Remote far North Vietnam 9 days 8 nights

This tour is for those who are adventurous but who maybe are not up to long treks. It explores the remote far north of Vietnam, often close to the Chinese border. This is the land of the ethnic minorities, and it is one of the few places left in this global world where one's family and locality can be identified by dress alone. Prepare yourself for a riot of colour, from the ethnic clothes to the rice paddies. You will have a chance to interrelate with the locals by staying in Homestays, in a variety of villages and mountainous regions.
Hagiang, The remote North Vietnam 9 days 8 nights

Tour code: NA04E
Duration: 9 days 8 nights
  • Day 1: Hanoi - Nghia Lo (L/D)
    • We leave Hanoi Old Quarter and travel for about 2 hours to Duong Lam, which is an ancient village with UNESCO protection as of 2006. The houses date back 100-400 years, and the temples and gardens are edged with laterite walls. This is an important historical site with temples in honour of two kings, national heroes, who defended the land against the Chinese about 1200 years ago.
      We will have lunch in a local house here, before continuing our drive through the rural countryside, first surrounded by flat paddy fields, then, as we gain altitude we will begin to see tea plantations, and then finally corn or maize amongst the karst limestone outcrops. We will overnight with a delightful White Thai family in a traditional stilt house in Nghia Lo.
      Remote far North Vietnam 9 days
      Duong lam
  • Day 2: Nghia Lo - Mu Cang Chai (B/L/D)
    • We will rise early and take an early morning bike ride around the paddy and corn fields, enjoying the peaceful sight of ducks, chickens, pigs and buffalos, and observing the quiet manual labour of the villagers. Breakfast will be enjoyed in the open air, looking over the fields, before we check out and set out over the dramatic Khau Pha mountain pass.
      The rice fields of Tu Le are spectacular and we stop at a local restaurant for lunch. We continue the drive to Nam Co village where we'll see the flower H'mong ethnic minorities in their lovely traditional costume, as well as the local market if it’s the right day. We drive to La Pan Tan and the Mam Soi terraced rice fields and take a short walk up the hill to a viewpoint. Then finally dinner and overnight at Mrs Chon's Homestay in Kim Noi village, another White Thai family home.
      Remote far North Vietnam 9 days 8 nights
      rice fields of Tu Le
  • Day 3: Mu Cang Chai - Sapa (B/L/D)
    • After breakfast we will drive from Mu Cang Chai through Tan Uyen and then to Sapa. The road is very dramatic with many hairpins, each opening up a new vista of the mountains, and also crosses the Sin Ho pass. You will have lunch in Sapa and a chance to look around, before we trek to Giang Ta Chai village, where you will have dinner and overnight in a Dao's ethnic house.
      Remote far North Vietnam 9 days 8 nights
      Remote far North Vietnam 9 days 8 nights
  • Day 4: Sapa - Bac Ha - Hoang Su Phi (B/L/D)
    • We set off bright and early with a drive to Bac Ha. If it is a Sunday we will make for the market, one of the most colourful markets in the north, where you can become expert in spotting the different ethnic costumes, and enjoy the antics of the livestock market. There are marvellous photo opportunities at these markets, and after lunch in a local restaurant, we will visit the palace of Hoang A Tuong, a curious mixture of baroque and oriental, built in 1920 with the aid of the French.
      Then we will drive up a small mountain road with views of the most amazing rice terraces, with villages dotted here and there. We reach Ban Phung village and have a chance to see the La Chi ethnic people, their ladies in black knee length skirts and jackets, with a little delicate coloured embroidery, and their heads wrapped in a strip of cloth knotted about their hair. They have a truly hard life up in these mountains often carrying a heavy load in a bag from a band on their heads. We will descend to Hoang Sun Phi for dinner and overnight at a hotel..
      Bac Ha market
      palace of Hoang A Tuong
  • Day 5 Hoang Su Phi (B/L/D)
