Did a 5 day Mu Cang Chai and Ha Long Bay tour – our group of 6 agreed it was the highlight of our Vietnam trip. Well organized, nice locations, homestay and cruise! Our tour guide, Vinh, for trekking was fantastic, answered all our questions and was devoted to keeping us fed and happy. Tim from the cruise was also fantastic. We did a lot of research before picking a company, and there were lots of reviews about poor hand offs and such, and we encountered absolutely zero of that on this trip.
Mu Cang Chai was a nice alternative to Sapa – I don’t know if we ever saw any other tourists, even though we were there at the best time, height of the rice harvest (2nd week of October). The homestay was nice – Tu Nguyet – I know Origin Travel usually has to pick different places each time, so I don’t know if you can count on it being the same – but they cooked some of the best food we had in Vietnam!
The boat we were on was the Athena Elegance, the rooms were so nice – even had Jacuzzi tubs. Food was good. Scenery was gorgeous of course. We wished we had one more night there.