Northern Off The Beaten Track


Mercury Travel guarantees the best price


Explore northern Vietnam on your own way with our road less traveled tour. Join in this tour, you will discover not only the most beautiful and famous landscapes but also on a unique route that including Trang An - the new Unesco heritage site or Cat Ba national park.

Day 1: Hanoi arrival

     Optional Activities: The Best of Hanoi foods tour

Day 2: Hanoi –  Mai Chau - Homestay

Day 3: Mai Chau - Pu Luong National Park

Day 4: Pu Luong - Tam Coc

Day 5: Tam Coc – Ha Long Bay Overnight on boat

Day 6: Halong Bay - Hanoi

Day 7: Hanoi – Noi Bai airport


Day 1: Hanoi arrival (Meals: None)

Upon arrival at Noi Bai International airport, our representative will welcome you and transfer to your chosen hotel in the Old Quarter, center of Hanoi City. The rest of the day will be free at your leisure. 

Optional Activities: The Best of Hanoi foods tour

You are a foody and expect to try the best of Hanoi cuisines. How about taking a big fun walking tour around Old Quarter and see its lively daily life as well as tasting all the best foods the city has to offer??? Hanoi has long been rated one of the best cities for street food in the world. Let’s explore the city with our guide and give it a go to taste the most amazing dishes Hanoi has to offer. This tour is tailored to give our foreign guests the most unique and authentic experience of Hanoi’s cuisine. We will take you to the most popular eateries for locals, most of which are famous among locals.

Our guide will come to pick you up at your hotel and start the The Best of Hanoi Foods Tour (2.5-3 hour). We start walking through the maze of bustling streets that make up Hanoi’s Old Quarter, first visiting the colorful local markets where we meet stall holders and talk about their food and learn about local culinary. Then continue along both high streets and back streets exploring many corners in Hanoi’s Old Quarter. Our guide will introduce to you the most famous locals’ foods stores and taste all of famous Hanoi foods including Hanoi traditional foods like Bun cha, Banh cuon, Cha Ca, to exotic foods like Bun Oc or Bun Rieu Cua or legendary “egg coffee”. Under guidance of our friendly tour guide, you will be introduced to the city with the best foods Hanoi has to offer and unique opportunities to travel like a local. Walk on foot back to your hotel.

Day 2: Hanoi –  Mai Chau - Homestay (Meals: Breakfast, Lunch)

At 8.00am, our guide and car will pick you up and transfer you to Mai Chau. On the morning drive to Mai Chau, we'll leave the city behind and pass through craggy, mountainous landscape. We drive up a massive pass and end in the mountainous circus of Mai Chau. On arrival in the small remote village of Mai Hich, we'll check in to the traditional guesthouse of a Thai ethnic minority family, wooden and on stilts, like we love them. In the afternoon, you have the choice of hiking or cycling around the green hills letting your guide point out and explain the wonders along the way. If the weather is good, we can also go check out the nice cascades hidden somewhere, few kilometers behind the village. Afterwards, we return for dinner and overnight in the stilt house with our friendly Thai hosts. Overnight in Mai Chau.

Day 3: Mai Chau - Pu Luong National Park

We leave our hosts after breakfast and drive East for about 15 kilometers before entering the Pu Luong nature reserve. The car will take us on a small road across the first half of the reserve. Many opportunities to stop and enjoy some views on deep valleys sculpted with terraced rice fields. We are surrounded by forested limestone mountains. But enough road for today. We get down the car and walk on a single trail down a valley for about one hour. A breathtaking hike that leads us to a small village, where we have lunch in a home.

In the afternoon, we step into the wild with an awesome hike on trails across the second half of the reserve to reach its Western edge. The hike is not too hard and lasts 3 to 4 hours. It makes it an intermediate level trek. Plan to bring along good shoes and batteries for your camera.

After a demanding afternoon, the reward is unique and offered by Mother Nature herself. Refresh and swim in the cascades nearby our overnight village. We are welcomed in a large house on stilts by a friendly Thai family. Dinner and overnight at the homestay.

