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8 Days Itinerary in Northern Vietnam

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Vietnam is a famous country full of ancient buildings, excellent food, and natural wonders that the wars of the 20th century cannot erase. Northern Vietnam is considered the cultural cradle of this S-shaped country. If you want to travel here without a specific schedule, follow the below 8 day itinerary in Vientam to have a great trip.

Day 1: Hanoihalf daycity tour

You should start this trip from the Temple of Litterature. This is the subject architecture of the monument, built on the land with a length of 300m, the width of the North is 75m, the south is 61m, the North-South direction. It is a unique complex of monuments with a harmonious combination of natural landscapes, lakes, and gardens with architectural structures.

After that, stop by West Lake. In Hanoi, there are dozens of lakes with all sizes. Among them, West Lake is the largest lake with five hundred hectares and the road around the lake is eighteen kilometers long. Because the area of West Lake is extensive, the water surface is flat and clear, so if Hanoi places a view from one side to the other, Hanoi is like a coastal city. With such a space, West Lake becomes a relaxing destination for many people. Not only is it a place to fish, go for a walk and exercise, it is also a place to meet friends or hang out, keep memories. Sometimes, people find themselves a corner to enjoy the wind, sip coffee in a street restaurant, eat ice cream, or enjoy specialties.

West Lake

West Lake

And have come to Hanoi, do not miss the opportunity to visit One Pillar Pagoda. This pagoda has only one space on a stone pillar in the middle of the small Linh Chieu lake with lotus flowers planted. Legend has it that the pagoda was built according to the dream of King Ly Thai Tong and according to the design suggestion of the monk Thien Tue. One Pillar Pagoda has a unique architecture with a square structure, located on a stone pillar, above it consists of a system of wooden slats forming a framework to support the pagoda above, like a lotus flower straight up from the lake. After half a century, in 1962, the temple was ranked National Art and Architecture Historic Site, after six years the temple was listed in the Guinness Book of Vietnam as "The unique temple in Vietnam."

One Pillar Pagoda

One Pillar Pagoda

The next place of the journey will be President Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Then end the tour with its sixth-century Buddhist Temple Tran Quoc. You know, Quoc Tran Pagoda is considered the oldest temple in Hanoi with more than 1,500 years old. After the the first day trip, take a break for the next day.

Day 2: Hanoi – Ninh Binh – Hoa Lu & Tam Coc

The second day of itinerary in Northern Vietnam begins with Ninh Binh. With pristine nature, charming water scenery, Ninh Binh is currently one of the famous destinations of the North and also one of the places with the most significant number of visitors. About 100km south of Hanoi, Ninh Binh is a province in the Northern Delta. Ninh Binh tourism with many beautiful landscapes both in terms of view and historical significance has become the choice of many young people who want to go there.

First, you will set foot in Hoa Lu Ancient Capital. Hoa Lu was the first capital of Dai Co Viet, the central feudal state exercised its rights and was once the capital of Dinh, Tien Le and Ly dynasties. After King Ly Cong Uan moved the capital to Thang Long (Hanoi), this place became the Capital. Although the kings did not choose Ninh Binh as capital, they still repaired and built more buildings here. Hoa Lu ancient capital became a complex of national historical relics, which is particularly important and should be preserved by Vietnam. It is also a place recognized by UNESCO as one of the four core areas of the Trang An World Heritage site.

Hoa Lu Ancient Capital

Hoa Lu Ancient Capital

Referring to Ninh Binh, it is impossible not to mention the first and most famous area of this province - Tam Coc and Bich Dong. Tam Coc means "Three caves”:  Hang Ca, Hang Hai and Hang Ba. All three caves were found in the Ngo Dong river, which pierced through the mountains. Hang Ca is 120m long through a big mountain, and the store is over 20m wide. In the cave, there are many stalactites hanging down with a variety of shapes. About 1 km from the cave is cave Hai, 60 m long, the ceiling of the cave has many strange stalactites, attracting the gaze of visitors. Hang Ba is 50 meters long, lower than the other two caves, bare like a stone arch.

The journey to discover Tam Coc is started from Dinh Cac pier, and visitors will walk along the winding Ngo Dong river and admire the fantastic mountain ranges. You can also observe the wings of the stork on the grass or the weedy grass growing in the lagoon, all creating natural beauty. Along the Ngo Dong River, visitors will visit three caves through the mountain. Time to go and return takes about 2 hours.