    • Hoang Su Phi is also a very famous area for rice terraces which curl around the hills like contour lines. There are also beautiful tea plantations, some of which have been there for a hundred years. We continue via Tan Su Phin pass and Cong Troi pass, which are incredibly dramatic and the whole area is full of magnificent views with plenty of photo opportunities. We will have lunch on the way at a local restaurant, then continue north again to Ha Giang. We will overnight at a stilt house of a Tay family.
      Hoang Su Phi
      Hoang Su Phi
  • Day 6: Ha Giang - Dong Van - Meo Vac (B/L/D)
    • We set out in the morning for Dong Van, passing through Cong Troi Pass and then continuing on to Yen Minh. On the way we will also visit the King’s Palace in the H’mong village of Sa Phin, built in the early 20th century. The area is also notable for its many corn plantations, where the harvest is collected by hand.
      As we pass reach Dong Van we disembark for a lunch break in the colourful old market. Here you can admire the Ancient houses and the local people in their traditional garments. After lunch we set off again and pass through the spectacular Ma Pi Leng Pass, on the way to Meo Vac. This road is justly considered one of the most beautiful in the country, and the views are appropriately stunning. Once we reach Meo Vac we settle in for an overnight stay.
      Dong Van Ha Giang
      Ma Pi Leng Pass
  • Day 7: Meo Vac - Bao Lac - Cao Bang (B/L/D)
    • Meo Vac is a small town, home to the ethnic groups Tay, Dao, H'mong and Lo Lo. If we are here on a Sunday we will visit the market, another fantastic riot of colour. There is a lot of clothing and fabric sold here, and sometimes men making the men's indigo dyed jackets on old sewing machines can be seen among the stalls. There is a livestock section which is a frenzy of squealing pigs, screeching birds as well as cows and horses.
      We drive to Bao Lac for lunch with some stops in ethnic villages along the way. The road is again pretty mountainous with several passes. Then we visit the Nung ethnic village of Pac Rang, a traditional farming village which is known for its blacksmiths and their work in making farm tools. We’ll have dinner and overnight at a Nung house.
      Ma Pi Leng Pass
      market Meo Vac
  • Day 8: Ban Gioc Waterfall - Ba Be Lake (B/L/D)
    • After breakfast we continue from Cao Bang and journey to the Ban Gioc waterfalls, a photo of which must be in every hostel and tour agent's office in Hanoi! The falls mark the border with China, so this is truly the frontier.
      There will be time to appreciate the breath-taking sight of these falls before making our way to Nguom Ngao "Tiger Cave", with its amazing limestone formations, and stalactites of various shapes and sizes. This is the most famous limestone grotto in the province of Cao Bang, and you will be awestruck by its sheer size! We then drive to Ba Be National Park and feel the peace and serenity of the lake, before dinner and an overnight stay at Mr Linh's Homestay.
      Ban Gioc waterfall
      Nguom Ngao cave
  • Day 9: Ba Be Lake - Hanoi (B/L)
    • After a breakfast on the terrace, we will walk a short distance between rice fields, through the village of Bo Lu to the boat station to embark on a 3 hour boat trip across the lakes of Ba Be. If you need to cool down, it's a great time to jump into the peaceful water. The boat takes you along a river with time to gaze up at the dramatic karst limestone outcrops which will have become quite familiar to you by this point.
       The park is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna so you are likely to catch sight of birds and butterflies, and you'll definitely be aware of the thousands of bats in Puong Cave which tunnels its way through the mountain and through which the river flows. We return by boat to Bolu and then you will have a chance to relax on the drive back to Hanoi, stopping on the way for lunch. We should arrive back in Hanoi about 5.30PM and you will be ped off at your hotel.
      Ba Be National Park Bac kan
      boat ride in ba be lake
Tour code: NA12D
Duration: 9 days 8 nights
Route: Hanoi – Nghia Lo – Mu Cang Chai – Sapa – Hoang Su Phi – Ha Giang - Cao Bang - Ba Be  – Hanoi

