Panorama of Yunnan and North Vietnam
From Chengdu, To Panda Reserve, Leshan Giant Buddha, Kunming, Stone Forest of Lunan, Jianshui, Yuanyang, Sapa, Dien Bien Fu, Son La, Pu Louong, Hanoi, Halong Bay, - 12 Nights
- Departing from:
- Panda Reserve, Leshan Giant Buddha, Kunming, Stone Forest of Lunan, Jianshui, Yuanyang, Sapa, Dien Bien Fu, Son La, Pu Louong, Hanoi, Halong Bay,
- 12 Nights
- Private tour with daily departures
- Offer Expires:
- Tour Operator:
- Focus Asia
- Reference Code:
Price per person
CHINA: Visit the Panda Breeding and Research Center on the outskirts for Chengdu. Boat trip on the Dadu River to admire the biggest Buddha in the World at Leshan. Hike through the magnificent Rice Terraces of Yuanyang (UNESCO). Visit the historic bunker of General Castries, where the French colonial presence in Asia came to an end and stroll the historic old town of Tuanshan near Jianshui.
VIETNAM: See the magnificent rugged landscape and trek through the beautiful valleys of North of Vietnam. See the rolling rice terraces of Sapa and cross the picturesque ‘Gateway to Heaven’. Meet the many ethnic tribes living in the local villages. Discover more of the history of French Colonial Era with visits to historical museums. Visit charming Hanoi with its many colonial style houses built by the French.
Arrival in Chengdu. Chengdu, the capital of the diverse Sichuan province in South-West China. Despite the modern metropolis that it is today, you can also still find the “old” Chengdu with its
countless small colorful side streets dotted with traditional markets and local restaurants. Pick up and transfer to your hotel. Later in the afternoon, take a stroll through the picturesque
Kuanxiangzi Square, a pedestrian area with numerous handicraft and souvenir shops where you can also try some local specialties.
(-) Overnight in Chengdu
PANDA RESEARCH CENTRE AND LESHAN’S GIANT BUDDHA
Early morning drive to the Giant Panda Research and Breeding Centre on the outskirts of the city. After, we then head south towards Leshan. Lunch on the way.
In the afternoon visit the Giant Buddha of Leshan located 1.5 hours south of Chengdu. At 71-metres high it is the largest Buddha in the world and listed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. This colossal Buddha was carved into a cliff face overlooking the confluence of the Dadu River and the Min River. Then, take a boat trip on the Dadu River from where you will have the best photo opportunity. Drive back to Chengdu.
(B) Overnight in Chengdu
CHENGDU – DAZU
Transfer to the Chengdu train station to take the high-speed (less than 2 hours) to Dazu. Pick up at the station. Drive (approx. 2 hours) to the stone sculptures of Dazu, which are located approx. 2.5 hours northeast of Zigong. This extraordinary collection of stone sculptures was created between the 9th and 13th centuries and contains over 10,000 figures, all of which have been carved out of the bare rock. In 1999 the stone sculptures of Dazu were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. You will visit the two most important sites Baoding and Beishan. Overnight accommodation near the Dazu Rock Carvings.
(B) Overnight in Dazu
CHONGQING – KUNMING – JIANSHUI
After Breakfast transfer to the Chongqing Railway Station. Board the bullet train G2883 at 10h15 which brings you in approximately 4 hrs. to Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province. Located at 1900 meters above sea level, the city has a very balanced climate throughout the year, earning the city the name “City of Eternal Spring in China”. While many other cities of this size in China are plagued by smog, the air in Kunming is comparatively clean.
You will be picked up at the railway station by your guide. Continue your journey to Jianshui. Jianshui (Lin An) is located 180 km south of Kunming. During the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368) Jianshui (Lin An) became an important military outpost which resulted in the development of the contemporary town. Upon arrival in Jianshui check-in at your hotel. Take a stroll around Jianshui old town. Visit the former city gate “Chaoyang Lou”. Built in the early Ming Dynasty (1389) Chaoyang Lou used to be the east gate of old town Jianshui. On top of the 24m high structure hang two huge copper bells, which used to signify the opening of the gate in the mornings. Now the tower hosts an interesting photo exhibition about the history of Jianshui.
