Day 1: Arrival in Hanoi (-)
Upon arrival in Hanoi, our bus will pick you up and take you to your hotel for check-in.
Free time for the rest of the day.
Day 2: Hanoi – Duong Lam – Nghia Lo (B, L, D)
We leave Hanoi in the morning and to drive Nghia Lo. We will stop at the ancient village of Duong Lam, where you will discover: old traditional houses of Vietnamese architecture, the village entrance gate, the 100-year-old banyan tree, the Mong Phu Communal House, and the Mia pagoda.
We will then continue our road from Duong Lam to see the first hills with tea plantations, where farmers collect tea leaves. Later, we will make another stop to see a water wheel, an original irrigation method used by the Thai ethnic group.
We will reach Nghia Lo in the afternoon. Afterwards, we will go for a walk to Nghia An, a village inhabited by the Black Thai minority. This peaceful community is made of stilt houses, and you will be able to interact with the welcoming people living there.
Overnight in Nghia Lo at a hotel or homestay.
Day 3: Nghia Lo – Tu Le – Khau Pha – Nga Ba Kim – La Pan Tan – Than Uyen (B, L, D)
After breakfast, we will ride along the famous Road No32 leading to Mu Cang Chai. While on this stretch of 100 km, you will be marveled by the vast rice terraces. Stop at Khau Pha Pass to enjoy a beautiful view of Tu Le Valley. We will head to Nga Ba Kim, then, go for a 6-km hike through La Pan Tan rice terraces, classified by the Vietnamese government as a "National Heritage."
After a stop at a Thai village, we will head to Than Uyen.
Check-in at the hotel and overnight.
Day 4: Than Uyen – Sapa (B, L, D)
After breakfast, we will head to Sapa. Along the way, we will visit several ethnic villages, including a Lao Lu village. While on the road from Than Uyen to Sapa, you will see beautiful hills covered by extravagant greenish tea plantations.
Upon arriving in Sapa, we will take a walk to visit Cat Cat Village. You will have the opportunity to enjoy a show of traditional songs and dances performances.
Back to Sapa, we will walk to visit the town.
Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 5: Sapa – Ta Van – Giang Ta Chai – Sapa – Bac Ha (B, L, D)
Today, we will head Muong Hoa Valley, blessed with beautiful rice terraces and home of various ethnic groups. We will start an easy hike through wonderful landscapes and visit Lao Chai village (home of Black H’Mong ethnic group) and Giang Ta Chai village (home of Red Dzao minority). You will have the opportunity to contemplate the beauty of a waterfall and a suspended bridge while discovering the lifestyle of locals, their customs and culture.
Picnic lunch on the way.
Then, we will walk back to the main road, where our bus will pick us up and bring back to Sapa. Get your luggage ready and transfer to Bac Ha.
Check-in at the hotel upon arrival and enjoy free time in the evening.
Day 6: Bac Ha (B, L, D)
Wake up early in morning to have breakfast before going to Bac Ha market. This famous market is the biggest in the region and a place where many ethnic groups gather, such as: the Black H’Mong, Fula, Ha Nhi, Dzao, and others. They come to sell goods such as wheat, vegetables, cattle (buffaloes, pigs…), and fabrics. The market is busiest around 10:00am, when all the villagers of the area are present, wearing their traditional costumes. At this point it becomes a very colorful and lively place for tourists to experience.
After lunch at a local restaurant, we will go on a short trek to visit Phu La, a Flower H’Mong village.
Overnight stay in Bac Ha.
Day 7: Bac Ha – Nghia Do – Ha Giang (B, L, D)
After breakfast, you will have some free time in Bac Ha before heading to Ha Giang. We will briefly stop in Nghia Do, for a short hike.
After reaching Ha Giang, we will walk to visit the village where we will stay for the night.
Overnight stay in a homestay.
Day 8: Ha Giang – Dong Van (B, L, D)
Breakfast, then off to the extraordinary Dong Van Karst Plateau Global Geopark. Covering an area of around 2,350 km2 and with an altitude ranging between 1,000 m and 1,600 m, this vast natural park offers breathtaking scenery.
We now begin a journey through time, across a region where ethnic minorities are in fact the majority. We will see hamlets of stilt houses and mud huts. In this very poor region, living conditions are very harsh – yet it has a unique charm, thanks to the fabulous roads winding through fantastic karst landscapes and to the people who kept their ancestral customs.
Later, we will visit the craft village of Lung Tam, a place where H'Mong practiced the ancient art of weaving linen.
Upon arriving in Dong Van, we will go on a walking tour of the Old Dong Van, and you will be able to have a coffee at Cà phê Phố cổ, the oldest street of the village, located next to the market.
Overnight stay at a hotel.
Day 9: Dong Van – Lung Cu – Meo Vac (B, L, D)
Visit to Dong Van weekly market, which takes place every Sunday. There, you will see different minority groups. After selling their goods and buying what they need, people meet at the corner restaurant for a drink or to take a bowl of "Thang Co". A local old saying states that if people have been drinking too much, they would grab the tail of their horse for it to bring them back home. After that, we will visit the old French fort at Pu Lo and enjoy a panoramic view of the area.
Then, we will drive to Lung Cu, at the Chinese border. From the flag tower of Lung Cu, you have view over the region. Afterwards, we visit a village inhabited by the Flower Lolo ethnic group, before heading back to Dong Van for lunch.
