This trip to the Northeast gives you an unprecedented opportunity to discover the hidden landscapes of Vietnam. This journey combines stunning scenery and remote trekking with plenty of encounters with the local people making it a favourite among adventurers and photographers.
8:00 AM: Depart from your hotel in Hanoi to Ha Giang via the highway to Phu Tho. Stop to visit the Daovillage in Ham Yen, Tuyen Quang. First, discover the houses on stilts, a typical style of ethnic groups in this undulating region.
Arrive in Ha Giang in the middle of the afternoon, beginning a trek to the Me – Lup – Tha villages. Featuring serene beauty, these villages are made up of hundreds of houses on wooden stilts covered by palm leaves. In front of the houses, there are small ponds for raising fish and water hyacinth cultivations for pigs. You will be welcomed by big smiles from the villagers testifying to their legendary hospitality. Visit a typical house and discover the local daily life. Arrive in Tha Village, a village on the palm hills with rice fields where you can rest in the serenity.
Finally, check in your accommodation and free to stroll around to catch the rhythm of daily life in the mountain before sunset.
8:00 AM: Depart from your accommodation to Tay Con Linh Mountain range. Follow the itinerary: Tha – Na Thac – Khuoi My – Lung Vai – Ha Thanh villages. Transfer by car to Ha Thanh Village where you will begin a trek up to the hill. The journey will be a little tiring at first. However, it is worth because of the gorgeous natural landscapes. As you trek higher, you will have views of the valley, the peak and Ha Giang city.
After a few trekking hours, you will reach Lung Vai Village, a village of the Dao ethnic group. Visit the village and enjoy lunch. Continue on the uneven path from the top of the hill to the Khuoi My village then Na Thac. Splendid views of the rice terraces and encounter with locals will follow you along the trek.
Return to Tha village in the afternoon.
8:00 AM: Travel to Dong Van with the magical landscapes of this region present along the route. Before arrival at the Quan Ba pass, we will stop to visit a village of Bo Y people in the Quyet Tien Commune. Their origin is from China. The Bo Yis a small community of 2000 people who populate in the mountainous parts of the north. Stop at the Quan Ba pass and take a short break to admire Quan Ba town with the famous Twin Fairy Mountain (Nui Co Tien).
Continue drive to the Limestone rock plateau zone, considered as mountainous Halong Bay. This majestic natural treasure has been listed in the World Geological Park book. On the way, you will discover “Nha Trinh Tuong” (a special type of house) by a walking to the Lung Hoa Village. This is the typical house of Hmong people in the village which is built on sticky ground. Next, visit the Palace of the H'mong King (Dinh Vua Meo). Dating back 100 years ago, far from the plain, the regions of Quan Ba, Yen Minh, Dong Van, Meo Vac created an autonomous zone with their own king. They cultivated poppies and their economy was based on the opium business with China. Arrive in Dong Van, check in accommodation and relax.
Depart to Lung Cu, located 1470m above sea level. This is well known as a Northern Vietnam landmark. Lung Cu flag pole highlights our nation's sovereignty. Walking up 900 steps will give you the magnificent view of the mountains, valleys and villages in the vicinity then discover the Lo Lo Chai village where the Lo Lo ethnic group lives.
Return to Dong Van town at noon and enjoy lunch. In the afternoon, trek to the villages in Dong Van through Hau De – Ma Pia – Ma Pang Village along the Nho Que river that separates Vietnam and China. Travel back to Dong Van at the end of the day.
After breakfast at the hotel, we will depart from Dong Van to Meo Vac by crossing Ma Pi Leng Pass which seduces you with the breathtaking view of limestone mountains, Nho Que River and H'mong Villages nested in the mountain. Continue toBao Lac. This is well known for the Black Lo Lo ethnic group. This region was highlighted by the French media, “The journey into unknown land”. This documentary was filmed in Khuoi Khon village of the Lo Lo people, 9km away from Bao Lac town, by the rugby player, Frederik Michalak. Lunch is served in Bao Lac town and check in to your hotel.
In the afternoon, we transfer to Coc Xa village, in the Na Van commune. This village of the Lo Lo ethnic group remains more authentic than Khuoi Khon village which became more touristic after the famous documentary. Walk through the rice fields and trails in the village, visit the local people's houses, and talk with the hosts to understand more about the local life as well as their traditional customs. Go back to the town and stay overnight in your hotel.
Depart to Ba Be via Tinh Tuc, 30km from Bao Lac, in Hung Dao commune, there is a beautiful village of San Chi ethnic. Of course, we will stop to visit and discover the beauty of the village. You are one of a small number of travelers who get to visit this area because of its hidden location behind the hill. The village has hundreds of houses on stilts nested on the side of mountains and views of the beautiful valley. To reach to the village, you will have to walk up a 2km steep incline. The higher you walk, the better view you get. Visit a family to understand the authentic life of this ethnic group.
Continue to Ba Be, where you will be surprised by the magnificent nature where the mountains gently meet the valleys of rice terraces. Stop to film or take photos whenever possible. Upon arrival in Ba Be, check in your accommodation in Pac Ngoi Village and go cycling through several villages of Tay ethnic groups to Hua Ma cave (5km from the village). This is an attractive place with amazing formations of stalactites and stalagmites. Finally, come back to your accommodation.
In the morning, transfer from the village to Buoc Lom Pier to take a boat trip along the Nang river and enjoy the beautiful scenery of forests along the river. The boat will pass through Puong cave, home to thousands of bats, toward Dau Dang waterfall.
Lunch will be served at a local restaurant by the waterfall. In the afternoon, take the boat back to the lake, stopping at the Fairy pond located in the middle of the primitive forest. Here, you will gently cruise around the lake and it's possible to swim if the weather permits. Disembark at around 04:00 PM. Rest of the day on your own free and easy, enjoy sunset over mountain ranges.
Enjoy breakfast and pure air in morning at the national park, then travel to Tan Trao, a former Viet Minh resistance base during the first Indochina war. Visit the historic banyan tree, Na Lua shack house and Tan Trao communal house where President Ho Chi Minh and his team lived and worked before August, 1945 Revolution.
Continue on the less touristic journey which is distinguished by the Tay ethnic villages whose houses stand on stilts, with a backdrop of tea plantation hills, palm plantations and rice valleys. Visit the villages to meet the locals along the way and obviously do not miss some stops to take the photos of the scenery whenever possible.
Arrive in Hanoi in the late afternoon. Check in at your hotel and enjoy some free time after the mountain getaway.