(B) Overnight in Jianshui
JIANSHUI – YUANYANG
Visit the recently renovated Confucius Temple “Wen Miao“. There is a small lake (“the sea of knowledge”) within the compound which, during the early summer months, is full of beautiful, blooming Lotus flowers. Continue to the magnificent former residence of the once powerful and influential family Zhu. The house has 48 courtyards and was built around the turn of the last century.
Drive to the traditional Zhuang-Village of Tuanshan with its unique and well-preserved architecture. On the way you also visit the “Twin Dragon Bridge”, an ancient stone bridge from the Qing Dynasty. Continue through magnificent scenery towards Yuanyang, the gateway to the stunning and spectacular rice terraces of Yuanyang. The Yuanyang rice terraces have been carved out of the Ailao Mountains over hundreds of years by Hani farmers living in the area. Check-in at your hotel near the rice terraces. If time permits you drive to one of the viewpoints to admire the Yuanyang Rice Terraces in the late afternoon sun.
(B) Overnight in Yuanyang
SUNRISE OVER THE YUANYANG RICE TERRACES
Leave the Hotel early (around 6 am) to witness a magnificent sunrise over the rice terraces. (Depending on weather conditions; In winter the Rice terraces are often engulfed in fog). After that if time permits, you will visit one of the bustling weekly local markets in the area where we can observe the local people from various ethnic groups (Hani, Yi, Zhuang, some Miao) doing their weekly shopping. Many of them still wear their traditional costumes. In the afternoon take a hike up (about 2.5 hours / also possible to walk less or more, depending on your skills) through the magnificent rice terraces of Yuanyang towards a nearby Hani village.
Later in the afternoon, visit the “Tiger-Mouth-Rice terraces” from where you will enjoy more rice terraces glooming in the late afternoon sun.
(B) Overnight in Yuanyang
YUANYANG – HEKOU – SAPA
After breakfast, leave Yuanyang in the direction of the Vietnamese border to Hekou. For most of the way, the road follows the luscious, fertile valley of the Red River (Hong He), which flows in an almost straight line through deep canyons and a picturesque valley in a south-eastern direction across the border into Vietnam. Once you passed the Chinese immigration you will have to walk on foot over the bridge to the Vietnamese border checkpoint. (walking distance about 300m). After completing the border formalities, your Vietnamese tour guide awaits you at the exit. The following drive takes you into the mountains to Sapa at 1500 meters above sea level. A picturesque valley surrounds the village at the foot of Mount Fansipan, which at 3,143 metres is Vietnam’s highest peak. On the way (if time permits) you will visit the village of Cat Cat* of the Hmong ethnic group before checking-in at your hotel.
*Note: arrival in Vietnam should be no later than 14.00 in order to cpmplete the visit Cat Cat Village.
(B) Overnight in Sapa
After breakfast, leave Yuanyang in the direction of the Vietnamese border to Hekou. For most of the way, the road follows the luscious, fertile valley of the Red River (Hong He), which flows in an almost straight line through deep canyons and a picturesque valley in a south-eastern direction across the border into Vietnam. Once you passed the Chinese immigration you will have to walk on foot over the bridge to the Vietnamese border checkpoint. (walking distance about 300m). After completing the border formalities, your Vietnamese tour guide awaits you at the exit. The following drive takes you into the mountains to Sapa at 1500 meters above sea level. A picturesque valley surrounds the village at the foot of Mount Fansipan, which at 3,143 metres is Vietnam’s highest peak. On the way you will visit the village of Cat Cat of the Hmong ethnic group before checking-in at your hotel.
Enjoy a bicycle tour through the wonderful surroundings of Sapa. The bright green view of terraced rice fields contrasts sharply with the rugged mountain slopes and often snow-capped peaks. Along a winding downhill stretch you reach the village of Su Pan, inhabited by the Black Hmong. Continue to the Ta village Ban Ho, where you will have lunch (own expense). Time to explore the village – others can enjoy a swim in the river together with the locals. The extremely friendly Ta, forms one of the largest ethnic groups in Vietnam originally from South China. On foot you explore the nearby village Nam Bong which is inhabited by the Red Dao. You will visit one of the traditional houses built on stilts. Walk back to Ban Ho from where you drive back to Sapa by car.
