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Northern Vietnam Escape

Sapa and Surrounds

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The one that takes you from Hanoi to the hills, uncovering the dazzling greenery of north Vietnam’s world heritage sites

Travel Style

In-Depth Explorer

Take your time and explore in-detail each destination on this trip. Find out more

  • Duration

    5 days

  • Places

    6 places

  • Meals

    3 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches

  • Transport Style

    Mini-Coach + Train

  • Group Size

    Max 20 people

  • Team

    Expert Trip Manager and Local Guides

Hanoi, Ninh Binh, Overnight Train to Lao Cai, Sapa, Overnight Train to Hanoi, Lao Cai

Northern Vietnam Escape Sapa and Surrounds

12 Inclusions

Experiences that are included with your trip

  • See UNESCO World Heritage site Trang An
  • Visit Temples of the Dinh and Le dynasties
  • Take a slow boat journey and admire the scenery of Tam Coc
  • Savour a traditional Vietnamese lunch at a local restaurant in Hoa Lu
  • Take a bike ride through the romantic scenery of Tho Ha Village
  • Try your hand at agricultural activities like crab-fishing & transplanting vegetables in Ninh Binh
  • Learn to prepare family recipes from locally sourced ingredients in a family-run cooking class, Ninh Binh
  • Eat a homemade group lunch with a local family in Ninh Binh
  • Hike to Muong Hoa Valley and see the Largest terraced rice fields in Sapa
  • Visit the Black H'moug Village
  • Trek toward Ta Phin Village
  • Meet members of the Red Dzao and Black H'mong tribes in Ta Phin Village & learn about their distinctive culture & customs

0 Free Time Add-Ons

Optional experiences that you can choose from and pay for on your trip

Where I'll Stay?

Learn more about the accommodation available on this trip

  • 4 nights

    All accommodation is included on this trip

    1 night in Hotel, 2 nights in Overnight Train, 1 night in Homestay

    This trip is all about saving you valuable travel time, using overnight trains so you wake up in a new destination each time. You'll also have an authentic homestay with a local family where you can learn the local customs, eat some delicious Vietnamese food.

About this trip

This Trip takes you out of the hustle of Hanoi and into North Vietnam's glorious national parks and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Comfy overnight trains aren't just fun, they save you precious travel time, and will carry you through the jaw-dropping Ninh Binh province, the shimmering waters of Tam Coq and the rolling hills of Sapa, where you'll fall in love with the serenity and spectacular natural beauty of Vietnam, with included experiences like a boat ride through cave formations and and a local homestay showcasing an authentic side to this fascinating country.

Buy With Confidence

  • Only $99 deposit to book*

    For a limited time, reserve your space now with a deposit of only $99, pay the rest 45 days before departure

  • Pay over time, interest free

    Can't pay in full? We've got you covered with our Part Pay Program

  • No booking fee, no change fees

    Change your travel dates or even your trip for free

  • Financing available with UpLift

    Book now, pay later when you're eligible for Uplift

Map & Itinerary

  • Start location
  • End location
  • Trip day
  • Via location
  • River route
  • Plane route

Nights spent per location

  1. Hanoi

  2. 1 1 night

    Ninh Binh

  3. 1 1 night

    Overnight Train to Lao Cai

  4. via via

    Lao Cai

  5. 1 1 night

    Sapa

  6. 1 1 night

    Overnight Train to Hanoi

  7. Hanoi

DAY 1 - Hanoi to Ninh Binh

Hanoi

Welcome to Vietnam's eroded and elegant capital Hanoi, with its gorgeous colonial buildings and intoxicating energy. For all its charms, we're headed out of the city to somewhere decidedly more peaceful...

