A Handspan-exclusive trip to discover some very pristine areas of the North. We're taking you on strolls through the 1000 year-old history of Hanoi, scenic trails through an untouched secret valley inhabited by the Muong people, and cruising through the globe's largest and loveliest karst formations in the World Heritage Halong Bay. We're living up to the principles of responsible tourism by working in partnership with an NGO that promotes nature conservation and livelihood improvement in the Ngoc Son Nature Reserve. We then explore the least visited part of Halong Bay and kayak through the lush lagoons with a private overnight ship anchorage in an incredible and secluded spot. Get ready for a very special and unforgettable journey.
• Hanoi - Vietnam's 1000-year-old capital, and a true gem of Asia• The nature reserve of Ngoc Son Ngo Luong, a Handspan exclusive• The natural grandeur of the World Heritage Halong archipelago
• Wandering the medieval maze of streets of Hanoi's Old Quarter. Watch daily life. Find a good bargain. Pause for something cold to drink.• The craggy limestone hills, streams, and terraced rice fields of Ngoc Son Ngo Luong• Numerous encounters with local communities give you time to chat and learn• Kayaking expeditions throughout Halong and Bai Tu Long bays
[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 Free and EasyMeals: breakfast | Accommodation: hotel
A free day and night to discover our 1000 – year - old capital. In the afternoon, you'll have ticket for a performance of traditional Water Puppetry (an art form unique to northern Vietnam and a good light-hearted introduction to stories from its rural culture).
For a small additional cost, we offer day trip choices such as:- Full day guided Hanoi City tour- Cycling in Tam Coc, known as 'Halong Bay on land'
[Day 3] Hanoi - Ngoc Son Ngo Luong near Mai ChauMeals: breakfast, lunch and dinner | Accommodation: homestay
We depart at 8.00 from your hotel to head southwest. The Nature Reserve is actually quite close to Hanoi, and we should arrive around 11.00. The car stops at the headquarters of the Reserve where we might meet some rangers and have a brief explanation about nature conservation efforts and livelihood improvement projects. We then we take a short walk to a local restaurant in Chien village for lunch.
The wonders start to unfold after lunch, from Chien we head down into the valley to reach Mu village. We take our time to stroll around the village and have a break by the Mu waterfalls. We then walk along the terraced rice fields to Sat village and settle down in a local homestay there. A warm welcome from our hosts and time for relaxing near the garden stream are the prelude to a tasty dinner and a cozy night.
[Day 4] Ngoc Son - HanoiMeals: breakfast and lunch | Accommodation: hotel
The Ngoc Son Reserve has a particularly wondrous feel with its culturally and colorfully vivid villages. This is your chance to breathe in a truly different atmosphere and sense of place as walk. The day promises to bring friendly encounters with locals and the blissful feeling of being in the middle of nowhere. The day starts early as we walk back to Mu village by a different trail and head to Khay and Mon villages, in one of the most beautiful parts of the Reserve. We will have lunch with a family in Mon village before some motorbike-taxis bring us back to Chien village. Time for some refreshment in a local restaurant before the drive back to Hanoi.
Depart from Hanoi at 8.00 for a 3.5 hour drive to Halong City through the Red River Delta. Upon arrival, get on board of the Aloha Junk. Start cruising and enter the Bai Tu Long bay while lunch with fresh seafood is served (vegetarian menu available).
We reach the perfect spot, remote and scenic, and get ready for serious things. Swimming suits, ok. Kayaks and tender boat, ok. Paddles and gears, ok. Let's start our closer exploration of the limestone rocks, floating village and deserted beaches. Dinner and overnight on board.
[Day 6] Halong Bay KayakingMeals: breakfast, lunch and dinner | Accommodation: traditional junk
After breakfast, we transfer to the support boat. It takes us even farther from the touristy area, to the hidden nooks of the archipelago. A whole day of fun and relaxation. More kayaking, more swimming, more sandy beaches, more floating villages, more local cuisine... We guarantee that we will make this trip extension worth.Back on the Aloha boat at the end of the afternoon. Dinner and overnight on board.
[Day 7] Halong - HanoiMeals: breakfast and lunch | Accommodation: N/A
Wake up and enjoy breakfast while witnessing the silence of beautiful misty bay. You'll be free to relax and enjoy the breathtaking scenery on sundeck, take fantastic photos of the bay. Or to get back on kayaks/tender boat to go visit a small cave. Lunch will be served while cruising back to the harbor. Finally, to conclude your tour, we provide a minibus transfer back to Hanoi. Arrival at the Handspan office in Hanoi is approximately 4:00pm.
PRICE PER PERSON (Valid from 01/01/2013 to 31/12/2013)
Solo: N/AFrom 2 participants: $549Single supplement: $170
• Visa on arrival arrangement fee to Vietnam• Accommodation at all destinations• Meals as specified in the program• Water puppet show ticket• Travel in an appropriate air-conditioned vehicle with an experienced driver• Boat cruise on Halong Bay• Kayak 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; African countries... that needs special arrangement.• Beverages, gratuities and personal expenses• Camera fees (if any)• Gala dinner (if any)• Insurance• Surcharge for peak season (Christmas & New Years)
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