THE NORTH OFF ROAD
Hanoi - Maichau - Sonla - Dienbiephu - Laichau - Muongte - Sinho - Phongtho - Tamduong - BinhLu - Sapa - Batxat - Laocai - MuongKhuong - Bacha -HoangSuphi - HaGiang - Saphin - MeoVac - Bacme - Baolac - Babe - Caobang - Pacbo - Dongkhe- Langson- Halong
(21 Days/20 nights)
DAY 01: ARRIVAL - HANOI
DAY 02: HANOI - MAI CHAU
DAY 03: MAI CHAU - SONLA
DAY 04: SONLA - DIEN BIEN PHU
DAY 05: DIEN BIEN PHU - LAI CHAU
DAY 06: LAI CHAU - MUONG TE - LAI CHA
DAY 07: LAI CHAU - SINHO - TAM DUONG
DAY 08: TAM DUONG - BINH LU - SAPA
DAY 09: SAPA
DAY 10: SAPA - BATXAT - LAOCAI
DAY 11: LAOCAI - MUONG KHUONG - BAC HA
DAY 12: BAC HA - HOANG SU PHI - HA GIANG
DAY 13: HA GIANG - SA PHIN - DONG VAN
DAY 14: DONG VAN - MEO VAC - HAGIANG
DAY 15: HAGIANG - BAC ME - BAO LAC - NGUYEN BINH - BABE LAKES
DAY 16: BABE LAKES
DAY 17: BABE - CAO BANG
DAY 18: CAO BANG - PAC PO CAVES - LANG SON
DAY 19: LANG SON - HALONG
DAY 20: HALONG - HANOI
DAY 21: HANOI – DEPARTURE
DAY 1: ARRIVAL - HANOI (-/-/-)
On arrival at Noi Bai Airport, you are met and transferred to hotel. Ha Noi , Vietnam's capital, is a stylish and gracious city that retains an unique old world charm and some Asia 's most striking colonial architecture. The many lakes and parks make for relaxing atmosphere. (If time permit ) we enjoy a short cyclo excursion through the bustling old quarter streets named after the specific goods once offered for sale at these places. O/N in Ha Noi.
DAY 2: HANOI - MAI CHAU (B/L/-)
This morning we enjoy a half day city tour starting with the Ho Chi Minh Complex. This famous site contains the mausoleum of the nation's founder Ho Chi Minh, the Presidential Palace , the Ho Chi Minh's house on stilts and the One Pillar Pagoda. The following sights are the Temple of Literature and the peaceful lake of Hoan Kiem with its sacred temple. We also make stop at the impressive Ethnologic Museum, dedicated to Vietnam's 54 ethnic minorities, some of which we will see on our forthcoming days. Heading out of the town, we travel by road to Mai Chau, an idyllic valley populated by the many White Thai people. There are some opportunities en route to visit the Dao Son Dau and the Muong hill tribe groups. O/N in Mai Chau.
DAY 3: MAI CHAU - SONLA (B/-/-)
Upon leaving Mai Chau the roads begins to deteriorate; however many villages dot the hillsides and undulating terrain make for an interesting journey. Along the way we stop in Xa Linh for a two hour trek past many timeless hill villages which are home of the Hmong hill tribe people. Travelling across the Moc Chau Plateau we catch a glimpse of the many tea plantations and see the Black Thai hill tribe people. They belong to the same Thai ethnic group, but are different from the White Thai in Mai Chau by their tradition and habits. O/N in Son La.
DAY 4: SONLA - DIEN BIEN PHU (B/-/-)
The provincial museum and the nearby old prison are some of this hill town's major sights. We have a chance to visit these before we leave for our next destination. The winding roads cross over the Pha Din Pass before reaching Dien Bien Phu, the site of the decisive battle in Vietnam's struggle for independence in 1954. After checking into our central located hotel we enjoy a walk around to see this fast growing town. Our main stop is Dien Bien Phu's Museum which details the event in place. We also pay a visit to the old battle field where the lush vegetation grows behind many war relics including old French tanks and artillery pieces. O/N in Dien Bien Phu .
DAY 5: DIEN BIEN PHU - LAI CHAU (B/-/-)
The journey north continues on to Lai Chau Town, our base for exploring the surrounding areas These back roads are a great way to explore the real Vietnam. We see very few other travellers, mostly rural dwellers who are just as interested in finding out about our lives as we are of theirs. After checking into hotel, we embark on a boat for a two hour trip along the Da River, passing through the stunning mountain landscapes. The pace is very relaxed, a perfect way to observe the local lifestyle close up. O/N in Lai Chau.
