Northern Vietnam Hidden Trails - 16 Days

Northern Vietnam Hidden Trails - 16 Days
Tour Itinerary

Northern Vietnam Hidden Trails - 16 Days. A great route of the most mountainous region in the North of Vietnam will show you how imposing the nature of the country can be. You will meet with local people and get to understand the many differences in culture & way of life of the ethnic minorities living in Sapa, Ba Be, Ha Giang, Cao Bang, and Lang Son. We’ll then round it all out in the best way imaginable; a relaxing cruise in the gorgeous Ha Long Bay.

Day 1: Hanoi Arrival

You are met at the airport and transferred to your hotel in Hanoi. Vietnam's capital is a stylish and gracious city that retains a unique old-world charm and some of Asia's most striking colonial architecture. The many lakes and parks make for a relaxing atmosphere.
If time permits, we’ll enjoy a short cyclo excursion through the bustling old quarter streets named after the specific goods once offered for sale at these places. Overnight in Hanoi.

Day 2: Hanoi  City Tour - night train to  Lao Cai (B/L)

After breakfast at your hotel, we’ll start the day by visiting the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (closed on Monday, Friday, and during September and October) and his former residence (closed on Monday and Friday), before moving on to One-Pillar Pagoda. Then, we depart for the Museum of Ethnology (closed on Monday) which focuses on the recognized ethnic groups in Vietnam. Subsequently, we will visit Lan Huong Fashion House where you can learn about the development of the traditional Vietnamese Ao Dai throughout the ages. After lunch at a local restaurant, we’ll get to enjoy a leisurely one-hour cycle tour through Hanoi and then make a visit to the Temple of Literature, which houses the oldest university in Vietnam. Then it’s time to head to the beautiful Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple which rests on an island. We’ll round out the day with a water puppet show, a uniquely Vietnamese experience where masterful puppeteers recreate stories from Vietnamese culture by skilfully guiding their puppets across pools of water. We will then take you to the railway station for your overnight train to Lao Cai.

Day 3: Lao Cai - Sapa Trekking to Villages (B/L/D)

You’ll arrive early in the morning (roughly 5:30 am) at the railway station in Lao Cai, a border town between Vietnam and Yunnan, China. From here we set out on a 38km drive along the winding roads through the mountains of Sapa, located at 1500m above sea level. If you’re lucky enough to be here on a clear day, you may even see the highest mountain in Vietnam, the Fansipan, while driving this route. We’ll reach our hotel in Sapa in time for breakfast at 8 am, before we start walking to Lao Chai village. Views of Muong Hoa Valley and its magnificent surroundings are great here, featuring stunning mountains and sprawling rice terraces. After a picnic lunch on the way, you will continue through the valley to Ta Van Village to visit the Dzay people, who are known to be some of the friendliest people in the region. The next village is Giang Ta Chai which belongs to the Red Dzao tribe where you will see some amazing scenery. Tonight you will stay overnight in a local house of a Dzay family.

Day 4: Ta Van -Giang Ta Chai - Su Phan - Sapa  (B/L)

After enjoying breakfast with your hosts, you will begin the trek from Giang Ta Chai to Su Pan taking in more incredible views along the way. This is an unbeatable way to start the day, surrounded by wild and beautiful natural landscapes and clean, fresh air. In Su Pan, you will be able to meet local people who belong to the Red Dao and Black Hmong ethnic groups. After having time to meet with them and explore their village, you will begin the trek back to Sapa. This gives you one last chance to take in the breathtaking views of the mountain ranges and rice paddies. Dinner on your own and overnight in Sapa town.

Day 5: Sapa - Batxat - Lao Cai (B/L/D)

Today is the most challenging in terms of trekking but also the most rewarding. After 2 hours of following a flat path, you will begin the dizzying climb up the mountain. You will follow a small track through a thick primary rain forest which can be quite challenging if it has been raining, but this is the only route for local villagers. You will have the opportunity to see many wild giant butterflies in a rainbow of colors, flitting through the fresh mountain air. Once we reach an altitude of about 2000m, an incredible vista of terraced paddies appears, decorating the rolling mountainsides. Weather permitting you will stop for a picnic lunch next to a waterfall and then continue to Coc Dong Village, belonging to the Nung hill tribe, arriving in the mid-afternoon. You will stay overnight in the stilt house of a local family.

Day 6: Muong Khuong - Bac Ha (B/L/D)

We set out for the weekend market of Muong Khuong in the morning, which attracts a wide variety of minority groups such as the Hmong, Dao, Thu Lao, Pa Di, Tu Di, and Phu La. The drive to Muong Khuong is about 2 hours, and then in the early afternoon, we continue to Bac Ha. Here we’ll stop for an overnight break, and we’ll enjoy a walk to visit the Hmong Kings Palace after checking in. Dinner and overnight in Bac Ha.

Day 7:  Bac Ha - Hoang Su Phi - Ha Giang (B/L/D)

Upon leaving Bac Ha we set off on a full-day journey through Sin Man and Hoang Su Phi to  Ha Giang Town. The rough but scenic route traverses a dense jungle before crossing over a pass and descending to Sin Man. This day is a real challenge for our driver as we travel by winding roads with many uphill and downhill sections. Along the way, we may encounter the Nung Ing, Tay, Red Dao, Dao Ao Dai, La Chi, and Co Lao, which are just some of the many hill tribe groups who have settled here. Dinner then overnights in Ha Giang.

