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Trek and Cruise, Pu Luong National Park to Ninh Binh and Halong Bay

10 Days / 9 Nights
, Vietnam

Overview

Trek and cruise the remote sites of north Vietnam. Beginning at Pu Luong National Park, trek through hidden villages with basic homestay experiences. Then take a boat trip in Tam Coc to discover spectacular caves before completing this adventure on an overnight cruise on Halong Bay.

Trip Highlights

Trek and Cruise, Pu Luong National Park to Ninh Binh and Halong Bay

Hike remote villages of Pu Luong Nature Reserve

With steep climbs and flat ground, trek through remote villages and discover hidden caves, wildlife and more.

Homestay experience with local ethnic villages

Spend overnights at basic homestays and enjoy the peaceful daily routine of villagers.

Boat ride in Tam Coc

Cruise on a 2-hour boat trip through small canals among the paddy fields and trek a rocky path to the hidden Galaxy Cave.

Itinerary

1

Arrive Hanoi

Transfer: 45 mins

Upon arrival to Noi Bai Airport, the guide and driver will be waiting to provide transport to the city and hotel for check-in.

This evening, enjoy a delicious welcome dinner as well as a trip briefing from the guides.  

Overnight in Hanoi

2

Hanoi – Pu Luong national reserve

From Hanoi to Pu Luong: 200km Transfer time: 4h Trek about 2.5 - 3 hours ( or 8km)

Depart in the morning towards the west, to the Hoa Binh Mountains and the Pu Luong Nature Reserve 22km from Mai Chau Valley.

Arrive in the late morning and lunch at the village of Lac.  In the afternoon, take a short hike through the rice terraces and bamboo forests. Arrive late afternoon in Hang Village. Dinner and night at a house on stilts of the Thai ethnic group.

All homestays are equipped with a clean bathroom, a shower (save water please), simple mattresses, mosquito net and blanket.

3

Hang village – Kho Muong village

Trekking: 4 hrs or 12km Difficulty: Medium

For those who don’t mind the early wake up, take part in the local morning activities or take a stroll around Hang Village before breakfast.

Then, embark on a more difficult day of hiking where there will  be 50% village paths and 50% on an old, disused, unpaved French road. There are some steep climbs throughout the day, as well as some stream crossings. When the trek gets more remote, one is never far from a villager tending fields or walking back from the early morning market ( subject to availability).   

While lunch is being prepared, relax from the heat of the day in a local home inside the village. After lunch, continue along the old jeep road to a village nestled between steep karst mountains.  Arrive early with spare energy to hike a two-hour return trip to a newly discovered and incredibly large cave. Hidden on high ground surrounded by thickets and hanging vegetation, the cave is now protected by forest rangers due to the delicate ecosystem and bat species inside.

Overnight at homestay in Kho Muong Village.

4

Kho Muong Village – Lan Village – Hin Village - Nua Village

Transfer: no Trekking: 5 hrs (14km) Difficulty: medium

This morning, hike through the forest and the peaceful villages of the ethnic Thai people. Beginning at Ban Uoi, hike through rice terraces, Ban Lan Trong and Lan Ngoai with beautiful houses on stilts preserving the traditional architecture of Thai. Continue walking through villages Cao, Trinh and Hin. The path of hiking goes uphill and downhill through the forest with scenes of rice terraces and pretty ethnic villages.

Spend the night with an ethnic Thai family in the village of Nua.

5

Nua village – Hieu village

Transfer: no Trek about 4-5 hours ( or 12km) Difficulty: medium

Wake up early to the sound of chickens and ducks, and village children preparing to go to school. Take an early morning walk through the village to experience morning life in a farming community. Hike approximately 4-5 hours to reach the village of Hieu located at the east end of the reserve. Nice walk in easy terrain with a picnic en route. On arrival at the village, visit a beautiful waterfall near the village.

Overnight in a house on stilts with a Thai ethnic group.

6

Hieu village – Pho Doan – Tam Coc

Transfer: 4 hours Trekking: 2.5 hrs Difficulty: easy

Take a morning walk around the village of Hieu to observe daily life of local people then  trek towards Ma River Pho Doan. The trek is quite a gentle descend to a wide open valley. Arrive at Pho Doan Town.

If this day falls on a Sunday, pay a visit to the busy Pho Doan Market.

Lunch at Pho Doan before heading back to Tam Coc / Hoa Lu, which is known as Halong Bay on land.

Spend some time at leisure or choose to walk to Thai Vy Temple which is in a beautiful corner in the middle of the green rice fields.

Overnight at the hotel.

About 2.5 hours walk, 5 hours on transfer.

7

Tam Coc – Galaxy cave

Transfer: 1 hrs Cycling: 5-15km Difficulty: easy

Upon arrival, begin a leisure 5 to 15 km (according to preference) cycling trip around Tho Ha Village passing by peaceful villages and enjoying the rustic countryside landscapes. Continue to Dong Tam Hamlet to join in some engaging agricultural activities such as catching crabs, fishing and transplanting, watering vegetables and more.

Enjoy lunch before cruising on a 2-hour boat trip through small canals among the paddy fields (rice fields seen between March and early June), then stroll along the winding rocky path of the foot for 200m and go up 20 steps to reach the Galaxy Cave Gate. Get inside the cave and admire the spectacular stalactites above the cave ceiling.

Continue to discover But Hien Cave and be attracted by many natural sparkling stalactites with shapes and figures before returning to the pier and transfer to the hotel.

8

Tam Coc – Halong Bay

Transfer: 3.5 hrs

After breakfast, leave Tam Coc for an overnight boat trip on Halong Bay. The journey out runs through the rich farmlands of the Red River Delta, where it’s possible to observe the everyday life of Vietnamese villagers as they work the rice fields. Arrive in Halong City late in the morning and board the traditional wooden junk for the overnight journey into the Bay (with lunch served enroute.)

After sailing along the idyllic rock formations, end the day by setting anchor in the middle of the Bay. As the sun sets over the water, dinner is served on board, consisting of fresh seafood, salads, and fruits.

Overnight on shared cruise in Halong Bay

9

Halong – Hanoi

Transfer: 3.5 hrs

Spend the morning returning to Halong City, enjoy a wholesome brunch as the boat weaves through strange-shaped limestone rock formations. Upon reaching the port, the driver will be waiting to provide transport back to Hanoi.

Overnight in Hanoi.

10

Departure

Transfer: 45 mins

Spend the day at leisure until transport (provided) to the airport for the departing flight.

Important Information

Our services include:

  • Private vehicle for transfer except trekking days
  • English Speaking certified Adventure Guide
  • Additional assistant guide for 16+ pax
  • Local guide during trekking days
  • Motorbike support where need
  • Plenty of water per person per trekking day
  • Snacks and local fruits during trekking day
  • 1 first aid kit per guide
  • Sightseeing tickets and zone entrance fees where mentioned in the itinerary
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
  • Accommodation as listed above.
  • Flight reconfirmations

Our services don’t include:

  • Visa arrangement
  • International and domestic flights.
  • Soft drinks, or beverages beyond water – we can add this into costs at agents request
  • Beverage and alcoholic drinks at mealtimes
  • Meals other than mentioned above
  • Tips
  • Energy drinks or powders, performance bars, or performance gels (Gatorade, Powerbars, Gu, Isostar, etc)
  • Personal Travel Insurance
  • Personal expenditure (laundry, telephone etc.)
  • Credit card/bank transfer fees
  • Any other services not clearly mentioned in the itinerary and in the inclusive portion
  • Supplement for other language speaking guides

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