This 7-day-tour gives you an amazing experience of truly local life in Vietnam. From the unique Thai ethnic culture in Mai Chau and Moc Chau to the peaceful rural life in countryside land of Ky Son and Duong Lam villages. From a graceful traditional homestay to a luxury boutique garden homestay, come with us to see the difference; to enjoy cycling, trekking between mountainous valleys then immerse yourself in ancient architecture of the best preserved villages.
• Hanoi, Vietnam's vibrant 1000-year-old capital and one of Asia's loveliest cities• The valley of Mai Chau, surrounded by jagged limestone mountains• Moc Chau, mountainous area, famous for its tea hills, limestone karsts, endless plum orchards, corn fields• Ky Son and Duong Lam villages, the best preserved villages in Vietnam in terms of its ancient architecture and the unique character of its people
• Interact with friendly locals, taste the specialties and home-cook meals• Friendship, warmth and hospitality of homestay with local ethnic Thai people• Cycling, trekking, and unforgettable memories
[Day 1] Hanoi ArrivalMeals: N/A | Accommodation: hotel
You'll be greeted at the Noi Bai airport and transferred to your hotel at the city centre. Time will be free for your refreshment.Overnight in Hanoi
[Day 2] Hanoi – Mai ChauMeals: breakfast, lunch and dinner | Accommodation: homestay
In the morning drive to Mai Chau, we'll leave the city behind and pass through the craggy, mountainous landscape. On arrival in Pom Coong village, you'll check in to the stilt-house home of a Thai ethnic minority family. In the afternoon, you can cycle through the lovely villages in the Mai Chau valley letting your guide point out and explain the wonders along the way. Afterwards, we return to Mai Chau for dinner and homestay in the stilt house with your friendly Thai hosts.
[Day 3] Mai Chau – Moc ChauMeals: breakfast, lunch and dinner | Accommodation: homestay
After breakfast with a view, you can wander around the houses to glimpse the daily life of local people. They specialize in weaving brocade products and they're happy to show visitors their skills. The village is operated as a community cooperative organized by the people themselves – one of many reasons why Handspan is proud to bring visitors here.
After lunch we keep on to Moc Chau stopping en route at nice hidden waterfalls. We arrive in Ban Doi, a small black Thai village where is implemented a community-based tourism project. Check-in, refresh yourself and follow the guide for a gentle walk throughout the village. Possibility to go for a tea factory visit at night.
Note: The stop at the waterfalls can be replaced by a 1-hour walk from Ban On to Nam Tom before arriving at the homestay.
[Day 4] Moc Chau BikingMeals: breakfast, lunch and dinner | Accommodation: homestay
After breakfast, we discover the secrets of making the excellent local Oolong tea. We then take a ride on a quiet road, up and down along plum orchards, trading 'hellos' with locals along the way. We stop after a few kilometers to walk down to a beautiful valley inhabited by H'mong people. Your awesome guide will set up a picnic lunch here before we get back on our bikes. We keep riding for few kilometers more before veering left on one of the most beautiful roads of the area. The ride ends at our homestay where we can shower and rest before dinner and a good night's sleep.
[Day 5] Moc Chau – Ky Son Moon Garden RetreatMeals: breakfast, lunch and dinner | Accommodation: Moon garden Luxury Boutique Homestay
8.00am - After breakfast, we say goodbye to Moc Chau and drive to Ky Son. This is an ancient Viet village of the most friendly local farmers who you will meet and interact with you through this two days trip. There are more than a hundred families living in this village, and most of them are farmers. Upon arrival around noon time, you will enjoy a local specialty 'welcome drink' before a short introduction to the house, kitchen and garden before joining the host for a home-cook lunch.
After lunch, you will have a brief discussion with the host about the village, the local life; learn some basic Vietnamese words and the traditions of the Vietnamese. We will continue walking or cycling through the village, visit families along the way as you will be invited in for a cup of tea and a very friendly chat... The host will not forget to ask you to bring a long a bamboo basket which you will take to the village field, pick up some herbal medicine for the traditional style bath this afternoon. You will be meeting with many local farmers in the field, take some sweet corn, sweet potatoes and vegetable (depending on the season) back to the homestay... Enjoy an herbal bath before dinner.
The night here is the most precious moment after full afternoon activities. Enjoy the quiet night in the court yard full of candle light while the host does a Buddhism chanting for peace and good health.
[Day 6] Ky Son – HanoiMeals: breakfast and lunch | Accommodation: hotel
Wake up in the peaceful morning with fresh air, we will do a morning exercise or you will join the host for a 30 minute Taichi. We enjoy a breakfast before helping the host to prepare offerings for ancestor worship, a Vietnamese tradition to honor and show deep gratitude to their ancestor. We take an easy cycling on the quiet village roads to the nearby village of Duong Lam (about 5km) call in their famous pagodas and temples, experience daily life of local resident at their ancient houses.
Mong Phu Village in Duong Lam Commune has nearly 400 family homes, 100 of which are very old with the oldest 30 houses estimated to date back 200-400 years. Mong Phu and other hamlets in Duong Lam are archeologically important because the villagers have clung to their traditional communal farming lifestyle.
We cycle another thirty minutes by anther village way back to Ky Son for lunch. We say goodbye to the host family to drive back to Hanoi. Overnight at your hotel in Hanoi.
[Day 7] Hanoi DepartureMeals: Breakfast | Accommodation: N/A
As with the arrival day, the program for today depends on your flight departure time. Your guide can advise you on any last minute Hanoi sights or shopping before our car picks you up at your hotel for the transfer to the airport.
PRICE PER PERSON (Valid from 01/01/2013 to 31/12/2013)
• Visa on arrival arrangement fee to Vietnam• Accommodation at all destinations• Meals as specified in the program• Travel in an appropriate air-conditioned vehicle with an experienced driver• Mountain bikes and safety gear• The services of an experienced English-speaking guide• All entrance fees• VAT and other taxes
• International flight tickets and airport tax.• Visa stamp fee•Visa on arrival arrangement for passport holder from India; Sri Lanka; Pakistan; Middle East countries; Turkey; Africa countries... that needs special arrangement.• Beverages, gratuities and personal expenses.• Gala dinner (if any)• Insurance• Surcharge in peak season (Christmas & New Year)
Mid-range• Hanoi: Le Foyer hotel – Deluxe city view
Superior• Hanoi: Serenade hotel – Deluxe room
Deluxe• Hanoi: Lan Vien hotel - Superior room
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