Day 1: Hanoi - Night Train to Lao Cai
Meet at your hotel in Hanoi at around 18:00 hrs and transfer to Hanoi train station. Overnight train trip to Lao Cai in shared sleeping compartments (sharing with other passengers in 2 lower & 2 upper berths per cabin).
Notes: Train schedule is subject to change accorfing to the train brand. Private compartments on request with surcharge.
Train journeys are part of a great local experience. Cabins are shared with other local passengers (unless private cabin is requested and all berths paid for - with supplement). Restrooms at either end of the carriages complete the local experience.
DAY 2: Laocai - Sapa - Muong Hoa Valley (B/L/--)
Early morning (approximately 06:30 hrs) arrival at Lao Cai, the border town to Yunnan, China. The journey starts with a 38 km drive on winding roads up the mountains to Sapa, located approx. 1,500 m above sea level. On clear days you can see the highest mountain of Vietnam, the Fansipan. After breakfast, drive from Sapa town down to Lao Chai village. Views of the Muong Hoa Valley and magnificent surroundings of mountains and rice terrace fields can be seen from this road. Along the road, people from many ethnic minority groups (H’mong, Zay, and Red Dao) are likely to be met, and there are stalls along the way that serve tea, fruits and sweets. Soon after turning off the main road and taking a local path, we will arrive in the Black H’mong village of Lao Chai, where you will experience the daily life of the villagers. Continue walking from Lao Chai to Ta Van village, where the Zay hill tribes live. Here you take a rest and enjoy a delicious lunch prepared by your local guide in a local house. After lunch, continue your trek through a bamboo forest and then relax at a waterfall. Explore the Red Dao village of Giang Ta Chai where you will also have the chance to see their daily activities. Return to Sapa.
Overnight in Chau Long Hotel in Sapa.
DAY 3: Sapa - Laocai - Bac Ha- Can Cau (B/L/--)
Starting from Sapa, you will first visit the Can Cau market, set on mountains near the Chinese border. Although small, this market is extremely colourful. You can see many ethnic minority people going to the market from their villages to sell or buy goods. The Flower H’mong minority is the most common here; adorned with their colourful dresses and jewellery you will have endless photo opportunities. Take your time and stroll through the market. Proceed to Bac Ha for lunch. In the afternoon, enjoy an easy trek to Ban Pho village and visit the old castle of the former H’mong King.
Dinner and Overnight in Sao Mai Hotel in Bac Ha.
DAY 4: Bac Ha - Hoang Su Phin - Ha Giang (B/L/--)
In the morning, visit Bac Ha market, considered one of the most colourful ethnic markets in the Northwest. Flower H'mong, Phu La and Dao Tuyen minorities gather every Sunday at Bac Ha to buy and sell their handicraft products and fresh produce. 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 dropping down to Sin Man. Along the way we may encounter the Nung Ing, Tay, Red Dao, Dao Ao Dai, La Chi and Co Lao, just some of the many hill tribe groups who have settled in the area.
Overnight in Huy Hoang Hotel in Ha Giang.
DAY 5: Ha Giang - Sa Phin - Dong Van (B/L/--)
The remote region of Dong Van and Meo Vac is a land of rugged mountains and beautiful hill tribe villages which have remained unchanged for centuries. Today we head northwest out of Ha Giang Town towards this northernmost tip of Vietnam. The former H’mong royal house at Sa Phin is a primary attraction of the region, but the blend of the hill tribe people's colourful costumes and the majestic mountainous scenery make this long and sometimes bumpy trip an unforgettable experience.
Overnight in Cao Nguyen Da Hotel in Dong Van.
DAY 6: Dong Van - Meo Vac - Bao Lac - Nguyen Binh - Ba Be Lake (B,L,..)
Today, the journey takes you through the rolling hills and the picturesque scenery to Ba Be National Park. We have time to visit Dong Van Town before continuing to Meo Vac which is inhabited mostly by the Lo Lo and Pu Peo ethnic minority people. They still retain their centuries old cultural traditions and are recognizably distinct from each other by their dress. The remoteness and the simple lifestyle of the area’s local people are highlights of Meo Vac. Living conditions are very basic here. Roads are bumpy and zigzagging through the mountains. But the journey is more than rewarding. Meet the locals and learn more about the life and culture of the Hmong, Dao, Tay and Nung ethnic minorities who make for the main population in this region. Surely, your presence will attract the locals’ attention as this part of the country still receives very few visitors. Depending on road and traffic conditions, we arrive in Ba Be by late afternoon or early evening.
Overnight in a village home stay.
DAY 7: Ba Be Lake (B,L,D)
The legendary lake of Ba Be is just one continuous water body although the name means “three lakes”.
Today we embark on a boat cruising down the Nang River which is the main water source of the lake. This exciting boat trip will give you a taste of the tranquil countryside at Ba Be National Park. Visit the Poong Grotto before stopping at some nearby hill tribe villages and getting off the beaten track to the scenic Dau Dang waterfalls.
Simple Overnight in a village home stay.
DAY 8: Ba Be – Ha Noi (B)
After breakfast return to Hanoi (accommodation in Hanoi is not included). End of the tour.
- Accommodation in shared twin rooms with air-condition and private bath room at the hotels as mentioned, homestay in Babe National Park as mentioned
- Meals as specified in the program (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=dinner)
- Transfers and tours with local English speaking guides in private air-conditioned vehicles
- All entrance fees and boat fees as mentioned in the programme
- Local train ticket Hanoi – Lao Cai in shared compartment with 4 soft berth
- Drinking water and cold towels available on the vehicles.
- Domestic airfare (quoted separately, if requested), international airfare to / from Vietnam (quoted separately, if requested)
- Surcharges for other language guides, surcharges for Lunar New Year (TET) holiday
- Personal travel insurance, personal expenditure, such as drinks, souvenirs, laundry, camera fees, communications, postage, gratuities etc.
- Meals and services other than mentioned in the programme, drinks with meals
- Compulsory gala dinners during festive seasons and peak season surcharges which will be advised at the time of booking
- Visa application and visa stamp fees at Vietnamese embassies overseas and/ or upon arrival (Please note that a visa is compulsory for most nationalities.)
- Early check-in and late check-out at hotels, if not mentioned in the programme.
Notes: Small deviations in the tour program are sometimes necessary, depending on weather, road conditions, flight schedules and room availability. Prices will be adjusted periodically in case of fuel price increase by our suppliers.
Chau Long Hotel - ROH room new wing (Sapa),
Sao Mai Hotel (Bac Ha),
Huy Hoang Hotel (Ha Giang),
Cao Nguyen Da Hotel (Dong Van),
Homestay (Ba Be Lake)
Please contact us for rates based on different hotels.
Special notes: Bring along light cotton dress / trouser, warm jacket (rain and wind, silk sleeping bag, mosquito repellent, good walking / hiking shoes, a walking stick, sun hat / sun lotion, hand lotion, lip balm.
Roads: Driving can be a challenge as roads can be bumpy or under construction, driving time depends on weather and road conditions – only rough estimates can be given.
Reward: stunning scenery, most colourful people and dresses, countless photo opportunities off the beaten track.