Bich Dong Pagoda was erected from the Hau Le period. Entering the temple, visitors will admire a gigantic bell cast from the time of King Le Thai To. The landscape is charming with small bridges, streams, and mountain scenery.

Tam Coc - Bich Dong

Tam Coc - Bich Dong

Day 3: Hanoi – Mai Chau - Road transfer

Coming to Hanoi, you should explore the cuisine for the best experience in northern Vietnam. It can be said that Hanoi cuisine has become the theme of all times for famous writers and journalists. For the people of the capital or Vietnamese citizens, the cuisine is considered art from cooking to enjoying stages. In addition, Hanoi is honored to receive the Asian Cuisine Award for three dishes: Pho, Bun Thang (bun with chicken) and Bun cha (rice noodles with grilled pork) have satisfied the plates of the capital.

Hanoi cuisine

Hanoi cuisine

In the middle of the day, you will move to Mai Chau. Located in the west of Hoa Binh, bordering Moc Chau district of Son La, Mai Chau valley is the top destination of many young people who love the natural beauty as well as the culture of mountainous ethnic groups.

To explore Mai Chau village, you can rent a bicycle around the villages: Lac village, Pom Coong village which has more than 700 years old. Although it is a highland village, in recent years, people take the exploitation of tourism potential as primary, so Mai Chau has an immaculate space, close and friendly people. Most people in Mai Chau are Muong, Thai Den, and Kinh. Mai Chau's most famous dish is com lam. Coming to Mai Chau, visitors do not forget to enjoy sticky rice made by Thai women who can feel all the delicious taste. Thai people always choose sticky rice to make sticky rice. It is one of the dishes with the flavor of the highlands, an indispensable specialty in the meals offered by the people of the Northwest mountainous region. That afternoon, rent a bike and ride along the fields. You will find locals weaving towels and visiting peaceful villages.

Day 4: Mai Chau – Hanoi – Night train to Lao Cai

When you wake up in beautiful Mai Chau, have a big breakfast to have the energy for a new journey. Visit rural villages to learn more about their culture and customs. At noon, return to your accommodation to take a break. Then you can go shopping. Mai Chau area is not too large, the attractions in Mai Chau and the villages are quite close to each other so that you can rent bicycles for 50.000 VNĐ/vehicle/day. Most hostels and homestays in Mai Chau rent bikes, so rest assured.

And if anyone rides a motorbike, remember to bring your spare gasoline along the way. Because there are very few filling stations in Mai Chau Valley, you have to be well prepared before going.

If you are lucky to come to Mai Chau in the ripe rice season, you should go to Ban Lac and Pom Coong to take the best photos, feel the most idyllic beauty of golden fields and simple-design houses here.

Mai Chau Valley is not too large, and the sights and villages are also close to each other so you can walk to nearby places or cycle to explore more. Just cycling through the winding country roads, enjoying the taste of rice fields, you can see the trip is not in vain.

If you have come here, admire the natural beauty at Thung Khe Pass. It is the favorite route of the adventurers, and everyone wants to conquer it once. Coming here, tourists not only discover many delicious dishes in Mai Chau like blue rice but also you can see the whole beauty of the little Mai Chau valley, like an awe-inspiring natural picture.

After visiting, you should return to Hanoi. At about 9.15pm that night, a night train will depart from the capital to Lao Cai. Let try to rest a bit.

Day 5: Lao Cai – Road transfer to Sapa – Y Linh Ho - Lao Chai - Ta Van

The train will arrive at Lao Cai station at about 5 am. Here, you will take a bus to the beautiful village of Sapa. The trip will take an hour. You can take a break or look through the window to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the famous terraces in this tourist paradise.

First, you will walk on a small path down the valley and visit Y Linh Ho village on the Muong Hoa River. It is the settlement of the Black Hmong - one of the ethnic minorities with the largest population in the Sapa region.

Many tourists know the Italian version of Linh Ho for its wild and romantic beauty. The village is covered by Hoang Lien Son mountain range. In addition to the mountain, the village also has streams, terraced fields, and maize fields. Inside the village are houses made of bamboo.

