will visit a local market to find local specialties.

    Have dinner at a local restaurant on your own cost.

    Meals Included: Breakfast
    Hotel in Lai Chau

    Day 11: Lai Chau - Tram Ton - Sapa [B/-/-]

    Lai Chau ~ Sapa: 80 km, ~3h drive

    We leave Lai Chau and go to Sapa.

    Stop at the village of Ban Giang and Ban Hon also inhabited by the Lü (or Tai Lu) ethnic group, which belongs to the Thai language group. The Lü women wear black clothes decorated with metal coins and jewelry, wear charming headdresses and have all black lacquered teeth. By the age of 10, girls of this ethnic group are having their teeth burned. It is a criterion of beauty for them.

    Arrival in Sapa, the former climatic spa of the colonial era created by the French at 1650 meters altitude in the region of Mount Fan Si Pan (3143 m), the highest peak in Vietnam. We cross Tram Ton pass which culminates at 2047 meters in the chain of Hoang Lien Son. Then you check-in the hotel in Sapa and the rest of the day is free for your relaxation.

    Meals Included: Breakfast 
    Hotel in Sapa

    Day 12: Y Linh Ho - Lao Chai - Ta Van [B/-/-]

    After breakfast at the hotel, at about 8:30 am, we start our trek through the beautiful Muong Hoa valley in Sapa.

    Following the road of just around 2km, we reach Y Linh Ho village home to Black H'mong ethnic people.

    Then, we continue our walk to Lao Chai village and enjoy beautiful views of terraced rice fields along the way. We then visit a Catholic church and explore local traditions and customs. You then have lunch at a local restaurant and have time to relax and stretch the legs.

    In the afternoon, we reach the heart of the Sapa valley, the Ta Van village home to Dzay ethnic people. Then we back to the hotel for your relaxation.

    Meals Included: Breakfast
    Accommodation: Hotel in Sapa

    Day 13: Phanxipang peak - Thai massage - Drive back to Hanoi [B/-/-]

    After breakfast at the hotel, we drive to Phanxipang Cable Car station for your visit to Phanxipang peak -"The roof of Indochina". Reach the altitute of 2800 meters, you have a good time to see the view and take photos, visit pagoda the spiritual destinations and trek up to 600 steps. Then you come back to Cable Car Station and return to Sapa town.

    Then we join in massage session - Traditional Thai Massage for 60 minutes for your relaxation after the trekking.

    In the afternoon, we drive back to Hanoi. You then check-in the hotel in Hanoi in the late afternoon and the rest of the day is free for your exploration.

    Meals Included: Breakfast
    Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi

    Day 14: Hanoi - Halong Bay/ Sample itinerary of Renea Cruise [B/L/D]

    At about 8:00 am, our driver will pick you up from your hotel in Hanoi and start our trip to explore the most amazing bay in the North of Vietnam. On the way, we will have a quick stop at the middle of the way to rest. This also let you have a glance at Hai Duong Province and taste their traditional “Green bean cake”.

    12.30: Arrive in our office at Hon Gai Pier, you will have a bit time to relax and enjoy a cup of tea/coffee. Wait for our captain to finish the registration and transfer by tender to our boat.

    12.45: Enjoy welcome drink and spend a couple minutes to briefing about safety on boat and activities included then we check in our cabin.

    13.30: Delicious Vietnamese set menu will be served while leisurely cruising further into Bai Tu Long Bay.

    15.00: Arrive in kayaking area – that is Cap La Island. Enjoy kayaking through the karst and breathtaking nature, swimming and relaxing.

    17.30: Get back to the boat and enjoys our Sunset party while our cruise sailing to the overnight anchorage.

    19.00: Sumptuous set-dinner onboard.

    20.30: Free time to challenge yourself in Vietnamese puzzle games, or gathers your group/family for a board game; try your luck with squid fishing or simply has a cocktail and enjoy the quiet night on the bay.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Accommodation: Overnight on Cruise

    Day 15: Halong - Hanoi [B/Br/-]

    06.00: Start your day with a Tai Chi routine on sundeck or catch a morning view of the stunning bay’s landscape with a cup of tea or coffee.

    07.00: Breakfast will be served in Western style, familiar to you to fulfill your strength and ready for another exploring day.

    08.00: Explore the well hidden Thien Canh Son Cave.

    09.00: Upon return to the boat you will have about 30 minutes to freshen up and finish packing.

    10.00: Attend in a Vietnamese cooking demonstration. You can quickly learn a simple but delicious Vietnamese dish that Gordon Ramsey (a 2 Michelin Star Chef) used to guide – Nem Cuon or challenge yourself in fruit and vegetables carving.

    11.00: Enjoy a traditional Vietnamese lunch on boat.

    12.00: Back to the harbor and disembark in Hon Gai pier.

    12.30: Farewell Halong Bay then our driver will pick you up and then we drive to the of hotel in Hanoi.

    Get back to the hotel at about 3:30 pm. The rest of the day is free for your own exploration.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Brunch
    Accommodation: Overnight in Hanoi

    Note: Since each cruise has its own itinerary, the program of the chosen cruise will be updated later. 

    Day 16: Hanoi - Departure [B/- /-]

    After breakfast at the hotel, you have free time to relax until our driver meets and transfer you to Noi Bai International Airport for your departure flight to your next destination. We thank you for choosing Tonkin-Travel.com!

    Meals Included: Breakfast

  • Inclusion:

    • Accommodation as recommended or similar category according to availability.
    • Transfers according to the program by private air-conditioned vehicle with driver except for free day
    • English-speaking guide’s assistance at every stage
    • Meals as indicated in program (B: Breakfast /L: Lunch / D: Dinner)
    • Entrance fees for attractions included in the program
    • All activities and cruises clearly mentioned in the program
    • Halong Bay overnight on boat (sharing boat)
    • Private boat excursion in Ninh Binh
    • Phanxipang tickets: cable car & train
    • Water and cool tissues
    • Government taxes & service charge


    • Other drinks and meals not clearly mentioned
    • Personal expenditures, tips
    • Personal insurance (compulsory)
    • Any service not clearly mentioned in the program
    • International air transfers associated with airport taxes
    • Visa and visa arrangement (available upon request)
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