Day 1: Hanoi – Ba Be Lake (L, D)
This morning, we will head to the North and go through Thai Nguyen Province. Along the way, you will see vegetable orchards, rice and corn fields.
From Thai Nguyen, the road will start to climb gently, before running across amazing landscapes made of stilt houses surrounded by banana trees and bamboo forests. We will reach Bac Kan Province, located along the national highway in the center of 3 plateaus, home to ethnic minorities such as the Tay, H'Mong, and Yao.
We will arrive in Cho Ra in the afternoon where we visit Hua Ma cave, opened to the public since 2004. Located 350 m above sea level, this cave is over 700-m deep and its inner average height is 40 m (the highest ceiling rises up to 50 m). Admire the multifaceted stalactites and the magnificent stalagmites.
After that, we will head to Ba Be Lake.
Overnight in a dorm or homestay.
Day 2: Ba Be Lake (B, L, D)
Wake up to enjoy breakfast with locals. Then, we will travel on the beautiful lake of Ba Be up until Dau Dang waterfall. Ba Be Lake is divided into three bays: Pelam, Pelu, and Peleng. The area offers a wide range of beautiful landscapes to visitors, thanks to numerous waterfalls, rivers, valleys, lakes, and caves. You will also have the chance to meet Dao and H’Mong people.
Afterwards, you be able to go for a walk to Mai Ha village and see beautiful karst landscapes.
Overnight: second night in a homestay at Ba Be Lake.
Day 3: Ba Be – Cao Bang – Bao Lac (B, L, D)
Our journey to Bao Lac starts with a visit to a Dzao village. Shortly after, we will reach Cao Bang and have lunch. After lunch, we will continue our drive while stopping to visit a 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, the 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.
Finally, we will arrive to Bao Lac. Check-in at the hotel and stay overnight.
Day 4: Bao Lac – Meo Vac – Dong Van (B, L, D)
On this day, we will visit Bao Lac market (it takes place 5 days). This is a genuine market, where you will meet different ethnic groups (Black Lo Lo, Dao, Tung and Nay). Moreover, you will enjoy viewing their costumes and original hairstyle with metal decorations and very original bamboo hats.
We will then go to Meo Vac, where we will stop to visit a village inhabited by the Tay ethnic group. Afterwards, we will have lunch.
In the afternoon, we will drive towards Dong Van via the breathtaking Ma Pi Leng Pass. In fact, you will enjoy a jaw-dropping view of the Nho Que canyon. We will find ourselves surrounded by beautiful karst landscapes stretching over tens of kilometers between Ma Pi Leng Pass and Dong Van.
We will check-in at the hotel upon arrival in Dong Van.
Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 5: Dong Van – Lung Cu – Ha Giang (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 a bowl of "Thang Co". A local old saying states that if people have been drunk 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 a view over the region. Afterwards, we will drive to Ha Giang. 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 practice the ancient art of weaving linen.
Overnight stay at a homestay in Ha Giang.
Day 6: Ha Giang – Thong Nguyen (B, L, D)
Enjoy a nice breakfast before we head to Thong Nguyen. On arrival, we will visit beautiful rice terraces and walk a bit through a village of the Dao ethnic group.
Overnight stay at a hotel in Thong Nguyen.
Day 7: Thong Nguyen – Hoang Su Phi (B, L, D)
In the morning, we will go on a 2-hour hike through nice rice fields and through a Red Dao village. There, you will discover the culture and traditions of the residents. You will also enjoy a wonderful time having lunch with the locals.
In the afternoon, we will hike for two hours before heading off to Hoang Su Phi.
Overnight stay at a hotel.
Day 8: Hoang Su Phi – Xin Man – Bac Ha (B, L, D)
On this day we will take the road along the Chinese border, between Hoang Su Phi and Xin Man. We will be able to see the most beautiful rice terraces in Vietnam.
Then, our journey takes us to Phu La Village, where we will meet the Nung and Flower H’Mong ethnic groups.
Later, we will reach Bac Ha.
Overnight stay in a hotel in Bac Ha.
Day 9: Bac Ha (B, L, D)
Morning: visit to a weekly market in Bac Ha region (either Can Cau market, taking place on Saturdays, or Bac Ha market, taking place on Sundays).
Later, we will walk to a Flower H’Mong Village.
Overnight at hotel in Bac Ha.
Day 10: Bac Ha – Hanoi (B, L)
Enjoy a good breakfast before we head back to Hanoi.
End of the tour.