• Northern Vietnam and Luang Prabang

    Code: MUT07 - Duration: 13 Days
    Start: Hanoi | Finish: Luang Prabang
  • Want something a little off the beaten track but still want to see the cultural highlights? Combining the very best of Northern Vietnam and Laos, we are thrilled to introduce you to a tour that encompasses the very best these remarkable destinations. We begin our journey in exotic Hanoi where we will explore the Ho Chi Minh Complex, Temple of Literature, Museum of Ethnology and watch a traditional Water Puppet Show. The following day you will be whisked away to soak in the beauty of Halong Bay, a mythical landscape surrounded by thousands of limestone islets. We then travel north to Sa Pa where you can relax amongst the countless rolling rice terraces and distinct ways of traditional northern Vietnamese. As we drive through more idyllic scenery, we will cross to Laos where we will take a traditional boat through the Ngo and Nong Khia. Our final destination is Luang Prabang, with its palm-lined river banks, terracotta-roofed houses, golden stupas and saffron-robed monks which will no doubt craft memories for a lifetime. This tour is designed for the traveller who prefers quality over quantity when they travel. We strive to escape the hotspots (although some can’t be missed!) and deliver you an unforgettable holiday.


    • Discover the exotic Hanoi capital - thousands of years of culture and we enjoy a traditional Water Puppet Show
    • Take a cruise on Halong Bay to explore the breathtaking beauty of more than 2000 islands rising from emerald water of Halong Bay
    • Have great chance to explore the customs, traditions and way of life of the Vietnamese hill tribes
    • Get closer to see the daily life of some ethnic minorities such as Red and White Hmong, Kho Mu and White Thai in Pasa & Dien Bien Phu
    • Across the border between Vietnam & Laos to explore the one of the most remote areas of Northern - MuangKhua
    • Sail down Nam Ou River on the traditional boat to LuangPrabang to enjoy  beautiful landscape and lime stone mountains
    • Take in the best sites & off the beaten track places from the monasteries & fading colonial architecture of LuangPrabang
    • Charming hotels in great locations
    • Comfortable & spacious vehicle for transfers

    Itinerary in brief:

    Day 1: Hanoi arrival (-/-/-)
    Day 2: Hanoi City (B/L/-)
    Day 3: Hanoi - Halong Bay (B/L/D)
    Day 4: Halong Bay - Hanoi - Night train to Lao Cai (Br/-/-)
    Day 5: Lao Cai - Sapa - Cat Cat - Ma Tra Village  (B/L/-)
    Day 6: Sapa - Lao Chai - Ta Van/Home-stay (B/L/D)
    Day 7: Sapa - Tam Duong - Paso (B/L/-)
    Day 8: Paso - Muong Lay - Sin Ho - Dien Bien (B/L/-)
    Day 9: Dien Bien - Tay Trang - Muang Khua (B/L/-)
    Day 10: Muang Khua - Muong Ngoi (B/L/-)
    Day 11: Muong Ngoi - Nong Khiau - Luang Prabang (B/L/-)
    Day 12: Luang Prabang (B/L/-)
    Day 13: Luang Prabang - Departure (B/-/-)

    • Ability to change the direction of the program
    • Possibility of an extension in Laos or Cambodia 


    + 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

    hanoi tour tonkin travelUpon arrival at Noi Bai Airport, you will meet your guide and driver who will then escort you to the city centre. After making sure of a successful hotel check-in, they will be pleased to leave you for some to relax after your long flight.

    Meals Included: None
    Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi

    Day 2: Hanoi City (B/L/-)

    hanoi daily tour - tonkin travel


    After a wholesome breakfast at the hotel, we start the day with a visit to the Ho Chi Minh Complex, named for the beloved father of modern Vietnam. This famous complex is home to Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum (closed on Mondays & Fridays), Ho Chi Minh's Stilt House, the Presidential Palace and Ho Chi Minh Museum. Following this, we head to the Temple of Literature constructed in 1070 to worship Confucius. Otherwise known as the first university of Vietnam, the site also honours the eighty-two Vietnamese doctorates that each passed a number of rigid exams in the medieval ages. Their names, birthdays and birthplaces are each engraved in headstones perched on stone tortoises. It is widely believed that touching the heads of these tortoises will bring luck. Its peaceful green compound with its neatly maintained lawns, gardens and lotus ponds make it a tranquil hideaway from the city’s bustle and heat. Next stop, lunch!-which will be served at a popular local restaurant.

