This mystique Northern Thailand and Vietnam is designed for traveler who looking to experience something different on the normally holiday. This trip will give you to see the natural beauty of jungle-clad limestone mountains, green rice fields, waterfalls, different hill tribes.
Mystique Northern Thailand and Vietnam tour 12 days from Chiang Mai in brief :
Day 1: Chiang Mai - Arrival
Day 2 : Chiang Mai - Pai
Day 3 : Pai - Mae Hong Son
Day 4 : Mae Hong Son - Mae Sariang
Day 5 : Mae Sariang
Day 6 : Chiang Mai - Flight to Hanoi
Day 7 : Hanoi - Ba Be
Day 8: Boating into the three lakes of Ba Be
Day 9: Ba Be - Pac Po - Cao Bang Town
Day 10: Cao Bang - Ban Gioc Waterfall - Cao Bang
Day 11: Cao Bang - Hanoi
Day 12: Hanoi - Departure
You will be greeted at the airport and transferred to your hotel. Chiang Mai is one of the most interesting city in your Thailand tour packages.
Check in hotel and overnight in Chiang Mai.
Morning, drive from Chiang Mai up north to Pai. On the way, visit Mae Malai market, the local market where you can explore local foods, fruits, etc. Then continue driving to visit Pong Deuid Hot Spring. The Hot Spring, are probably some of the nicest within Thailand tour - not at all over commercialized and set within a well-maintained park in a very picturesque wooded valley. Downstream from the bubbling geysers, the rock formations dams and make shallow pools for a pleasant hot soak. Lunch provided at local restaurant.
Afternoon, drive to Pai district. Pai is a small community, embraced by rolling mountains and enveloped in natural setting that is fresh and beautiful. The atmosphere is clean, pure and warmly welcoming. The different ethnic groups, religious beliefs and languages of the people of plains and the people of the mountains have blended together here to form a unique set of cultural tradition. Visit Thailand Adventure tour with Wat Nam Hu and Chinese Koumintang village before check-in hotel. Wat Nam Hu, this temple housed Phra Un Muang, sacred Buddha Image in Lanna style, 500 years of age, in the attitude of Subduring Mara (Victory over Mara). The Image's top knot can be opened and contained holy water, revered by local folk.Yunnanese Chinese village of Ban Santichon, this is a village of descendants of migrants from Yunnan who still cherish many aspects of Chinese culture and traditions. Some of the Chinese in Yunnan's village were army evacuated from China 50 years ago.
The tourists can see the conservative cultures and traditions of the Yunnan People such as the language, dressing, and specially the Yunnan foods that is admired among the Thailand Holiday.
After breakfast at the hotel, drive to visit Lod cave, the most beautiful and the easiest to visit. This cave is under Tham Nam Lod Nature and Wildlife Research Center and normally known in Thai word as "Tham Lod" means a cave with a stream running through. From the entrance to the exit, the stream runs in circular route for almost 500 meters high. This route has been eroded by water for more than million years. Nam Lod Cave actually consists of 3 separate caves, Sao Hin Cave, Tukta Cave, and Pi Man cave. In order to visit these caves, tourists need to board a raft through the cave. The total distance is 1,600 meters. Transfer to Mae Hong Son with stop to visit Lisu & Lahu hill tribe villages enroute. Lunch provided at local restaurant. Afternoon, visit Plu Klone and experience mud spa (facial treatment).
Then visit city & temples in Mae Hong Son town including Wat Chong Klang, Wat Chong Kam & Wat Phrathat Doi Kong Mu.
This morning, we drive you to a boat pier. Take boat trip along Pai river to visit Long Neck Karen village. Long Neck Karen village, the villages are actually refugee camps and people visit to see woman wearing heavy brass rings which make their necks appear very long. The reason for this behavior is lost in history, but some believe the rings saved women from attacks by Tiger. Whatever the reason, lots of people venture out to the villages to see the women for themselves. Lunch provided at local restaurant.
