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Itinerary at a glance
Note: The itinerary can change depending on your requirements. However, the destinations remain the same.
This “North Vietnam Tour -Trekking & Exploring Hill Tribes, 9 Days” is for those who are adventurous but who maybe are not up for long treks. You will experience remote mountain villages in the far north of Vietnam, often close to the Chinese border. This is the land of the ethnic minorities, and it is one of the few places like it in this world. Prepare yourself to hike through incredible scenery and get an off the beaten track of the rice paddies. You will have an opportunity to interact with the locals by staying in homestays in a variety of villages and mountainous regions.
At 8am our guide will pick you up at your Hanoi hotel. We begin journey to Nghia Lo and Tu Le via Thanh Son, Thu Cuc road 32. On the way, we will spend 1.5-2 hours in order to visit Vietnam ethnic villages where displays of traditional houses culture exist for 54 ethnic groups. We will introduce you to the common groups in North Vietnam such as: Mong, Thai, Dao, and Tay.
After we leave the Vietnam ethnic villages, we can take a break to enjoy the milk products or Green Tea Hill in Phu Tho province.
Once we arrive in Nghia Lo town in the afternoon, you check-in to your homestay and take a break for few minutes before starting a short cycle trip to explore the Thai village. Cycling between rice fields, you’ll enjoy the peaceful sight of ducks, chickens, pigs and buffalos. You can observe the quiet manual labour of the villagers, visit their homes, chat with locals or say “Hello” to the friendly & adorable children beside the road. After this, you’ll return to your homestay to enjoy a good meals and sleep in a stilt house- the traditional house of Thai people.
If you travel in the group of 6 people or more, there will be a traditional performance with local songs and dancing.
After breakfast (8am), we leave Nghia Lo and head to Mu Cang Chai, where we can see the ultimate rice terraces. You will be surprised by the wonderful rice terraces along the route from Tu Le – Mù Cang Chải.
We go over the Khau Pha pass (one of the four greatest passes in Northern Vietnam connecting Tu Le and Mu Cang Chai). We’ll cross Tu Le town, and you’ll have a chance to see the interesting activities Thai women partake in such as “Com – green rice” – the famous special product of Tu Le. This scenic road offers a lot of stops for picture-taking, as the view point to see the Lim Mong, Lim Thai villages or paragliding-point on the top of this pass are spectacular.
When we arrive in Mu Cang Chai, we will spend 1-2 hours trekking to Mam Xoi rice terrace – the place where the infamous round-shaped of rice terrace is located. All of this area was built by human hands of H’mong people centuries ago. Upon leaving Mam Xoi, there are 2 options for customers:
1. If you are strong trekker, we can spend 3-3.5 hrs (13km) trekking from Che Cu Nha village to Kim Noi village – where we will sleep in a stilt house of Thai people.
On the way, we will go up to a high mountain, pass to the H’mong village and waterfall in a remote area and visit a kindergarden school. Along this route you’ll be guided how to plant rice, harvest rice or discover the farm work of locals. It will be exciting experience.
2. If you are little weaker and have a short amount of time, we can spend 2-2.5 hrs trekking around Sang Nhu village, where is near the center town and also has stunning rice fields.
At 5-6pm, we will arrive Kim Noi village, enjoy dinner and sleep in a stilt house of Thai people
After breakfast we will drive from Mu Cang Chai through Tan Uyen and then to Sapa. The road is very dramatic with many hairpins, each opening up a new vista of the mountains. We will also cross the Sin Ho pass. You will have lunch in Sapa town and have a chance to look around. Then you will trek to Giang Ta Chai village, where you will have dinner and overnight in a Day’s (local tribe) ethnic house.
After breakfast, we drive to Bac Ha. If it is a Sunday we can join the famous market which is of the most colourful of its kind. You can enjoy the air of the mountainous market where many different ethnic groups from the high mountains convene. They wear their colorful traditional costumes and bring their own products such as cow, buffalo, chickens, vegetables to sell and exchange. Conversely, some locals just go to the market to meet friends and talk with one another. It will be special experience if you can participate.
After lunch in a local restaurant, we will visit the palace of Hoang A Tuong, a curious mixture of baroque and oriental architecture, built in 1920 with the aid of the French. Then we will drive up a tiny mountain road with views of the most amazing rice terraces, with villages dotted along the route. We reach Ban Phung village and have a chance to see the La Chi ethnic people. The ladies are known for wearing black knee-length skirts and jackets, with a little delicate coloured embroidery, their heads wrapped in a strip of cloth knotted around their hair. They have a truly hard life up in these mountains, often carrying a heavy load in a bag from a band on their heads.
