Highlights of Middle North West
Day 1: Hanoi arrival
Upon arrival at Noi Bai Airport, meet our guide and driver who then escort you to the city center. After making sure of your successful hotel check-in, they will be pleased to leave you free time for your own lunch and leisure to recover after the long flight.
In the late afternoon, we enjoy Water Puppet Show, the unique Vietnamese traditional art originated from rural festivals in Vietnam. The artists-men and women-stand waist-deep in the water to manipulate the puppets, making them move, talk and laugh and even dance on the surface of the water. Dinner is then served at a nice local restaurant.
Day 2: Hanoi – Nghia Lo
Breakfast is served at hotel. 7:30 am: Leaving bustling streets of Hanoi, we depart for Nghia Lo along Highway 32 through the Red River Delta passing verdant rice paddies and farmland . By early afternoon you’ll be moving away from the Red River Delta and into the mountains of Yen Bai province, on your way to your destination of Nghia Lo. Nghia Lo is situated along a beautiful mountain ridge separating the Red and Black River with lush forests, tea plantations, rice terraces and gum trees, the picturesque valleys are stunning. The area is home to Thai, Nung, H’mong, La Ha and Ma ethnic minority peoples.
Day 3: Nghia Lo – Than Uyen
This day starts with a visit to the local market in Nghia Lo Town, a chance to explore and shop for local handicrafts. Today’s drive will take us along one of the most exciting stretches of road in Vietnam and offers some of the lushes and verdant scenery found anywhere. As climbing over the mountain pass to Mu Cang Chai, we will meet H’mong, La Ha and Dzao hill tribe communities along the way. The road, which is not sealed and can be muddy and exiting at times, winds along the Nam Kim River which descends the valley over some cascading gorges. At the bottom of the valley is the town of Than Uyen.
Day 4: Than Uyen – Sapa/Home-stay
Enjoy breakfast in a local restaurant, then it’s time to hit the road for Sapa. From Than Uyen the road rolls along the base of the Hoang Lien Son Mountain Range, home to Mt. Fansipan, Vietnam’s highest peak. Tea plantations and rice terraces hug the Nam Ma River that winds along this valley dotted with Tay, Dzao and H’mong villages. At Binh Lu junction we will reach the main road and start climbing up the highest mountain pass in Vietnam at 1900 Meters, then glide down into the town of Sapa. Sapa itself is a somewhat bedraggled village meshing crumbling, mildewed French colonial architecture with the pencil-thin, brick-and-concrete mini-hotels that have become so ubiquitous in recent years all across Vietnam. It’s time to enjoy lunch and relax before a 3 hour short trek down this stunning valley sculpted with steep rice terraces, to Ta Van village for a home-stay. Your guide will cook you a savory dinner of traditional Vietnamese food that you’ll be raving about, as you enjoy the hospitality of your Dzay hosts.
Day 5: Ta Van – Cat Cat – Sapa
Morning after breakfast, we get ready for a short trek to the bridge where the vehicle waits and transfer back to Sapa. We first sneak through the market and leave the busy town behind. After a couple of minutes, we then embark on a lovely walk that will take us along buffalo paths and trails downhill to Cat Cat village. There will be a stop by a waterfall and a hydroelectric station built by the French people long time ago. We take a rest here before trekking downhill to get Sin Chai village. Enjoy beautiful scenery on the way back to Sapa town by car for lunch. The rest of the day is free on your own to discover Sapa in the afternoon.
Day 6: Sapa – Can Cau – Bac Ha
Early morning after breakfast at hotel, we depart for the 3 hour drive to Can Cau Market (Saturday only). Situated in the mountains in border area, 20 km north of Bac Ha, Can Cau is a very colorful and vibrant market. Opening only on Saturdays, it always delivers a very photogenic display of Flower Hmong, Black Zao, Phu La ethnic costumes. You can also find various types of livestock and local corn wine. Chinese people also come for trading. After spending the whole morning exploring the market, we will leave the market for Bac Ha town for lunch.
In the afternoon, we will take a walk to Ban Pho village of Nung, Tay and Flower Hmong whose inhabitants grow vegetables and fruit trees. One of the most famous fruits of the area is plum. You will be able to visit a local house, meet and talk with the family.
Day 7: Bac Ha – Thac Ba Lake/Home-stay
After breakfast at hotel, we visit the lively Sunday market of Bac Ha, one of the most colorful markets in Asia! Again a wonderful opportunity to meet the locals such as Flower Hmong (Red Mong), Black Dzao, Tay, Nung, La Chi, Phu La and other minority groups in which Flower H’Mong predominantly live in the area. The Sunday market is a social gathering for all groups living in the high remote villages, here they meet, drink alcohol and trade goods. Wandering around the market, you can enjoy the atmosphere and have fun trying out your trading skills with the friendly local people. We continue our trip to Thac Ba Lake. The night is spent in a beautifully constructed stilt house down by the lakeside.
Day 8: Thac Ba – Hanoi
Created by construction of the Thac Ba hydroelectric plant in the 1960s, Thac Ba is one of the largest and most beautiful artificial lakes in Vietnam and captivates travelers with its incredible authentic beauty and more than 300 islands under lush vegetation. We participate in a boat trip and visit some Dzao and Tay villages. After lunch in a local restaurant, our expedition North West comes to an end. In the afternoon we arrive back in Hanoi.
Day 9: Hanoi – Departure
After breakfast at hotel, time is free until our driver meet and transfer you to Noi Bai airport for your flight to your next destination or back home. Thank you very much for travelling with us!
Accommodation as recommended or similar category according to availability.
Transfers according to program by private air-conditioned vehicle with driver except free day
English-speaking guide’s assistance at every stage
Meals as indicated in program
Entrance fees for attractions included in the program
All activities and cruises clearly mentioned in the progra
Water and cool tissues
Government taxes & service charge
Other drinks and meals not clearly mentioned
Early check-in, late check-out , Personal expenditures, tips , Personal insurance (compulsory)
Any service not clearly mentioned in the program
International air transfers associated with airport taxes
Visa and visa arrangement (available upon request)