From Terrace Rice Field To Trails of Heritages


From the Rice Terraces to the Heritage Trail

Are you passionate about the charm of the landscapes, the color of the rice terraces, the encounters with minority ethnic groups from the North, but without wanting to let down the cultural and historical richness of the country via its museums, its imperial cities, its emblematic cities?

Zen Vietnam Travel offers you an in-depth discovery tour of the landscapes and minority ethnic groups of the North, but also visits to the country's must-see sites: a lively Ha Noi, an ancient capital of Hue zen and majestic, a charming town of Hoi An and romantic as well as a little Mekong air that sets itself apart from the others.


Itinerary :

Day 01: Ha Noi - Arrival
Day 02: Hanoi - Visits
Day 03: Ha Noi - Nghia Lo
Day 04: Nghia Lo - Tu Le - Mu Cang Chai
Day 05: Mu Cang Chai - Sapa
Day 06: Sapa - Matra Village, Ta Phin - Bac Ha
Day 07: Bac Ha Market - Ha Noi
Day 08: Ha Noi - Cat Ba - Cruise in Halong Bay - Overnight on board
Day 09: Cat Ba - Ninh Binh - Halong Bay land
Day 10: Ninh Binh - Halong Bay land - Flight to Hue
Day 11: Hue - Visits
Day 12: Hue - Cloud Pass - Hoi An
Day 13: Hoi An - Tra Que Village
Day 14: Hoi An free
Day 15: Hoi An - Flight to Saigon - Sightseeing
Day 16: Saigon - Sadec - Can Tho
Day 17: Can Tho - Floating market - Vinh Long - Cai Be - Saigon
Day 18: Saigon - Departure


Highlights :


+ Discovery of the most remarkable rice terraces and entirely off the beaten track in the North of the country

+ Meeting and deep immersion in the life of several minority ethnic groups, with nights with the inhabitants

+ Visits to world heritage in the center

+ A little air of the Mekong


Day 1: Hanoi - Arrival
(guide, car, dinner, accommodation, visits)


Welcome by Zen Vietnam Travel guide and driver. Transfer to downtown Ha Noi.

An orientation walk on foot or by pedicab in the old town district, otherwise known as the 36 trades streets of Ha Noi because most of the shops on the same street sold the same thing: Rue des bambous, Rue de silk, Traditional medicine street, Bronze street, etc. A truly typical and charming district, with its shops on the sidewalks, small narrow houses, scooters everywhere.

Installation at the hotel for the shower and rest. Warning ! hotel rooms are only available from 2 p.m.

At the end of the day, you will witness the spectacle of the Water Puppet Theater, a unique culture that you will never find in any other country in the world. Vietnam is the only country that practices this art.

Gourmet dinner at the famous ¨Cha Ca¨ dish in a local restaurant. Overnight at hotel in Hanoi.


Day 2: Hanoi - Visits
(guide, car, lunch, dinner, accommodation, visits)


Today you will start the visit of the capital Hà Nội with a very old Buddhist pagoda, the 6th century Trấn Quốc pagoda, located in a beautiful setting by the large West Lake. Then you will visit the Quán Thánh temple at 300m.

Then, the visit of the ethnographic museum, which gives you a panoramic view of the life of the 54 ethnic groups with 54 different cultures in the territory of Vietnam.
Time for lunch at the restaurant.

In the afternoon, visit of the political district with the mausoleum of Hồ Chí Minh, the founding father of modern Vietnam, the presidential palace, the house on stilts of Hồ Chí Minh, the pagoda with the one pillar. Visit of the Temple of Literature, the first university in the history of the country.

Dinner at the local restaurant. Overnight at hotel in Hanoi.


Day 3: Ha Noi - Nghia Lo
(guide, car, lunch, dinner, accommodation, visits)

Breakfast at the hotel.

Departure at 8 am towards Nghia Lo, passing through the tea hills at Thanh Son. Visit of the small villages along the road. Visit of a small tea factory (depending on their work). On the road, stop and visit small villages of Muong and Thai ethnic groups with their typical houses, unexpected encounters!

Lunch at the local restaurant.

In the afternoon, Visit Suối Giàng where there are centuries-old tea plantations, created by the H’mong at an altitude of 1000m. Arrival in Nghia Lo, a large and very peaceful valley surrounded by mountains, villages on the edge of rice fields. A picturesque landscape.

Dinner and overnight at the inhabitant in the house on stilts, Thai White ethnic group.


Day 4: Nghia Lo - Tu Le - Mu Cang Chai
(guide, car, lunch, dinner, accommodation, visits)


Breakfast at the inhabitant's.

Departure at 9 am to Mu Cang Chai. Visit the daily market of Nghia Lo before heading to the most beautiful rice terraces in Vietnam.