Day 4: Pu Luong - Tam Coc (Meals: Breakfast, Lunch)

After breakfast, we say farewell to our hosts and hike for about 2 hours across a valley until we reach the little road where our car is waiting. We have a lunch en-route, on the way to the Inland Halong bay. We arrive at destination in the mid-afternoon. Just the time to drop the luggage and there we go for our little exploration. We propose you to walk or hop on bicycles to journey across the Halong-like sceneries of Tam Coc and learn more about this typical region of the Red River delta. Later in the afternoon, when most tourists are gone and the sun is blowing orange light, we get on a local rowed sampan and discover the scenic waterways of the area. We come back to our cozy bungalow and get ready for dinner.

Day 5: Tam Coc – Ha Long Bay Overnight on boat (Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

After your breakfast at hotel, our van will pick you up and transferred to Halong bay on 3.5 hour ride. Arrive at Halong Bay, get on board, enjoy welcome drink, receive cruise briefing, check in cabin and begin your cruise. Enjoy the view as the boat peacefully sails the bay, passing by Ba Hang floating village. A charming sightseeing, particularly when the fishermen wave as you pass their tiny floating houses while Vietnamese Set Menu Lunch is served in the elegant dining-room. Visit Sung Sot Cave one of the largest and most beautiful caves in Halong bay. Continue cruising and sightseeing in Halong Bay.  Enjoy Afternoon Tea on the Sundeck. A Coffee and Tea brewing demonstration will introduce you to the traditional culture of drinking tea and coffee in Vietnam. Nibbles include cakes and biscuits. You now can relax on the sun deck or discover the bay on kayak by yourself.

A cooking demonstration will take place on the sundeck. Have a go at making spring rolls, and learn to toast the Vietnamese way with local rice wine. Enjoy a high-end, 6-course Vietnamese - Western fusion dinner. Evening Activities – relax at leisure; enjoy Movie Night, Squid Fishing. Overnight on boat in Ha Long Bay.

Day 6: Halong Bay - Hanoi (Meals: Breakfast)

Enjoy early Tai Chi session on the Sundeck, at the break of dawn. Coffee & tea with assorted homemade pastries. Take in the charm and tranquility of the lago,on of Luon Cave. Experience breathtaking view from a traditional rowing bamboo boat. Enjoy international Buffet Breakfast in dining room. Around 9.30 Am, you will check-out your cabin and settle the bill for your drinks and extra services (if any) on boat.  At 10.30 the boat anchors in the wharf and it is time to go ashore from the boat. You will then transfer back to Hanoi city. Overnight in Hanoi.

Day 7: Hanoi – Noi Bai airport (Meals: Breakfast)

After breakfast at hotel, you will check out of your hotel, transfer to Noi Bai international airport for your departure flight leaving Vietnam.

tour map


  • Transfer with A/C vehicle
  • Airport Transfer with A/C private vehicle
  • Accommodation in Hanoi, Mai Chau, Pu Luong, Tam coc with breakfast
  • All meals as mentioned in itinerary
  • English speaking guide in tour
  • All entrance fees as per program
  • Join in luxury Ha Long Bay Cruise Tour
  • Water and Tissues in car
  • Kayaking in Ha Long Bay
  • Biking & Boat trip in Ninh Binh
  • Trekking in Mai Chau - Pu Luong national park


  • International & Domestic flights
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Visa on arrival & stamp fees
  • Early check-in, late check-out
  • Personal expenses
  • Meals not mentioned
  • Alcoholic, and other beverages
  • Tips & gratuities
  • Services not mentioned in itinerary


Following hotels are your accommodations arranged accordingly for each standard. Our travel experts have inspected hundred hotels but only choose the best for you.
City Economic Group Private Deluxe Primary Luxury
Hanoi Hanoi Legacy Hotel Essence Hanoi Sofitel Legend Metropole
Ha Long Rosa Cruise Paloma Cruise Signature Cruise
Ninh Binh Mua Cave Ecolodge Hidden Charm Resort Ninh Binh Emerald


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