(B) Overnight in Sapa
Bicycle tour approximately 25 km (easy route, mostly downhill)
SAPA – DIEN BIEN FU
Drive through the mountainous landscape of northern Vietnam towards Dien Bien Fu. Cross the “Gateway to Heaven”, Vietnam’s highest pass, forming the border between the two provinces of Lao Cai and Lai Chau. On the way there is the possibility to visit other villages of the Hmong or Dzao. The Dzao are at home in southern China, Laos and northern Vietnam and are known for their elaborate and richly decorated traditional dresses. With a bit of luck you will also pass a market where members of the local mountain tribes do their weekly shopping. Lunch on the way. Reach Dien Bien Fu in the late afternoon.
(B) Overnight in Dien Bien Fu
DIEN BIEN FU – SON LA
Visit the enlightening war museum and the command bunker of General de Castries and learn about the history of the first Indochina War and how it ended. In the afternoon drive along the recently developed road no. 6 through spectacular landscape to Son La. On the way cross the Pha Din Pass. According to local legend, Pha Din means “connection between heaven and earth”.
(B) Overnight stay in Son La.
SON LA – MAI CHAU – PU LUONG
If possible, visit the morning market of Son La. Afterwards you make a detour to the former French prison. Built in 1908 for political prisoners during the French colonial rule. Drive through one of Vietnam’s most important tea growing areas to Moc Chau. Visit a tea plantation. During our onward journey, there will be many photo opportunities. The surrounding villages are mainly inhabited by the Black Thais and the Hmong ethnic groups. Continue your journey to Pu Luong Nature-Reserve. The Pu Luong Nature Reserve is located about 45km southeast of Mai Chau in the middle of an idyllic mountain landscape. The area around Pu Luong is home to Thai and Muong ethnic groups. After arrival check-in at the hotel and dinner.
(B) Overnight in Pu Luong
PU LUONG NATURE RESERVE
Start early to descend into the beautiful valley facing the Retreat where you will walk around tumbling rice terraces. Trek through small paths shrouded in vegetation to slowly reveal a picturesque village sitting at the base of a towering mountain. Continue to the base of the valley, weave between roads and farmland, villages and wild fields, ponds and rivers, mountains and open land. Savor the everchanging scenery as you trek to a beautiful spot to enjoy a simple picnic lunch. After enjoying delicious food, you have free time to explore the refreshing water at the nearby river, before moving to our pick up point to be transferred back to the Retreat.
(B,L,D) Overnight in Pu Luong
Hiking about 19km ca. 5 hrs / option to choose a shorter hike
PU LUONG – HANOI
Water wheels walk and rafting | 3 km easy walk – 1.5 hours | 1 km rafting – 1 hour After breakfast, you will be transferred to a suspension bridge over the Cham River, where you begin your walk to the water wheels. Get up close to each wheel and discover how water is moved from river to handmade bamboo aqueducts via simple constructions of all sizes. Visit the home of a local fisherman, you have a short rest to gear up for the leisurely trip downriver on a bamboo raft. Float along the calm river and enjoy the views, in between learning how to paddle and steer your handcrafted raft. Picnic Lunch.
In the afternoon you set off for Hanoi. On the way you will visit a village of the Muong ethnic group and take a short boat trip on the beautiful Hoa Binh Lake. In the afternoon you arrive in Hanoi, Vietnam’s second largest city. Hanoi was first named Vietnam’s capital in 1010 by King Ly Thai To under the name of Thang Long (Ascending Dragon). It was not until 1802 that the capital was moved to Hue. The city was named Hanoi (“the city on the bend of the river”) during the Ngyu dynasty under Emperor Minh Mang in 1831 and served as the capital of French Indochina from 1902 to 1953. During this period, the French built a modern administrative center south of Old Hanoi with wide, parallel treelined avenues with opera, churches and numerous luxury villas, which nowadays give the city a very special charm.
(B, Picnic Lunch) Overnight in Hanoi
No program, individual departure.
All described sightseeing as in program above
Transportation in private air-conditioned vehicle
Accommodation in hotels with daily breakfast
English-speaking local guides
Admission fees to indicated sights
Meals mentioned in the itinerary (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)
Domestic gov’t tax and service charge
International air tickets
Flights & visa fees
Travel Insurance in all kinds
Meals not mentioned in itinerary
Drinks during Meals
Tip, drinks, any personal expenses
Early check-in and late check-out