A Discovery of Northern Vietnam

- A Secret Retreats journey -
7 Days / 6 Nights
from 1,550 USD /person



This journey has been personally designed by Pham Dac Kham, the author of this journey, who lives in Hanoi:
“There is a bug that nothing can cure, the travel bug! I am passionate about my work, I practise it with faith, dignity and humility. Client satisfaction is my daily goal.”

All our itineraries have generally been constructed on the basis of the rooms that have the most charm or best view, and not necessarily the first prices, nor the most expensive suites.
We can of course adjust according to your request.

Highlights of the Journey:

Highlights of the Journey:

  • Secret Journeys, taking you to paths untread by mass tourism.
  • Sailing the iconic Halong Bay on a traditional and luxurious sailing junk.
  • Rare opportunities to meet and learn about the lifestyles of Vietnam’s mountain peoples.

From the mountains to the sea on a 7 day tour of North Vietnam. Trek to places in the mountainous north far from the beaten track of mass tourism and enjoy encounters with the ethnic groups in this recently opened area. Sail Halong Bay, one of the most romantic and beautiful natural wonders of the world, on a luxurious private sailing junk.


Contact the concierge on


Your Journey Day by Day

7 Days / 6 Nights from 1,550 USD /person

based on 2 people sharing a room


Day 1 : Hanoi Airport - Hanoi Old Quarter (-/-/-)
Your Vietnam discovery starts on arrival at Hanoi International Airport where our staff will be waiting to welcome and transfer you to your hotel in the historic colonial center of old Hanoi, around the Hoàn Kiếm lake.
No arrangement for the day, but depending on our flight arrival we can propose (extra charges) some visits. Dinner on your own. We can recommend our Secret Tables in Hanoi.
HOTEL: La Siesta Classic (Deluxe room)
Day 2 : Hanoi – Ninh Binh (B/L/-)
We leave Hanoi heading north to Hoa Lu the site of the country’s first capital (years968-1009) whose ancient citadel covered almost 3 km2. Although now mostly destroyed, ruminants remain today. The temples of Dinh Tien Hoang (restored in the 17th century) and Le Dai Hanh remain and the stunning views and scenery are worth the stop.
We then head for Tam Coc town. Known as ‘Halong Bay in the rice fields,’ the views and photographic opportunities are endless and it is truly one of the more beautiful places in the entire country. After lunch break, we board small sampan and traverse the Ngo Dong River through the rice fields where huge rock formations rise from these green fields. The sampans are manned by locals who, incredibly, row with their feet. During this leisure trip the boats enter three sacred caves, Tam Coc Caves, after which the town itself was named. The boat trip takes approximately 2hrs and is a very peaceful and scenic time.
Check in at your peaceful retreat for the next 3 days: Aravinda. And the rest of day is yours, free time at your leisure.
HOTEL: Aravinda Resort (Lotus Classic)
Day 3 : Ninh Binh (B/-/-)
Ride a bike through the countryside to Thai Vi temple. Situated in the middle of rice paddies and limestone peaks, in a calm and serene atmosphere, its original architecture follows the principles of Eastern geomancy. Continue on the bike towards Bich Dong Pagoda where, if timing allows, and you are brave enough, you may climb the stairs carved into the rock walls and access the pagoda. Your reward will be the amazing and stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
We continue for Mua Cave, visit the secret hospital that Vietnamese used in the days of thunder (Vietnam War). Inside the cave you can challenge yourself with 500 steps to the top of the mountain. Enjoy the fresh air at the “rooftop of Ninh Binh” with some breathtaking views.
In the afternoon, back to the resort and enjoy time on your own. (no meal arrangement).
HOTEL: Aravinda Resort (Lotus Classic)
Day 4 : Ninh Binh (B/-/-)
Free time all morning after breakfast.
A visit to Phat Diem will follow to see the vast cathedral. The vaulted ceiling here is held up by massive columns 10mts tall and mts in diameter, and during the French era, was the center of Catholicism. The enormous bell situated on the highest tower is much larger than the one at Notre Dame. Transfer to the Nature Reserve of Van Long and then we get on a bamboo rowboat as soon as we arrive for a boat trip rowing along this beautiful wetland of Van Long, enjoying spectacular scenery surrounded by rice paddies, lotus pond and towering limestone mountain peaks.
Back to the resort for the evening (no meal arrangement).
HOTEL: Aravinda Resort (Lotus Classic)
Day 5 : Ninh Binh – Halong Bay (B/L/D)
Morning transfer from your hotel to Halong Bay by private car.
Halong Bay, with its 1,969 islands set in beautiful turquoise waters, was recognized for its natural beauty by UNESCO in 1994 and is now classified as a World Heritage Site.
‘Ha Long’ means ‘descending dragon’ and according to local legend, a dragon was lowered into the bay to harness the ocean currents. His violent tail movements disturbed and broke up the surrounding mountains and when he plunged into the sea the water level rose up, leaving only the highest peaks above the water.
We have prepared a program that leads you to the discovery of Bai Tu Long, a jewel in Halong Bay and outside the well plied channels taken by the majority of Halong Bay’s tourist junks.
Once on board your sailing junk you will meet the captain and the crew, enjoy a refreshing welcome drink and settle down into your cabin for the cruise. Lunch will be served in the elegant dining room or on the outside deck when the cruise starts – a delicious menu of locally caught fresh seafood.
Take a seat on the deck and relax with fresh brewed tea while enjoying the incredible landscape as it unfolds around you; the deep jade coloured water, the limestone islands with their striking shapes rising out of the bay and marching out to the horizons around you. We will be sailing away from the “beaten tracks”, no noise, nothing to clutter your views of the all the natural beauty surrounding you. We will weigh anchor at Cap La Tra San where you can enjoy paddling around the many small islands and lonely beaches by kayak or simply enjoy swimming in the bay.
Dinner will be served around sunset, indoor or outdoor as you prefer
HOTEL: overnight on board a private junk (the Amour or the Prince)
Day 6 : Halong Bay (B /L /D)
You will rise with the morning sun surrounded by enchanting peaceful scenes. After breakfast, we continue the cruise to Cong Dam and Bai Tu Long Bay. Here you will have the chance to take a kayak and explore the hidden lagoons and the geological park of Cong Dam. Lunch will be a BBQ set on the beach before returning to your junk and continuing the cruise to Cong Do. We will cruise to Hon Co Island where you can explore the well-hidden Thien Canh Son cave before we cruise back to Cap La for the evening. Dinner is served around sunset, indoor or outdoor as you prefer.
HOTEL: overnight on board a private junk (the Amour or the Prince)
Day 7 : Halong - Hanoi (B /L /-)
This morning you will have the opportunity to visit the Vung Vieng fishing village and witness the lifestyles of the local fisherfolk. The fisherman and their families live permanently on the water, their houses literally floating on the bay, a truly unique lifestyle. You will meet the village chief who will share with you the stories of the daily lives of the inhabitants of Halong Bay.
On returning to your junk lunch will be served and your Halong Bay cruise comes to its end. The whole crew will bid you farewell and you will return to port by mid-afternoon before taking the drive back to Hanoi where we will transfer you to either the airport or your next hotel as required.

