Best Hanoi Sapa Halong Bay Vietnam Itinerary 6 days

December 14, 2023 - 5339 views

Vietnam is a scenic country with more than a thousand miles of coastline to the east, rugged mountains to the west, coastal plains, wonderful beaches, green rice paddies, the Delta regions… No matter where you go, you’ll find something more beautiful, and interesting than anything you’ve ever seen before. Follow the below itinerary for 6 days Hanoi, Halong Bay, and Sapa in the North, and you will find the most spectacular sights in this country.

Hanoi Sapa Halong Bay itinerary 6 days

Hanoi - Sapa Halong Bay itinerary 6 days

Day 1 & 2: Hanoi - Transfer to Sapa

Welcome to Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. You will be able to reach Hanoi Old Quarter from the nearest international airport, Noi Bai after 40 mins by car. Some of you may get jet lag and need some time to recover from the long flight, but some are eager to explore Hanoi.

There are a lot of things you can do in your free time in Hanoi such as watching cultural shows in Hanoi Opera House, or Water puppet show, signing up for a Hanoi street food tour or cooking class, strolling at the night market during weekends, or just relaxing with spa and massage at your hotel.


Hoan Kiem Lake Hanoi

There are numerous historical and cultural sites in Hanoi, you may need at least 2 days to visit most of them. However, on a half-day tour with a knowledgeable tour guide, you will have a brief understanding of the history and culture of this city. Below are recommended places to visit for your short time in Hanoi.

  • Temple of Literature: It is the first university in Vietnam, which was established in 1070 to educate Vietnam's royalty, mandarins, and members of the elite. Unlike another religious temple, the Temple of Literature is a historical attraction, which witnessed the thousand years of Hanoi's capital. It is a place where many candidates and students come to pray for their studying careers; and the first place for foreign visitors to come for their first time to Hanoi.

Temple of Literature

Hanoi Temple of Literature

  • Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex: Ho Chi Minh complex includes Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum & Museum, and his modest house on stilts. The mausoleum is the final resting place of Ho Chi Minh, while the museum is the place to know more about Uncle Ho’s life and his revolutionary cause, as well as Vietnam's history.
  • One Pillar Pagoda: Not far away from Ho Chi Minh Museum is One Pillar Pagoda, resembling a lotus blossoming from the pond. One Pillar Pagoda is considered Asia’s most unique piece of architecture, so do not miss seeing this pillar when in the complex.
  • West Lake and Tran Quoc Pagoda: with a serene and tranquil beauty would definitely be a proper stop for those who were on a city tour. West Lake Hanoi is also a place where Tran Quoc Pagoda, the oldest Pagoda in the capital of Vietnam located. The pagoda is respectfully considered a cultural symbol of Vietnamese Buddhism. If you have been there for the first time, you will be highly likely to be surprised by a number of intricate statues, each of which has a unique facial feature.

The next place I would recommend visiting in north Vietnam is Sapa, a picturesque mountain town located in Lao Cai Province on a hilltop at 1,650 meters above sea level.

The 2 most common ways to travel from Hanoi to Sapa are taking a 7-hour overnight train and a 6-hour limousine bus. The overnight train is a good way to save travel time and money as you do not need to pay for a night's accommodation as it starts around 9:00 pm, and arrives at Lao Cai train station in the morning the next day. 

Another option to travel from Hanoi to Sapa is by bus. There are more than 60 buses departing from Hanoi each day including Sapa Limousine VIP, Eco Sapa, Fansipan Express, Queen Cafe, Inter Bus Lines, Sao Viet, Green Bus, Sapa Express, etc.

For those who rush on time, pleases follow this 4-Day Hanoi and Halong Bay Itinerary


Day 3 & 4: Sapa Trekking to The Village

Welcome to Sapa which is home to eight distinct ethnic groups including Hmong, Dao, Tay, Giay, Muong, Thai, Hoa, and Xa Pho. You may need more than 2 days to visit all the villages, so pick up some villages with the best Sapa trekking tours to Y Linh Ho – Lao Chai – Ta Van and Cat Cat – Sin Chai.

  • Y Linh Ho is small with about 200 households, but an interesting village, where Black Mong people live. The path from the main road to the village is winding, tortuous, and sloping, so the village is not as so noisy as it is in the center, but peaceful and quiet. People here live mainly on growing rice and corn. Local people usually wear dark clothes like black and navy. The main attractions of the trekking route are the Muong Hoa stream, rice terraces, images of wood-made houses, weaving and dyeing methods, and winding paths along hillsides.
  • Lao Chai Village is not far away from Y Linh Ho village, which is home to Black Mong and Giay people. Unlike Black Mong people, the Giay wear relatively simple clothing that boasts splashy, vibrant colors but less ornamentation than Hmong textiles. Coming to this village, tourists often feel welcomed by the hospitable Giay people. You can join them in some activities such as weaving fabric and textiles. It is great if you can buy their product such as brocade scarves, embroidering cuíhions, or ethnic instruments for souvenirs.

