Discovering colorful Northwest loops of Vietnam 8 days 7 nights
Tour code: DCY110 | Tour Style: Vietnam Discovery
The discovery tour from Hanoi to the Northwest of Vietnam allows you chance to explore the most beautiful mountainous scenery and colourful hill tribes in Vietnam. Leave the graceful streets of Hanoi behind to travel through bumpy but stunning mountain roads to Mai Chau, Son La, Dien Bien Phu, Lai Chau, and Sapa, experience breathtaking mountain views, meet friendly locals, take part in performance of folk songs and dance, or join a soft hiking to ethnic villages for a deeper understanding of the local culture that all ensure you unforgettable moments.Destination: Activities: Sightseeing, Hiking
- Learning about the culture of Thai/ Muong ethnic group in Mai Chau
- Participating in exciting farming programs and enjoying the fresh air in Moc Chau Plateau
- Tasting the typical specialties of the (White) Thai ethnic group in Son La
- Conquering two of four Vietnam’s most challenging passes and admiring spectacular scenery
- Discovering the mystery of a wild Lai Chau and Sapa town with the famous hiking routes
- Soaking yourself in the bustling fair in the highland
Our car and tour guide will pick you up at your hotel in Hanoi at around 08:00 and head to Mai Chau, an area of beautiful landscape and home to the Thai ethnic minority. After about 3,5 hours passing expansive rice paddies, scenic villages and spectacular limestone mountains as well as catching the daily activities of the locals along the way, it is time for you to catch the spectacular scenery of Mai Chau valley from the White Stone Pass. As winding the final downhill to Mau Chau Valley, you will find yourself really soaked into the bustling atmosphere of the Thai’s hamlets. We will then have lunch with local specialties at their house.
Continue this day trip by spending the whole afternoon strolling or cycling around one of their picturesque villages, taking photos of local naive children or talking to the villagers working on their terraced fields.
In the evening, we will enjoy a sumptuous dinner with the locals and don’t miss the chance to sample the local rice wine with a long bamboo straw.
Overnight in a traditional stilt-house of a Thai family.
Day 2: Mai Chau – Moc Chau – Son La (180km) (B/L/D)
This day we will depart in the early morning for Moc Chau to participate in agricultural activities in O Long Tea Processing Factory and Moc Suong Tea Plantation. On the way, we will stop at a village of H’mong people to talk to the locals and take photos of the peach gardens and spectacular roads winding around mountains. Lunch will be served in Moc Chau Town before leaving for Son La City.
Reaching Son La in the late afternoon, we will visit Son La Prison which was built in the French colonial period. Enjoy your dinner in a traditional stilt house of a Thai family whilst watching the traditional local dancing.
Overnight in a hotel in Son La.
Day 3: Son La – Dien Bien Phu (160km, hotel/ lodge stay) (B/L/D)
Starting our third-day tour with breakfast and a cup of local coffee, we then depart for Dien Bien at around 8:30.
The path from Son La to Dien Bien with typical stunning sceneries of Northwest Vietnam will surely leave you unforgettable experiences. On the way, you will pass the expansive terraced fields of corn, bean or banana along with colorful souvenir booths of the locals along the road sides. Continuing our way through the impressive Pha Din Pass at the height of 1,500m, admiring a fantastic panorama of the charming valley encompassed by the cloud all year round, and passing roads of colorful wild flowers, we finally reach Dien Bien – the land of rich history. Lunch is served en route to Dien Bien.
Upon arrival in Dien Bien, we will spend the rest of the day visiting the Muong Thanh paddy field, historic sites of De Catries bunker, A1 Hill, explosive holes, etc. to understand more about the magnanimous battle of the Vietnamese people.
Check-in hotel and enjoy dinner with specialties of Dien Bien and then be free for relaxing and discovering the surroundings.
Day 4: Dien Bien Phu – Phong Tho (Pa So) Town (180km) (B/L/D)
This day of discovering Vietnam colorful Northwest loops tour starts from early morning with various exciting activities. Continuing our way through sloping passes which are typical for the Vietnam Northwest Mountain Region, passing spectacular landscapes of various North-west passes, misty mountain ranges, the local markets and valleys of terraced fields on which the locals are working that all draws a stunning picture. There will be stops to visit villages of the H’mong, Dzao and Dzay nestled against the cliffs. Walking in these villages, you seem to be lost in a fairy space dotted with petite wooden houses standing out among the stretching green of the jungle, meeting the ethnic women with water barrel on their back climbing up the sloping path to their houses or pigs seeking for their food in the jungle, just the simple things but touch the hearts of all visitors.
Arrive in Phong Tho (PaSo) Town in late afternoon, you will have dinner and overnight in the hotel.
Day 5: Paso – (new) Lai Chau Town (B/D)
There are quite a lot of fairs around Paso remaining its original features. Depending on your departure date, you will have chance to visit one of the typical fairs in the highland and understand more about the daily life of the locals. You will be attracted by the bustling and colorful fairs of the local ethnic groups including the San Thang Market held every Thursday and Sunday near an expansive terraced field, Dao San Horn Market held on days of buffalo and goat in lunar calendar, and Muong So Market.
In the afternoon, we will visit an amazing cave about 6 km from Lai Chau Town. This is the largest cave system containing many great geological values with its original beauty which hasn’t been touched by many people, thus being a new ideal destination for those who love adventures and discovery.