DAY 6: LAI CHAU - MUONG TE - LAI CHAU (B/-/-)
An early morning departure to Muong Te. This upstream area of the Da River is settled by many ethnic minority groups including the Thai, Ha Nhi, Cong , Si La and La Hu, just some of Vietnam's most colourful ethnic groups. The roads conditions are very poor; however the verdant and rugged mountain scenery combined with the colorful local population makes the hardship all worthwhile. Along the way we stop at seldom visited villages, a great chance for photographers. O/N in Lai Chau.
DAY 7: LAI CHAU - SINHO - TAM DUONG (B/-/-)
Today we continue venturing into northern Vietnam with the next stop being Sin Ho which is home land of the Red Hmong, Kho Mu, Mang and Dao ethnic minorities. They are settled there longtime ago and still retain their traditional culture and habits. The trip to Sin Ho is occasionally suspended due to the restriction of the local authority. Departing Sin Ho we make our way past the hilly region to Tam Duong. This timeless town is surrounded by stunning mountain backdrops and lush tea plantations. O/N in Tam Duong.
DAY 8: TAM DUONG - BINH LU - SAPA (B/-/-)
The scenery of the north is unequalled although the conditions are very simple. After breakfast we drive following the main artery of trade in northwestern region. This bumpy road links to many hill towns and villages. At an elevation of 1,500 meters, Sapa was founded in the early years of the last century as a hill resort for French administrators when the heat on the plain became unbearable. After checking into hotel we can soak up the fresh climate as much as we want by spending our time wandering around this charming town and some legacies of the French period. O/N in Sa Pa.
DAY 9: SAPA (B/-/-)
The huge range of Phan Si Pan boasts Vietnam's highest mountain and lends an alpine feel to the area surrounding this hill station. Today we have enough time to visit the bustling Sa Pa Market where the Red Dao, Black Hmong, Tay and Xa Pho ethnic minorities converge from the nearby mountainsides and valleys to trade their goods and buy provisions. We get well off the beaten track as we embark on a walk to discover this beautiful mountain region. Along the way we traverse several rustic villages and see many mountaineers doing their daily works such as logging, herding buffalo and tilling the field. O/N in Sa Pa.
DAY 10: SAPA - BATXAT - LAOCAI (B/-/-)
Heading out of town, we make our way through the breathtaking mountain landscape to Bat Xat. The weather in this region is cool due to the high altitude. On arrival, we embark on a short walk, passing through several villages which is populated by the Phu La, Dao and Giay ethnic minorities. They are very poor, but have an interesting local culture and a colorful history. A part of the pleasure of travelling in this region is the simple joy of seeing hill tribe people. We continue our trip to Lao Cai border town, our final destination. O/N in Lao Cai.
DAY 11: LAOCAI - MUONG KHUONG - BAC HA (B/-/-)
The weekend market of Muong Khuong also attracts a wide variety of ethnic minority groups such as Hmong, Dao, Thu Lao, Pa Di, Tu Di and Phu La. After breakfast, we embark on a two hour drive delivering to Muong Khuong Town. There is a wonderful experience to wander around this colorful congregation. In the early afternoon, we travel by roads to Bac Ha. This is basically an overnight stop to break our long journey. After checking into hotel we can enjoy walk to visit the Hmong King's former residence and Ban Pho where villagers make the potent local maize alcohol. O/N in Bac Ha.
DAY 12: BAC HA - HOANG SU PHI - HA GIANG (B/-/-)
Upon leaving Bac Ha we set off on a full day journey through Sin Man and Hoang Su Phi to Ha Giang Town. The rough but scenic route traverse a dense jungle before crossing over a pass and dropping down to Sin Man. This day is a real challenge for our driver as we travel by winding roads with many uphill and down hill drives. Along the way we may encounter the Nung Ing, Tay, Red Dao, Dao Ao Dai, La Chi and Co Lao, just some of the many hill tribe groups who have settled there. O/N in Ha Giang.
DAY 13: HA GIANG - SA PHIN - DONG VAN (B/-/-)
The remote region of Dong Van and Meo Vac is a land of rugged mountains and beautiful hill villages which are unchanged for centuries. Today we head north west out of Ha Giang Town towards this northernmost tip of Vietnam. The former H'mong royal house at Sa Phin is a primary attraction of the region but the blend of hill tribe people's colorful costumes and the majestic mountainous scenery make this long and bumpy trip an unforgettable experience. O/N in Dong Van.