Ninh Binh

We've reached the UNESCO World Heritage site of Trang An. We'll be left speechless by the soaring limestone karst peaks set against vibrant greens. We'll visit the Ancient Capital of Hoa Lu - Vietnam's first centralised fuedal state from the 10th century - as well as the temples of the Dinh and Le dynasties whilst marvelling at the lush rice paddies. After a local lunch, we'll hop on a boat with our skilled rower, as she takes us on a tranquil journey through the winding rivers, natural caves and canals of Tam Coc. You've never seen natural beauty like this before, and this twisting ride is as mind-blowing as it is peaceful.

Stay

Ninh Binh Legend Hotel (or similar)

INCLUDED EXPERIENCES

  • See UNESCO World Heritage site Trang An

  • Visit Temples of the Dinh and Le dynasties

  • Take a slow boat journey and admire the scenery of Tam Coc

  • Savour a traditional Vietnamese lunch at a local restaurant in Hoa Lu

DAY 2 - Ninh Binh to Overnight Train to Lao Cai

Ninh Binh

This morning we'll take a bike ride through Tho Ha village, enjoying the dazzling greenery of the rural landscapes. Later today is your chance to engage in some agricultural activities such as catching crabs, fishing and transplating vegetables, before we return to the hamlet for a cooking class and lunch with a local family.

Overnight Train to Lao Cai

Stay

Special Stay: Overnight Train

INCLUDED EXPERIENCES

  • Take a bike ride through the romantic scenery of Tho Ha Village

  • Try your hand at agricultural activities like crab-fishing & transplanting vegetables in Ninh Binh

  • Learn to prepare family recipes from locally sourced ingredients in a family-run cooking class, Ninh Binh

  • Eat a homemade group lunch with a local family in Ninh Binh

DAY 3 - Overnight Train to Lao Cai to Sapa

Overnight Train to Lao Cai

Lao Cai

We've reached Lao Cai, the gateway to Sapa. After breakfast it's on to Cat Cat Village.

Sapa

Today is about enjoying the spectacular surroundings - discover cascading waterfalls and have your breath taken away by the terraced fields, vegetable patches and verdant hills. Continue to explore the breathtaking scenery by hiking to Muong Hoa Valley, home to the largest terraced rice fields in Sapa. Tonight, you'll get a real overview of the traditional customs and way of life with a local homestay, enjoying delicious local food and maybe some rice wine.

Stay

Special Stay: Homestay

INCLUDED EXPERIENCES

  • Hike to Muong Hoa Valley and see the Largest terraced rice fields in Sapa

  • Visit the Black H'moug Village

DAY 4 - Sapa to Overnight Train to Hanoi

Sapa

Rise and shine, you don't want to miss a moment. Today you'll hike and ascend through the mountains taking in the views of the terraced rice and corn fields. Once arriving at Ta Phin Village you'll meet the Red Dzao and Black H'moug groups who live peacefully together in the village yet retain their distinctive cultures.

Overnight Train to Hanoi

We're heading back to Hanoi tonight on another overnight train...

Stay

Special Stay: Overnight Train

INCLUDED EXPERIENCES

  • Trek toward Ta Phin Village

  • Meet members of the Red Dzao and Black H'mong tribes in Ta Phin Village & learn about their distinctive culture & customs

DAY 5 - End Hanoi

Overnight Train to Hanoi

Hanoi

Our trip ends early this morning as we arrive at Hanoi station, a sharp jolt to the senses after all that serene nature. But this grand old capital has its own charms, and is just begging to be explored.

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions group

Are flights included in my trip?

International flights to/from the destination your trip starts and ends in are not included in the cost of the trip, and must be purchased separately. You can book these independently if you want to shop around for the best quote, or through your travel agent.

Any flights you take during your Contiki are included in the cost of your trip. On certain Asian trips we use planes to get you from A to B as quickly as possible, and all of this is included.

What documents do I need to travel?

