Day 1: Hanoi – Ba Be Lake (L, D)
On this morning, you will head to the North and go through Thai Nguyen Province. Along the way, you will see rice fields, corn fields, and vegetable orchards. From Thai Nguyen, the road will start to climb gently, before we stumble on a series of passes running across amazing landscapes made of stilt houses surrounded by banana trees and bamboo forests.
Afterwards, you 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 people.
You’ll arrive in Cho Ra by the afternoon where you will visit the 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, you’ll embark on a drive to Ba Be Lake.
Overnight stay in a dorm or homestay.
Day 2: Ba Be Lake – Ban Gioc (B, L, D)
Start the day with the locals for a delicious breakfast.
In the morning, you’ll board a boat for a 4-hour cruise on the wonderful natural lake of Ba Be. Making your way up to Puong Cave, all the while enjoying the peaceful and stunning view of nature. At the end, you will return to homestay for lunch.
In the afternoon, you will say goodbye to the host family before driving up north for our next destination: Ban Gioc waterfalls.
Upon arrival, your tour guide will help you check-in at the resort before enjoying this place, believed to host the most beautiful falls in Vietnam.
Overnight stay at a resort.
Day 3: Ban Gioc – Cao Bang – Khuoi Khon – Bao Lac (B, L, D)
Wake up to have a good breakfast and spend more time to enjoy the waterfalls before heading to Bao Lac via Cao Bang, where lunch will be held. 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.
Later, we will finally 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 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 – Hanoi (B, L)
Enjoy Ha Giang a little bit more after your breakfast, before we start our road to return to Hanoi. Not before stopping to visit a village inhabited by H'Mongs and Dzaos.
We will take our lunch in Tuyen Quang, amidst beautiful hills covered by tea plantations.
We will finally reach the capital in late afternoon. End of the tour.