Day 8: Ha Giang - Dong Van (B/L/D)

The remote region of Dong Van and Meo Vac is a land of rugged mountains and beautiful hill villages which have stood unchanged for centuries.
Today we head north-west out of Ha Giang Town towards this northernmost tip of Vietnam. The former Hmong royal house at Sa Phin is a primary attraction of the region but the blend of hill tribe people's colorful costumes and the majestic mountainous scenery make this long and bumpy trip an unforgettable experience. Dinner then overnight in Dong Van.

Day 9: Dong Van -  Meo Vac - Ha Giang (B/L/D)

We have time to visit Dong Van Town before continuing to Meo Vac which is inhabited by the Lo Lo and Pu Peo ethnic minority people. They still retain their age-old cultural traditions and are recognizably distinct from each other by their dress. The remoteness and the simple lifestyle of local people are a highlight of Meo Vac, although conditions can be very basic. We return to Ha Giang via Yen Minh using a shortcut, then dinner and an overnight stay in Ha Giang.

Day 10: Ha Giang - Ba Be lakes (B/L/D)

An early morning start with a drive through the rolling hills and the picturesque scenery to Ba Be National Park. The roads are very bumpy and windy, however, we will get a chance to meet the Hmong, Dao, Tay, and Nung ethnic minorities who make up the main population of this region. We are sure to attract their attention as this part of the country receives very few visitors. Depending on road and traffic conditions we arrive in Ba Be by late afternoon or early evening for dinner with a Tay family at their homestay in Pac Ngoi village.

Day 11: Ba Be Lake - Boat Tour (B/L/D)

Today we embark on a  boat cruising down the Nang River which is the main water source of Ba Be Lake. This exciting river trip will give us a taste of the tranquil countryside and offers an enjoyable exploration of Ba Be National Park. We traverse the Puong Grotto before stopping at some nearby hill tribe villages and getting off the beaten track to the scenic Dau Dang Waterfalls. You can have beautiful swimming in the lake. Again we’ll have dinner with a Tay family at their homestay in Pac Ngoi village.

Day 12: Ba Be Lake - Cao Bang (B/L/D)

The next destination on our trip is Cao Bang Town. After breakfast, we set off on our half-day journey past spectacular mountainous landscapes, with a mixture of steeply terraced rice fields and hill villages. Along the way, we can make stops at our leisure, to stretch our legs and take some wonderful photographs. The remainder of the day will be free to explore the town or simply relax. Dinner and then overnight in Cao Bang.

Day 13: Cao Bang - Ban Gioc Waterfall - Lang Son (B/L/D)

Today we set out for one of Northern Vietnam’s most incredible natural wonders; Ban Gioc Waterfall. This breath-taking 300-meter wide cascade forms part of the Chinese-Vietnamese border, and here you can relax in this natural wonder with plenty of time to snap some photos. You’ll also get to board a bamboo boat and get right up close to the raging waterfall. Next, we’ll visit a local market where you get to experience the diverse cultures of the area, before hiking to Phat Tich Temple which aside from being a great cultural experience, offers some of the best views of Ban Gioc with China in the background. Next up with pass-through several hill tribe villages before reaching the tranquil town of Dong Khe and That Khe. By late afternoon we’ll arrive in Lang Son, a border town all but destroyed in the recent Sino-Vietnamese war, but rebuilt into a thriving trade hub in the years since. Dinner and then an overnight stay in Lang Son.

Day 14: Lang Son – Halong Bay (B/L/D)

The lively central market of Lang Son and the legendary Tam Thanh Cave are visited this morning before we depart for Halong, truly one of Vietnam's most impressive scenic sights. The drive is difficult at times as we travel through many mountainous areas. The breathtaking scenery here is some of the best in Asia, and we’ll have some opportunities en route to visit the Tay, Nung, and San Diu hill tribes, people. On arrival in Halong city, we spend the remainder of the day for a well-earned rest on the Beach. Dinner and then overnight in Halong.

Day 15: Halong Bay - Hanoi (B/L)

Today we embark on a sailing boat for an exploration of Halong Bay. This exciting five-hour cruise provides a fantastic view of the bay which is dotted with some 3,000 limestone islands rising amazingly from the clear and emerald water. The limestone karst formations are littered with beaches, grottoes, and beautiful caves.
Along the way, we will anchor for a leisurely swim in a secluded cove and an enjoyable visit to one of the many hidden grottoes beneath towering cliffs. After a seafood lunch on board, we return to Hanoi. Arrive in Hanoi and check-in hotel. Dinner on your own, overnight in Hanoi.

Day 16: Hanoi Departure (B )

There is free time to relax and further explore Hanoi until your transfer to Noi Bai Airport for departure.


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Tour price : Contact us

Group size : 2 to 25 pax

Join in group tour departure date : 17th Monthly

Tour Cost Includes:

  • Meals in tours: L =  Lunch , D =  dinner , B= breakfast
  • Lunch in Midway restaurant/City Restaurant or Pack Lunch
  • Accommodation in tour - 15 nights
  • Express train tickets Hanoi - Lao Cai
  • Halong bay cruise tour and boat in tour
  • Back up AC vehicle for the complete tour ( Bus, + Truck for the group )
  • English speaking Local Guide - Cum trekking guide
  • Fresh Fruits/Snacks (Only trekking part)
  • Unlimited filter water during trekking (Only trekking part)
  • Entrance fees and permissions
  • Driver Allowance
  • Toll and Parking charges
  • 10% Government Taxe

Tour Cost Excludes:

  • International flight tickets, visa
  • Other personal expenses
  • Accommodation not on tour
  • Tips and Gratitude
  • Travel insurance
  • Any Hard and Soft Drinks with meals
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