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hilltribes of northern vietnam
Hilltribes of Northern Vietnam (10 days)
Overview Programme Inclusion Gallery Request
A truly enriching experience, the northwest of Vietnam is home to a diverse array of ethnic minorities, spectacular mountain scenery, and rugged terrain. Discover the contrasts of charming Hanoi, the verdant valleys around Mai Chau, the remote mountains and fascinating history of Dien Bien Phu and the colourful villages around Sapa. There is plenty of time for mountain treks and meeting the friendly locals. This is the ideal journey for the return visitor to Vietnam, or the traveller yearning for an authentic experience. Travelling to this mountainous region involves a lot of time on the road, but you’re compensated by getting the chance to view amazing scenes and landscapes. Accommodation and restaurants are often basic (except Sapa), although those mentioned in program are the best choice of the region.
Name Hilltribes of Northern Vietnam
Duration 10 days / 9 nights
Price from - USD / pax (based on 2 pax)
Itinerary in short Day 1 : Hanoi arrival
Day 2 : Hanoi
Day 3 : Hanoi / Mai Chau
Day 4 : Mai Chau / Moc Chau / Son La
Day 5 : Son La / Dien Bien
Day 6 : Dien Bien / Lai Chau
Day 7 : Lai Chau / Sapa
Day 8 : Sapa
Day 9 : Sapa / Bac Ha / Lao Cai / Hanoi
Day 10 : Hanoi



New roads have opened over the past five years making the journey relatively comfortable. The road building has created its own hazards though as frequent landslides during the wet season cause some loss of life and delays.

Upon arrival at Hanoi international airport, our local tour guide will meet you and you’ll be transferred to Hanoi city for hotel check-in. NOTE : kindly note that should you arrive early, an early check-in is not included and subject to hotel’s availability. Your guide will brief an orientation of the city along the way. Once checked in we leave you at your leisure.

Ha Noi, Vietnam's capital, is a stylish and gracious city that retains an unique old world charm and some Asia ‘s most striking colonial architecture. The many lakes and parks make for relaxing atmosphere. If time permits we embark on a cyclo for a short excursion through the bustling old quarter streets named after the specific goods once offered for sale at these places.

DAY 2 : HANOI (B/L/-)
Today we enjoy a full day city tour starting with the Ho Chi Minh Complex, containing the mausoleum of the nation’s founder Ho Chi Minh, the Presidential Palace and the Ho Chi Minh’s house on stilts. This complex also comprises the One Pillar Pagoda, whose origins date back to the foundation of city. We follow this with a trip to the Temple of Literature well known as Vietnam’s first university and the History Museum, which displays an excellent collection of artifacts illustrating the Vietnamese history. Our next stop is the impressive Ethnologic Museum, dedicated to Vietnam’s 54 hill tribe groups, some of which we will see on our forthcoming days. We also visit the peaceful lake of Hoan Kiem with its sacred temple and the vibrant Dong Xuan Market before attending a performance of Hanoi's famous water puppets.

The four hour drive from Hanoi to Mai Chau is probably the least spectacular of this journey. It’s well worth it though - Mai Chau’s serenity and beauty are the perfect escape from Hanoi’s crowded streets and traffic mayhem. Mai Chau is set amidst the distinctive karst mountainscapes that are a recurring feature of this part of Vietnam. We will spend the afternoon to walk around the two connecting villages, learn more about the ethnic Thai people and finally experience their. Enjoy dinner followed by traditional dances and a taste of the local rice wine, an experience in itself. Most visitors to Mai Chau stay in traditional Thai stilted houses. They’re run by very hospitable local White Thai families and while they’re rustic and basic, they’re a huge part of the appeal of the place. Sleep well in Home stay, preparation for tomorrow.

After breakfast in the village, morning drive ups the mountains, heading for Son La (5 hour drive). Have a stop at Xa Linh for a short walk to visit Pacon village and Xa Linh colorful market (market only on Sunday) where the H’mong people live. You will have a great view through the windows of the car with plenty of green tea plantations at the side hills at Moc Chau, you can have a short break at a local shop for a green tea and milk cakes as these are the specialties of the area. Lunch at Yen Chau town. In the afternoon, you can have another stop for visiting the Black Thai people who live in some hamlets with turtle shell roof house-on-stilts. If lucky enough, we can meet a White Thai “chợ cóc”, a leaping market. Chợ cóc refers to to a mobile market that sets up on a side road for a day and moves on to another location the following day. Arrive at Son La city. Check in a hotel and overnight at Son La.

