If you only have limited time for your trip, this 10-day itinerary covers the best of Northern Vietnam. This is perhaps the most scenic part of the country with terraced mountains, beautiful rivers and the iconic scenery of Halong Bay, all combined with the hustle and bustle of Hanoi. Older children will love the range of activities including kayaking, hiking, biking, cookery and swimming whilst younger families will love the cycle rickshaws and village visits.
City tour of Hanoi & Old Quarter
Pu Luong walk & village visit
Bike ride through paddy fields
Trang An boat & caves excursion
Sailing trip Halong Bay on a Junk
10 days from £1,000 pp
Plus international flights from £550
A privately guided 10-day holiday in Vietnam for a family of four usually costs a minimum of £4,000 based on simple guesthouses plus flights
We like our tours to be accessible to as wide a range of people as possible.
Our standard Vietnam holidays will start from around £6,000 for a two week holiday for a family of four based on mid-range hotels (often with pools). This excludes international flights.
There are also many gorgeous higher-end hotels. If you would prefer to stay in these, the price will start from around £7,500 (for a two-week holiday for a family of four).
If you are travelling on a tight budget, there are various cost-cutting measures that we can use. For example we can reduce the number of places visit and use homestays and simple guesthouses. With these measures, we may be able to bring the price down closer to £4,500 for a two week holiday for a family of four.
All prices exclude international flights. These start from £550 per person return to Hanoi or £650 per person if you fly ‘open jaw’ (ie into Hanoi and out of Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) or vica versa.
Direct flights are available from London with Vietnam Airlines but they do not fly every day. Flight times are 11-12 hours direct and from 13 hours with a stopover. We will be very happy to provide a flight quote for you from your nearest airport. Please ask us for details.
Flights are available for booking approximately 11 months in advance. If travelling during UK school holidays we suggest that you book your flights as far in advance as possible to get the best fares. Prices will rise considerably the closer to departure that you book.
There are no age limits on our tours and we will tailor the itinerary to the ages of your children.
Rest assured that you have 100% financial protection if you book with us, as we are members of the Travel Trust Trade . All monies paid to us by you are deposited into a trust account and the funds are only released to Stubborn Mule after you have completed your holiday.
All you need to do is let us know a few key details about you and your family and we will do the rest. After a chat to understand more about you, we can produce an itinerary as a starting point and you can review this as many times as you need to until we get it just right.
Northern Vietnam day-by-day itinerary
Upon arrival at the airport you will be met by one of our representatives and taken to your hotel in the heart of Hanoi.
Hanoi is a wonderful city that will thrill all members of the family with its chaotic streets, busy markets and peaceful temples. Rise early to see the locals doing a spot of tai chi by the lake or take an evening stroll through the Old City (dodging motorbikes as you go) to stop at a busy local restaurant for a plate of steaming spring rolls. There are endless narrow streets full of children playing games and old men playing chess that just beg to be explored.
This afternoon you will start to explore the city, including an afternoon cyclo (cycle rickshaw) tour through the busy streets of the Old Quarter.
Day 2 Hanoi
This morning head off the beaten track in Hanoi, visiting a suburb on the banks of the Red River that escaped much of the bombing during the war and which is home to many old houses and temples. You will explore the back streets, stopping to visit a charming small temple, and getting an insight into a very different side of the city. Finish at a traditional courtyard house where you will join the host family for lunch, helping to make spring rolls.
In the afternoon continue your tour of the city. You can choose exactly what you want to see but perhaps visit Ho Chi Minh lying in state in his mausoleum or visit the beautiful Ngoc Son Temple which is situated on a tiny island in the centre of Hoan Kiem Lake.
Day 3 Hanoi – Pu Luong Reserve
Today you leave Hanoi to head west into the remote Pu Luong Nature Reserve. The drive takes around 4.5 hours and as the journey progresses you head deeper into the hills and the views are absolutely stunning. Here the sides of the mountains are carved into steep rice terraces and small traditional villages dot the landscape.
This afternoon visit a local family who live in the village at the base of the valley.
You will stay in a new lodge which is situated in a magnificent location with beautiful views but there is also the option to stay in a traditional stilt house homestay if you prefer.
Day 4 Pu Luong Reserve
This morning take a walk through the local area, passing through friendly villages and enjoying the views. This can be tailored to your fitness levels but could take up to 4-5 hours if you are ready for the challenge.
In the afternoon you will head to the river that runs through the base of the valley and will take a canoe ride past the traditional water wheels. These are still used to get water into a network of bamboo irrigation canals that provide water to the rice terraces. This bucolic scene is one of the most picturesque in Vietnam.
Day 5 Pu Luong – Ninh Binh
After breakfast leave the mountains behind for a 2.5-3 hour drive to Ninh Binh province. Here you can see the remains of one of Vietnam’s earliest capitals at Hoa Lu. Although little remains from the original buildings, this is a pleasant place for a wander and you can also visit the nearby village.
From here you will drive the short distance to Trang An, a beautiful area of steep sided limestone mountains, lazily flowing rivers and lush green paddy fields. Over the millennia the rivers have carved a route through the ancient limestone cliffs and your boat will follow the course of the river through caves up to 300m long. The route is very narrow and low in areas, and your ‘rower’ will give you frequent instructions to duck so as to avoid some of the low hanging stalactites.
Read More Day 6 Ninh Binh The afternoon is free to relax. Day 7 Ninh Binh – Halong Bay Halong Bay is spectacularly beautiful, with thousands of towering pillars of sea and wind-carved limestone karsts soaring out of the water. This afternoon the junk will stop at one of the small islands in the bay to give you the chance to try your hand at kayaking. You will enjoy a seafood feast on board the boat this evening. Day 8 Halong Bay Day 9 Halong Bay – Hanoi Day 10 Hanoi
Today take a morning bike ride through the beautiful landscape around your hotel. The ride will be a gentle one, with lovely views over the surrounding paddy fields and hills. If you would prefer to take a hike or relax by the pool, please let us know.
After breakfast drive approximately 3.5 hours to Halong Bay where you will board a traditional junk (sailing boat) for an overnight cruise.
Rise early for a magical sunrise and perhaps a spot of tai chi on deck. You will spend the rest of the day sailing through some of the little visited parts of Bai Tu Long Bay, one of the most beautiful areas of Halong Bay. You will stop at a small beach where you can swim, kayak or relax and will also continue cruising through the spectacular scenery.
Continue sailing and take a row boat to picturesque Vong Vieng fishing village where you have time to explore. After an early lunch you will take an afternoon drive back to Hanoi for your last night.
Transfer to the airport for your flight home.
Day 6 Ninh Binh
The afternoon is free to relax.
Day 7 Ninh Binh – Halong Bay
Halong Bay is spectacularly beautiful, with thousands of towering pillars of sea and wind-carved limestone karsts soaring out of the water. This afternoon the junk will stop at one of the small islands in the bay to give you the chance to try your hand at kayaking. You will enjoy a seafood feast on board the boat this evening.
Day 8 Halong Bay
Day 9 Halong Bay – Hanoi
Day 10 Hanoi
Call us and we will be happy to provide you with a free-of-charge no obligation itinerary and quotation designed for you.
Vietnam in pictures
Why choose us?
- Unparalleled family travel experience
- Specialist knowledge across three continents
- Hand-picked local partners
- Every holiday is tailor-made for you
- 100% financial protection
- 24hr emergency contact number
We are members of the Travel Trust Association, a trade association of Travel Agents, Tour Operators and Travel Organisers that operate trust accounts in order to provide financial protection for the consumer. Membership number Q0176.
Our ATOL number is T7608.