Explore Northern Vietnam
ITINERARY IN DETAIL
DAY 1: ARRIVE IN HANOI (D)
Arrival at Noi Bai Airport. Greeted by the tour guide of THREELAND and transferred to your hotel. At your leisure in the rest of the day. Dinner followed by a show of Water Puppetry, a unique stage art of Northern Vietnam peasants. Overnight in Hanoi.
DAY 2: HANOI - BABE LAKE (B/L/D)
Morning visit the Ethnology Museum, a wonderful stop that gives us more knowledge of the hill tribal people we are going to see in the upcoming days. Depart for Babe Lake, a mountain area nearly 300km North of Hanoi. Overnight in a house-on-stilts in Pac Ngoi village of “Tay” people (Lunch en route, dinner at the village)
DAY 3: BOAT TRIP ON BA BE LAKE – BAO LAC – CAO BANG (B/L/D)
BaBe National Park is famous for it pure atmosphere and nature. Take a boat in the morning to cruise on emerald water of Ba Be Lake, with stop to visit the Fairy Pond, Puong Cave or to go swimming near Widow Islet. The Nang River hereby has a two-color waterflows and surrounded by wonderful greenery, paddy fields, and magnificent mountain peaks. After lunch in Ba Be, take our car thru the lowland of Northeast mountains to Bao Lac, a small mountain town, for overnight.
Please note! Other roads can be used depending on the weather and seasons.
DAY 4: BAO LAC - MEO VAC - DONG VAN – YEN MINH (B/L/D)
Wake up early if you wish to contemplate a specific character of minority ethnic of Vietnam – their weekly markets. All Bao Lac, Meo Vac, Dong Van and Yen Minh offer wonderful Sunday markets with hundreds of people from H’mong, Yao, Thai, Tay tribes coming for purchasing goods, or even just exchanging. After intermingle with the H’mong and Yao people at Bao Lac Sunday market, we’ll head East and get over emerald rivers to reach the newest Geology Park, as recognized by UNESSCO. This area, for many years, was considered the capital of H’mong people with their former King, Mr. Vuong Chi Sinh. Getting thru Meo Vac, the utmost pole of Northeast Vietnam, we continue riding on one of the highest passes of Northern Vietnam – Ma Pi Leng, where we can enjoy beautiful mountain ranges and Nho Que river that makes a tiny line at the chasm bottom. Heading to Dong Van, whose central market is in a nearly one-century old building with old Vietnamese architecture. After lunch in Dong Van, walk around to see Dong Van small ancient streets or have some coffee before going on to Yen Minh, with stops to visit to the house of Vuong Chi Sinh, a typical design of the White H’mong people housing. overnight at Yen Minh.
Please note! Today should be Sunday to catch the weekly mountain markets.
DAY 5: YEN MINH - HA GIANG – BAC QUANG – PHO RANG – BAC HA (B/L/D)
Yen Minh, the centrepoint of this rocky highland, is a tranquil mountain town with very hardwork and nice ethnic people. The road from Yen Minh to Hagiang pass by many graceful villages and almost untouched areas, where we can take some stops to visit the villages or scenery. About 90km from Yen Minh, we will reach the breathtaking view or the “Fairy Bosom mountains” in Quan Ba. Dozens of steps here will lead us to the “Heaven’s gate” above Quan Ba Pass. A big wooden gate used to be here as the only gateway from the plain land to the Northwest mountains of Vietnam in early 20th century. Have lunch in Ha Giang city before heading to Bac Ha, the white highland, with stops for pictures at palm and bamboo forests or greentea farms. Overnight in Bac Ha.