Son La was once a very small mountain outpost. The French used it as a garrison and then  decided that its harsh climate and remoteness made it a suitable location for a prison. These days Son La is expanding rapidly as Vietnam tries to bolster its population across the far north. Tourist arrivals are still tiny though.

In the morning, you pay a visit to Son La Former Prison where the French detained the Vietnam patriots during their domination & ethnology museum to learn the northwest ethnic minority groups' traditions, subcultures. Like its counterparts in Hanoi and on Con Dao Island in the south, the prison is a timely reminder for travellers overcome with Indochine nostalgia of the brutality of the French rule in Vietnam. It’s also a lesson in how not to quell an insurgency. Many of Vietnam’s most celebrated communist leaders did time in these barbaric prisons

Around 10h00, we leave Son La and head for Dien Bien. This is another day of spectacular scenery with a stopover at Thuan Chau market and enjoy the wonderful scenery in Pha Din pass and tribal hamlets along the way. According to local legend, Pha Din was believed to be the border land between The Heaven and The Earth.Lunch at Tuan Giao little town.  We’ll keep our stops to a minimum in order to make it to our first destination  - Pa Khoang Lake - by mid afternoon. Pa Khoang Lake is a spectacular body of water set amidst Thai minority villages. It is also famous for the nearby bunker from which General Vo Nguyen Giap coordinated his Viet Minh forces in their historic victory against the French in 1954 at Dien Bien Phu. General Giap is Vietnam’s most celebrated military figure leading communist forces to victory against the French and then playing a major role in the war against South Vietnamese and US forces. From Pa Khoang Lake, we commenced the 17km ride to Dien Bien Phu town

During your visit to the Dien Bien Museum this morning, you can examine a large collection of weaponry used during the war with the French, as well as numerous old photographs and documents. Dien Bien is one of the most famous provinces in the northwest, known for the bunkers left after the 1954 battle of Dien Bien Phu. Explore the old battlefields. See A1 Hill - the toughest stronghold post in the fortified encampment. It was the headquarters of French Former General De Castries.

Note : Don't expect textured accounts at the historical sites at Dien Bien Phu. Dien Bien Phu may be one of the more interesting battle ramparts in Asia - but that hasn't done anything for the quality of the narrative at museums and at the still very engaging battle sites. We recommend you to do your own research before you travel and of course our local tour guide will provide as much information as possible in order to make the visit meaningful

Late morning, depart for the drive north to Lai Chau (7-hour drive), a long journey but the scenery of Lai Chau valley is breathtaking. The road is sometimes steep and often rugged, hugging rice-terraced mountainsides and fording turbulent rivers. In addition to the visual spectacle, you'll have a chance to meet the some of the most beautiful and friendly hill tribe people in North Vietnam, such as the H'Mong, Black Thai, Black Dzao and Pazi.  Depending on the road condition, we can visit Sin Ho township. The way up to Sin Ho is beautiful. Beside Sapa, it is one of the highest towns in Vietnam, very cold in winter. Lunch at a local restaurant in Sin Ho. Arrive at Lai Chau town (former Phong Tho).Check in a hotel and overnight at Lai Chau.

Today, travel to Sapa, drive through the heart and soul of the northwest. Breakfast at hotel, Drive to Binh Lu, you will get off the main road for visiting Bo village of the Black Thai and Lu ethnic minorities. After enjoying a cup of green tea with the friendly villagers in their stilt houses lunch at Tam Duong then drive to Sapa with stops on the way for photos and visit Silver water fall. Arrive at Sapa.Check in and overnight at Sapa. Sapa is nestled in a spectacular valley, surrounded by wonderful and ever changing views. Began as a hill station by the French in 1922, the local Hmong and Dao people are the majority here, known for their welcoming culture and distinctive colorful clothing.