Afterwards, drive to Mae La Noi to visit Kaew Komol cave. Inside the cave is a 30-meter vertical pothole. The entrance and exit is a 120- meter stairs and in order to preserve the nature, it is designed for visitors to see the beauty of the walls in a small space. Tourists are not allowed to go deep inside the cave since it is dangerous to go too far. This cave is considered as the most beautiful in Thailand Vacation and this kind of cavern can only be found in three places in the world, which are Australia, China and Thailand.The Queen visited at Mae La Noi Cave (original name) on 19 February 2001 and offered the name “Kaew Komol Cave”. Additionally, the Queen has given names to each of the five small caves inside the Kaew Komol Cave. Then transfer to Mae Sariang district. The nature is pure and the traditional way of life preserved here in Mae Sariang.
Overnight at Riverhouse Mae Sariang.
Say goodbye Chiang Mai mystery city to get the flight to Hanoi of Vietnam travel, the city with a thousand year of culture. Upon arrival Hanoi, you will be welcome by private tour guide and driver. They will escort you during Vietnam tour.
Overnight in Hanoi.
This exotic journey North-East begins as we depart from your hotel, we drive up and pass through the undulating terrain of tea plantation in Thai Nguyen city, we will make stop for a visit and break at the museum of Ethnology in Thai Nguyen town, keep moving through many other timeless villages linked to the road which is the main artery of trade between the Northeast region and the capital city. This is our first glimpse of rural Vietnam Adventure tour and sets the tone for the days ahead. Depending on traffic conditions, we will arrive at Ba Be lake about midday. After checking into ‘homestay’ in Pac Ngoi village, we will have free time to walk around this village of the Tay people.
Dinner and home stay in Ba Be.
Today, we will spend the whole day visiting the beauty of Ba be lakes on the local canoes, we get transfer to a boat, and then glide along the river and through the pretty cave. We get lunch served near the beautiful waterfall. After lunch, we canoe our hearts out navigating into the tranquil Ba Be lakes for its majesty. The followings are swimming and trekking sometimes to visit the ethnic minorities. Dinner then free to learn about the local culture and custom.
Overnight home stay.
As we say goodbye with Pac Ngoi village and Ba Be Lakes, we will take about a 2 hour walk on a flat road through the National Park. Our driver meets us at the center of the park, then we hit the road, and take a scenic 2.5 hour drive towards Cao Bang. Here the ethnic people of Hmong, Dao, Tho and Nung live together in harmony. We will arrive in Cao Bang town about 1:30 pm for our lunch, check in, take a short rest then we drive to visit the historical cave of Pac Po, where Ho Chi Minh set up headquarters for the August Vietnamese Revolution in 1945. Back to Cao Bang town in the late afternoon.
Free time to relax and stay overnight in Cao Bang town.
Heading out of the town we start venturing into the most remote northern region of Cao Bang Province. The scenic roads traverse Trung Khanh before arriving at Ban Gioc Waterfall, which boasts the biggest waterfall in Vietnam (though not full of water in the dry season). This enormous cave has two main entrances and one branch reaching almost all the way to the waterfalls where is a ‘secret’ entrance. On the way back, we can make breaks en routes as you wish, to visit hill tribe villages and take pictures.
Back to Cao Bang for overnight.
Today, we will spend the whole day driving back to Hanoi (on some of the same routes), we can stop for sightseeing en route and arrive to Hanoi around 5 p.m.
Check in again hotel in Hanoi and overnight.
• Domestic flights as indicated (Economy class)
• All transfers and transportation in private air-conditioned vehicle with driver
• Luggage Transfers: Between airports and hotels
• Accommodations as indicated
• Meals as indicated in the itinerary
• Professional licensed English-speaking guide (other languages on request)
• Entrance fees to indicated sights and activities as stated
• Train tickets as indicated
• Boat trips as indicated
• Bottled mineral water during touring days
• Vietnam visa on arrival
• International FLIGHTS
• Other meals
• Personal expenses
• Expenses for any optional tours or activities during free time
Tour guides who worK with us are well-paid, experienced with a university background, eager to exchange our cultures and lifestyles ... with travelers, and have a great passion for their country and understand the personal touch. In some parts such as Sapa, we may use local tour guides who come from the ethnic hilltribes like H'Mong or Red Dao as they know about their land much better than anyone else and this is also the way that Indochinavalue helps the local people a better life.
Tour guide is one of the most inportant factors to a successful holiday. Indochinavalue understands that a good tour guide needs not only good knowledge on history, culture, good English, French... but also needs to have general requirements and follow our guidelines as below:
1 - Licensed at least for 4 years with work experience.