Arrive in Tu Le, a small town by the road, famous for its rice fields, sticky rice and chicken. You will take a walk in the small villages of the Thai Blacks, unexpected encounters with the local inhabitants, a little discovery of local life where the stress and worries of urban life are not yet known.

Lunch at the local restaurant with good sticky rice and sporty chicken. In the afternoon we will go up to altitude and admire the most beautiful rice terraces in the country. A magnificent landscape awaits you.

Visit of the black Hmong village at La Pan Tan. A natural spectacle made by human hands.

Arrival in Mu Cang Chai, a very quiet little town.

Dinner and night at the inhabitant's.

Day 5: Mu Cang Chai - Sapa
(guide, car, lunch, dinner, accommodation, visits)


Breakfast at the inhabitant's.

At 8:30 am, departure to Sapa, a former summer resort founded by the French during the colonial era.

On the road to Sapa, you will still see kilometers of tea plantations, very beautiful rice fields and beautiful villages with houses on stilts.

Lunch on the road.

Before arriving in Sapa, you will visit the beautiful Thac Bac waterfall which is located on the longest pass in Vietnam, the O Quy Ho pass, a magnificent landscape.

Arrival in Sapa, you will visit its market, its church, Catcat village inhabited by the Black Hmong, a minority ethnic group from Vietnam who still very well keeps their customs as well as their pretty traditional dress.

Dinner at the restaurant. Night at the hotel.


Day 6: Sapa - Matra Village, Ta Phin - Bac Ha
(guide, lunch, dinner, car, accommodation, visit)


Breakfast at the hotel.

This morning, a short 3 hour hike through Ma Tra and Ta Phin villages, the two villages which are inhabited by the Black Hmong and the Red Dao, the two main ethnic minorities in Sapa. A little meeting and the discovery of their life quotidienne with magnificent landscapes to contemplate.

Lunch at the inhabitant in the village Ta Phin.

In the afternoon, departure for Bac Ha. Arrival and walk in the village of Na No

Dinner and overnight at the inhabitant.


Day 7: Bac Ha Market - Ha Noi
(guide, lunch, car, accommodation, visit)


Breakfast at the hotel.

Today is Sunday, the day of the weekly market at the Hmong Fleur, Bac Ha market where the Hmong Fleur of the region come to exchange their agricultural products, have a drink together after a week. In fact, the market is not only an opportunity for shopping but also an opportunity to meet local people, a small local festival for young people, to meet each other. An opportunity to find the husband or wife of their life.

Lunch at the restaurant.

Road to Ha Noi.

Night at the hotel.

Day 8: Ha Noi - Cat Ba - Cruise in Halong Bay - Overnight on board
(guide, car, lunch, dinner, accommodation, visits, private or shared junk)


Breakfast at the hotel.

At 7:30 am, departure for Hai Phong 150 km away to embark on a shuttle that takes you to Cat Ba Island. 30 minutes more bus and you arrive at the Ben Beo pier where you will board our beautiful private junk (or collective boat) and start the 24 hours on board for the discovery of one of the natural wonders of the world, the Halong Bay.

From our ¨zen¨ criteria for trips, we have chosen the part of the south of the bay where the large mass tourism boats do not pass yet, just a few small traditional junks in this area. A part of the bay that is still very authentic with thousands of rocks, wild beaches and huge floating villages that you cannot find in the other part of Ha Long Bay.

Lunch on board with seafood. Time for swimming or simply resting on the deck to admire this miracle that nature offers us. After 3 hours of navigation, we arrive at Hang Ca, a beautiful place for the kayak ride, another way to see the bay up close.

Around 5:30 p.m., we anchor in a magnificent circus in the middle of the bay where you will be alone. A hell of a time to watch the sunset over the bay.

Dinner on board and a test of squid fishing in the evening will be great memories.

Overnight on board.

Note: The order of visits during the cruise may be changed, depending on the weather conditions on site.

Day 9: Cat Ba - Ninh Binh - Halong Bay land
(guide, car, lunch, dinner, accommodation, visits)


An early morning awakening in a magical setting around 5 am to admire the sunrise over the bay, why not?

After a good breakfast, the junk continues to sail in the bay and takes you to Viet Hai village for a nice bike ride or visit the fish farm or just enjoy the tranquility on a beach. You choose !

Lunch on board and disembarkation around 11:30 am.

In the afternoon, drive to Ninh Binh, nicknamed Ha Long Bay on land because of the similarity between the landscapes and the geological formation with thousands of rocks covered by beautiful vegetation, a succession of natural cirques linked together by caves dug by erosion.

Arrival at Tam Coc.

Dinner at the restaurant. Night at the hotel.


