Tour Route: Hanoi – Mai Chau – Son La – Dien Bien Phu – Phong Tho – Sapa – Hanoi
North West Vietnam Experience 8 days / 7 nights tour brings you through the most scenic beauty of the wild mountains of the northern Vietnam. The road is generally in good conditions except for some minor parts. The tour involves traveling on an elevation of over 1000m, meeting myriad hill tribes, walking to discover the roadside hill tribe villages.
On the tour, we’ll also travel back in time to learn for about one of the most famous battle field – Dien Bien Phu. The tour activities include walking, trekking, hiking and home staying. The pace is moderate hard and the accommodation is basic ranging from family home to 2 star hotels. The fresh wild nature of the north western mountains and the colorful hill tribe culture are the highlights of the trip. The tour is definitely suitable for the travelers who like adventure, culture discovery, and scenic landscape of the mountains. For the travelers who expect luxury, then this tour may not be a good choice.
Day 01: Hanoi – Mai chau (L, D)
Morning drive from Hanoi to Mai Chau, a beautiful valley inhabited by the Thai people in Hoa Binh province. As soon as we get out of Hanoi, the limestone mountain ranges rush up and give the scenery an imposing view. Arrive in Mai Chau late noon, have lunch in Mai Chau and hike around the villages full of house-on-stilts, pretty handmade textile products and vast paddy fields to enjoy the routine life of the Thai people. Dinner and overnight in a house-on-stilt in Mai Chau.
Day 02: Mai Chau – Moc Chau – Son La (B, L)
The journey northwards begins as we depart Hanoi and pass through the undulating terrains of tea plantations in Moc Chau town and the many timeless villages linked to the road which is the main artery of trade between the northwestern region and the capital city. This is our first glimpse of rural Vietnam and sets the tone for the days ahead. Depending on road and traffic conditions our drive will deliver us in Son La by mid or late afternoon. After checking into hotel we take a walk around this mountain town. There is a little traffic on roads and many Black Thai in traditional costume scurry in all directions. Overnight in Son La.
Day 03: Son La – Dien Bien Phu (B/L/)
The provincial museum and the nearby old prison are some of this hill town’s major sights. We have a chance to visit these before we leave for our next destination. The winding roads cross over the Pha Din Pass before reaching Dien Bien Phu, the site of the decisive battle in Vietnam’s struggle for independence in 1954. After checking into our central located hotel we enjoy a walk around to see this fast growing town. Our main stop is Dien Bien Phu’s Museum which details the event in place. We also pay a visit to the old battle field where the lush vegetation grows behind many war relics including old French tanks and artillery pieces. Overnight in Dien Bien Phu.
Day 04: Dien Bien Phu – Tam Duong (B, L)
Heading out of the town, we spend a full day travelling into Vietnam’s most mountainous region. The roads are difficult at times, but the spectacular landscape with a mixture of terraced fields and hill villages makes the hardship all worthwhile. On the way, we have some opportunities to encounter the Red Hmong, Kho Mu, Mang, Dao people who still retain their age old cultural traditions and are recognisably distinct from each other by their dress. We arrive in Tam Duong by late afternoon and have time strolling around to catch our first glimpse; a small town surrounded by breathtaking mountains and tea plantations. Overnight in Tam Duong.
Day 05: Tam Duong – Sapa (B, L)
The scenery of the north is unequalled although the conditions are very simple. After breakfast we set off on a half day drive following the mountain roads to Sa Pa, our final destination. At an elevation of 1,500 meters, Sapa was founded in the early years of the last century as a hill resort for French administrators when the heat on the plain became unbearable. We arrive in Sapa by mid afternoon and can soak up the fresh climate as much as we want by spending our time wandering this famous hill town. The ethnic people are frequently seen on the main street of Sapa and small vendors along the street sell local textiles and handicraft. Overnight in Sa Pa.
Day 06: Discover Sapa (B, L)
Have a climb to the “Dragon Peak” of Sapa to have a panoramic view of the town with pinewoods and gardens looming in the mist. Visit Sapa market and the church before heading to Taphin valley to reach the villages of the H’mong and Red Dzao people, who are skillful in dying and making clothes and embroidery by traditional, old silk thread. Go on to Lao Chai (10km from Sapa) and walk thru 3km to Tavan with stops at the villages of the tribal people H’mong, Tay and Dzay en route. Back to Sapa for overnight. (lunch and dinner at your own arrangement for more leisure time).
Day 07: Sapa – Hill Tribe Market – Bac Ha (B, L)
If today is Saturday, Sunday or Tuesday, nothing will be better than driving overland to a market of the hill tribal people, mainly from Flower H’Mong ethnical group. Depending on the day, you can choose either Can Cau (Sat), Bac Ha (Sun) or Coc Ly (Tue).
Early morning drive toward Bac Ha, about 110km from Sapa. With a dozen of tribes living in the surroundings, including Flower H’Mong, Chinese, Nhang, Dzao, Nung, Phu La, Thai and King (or Viet), the market is extremely exciting esp. in the early morning. The winding road to Bac Ha helps maintain the colours (in both literal and figurative sense) of the area. The distance to Can Cau and Coc Ly from Bac Ha is 30 – 50km. In all these markets, you can meet hundreds of beautiful women from Flower H’Mong tribe, who are famous for their wonderful craft and hand-made flowering clothes and textile fabrics, or intermingle with people from Black H’Mong, Dzay, Dzao and other ethnic groups coming to the market not for purchasing stuffs, but for meeting and chatting – just once a week – like in a real cultural center. After lunchtime, you can hike around, following the mountain people to their villages for a visit, or take your car heading to further hamlets in Ban Pho, Trieu Cai, or Na Hoi. Back to Bac Ha in the afternoon and overnight Bac Ha.
Day 08: Bac Ha – Hanoi (B, L)
Drive back to Hanoi ( about 350km) via Yen Bai. Lunch en route. Arrive at your hotel in Hanoi late evening. End of services.
Rates vary frequently. Please contact us to get the best possible price based upon your travel period and specific touring needs.