Duration: 9Days 8Nights.
The itinerary attached is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in reality. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Please note that our brochure is usually released by the end of each year.
If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to improve the itinerary. It is very important that you print a final copy of your Trip Dossier to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
Travel route: Hanoi - Yen Bai - Bac Ha -Sapa - Laichau - Dien Bien Phu - Son La - Hanoi
Style of tour: 4WD - trekking tour;
Tour itinerary in brief:
Day 1: Hanoi - Yen Bai
Day 2: Yen Bai - Bac Ha
Day 3: Bac Ha - Sapa
Day 4: Sapa
Day 5: Sapa - Lai Chau
Day 6: Lai Chau - Dien Bien Phu
Day 7: Dien Bien Phu - Son La
Day 8: Son La - Mai Chau
Day 9: Mai Chau - Hanoi
Tour in Details:
Day 1 - Hanoi - Thac Ba lake (-/L/D)
Heading out of Hanoi city, we follow the Red River to avoid the city traffic jams. This windy river road will give a taste of things to come. Our journey takes you along the river to discover the agriculture civilization of Viet and Muong people in the Red River Delta. We will stop to visit their traditional houses and villages on the way. The car stops in Yen Bai Town where you will take a three hour cruise across the lake, a dugout canoe is provided for an excursion to Thac Ba Lake containing crystal clear water where there is an opportunity for a refreshing swim.
Day 2 Yen Bai - BacHa (B/L/D)
Bidding farewell to Yen Bai, we continue further north to Bac Ha - a small town built on a desolated highland plain west of Lao Cai. Well-known for the century-old colorful market of the real mountainous people including the Dzao and the Flower H'Mong. They and the mountains seem to fall in a sleep and time stands still until Sunday mornings when the Bac Ha market occurs. After checking into hotel we can enjoy a walk to visit the Hmong King' former residence and Ban Pho where villagers make the potent local maize alcohol.
Day 3 BacHa - Cancau market - Sapa (B/L/D)
Early this morning we catch our jeep for a 20km drive to Can Cau market, a basic one but full of the hill tribes with colorful customs. The morning CanCau Market is close to China border and home to many ethnic minorities such as Flower H'Mong, Nung, Dzao, they all come down from mountainous, isolated villages taking along with horses, buffaloes, cats, dogs, chickens for sales, at the market place you will be surprised and impressed by what they trade and their colorful clothes. You will have a real discovery on the cultures and lifestyles of the hill tribes here because they live in a remote and isolated region and far away from the modern life.
We continue our trip to Sapa through Lao Cai border town, after having lunch and take a brief look at Ha Khau border gate, we drive up a 30km spectacular pass to Sapa, arrival in Sapa in the afternoon. At an elevation of 1,600 meters, Sapa was founded in the early years of the last century as a hill resort for French administrators when the heat on the plain became unbearable. After checking into hotel we can soak up the fresh climate as much as we want by spending our time wandering around this charming town and some legacies of the French period.
Day 4 Sapa - Cat Cat village- Ta Phin (B/L/D)
In the morning we take a short trek to Catcat village, the village of H'mong tribe in the valley, which remains very generally uncorrupted outside forces. Excellent views of the valley, the magnificent limestone and paddy fields of H'mong village. Enjoy some visits to local families and reach their customs. After the village down into the valley, the Cat Cat waterfall will be visible. A "White curtain" cascade appears, surrounded by flowery valley and deep-green pines. The rocks near the river and waterfall provide a marvelous place for picturesque photos and sunbathing during good weather...
In the afternoon our jeep will take us to TaPhin valley, around 15kms from Sapa. Here you will see the ruins of the old French Colonial Church by the left-hand side of this dirt road where we stop to get entrance fees to enter the village. Leave your jeep at the end of the dirt road then walk into the village to visit the rich culture and friendly tribes here we visit the villages of the Red Dzao and Black Hmong minority people, enjoy the view of the valley and visit the caves in the village's outskirts. Our guide will assist you communicating with the locals while visiting around the village. Take a ride back to Sapa for around 30 minutes and you must stop some times on the way to take photos of the fabulous valley. Many "Kodak moments" are awaiting for you along the way back to Sapa.
Day 5 Sapa - Phong Tho – Sin Ho - Lai Chau (B/L/D)
Our first stop today is Silver waterfalls and Heaven Gate on the way to Phong Tho. From Sapa to Phong Tho you pass through Binh Lu, up over the 1900 meter Tram Ton Pass , considered the most beautiful stretch of road in Vietnam . If you happen to be in Tam Duong on a Sunday morning, the town is bustling with activity as the local hill tribes gather for their weekly market day here. After lunch in Phong Tho, we keep driving to Lai Chau via Sin Ho. The drive to Lai Chau is stunning with tiered tea plantations and verdant rice terraces carved into the landscape. We spend the night in Lai Chau.
Day 6 Lai Chau - Dien Bien (B/L/D)
The loop continues on to Dien Bien Phu - the site of the decisive battle in Vietnam's struggle for independence in 1954. On the way we see very few other travellers, mostly rural dwellers who are just as interested in finding out about our lives as we are of theirs.
After checking into our centrally located hotel we enjoy a walk around to see this fast growing town. Dien Bien is only 35km from the border with Laos . Being the last battlefield of the French during their war with the Vietnamese, which ended with the fall of the French colonial control in Indochina and the replacement of the US Army not so long, Dien Bien Phu now returned to be a green valley inhabited by dozens of the ethnic groups. Visiting the historical sites in Dien Bien will also make your trip more memorable. To name a few, they are Dien Bien Museum, A1 Hill, the shelter of the French general De Castries and the cemetery and memorial of the Vietnamese and French soldiers died during the fierce fighting. The main stop is Dien Bien Phu Museum which details the event in place. We also pay a visit to the old battle field where the lush vegetation grows behind many war relics including old French tanks and artillery pieces.
Day 7 Dien Bien Phu - Son La (B/L/D)
Today we leave Dien Bien Phu for Son La via Tuan Giao. On the way we visit villages, suspension bridges, take photos and stop over at Pha Din Pass. The most picturesque scenery is that of Pha Din Pass , which is well-known as a historical site during the French War in 1954, a high and dangerous pass at elevation 1,300, and a breathtaking view.
After checking in hotel in Son La, we pay a visit to the provincial museum, the nearby old prison and the Ta Toong cave which are some of this hill town's major sights. Have dinner and free time for relax.
Day 8 Son La - Mai Chau homestay (B/L/D)
Depart to Mai Chau, a beautiful valley inhabited by the Thai people in Hoa Binh province. On the way we visit Black Thai village and take photos, explore the hill of tea at the Moc Chau Plateau. After lunch in Moc Chau, continue on the way. Arrive in Mai Chau around late noon, check in house on stilts of White Thai at Lac village, and hike around the villages full of house-on-stilts and textile products of local people to learn about the routine life of Thai tribal people, who are believed to be homogenous with the Thai people in Thailand and Southern China . Amongst the 53 ethnic groups of Vietnam, they are considered one of the most civilized for the delicate dress, for beauty and elegance of women, and for nice, wide, spacious houses-on-stilts, and above all, for hospitality. We have a beautiful dinner and enjoy folk songs performed by Thai girls.
Day 9 Mai Chau- Hanoi (-/L/D)
After breakfast in Lac village, trekking around valley Mai Chau, visit Nhot village and Na Pho (White Thai), return to Hanoi, on the way stop to visit Hoa Binh hydro power plant, lunch en route. Arrive in Hanoi in the late afternoon.
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