ITINERARY BY DAY
DAY 1 – HANOI – THAI NGUYEN – BA BE
Begin this tour with a 07:30 departure from Hanoi for the two-hour drive to Thai Nguyen. En route visit the Thai Nguyen Museum of Ethnology to learn about the tribal people in the mountainous region of northern Vietnam.
Continue 105 km to reach Na Phac and Cho Ra, enjoying picturesque landscapes along the way. Stop for a late lunch in Cho Ra Town. After lunch, head to Ba Be and spend the rest of the afternoon exploring Ba Be National Park and Ba Be Lake on a local cruise.
At the end of the day, transfer to the village of the Tay in Pac Ngoi.
Homestay overnight in Pac Ngoi Village.
DAY 2 – BA BE – MEO VAC
After breakfast, drive 79km to Tinh Tuc. Upon arrival, enjoy the stunning scenery of Colia Pass and take a short walk to visit a village of the Zao Tien before having a coffee break. Head to Bao Lac for an hour walk around the village of the San Chay ethnic people, followed by a break for lunch in Bao Lac.
After lunch, continue to drive along the Gam River up steep mountain grades for 21km to Ly Bon. During the drive, discover the remote lands between Cao Bang to Meo Vac town. Take an hour walk through the fascinating valley of Niem Son and discover the cultural life of Nung ethnic people.
Overnight in Meo Vac.
DAY 3 – MEO VAC – DONG VAN – YEN MINH
If the itinerary falls on Sunday, spend 2 hours in the morning to attend the weekend market of local tribal people in town. H’mong, Zao and some Lo Lo peoples come dressed in their best traditional costumes for market shopping and socialising.
Transfer back to Meo Vac and drive over the Ma Pi Leng Pass to enjoy its magnificent and spectacular scenery. Continue with a visit to the Ma Pi Leng II village of the Hmong people where limestone rocks and fresh mountain water abound.
The tour ultimately arrives in Dong Van, where it’s possible to embark on an hour walk through this stunning valley. Explore the market and the ancient street of Dong Van before lunch.
After lunch, follow the narrow road through the Ma Le and Lung Tao communes offering marvelous scenery of rocky plateaus. Visit a small village of the Hmong at Lung Tao before heading to Xa Phin valley.
Spend an hour visiting the historical palace of the Vuong family who ruled over the region, controlling opium production and trade until 1945.
After an hour’s drive, enjoy another walk to visit the Lung Cam Tren village where the Hmong people are located. Here it is possible to meet the famous village chief who plays the Khen and performs traditional dances.
Leave Lung Can and transfer downhill to the Pho Cao pass for the lush Yen Minh Valley.
Overnight in Yen Minh
DAY 4 – YEN MINH – QUAN BA – HA GIANG – HOANG SU PHI
After breakfast depart for Lung Tam while soaking up the breathtaking landscapes of the Yen Minh Pass. Arrive at Lung Tam commune, set amidst beautiful natural surroundings and continue with a visit to a traditional workshop. The workshop of Ms. Mai employs over 100 Hmong and Zao women, teaching them the traditional practice of weaving and embroidery as a means to a better life.
Continue the drive over the stunning Quan Ba Pass, which offers fascinating scenery en route to another Hmong village. Arrive in Ha Giang at noon and stop for a lunch break.
Enjoy an hour walk to explore the Me village, situated around a large valley near Ha Giang. Continue with a transfer 105 km to Quang Vinh (Hoang Su Phi). Compared to the rocky land of Meo Vac, Dong Van and Yen Minh and the Hoang Su Phi area have very different scenery. Lying on the top of the Chay River Massif, these two districts are covered by lush, green forest, tea farms and possess the most impressive terraced rice fields in Vietnam. The road winds its way on high mountain sides and offers beautiful landscapes.
Arrive at the hotel in the late afternoon. After checking in and relaxing, enjoy a dinner on site.
Overnight at Pan Hou Lodge in Hoang Su Phi.
DAY 5 – HOANG SU PHI – XIN MAN – BAC HA
If the itinerary falls on Sunday, spend 2 hours joining the local market of Flower Hmong, Red Zao, Nung and Tay people, which is famous for its cattle exchange on the banks of the Chay River.
Leave Hoang Su Phi for the 100km excursion along Chinese border through the Chay River Massif exploring the local life of the Flower Hmong, Tay and Nung. Spend 2 hours walking through Lung Cai commune which is beautifully set on a high mountain range, overlooking a narrow, steep valley where the Chay River winds its way between Vietnam and China. Arriving to Bac Ha Town at around noon, pay a visit to Hoang A Tuong Castle before breaking for lunch.
After lunch spend the afternoon exploring the mighty Ban Pho valley with the local guide
Overnight in Bac Ha
DAY 6 – BAC HA – LAO CAI – HANOI
Spend the morning of Day 6 visiting a local market (Ban Cam on Tuesday; Cao Son on Wednesday; Lung Khau Nhin on Thursday; Can Cau on Saturday; Bac Ha on Sunday.
(Note: These local markets are only held on the above mentioned days only.) The market offers a variety of local products, such as an interesting animal market where pot-bellied pigs, cows and buffalos can be seen.
After lunch drive another 2 hours downhill to Lao Cai to meet with the Victoria Sapa Express Bus to Hanoi.
Arrive back in Hanoi at the bus drop off point (around 20:00). Please arrange transport and hotels independently from here. (Consult further for additional prices and transport).