5 average based on 2 reviews.

Traveler rating

Very Good

Wrote a review 8 - 2023
Great adventure trip to Northern Vietnam
Review of: Remote far North Vietnam 9 days 8 nights
Our family had our entire Vietnam vacation (12 nights/ 13 days) organized by Mr. Linh’s Adventures, after indicating them our preferences. We chose them because we wanted to see less visited areas of Northern Vietnam, and they seemed to be specialists in this area. The organization proved to be professional, and it was very reassuring to receive prompt answers to our e-mails or whatsapps. Our contact person in the office was Cathy, who always tried to accommodate our preferences. B...Read Moreoth our driver and guide were called Mr. Long. Our driver drove very carefully and skillfully, which made us feel safe. Our guide was very knowledgeable especially of local customs and people.
Communication was in English at a conversational level (do not expect native speaker level; only the youngest generation in Vietnam is studying the language more thoroughly).
Punctuality was also the norm when picking us up from the airport or the hotels or doing any of the activities.
Our trip started and ended in Hanoi. According to our schedule, the places we visited besides Hanoi were: south of Hanoi: Hoa Lu;Tam Coc, Mua Cave; in northern Vietnam: Hoang Su Phi, Phin Ho, Hoang Su Phi, Ha Giang, Yen Minh, Lung Cu flag, Dong Van, Meo Vac, Cao Bang, Ban Gioc Waterfall, Babe Lake, Nguom Ngao Cave, Tham Phay Cave, Bac Son Valley; Halong Bay.
The northern part of the country is very rural, and the average speed of a car is an estimated 40-50 km/h. Therefore if doing this trip covering many different locations you have keep in mind that you will inevitably spend many hours in a car. However, ours was quite comfortable: we had a Ford Transit minibus with three seat rows for the five of us and functioning air conditioning. We were also given bottles of mineral water every day. There was enough space for our luggage in the back part of the car (we had one suitcase each).
The accommodations we had chosen were a colourful mixture of both basic and luxury, depending on the place we were: basic in the countryside (there usually is no luxury accommodation there) and more luxurious for example in Hanoi, Halong Bay and on our one-day-cruise there.
Homestays are generally very basic; some even had shared bathrooms. But in the countryside there simply is no other choice. It was interesting for us to see different kinds of accommodations though, as we do not travel primarily for comfort but for the experience. Vietnam is still a (quickly) developing country after all and you cannot expect European standards.
The same is true for the food: while in the bigger cities (Hanoi) you can also find international choices, in the countryside you have to stick to local specialties.
We liked the Vietnamese food, with contains generally speaking lots of fresh vegetables, with some meat (pork, beef, chicken, and others) and rice. Soups are also very common, even for breakfast. We also could taste some tropical fruits.
It was very interesting to get to know the local customs too; we visited different ethnic minorities in the northern part of the country. As Mr. Long, our guide, knew a few families because he had been in the area before, they let us visit some of their houses. The time we visited coincided with a festivity in honor of the ancestors, which is why we were invited to have a liqueur in many houses. We saw people burning incense in front of their home altars, preparing duck meat and offering food to the ancestors as part of their ancient religion.
As for physical activity, we also went cycling, kayaking, hiking and visited caves. As it was very hot and humid during August, our bodies did not demand for more sports.
A highlight was exploring a cave near Mr. Linh’s homestay at Babe Lake that had not yet been officially opened to the public. We were guided there by a local man; helmets and flashlights were given to us. As the cave’s floor is covered by a stream we had to walk through water all the time (actually, this tour can only be done if water levels are not too high). Bats could also be found on the ceilings.
During our trip we also were lucky to meet Mr. Linh himself when we were at Mr. Linh’s homestay at Babe Lake. He is a young Vietnamese entrepreneur who is very eager to run his business in the best, most customer friendly way and is willing to learn to keep improving. He did not shy away from asking us what we liked and what could be done better, and you can talk openly to him!
All in all we think this is a serious company you can trust and can highly recommend them if you are looking for an adventurous, off the beaten path trip to Vietnam. Read Less
Date of experience: 8 2022

Wrote a review 10 - 2023
Simple Excellent
Review of: Remote far North Vietnam 9 days 8 nights
I recently spent 6 weeks traveling solo in Vietnam and out of those 6 weeks, spent 15 days exploring Northern Vietnam with Mr Linh's agency. I cannot recommend enough his services. 

To start with, Mr. Linh personally met me to organise the whole trip (it was very last minute trip but everything was perfectly organised and handled). He knows Northern Vietnam like the back of his hand and could accommodate all the places I wanted to see / activities I wanted to do in 15 days (compared...Read More to several other agencies I had contacted, that presented me with standard itineraries). With Mr Linh’s agency, I was able to get a tailor-made itinerary and it was exactly what I wanted.

The guide (Hieu) and driver (Nam) were just excellent; they went out of their way all the time. The car was kept perfectly clean at all times. I requested once to start a very early trek (around 5 am and Hieu did not hesitate at all). 

Mr Linh’s itineraries take you to the “off the beaten path”; I stayed in homestays in awesome locations: in the middle of rice fields surrounded by karsts looking like Halong bay on land or at the edge of Ba be lake. I did awesome hikes in Ha Giang and Bac Ha, where I did not see any tourist (just nature, nature and a few locals): even for the Sapa hike Hieu suggested we go further to avoid the tourist traps and we ended up doing a longer hike but with the most amazing scenery and especially away from the very touristic parts. I ate great local food for every single meal during those 15 days and did not get sick once! 
Simply amazing! Highly recommend. Read Less
Date of experience: 10 2017

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