We will enjoy dinner and spend the night in a hotel.
Upon leaving Bac Ha we set off on a full day journey through Sin Man to Hoang Su Phi.
The rough but scenic route traverses across dense jungle before crossing over a pass and jutting down to Sin Man. This day is a real challenge for our driver as we travel by winding roads with poor quality (perhaps the worst of all Northern Vietnam). Along the way we may encounter the Nung , Tay, Red Dao, Dao Ao Dai, La Chi and Co Lao, just some of the many hill tribe groups who have settled there.
Dinner on your own, overnight in Hoang Su Phi
After breakfast, you will leave Phung village and drive down the steep winding road. You have the chance to see the mountainous landscape, which is covered in thick forests broken up by many small tea farms and the iconic, staircase-like rice terraces – the heritage of Vietnam. It is so special because the road from Hoang Su Phi district winds its way along high mountain passes, which offers many fantastic views of valleys below.
When we arrive Ha Giang, you will stay overnight in a Tay stilt house.
After breakfast, we leave for Dong Van, and the car will transfer you to the path we’ll climb. We will trek for 15km up to the top of the Ma Pi Leng Pass, through a gigantic maze of limestone peaks, stone forests, and rural Hmong villages in the valley before descending into the valley of Meo Vac. You won’t be disappointed as it is the gateway to the best road trip in Vietnam. The road has been cut into the side of cliff face and far below are the distant waters of the Nho Que River.
You will travel back to Ha Giang for dinner and stay overnight in a riverside bungalow.
You will drive back to Hanoi from Ha Giang, taking a road less travelled. You will follow the river, snaking from pass to pass through the hills of North-Central Vietnam. You may find the locals are fascinated by you, for few tourists ever take this secret yet spectacular route. You will then pay a visit to Duong Lam Ancient Village, where you can see hundreds of old homes. After a short stop for lunch in local restaurant, you will return to your hotel in Hanoi.
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Katie & Jared – USA
“We absolutely LOVED this three day, two night trip with Nghia! We started from Hanoi and made our way up north to Mu Cang Chai. We spent the first day trekking to a tea farm up in the mountains and spent the first night at a homestay. We biked through rice fields, met locals and learned a lot about the community. We trekked up in Mu Chang Chai the second day via motorbike, walking and met locals, including our tour guide.
As a traveler here, you need to be flexible and willing to experience the trip, even when the conditions aren’t ideal. It rained some on the second day, and was very muddy, but I think that gave the day an even better memory.
Our meals were also very yummy and we were able to experience all sorts of local delights.”
Shemaine – Singapore
Nghia and her team from Zonitrip helped to organise a 2 day trip to Mu Cang Chai tour for my two friends and I. In the lead up to the trip, I appreciated her promptness in responding to my queries. All in all, my friends and I thoroughly enjoyed our trip! During our trek around the mountains, we were awed by the many beautiful views of the Mu Cang Chai rice terraces We also enjoyed our homestay experience with the Thai People and were highly impressed by the wide spread of delicious food prepared by our homestay owners. If you are looking to visit a place that is less touristy, I highly recommend Mu Cang Chai . However, if you are prone to motion sickness, you must be warned that the journey from Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai and back can be a gruelling one as you will be traveling on winding mountainous roads for about 2 -3 hours. Thank you once again Nghia for organising such a great trip for us =)
Travelled to Mu Cang Chai, spending the first night in Ngia Lo and the second in Mu Cang Chai. Nghia was wonderful and was up to doing anything we wanted to on the way. We stopped at a fresh water stream in Tu Le where she walked us to a secluded hot spring so that we could take a dip in the middle of the day. All the meals were amazing and she gave us insight to the lives of the Tai, Hmong and Dao people that lived in Yen Bai and the surrounding areas. Her tour is one of the most genuine and down to earth tours. Highly recommended!
Zonitrip – Adventure Travel local expert for Customized tours in Vietnam.
Our customized North Vietnam Tour are designed just for you, include trekking/hiking tours, motorbiking tours, off the beaten track trips to North Vietnam, specialize in Mountainous area & Hill tribe. Travel’s local experts have chosen an extensive range of authentic travel experiences.
Contact us via: firstname.lastname@example.org or +84 168 992 7861, We’ll get back to you within 24 hours along with the best proposal & price and help you organize your perfect trip in Vietnam, .