Day 6: Lai Chau Town – Sapa (80km) (B/L/-)
Leaving the wild Lai Chau, we make our way through scenic scenery and villages and the most challenging pass, passing the legendary O Quy Ho pass, Hoang Lien Son Mountain Range that is famous with the Fansipan Peak – the highest mountain peak or the roof of Indochina, stepping on the Tram Ton Heaven’s Gate and the Silver waterfall, admiring the valley bobbed on the clouds and stunning routes before reaching Sapa.
Check-in hotel in Sapa, you then have free time for discovering the charming town with bustling market and walk around the ancient city with French architecture corners.
Let’s enjoy a warm dinner with the locals, talk to them to learn about their daily life as well as traditional customs and you are ensured to collect many interesting memories.
Overnight at a hotel in Sapa.
Day 7: Sapa - Vu Linh (Vu Linh Ecolodge, Yen Bai Province) (B/L/D)
You will be free to discover the Sapa Town with a short visit to Ham Rong Mountain or Cat Cat Village (of H’mong ethnic group). Otherwise you can join the local market and taste a cup of local coffee in a Western-style bar and enjoy the beautiful panorama of the town encompassed by the cloud.
At around 10:00AM, the car and our tour guide will meet you again and head to Vu Linh (Yen Bai province). A four-hour drive with scheduled stop for lunch will lead you along the Red River, passing through Yen Bai city to reach Ngoi Tu Village, home of Dzao and Tay ethnic minority groups for many years. You will be welcomed by the friendly and hospitable host, who are well-trained under the Tourism Support Program from International Community.
After a short break, we will get on small boats to discover Thac Ba Lake, the second largest man-made Reservoir in Vietnam. The trip offers chance for you to experience the way villagers paddle their boats by legs; eye-witness the exotic and odd animals living nearby; enjoy the quiet and peaceful scenery around the immense lake; as well as to learn more about the lifestyle of Dzao people – who live on thousands of islets. In the late afternoon, you wil return to the dock and then transfer back to the ecolodge for dinner in the warm atmosphere. Stay overnight in the eco-lodge at a lake view alcove.
Day 8: Vu Linh - Ha Noi (B/L/-)
The last day of North-west loops tour is the most leisure time in your trip. Enjoy the locals’ hospitality or walk around their rice-fields and the village to admire their daily life moment of the local.
You will have lunch at locals’ stilt house; afterward, we will pick you up and transfer to Hanoi. The trip is expected to end 18:00 in your hotel in Hanoi.
Transportation as itinerary mentioned by private A/C vehicles
Most of meals as mentioned (Meals in Sapa shall be easily arranged up on request)
Homestay or hotel (twin-sharing) as mentioned. Single supplement up on request.
Farming activities attendance (in Moc Chau farm)
Entrance fees, except for the leisure time in Sapa
Frontier area permission
Everyday wet tissue and fresh water
- Visa stamp fee and extension permission;
- Private music show on request
- Private expenses (beverages, drinks, laundry...)
- Other meals not mentioned in the itinerary
- Other services not mentioned in the itinerary
Tour program is subject to change due to weather and operating conditions.
Mai Chau Town
Hoa Binh Province, Vietnam
Mai Chau has long been a destination for travelers in search of beauty. With the cultural characteristics of the Thai ethnic minority residents lending added sparkle to a landscape of lush green fields, mountains and streams, a world vastly different from bustling cities and towns can be found in Mai Chau.
Son La, Vietnam
Located at the altitude of 1,050m, Moc Chau is a large plateau stretching around 80 kilometers long and 25 kilometers wide. Not only noted for its wildness of green land and the paradise of plum flowers, the plateau is also noted for the daily life of the locals on the green tea fields.
Son La Prison
Son La, Vietnam
Located on the center of Son La, Son La Prison is one of the most famous places representing the darkest period in the history of Vietnam. Visiting the prison and its objects on display, visitors can better understand the frightened brutality of French colonialists to Vietnamese prisoners here.
Dien Bien Phu
Dien Bien, Vietnam
Located on the northwest of Vietnam, Dien Bien Phu is known as one of the most important historical sites in Vietnam. Visiting Dien Bien Phu today, visitors will have a chance to better understand the furious struggle for the independence of the Viet Minh (Vietnamese Communist and nationalist) against French.
Lai Chau, Vietnam
Being a town in Lao Chau, Paso (or Phong Tho) is on one of the most beautiful mountainous stretch on road in the whole Vietnam with magnificent scenery. It is an ideal place for a walking tour to its villages to discover their unique charm and cultural identities.
O Quy Ho Pass
Sapa, Lao Cai
The highest pass in Vietnam connecting Sapa (Lao Cai) with Tam Duong (Lai Chau). Famous for spectacular scenery, the legendary pass is the ideal choice for travellers in cycling and sightseeing discovery trips.
Lao Cai, Vietnam
Being a beautiful and mountainous town in Northern Vietnam, Sapa is famous both for its fine, rugged scenery and for its rich cultural diversity. The colorful and charming town provides a perfect oasis in the midst of a strenuous mountain trek to discover its attractions and culture.
Vu Linh Commune
Yen Binh District, Yen Bai Province, Vietnam
Located on the shores of Thac Ba Lake, Vu Linh Commune is home to the Dao ethnic minority group. From here, you can take a boat trip around the Thac Ba Lake and admire the beautiful scenery surroundings. One night staying in the village will help you experience the local's daily life.