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  • Vietnam
  • Walking Trails of Vietnam with Hanoi and Halong Bay

Walking Trails of Vietnam with Hanoi and Halong Bay

9 Day Escorted Walking Tour With 3 Day Extension

Vietnam, South East Asia
Intermediate Pace

Combine the famous sites of Hanoi such as the Ho Chi Minh Complex and One Pillar Pagoda with an overnight luxury cruise on the awe-inspiring Halong Bay, passing local towns, fascinating intricate limestone formations and visiting the impressive Thien Cahn Son Cave.

2022 Dossier

2023 Dossier

Tour Highlights

  • City tour of Hanoi.
  • Cruise of Halong Bay.
  • Water puppet performance.
  • Enjoy a guided walking tour of Hanoi's cultural sites, visiting the Presidential Palace, One Pillar Pagoda and Old Quarter
  • Delve into local life and customs as you explore rural, Vietnamese villages
  • Soak in rolling rice fields and lush rainforests in the Pu Luong Nature Reserve & Mai Chau Valley, an area of outstanding beauty
  • Walk amongst the limestone karsts of Ninh Binh, 'Halong Bay on Land'
  • Enjoy a lunch in a traditional Thai stilt house
Number of nights

This map is for the main tour only


Day 1
UK to Hanoi

Depart the UK on your scheduled, overnight flight to Hanoi.

Day 2

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

On arrival in Hanoi, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. After lunch, a walking tour of this vibrant city begins at the Ho Chi Minh Complex where the father of modern-day Vietnam declared the nation's independence in 1945. Visit sites including the Presidential Palace built by French colonialists in the early 20th century, Ho Chi Minh's Stilt House and the One Pillar Pagoda. Explore the courtyards and pavilions of the Confucian Temple of Literature then return to the lively Old Quarter to explore this bustling commercial centre on a cyclo, a three-wheel bicycle taxi. In the evening, experience the Vietnamese arts at the thousand-year-old Water Puppet Show.

Day 3
Hanoi to Mai Chau - Average 2 - 2.5 hours of walking including breaks

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

After breakfast, take a scenic drive through the Vietnamese countryside to the rural city of Mai Chau, passing rice paddies and sugar cane fields. Enjoy lunch in a traditional Thai stilt house then begin your walk to Pom Coong village where you'll have the chance to explore the village. Follow gravel tracks and small paths used by the locals and soak in the verdant, rugged mountain scenery as you observe daily village life. In the afternoon, check into your lodge and enjoy dinner later this evening.

Day 4
Mai Chau - Average 4 hours of walking including breaks

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Follow flat, local roads on today's walk to Xo Village, passing tropical rainforests and rippling corn fields as you journey through the Mai Chau Valley. Gain fascinating insight into local life as you encounter villagers herding buffalo, tilling the fields and logging. Arrive in Xo Village for lunch then continue on for another hour, taking in incredible scenery and lush greenery before arriving at your endpoint where your bus will carry you back to Mai Chau. Arrive in Mai Chau in the early afternoon, with the rest of the day at leisure.

Day 5
Mai Chau to Don Village - Average 1.5 hours of walking including breaks

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Following breakfast, you will be transferred to Pu Luong Nature Reserve via a breath-taking mountain pass which offers panoramic views of the valley. Pu Luong, meaning 'highest peak of the village', is an area of outstanding beauty boasting palm-clad hills, terraced rice paddies and small, sleepy settlements. On arrival at your retreat nestled in the middle of the reserve, check in and enjoy lunch and free time for you to enjoy your tranquil setting. In the afternoon, travel by bus to a suspension bridge over the Cham River, where you begin your walk in search of the mighty water wheels dotted along the river's length. Get an up-close look at the handmade bamboo water wheels and discover how water is moved from the river to these skilfully crafted aqueducts. Continue on to a local fisherman's house and board a river raft for a guided trip along the Cham River. Sail at a leisurely pace down the river before arriving at the Tan Lap Bridge, where towering trees rise from the river to form a tunnel of greenery. Transfer back to your hotel for dinner.

Day 6
Don Village - Average 4.5 hours of walking including breaks

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

This morning, descend into the beautiful valley facing the retreat. Walk past cascading rice terraces and along small paths shrouded in vegetation as a picturesque village reveals itself at the base of a towering mountain. Continue to the base of the valley, weaving between roads, farmland, wild fields and ponds until you reach a scenic spot where you'll enjoy a picnic lunch. After your meal, enjoy some free time to explore the village and observe local daily life and customs. Journey onward to your pick-up point for your transfer back to the retreat.

