YELLOW RICE TERRACES IN VIETNAM
Hokkaido (Sapporo – Noboribetsu – Otaru – Hakodate)
Ha Noi – Tuyen Quang – Ha Giang
H’Mong King Palace – Dong Van – Meo Vac
Hoang Su Phi – Sapa – Mu Cang Chai
Tour: Sep 5 – Sep 21, 2021 Price: $4,195 + Tax
Inclusive of international airfares
Hokkaido: Discover The Wild Charms of Japan’s Northern Frontier. Hot spring is one of the symbols of the Japanese culture & Hokkaido is famous as “hot spring kingdom.”
Vietnam: When talking about the beautiful landscapes of Vietnam, one cannot bypass stunning rice terraces lying on superb mountains which make spectacular places for hiking and photography. Aside from notable rice terraces, the mountainous region is also a good place to experience ethnic cultures & customs.
Check in at Los Angeles airport in the evening. AV Travel tour leader will fly with the group.
Across the Pacific Ocean
Welcome to Sapporo. There’s no better introduction to Hokkaido than its biggest city, Sapporo. Compared to Tokyo, Osaka or Kyoto, this northern Japanese city gets little attention. And it’s not so surprising as Sapporo lacks the historical significance of Japan’s other major cities. In fact, Sapporo’s only been around since the mid-19th century. (D)
Begin your journey with a visit to Sounkyo, a popular sightseeing spot where you can fully enjoy the natural scenery of Hokkaido. Take a ride with the Kurodake Ropeway. It takes you up the 1,300-meter Mount Kurodake to an observation deck that offers a panoramic view of the Daisetsuzan mountain range. It is one of several national parks that include the Daisetsu volcanic and Tokachi-dake mountain ranges as well as the headwater regions of the Ishikari river and Tokachi river. After that visit the Ginga & Ryusei Waterfalls. The name Ginga no Taki translates to “Milky Way Waterfall” and Ryusei no Taki means “Shooting Star Waterfall.” They are a pair of waterfalls that is divided by a huge rock formation protruding from the cliff. (B/L/D)
Morning visit Abashiri Prison Museum, an outdoor museum of history. Buildings that have been used in Abashiri Prison since the Meiji era (1868–1912) are preserved and open to the public. The oldest building was constructed 109 years ago, 6 years after the prison was established. Enjoy the sightseeing boat cruises operated along the rugged western coast of the Shiretoko Peninsula. It is the easiest way to view the peninsula’s dramatic coastline with its tall cliffs and waterfalls. Another highlight of the cruises is the variety of wildlife that can be seen from the boats, especially brown bears which are often spotted on the rocky beaches with their cubs. Deer and foxes may also be seen along the shore, while sea animals such as dolphins, whales, sea lions and different types of sea birds might be seen from the boats. (B/L/D)
Morning visit the Oshinkoshin waterfalls, also known as Twin Beauties Waterfall, because the waterfall splits into two parts about halfway down. In the afternoon, we will be at the Lake Akan Ainu Theater: The unique dugout boats of the Ainu float down waterways lit by blazing torches. At the Lake Akan Ainu Theater, we offer powerful traditional performances like ancient ceremonial dances, puppet shows done by Kotan residents, and the Iomante Fire Festival. The back of the stage opens to the outdoors, creating a strong sense of depth for the performances. (B/L/D)
Today is the shopping day for souvenirs to your family & your friends, buying the natural gifts of the northern land of Hokkaido. Morning stop at the Rokkatei Shop with a famous Marusei butter sandwich, Hitotsu-nabe monaka wafer cakes are filled with sweet bean paste and small rice cakes, mochi. Shiroi Koibito is one of the most famous Japanese chocolate cookies only sold in our Hokkaido and limited shops in Japan. Shiroi Koibito translates to “White Lover” in English; as the name suggests, it uses white chocolate sandwiched in between butter biscuits. Later we’ll be at the Ganso Sapporo Ramen Yokocho, better known as ‘Ramen Alley’ is a famous street that is often busy with hungry tourists and nationals alike. This small alley is well known for its long history and is also a popular sightseeing spot. It is the birthplace of ‘Miso Ramen’ and is also the first to put ‘Sapporo Ramen’ on the map and make it a nationwide name. Ramen Alley began way back in 1950 with the opening of eight ramen houses. There are currently 17 different ramen restaurants that line the alley. These ramen stores are often busy with people lining up to get in. Enjoy your afternoon at Tanukikoji shopping arcade, an approximately 1km-long arcade with around 200 shops that runs east to west in downtown Sapporo. In 1869, when the Meiji government established the Hokkaido Development Commission in Sapporo, merchant houses & restaurants began to pop up in what is known today the Tanukikoji 2 and 3-chome areas. In 1873, the neighborhood became known as “Tanukikoji.” The arcade, which many tourists visit, features both old and new shops, souvenir shops, and karaoke bars. Every walk through the lively arcade offers a new discovery. (B/L)