Depending on your nationality, you may require visas to enter certain countries on your trip. In Asia, some visas – but not all – can be purchased at the border with US$ or local currency. You are fully responsible for obtaining all necessary visas that are required prior to the departure of your trip. Contiki is not legally permitted to knowingly allow anybody who does not have a valid visa to join a trip. Visa & other entry & exit conditions (such as currency, arrival/departure taxes, customs & quarantine regulations) do change regularly.
Your passport must have at least six months’ validity remaining when you arrive. Local immigration authorities may deny entry & deport people who do not meet this requirement, even if they intend on staying only for a short period. Important to consider:
1. Visas can take up to six weeks & a fee is normally charged.
2. Failure to obtain all necessary visas could cause you to
miss part of your trip & will result in you incurring considerable expense & inconvenience.
3. It is better to apply for all visas through your travel agent before you leave home. Be aware that some visas can be purchased & arranged on arrival.
4. It is very important that the entry & exit dates are correct on the visa. Your travel agent will contact Contiki for full details. In these cases passport photos and US$ will be required and your Trip Manager will explain the process.

What are the luggage restrictions?

On our Asia trips, you can bring one bag or suitcase of 73cm x 50cm x 25cm (29” x 20” x 10”), with a max weight of 20kg (44lbs) – 15kg in India – plus one piece of hand luggage suitable as a carry-on for flights.

What do the Contiki team do?

People are at the heart of everything we do, and our team is what makes our trips the best. Our worldwide On-Road Team, locally based staff & network of Local Guides are all extensively trained & widely travelled, & are the best in the business. But we know it’s not just about training, it’s about passion & our team have it in their blood. 
Your Trip Manager is like your walking, talking guidebook – just for you. They plan your itinerary every day, organise your food and accomodation and book your Free Time Add ons, and because they know everything about where you’re going, you will too. Local Guides provide specialist knowledge when you need it and will always help you avoid the tourist traps.

What's not included that I should budget for?

There are loads of great things to spend your money on while you’re in Asia – from a trip to an offshore island, to a special dinner or an outfit that you just can’t resist... So how much money should you bring?

Remember your trip already includes plenty of things such as breakfast every day, many meals, lots of sightseeing, guided tours & activities & much more


Before you travel, it’s a good idea to read up on and get an idea of the Free Time Add-Ons you think you’ll want to do on trip, as these will form part of your overall budget. We’d advise doing some research on your chosen destinations beforehand, looking at things like:
 
- Cost of a local lunch
 
- Cost of a local dinner
 
- Cost of a local taxi
 
- Cost of entry to a sightseeing spot
 
Remember, there’s a big budgetary difference between a country like Japan & a country like Thailand, so do your research.

Will I be able to access WiFi on my trip?

Contiki Asia is mostly hotel accommodation with great amenities like WiFi. We have also included accommodation that reflects Asian culture, too. Like a family-run Guest house in the Mekong, a traditional junk boat in Halong Bay & an authentic local guesthouse in Laos. At these Special Stays, take the time for a digital detox and soak in all of that natural beauty.

What are Contiki’s sustainability credentials?

We believe that travelling sustainably and consciously, matters. Contiki Cares is our commitment to protecting the communities we visit, the wildlife we interact with, and the planet we all share. Our founding partner, the TreadRight Foundation was established 10 years ago as a not-for-profit organisation focused on promoting sustainable tourism within The Travel Corporation’s family of brands. From the Dhonk centre in India to the COPE visitor centre in Laos, our projects in Asia are all about giving something back. Find out more at https://www.contiki.com/uk/en/about/contiki-cares.

How do I pay for my Free Time Add Ons?

Free Time Add Ons in Asia are paid for in cash with local currency and USD only. Payments with other currencies (eg. AUD) or credit card cannot be accepted.

How do I redeem the % off deal?

Our great deals and offers are only in market for a limited time are subject to pay in full deadlines. If you cannot pay in full by the specified date shown alongside the offer/deal you can still  lock in the trip date of your choice at our Standard Price where normal payment terms of pay in full 45 days prior to your trip departing apply.  Visit the deals page for the full terms & conditions. Discounts apply to the land portion of your trip price only (this excludes taxes, included flight costs, extra accommodation & optional activities. Your trip price does not include the costs of international flights that start or end your trip).