2 - Guiding does require more than just hanging out in the sun. Guides must be friendly and good with people, organized enough to keep groups or people on schedule, quick on their feet and ready for the inevitable snafus that arises.
3 - Must be an honest broker of their services and able to take criticism.
4 - Should be qualified at some level in health, health care or first aid.
5 - Able to relate to people from a wide range of cultures and backgrounds.
6 - Clear speech and good hearing.
7 - Must not be a alcoholic or No-alcohol during working time or anytime when on tour.
8 - Tour guide is a nurse to take care of visitors, a boss to keep the right itinerary, a teacher to give information, an ambassador to introduce our country, an entertainer because Indochinavalue's clients want to be entertained in extend, a friend...
9 - Must be on time every time. Being late or delay is unacceptable.
10 - Check flight tickets, train tickets, meals, weather... to make sure things are in order and inform local office if any changes that might effect the tour.
11 - Solve problems with care when there is dissatisfy. Argument should be averted by courtesy.
Kind of vehicle (offered on tour) depends on the size of your group size or your requirements.To ensure your comfort, all cars feature air conditioning and enough room inside. Drivers are local, with years of experience, taking you to your destination quickly and safely.
1 - Our drivers are professional and reliable with at least 5 years of experience, driving safely.
2 - Our drivers are not allowed to hear cell-phone or smoke, chat, drink when driving.
3 - Our drivers must be friendly, helpful with good behavior and attitude.
4 - Our drivers are not allowed to take you to shops unless you ask for.
2 Stars from: US$35 -> US$40
The 2 star hotels are good for budget travelers and sometimes, we have no choice but stay in a guesthouse, mini hotel, 2 star hotel in the remote and mountainous areas. Basically, 2 star hotels will offer good size and clean guest rooms with AC, TV, hot water, shower and private bathrooms
3 Stars from: US$40 -> US$80
The 3 star hotels are good for many travelers because they offer basic needs for a comfortable stay, good size and clean guest rooms with Free access high speed Internet, Welcome baskets and drinking water, Telephone with international dialing, Electronic safe box in room, Hairdryer, Coffee and Tea, Wake-up service, AC, TV, hot water, shower and private bathrooms. On-site restaurants with breakfast included and lunch or dinner at your own pick up. A small fitness center, spa and swimming pool can be expected.
4 Stars from: US$80 -> US$130
Offering a wide range of comfortable boutique hotels are available with shopping, dining andentertainment facilities nearby. Featuring quality service, fully furnished rooms, restaurants, fitness center with spa (and swimming pool in most cases), the hotels are expected to offer an above-average accommodation experience.
5 Stars from: US$130 -> US$200 –> US$ 300
Offering an extensive range of facilities for an excellent experience. Multiple restaurants on siteand a wide range of choice for buffet breakfast, good size of swimming pool, fitness center and concierge service round out the experience.
The restaurants we will take you for lunch or dinner are all designated tourist restaurants approved by local tourist administration bureau. They have very good sanitary conditions and the food is prepared fresh and clean.
Note: If you have any special dietary needs, just let your travel consultant know when booking.
Breakfast is included at all hotels and is buffet breakfast with Asian and Western food.
Lunches (if included) are usually set menu at handpicked local restaurant with comfortable dining environment where you can rest assure to taste the local flavor. All restaurants are carefully selected and highly recommended.
Dinners are only included if you stay overnight in a homestay with a local family, on cruise inHalong Bay, Mekong Delta or at some special occasions such as welcome dinner, farewell dinner or on requested. So dinners are at your own choice and arrangement, but our tour guides will always give you good suggestions based on your preferences.
If allergic to some food
We suggest you to list any food or ingredients that you are allergic to and let our travel consultant know. Then your travel consultant will mark them in the guide’s itinerary, so that our guides in different cities can make some preparations and arrangements in advance.
Do our guide and driver join the meal with us?
The tour guides and driver will be at the same restaurants with you, but they will only join themeal when you invite. Sometimes the drivers are shy to join as they usually eat fast and could not understand English talk around the table, so the guide will be with you more often.
Street food tour:
Street foods in Vietnam are very delicious and should you want to taste the specialities of each Vietnam holiday destination, we can arrange a street food tour for you. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a detailed tour itinerary and quotation.