From Sapa village, you want to reach Y Linh Ho village, visitors follow the direction of Lao Chai village, passing Lao Chai village about 3km at the foot of the slope, you will see the shadow of the pristine, beautiful Italian version of Y Linh Lake on the side. The mountains, surrounded by beautiful terraced fields, have existed for a long time.

Y Linh Ho

Y Linh Ho

Y Linh Ho is one of the villages with an area spread over hillsides. Currently, the village is divided into 2 villages, named Y Linh Ho 1 and Y Linh Ho 2, each village has about 100 households of Mong and Dao people.

Visitors to Y Linh Ho village will see large terraced fields and cornfields. They are very well cared for by the people here who live mainly on agriculture. In the ripe rice season, the village welcomes hundreds of tourists to visit and take photos.

The pristine beauty of the natural scenery in Y Linh Ho village has not only terraced fields but also Hoang Lien Son mountain and beautiful Muong Hoa stream. The Muong Hoa stream flowing through Y Linh Ho village brings new vitality to nature here. The stream filled the terraced fields with water and brought shrimp and fish to the village. The presence of Muong Hoa stream brings beauty and attractiveness to Y Linh Ho village, making it a new tourist attraction. After that, you continue to move to Ta Van village (1,200 m) to visit Zay people. Zay is a relatively small minority with about 38,000 people. They live mainly in the mountains of Northwest Vietnam. After visiting Ta Van village, return to Sapa.

Day 6: Cat Cat - Sin Chai - Sapa - Hanoi - Road transfer

In the morning, after breakfast and check out, walk to the southwest of Sapa to visit Cat Cat village. The road is 3 km long. Cat Cat village is located in San Sa Ho commune, Sapa district, Lao Cai province, where Mong people are crowded. It is one of the names at the top of the list of places to visit when traveling to Sapa.

Cat Cat village

Cat Cat village

Located at the foot of Hoang Lien Son mountain, Cat Cat village is hidden under cover of the natural mother. There is a green of fields and mountains covering the village, interspersed with small houses of people living. All of these elements blend, creating a picture of nature that is full of colors and equally romantic.

Nearly 80 households in the village are located along the stone pathway in the middle of the village. Some are scattered on the slopes. Walk a few hundred meters to the center of Cat Cat, where the convergence of three whispering streams: Tien Sa, Vang, and Bac streams and Cat Cat waterfall (also called Tien Sa waterfall), the water here roaring, launching white foam. Besides the waterfall, there are two suspension bridges, Si and A Lu, which attract lots of tourists to admire and take pictures.

Afterward, try enjoying a frugal lunch by the river. After eating, walk another 3 km to Sin Chai village - the village directly below Fansipan peak - known as the roof of Indochina. Here, you can enjoy the beautiful scenery. Sin Chai is one of the largest tourism villages in Sapa. The village is currently in San Sa Ho commune and about 5km from the village center. The village is surrounded by Hoang Lien Son mountain range and has a rustic and poetic beauty with terraced fields that are hundreds of years old.

Back in Sapa, you can choose many means to return to Hanoi, and the trip lasts 5 hours.

Day 7: Hanoi - Halong Bay - Overnight on cruise

After returning to the capital, you should move to Ha Long Bay - one of the world natural heritage sites - a unique destination that you cannot ignore when coming to Vietnam. It will take 3 hours 30 minutes drive to Halong Bay. To that, proceed to check-in procedures at Ha Long City wharf. After boarding the ship, enjoy lunch while watching the cruise gradually move towards the bay. That afternoon, enjoy some sightseeing activities on board. At night, when the cruise is anchored, you can immerse yourself in the immense space of the majestic nature here.

Beautiful Ha Long bay

Beautiful Ha Long bay

Day 8: Halong Bay – Hanoi

Waking up between the vast space and the bright sunlight, you can enjoy the smell of saltwater from the sea in the early morning and watch the sun gradually appear behind the mountains. Continue the excellent bay excursion until the cruise returns to the mainland. Return to Hanoi and end a meaningful trip.

It's time for having a perfect trip

The above are activities you can refer to when you have a plan to come to Northern Vietnam within eight days. It is definitely not complete because this S-shaped country has a lot of exciting things waiting for you to explore. However, the schedule above is the typical activities you need to have when making the trip. Wish you have a happy vacation.

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Image source: Internet

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