In the afternoon, we will go to Meo Vac via the “Happiness Road” and through the incredible Ma Pi Leng Pass. We will take a break at the top of the pass to admire the jaw-dropping view fantastic on Nho Que Canyon. Then, we will enjoy a nice walk to visit a remote H'Mong village.
Overnight stay in a hotel in Meo Vac.
Day 10: Meo Vac – Lung Phinh – Bao Lac (B, L, D)
If it takes place today, visit to Lung Phinh Market, held every 6 days. You will see different ethnic groups: Dao, H'Mong, Tay, etc.
Then, off to Bao Lac. We will stop in Cang Bac Me to visit a prison dating from the French colonial era. The road we will take includes many zigzags and winds through an amazing landscape.
Overnight stay at a hotel in Bao Lac.
Day 11: Bao Lac – Khuoi Khon – Ba Be (B, L, D)
Wake up to have a good breakfast before heading to Khuoi Khon Village, home of the Black Lo Lo ethnic group. This minority group has its origins in southern China (Yunnan Province) and migrated to the North of Tonkin about 400 years ago.
Additionally, we will walk through the village and see typical Lo Lo inhabitations: houses that are "neither on stilts nor on soil". Indeed, animals live under the house, whether it’s water buffaloes, cows, pigs, ducks, chickens, dogs, or cats.
The Lo Lo culture is patriarchal. Rice and maize are their two main food crops. Not to mention, they form the only ethnic group in Vietnam that still uses old bronze (or copper) drums for funerals. Initially, their bronze drums, kept by the head of the family, were buried or placed in a rice granary outside of their home. Due to theft, the bronze drums are now hidden inside the houses.
After a picnic lunch, we will drive to Ba Be Lake. This natural lake of rare beauty, located in the middle of a beautiful national park, is renowned for its many limestone peaks. Historically, many ethnic minorities (Tays, Mongs, Daos, etc) live on the shores of the lake. Upon arrival, we will enjoy a bicycle ride along Pac Ngoi and Peng villages.
Overnight at a homestay in a beautiful stilt house above the lake.
Day 12: Ba Be (B, L, D)
Breakfast with locals. Then, we will cruise on a boat through the beautiful natural lake of Ba Be, up until Dau Dang waterfall. Ba Be Lake is divided in three bays: Pelam, Pelu, and Peleng. The area offers visitors, a wide range of beautiful landscapes, thanks to numerous waterfalls, rivers, valleys, lakes, and caves. You will also have a chance to meet Dao and H’Mong people.
Afterwards, we will take a walk to Mai Hai Village, a community to be found amidst beautiful karst landscapes.
Overnight at the homestay on Ba Be Lake.
Day 13: Ba Be – Thai Nguyen – Hanoi (B, L)
After a good breakfast, we will stop in Thai Nguyen to visit the interesting Museum of Ethnology.
We will reach the capital, Hanoi, in the late afternoon. Check-in at the hotel before enjoying dinner on your own and free time for the evening.
Overnight stay at a hotel.
Day 14: Hanoi – Ha Long Bay (B, L, D)
This morning, we will depart for Ha Long Bay area, the world-famous natural wonder recognized by UNESCO as a World Natural Heritage. More precisely, our boat will sail towards Bai Tu Long Bay, north of Ha Long Bay, for a superb off-the-beaten-tracks itinerary.
12:00pm – 1:00pm: Arrival at Hon Gay pier and registration. Welcome cocktail served aboard the junk.
1:30pm – 3:00pm: Enjoy a tasty seafood lunch while the junk cruises to Bai Tu Long Bay.
3:40pm: Visit the amazing Thien Canh Son Cave.
4:45pm: Our vessel will reach Hon Co Island, where you will have time to relax on a white sandy beach, swim, or explore the surroundings by kayak.
6:00pm: Back to the boat and free time until dinner.
7:00pm: Have a delicious dinner onboard.
Overnight stay aboard the boat in Cong Do.
Day 15: Ha Long Bay – Handicraft village of Phu Lang - Hanoi (B, L)
07:30am – 08:00am: wake up early to admire the sunrise over Bai Tu Long Bay while enjoying a cup of tea or coffee. Have breakfast in the open air.
08:30am - 09:30am: Hop on a small sampan as we go to visit Vung Vieng, fishing village, including the floating school, and a fish farm.
09:30am: Free time to swim in Bai Tu Long Bay.
10:00am – 11:30am: Our junk will sail towards Hon Gay pier. Lunch onboard.
11:45am – 12:00pm: Disembark and hop on the bus. We will start our road back to Hanoi.
Along the way, we will stop to visit Phu Lang handicraft village, a place where inhabitants are specialized in pottery. You will enjoy a relaxing time there, in the middle of the countryside, all the while discovering the amazing pottery items made by the locals.
We will reach Hanoi in late afternoon. After check-in at the hotel, enjoy dinner on your own and free time in the evening.
Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 16: Hanoi – city tour – departure (B, L)
During, your last day, we will visit several major landmarks of the capital: the Temple of Literature, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda, Tran Quoc Pagoda, and Museum of Fine Arts.
Lunch at a local restaurant.
You will have free time in the afternoon until being sent to the airport for your departure flight.