Duration: 7 days 6 nights

An off-the-beaten-tracks 7-day tour to the Northwest of Vietnam. Discover the fabulous sceneries offered by this region: a rich, natural environment blessed with beautiful rice fields and mountains, well-preserved from the crowds of tourists. This trip is perfectly suited for people eager to share with locals, but also learn history, traditions, and enjoy short walks to meet ethnic minorities or explore what nature has to offer. From the Mai Chau Valley where you will enjoy assisting local people in their work to the magical and colorful Bac Ha market, this trip will be a refreshing change of scenery. Moreover, you will go along Dien Bien Phu to follow the footsteps of the decisive battle between the French and Viet Minh in 1954.


  • Varied landscape with beautiful mountains and rice fields
  • A stay in Dien Bien Phu, a region full of rich History and the “granary” of Northern Vietnam 
  • A journey off-the-beaten-tracks
  • The mountain ethnic minorities and their traditional and ancestral lifestyle


Day 1: Hanoi – Mai Chau – Xam Khoe (L, D)
Day 2: Xam Khoe – Son La (B, L, D)
Day 3: Son La – Pha Din – Muong Phang – Dien Bien Phu (B, L, D)
Day 4: Dien Bien Phu – Lai Chau (B, L, D)
Day 5: Lai Chau – Sapa (B, L, D)
Day 6: Sapa – Ta Van – Giang Ta Chai – Sapa – Bac Ha (B, L, D)
Day 7: Bac Ha – Hanoi (B, L)


Day 1: Hanoi – Mai Chau – Xam Khoe (L, D)

You will be picked up around 8:00am. Then our road to Mai Chau starts along a beautiful mountain path. When speaking of Mai Chau, almost everyone thinks immediately of a popular touristy site, not knowing there is much to discover off the beaten paths. Xam Khoe village is one example.

Upon arriving to Xam Khoe, we will start a one-hour walk. If we are visiting during the planting or harvesting periods, you will be able to participate in farming activities with the local inhabitants: land plowing with a buffalo, rice planting, and harvesting. You will also have time for a bike ride to visit the area.

Overnight stay at a homestay among a Thai family.

Day 2: Xam Khoe – Son La (B, L, D)

After breakfast, we will depart to visit Cun Pheo, a Muong village. We will then start a 2-hour hike through amazing rice terraces and peaceful villages to discover picturesque sceneries and observe the daily life of locals. After that, we will go back to the homestay to freshen up.

Lunch with the locals.

In the afternoon, we will head towards Son La – with a few stops scheduled on our program to visit villages and take pictures of tea plantations.

Overnight stay at a hotel in Son La.

Day 3: Son La – Pha Din – Muong Phang – Dien Bien Phu (B, L, D)

After breakfast, off to Dien Bien Phu (170 km) through a region inhabited by Thai, Muong and H’Mong ethnic groups.

We will stop at Thuan Chau market where Black Thai women gather to exchange all kinds of agricultural products and handwoven brocades.

We will also stop at Pha Din Pass, one of the four highest passes in northern Vietnam (located at an altitude of 1,648 m), to enjoy a breathtaking view on the valley and villages. Near Pha Din, we will also visit a Red H’Mong village.

Later, we will also go to Muong Phang for a short hike in the woods (1 km) in order to visit the legendary cave of General Giap.

We will finally reach Dien Bien Phu.

Check-in at the hotel where you will stay overnight.

Day 4: Dien Bien Phu – Lai Chau (B, L, D)

Today, we will visit the remains of the decisive battle between the French and the Viet Minh in 1954: Hill A1/Eliane, the Command Bunker of General De Castries and the Museum of Dien Bien Phu. Then, we will head to Lai Chau while driving through the wilderness of a region inhabited by different ethnic groups (Thai, Mong, Dao, Kho Mu Lao, Han Hi, Mang…).

Indeed, the road from Dien Bien Phu to Lai Chau is astonishing and will justify several stops in order to take photos, most notably along the Black River which offers fabulous scenery.

Before arriving in Lai Chau, we will also walk for a short distance (between 1h to 2h) to go discover the daily life of the Red Mong, the Black Dzao and the Dzay minority groups.

Overnight in a hotel in Lai Chau.

Day 5: Lai Chau – Sapa (B, L, D)

If today is a Thursday or a Sunday, we will visit Binh Lu market. You will have the opportunity to see Lu, Lao and Red H’Mong people. On the way from Lai Chau to Sapa, we will stop in a Lu village.

Lu women wear an original outfit consisting of a jacket open in front with a richly decorated and embroidered skirt. They also wear very charming headdresses.

On the road to Sapa, we will cross the Hoang Lien Son mountain range and Tram Ton Pass, the highest pass in the North, which offers a fantastic panoramic view of the surrounding valleys.

We will finally reach Sapa. Check-in at the hotel and dinner.

You will have free time in the evening to visit this little town.

Day 6: Sapa – Ta Van – Giang Ta Chai – Sapa – Bac Ha (B, L, D)

Today, we will head to the 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 the Black H’Mong ethnic group) and Giang Ta Chai Village (home of the 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 7: Bac Ha – Hanoi (B, L)

Wake up early in morning to have breakfast before going to Bac Ha market for an amazing experience. The entire market is as colorful as a field of flowers. It is a lively place where different ethnic groups gather to sale agricultural products and cattle.

Around 10:00 am, we will go back to our bus and head towards Hanoi. We will reach the capital in the afternoon.

End of the tour.

Please contact us for more information about this tour or to customize this itinerary.


  • All transportation 
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B for breakfast, L for lunch, D for dinner) 
  • Accommodation (twin room or double room, homestay) 
  • English-speaking guide
  • All entrances fees to sites mentioned in the itinerary
  • One bottle of water daily

  • Personal expenses
  • Insurance
  • Drinks
  • Supplement for single room
  • Visa to Vietnam if needed

Other Tours:
VAEX07: Colors of the North – 10 days
VAEX08: Authentic Adventure in the Great North – 12 days
VAEX09: Grand Tour of the North & Ha Long Bay – 16 days
VAEX10: Vietnam Mosaic – 21 days