This adventure tour is specially designed for travellers who like going off the beaten path. Travel through North - West Vietnam and explore a variety of amazing landscapes, beautiful rice paddy fields, stunning valleys and the national historical relics and authentic cultures of minority tribes. Many places are still unspoiled and less-visited.
8:00 AM: Meet tour guide and driver at your hotel in Hanoi and transfer to Muong Lo via Thanh Son. Muong Lo is known as one of the four most important fertile valleys of the Northwest (Muong Thanh in Dien Bien Phu, Muong Tac in Phu Yen and Muong Than in Than Uyen) in which the Thai ethnic group predominates. The village consists of hundreds of houses on wooden stilts and Thai people cultivate the water rice. Drive to the national road number 32 along the black river (Da River) one of the most important rivers in the Northwest.
In Thanh Son, we will make a stop to visit the green tea plantation hill then walk through the stilt-house villages. It belongs to the Muong ethnic group, considered as Authentic Viet. The Muong ethnic group is one of few northern communities that is immune to Chinese influence.
Arrive in Nghia Lo, walk or bike around the Thai village to discover the beautiful rice field valleys and hamlets that still preserve the authentic houses on stilts and meet the friendly locals.
Enjoy breakfast then visit a local market in Nghia Lo then transfer to Mu Cang Chai via Tu Le. Mu Cang Chai is well known for its marvelous rice terrace widely considered as the most beautiful in the world. In 2007, Che Cu Nha, De Su Phinh and La Pan Tan were recognized as outdoor masterpieces on the list of national heritage.
At the exit of Nghia Lo, you will cross the hilly region populated by the Dao ethnic group on the hills and the Dzay in the valley. Stop for a chance to take photos and meet the local people on the way.
Arrive in Tu Le. It is possible to trek to the valley where Thai people live in houses on stilts and have some unusual encounters that allow you to immerse yourself into the authentic local life. In the afternoon, continue to Khau Pha pass which offers you a splendid panoramic view of the valley of rice terraces.
Then the car will take you to La Pan Tan which is a legendary route for photographers. You will admire the gorgeous rice terrace masterpieces created by the Hmong peasant artists from generation to generation. Enjoy the majestic landscape and follow the route from La Pan Tan to Mam Xoi. End of the day, check in your accommodation.
Depart for a trekking day to the villages of Che Cu Nha, Kim Noi and De Xu Phinh. It is a great opportunity to admire the most magnificent rice terrace in Mu Cang Chai, including the communes of Che Cu Nha and De Xu Phinh, recognized as a national nature heritage in 2007. This is one of the most exciting itineraries, highly appreciated by photographers.
Visit the H'mong village located in the high altitude of 800 – 1500m. The hard work from generation to generation has left thousands of hectares of rice terraces. This makes the remote Mu Cang Chai region one of the most attractive regions in the world. Besides their cultivation, they also have many crafts such as blacksmiths and weavers. A day filled with warm encounters, together with gorgeous landscapes of the famous rice terrace in Mu Cang Chai will give you an unforgettable trekking trip.
7:30 AM: Depart to Dien Bien Phu via Tuan Giao, a beautiful landscape of rice terraces and mountains that follow you along the way. From Than Uyen, we turn on to the quiet national road 279 to Tuan Giao. On arrival at Ban Chat reservoir, a large reservoir that will accompany you for 20km, stop for a short walk to enjoy the tranquility and spectacular landscape. Keep driving to Pa Uon Bridge in Quynh Nhai, crossing Da River, one of the most important rivers in the north. Stop again to take great photos and meet the local people. Arrive in Tuan Giao at noon and enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.
Continue to Dien Bien Phu, crossing the region of Black Thai and White Thai ethnic groups. Dien Bien Phu is located strategically near the borders of three countries: Vietnam, Laos, and China. This is an 18km long, 6km wide valley surrounded by 1000m high mountains. The valley was the main battlefield between Viet Minh and the French expeditionary force in 1954.
Arrive in Dien Bien Phu at 15:30, then visit the War Museum, A1 hill which offers a panoramic view of the basin, De Castries' command post and the memorial to the soldiers of the French expeditionary force, built 1992, and a symbol of reconciliation between Vietnam and France. Check in to your hotel and relax.