Day 10: Ninh Binh - Halong Bay land - Flight to Hue
(guide, car, lunch, accommodation, visits, plane)


Breakfast at the hotel.

At 9:00 am, departure for a bike ride in the village to Thung Nham, for another rowing boat ride. It will be a very ¨zen¨ moment to contemplate the beauty of the terrestrial Halong Bay, with rocks, rice fields, caves ....

Continue to Dong Dinh village, a small Catholic village on the edge of a small river.

Mr. Sang and his family welcome you to their home. Here you can learn to fish, row the concrete boat, participate in agricultural activities in the village. A pleasant little moment in a nice village, around smiling people.

Lunch at Monsieur Sang's.

In the afternoon, drive to Ha Noi Airport for the flight to Hue.

Arrival in Hue. Welcome by the guide and the driver.

Night at the hotel.


Day 11: Hue - Visits
(guide, car, lunch, dinner accommodation, visits)


Breakfast at the hotel.

Hue, former capital of Vietnam from 1802 to 1945, a charming city which has a great cultural richness, with its history, its historical monuments, its imperial city, its mausoleums, its Perfume river ...., which seduced the soul of generations of Vietnamese poets as well as visitors. Despite damage due to the two wars, the renovation projects are gradually giving it back its original charm.

Visit of the imperial city. Built for 29 years from 1804 to 1833, the imperial city was the political, economic, cultural center of the country and thehome of 13 Nguyen emperors and their families. The construction of the imperial city was a typical example of oriental architecture, harmoniously applying Confucianist philosophies, fengshui and also the use of local and exotic materials.

Visit of the Celestial Lady pagoda, the most important pagoda in Hue. Built in 1601, the Heavenly Lady Pagoda is not only a Buddhist temple but also an important ceremonial place for members of the royal family. A little discovery on local religious life. After visiting the pagoda, you will descend on the Perfume River by a boat ride, see the landscapes on both banks to the city center. Return of the car to the restaurant.

Time for lunch.

In the afternoon, visit the Khai Dinh Mausoleum, an architectural exception in Hue. Its architecture is truly an original invention of this emperor and under the hands of the artists of the time, a splendid building mixed with several styles: Catholic, Buddhist, French, Vietnamese, Chinese, as well as the most beautiful mosaic work in the world. Vietnam.

At the end of the day, visit the large covered market of Dong Ba.

Dinner at the restaurant. Night at the hotel.


Day 12: Hue - Cloud Pass - Hoi An
(guide, car, lunch, accommodation, visits)


Departure around 8:30 am towards Hoi An via the Col des Nuages. A photo stop on the pass is highly recommended.

Arrival in Da Nang, visit of the Cham sculptures museum, a visit that tells you about a lost civilization, which existed in central Vietnam from the 2nd to the 19th century.

Lunch at the restaurant by the sea.

In the afternoon, visit the pretty Ngu Hanh Son temple, an ancient Buddhist temple hidden in the caves of the marble mountain.

Arrival in Hoi An, nicknamed the Little Venice of Vietnam. Hoi An was a former silk trading port since the 14th and 15th centuries, a town which is very very well preserved, with its ancient temples, ancient houses in various styles, from the west with French houses, to the 'Orient with Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese houses. A favorite city for most of the people who have visited it.

Day 13: Hoi An - Tra Que Village
(guide, car, lunch, dinner, accommodation, visits)


Breakfast at the hotel. This morning, you will start with a bike ride to Tra Que village, a village renowned for its cultivation of aromatic vegetables, salads, onions ... in an organic way. Over here, you will dress up as a peasant, participate, learn and work the land with the people of the village.

After the time to learn the profession of peasant, it will be a small cooking class with the family to make some typical dishes of the region.

Lunch in the village.

In the afternoon, continue the bike ride, through villages surrounded by rice fields, to the sea. Then, you will start another boat trip towards the old town of Hoi An. Visit of the city with some temples and typical houses, the Japanese bridge and also time for your shopping.
Dinner at the restaurant in the center of the old town. This outing allows you to see the city again but under the magnificent light of the lanterns.

Night at the hotel.


Day 14: Hoi An freetime


Breakfast at hotel.

Completely free day for your personal activities.

Note: You will find a beautiful beach 5km from the city center to relax.

Day 15: Hoi An - Flight to Saigon - Sightseeing
(guide, car, lunch, dinner, accommodation, visits, plane)


Breakfast at the hotel.

At 8:00 am, departure for the flight around 11:00 am for Saigon. Arrival in Saigon. Welcome by the guide and the driver. Transfer to the city center.

Saigon, today called Ho Chi Minh city, is the first city of Vietnam in several senses: economic, area, population ...
Continuation of your day by visiting the Reunification Palace which served as the Presidential Palace of South Vietnam before 1975. Visit of the central post office and Saigon Cathedral.

