11-day Mai Chau Valley and Beyond

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Tour type

Tour Level: Moderate

Tour Comfort: Superior

Tour Period: 11 Days

tour highlights

  • Enjoying the scenic ambiance of Mai Chau Ecolodge
  • Trekking to minority villages deep in Mai Chau Valley
  • Mingling with traditionally dressed ethnic minorities
  • Valley biking in Mai Chau valley
  • Walking and rafting on Cham River
  • Trekking to Hieu waterfall
  • Visit Van Long Wetland Biological Reserve by sampan
  • Hiking in Cuc Phuong National Park
  • Visiting King Dinh and King Le temples

tour details

This uniquely tailor-made tour offers you chance to experience the life of ethnic minority peoples in the mountainous areas south-west of Hanoi with some adventure elements and enjoyment of local specialties. The area encompasses all the highlights of Northern Vietnam where you can find the counterparts of Sapa’s magnificent mountain ranges or Mu Cang Chai’s stunning rice terrace fields or Cao Bang Provinces’ scenic rivers and waterfalls or Halong Bay’s amazing karsts formations.

Pick-up at Hanoi airport and transfer to the city centre for hotel check-in. Hotel rooms may not be ready before 14:00 hrs. Subject to your time of arrival, optional excursion in and around Hanoi are available at a surcharge.

Have dinner at restaurant and attend a water puppet show.

The Vietnamese traditional art of water puppetry has roots that date back to the 10th century when it originated in the Red River Delta area of northern Vietnam. The farmers in the region celebrated festivals and harvests by performing this unique art form.
The puppets are made of wood and usually stand sixteen inches high, but can be as tall as three feet. Puppets are attached to a long bamboo pole and dipped in and out of the water by a person behind a rattan curtain

Accommodation at Hilton Garden Inn, Standard room
Meals included:
Dinner
Getting to know Hanoi, the Capital City of Vietnam through the city's highlights.
In the morning, you will visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (closed weekly on Monday, Friday and during the months from September to November for maintenance) and his former residence (closed on Monday and Friday), One-Pillar Pagoda and the Temple of Literature, known as the first university of Vietnam and built more than 1,000 years ago.

Continue the city tour to one of the following museums for an introduction to the cultural diversity of the large family of 54 ethnic minorities of Vietnam (Note that museums are closed on Mondays.):
oMuseum of Ethnology
oVietnam Women's Museum

After lunch, enjoy a leisurely walk to explore the old quarter of Hanoi. Foodies and photography buff alike will surely find their favourite stuffs in this labyrinth full of life.

Accommodation at Hilton Garden Inn, Standard room
Meals included:
Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner
Breakfast at leisure, then check out and depart for Mai Chau via Hoa Binh town (150 km) through picturesque scenery with stunning views of the mountain ranges along the way. Upon arrival, check in and have lunch at hotel restaurant.

In the afternoon, have a relaxing 2-hour biking tour through the beautiful valley of Mai Chau. You will meet the local hill tribe people pursuing their daily routines such as rice planting, herding buffalos, or building houses.

Have dinner at the hotel restaurant. Traditional dance performance by the local Thai from the village.

Accommodation at Mai Chau Ecolodge, Deluxe room
Meals included:
Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner
Get more insight into the life of ethnic minority people with a full-day trek though beautiful villages deep in the Mai Chau Valley.

You will first cross Lac Village and a small mountain to reach Na Meo, a commune which perches on the mountain slope. From Na Meo, you will hike on the slope of the lofty Pu Poc Mountain. The wild scenery is filled with primary forests, soaring mountains with strange shapes, lush green corn and cassava fields, charming houses of Thai people.

Have picnic lunch at Xo village, then continue hiking to Te Village, a small authentic village nestled between the dense forests. Visit a Thai family and then continue hiking for about 1.5 hour cross Pu Hamlet and Khoe Hamlet on a small concrete road to reach the pick-up point at Te Bridge at around 16:30 hrs.

Accommodation at Mai Chau Ecolodge, Deluxe room
Meals included:
Breakfast
Picnic lunch
Dinner
Today you will go trekking through villages beyond Mai Chau Valley.

Have early breakfast and then drive about 30km North of Mai Chau to Pa Co. The winding road to the market seems to be lurked in cloud. Small villages of the H'mong are nested on both sides of the road. Continue driving uphill to get to Hang Kia Village of the Blue H'mong ethnic minority people. The village perches on the mountain peak with the cool climate year around, somehow like Sapa.

Have picnic lunch at Hang Kia, then start trekking through the corn, cassava, paddy fields and tropical jungles. After three hours of trekking, you will come to Van Village, get on the car for transfer back to Mai Chau Ecolodge.

Accommodation at Mai Chau Ecolodge, Deluxe room
Meals included:
Breakfast
Picnic lunch
Dinner
Enjoy breakfast and the morning at a leisure pace, then check out and transfer to Pu Luong Nature Reserve via a breath-taking mountain pass connecting Mai Chau with the Pu Luong Nature Reserve in the western district of Thanh Hoa Province. Upon arrival, enjoy lunch with fresh local food followed by free time to explore the facilities and tranquil setting of the Pu Luong Retreat.

In the afternoon, you will start to venture out into the nature with a walk along the Cham River in search of the stunning water wheels. Get up close to each wheel and discover how water is moved from river to the handmade bamboo aqueducts via simple constructions of all sizes.