Trekking to Village in Sapa

Trekking to hill tribe village in Sapa

  • Ta Van Village: From Lao Chai, you now continue to trek to Ta Van Village. Residents in this village are mainly the H’Mong ethnic, Giay, and Red Dao… with approximately 1,000 people. The road leading to Ta Van village is small, narrow, and full of corn and rice terraced fields along the two sides. Coming here, tourists will be amazed at the simple beauty of the houses in the village: stilted houses and common houses. Ethnic Giay is well known for some special dishes such as roast fish of Muong Hum, horse meat of Muong Khuong, and sticky rice of Van Ban.
  • Cat Cat Village: Only 3 km from Sapa town, you need about 30 mins to trek there. The road to Cat Cat is quite beautiful, you will go through the winding curves of the road, and the two sides are terraced rice fields and houses. The village is attractive with a wonderful waterfall at the entrance of the village and giant water wheels. When coming inside the village, you will be delighted to witness the daily activities of the locals: women sitting and weaving in front of a loom making eye-catching brocades with beautiful patterns of flowers, leaves, animals, other people carving, making farm tools, and crafts.
  • Sin Chai Village is home to the Red Dao people, where the women wear beautifully embroidered garments with silver jewelry and a huge turban. The village is situated on the roof of Fansipan Mountain, and has many wonderful sceneries such as wonderful rice paddies, waterfalls, and leisurely grazing buffaloes… Walking through the village, tourists are mostly accompanied by the local children, who are probably not well-educated but still extremely hospitable and enthusiastic to make you happy and speak fluent English.

After visiting Sapa you may need to use the car to get back to Sapa town for the bus back to Hanoi.

See more about Hanoi to Sapa: 4 Best Transport to Travel


Day 5 & 6: Halong Bay Overnight Cruise

Say goodbye to Sapa, we now head to Halong Bay, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world. Some may need 3 days to explore the bay, but 2 days is enough for those who are short on time. Depending on each cruise you book, Halong itineraries are different in some activities, and times, but most of the Halong Bay Cruise from Hanoi is start in the morning between 8:00 - 8:30 AM.

Our cruise already included transferring from Hanoi to Halong Bay by bus or private car depending on your tour type booked. It will take you from 2.5 - 3 hours to transfer to Halong Cruise port.

Overnight on Halong Cruise

Spend 2-day on a luxury Halong Bay overnight cruise

From here you will be transferred by tender to the cruise, and welcomed by the boat cruise. Then, it’s time to learn about the cruise briefing and safety instructions while sipping a welcome drink. Delicious local seafood will be served on board. The cruise passes amazing limestone karst formations that rise up out of the sea in an impressive manner, and you can also behold thousands of limestone islands and grottoes rising from the clear, emerald water. 

All meals and activities on a boat like visiting a cave, kayaking, or enjoying swimming are included. Besides you can join a cooking class, or a fruit and vegetable carving lesson to understand Vietnamese food culture.

After ending 2 days in Halong Bay Cruises you will transfer back to Hanoi for your next trip or back home.

Amazing Kayaking in Halong Bay

Amazing kayaking in Halong Bay

It is the end of the 6-day tour in the North of Vietnam. That would be great if you can extend your holiday in the north, or travel down south to the center or south area of Vietnam. There are many things waiting for you to explore. Or find out more about Halong Bay Sapa package tours here.

Find The Best Tour At BestPrice Travel

You may also like The Best time to Visit Sapa and Halong Bay

Jenny Tran

(Images source: Internet)

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Questions & Answers (5)

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Hi, Is it worth going to Sapa in December? Wish to experience snow at there.

@Hailey. L:

Hi! Sapa rarely has snow in the winter (actually, usually it's not snow, just frozen). You shouldn't expect much about experience snow in Sapa, especially it is forecasted that this winter will be warmer. However, as in December, Sapa has nice weather with less rain and cool/cold temperature, it's still a good time to visit this place.

1 Reply

hello, I and my husband plan to travel to Vietnam next month. Our destinations are Hanoi and Halong Bay. 1) Any recommendations for Good vegetarian restaurants in Hanoi Old Quarter area? 2) can I require vegan food when booking a cruise tour? Which 3d2n cruises in Halong offer great food and services on board? Thanks in advance


Hi, please see the answer below:

1. You can try the vegan buffet at Cai Mam Restaurant: No.3 Luong Van Can St., Hoan Kiem Dist.

2. You can request for vegan meals on the cruise but please request at least 2 days before your trip for the best arrangement.

3. For great foods & services, you should consider: Scarlett Pearl Cruise, Heritage Binh Chuan Cruise, or Indochine Cruise

1 Reply

Hi I will be at sapa for 3 days. I would like to proceed to Halong bay cruise visit after sapa. Pls advise which reliable n cost effective limousine bus cost per pax /time to reach hanoi from sapa morning to hanoi. Secondly can I go straight to Halong bay cruise than stay 1N in hanoi before join 2D1N Halong cruise n back to Hanoi 1N before next day return home to SG. Ty


Price for VIP Seat limousine bus is 27 USD/person/way. They have 2 time to come back from Sapa to Hanoi is 8:00 am and 15:00 pm. And you can go to Halong bay after back to hanoi but to let you know if you take bus from 8:00 am at Sapa, you'll be back at Hanoi around 15:00 pm and it's quiet late so i suggest you to stay one night at hanoi before going to Halong

1 Reply

is sapa night market worth visiting? do you have any night tours in sapa?


There's almost nothing else to do in Sapa at night rather than visiting the night market, it's modernized, but still worth visiting if you don't want to stay in your hotel all night long.

About the tour, please check our top list for Sapa trips!

1 Reply

hi, just wondering which sleeper train to Sapa will we get onto in this itinerary? thanks


Hi! It depends on the availabilty of the train, but usually we book train SP3 and SP4 for our guests.

1 Reply