Discovery of the Chinatown of Cholon with in particular the Binh Tay market which is full of life and where you can find absolutely everything you can imagine, all in a warm atmosphere. Finally, visit the Thien Hau pagoda, a guaranteed atmosphere with the incense cones burning on the ceiling and all the decorative elements typical of a pagoda dedicated to the goddess of the sea.

Dinner on the Indochine Junk boat, a beautiful ride for 1h30 on the Saigon river to admire the modern beauty of the city, listening to traditional music.

Overnight at hotel in Saigon.

Day 16: Saigon - Sadec - Can Tho
(guide, car, lunch, dinner, accommodation, visits)

Breakfast at the hotel.

At 8:00 am, departure with the guide towards Sa Dec, a small town famous for the culture offlowers. Arrival in Sadec, visit of the market for exotic agricultural products of the Mekong and the former house of the Lover, Marguerite Duras' first love in life, which inspired her for the release of the novel Lover.

Lunch at the Lover's house.

Continuation of road to Can Tho, the first city of the Mekong Delta. Visit of the Binh Thuy house where we shot the film The Lover, a superb house.

Installation at the hotel.

Dinner at the restaurant. Night at the hotel.


Day 17: Can Tho - Floating market - Vinh Long - Cai Be - Saigon
(guide, car, lunch, dinner, accommodation, visits)


Wake up early at 6 am to visit the Cai Rang floating market, the largest floating market in Vietnam where hundreds of boats gather every morning to trade in agricultural products, fruits and flowers. The origin of the floating markets comes from the relief of the Mekong Delta with rivers, streams and canals everywhere, which really discourages overland transport, but which seems ideal for boat travel. Here you will see that the locals of the Mekong are as comfortable as the others elsewhere on their scooters !!!!!

Return of the floating market. Time for breakfast and drive to Vĩnh Long 40 km from Can Tho.

Arrival in Vinh Long, you will embark on a boat for a little air of the Mekong with the visit of candy factory, rice cakes, rice alcohol ... huge gardens of exotic fruit trees that you do not know : durian, rambutan, jackfruit, water apple, milk apple ....

Lunch at the gastronomy of the Mekong.

In the afternoon, a short cruise for 1 hour on an arm of the Mekong to Cai Be admiring the beautiful landscapes on both sides. Arrival at Cai Be you will take the car back to Saigon.

Dinner and overnight at the hotel.


Day 18: Saigon - Departure
(transfer, guide)


Breakfast at hotel.

Completely free day for your activities, until you meet the guide and the driver for the transfer to the airport, for your return flight.



End of the trip!


Travel with passion!


 3 Stars
 4 Stars
 5 Stars
Ha Noi
Golden Lotus Hotel
Impressive Hotel
Golden Lotus Luxury Hotel
The Ann Hotel
Opéra Hotel
Métropole Légende
Ha Long
Traditional Cruises
Traditional Cruises
Traditional Cruises
Ninh Binh
Tam Coc Valley View
Maison de Ninh Binh
Legend Ninh Binh Hotel
Hidden Charm Hotel
Emeralda Hotel
Nghia Lo
Mien Tay Hotel
Muong Lo Hotel
Nghia Lo Hotel
Mu Cang Chai
Mu Cang Chai Ecolodge
Mu Cang Chai Ecolodge
Sapa Elite Hotel
Sapa Wings Hotel
La Fressia Hotel
Paris Boutique Sapa Hotel
Pao's Hotel
Victoria Hotel
Rosaleen Hotel
Scarlett Hotel
Eldora Hotel
Saigon Morin Hotel
La Résidence Hotel
Imperial Hotel
Hoi An
Zen Boutique Hotel
Vi Khoa Hotel
Ancient House Resort
Vinh Hung Riverside Resort
Royal Hoi An Hotel
Paml Garden Resort
Bong Sen Hotel
Le Duy Hotel
Continental Hotel
Liberty Central City Hotel
Rex Hotel
Majestic Hotel
Can Tho
Hau Giang 2 Hotel
Intercontinental Hotel
Victoria Can Tho Hotel
TTC Hotel
Azerai Can Tho Hotel
Vinpearl Hotel
Phu Quoc
Ong Lang Resort
Orange Resort
Camia Resort
Green Bay Resort
The Shell Resort
Fusion Villa Resort
Mui Ne
Bao Quynh Bungalow
Coco Beach Resort
Mui Ne Bay Resort
The Cliff Resort & Residences
Anantara Mui Ne Resort
Con Dao
Con Dao Resort
Poulo Condor Resort
Six Senses Con Dao
Note: These are simply hotels that Zen Vietnam Travel often works with but depending on your desire, budget or the availability of these hotels, we can find other equivalent hotels for you. 



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