Morning we stop at Yoichi Nikka Whisky Distillery, Visit the home of Japan’s ‘Father of Whisky’ while treating yourself to world-class spirits. Visit the city of Otaru and its Otaru Canal, which was a central part of the city’s busy port in the first half of the 20th century. Large vessels were unloaded by smaller ships, which then transported the goods to warehouses along the canal. Enjoy the natural scenery such as many cliffs, rocks and waterfalls at the Sounkyo Gorge. Stop at the Otaru Music Box Museum is one of the largest museum shops in Japan with a collection of over 3,000 types of music boxes. Continue to visit the Hokkaido Shrine – the Shinto shrine of Hokkaido known as Hokkaido Jingu. It is one of the most important landmarks of the city. The shrine was built in 1869 after the Meiji Emperor decreed that the “three pioneering gods” be enshrined to uplift the spirit of the pioneers. Afernoon we come to Odori Park is the broad median of Odori (“large street”) in the center of Sapporo, separating the city into north and south. Enjoy the farewell dinner. (B/L/D)
Transfer to the airport for flight to Hanoi. (B)
We start our journey by exploring Ha Giang, the furthermost province in the North of Vietnam. On the way, we stop at Tuyen Quang owns 300 historical cultural vestiges. Visit Den Cam (Forbidden Temple) and Den Mau Thuong- these are 2 most sacred temples in Tuyen Quang, with its magnificent nature and mountain landscape around, the tourists are dragged to come and visit it. After that, on our way to Ha Giang, visit Thac Cai temple – lied nearby the Lo River, this place is one of the most famous and sacred temples to the belief of locals. (B/L/D)
Begin our day to explore the highlights in deep of Ha Giang, start with driving to Yen Minh then continue our journey east into Mien River valley. Observe the river banks flanked by bamboo forests and wooden houses. From Yen Minh to the town of Pho Bang, where the beautiful pass with a green valley is the highest point and most beautiful to see the panorama of Sung La. Visit H’mong King’s Palace – considered a gem of the northern mountainous province of Ha Giang & a popular tourist destination besides the Dong Van Stone Plateau. (B/L/D)
Start driving through the famous Happiness Road. This road was built between 1959 and 1965 by 16 ethnic groups from 8 provinces of Northern Vietnam. The most scenic part of the Happiness Road is the stretch from Dong Van to Meo Vac. Here, the pass is carved on the edge of the limestone mountain, hundreds of meters above the Nho Que river gorge, one of the most unique tectonic formations in Vietnam. From MeoVac, we continue our journey to enjoy one of the most beautiful rice terraces in Hoang Su Phi, located in the west side of the province. Recognized as national heritage, the rice terraces of Hoang Su Phi attract lots of travelers and photographers during harvest season. (B/L/D)
Start our adventure into the splendid world of Hoang Su Phi and Xin Man. The area is home to the imposing mountain range of Tay Con Linh, to the huge stretch of evergreen forests, to the mesmerizing rice terraces and to the ethnic communities whose life has been as traditional as ever… Along the way, we encounter the hill tribe groups, namely Nung, Tay, Red Dao, Dao Ao Dai. Proceed to visit the town of Sapa (Lao Cai province) and visit colorful markets where ethnic people gather to sell their eye-catching handicrafts. (B/L/D)
We will trek on the trails that lead us to the amazing rice terraces and the tribal village of Lao Chai and Ta Van. Here you can meet and talk with locals to learn more about their daily life and habits. Visit Ham Rong (Dragon Jaw) Mountain and explore the orchid gardens, the Heaven Gate, and the Could Yard.
In the afternoon, we’ll get on the world’s longest three-rope cable car system, extending from Sapa Town to Mount Fansipan – the so-called “Roof of Indochina”. (B/L/D)
Next, we journey to Mu Cang Chai, where the rice terraces in La Pan Tan, Che Cu Nha and Ze Xu Phinh are recognized as a national heritage. We stop by Than Uyen after enjoying the scenic drive, especially when the sun goes down. Experience the daily life of ethnic minority people. The image of smoke, afternoon, hanging bridges, bathing streams … will give you the impression. Proceed to visit La Pa Tan, is known as the most stunning terraces in Mu Cang Chai. (B/L/D)
Khau Pha pass. We stop at Kim Noi Hill to photograph & enjoy panoramic views of Mu Cang Chai Town. We will explore the mountainous life of the ethnic people. Meeting different tribal people such as White Thai, Black Zao, Red H’mong… Back to Hanoi. (B/L/D)
Transfer to the airport for your return flight to Los Angeles.