How to request a tour package?
To request for a free tour itinerary and quotation, you can just fill out the tour inquiry form at www.indochinavalue.com or send us an email at email@example.com then give us as much information as possible. One of our experienced travel consultants will get back to you shortly. All changes will be made (free of charge) until the your tour package meets your needs and personal interests.
How to book a tour package?
As soon as you agree on our proposal, please send us your full name, international flightinformation (if you have) and your special requirements. We will make reservations and arrange everything then confirm back to you when all done.
- Deposit is a "must". We request 30% of the tour cost. You can pay by wire transfer, creditcards, western union, onepay (online)
- Balance can be made before your arrival or on arrival in cash or by credit cards.
Changes are possible at the last minutes. However, if changes caused extra costs, you willhave to pay for. (For examples, hotels, flights, cruises...)
In case of cancellation, we will not apply any charge if we are not charged by the third partiessuch as hotels, cruises, flights, trains...We will recalculate the costs and resend you the money as soon as possible.
Thanks you Tipping is not mandatory but it is expected inTipping is not mandatory but it is expected in many circumstances for service. You can tip your driver/tour guide more or less or nothing. All depends on the services you receive.
- US$10 – US$ 15 per day for tour guide
- US$7 – US$ 10 per day for driver
- US$1 – US$ 3 per meal for waiter or waitress
- US$2 – US$ 5 for short boat trips/ cyclo/ tuktuk (1 – 2) hours
Note: Please check with your travel consultant before coming and your tour guide if you are to tip someone on tour.
What you get when booking a private tour with Indochinavalue?
1. Private guide, driver and vehicle are for your exclusive use; no matter you are individually,or in a family or friends group. The tour is run exclusively for you without strangers.
2. Every itinerary can be customized to meet your specific interests/ wishes, that is, you can choose your favored hotels, sightseeing spots, the tour length, means of transportation, budget, etc. All are free of charge.
3. Start the tour on any date you want.
4. Escort you from start to finish. All private transfers during the tour are offered, including airport/ train station transfer, hotel-attractions round trip transfer.
5. The sightseeing during the tour could be based on your own timetable and pace. Flexible to change at your short notice.
6. Considerate care and assistance, such as the old, the disabled or families with small kids and children.
7. You can save time and money when traveling with us or your wants meet you budget.
How do I get a visa?
Vietnam Visa On Arrival is available for help. It is legitimated and supported by the VietnameseImmigration Department. We recommend that you choose visa upon arrival, as picking up visa at the Vietnam int'l airport/ border is quite simple, easy, no additional charges and no fail.
Please provide the following information for us to apply for your visa:
2) Passport number
3) Date of birth
5) Date of arrival
6) Date of issue
7) Date of expire
8) Please make sure that your passport is still valid for 6 months.
Can I use credit cards in Vietnam?
Major credit cards such as Master Card, Visa, Diner's Card, American Express and JCB can beused to purchase goods in large shopping malls and stores in the big and medium cities, to pay for hotel rooms and for meals in some of the fancier restaurants, and to buy plane tickets with them.
- You can use US dollar, Euro in all big cities or at major tourist sites, airports.
- If you are to travel to those small cities or even remote rural areas, only cash in Dong can be used.
Do I need to bring my medical record with me?
Yes, we suggest you take your medical record with you in case that you need it in the event ofan emergency, and please also take with you your doctor's name, address and phone number, emergency contact name and phone number, and your insurance company's name, address and phone number.
Note: You can buy medicines everywhere in Vietnam so do not need to bring medicines from home.
When I finish my tour in Vietnam, if I still have some local money, what can I do?
Upon leaving Vietnam, if you still have some local money, you can change them back to foreign currency with your passport and the exchange memos given by the banks or money exchange counters. So please keep those exchange memos well whenever you change money.
What should we bring along on our trip to Vietnam?
It is best to travel light in Vietnam. Onemedium sized bag and a day pack will provide more than enough room to carry everything you'll need, and enough space for the things you'll buy in Vietnam.
There are lots of consumer goods in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, so do not worry about running out of something. If you do forget something you can easily find it here. Before you leave home complete the following checklist:
- Lightweight and quick dry clothing is most appropriate for the summer months, and warmer clothing for the winter months. As well, sun hat, swim suit, ultra lightweight rain jacket.