    In the afternoon, we visit the Museum of Ethnology dedicated to Vietnam's fifty-four officially recognised ethnic groups with both indoor and outdoor sections. While the in-house exhibition is particularly informative, the outdoor display continues in the museum’s garden with fascinating examples of traditional houses of numerous minority groups, from the Kinhs to the ethnic groups of the Central Highlands. We then enjoy a 45-minute-cyclo tour (similar to a rickshaw) to the Old Quarter where you can see streets with century-aged trees and French Colonial buildings. We then head to Ngoc Son Temple set on a tiny islet in the middle of Hoan Kiem Lake. Ngoc Son Temple dates back to the 13th century and the lake itself is the picturesque heart of Hanoi, frequented by tourists and locals alike.

    In the evening, we will enjoy a water puppet show, illustrating the unique Vietnamese traditional art. This art is originated from rural festivals in Vietnam. The artists, men and women, stand waist-deep in the water to manipulate the puppets, making them move, talk and laugh and even dance on the surface of the water.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi

    Day 3: Hanoi - Halong Bay (B/L/D)

    Hanoi - Halong: 180km, ~3h30min drive

    halong bay cruise, tonkin travelAfter breakfast at the hotel, we commence a three and a half hour drive through the Red River Delta to Ha Long City. We stop en route for photos and coffee before arriving at our destination. We then transfer to a refurbished wooden sailing junk for a cruise through the limestone cliffs and emerald waters of Ha Long Bay. Revel in the fantastic views of this UNESCO Heritage listed site. While on board, we will be served a fresh seafood lunch followed by swimming and explore some of the limestone caves in the area. Witness the sunset onboard followed by dinner.  The captain then will anchor for the night nearby a remote island.  In the evening, there is the option for some night fishing or just sit out on the deck and relax under the stars. We promise that this is a truly unforgettable experience.         

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

    Day 4: Halong Bay - Hanoi - Overnight train to Lao Cai (Br/-/-)

    Hanoi – Lao Cai: 270km, ~7-8h on train

    vung vieng halong - tonkin travelAfter waking up surrounded by the tranquil beauty of the bay, we have time for an early morning dip. Then it’s time for breakfast whilst you watch the sun rise over Halong bay. The cruise continues to move around the bay for in order for us to discover more secluded areas; we then go kayaking and continue swimming. The boat will be near us at all times for those who prefer to relax on board. Around midday, we will return to the main harbour before transferring to our awaiting vehicle for the three-hour journey to Hanoi for your overnight train to Lao Cai.             

    Meals Included: Breakfast
    Accommodation: Overnight on train

    Day 5: Lao Cai - Sapa - Cat Cat - Ma Tra Village (B/L/-)

    Lao Cai - Sapa: 40km, ~1h drive

    sapa tour - tonkin travel

    Arrival Lao Cai Train Station at around 6:00a.m, our guide and driver will meet and transfer you to Sapa, situated just 40km from Lao Cai. After breakfast, we will explore Sapa town, founded by the French as a holiday resort. 

    In the afternoon, we will visit Cat Cat village, home to H’Mong people. They are excellent “tho cam” weavers, a kind of brocade fabric. The “tho cam” of Cat Cat village is of especially high quality, as it is dyed with natural colors, polished with beeswax and embroidered with unique designs. Cat Cat silver jewelry such as necklaces, bracelets, rings and earrings are known for their sophisticated production techniques. A walk through this old village offers a glimpse into traditional customs and practices of the ethnic Black Hmong. We will stop at a beautiful waterfall and the remains of a hydroelectric plant built by the French during their colonisation of Vietnam.

    If time permits, visit Ma Tra Village. Located only about 5km to the south-east of Sapa town, Ma Tra Village was added recently into Sapa’s growing list of stunning destinations. The village is a new must-see for visitors when coming to the mountain town of Sapa and preferring a less commercial track. The Village is home to H’mong ethnic people and only boasts around 50 homes. They survive using their craft such as weaving brocade, silk, forging farming tools and carving silver. They generally only make such items to meet their own needs, but since the growth of tourism in Sapa, many H’mong women make decorated cloth to sell on the town’s main streets.

    • Cat Cat: 3km, 2h30m walking
    • Ma Tra: 3km, 2h trekking

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    Accommodation: Hotel in Sapa

    Day 6: Sapa - Lao Chai & Ta Van/Home-stay (B/L/D)

    sapa - tonkin travel

    After breakfast at hotel, we embark on a lovely walk that will take us along small paths and trails and through several hill tribe villages of Lao Chai and Ta Van, home to H'mong, and Dzay people. This is an absolutely spectacular walk through stunning scenery inhabited by some of the friendliest people will ever meet. We enjoy lunch at a family house in Ta Van village.  This is an excellent opportunity to meet with local people and study the art of making batik and local weaving villages, the textile tradition of craft women Black H'mong and Red Dzao.

    After lunch, we will visit a Catholic church and explore local traditions and customs. In the afternoon, we will reach the heart of the Sapa valley, the Ta Van village home to Dzay ethnic people. Dinner and overnight at a Dzay ethnic house.

