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Itinerary at a glance
Note: The itinerary can change depend on your requirements, but the destinations will remain the same.
Trekking Mu Cang Chai – Ha Long Kayaking – Ninh Binh Cycling
7 days 6 nights
Mu Cang Chai & Van Long Nature Reresve are less touristic & natural destinations in North Vietnam.
Our trip gives you long trekking periods to discover the mountainous beauty, the amazing Rice Terraces, as well as local life of different ethnic groups in rural tribes in Mu Cang Chai ( instead of tourism area in Sapa).
Cycling in Ninh Binh through Cuc Phuong National Park & Van Long nature reserve allows you to enjoy the outstanding landscapes of mountains & grottos. It is the largest area of wetland reserve, and is the home of rich fauna, flora and many animals.
We also allow days to relax on a cruise. Kayaking & swimming will help you enjoy the North Vietnam trip.
8am: Our guide will pick-up you at your hotel. We pass Nghia Lo town – the home of Thai people – one of the main ethnic people in Yen Bai. When we arrive at Tu Le town, we check in our hotel and you can spend around 2 hrs walking around fields and village. Here you can enjoy the rice fields, explore the life, the homes and the culture of Thai people. After trekking, we can enjoy the hot spring where villagers often gather together and take baths everyday.
8am: After breakfast, we will move to Mu Cang Chai. We will drive over the Khau Pha pass (one of the four greatest passes in Northern Vietnam, connecting Tu Le and Mu Cang Chai). These scenic roads offer a lot of stops for seeings the view point of Lim Mong, Lim Thai village. This is also a paragliding-point on the top of this pass!
When we arrive in Mu Cang Chai, we will take a 1-2 hr trek to Rasberry Hill – one of the most famous destinations in Vietnam. Located here is the round-shaped rice terrace. Everything here was built by human hands of H’mong people hundreds of years ago. Once we leave Mam Xoi (Raspberry Hill), we will have 3-4 hrs to trek from Che Cu Nha village to Kim Noi village – where we will sleep in the stilt house of Thai people.
On the path, we will go up a high mountain, pass a Hmong village and waterfall in a remote area. Besides seeing the beauty of rice fields, you’ll learn how to plant rice, harvest rice or discover the farmwork of locals. Enjoy stunning landscapes along the way.
After our breakfast, depending on the season, we can spend 1-2 hrs continuing to trek to some villages where beautiful rice fields exist such as: Lao Chai village, Sang Nhu village. We also have the option of enjoying the rice terrace fields on the back route.
After that, we will drive straight back to Nghia Lo – Yen Bai city- Hanoi and will arrive at 6-7pm.
8:00: After breakfast, the shuttle bus to Halong Bay will pick-up you at your hotel. You will embark on a cruise at midday around the beautiful bay. You will enjoy seafood lunch while cruising through Bai Tu Long Bay and Ha Long Bay.
In the afternoon, you will discover the floating Vung Vieng village while sitting on rowboats with local people. You can also go kayaking, swimming or join a cooking class.
Evening: Enjoy your Dinner and the bay in night.
Morning: Rise early for morning Tai Chi on the sundeck. After breakfast, you will explore the Sung Sot Cave (Amazing Cave)– one of the biggest caves in Vietnam and most impressive of Ha long Bay. When you return from the cruise, you can enjoy the bay on the sundeck when waiting for lunch.
You will check out of the cruise at 12:00pm and transfer back to Bai Chay beach. From there, you will take a minibus or private car and return to Hanoi. Arrival back at your hotel approximately at 16:30/17:00.
Overnight in a 3-star hotel in Hanoi.
Pick-up at your hotel at 8:00 am, then transfer about 110 km on a good road by mini-van to Ninh Binh (~2 hours). We start cycling on the countryside road through the limestone peaks to Tam Coc, passing rice paddies and rural villages. You will cycle to Mua Cave. After climbing up the many steps you will see a panoramic view of the river, rice fields, and stone mountains. You will know why Ninh Binh is called ” Halong Bay on land”. After spending energy to cycling, you will relax on the small boat through the Tam Coc in the river – which you have seen from the above mountain.
Followed by a short transfer via van, we continue our ride exploring more of Ninh Binh along the farm for about 2 hours of cycling. Cuc Phuong National park is our destination, and we will load our bikes back into the van and transfer to the park center for the night. Dinner and overnight in a simple bungalow inside the park.
Morning exercise with cycling up hills further into the jungles. This is harder than yesterday, but it’s worth being in fresh nature with sounds of birds. Maybe we can take a short walk here to learn more about plants and animals before we drive back to the gate for visiting the Primates Rescue Center.
By the time we leave the Rescue Center by van for Van Long, it’ll be time for lunch. After, we will take the local bamboo boats visiting (1.5 hours) along this fascinating nature reserve in the swampland. Van Long, with limestone peaks, has many caves and perhaps an opportunity to see different kinds of birds and the Delacour langur. Transfer back to Hanoi, tour ends at your hotel around 6 pm.
P/s: The itinerary can change according to your requirements.
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Katie & Jared – USA
“We absolutely LOVED this three day, two night trip with Nghia! We started from Hanoi and made our way up north to Mu Cang Chai. We spent the first day trekking to a tea farm up in the mountains and spent the first night at a homestay. We biked through rice fields, met locals and learned a lot about the community. We trekked up in Mu Chang Chai the second day via motorbike, walking and met locals, including our tour guide.
As a traveler here, you need to be flexible and willing to experience the trip, even when the conditions aren’t ideal. It rained some on the second day, and was very muddy, but I think that gave the day an even better memory.
Our meals were also very yummy and we were able to experience all sorts of local delights.”
Shemaine – Singapore
Nghia and her team from Zonitrip helped to organise a 2 day trip to Mu Cang Chai tour for my two friends and I. In the lead up to the trip, I appreciated her promptness in responding to my queries. All in all, my friends and I thoroughly enjoyed our trip! During our trek around the mountains, we were awed by the many beautiful views of the Mu Cang Chai rice terraces We also enjoyed our homestay experience with the Thai People and were highly impressed by the wide spread of delicious food prepared by our homestay owners. If you are looking to visit a place that is less touristy, I highly recommend Mu Cang Chai . However, if you are prone to motion sickness, you must be warned that the journey from Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai and back can be a gruelling one as you will be traveling on winding mountainous roads for about 2 -3 hours. Thank you once again Nghia for organising such a great trip for us =)
Travelled to Mu Cang Chai, spending the first night in Ngia Lo and the second in Mu Cang Chai. Nghia was wonderful and was up to doing anything we wanted to on the way. We stopped at a fresh water stream in Tu Le where she walked us to a secluded hot spring so that we could take a dip in the middle of the day. All the meals were amazing and she gave us insight to the lives of the Tai, Hmong and Dao people that lived in Yen Bai and the surrounding areas. Her tour is one of the most genuine and down to earth tours. Highly recommended!
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