Continue walking to a local fisherman's house, have a short rest to gear up for a rafting adventure. Float along the calm river and enjoy the views, in between learning how to paddle and steer the bamboo raft.
Arriving at the scenic Tan Lap bridge, you will disembark for transfer back to Pu Luong Retreat.

Accommodation at Pu Luong Retreat, Valley View Bungalow
Meals included: Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner
Today you will have an enthralling trek through the valley at the mountain base. Photo opportunity abound, so do not forget to bring along our camera. Start early by descending into the beautiful valley facing the Retreat where you will walk around the tumbling rice terraces. Trek through small paths shrouded in vegetation to slowly reveal a picturesque village sitting at the base of a towering mountain.

Continue trekking to the base of the valley, you will weave between the changing and contrasting sceneries with farmland, villages, wild fields, ponds, rivers, mountains and open land. Picnic lunch will be served at a beautiful spot on the route.

After lunch, you will continue trekking to Hieu village. Following the rugged stony path from the centre of Co Lung Commune, you will arrive in Hieu Village, which is also the furthest village in the commune and the location of the waterfall. In order to reach the top of the 800m waterfall, you will have to spend about an hour climbing the mountain and wading through water. At the foot of Hieu Waterfall is a natural "swimming pool" that is just a little more than 1m high and has a bed full of sand. You can swim leisurely in the cool, transparent water.

Take motorbike taxi to the main road for transfer back to Pu Luong Retreat.

Accommodation at Pu Luong Retreat, Valley View Bungalow
Meals included: Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner
Today you will journey further south toward Ninh Binh Province which is a famous tourist destination. The limestone karsts formations jutting out from the flooded rice fields have earned the area the nickname "Dry Halong Bay" Many of the limestone mountains contain water grottoes that provide access to hidden valleys by paddled sampans. Arrive at Van Long, you will check in a charming resort built in Vietnamese traditional architectural style.

In the afternoon, have a 2-hour leisurely sampan ride and enjoy the spectacular landscape of the Van Long Wetland Biological Reserve with chance to spot the white trunk delacour's langurs which are endemic to Vietnam and can only be found in this area of Ninh Binh Province.

Back to the resort, have time to enjoy the resort's facilities

Accommodation at Emeralda Ninh Binh, Superior room
Meals included: Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner
08:00 hrs. Depart for Cuc Phuong National Park through the beautiful countryside road.

Cuc Phuong National Park was established in 1962 and is the oldest national park in Vietnam. Covered in a dense forest, it is the habitat of some of Asia's rarest species of animals and plants. Rich in flora and fauna and home to some animal rescue centres, it draws interests of not only researchers and conservationists but also nature enthusiasts from all over the world.

Upon arrival, you will first visit the Endangered Primate Rescue Centre and the Turtle Conservation Programme, then visit the botanical garden.

After lunch, walk deeper into the heart of the primary forest. At the National Park Centre, you will have a choice of two different hikes. Either to see the "Thousand Years Old Tree" with a mountainous trek or to see the other "Ancient Tree" over flat paths.
Continue to visit the "Cave of Prehistoric Man" with evidence of early man unearthed during the 1966 excavation.

Accommodation at Emeralda Ninh Binh, Superior room
Meals included: Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner
Enjoy your morning at a leisurely pace, then check out and drive to visit King Dinh and King Le temples in Hoa Lu which was the capital of Vietnam, then called Dai Co Viet, in the 10th and 11th centuries. The limestone mountains surrounded Hoa Lu was used as a natural fortress to defence the capital. In 1010 King Ly Cong Uan, the founder of Ly Dynasty, transferred the capital to Thang Long (today's Hanoi) and since then Hoa Lu has been known as the "ancient capital". The temples dedicated to Kinh Dinh and Kinh Le were erected on the grounds of the former main palaces of the royal citadel.

Have lunch at local restaurant and then transfer to Hanoi. Upon arrival check in the hotel and have free time to unwind.

Accommodation at Hilton Garden Inn, Standard room
Meals included: Breakfast
Lunch
At leisure until transfer to Hanoi airport for your flight to the next destination (hotel check-out time is 12:00 hrs; late check-out is subject to room availability and a surcharge will apply.
Meals included:
Breakfast

includes

  • Accommodation in shared twin room with air-condition (AC) and private bathroom at hotels in Hanoi, Mai Chau and Van Long
  • Accommodation in shared twin room with electric fan and private bathroom at Pu Luong Retreat
  • Meals as stated in the programme B= breakfast, L= lunch, D= dinner
    -Transfers and tours with English-speaking guide in private air-conditioned vehicles
  • All entrance fees as mentioned in the programme
  • Bamboo rafting with local fisherman
  • Sampan ride in Van Long Biological Reserve
  • Drinking water and cold towels available on the vehicles

excludes

  • Surcharges for other language guides
  • Surcharges for night-time services, especially applied for transfers with arrivals after 23:00 hrs and arrivals or departures before 06:00 hrs.
  • Surcharges for Lunar New Year (TET) holiday
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Personal expenditure, such as drinks, souvenirs, laundry, camera fees, communications, postage, gratuities etc.
  • Meals and services other than mentioned in the programme
  • Drinks with meals
  • Compulsory gala dinners during festive seasons and peak season surcharges which will be advised at the time of booking
  • Visa application and visa stamp fees at Vietnamese embassies overseas and/ or upon arrival (Please note that a visa is compulsory for most nationalities.)
  • Early check-in and late check-out at hotels, if not mentioned in the programme
Tour code: WEBHANDHMTN
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