    (Note: During May (rice planting month) and September (rice ripening month), the golden terraced fields are especially spectacular and you can learn about methods of harvesting or planting).

    • Distance : 8km
    • Duration : 3h trekking
    • Speed : Average

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Accommodation: Home-stay in Ta Van

    Day 7: Sapa - Tam Duong - Paso (B/L/-)

    Sapa - Paso: 150km, ~4h drive

    tour in sapa - tonkin travel

    After breakfast at the home-stay, we bid the host family farewell for a drive from Sapa to Paso passing most scenery and mountainous stretch of road in the whole of Vietnam. From Sapa town, we will drive uphill to the highest “Heavens Gate” Pass which is in a height of 2000 meters. If the weather is clear, the views here are magnificent. There are plenty of possibilities for making some fantastic phốt. 40 km more, we arrive Binh Lu where inhabit of many different minorities. You will have chance to visit some villages surrounding and the market. We will have lunch in a local restaurant.

    After lunch, the road weaves its way through the picturesque valley, passing many small villages of Red and White Hmong, Kho Mu and White Thai ethnic minorities. Late afternoon, we reach Paso - the new head town of Lai Chau province.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    Accommodation: Hotel in Paso

    Day 8: Paso - Muang Lay - Sin Ho – Dien Bien (B/L/-)

    Paso - Dien Bien: 150km, ~4h drive

    dien bienAfter breakfast start the trip today by driving back toward Tam Duong for a while, before taking a right turn to a dirt road, which will lead you to Sin Ho. Again, the road today is also passing through the picturesque sceneries. Moreover  you will have chance to encounter with the minorities people as Nung, White Thai, Black Dao, Dao Tien...We will then arrive in Lai Chau and from Lai Chau to Dien Bien, we will have an easy ride on the nice road. Dien Bien Phu is well known throughout the world as a battle field in the first Indochina War. The city, 45 km from the Laos border, locates in Muong Thanh Valley famous for its tasty rice and Thai minority traditional dance. We will spend our last night in Vietnam here so soak in the culture!

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    Accommodation: Hotel in Dien Bien

    Day 9: Dien Bien - Tay Trang - Muang Khua (B/L/-)

    Dien Bien - Muong Khua: 162km, ~4h10min drive

    muong khua laos - tonkin travel


    After breakfast, we visit the historical sites such as De Castrie’s bunker, the Dien Bien Phu museum and the A1 hill. After some lunch, we transfer towards Tay Trang, cross the border and meet your new Lao guide. We proceed to Muang Khua, one of the most remote areas of Northern Laos. This is a small town inhabited by Yunnanese, Vietnamese and Lao and still has some remaining colonel buildings. The town is 45 km from Laos – Vietnam border and has only recently been open to foreigners. In the rainy season there will be several river crossings so expect a bumpy ride!

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
    Accommodation: Hotel in Muong Khua

    Day 10: Muang Khua - Muong Ngoi (B/L/-)

    Muang Khua tonkin travelAfter breakfast, we embark on a long tail boat to cruise down the Nam Ou River from Muang Khua to Muang Ngoi. The long tail boat ride allows us to visit local villages nestled along the river side. A picnic lunch is served on the river. Once again, we will have many opportunities to enjoy the beautiful landscape.  We eventually arrive in Muong Ngoi, a small town surrounded by stunning scenery and lime-stone mountains.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    Accommodation: Guesthouse in Muong Ngoi

    Day 11: Muong Ngoi - Nong Khiau – Luang Prabang (B/L/-)

    pak ou - tonkin travelAfter breakfast, we continue cruising down the Nam Ou River. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant before we arrive to Pak Ou Cave. The Nam Ou River feeds the mighty Mekong, facing infamous Pak Ou Cave or Tham Ting. After visiting the cave, we continue our boat trip on Mekong River to Luang Prabang. There is time to visit some of the villages along the Mekong River. If we’re lucky, we will have the opportunity to enjoy the sunset while cruising downstream. Upon arrival, we transfer to our hotel where the rest of the days is yours to explore.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    Accommodation: Hotel in Luang Prabang

    Day 12: Luang Prabang (B/L/-)

    luang prabang - tours in laos - tonkin travelAfter breakfast, we will visit the impressive stupa of Wat Visoun and the shrine of Wat Aham, Wat Mai. We then climb up to the top of Phousi Mount for an enjoyable exploration of the sacred, gilded stupa as well as a beautiful sunset view of the city and the Mekong River. From there, we explore the Street Night Market where you can find the lovely collection and handmade textiles by local and hill tribe people surrounding Luang Prabang. We continue our visit to the temple of Wat Sene and the magnificent Wat Xiengthong with its roofs sweeping low to the ground representing the classical architecture of Luang Prabang temple. That afternoon, we visit the National Museum at the former Royal Palace which displays a lovely collection of artefacts which the richness of Lao culture dating from the days of the early kings right through to the last sovereign. We also visit the renowned Central Market.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    Accommodation: Hotel in Luang Prabang

    Day 13: Luang Prabang - Departure (B/-/-)

    After breakfast, time is free until your driver meets and transfers you to the airport for your flight home or to your next destination. We hope you’ve had a fantastic time with Tonkin Voyage Travel and we thank you for discovering more of beautiful South-East Asia!

