Trip Description & Day-by-day Itinerary
The Vietnam Northern Loop 5 day tour starts from Hanoi, taking you to such destinations as Ba Be lakes, Cao Bang, Ha Giang, Bac Ha, Lao Cai. Enjoy spectacular landscapes of the northern mountainous region, especially the limestone highland and Chay River Massif; Unique discovery of interesting culture, custom and way of life of different tribal ethnic peoples living in Vietnam’s remote far north.
DAY 1: HANOI -> THAI NGUYEN -> BA BE NATIONAL PARK
Picked up at 07.30am and follow national road 3 for 2 hours to Thai Nguyen. Spend half an hour paying visit to the famous Museum of ethnology for basic understanding about the ethnic peoples living in the northern mountainous region. Continue the road trip 105 km along national road 3 via Bac Can to Na Phac and then turn to provincial road for 37km to Cho Ra. Enjoy several stops for beautiful landscapes and having late lunch break in Cho Ra Town let. Transfer shortly after lunch to the boat pier and spend the rest of the afternoon cruising to explore Ba Be National Park and Lake. Boat trip ends up in late afternoon, and there are 2 options for staying overnight: Home stay in Pac Ngoi village of the Tay or in standard hotel at the head quarter of the park.
DAY 2: BA BE NATIONAL PARK -> BAO LAC -> MEO VAC
Breakfast and leave Ba Be at 08.00am. Drive 79km along road 279 to Ha Hieu junction and turn left for Tinh Tuc. Enjoy stunning scenery of the Colia Pass, take a short walk to visit a village of the Zao Tien before having a coffee break in Tinh Tuc. Then follow national road 34A 88km to Bao Lac. Enjoy an hour walk along the way to see a village of the San Chay ethnic peoples. Lunch break in Bao Lac. Continue the road trip along the Gam River after lunch for 21km to Ly Bon before getting up steep mountains of the remotest land of Cao Bang to Meo Vac town let of Ha Giang province. This portion of the road trip offers chances to see the poorest region of the country with traces of slash and burn agriculture. Take an hour walking through the fascinating valley of Niem Son and discover way of life of the Nung ethnic.
DAY 3: MEO VAC -> DONG VAN -> YEN MINH
Leaving Meo Vac, transfer over the Ma Pi Leng Pass which is well-known for its magnificent and spectacular scenery. Enjoy many viewing stops and short walk along the way before paying visiting to Ma Pi Leng 2 village of the Hmong peoples, which is set amongst limestone rocks where the highest value of fresh water and cultivating land can be seen evidently. Arriving in Dong Van, the northern most town let of Vietnam at about 10.00, enjoy an hour walking through this stunning valley, explore the market and the ancient street of Dong Van before lunch. After lunch, follow the narrow road through Ma Le and Lung Tao communes, this portion of the road offers marvelous scenery of the Rocky Plateau. Paying visiting to the a small village of the Hmong at Lung Tao before processing to Xa Phin valley. Spend an hour visiting the historical site of the Vuong family palace who ruled over the region, control opium production and trading until 1945. Then continue the trip for an hour along road 4C through a series of magnificent valleys which surrounded by wall-up mountain, enjoy another walk to visit the Lung Cam Tren village where the Hmong changed their way of life from sifting into sedentary one from about 100 years ago which help them to have better life than many others. There is possibility to meet the famous village chief who play the KHEN and dance beautifully. Leaving Lung Can and transfer mostly downhill the Pho Cao pass in mid afternoon for Yen Minh valley, arriving in the hotel at about 05.00pm,check in and spend the rest hours to explore this lush valley.
DAY 4: YEN MINH -> HA GIANG -> HOANG SU PHI
Breakfast and leaving Yen Minh at 08.00am. Firstly, transfer by road 42km to pass over the Yen Minh Pass with several stops to enjoy breathtaking landscapes. Then getting through the Lung Tam commune which is set amongst perfect surrounding nature before paying visiting to Mrs. Mai’s workshop in which this kind lady gathers over 100 Hmong and Zao women who have to suffer difficult situation, help them to learn of traditional weaving and embroidery so that to be able to earn good living. Then continue the trip by passing over another stunning pass, the Quan Ba which offers the fascinating scenery, paying visiting to another village of the Hmong along the way. Arriving to Ha Giang at noon, and stop for lunch break. Enjoy an hour walk to explore the Me village which situated around a large valley near Ha Giang before transferring 105km to Quang Vinh town let of Hoang Su Phi district. Contrasting to the rocky land of Meo Vac, Dong Van and Yen Minh, Hoang Su Phi district and its neighboring Xin Man district have very different scenery. Lying on the top of the Chay River Massif, these two district is covered by lush and green forest, tea farms and possess probably the most impressive terraced rice fields in Vietnam. The road winds its way on high mountain sides and offers beautiful landscapes. Arriving at the hotel at about 06.00pm, check in hotel and relax.
DAY 5: HOANG SU PHI -> BAC HA -> LAO CAI -> HANOI
Leaving Hoang Su Phi for 100km excursion along Chinese border, getting through the Chay River Massif and explore local life for the Flower Hmong, Tay and Nung along the way. Spend nearly 2 hours walking through Lung Cai commune which is beautifully set on a high mountain range, overlooking down a narrow and steep valley where the Chay River winding its way between Vietnam and China. Arriving to Bac Ha Town let at noon, paying visit to Hoang A Tuong Castle before having lunch break. Take another walk to explore the mighty Ban Pho valley after lunch, then transfer for 2 hours downhill along the smooth road to Lao Cai, having day used room in a hotel near the rail way station. Boarding the overnight train at 08.45pm for Hanoi.