Intrepid Travel
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Northern Vietnam Adventure
Hanoi to Hanoi
Duration: 10 days
Tour code: TVSA

Highlights

  • Stay in a local homestay and get to know our H'mong hosts invite you to learn about their rich culture, to share stories and to try some of their local home cooked cuisine.
  • As the dramatic mountains of Heaven’s Gate soar above the green forests and rice paddies of Ha Giang, a deep appreciation of this region's landscape will be understood as you journey through it
  • Mrs Mai’s Responsible Tourism project in Dong Van is an eye-opening insight into the world of human trafficking. Learn about the amazing efforts made by an inspirational project to free their country of this crime
  • Float along the lake, viewing magnificent waterfalls and wildlife in the Ba Be National Park. A traditional homestay is the perfect way to access remote parts of this region and to get a real glimpse of Vietnamese life
  • Finish your trip with a memorable farewell dinner at KOTO restaurant, which serves up delicious meals and supports underprivileged kids at the same time

The remote mountains of northwest Vietnam are home to some of South East Asia’s most rugged terrain, beautiful scenery and colourful hill tribes. Leaving the graceful boulevards of Hanoi behind, travel to Sapa before traversing the bumpy mountain roads to Ha Giang, Dong Van and cruising the waters of Ba Be Lake. Experience breathtaking mountain views and meet friendly locals along the way. If you want to get a taste of remote Vietnam, this is the trip for you.

What's included?

Meals

9 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 3 dinners

Transport

Boat , Private vehicle

Accommodation

Hotel (7 nts), Homestay (2 nts)

Included activities

  • Sapa - Lao Chai trek and homestay
  • Ba Be - Waterfall
  • Hanoi - KOTO dinner

Itinerary

Day 1
Hanoi
Xin chao. Welcome to Vietnam. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. We'll be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you bring these details to provide to your leader. The meeting is generally followed by an optional group meal out at one of Hanoi's fantastic eating spots. If you have time before the meeting, head out and discover Hanoi. It's a good idea to take a hotel business card so you can find your way back.

Optional activities:

  • Hanoi - Citadels, Karsts & Cycle Urban Adventure ($88)
  • Hanoi - Village Discovery by Bike Urban Adventure ($33)

Stay: Hotel (1 night)

Day 2
Sapa Homestay
In the morning, take a bus transfer from Hanoi towards Lao Chai in the Sapa region. The drive may take a little while (approx. 5 hours), which makes for the perfect opportunity to get to know your fellow travellers a bit better. Press on along the winding road before taking your first glimpse of Lao Chai village, sitting comfortably in a valley with cleared hillsides and rustic farmland. Stretch your legs as you walk off the bus, then begin a trek to your homestay in Ta Van – comfy, quaint and surrounded by pristine farmland (approximately 10 km; 6 mi).

Included activities: Sapa - Lao Chai trek and homestay

Stay: Homestay (1 night)

Meals: breakfastdinner

Day 3
Sapa
After breakfast at your homestay trek to Giang Ta Chai – home to the Red Dzao hill people. Push on through 18 kilometres of terraced farmland and bamboo scrub for excellent views of emerald valleys and rushing waterfalls as you stroll on by. Take a picnic lunch along the way, then depart by bus to Sapa. Once you arrive in Sapa, enjoy some free time to rest your legs. If you still have some energy perhaps visit the local market. This is where you can indulge in some local goods, such as dyed fabrics, hemp plants and handmade textiles. In the evening, settle into your hotel in Sapa for the night.

Stay: Hotel (1 night)

Meals: breakfastlunch

Day 4
Ha Giang
In the morning, embark on a long bus journey (approximately 7 hours) to the province of Ha Giang. This is a highland region of forests and terraced rice paddies, with the mountains of Heaven’s Gate (Quan Ba pass) soaring in the background. The Ha Giang province also shares a border with southern China, and is known as Vietnam's final frontier. After relaxing and getting to know your surrounds, visit the local markets and shop fronts, which are relics of a bygone era. Afterwards venture to the the local museum and explore Cuom Village, witnessing the colourful traditional dress of the local people. The evening is then free to do as you please.

Stay: Hotel (1 night)

Meals: breakfast

Day 5
Dong Van
Today, leave for the first of many scenic mountain drives throughout Ha Giang province. Stop to browse Minh Tao Market before wandering through the village of Nam Luong. A visit to Mrs Mai’s Responsible Tourism project will be a highlight of the day. Learn about the stories of human trafficking and how the victims/witnesses of this crime found the opportunity of a life free from exploitation here. Afterwards pass through Lung Tam textile village and the Vuong Family Palace in Sa Phin commune, before continuing to Dong Van where you'll spend the night.

Stay: Hotel (1 night)

Meals: breakfast

Day 6
Dong Van
After breakfast visit the local market, before setting off on a trekking loop that starts and finishes in Dong Van. The trek (approximately 4 hours in total) is surprisingly moderate and suitable for those with an average fitness level. Wind your way through the spectacular landscape, where you can expect to witness glorious views and capture some amazing pictures of lush valleys and rice paddies. The evening is then free to relax or explore more of Dong Van.

Stay: Hotel (1 night)

Meals: breakfast

Day 7
Bao Lac
Drive past terraced rice farms on the road to Bao Lac (approximately 4 hours), a small town in the mountainous region of northern Vietnam. The area is home to the Black Lo Lo ethnic group, who are well known for their colourful attire and finesse in making bronze drums. The bronze drums hold a special place in Lo Lo customs, being used at funerals and important family events. In Lo Lo culture, only the sound of the drums can help the souls of the dead find their way to the birthplace of their ancestors. Stay overnight in Bao Lac and perhaps explore the local marketplace and learn more about this fascinating culture. 

Stay: Hotel (1 night)

Meals: breakfast

Day 8
Ba Be Lake
Travel on to Ba Be Lake early in the morning (approximately 4 hours). Once there, head down the river by boat on an exploration of Ba Be National Park, visiting the largest natural lake in Vietnam. Disembark for some light walks along the way, visiting the impressive waterfalls that feed the lake and observing the natural flora and fauna. Return to land in the afternoon and head to a local home where you will be sleeping tonight. The family you’re staying with will prepare lunch and the rest of the day is then free to explore. In the evening sit down for a delicious dinner with your hosts. This is a great opportunity to gain an insight into their lives and culture.

Included activities: Ba Be - Waterfall

Stay: Homestay (1 night)

Meals: breakfastlunchdinner

Day 9
Hanoi
Head back to Hanoi after breakfast, which should take between four and five hours. Use your free time exploring the boulevards and colonial buildings of the city. If you have time, visit the Hanoi Military Museum or take a look inside the city's spectacular Opera House. For your final evening in Hanoi, perhaps share a final dinner with the group at KOTO cafe, a project aimed at providing vocational training to underprivileged young people.

Included activities: Hanoi - KOTO dinner

Stay: Hotel (1 night)

Meals: breakfastdinner

Day 10
Hanoi
Your Northern Vietnam Adventure comes to an end after breakfast, as there are no more activities planned for today. You're free to depart the accommodation at any time.

Meals: breakfast

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