This tour takes you into the heart of northern culture, travelling across the vast landscapes to the lively and colourful ethnic markets. The north of Vietnam is famed for its sweeping panoramas of limestone mountain ranges and cascades of terraced rice paddies. This tour is perfect for those who love to get off the beaten track to discover unspoilt nature and culture.
Tour code: BB41E
Sapa, Bac Ha, Ha Giang, Meo Vac, Dong Van, Ban Gioc waterfall,
Ba Be lake, Northern, Vietnam.
Day 1: Hanoi - Ba Be Lake
Day 2: Ba Be Lake Boat Trip
Day 3: Ba Be - Tinh Tuc - Bao Lac
Day 4: Bao Lac - Meo Vac - Dong Van
Day 5: Dong Van - Yen Minh - Quan Ba - Ha Giang
Day 6: Ha Giang - Hoang Su Phi - Bac Ha
Day 7: Bac Ha - Sapa
Day 8: Sapa - Laochai - TaVan - Hanoi
Hanoi - Ba Be Lake (L, D)
At 7:30, you will leave Hanoi to drive north into the mountains. En route, you will visit Duom Temple which is a majestic temple built during the Ly dynasty to memorise the national hero Duong Tu Minh. After this stop, you will continue onwards to Ba Be National Park, one of the largest natural lakes in Vietnam, home to many different species of birds, scenic valleys, towering rocky outcrops, underground river tributaries, a gigantic cave and local ethnic minorities, including the Tay, Red Dao and Hmong. Following an exploration of a spectacular cave, you will visit some small villages along the lake shore. The night is spent in Coc Toc village in a traditional house of a Tay family to experience their way of life. You will be made very welcome by the host family of Tay people. You will have time to shower, relax and enjoy an evening meal of home cooked dishes.
Ba Be Lake Boat Trip (B, L, D)
After breakfast with your host family, you will board a private boat for a trip around Ba Be Lake. This is the perfect way to take in the views and lookout for local wildlife. You will then trek through the rain forests to a tower which offers unrivalled views from the top. After stopping to take in the view and take some photos, you will descend back into the jungle to An Ma Temple where Mac command in chief was memorialised. After there will be time to swim in the cool refreshing waters before having lunch in the local restaurant near Dau Dang Waterfall. Following lunch, you can work off your feast with a trek to a Tay ethnic minority village. This small hamlet is a perfect illustration of how the traditional way of life has been almost perfectly preserved in these rural areas. You will take the boat a little further to Puong Cave where you can explore the part of the cavern. You will then return to Bo Lu Village where you will spend the night.
Ba Be - Tinh Tuc - Bao Lac (B, L, D)
Today you will journey to the town of Bao Lac in Cao Bang Province. On the journey, you will be able to soak up the wonderful mountainous landscapes. You will stop for lunch at a local restaurant and then on to Bao Lac where you will arrive in the late afternoon with enough time to shower and relax before dinner. You will spend the night here at a hotel.
Bao Lac - Meo Vac - Dong Van (B, L, D)
After breakfast in your hotel, you will depart for Dong Van, a rugged and rocky mountainscape that has an otherworldly feel to it. In Dong Van, you will be surrounded by fascinating geology, and have the chance to see and visit the traditional houses of the hill tribes here. The scenic route climbs up over a pass, before descending to the beautiful Meo Vac Valley, which lies close to the Chinese border. You will have lunch in Meo Vac before taking some time to climb over the Ma Pi Leng Pass to enjoy the beautiful mountain ranges and the Nho Que River. You will then hit the winding roads to Dong Van. As you snake through the harsh but stunning landscape, it will become evident how difficult life is here for the locals. You will spend the night in Dong Van Town tonight so that you have the chance to visit the ancient streets with its centuries-old clay brick, tiled roof houses of the H’mong.
Dong Van – Cho Lui Market - Yen Minh - Quan Ba - Ha Giang (B, L, D)
Before leaving Dong Van, you will visit Lung Phìn, Sà Phìn, Phó Bảng, Ma Lé and, depending on the day, Cho Lui Market. You will then drive at a leisurely pace from Dong Van, back to Yen Minh & Quan Ba. Your itinerary will include a visit to the infamous Vuong Palace which once belonged to a prestigious H'mong family during the French colonial rule and as such the architecture of this palace a blended style of European and Chinese design. You will then head back to Quan Ba and onwards to Ha Giang for the night.