End of service.

Your Accommodation on this Asia Travel Itinerary

A Discovery of Northern Vietnam

7 Days / 6 Nights
from 1,550 USD /person

based on 2 people sharing a room


The total price includes:
All accommodation in double rooms at the hotels and cruise as detailed in the itinerary.
All meals where mentioned in the program.
All transfers by private, spacious, air conditioned car, with provision of water and refreshing towels, and a professional driver.
All other transportation used for travel including sampan, small boat, etc...
A competent professional guide at each stage of the journey (except during your free time).
All tours as detailed within the program.
All entry fees for places visited within the program.
All program activities (cycling, bike, kayak, or others...).
The cruise in Halong Bay (2 nights).
Government taxes as currently in force.

The total price does not include:
International flights to and from your home country.
Beverages, personal expenses and other services not detailed in the program.
Tipping guides and drivers, which is of course not mandatory, but always appreciated, are subject to your discretion.
Travel insurance of any kind that you subscribe to personally.
Any free time services: including car and driver, tour guide, lunch and dinner where not mentioned in the program as an included pat of the program.
Any applicable departure taxes applied to some countries (Cambodia-Laos).
Visa fees to Vietnam - but we can send you an invitation letter, which is an entry permit, allowing you to land in Vietnam.
Produce the letter to customs, with a passport size photo, and they will issue you with your visa, at a cost of only $25USD, paid directly to them.

This Secret Journey was designed in cooperation with Pham Dac Kham and Hanoi Voyages (License N° 01-022/2009/TCDL-GP LHQT )


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