Northwest Vietnam itinerary is arranged in the north western Vietnam taking you to Nghia Lo, Tu Le, Mu Cang Chai, Yen Bai, and Sapa, Lao Cai. The tour is a combination of classic visits, ethnic culture experience, and easy day hikes which are appropriated for group tours, family travel, holiday with kids…The best time to travel this itinerary is the dry season starting from late September until early May the following year.
Day 1: Hanoi – Duong Lam – Nghia Lo.
8.00 AM: you will be met up with our guide, driver at your hotel in Hanoi and transferred to Nghia Lo. After about one or two hour drive, you arrive in Son Tay where a stop is scheduled for visiting Duong Lam ancient village, a very old and beautiful village of Viet (Kinh) people. The ancient village has a history of about 1,200 years with many houses dating back up to 400 years. Today, Duong lam village still retains most of the basic characteristics of a village of Vietnam with port village, trees, courtyard, temples, well, water fields… Enjoy a short walk around the village with visit to some old houses before you continue your road trip towards Nghia Lo town, Yen Bai province. Lunch is provided in a local restaurant en route. Around mid-afternoon, you arrive in Nghia Lo, a beautiful small town located in the central of Muong Lo valley and is the home of the Thai peoples. Check into a local stilt house for dinner and overnight (homestay).
Day 2: Nghia Lo – Tu Le – Mu Cang Chai.
Today is the highlight of the trip since the drive takes you through the area where there are the most beautiful terraced rice fields in Vietnam. After breakfast, you leave Nghia Lo travelling towards Tu Le. You may leave the main road taking a small hiking trail that leads uphill to the Khau Pha mountain pass! The hike takes about two hours, offering you the opportunity to visit a local H’mong village is set among beautiful terraced rice fields. Lunch is provided in a local restaurant in Tu Le. After lunch, continue your road trip driving uphill the Khau Pha pass. Enjoy breathtaking landscapes of the two sides of the pass. Then gradually driving downhill to the famous Mu Cang Chai valley. Enjoy another short hike. Upon your arrival in Mu Cang Chai, check into a local stilt house. Then if time permit enjoy a short walk to a Thai village is also located in the beautiful valley. Otherwise you can visit the Thai the following day before you leave Mu Cang Chai for Sapa. Dinner and overnight in Mu Cang Chai.
Day 3: Mu Cang Chai – Than Uyen – Sapa.
After breakfast, you can have a short visit of the Mu Cang Chai market is open right in the town before continue your road trip to Sapa. Upon your arrival in Than Uyen, you turn right and keep driving uphill towards Sapa. The road trip takes about two hours as you travel along the west side of Hoang Lien Son mountain range which offers stunning scenery of the fabulous Muong Khoa valley. This is well known as the rice basket of Lai Chau province. Enjoy a coffee break at Chu Va before driving over the Sapa Mountain pass. A stop is made when you arrive at Tram Ton, the “Heaven Gate”. Enjoy the view of the Fansipan Mount, the highest one in Vietnam. This is magnificent on sunny day. Arriving in Sapa town around mid/late afternoon, check in hotel for overnight. Free dinner. Overnight in Sapa at hotel.
Day 4: Sapa Hiking.
Leaving Sapa at about 08.30 am, you travel southwards of Sapa along a narrow and bumpy tarmac. The first 16K of the road trip offers spectacular landscapes of Hoang Lien mountain range, Fansipan peak as well as marvelous terraced rice fields of the Muong Hoa valley. Enjoy several photo stops before taking half an hour walk around Hoa Su Pan, a small hamlet of the Black Hmong, paying visiting to local homes and meeting up with local villagers. Continue the trip further south to Muong Bo valley of Thanh Phu Commune. Enjoy another walk for an hour along the large village path, paying visiting to several homes of the Tay who live in spacious houses built on stilts, witnessing their daily life and experiencing their hospitality. Lunch break in a local home. Take a short drive after lunch along the rocky road to My Son and spend half an hour to explore this charming village of the Xa Pho ethnic, whose population is only more than 6 thousands peoples, for a brief understanding of their unique culture and customs. Then process further for 10K to Nam Cang Commune for visiting a beautiful and prosperous village of the Red Zao people in Nam Than village. This portion of the road ride offers beautiful scenery of the Nam Sai valley. Leave Nam Cang in mid afternoon and driving for an hour along the same way back to Sapa. Free dinner. Overnight in Sapa at hotel.
Day 5: Sapa – Hanoi.
Breakfast at hotel. Enjoy the morning walk to H’mong villages. You go downhill through beautiful orchids gardens and pine forests. You will then reach a small village of Suoi Ho is inhabited by H’mong ethnic minority. Their house normally built of land has no windows because of the cold in the winter. You will then continue your walk through rice paddy fields and spectacular scenery to Ma tra. It is possible to stop by a primary school for a quick visit. Then our vehicle will be waiting for us for our drive back to Sapa. Lunch is provided in a local restaurant in town. After lunch, drive back to Hanoi. You travel on the new Highway Noi Bai – Lao Cai, and the drive takes about 6 hours. Arrival in Hanoi, you will be dropped off at your hotel. End.