Day 7
Don Village - Average 4 hours of walking including breaks

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Transfer to Bang Village, the starting point of your walk to Kho Muong Village. Set out on your walk, reaching an excellent vantage point which provides magnificent views. Carry onward into the village which surrounded by a huge mountain range and visit a local family to learn more about their lifestyle and culture. After a picnic lunch and a stroll around the village, visit the nearby bat cave where you'll have the chance to explore its depths and encounter its resident bats if you choose (proper shoes and torch are required). Journey onward through a picturesque natural reserve as you head to Dong Dieng village where you will be picked up and transfer back to your hotel.

Day 8
Don Village to Ninh Binh

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

After breakfast, a coach carries you to the province of Ninh Binh, home to some of Vietnam's most impressive limestone scenery. En route, stop to take photographs of local villages and spectacular rural landscapes before lunch at a local restaurant and check-in at your hotel. This afternoon, board a traditional 'sampan' wooden boat and glide through the water, admiring the enormous limestone karsts jutting out from the green rice fields on the water's edge, giving rise to the area's other name - 'Halong on Land'. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure for you to explore the area around your hotel or relax before tonight's farewell dinner marks the end of your Vietnamese adventure.

Day 9
Ninh Binh to the UK


After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK, or continue on to your extension.

Day 10
Ninh Binh to Halong Bay

Lunch & Dinner

This morning, you will be transferred to Halong Bay, one of Vietnam's most impressive scenic sights. Heading out of the town, board your boat and embark on a four-hour cruise amongst over 3,000 limestone islands rising from the clear, emerald water. The limestone karst formations are peppered between beaches, grottoes and beautiful caves. Along the way, you will anchor for a leisurely swim in a secluded cove and visit to one of the many hidden grottoes nestled beneath towering cliffs. Anchor in the bay for your overnight stay and dinner on board.

Day 11
Halong Bay to Hanoi

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Enjoy a morning in the middle of the bay as the sun rises over Ha Long and breakfast or brunch is served while the vessel cruises slowly back towards the port. Transfer back to Hanoi for dinner and your overnight stay.

Day 12
Hanoi to the UK


Enjoy a day at leisure in Hanoi, allowing you to take in the historic and cultural sights of the city. In the evening, transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK.

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Dates & Prices

Price (per person)
Dates available
October 2022
from £1,898
1 Date
9th Oct - 20th Oct
December 2022
from £1,958
1 Date
4th Dec - 15th Dec


The hotels listed below are provided for guidance only and final confirmation of your accommodation will be sent to you approximately 90 days before you travel
Muong Thanh
2 nights
Hanoi, Vietnam
More details
Muong Thanh
1 nights
Hanoi, Vietnam
More details
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Tour Reviews

Martin Clarke

27 Nov 19

Enjoyed all the hotels/lodges. All different with excellent staff.

Elizabeth Allen

18 Oct 19

Excellent and interesting not just the boring run of the mill.

Mark Weeds

13 May 19

All hotels were very good

Eric Vince

22 Mar 19

All the staff at each of the hotels were very polite and always appeared happy. Each hotel, or lodge had its own character and atmosphere. They were quite varied but all gave excellent service.

Rachel Hadwin

04 Mar 19

All of the hotels were lovely and clean and staff very friendly. We had a fantastic time and would not hesitate to do it all again. Our guild Vinnie was great and was very informative about local history and people.

E Buchanan

30 Jan 19

Our guide (Do Dinh Vinh) made the holiday loved the walking brilliant.

L Rowe

30 Nov 18

The hotels were first class and would recommend to friends. The holiday was amazing. (Vinnie) Mr Vinn was a fantastic guide and informed us of many local customs. He was passionate about his country and we loved it.

Judith Coward

21 Nov 18

All the hotels chosen were of a high standard. Staff were excellent, hospitable, nothing was too much for them. The food was also of a high standard, the portions were really very big! I especially enjoyed being at Pu Luong..as you described it as...."breathtaking" absolutely amazing! The hotels were clean and had good facilities.

Maureen Fofanah

11 Nov 18

The tour went smooth, the guide was excellent, knowledgeable, entertaining and kept us safe, pointing out thinks we should and not do. Mercury holidays provided a well thought out holiday with no problems . As the first group to go on this holiday I would say it was well worth the money. The experiences were great, the hotels were exceptional , the spread and diversity of Vietnam was all included in this holiday. I must say my best memories were of the walking holiday, trekking up and down inclines, experiencing the lives of the people in the mountains. The chaos of Han Hoi , the mopeds , with 3 or 4 people on the back and the secret of crossing the road. I am sure you have plenty of tour guides which to choose from but Vinnie was exceptional able to be the best go between , between cultures East and West. I would recommend this holiday again and again 5 star All the hotels were exceptional especially the retreat in the hills, forget its name but had panoramic views of the mountains and paddy fields. The little boutique hotel in Hoi An was superb with the manager Paul taking an interest in us , enjoying an evening with the 3 of us who decided to stay at the resort. The other hotels were good no complaints. He wanted to know about the tour and who we were travelling with as he got the booking through an agent. We gave him a copy of Mercury brochure as he wanted to know how his hotel was described.

