This was an awesome add on at the end of a several week group tour. I think the description is underrated. While the time in the van coming and going on the first and third day is long, the experience is remarkable, driving through local villages with great commentary on the different native tribes. Ba Be Lake is remarkable and included the visit to a cave. The following day after about a 4 hour drive we got to the Ban Gioc Waterfall and had a boat ride to get up close to the falls. This is on the boarder with China and part of the river and falls belong to China so at some point on the boat trip we were in China. About an hour later we traversed through a remarkable cave about a mile walk in the cave.
We were fortunate that it was only my wife and I on this tour so it was a private tour in a van with our own driver and guide for the entire 3 days. Our guide, Hugh Uie in Vietnamese was EXCELLENT. When we'd stop for lunch or dinner included along the way, they'd sit with us and order food for the table and we'd all eat together. We were always very pleased with the local restaurants and the food. It was a great way to learn about local foods, which are different in this far northern part of Viet Nam from other parts. There were bathroom stops about every two hours along the way. The first night we stayed at Mr. Linh's Homestay, an interesting local place. We had about a half mile walk through rice fields and a pasture to get to the homestay. Our luggage was delivered another way, using a motor bike. The bedrooms are on the second level and the dining area is on the main level. We had a nice room with a quality king sized bed and a small dresser and air conditioning. Bathroom facilities are shared. You walk outside your room onto a porch and then past about five rooms to take a BIG step down to two toilet/shower rooms. Dinner and breakfast are included and served at a specified time. You sit down in the dining area and they bring you whatever food has been prepared. The food was good, but unremarkable. I don't recall the dinner items. Breakfast was rice pancakes and fruit and coffee or tea. One interesting bathroom feature at Mr. Linh's and at the hotel the next night was how the shower is a shower head next to the sink so that when you take a shower, most of the bathroom gets wet a different approach. The hotel the second night was very nice. Breakfast was included. Just like at Mr. Linh's, you show up at a set time and they bring you the meal. Breakfast was one fried egg, a loaf of French bread and some pineapple with coffee instant coffee here or tea.
I noticed some comments in other reviews about people being concerned about driving techniques on this tour. Perhaps because we'd been in other parts of Viet Nam for two weeks, we were accustomed to it. We always felt safe, but they do have a different style of passing and cutting through traffic. Our driver was very good.
The falls are magnificent but it is a long drive. Our guide spoke English well and engaged easily with us and was knowledgable about the area. He went out of his way to accomodate any needs or wants that we had along the way. We are still trying to come to grips with driving practices in Vietnam!