    Meals Included: Breakfast

  • Prices

    This trip is private and therefore can be altered to suit your needs, date of commencement and budget requirements.

    Prices vary due to a number of specifics:

    • Seasonal: during high season (October-April), the prices of services are generally higher when compared to the low season (May-September).
    • The number of participants: the more of you that travel together the less you will pay!
    • The choice of hotels: Fairly obvious one here; a 5-star hotel can cost ten times as much as a 2 star hotel.
    • The activities during the trip: Two trips on the same itinerary and of the same length can have two different prices depending on the number and nature of activities included.
    • The booking date: In some cases, booking your trip late can drastically affect prices due to their low availability.


    • Accommodation as recommended or similar category according to availability.
    • Transfers according to program by private air-conditioned vehicle with driver except 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
    • Train tickets: Hanoi – Lao Cai (sharing 4-berth-cabin)
    • Home-stay in Sapa
    • Halong Bay 2 Days 1 Night (sharing boat)
    • Boat cruise in Nam Ou river: Muang Khua – Muang Ngoi; Muang Ngoi – Luang Prabang
    • Water and cool tissues
    • Government taxes & service charge


    • Other drinks and meals not clearly mentioned
    • Early check-in, late check-out
    • 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)


    Here are 2 steps to book your trip with Tonkin-Travel:

    Step 1. Focus on your travel program:

    You can choose this trip as is or customize it to your specific desires. Just click on the “Customize this trip” tab and fill in the form. One of our travel consultants will contact you within 48 hours to develop the travel program based on your specifications.

    Step 2. Booking:

    • Following the first step, tour program is selected and we access the rates.
    • Upon confirmation of the trip, the registration must be accompanied by a deposit up to 25% of the total estimate.
    • For programs with private junk (cruise) and/or 5 star hotels, the deposit is represented by 30% of the total estimate.
    • Tonkin-Travel carries out the booking process upon receipt of the deposit. Confirmation of these reservations is sent to customer within 10 days via email

    Nature of travel

    This trip is private. That implies:

    • You will be escorted by a private guide and driver. This approach guarantees a smooth trip with fewer organizational constraints.
    • You will be the master of your trip. We guarantee flexibility in organizing visits at your request.
    • Our services will be personalized according to your desires. Thus the proposals in this package are not fixed and you can bring suggest all the desired changes.
    • You receive individualized care: ample food, organizing small events (anniversary, honeymoon, etc.), targeted information, followed necessary modifications, etc.


    • Accommodation is an important expenditure of your trip. When you choose a luxury trip for example, the accommodation can represent three quarters of the price. Thus, your choice of hotels is closely related to your budget.
    • Tonkin-Travel has negotiated rates with a wide range of hotels from 2 to 5 stars.
    • In some places you will have the option to choose ‘home-stay’. Although this provides less comfort that a hotel it is a truly authentic experience and highly recommended for at least one night of your journey.


    All transfers during your trip are covered by private vehicle with driver, unless otherwise indicated in our offer. We ensure that our vehicles are new and comfortable. Fuel, tolls, accommodation, compensation and the driver are included in our offer. Only gratuities are not included and are at your discretion.

    The size of the selected vehicle is based on the number of tour participants according to the following quality standards:

    No. of participants

    2 pax

    3 pax

    From 4 to 7 pax

    From 8 to 14 pax

    From 15 to 20 pax

    Vehicle size

    Car 4-7 seats

    Car 7 or minivan 
    16 seats

    Minivan 16 seats

    Bus 24 seats

    Bus 35 or 45 seats

    Domestic flights

    If your trip includes domestic flights if any, they will be operated by Vietnam Airlines, the largest airline in Vietnam. The fleet consists mainly of Airbus and Boeing. On some short trips, the company operates 72 ATR and some Fokker.

    Rail transport

    Train travel can be offered (particularly between Hanoi-Lao Cai and Hanoi-Hue). Travelling at a speed of 60km/h on average it is not necessarily the fastest but an interesting experience nonetheless.

  • This form allows us to establish a tour proposal suitable for your needs. It is free and without obligation

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      the health condition of the participants, your questions on this trip...)

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