Mountain to Sea Extension

5 Days, from AU $923

Van Long natural reserve

Beautiful landscape of Ninh Binh

Mai Chau village

Van Long natural reserve

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Nestled in a valley of verdant hills in the north western highlands, Mai Chau’s stunning scenery is ideal for trekking and mountain biking, while providing a glimpse into the village life of H’mong and White Thai hill tribes. Ninh Binh province was once home to the ancient feudal capital Hoa Lu, and contains the beautiful Van Long nature reserve.

These fascinating areas of natural beauty are best visited together on a single tour from. On day four, the itinerary travels to the famous Halong Bay - the perfect additon to any trip to Vietnam.


Suggested Itinerary

Day 1: Hanoi - Duong Lam Village - Mai Chau

Depart your hotel this morning and travel west (1.5 hours drive) of Hanoi to Duong Lam village, a purely agricultural village of the Northern Red River Delta which still preserves many hundred-year-old houses. 

On the way, stop at Tay Phuong Pagoda. The pagoda offers beautiful architecture and ancient and unique sculptures. It was one of the first pagodas built in Vietnam and has magnificent dragons and demons carved into the wooden roof.

Wandering along the village and explore rural life and Vietnam’s ancient architecture. Visit Mong Phu temple in Mong Phu commune - the only hamlet whose original village entrance remains intact. Continue on through the narrow alleys to see the old laterite houses which make up this charming village. The village well – the traditional feature of communal life – is also worth a look. 

After included lunch at a local house, continue driving to Mai Chau. Check in the hotel on arrival in late afternoon and rest of the time is free at leisure. 

Day 2: Mai Chau

After leisurely breakfast at hotel, have a short drive to Xa Linh and take light trek/ walk (about 2 hours) through the village which is home of the Green Hmong hill tribe.

Have chance to learn to know about the local life and enjoy the picturesque Mai Chau Valley surrounded by spectacular karst rock formations and rice paddies.

Simple picnic lunch is served at the local village. Then enjoy a leisure walk to Thai villages of Van Mai, Mai Hich, Cum and Xam Khoe before transferring back your accommodation.  

Day 3: Mai Chau - Ninh Binh

After breakfast and enjoy the peaceful picturesque valley of Mai Chau. Walk or bike around the local villages to experience the local daily life. 

Check out the hotel and depart for Ninh Binh. The drive is about 4 hours with photo stop en-route. Arrive Ninh, the site of Vietnam’s first capital, Hoa Lu. The ravages of time have destroyed the ancient citadel but some vestiges including King Dinh and King Le worship temples still stand to this day among the rice paddies and are a worthwhile visit to get a glimpse of the ancient Vietnamese past.

After lunch at local restaurant, take a boat cruise of Trang An which is a nature reserve similar to Tam Coc however less visited. Limestone hills surround a peaceful river which passes through a series of caves (one which takes 15-minutes to pass through in darkness). An 'eco tourism' area, the only interruptions here are the sound of birds and the gentle paddle of the oar upon the crystal clear river.

Check in the hotel and enjoy a peaceful night. 

Day 4: Ninh Binh - Halong Overnight Cruise

Your early morning departure from your hotel in Ninh Binh to Halong Bay takes you on a journey through the rich farmlands of the Red River Delta. Observe everyday life of Vietnamese Villages as you see the villagers work the local rice fields, take live pigs to market on bicycles and plough the fields with their large water buffaloes. 

Arrive in Halong and board a traditional sailing junk. As the vessel sets sails, you will be greeted by the Crew Team who will aim throughout your stay at providing you with the highest standards of service for a pure pleasure and utmost comfort onboard. Discover some of the treasures disseminated across the Bay of the Descending Dragon during the afternoon: fascinating caves, pristine beaches, picturesque floating villages, fantastic rock formations rising up out of emerald water. While onboard, you can take advantage at leisure of the cruise services; surrounded by a stunning setting in motion, you could attend our chef's cooking demonstration and try your skills in the art of traditional Vietnamese cooking. 

Defined to be one of the highlights of your stay, a highly refined, innovative and varied cuisine will be presented for Lunch and Dinner in the elegant dining-room, accompanied by a wide selection of wines and beverages (with extra charge applied) for drink).

In the evening enjoy the entertainment activities as movie night, squid fishing or just enjoying a cocktail surrounded by limestone rocks majestically springing out from silent waters in the night.

Day 4: Ninh Binh - Halong Overnight Cruise

Early birds can attend a Tai Chi demonstration on the sundeck at the break of dawn. Start the day enjoying some delights with a light breakfast and follow by a colorful brunch.  . Continue exploring Halong Bay sailing across its 2000 islets and visiting some of its major highlights. Your cruise will come to an end at the pier in Halong late morning and you will be met and transferred back to Hanoi. The drive will take around 3.5-4 hours with technical stop en-route. You will arrive in Hanoi around mid afternoon.   

Travel Styles

All Get About Asia trips have been designed to make sure you have an unforgettable travel experience. We have developed several trip styles to cater for our diverse range of travellers. Read what your ideal Get About Asia experience might look like here.

Superior:from AU $1,106
Standard:from AU $923

All GetAboutAsia prices are based on twin share and depend on availability and season. All our itineraries can be customised including international flights and extra nights. For questions or further information, Enquire Now!

Important Information


Hotels each night of the itinerary (excluding your departure day). All GetAboutAsia accommodation is handpicked by us. Upgrades are available for this itinerary.

  • All breakfasts at your hotel each morning.
  • All airport transfers.
  • All transport on tour.
  • All itinerary attractions including fees or permits.
  • Professional tour guides for all airport pickups, day tours and activities.
  • Lunch and dinner as indicated on trip notes. We do not include lunch or dinner where it is practical for you to make your own choices, as we find that GetAboutAsia customers prefer the freedom of eating what they want, which is one the of joys of travelling.

Visa for Vietnam
When obtaining your visa you should allow 2-3 weeks for processing, the cost is approximately US$60 to US$100. Check with your embassy or consulate for further details. The Vietnamese Embassy in Edgecliff, Sydney has been known to issue a visa in 4 working days if all the correct documents are submitted at the time of application.

Price Dependent:

Availability of accommodation and season.

Trip Information

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"The far north Vietnam tour has been very good. Great guide and driver – now our new friends…. We loved the food and remote villages for interaction. We found Sapa too touristy and preferred the authentic north local places, waterfalls, homestay ! Thank you for a wonderful trip. " — Bruce and Sue, Adelaide, September 2019

"The Ha Long Bay adventure was perfect. Two days gave us time to really enjoy the boat and scenery not to mention the quality of the food on offer. Vietnam flights were comfortable and on time. Saigon was truly wonderful. Of course the traffic was stunning. Our guide Tammy bent over backwards to ensure we enjoyed the stay., We felt like princes as she helped us onto the first boat taking us across the Mekong river whilst dozens of tourists crammed onto boats around us. (and helped this 80 year old on and off several other boats during our time there.) We visited farms and businesses making chocolate from Cocoa bean and sweets from cocoanut cream.Our knowledge of tropical fruits expanded and we enjoyed the trip on the jaunting cart. Then there was the channel cruise on the small boat with the lady oarsman. On the practical side, all three guides were excellent. Were there to meet us at airports and were concerned to ensure that our passage through Airport Departure was smooth. All hotels were up to the standard we had hoped for and vehicles/water bottles etc spot on." — Mr and Mrs Brown, Sydney, April 2018

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