Hanoi to Hong Kong
Day 1 Hanoi
Arrive at anytime. Meet your CEO and fellow travellers for a welcome meeting in the evening, typically around 6pm. There are no planned activities aside from our group meeting in the evening, however depending on your arrival time we recommend you take a walk through Hanoi's Old Quarter – a maze of street, each one traditionally devoted to a different product or industry. If you'd like to explore Hanoi more in depth, we recommend arriving a few days early. In the evening on Day 1, you have time to attend a performance at the famous Water Puppet Theater.
Days 2-3 Halong Bay/Cat Ba Island (2B,2L,1D)
Transfer by bus in the morning from Hanoi to Halong Bay (approx 3hrs). Thousands of limestone islands rise dramatically from the waters of Halong Bay and many have intricate caves hollowed by the water. Aboard a sailing junk (traditional boat) visit some of these islands and caves, perhaps taking a pre-dinner swim, before spending a peaceful night beneath the stars. The next day, continue cruising to reach Cat Ba Island. there is plenty of time to relax and take in the stunning scenery, as well as indulge in the fantastic fresh seafood on board. Spend one night on Cat Ba Island, a less-touristed area in the bay. Walk the boardwalk, visit the beach and have cocktails overlooking the junks and floating villages in the bay. There are options for short hikes, a motorbike ride around the island or eating at some of the bars and restaurants in the small town.
Days 4-5 Hua Shan (1B, 1L)
After breakfast on Day 4, head back to the mainland and drive north towards the border town of Lang Son, where we say goodbye to Vietnam and cross over into China, where the journey heads towards the remote mountain village of Hua Shan. Home to the local minority people, the Zhuang, stay in traditional style wooden buildings and visit a huge cliff fresco, painted by their ancestors some 2,000 years ago. the accommodation here may be quite simple, but comfortable.
Day 6 Liuzhou
Experience the big city flavor in Liuzhou. While still small in comparison to Shanghai or Beijing, this city is still sprawling by western standards. It's a good spot to see how the youth show their style, and how city life varies from the rural, just a few hours away. Opt to party like the locals at a karaoke bar or wander the busy streets.
Days 7-8 Chengyang
Heading north, travel to Chengyang and visit another minority people, the Dong. The luscious landscape is enhanced by the exquisite Dong 'wind and rain' bridges and lazy waterwheels that enable the Dong to farm across the many waterways and lush paddy fields. We stay in a traditional style guesthouse and take a guided walk around the village. if you're lucky, we'll be able to see some traditional singing and dancing and marvel at daily life in this picturesque village.
Days 9-10 Longji Rice Terraces
Seemingly reaching above the clouds, the Longji Rice Terraces, or Dragon's Back, are unforgettable. Home to remote minority villages of Zhuang, Yao and Bai people, we are able to hike between them following tiny stone paths carved out by the locals. beautiful in all seasons, from the deep green of summer to the snow dusted winter, Longji is a memorable experience. The accommodation here can be basic but comfortable, with fantastic interaction with the families running these charming guesthouses. Great food options and gorgeous scenery make this area a highlight.
Days 11-13 Yangshuo (1L)
Yangshuo's landscape of limestone hills, rice fields and lazy rivers is quintessential rural China. Yangshuo is a short drive from Guilin, the nearest large city, and has become a backpacker's oasis. With it's stunning natural scenery and so much to do, there's never enough time in Yangshuo. Options here include hiking, bamboo rafting, rock climbing, acupuncture, Chinese massage or cupping, cooking classes, a famous Light and Sound show in the evening, cafés and rooftop bars for lounging or simply wandering the cobblestoned streets and bridges under swaying lanterns. This is a great place to indulge any western food cravings, too. While in Yangshuo, we'll take an included bike ride through this painted landscape– a great way to experience the dramatic countryside, ancient villages and bustling local markets in a very personal way. The riding is mostly flat and the scenery is stunning- limestone karst mountains rising out of the mist of the rice paddies with water buffalo wandering slowly by. The only way to capture the essence of this region is by bike!
Day 14 Hong Kong
In the evening on Day 14, board an overnight sleeper train to Shenzhen, the border town with mainland China and Hong Kong. In the morning of Day 15, cross the border on food and catch the local train to the city. Energetic Hong Kong is the original city where East meets West. Cruise the harbour or head to Stanley Market for bargains. Alternatively take a trip to one of the smaller islands or to see the Buddha at Lantau, then admire the night skyline from above at Victoria Peak.
Day 15 Hong Kong
Depart Hong Kong at any time. With so much to see and do here, we highly recommend booking post-trip accommodation to get the full experience of this vibrant city.