Have breakfast then visit local market near historical Muong Thanh Bridge before depart to Lai Chau, 210 km from Dien Bien Phu and home to numerous ethnic groups including Kho Mu. Originally from Northern Laos, there are 60,000 Kho Mu people living on the hill slopes between the Hmong in the upper and Thai in the lower. You will find yourself in a land of colorful Hmong people. Crossing Muong Cha, Muong Lay meet the local women in their colorful traditional dresses, wearing silver or golden jewelry. Stop at the villages to meet the locals and discover their authentic lifestyle.
Arrive in Muong Lay – a relocation place for hundreds of Thai villagers. Previously, they lived in the valleys flooded by the reservoir for hydroelectricity Lai Chau – Son La. You can stop here if you would like a tea break. The journey is accompanied by the Nam Na River and the beautiful surrounding landscapes. Discover Thai and Hmong villages on the way before your arrival in Lai Chau City in the late afternoon. Check in your hotel and relax.
Depart to Sapa along the Hoang Lien Son mountain range. At the exit of Tam Duong , we will turn to visit Na Tam Village where the Laotian and Lu people live. This is a beautiful, tranquil landscape. Traditionally, the local women are distinguished by black teeth and indigo colored clothing encrusted with silver coins. Take a 2-hour hike through the river, villages, rice fields, and hills and meet the locals.
Meet our driver for a transfer to Sapa, crossing Hoang Lien Son pass (O Quy Ho pass). This is the longest and highest pass in Vietnam, 54km in length and 2047m in height. Stop to relax at the top of the pass and soak up the grandiose landscape. This is also a great place for photos.
In the afternoon, arrive in Sapa, a town discovered by the French in 1903, with a temperate climate, Sapa has become an attraction for holidaymakers because of its beautiful rice valley, and Black Hmong, Red Dao and the Dzay Ethnics.
8:00 AM: Depart to Sau Chua hamlet to start off the beaten trek of 15km up-downhill that is your challenge but the reward is worth it. Towards a hill-tribe village of Sa Seng where you will be able to see the authentic lifestyle of the Black H’Mong people who originated from China since and have been in Vietnam from the 11th century.
Enjoy a picnic lunch or a meal at a local restaurant before trekking uphill along the side of mountain to get the most wonderful views of the Muong Hoa valley at the elevation of 1,800m. Descend into the valley on a trek to the Hau Thao village, consisting of only a few houses and church scattered on a rocky point. You will get the best scenery in the area with rice terraces, small villages nestled on the huge Hoang Lien mountain range and even the peak of Indochina, Fansipan peak (when the weather permits). Keep trekking down the trail to Muong Hoa valley.
End of the trek, get pick up by driver to your accommodation.
Travel on a less touristic road to the isolated up-hill Ban Khoang village. Today we will take an off the beaten track of 12 km up and downhill on a new trail to explore the primitive culture of the Red Dao who is well-known for the most beautiful attire in Sapa.
After a picnic lunch (or early lunch at a local restaurant) in the village, follow a small hill path, trek through the corn–farm to a rainforest with amazing views of rice terraces, and on season, you may see local people and buffalos work on the field. Stop to visit orchid gardens that supply even the biggest of cities' demands for the New Year decorations. As you walk towards the Ta Phin village, be greeted as family members by villagers. Explore the unique culture and daily life of the Red Dao people who immigrated to this mountain from China, even have a special traditional herb bath.
Pick up by driver then transfer back to Bac Ha. Located at an altitude of 1000m, Bac Ha is home to several ethnic groups such as the colorful Hmong, Phu La and Tay. Bac Ha region is well known for its weekly, colorful markets surrounded by wild and beautiful scenery. The markets are not only for the exchange of goods but also for the cultural exchange of the ethnic groups for centuries.
7:00 AM: Start to explore Bac Ha, it is possible to visit a colorful, ethnic market ( Bac Ha market is on Sunday. Otherwise we can visit Coc Ly market on Tuesday, Can Can market on Saturday instead). Enjoy the striking atmosphere with so many goods such as vegetables, poultry, horses and buffalos while capturing many minority groups in their best colorful clothing of the week. After visiting the market, take a walk through some idyllic ethnic villages, which is a typical Bac Ha landscape, interspersed with corn fields, cassava hills and clay houses, plum gardens adorned by H'Mong women and their colorful dresses will accompany you throughout the trip.
Come back to town for lunch before transfer to Hanoi. Check in hotel around 6:00 PM