Note: Quan Ba market Market day falls on a Sunday so it is a good idea to try and arrange your trip accordingly.
Ha Giang - Hoang Su Phi - Bac Ha (B, L, D)
An early start today for the journey from Ha Gaing to Bac Ha. This is a long but exciting journey along some of the most scenic roads you will encounter on your trip. You will need to make a prompt departure from Ha Giang to make sure you reach Bac Ha before it gets dark. You will have dinner and an overnight stay in Bac Ha town.
Note: Road from Ha Giang to Hoang Su Phi then Bac Quang - Pho Giang - Bac Ha can be bad and impossible to ride during the rainy season, therefore a backup to travel to Bac Ha is already planned.
Bac Ha - Sapa 3 Optional (B, L, D)
Option 1: Can Cau Market - Sapa (Saturday only)
Take a visit to a local market to see the lively weekly market which attracts people from the surrounding villages. Here you can blend with the locals, strolling amongst the H'mong ladies dressed in their colourful traditional outfits, selling and trading for the week ahead. As well as perusing the stalls which overflow with handmade goods, beautiful fabrics and fresh produce, you can also get try some of the local speciality dishes.
Option 2: Bac Ha Market - Sapa (Sunday only)
This amazing weekly market is a flurry of activity from early in the morning when people are setting up their stalls and getting ready for the busiest day of the week. Here the stalls are stocked with every possible commodity including hardware, clothing, fresh produce, chop chop tobacco and dried natural medicines and you name it. This is also the place where people come to trade livestock, and the market is often crowded with water buffalo, pigs and chickens.
Option 3: Bac Ha - Sapa
You will visit the H'mong King's house (King Hoang A Tuong) built by the French colonists and the Chinese in 1920 and then return to the town for lunch. In the afternoon, you can spend some time visiting Ban Pho Village before leaving Bac Ha for the journey to Sapa. On the way, you will call in to see the Vietnamese and Chinese Harbour Mouth in Lao Cai. You will reach Sapa late in the afternoon where you can check in hotel for the night.
Sapa Trekking - Night Train To Hanoi (B, L, D)
Today you will visit an H'mong village where you can see the skillfully crafted bamboo houses. You will travel first by jeep and then on foot, trekking to Ta Van Village to visit a Dzay community. From here, you will take the road to Giang Ta Chai Village of the Red Dzao minority via the paths between terraces and through bamboo forests. After, you can visit Silver Waterfall and suspension Rattan Bridge. You will cross the Muong Hoa River and follow the path up the mountain to visit the last village of the trek - Supan Village of the H'mong. The jeep will collect you to take you back to Sapa. On the way back, you can enjoy visiting the ancient stone circle to see the stones which are decorated with ancient carvings. Back in Sapa, the car will pick you up to take you to Lao Cai Train Station. From here you will take the night train back to Hanoi.
- We take you to the parts other can't reach!
Clean and comfortable homestays/ hotels with air-conditioning provided.
From July to September, the climate is usually humid and hot.
From October to June brings cooler and more pleasant weather.
Our experienced and friendly Tour Guide(s) speak excellent English.
They are extremely knowledgeable about local cultures, history and the environment.
We choose local ingredients, typical of the way people eat in the area, at local restaurants, markets or homes.
We also cater for Vegetarians but please request this at time of booking.
- Homestay and Hotel (7 nights).
- Night train (1 night)
Clean and comfortable homestays/ hotels with air-conditioning provided.
will be calculated by private group and depending on the day of the markets, please contact us
to book this trip
Tour price includes
+ Private door-to-door pick-up & -off services.
+ All private transfer and transportation
+ Home-stay with daily breakfast
+ Experienced English speaking guide.
+ Boat trip on Ba Be lake
+ Meals as stated in the itinerary (B: Breakfast; L: Lunch; D: Dinner)
+ All sightseeing tickets.
+ No extra charge after confirmation
+ 24/7 hotline support guaranteed
Tour price excludes
+ Personal expenses, tips and gratuities
+ Travel insurance
+ Other services not mentioned above.
What to take:
+ Pack essentials, including light comfortable clothes suitable for outdoor activities, comfortable walking shoes. Take a small day pack for hiking and trekking.
+ It is essential to bring your passport on this trip. We also recommend packing: insect repellent, sun cream, raincoat and sun hat...
Have a good journey!