The Mystical Mountains of Northern Vietnam in 9 days
Itinerary: Venture into Vietnam’s north, escaping the modern world and delving into a land rich in culture and natural beauty. Trek through vibrant rice terraces to hilltribe villages and be immersed in their culture with a memorable homestay.
Day 1: Hanoi – Mai Chau
Day 2: Mai Chau – Son La
Day 3: Son La – Tuan Giao – Dien Bien Phu
Day 4: Dien Bien Phu – Lai Chau – Phong Tho
Day 5: Phong Tho - Tam Duong – Sapa
Day 6: Sapa – Bac Ha Market (on Sunday only)
Day 7: Sapa – Ta Van
Day 8: Ta Van – Su Pan – Lao Cai – Train back to Hanoi
Day 9: Hanoi – Arrival
- This itinerary is a privately guided tour, designed just to show you what is possible.
- We can tailor this trip, it's inclusions and the accommodations, to meet your requirements, budget, and interests.
DAY 1: HANOI – MAI CHAU
You will begin your tour with a morning drive in a private van with your private guide, through the picturesque countryside of green paddy fields and mountains in the distance to the town of Mai Chau; home of the Thai minority. Upon arrival, you check in at the boutique Mai Chau Lodge, a unique hotel of the area. you then enjoy a local lunch.
You will embark on a walking tour of Pom Coong and Lac villages. These villages are where communities of the White Thai live and you have an opportunity to learn about their way of life, the stilted-house architecture, and their embroidery art. You will then return to your hotel, with the rest of the day free at your leisure. You may even chill out at hotel’s outdoor swimming pool for the rest of the afternoon. Tonight, there is an opportunity to attend a traditional dance show performed by the White Thai (optional and on your own account).
Overnight in Mai Chau
DAY 2: MAI CHAU – SON LA
After breakfast, you will say goodbye to Mai Chau then drive to Son La, stopping en route at Moc Chau Plateau where you can see acres of green meadows for grazing cows, tea farms and lush orchards. You will enjoy a cup of tea before continuing towards Son La.
Arrive and check into your hotel, the remainder of the day is free for you to explore the area.
Overnight in Son La
DAY 3: SON LA – TUAN GIAO – DIEN BIEN PHU
This morning your private guide will take you to the old French Prison of Son La and the Museum where Vietnamese political prisoners were held during the French Colony (same idea as the Hoa Lo Prison, also known as the Hanoi Hilton). After that you head off for Dien Bien Phu, stopping en route for lunch at Tuan Giao.
You will continue your journey through the wonderfully picturesque Pha Din Pass before arriving at your hotel in Dien Bien. Check into your hotel and enjoy your own time of leisure.
Overnight in Dien Bien
DAY 4: DIEN BIEN PHU – LAI CHAU – PHONG THO
This morning, you will visit the former French battlefields including the war museum, Muong Thanh airbase. After that you will drive through Lai Chau towards Phong Tho. For this stretch of your journey the roads will be fairly rough and uneven. However, there is plenty of opportunity to see the colorful hill-tribes of Northern Vietnam such as the Hmong, Black Thai and Black Dzao.
Arrive in Phong Tho, check in your hotel and we are free to stroll around the town.
Overnight in Phong Tho
DAY 5: PHONG THO - TAM DUONG – SAPA
After breakfast, you depart Tam Duong and proceed to Sapa. Stop en route at Tam Duong for a quick visit and then continue to drive towards Sapa.
Arrive and check into your hotel in downtown Sapa. After lunch at a local restaurant your guide will you on a walking tour down to Cat Cat Village, a village inhabited by the Hmong minority. This is a great opportunity to take photographs of hereditary terraces that are estimated around 100 years old. You will then walk back to the main road and catch the private vehicle back to Sapa Town!
Overnight in Sapa
DAY 6: SAPA – BAC HA MARKET (ON SUNDAY ONLY)
You will leave Sapa for a 3-hour drive journey to Bac Ha. Upon arrival, you will visit Bac Ha, the region’s largest scale Market (only on Sunday) where you’ll see many people from different hill-tribes going about their busy day together. This is the most colorful market in North Vietnam. After leaving the market, you will pay a short visit to the Hmong King’s palace (King Hoang A Tuong) built by the French colonists and the Chinese in 1920. For lunch you will return to the town.
After lunch you will visit Ban Pho village before driving back to Sapa for the night.
Overnight in Sapa
DAY 7: SAPA – TA VAN
You will begin this day early with a 5-hour trek along a small path into the valley, and passing through a Black Hmong village. Black Hmongs are one of the largest minority groups in the Sapa area. They are proud of their culture and keep their traditions and way of living; still using their own language and wearing traditional indigo blue clothing.
After a lunch stop you keep walking to Ta Van – village of the Zay people. Check into your homestay and if time permits you will enjoy some relax moment at the Muong Hoa Stream nearby.
Overnight in Ta Van
DAY 8: TA VAN – SU PAN – LAO CAI – TRAIN BACK TO HANOI
You wake to the sounds of the village: roosters, morning vendors and people’s voices. You have an early breakfast this morning before bidding farewell to the host family. You commence a three hour trek to another village, Giang Ta Chai, passing a waterfall along the way. Here you will meet the Red Dao women wear colorful red embroidery coins on their clothing and red scarves on their heads. Some of the women have shaved off their eyebrows because of a Red Dao Legend. Continue your hike through emerald rice paddies before making your way back to Sapa for lunch and shopping at the local market.
This afternoon is free for your last minute shopping and pack up. Late afternoon transferred to Lao Cai Station for your night train trip back to Hanoi.
Overnight on A/C train
DAY 9: HANOI – ARRIVAL
Upon arrival at Hanoi Station, you will be collected by your private guide and transferred in a private vehicle to your hotel or to the Airport for your departure flight. End of our service.
Inclusions & Options
- WHAT’S INCLUDED?
- Accommodation with daily breakfast at selected hotels
- Private Vehicles and Drivers
- Private English Speaking Guides (Other languages if available, upon request)
- Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner)
- Domestic Flights within Vietnam
- Entrance fees for all mentioned sights visited
- Service Charge & Government Taxes
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED?
- Your International Flights to and from Vietnam
- Vietnam entry Visa Fees (contact us for further information)
- Personal Expenses (such as laundry, telephone, drinks, etc.)
- Any bank fees or charges at your end
- Meals other than those mentioned in the itinerary
- Personal Travel Insurance
- Tips for guides and drivers
- From 30 to 7 days prior to check-in: 10% of total rates
- From 6 to 3 days prior to check in: 50% of total rates.
- Less than 3 days prior to check-in: 100% of total rates.
- No-Show: 100% of total rates.
Questions & Answers
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