Please note! Another shortcut from Ha Giang to Bac Ha via Hoang Su Phi and Xin Man, two Northwest districts of the province, is renowned for picture hunters by their incomparable terraced ricefields. 4WDs are recommendable for this shortcut while normal vehicles are available in the dry season only
DAY 6: BAC HA – COC LY – SAPA (B/L)
With a dozen of tribes living in the surroundings, including Flower H’Mong, Chinese, Nhang, Dzao, Nung, Phu La, Thai and King (or Viet), the markets near Bac Ha, including Bac ha market itself (Sunday) and Coc Ly market (Tuesday) are extremely exciting in the morning. We can meet hundreds of beautiful women from Flower H’Mong tribe, who are famous for their original craft and hand-made flowering clothes and textile fabrics, or intermingle with people from these ethnic groups coming to the market not for purchasing stuffs, but for meeting and chatting – just once a week - like at a cultural center. After lunchtime, we can hike around for several hours, following mountain people back home to their hamlets in Ban Pho, or immediately head to Sapa, the hub of most hectic activities in the Northwest. At your leisure to stroll around the town of Sapa after many days of driving. Overnight in Sapa. (dinner not included).
DAY 7: SAPA TREKKING (B)
At your leisure in the morning to have a rest after long days. Around noontime our tourguide will come to take us to a light climb up the Sapa Flower Garden and reach the Dragon Peak, from where we can have a panoramic view of the town with pinewoods and gardens looming in the mist. Head to Taphin valley to reach the villages of the H’mong and Red Dzao people, who are skillful in dying and making clothes and embroidery by traditional, old silk thread. Back to Sapa for overnight. (lunch and dinner not included for more flexibility).
Optional: Afternoon going to Lao Chai (10km from Sapa) and walk for 5km to Tavan thru mountain villages.
DAY 8: SAPA – O QUY HO PASS - DIEN BIEN PHU (B/L)
Farewell to Sapa and head to Dien Bien Phu, the old battlefield of the fight that ended the Indochinese War I. Take an ascending road over O Quy Ho Pass, where in sunny days we can see a white and soft sea of clouds under our feet. Here we are in the heart of Northwest Vietnam. Some roads wind between high cliffs of limestone mountain ranges and make an outstanding view. Stop en route to visit the biggest Reservoir of hydropower plant in Northern Vietnam. Overnight in Dien Bien Phu.
DAY 9: DIEN BIEN PHU (B/L)
Morning visit the traces of the Indochinese War I, which had left a significant mark in the Vietnam history when the French officially left their old Colony in Indochina. We can stop at A1 Hill, where the most fierce and longest battles during Dien Bien Phu Campaign in 1954 took place, visit Dien Bien Museum, the Shelter of General De Castri, the French campaign’s leader, where he and all his assistants had surrendered after 56-day attack of the Vietnamese army. We can even stop at the War Memorial dedicated to the French and the Vietnamese soldiers in Dien Bien. After lunch in Dien Bien, visit the surrounding villages. Overnight in Dien Bien (Dinner not included).
DAY 10: DIEN BIEN PHU – SON LA – MAI CHAU (B/L/D)
Drive Southeast to Mai Chau via Son La, one of the most important Northwest chieftown since its numerous hill tribal groups and significant constructions. Stop en route to visit dairy farms and teafarms at Moc Chau, a charming highland which contributes to make Vietnam one of the 5 biggest world tea exporters. Arrive Mai Chau, a beautiful valley inhabited by the Thai people in the evening. Overnight in a house-on-stilts in Lac village or Pom Coong village. (Lunch en route, dinner in Mai Chau).
DAY 11: MAI CHAU – XA LINH – HOA BINH - HANOI (B/L)
From the village, hike around to enjoy the green of paddyfields surrounding, then drive on to Xa Linh market of the “Blue” H’mong people, with extremely graceful girls in strange hair style and hair switch. Walk around apricot gardens near the market and back to Hanoi around noon time. On the way, we can stop on the top of the mountain to have a panoramic view of Mai Chau, or visit the big Hydropower plant in Hoabinh, which has been built with the help of former Soviet Union experts to mainly supply power to the whole Northern Vietnam until now. Overnight in Hanoi. (Lunch in Hoabinh, dinner at your own account).
DAY 12: HANOI DEPARTURE (B)
At your leisure today to enjoy your time in Hanoi until our tourguide come to take you to Noi Bai airport for your departure flight.
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