DAY 14: DONG VAN - MEO VAC - HAGIANG (B/-/-)
The ethnic minority people are frequently seen in this hill town and small vendors along the street sell local textiles and handicraft. We have time to visit Dong Van Town before continuing to Meo Vac which is conquered by the Lo Lo and Pu Peo ethnic minority people. They still retain their age old cultural traditions and are recognisably distinct from each other by their dress. The remoteness and the simple lifestyle of local people are a highlight of Meo Vac although conditions are very basic. We return to Ha Giang via Yen Minh, using a shortcut way. O/N in Ha Giang.
DAY 15: HAGIANG - BAC ME - BAO LAC - NGUYEN BINH - BABE LAKES (B/-/-)
An early morning start to drive through the rolling hills and the picturesque scenery to Ba Be National Park. The roads are very bumpy and zigzagging however we will have a chance to meet the Hmong, Dao, Tay and Nung ethnic minorities who make for the main population of this region. We are sure to attract their attention as this part of the country receive very few visitors. Depending on road and traffic conditions we arrive in Ba Be by late afternoon or early evening, but it is till an interesting day. O/N in Cho Ra.
DAY 16: BABE LAKES (B/-/-)
The legendary lake of Ba Be is just one continuous water body although the name means" three lakes". Today we embark on a boat cruising down the Nang River which is the main water source of the lake. This exciting river trip will give us a taste of the tranquil countryside and an enjoyable exploration of the Ba Be National Park. We traverse en route the Poong Grotto before stopping at some nearby hill tribe villages and getting off the beaten track to the scenic Dau Dang Waterfalls. O/N in Cha Ra.
DAY 17: BABE - CAO BANG (B/-/-)
The following destination of our trip is Cao Bang Town. After breakfast we set off on our half day journey past the spectacular mountainous landscapes, with a mixture of steep terraced rice field and hill villages. Along the way, we can made stops at our pleasure, to stretch our legs and shoot some wonderful photographs. The remainder of the day will be free to explore the town or simply to relax. O/N in Cao Bang.
DAY 18: CAO BANG - PAC PO CAVES - LANG SON (B/-/-)
Heading out of town , we make our way north to the historical cave of Pac Po where Ho Chi Minh set up the headquarter for the August Vietnamese Revolution in 1945. After seeing this vestige site we continue our journey past the many hill villages and the tranquil town of Dong Khe and That Khe. The drive will deliver us into Lang Son by late afternoon. This border town had been all destroyed during the recent Sino - Vietnamese war, but was rebuilt to become an important trade center in north eastern region. O/N in Lang Son.
DAY 19: LANG SON - HALONG (B/-/-)
The lively central market of Lang Son and the legendary Tam Thanh Cave are visited this morning before we depart for Halong, truly one of Vietnam's most impressive scenic sights. The drive is difficult at times as we travel through many mountain areas. Their breathtaking scenery is some of the best in Asia. We have some opportunities en route to visit the Tay, Nung and San Diu hill tribe people. On arrival in Halong we spend the remainder of the day for a well- earned rest on a Beach. O/N in Ha Long.
DAY 20: HALONG - HANOI (B/L/-)
Today we embark on a sailing boat for an exploration of Halong Bay. This exciting five hour cruise provides a fantastic view of the bay which is dotted with some 3,000 limestone islands rising amazingly from the clear and emerald water. The limestone karst formations are littered with beaches, grottoes and beautiful caves. Along the way we will anchor for a leisurely swim in a secluded cove and an enjoyable visit to one of the many hidden grottoes beneath towering cliffs. After a seafood lunch on board we return to Hanoi, arriving in time to see a performance of Hanoi's famous water puppets. O/N in Ha Noi.
DAY 21: HANOI - DEPARTURE (B/-/-)
There is a free time to relax and further explore Ha Noi. The trip ends after your transfer to Noi Bai Airport for departure.
USD 1795/PERSON FOR A GROUP OF 4 PERSONS AND UP
USD 1595/PERSON FOR A GROUP OF 2 PERSONS AND UP
Private transfer by A/C car for the whole trip
Accommodation at 2/3 star hotels
Homestay as indicated in the program
Boat trip as mentioned in the program
Meals as indicated
admission and permit
International flights and visa arrangement
Drinks, other meals and personal expenses (laundry, phone call, tip..)