DAY 8 : SAPA (B/L/-)
This morning take an excursion to the village of Ta Van - home of the Giay minority people, who look more like the traditional people from the Red Delta area. Return to Sapa for lunch then spend the afternoon exploring the local villages on foot. Start with 1.6km trek towards the bottom of the Muong Hoa Valley, and to the stunning Cat Cat village. Admire the lush scenery as you stroll down seeing green rice terraces and the colorful H’Muong houses. Cat Cat is an old village and home to the ‘Black H'Mong’ ethnic group. The village seems almost frozen in time, with the H’Mong’s unique customs and costumes still evident and alive today. The village is full of young women weaving colorful brocades adorned with patterns of local birds and flowers. This evening visit the Love Market. In olden times, singles would come here to find a marriage partner.  Overnight in Sapa.

This morning, take a scenic drive to Bac Ha, to attend the popular Sunday market. Explore this vast public market filled with locals from the various hill tribes. The Bac Ha market is the most colorful in north Vietnam. Sample the simple but unique tribe foods, along with special wines made from rice, cassavas, corn plumps, apples, peaches and other fruit. Next, take a tour of the house of King Hoang A Tuong, a tribal mandarin when Vietnam was under the French colonial rule. This royal house-palace was constructed in the 1920’s by the French colonists with the help from the Chinese laborers. In the afternoon, we drive back to Lao Cai and take an overnight train towards Hanoi

DAY 10 : HANOI (-/-/-)
Arrival at Hanoi train station early in the morning. You can choose either to extend your stay in Vietnam or take a flight back home.

This is a sample itinerary so the cost really depends on the number of people in your group and time of travel. Please send us your enquiry for availabilities & the most up dated price.

• Accommodation in centrally located hotel, with daily breakfast (B), based on twin/double sharing
• 01 overnight in homestay in Mai Chau
• First class A/C soft sleepers on rail Lao Cai//Hanoi
• Meals as indicated in the programme. (L = Lunch, D = Dinner)
• Transfer and transportation by private air-con vehicle
• Sightseeing and entrance fees as per the mentioned itinerary
• Local English- speaking guides on sight-seeing tours
• 1 liter of mineral water per day
• Daily fresh napkins
• 24/24h assistance from our company
• Service charges and government tax

• Travel insurance
• Visa.
• International flight to and from Hanoi
• Drinks and beverage that are not mentioned in the programme
• Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, telephone and other communication charges
• Camera fees (if any)
• Tips for guide & driver
• Donation to local NGOs (if any)
• Early check-in & late check-out charge at hotel (normally check-in time is at 02:00 PM and check-out time is at 12:00 PM)
• Single supplement
• Surcharge in peak season (Christmas, New Year, local public holidays)
• Other items than mentioned in the program
• Any additional expenses caused by reasons beyond our control such as natural calamities (typhoon, floods), flight delays, rescheduling or cancellations, any accidents, medical evacuations, riots, strikes etc.

• We reserve the right to replace with similar properties in the same category according to the date we receive the booking. We will advise to you accordingly with the surcharge if any. As a result, we highly appreciate if you could advise us to block rooms soonest possible to guarantee the rooms and rates.
• All the above points of interest are open for visit based on current updating. In case of closing for construction or any reason, we will replace with similar point of interest
• Above itinerary is based on current checking of flight schedule. In case of flight change, the itinerary will be changed accordingly.
• No early check in or late check out are included except indicated in the program. Generally, the check in time is 14.00pm and check out time is 12.00pm.
• We reserve the right to increase the transportation fare in case Local Government increases the petrol prices!

hilltribes of northern vietnam
hilltribes of northern vietnam
hilltribes of northern vietnam
hilltribes of northern vietnam
hilltribes of northern vietnam
hilltribes of northern vietnam
hilltribes of northern vietnam
hilltribes of northern vietnam
hilltribes of northern vietnam
hilltribes of northern vietnam
hilltribes of northern vietnam
hilltribes of northern vietnam
hilltribes of northern vietnam
hilltribes of northern vietnam
hilltribes of northern vietnam
hilltribes of northern vietnam
hilltribes of northern vietnam
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