This adventure tour takes you off the beaten path in the Northwest of Vietnam to introduce you to a variety of amazing landscapes, beautiful rice paddy fields, stunning valleys and the authentic cultures of the many 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.
After breakfast, transfer to Than Uyen, one of the Thai rice valleys. The splendid landscape of rice terraces in Mu Cang Chai will follow you along the way to Than Uyen. Before turning right to Sapa, we will make a stop 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 pieces. 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. Arrive in Sapa, a town discovered by the French in 1903, in the afternoon. With a temperate climate, Sapa became an attraction for holidaymakers because of its beautiful rice valley, splendid mountain range and the diversity of minority tribes such as 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.
Transfer back to Sapa. Free to explore the town.
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