- Travel Documents: Passport, Visa, Travel Insurance, Air Tickets (you should scan them and email them to yourself in case you loose them).
- Health requirements, medications, and travel insurance arranged.
- Flashlight, alarm clock, sunglasses, sunscreen, insect repellent, small personal first aid kit, personal toiletries.
- Money: US dollars or travelers cheques and/ or credit card(s).
- Raincoat or umbrella, good hiking shoes are needed for all Footprint trekking trips.
- Camera with charger, extra batteries, and memory cards.
Are there any restrictions on the type of luggage that we bring? Domestic airlines have their weight restrictions. On most domestic and low-cost airlines You may only have one suitcase or backpack, with a maximum weight of 20kg, and one piece of hand luggage, with a maximum weight of (5 – 7)kg. An extra charge for overweight is applied.
There is no actual limit on our trips, but we would suggest you travel light with one suitcase or backpack and one small daypack or small bag which you can access during the day and carry items like your camera, drinking water, toilet paper, hat, sunscreen, etc.
It is essential that you have a lock for each piece of luggage. Without one, railway and airline staff and some hotels may refuse to handle it.
What is the best type of clothing we should bring?
Here is a short checklist of best type of clothing you should bring:
- Shorts and comfortable pants;
- Shirts, t-shirts and maybe some long sleeves shirts (for regions with mosquitos like the Mekong delta);
- Swim suits (for the beaches and Halong Bay);
- Good sandles as well as good shoes if trekking.
Nevertheless, it will really depend on where you travel to, when you plan on travelling, and what you plan on doing. Please note that the weather can be very cold during the winter in the Northern Vietnam (Nov to Mar) and quite cool in the central highlands (Dalat). You will need to bring a good jacket along for this time of the year, the avarage temperature is about 15 oC, but can get as cold as 3 oC.
Tip: Do not worry if you do not pack enough clothes or forget something because you can buy in Vietnam.
Shopping in Vietnam
Shopping in VietnamMany tourists can’t help but throw themselves head-first into shopping while in Vietnam. Why? Probably the variety of quality goods and the tempting prices have a lot to do with it. Many low-budget travelers considered Vietnam a heavenly place because in many shopping situations they can bargain the prices down to as much as a third of the original cost.
The list of Vietnamese bargains is seemingly endless and features bespoke tailoring and the national dress, the 'ao dai' from high-quality silk and many other types of material and textiles while many shoppers cannot get enough of the local handicraft, art and jewelry.
How to bargain?
Bargain is not common in some countries, but in Vietnam it really is. In Vietnam, bargaining isalways worthwhile. Yet, it is not always due to the fact that the local have a great deal of time and very little money. Bargaining is part of Vietnamese culture as through bargaining people communicate with others, create and build up their relationship, not to mention a form of entertainment.
Rule - 1: It's like the monster ride at the amusement park. If you're not having fun, get off.
Rule - 2: Don't bargain with the first person who approaches you (i.e., when looking for a taxi at the airport.) In general the further you go from the center of action, the cheaper the price.
Rule - 3: Don't be afraid to use walking away as a bargaining tool. You can always come back.
Rule - 4: Don't let pride get in the way of coming back (or Rule #3 is useless).
Rule - 5: If you really want something and the price isn't coming down, give in gracefully. (It's that pride thing again.)
Rule - 6: Don't always assume you're getting ripped off just because you're in a third-world country. Sometimes the price they're asking is the real one.
Rule - 7: Bargaining is a time/ money tradeoff. If you're in a hurry, be prepared to pay for it.
Rule - 8: Ask (Vietnamese) fellow shoppers the price of an item before you begin bargaining.
Rule - 9: Always carry small bills. Otherwise all that work is likely to be for nothing.
Rule - 10: Always bargain in native currency. Conventional wisdom says anyone who has dollars can afford to spend them.
Rule - 11: If possible, keep going back to the same person until you've gotten to know him/ her. Most third world countries have a name for this kind of relationship. The deal is that you offer your business on a regular basis and the seller responds by saving you their best tomatoes
Rule - 12: No matter what your parents told you, when you're bargaining it's perfectly okay to lie