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Important Information

Until 30th June 2021, a visa is not required for stays up to 15 days for UK citizens. From the 1st July 2021 and for stays longer than 15 days, a visa is required for entry into Vietnam. You can apply for an e-visa online at https://evisa. xuatnhapcanh.gov.vn. The cost of the visa is approximately USD$25 and will take roughly 3 working days. Alternatively, we work closely with The Travel Visa Company who will be able to arrange your visa for you on your behalf. Please call them on 01270 250 590 and quote Mercury Holidays. The cost of the visa is £105. The visas take around 10 working days to issue and are only valid for 3 months from the date of entry. Therefore we recommend that you apply for your visa 8 weeks before travel, however, please be aware that your passport will be required for the application so make sure that you will not need it during this time. You can also visit the Embassy of Vietnam in London: 12-14 Victoria Road, London, W8 5RD. This visa information is a guideline only and is subject to change; up-to-date information regarding the process and fees will be advised at the time of calling the Travel Visa Company.<br><b>Please note, Irish citizens must accquire a visa when travelling to Vietnam, so please follow the above information to obtain a visa.</b>

We strongly recommend that you and all members of your party are suitably insured as soon as you book your holiday. It is a condition of booking that you must have suitable travel insurance. It is important that you purchase travel insurance that suitably covers your participation in whatever activities you may undertake at the time that you make your booking. To assist you with this, we have arranged travel insurance in partnership with Holiday Extras. To arrange your travel insurance with Holiday Extras, please call 0800 781 4237 and quote 'WK830' for preferential rates. Please ensure you provide us with the name of your insurer, policy number and their 24 hour emergency contact number as soon as possible. Mercury Holidays will not be liable for any costs incurred by you due to your failure to take out suitable travel insurance from the date of booking.

If booking more than 10 weeks before departure a deposit of £250pp will need to be paid at the time of booking with the full amount payable at 10 weeks prior to departure. The deposit applies to adults and children. If you are within 10 weeks of travel then the full balance of the holiday will be payable.

Your flight is to Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi with Vietnam Airlines (VN) departing from London Heathrow Terminal 4. Baggage allowance (per person): Each passenger is entitled to 23kg of hold luggage. Hand luggage: One piece of hand baggage and one accessory not exceeding 12kg total weight for both. The total dimension of one hand baggage item must not exceed 115cm (56cm x 36cm x 23cm). The total dimension of one accessory must not exceed 40cm x 30cm x 15cm. Should you wish to take additional luggage you will need to pay extra at check-in. IMPORTANT: Please note that final flight details will be confirmed on your final documentation which will be sent to you approximately 10 days before departure. A printed E-ticket is no longer required at check-in, all you need to do is present your passport to the staff at the desk and your boarding pass will be given to you.

It is your responsibility to check any health and vaccination requirements applicable to your booked arrangements. We can only provide general information about this. Health and hygiene facilities and disease risks vary from country to country. You should take health advice about your own needs as early as possible and in good time before your departure. Sources of information include; www.fco.gov.uk, www.travelhealthpro.org.uk/, www.hpa.org.uk, your General Practitioner or a specialist clinic.

During this walking holiday walks will average 2-3 hours daily. Walks will be along varied, flat, level terrain, with some inclines and will range from village trails through the countryside to rainforest walks. This holiday requires a reasonable level of fitness. If you are in any doubt as to the tours suitability, please speak to your GP as soon as possible as this is a physical holiday.

There is no minimum number of travellers for this extension however the main tour passenger numbers will apply for the main part of the tour. If in the unlikely event there are less than the required number of people booked on your main tour date then you may be asked to change to a different date. A full refund will be made available to you should this alternative not be suitable.

This is a fully escorted tour, meaning that you will be met on arrival by your national guide who will remain with you for the duration of your trip. You will also be joined by a backmarker on each of your walks.

The currency in Vietnam is the Vietnamese Dong, known as VND. You can exchange your currency in Vietnam, however, US Dollars are widely accepted in Vietnam should you wish to keep an alternative currency on you.

You will need to take some extra money with you to cover any personal purchases, such as souvenirs, laundry and extra drinks and snacks. Approximately £200 - £300 per person will be sufficient for the duration of the tour. It is customary to tip both your driver and guide approximately £5.00 ($6.00) per person per day in total. This will be collected at the end of each destination visited for your convenience. Tipping for the porters at your hotels will be at your discretion. Tips are accepted in the local currency, US dollars and British pounds.