Golden rice terraces at Mu Cang Chai, Yen Bai
Golden rice terraces at Mu Cang Chai, Yen Bai

North West of Vietnam Tour: less traveled route 5 Days

Visited places: Lao Cai, Sapa, Yen Bai, Lai Chau
Tour Activity/Theme: Ethnic market, Ethnic village, Homestay

North West of Vietnam Tour via the less traveled route is an off-the-beaten track adventure to north-western Vietnam for 5 days, 4 nights. The tour has a moderate pace and could be done all year round.

On the tour, we have accommodations with homestay at local ethnic houses. Most meals on the tour are included, lunch at local restaurants en route and the others at our hosts' home.

The highlights of the tour are
- Magnificent rice terraces which turn into golden color in May-June and September-October;
- Sublime mountainscapes in the North West of Vietnam;
- Peaceful and traditional lifestyle of the ethnic minorities.

The Muong Lo Valley, Nghia Lo, Yen Bai
The Muong Lo Valley, Nghia Lo, Yen Bai

Day-to-day Itinerary
Day1    (    Wednesday    )    Ha Noi – Nghia Lo (192km)/Afternoon Ethnic Village Tour (B/L/D)
Day2    (    Thursday    )    Nghia Lo – Tu Le – Mu Cang Chai (100km) (B/L/D)
Day3    (    Friday        )    Mu Cang Chai – Than Uyen – Sa Pa – Ta Van (140km) (B/L)
Day4    (    Saturday    )    Ta Van – Sa Pa – Can Cau Market – Bac Ha (100km) (B/L)
Day5    (    Sunday    )    Bac Ha Market/Bac Ha – Hanoi (320km) (B/L)

Accommodations
Nghia Lo: Homestay
Mu Cang Chai: Homestay
Sapa: Homestay       
Bac Ha: Homestay

The tour price includes

  • English-speaking guide;
  • Transportation as indicated on the tour itinerary;
  • Accommodations in twin-shared rooms as indicated on the tour itinerary;
  • Meals as indicated as indicated on the tour itinerary: B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner;
  • All admission fees as indicated on the tour itinerary;

The tour price doesn’t include

  • Insurance of any type;
  • Drinks or personal expenses;
  • Others not specified in the inclusions;

Detailed Itinerary

Day1 ( Wednesday ) Ha Noi – Nghia Lo (192km)/Afternoon Ethnic Village Tour (B/L/D)
We travel by car for 5 hours through green tea plantations, terraced hillside roads to Muong Lo Valley, the second largest valley in the North West of Vietnam. Arriving at Nghia An Village in the valley at mid day. We have time for lunch and refreshment. The afternoon is for exploring the Black Thai communities nearby.
Overnight at Nghia Lo.

Thai homestay at Nghia An, Muong Lo, Nghia Lo
Thai homestay at Nghia An, Muong Lo, Nghia Lo

Day2 ( Thursday ) Nghia Lo – Tu Le – Mu Cang Chai (100km) (B/L/D)
Breakfast at the hosts’ home.
We have 3 hours driving amid rugged mountains which offer superb scenery. There are various photographic opportunities on the way. We arrive at our hosts' home for tonight at Mu Cang Chai in late morning. In the afternoon, explore the Black Thai communities and Hmong communities around Mu Cang Chai.
Overnight at Mu Cang Chai.

Tu Le - Cao Pha Valley, Yen Bai
Tu Le - Cao Pha Valley, Yen Bai

 

Green rice terraces at Cao Pha - Tu Le Valley
Green rice terraces at Cao Pha - Tu Le Valley

 

Green rice terraces at Mu Cang Chai, Yen Bai
Green rice terraces at Mu Cang Chai, Yen Bai

 

Golden rice terraces at Mu Cang Chai, Yen Bai
Golden rice terraces at Mu Cang Chai, Yen Bai

Day3 ( Friday ) Mu Cang Chai – Than Uyen – Sa Pa – Ta Van (140km) (B/L)
Breakfast at the hosts’ home.
We travel the whole morning through stunning natural landscape towards Sapa, a hill station famed for great natural landscape, cool climate and colorful ethnic minorities. On the way, we stop for sightseeing at O Quy Ho Pass, one of the most beautiful mountain passes in Vietnam.

We arrive at Sapa Town at mid day, have lunch at a local restaurant and a walking tour of the town. Then, our car takes us further to Muong Hoa Valley where we have a trekking tour from Lao Chai to Ta Van. The trek is moderate and we'll make our way through streams, ethnic houses and schools. Our hosts for tonight are from a Giay ethnic minority.
Overnight at Ta Van Village in Sapa District.

Sapa Market
Sapa Market

 

Black Hmong at Sapa Town
Black Hmong at Sapa Town

Day4 ( Saturday ) Ta Van – Sa Pa – Can Cau Market – Bac Ha (100km) (B/L)
Breakfast at the hosts’ home.
We have an early day for breakfast and for the road trip to Can Cau Market in Si Ma Cai District, Lao Cai Province. The market is only once per week in the district on Saturday morning. People from different local ethnic groups such as Tay, Nung, Giay, Hmong, Kinh,...go to the market from early in the morning for trade and for socializing. The scene is just exotic and so is the atmosphere! We leave the market about mid day and travel to Bac Ha for the night. Our hosts at Bac Ha are a Hmong family.

The afternoon is for a hiking tour around the Hmong communities in Bac Ha. In late January and early February, the area of Bac Ha District is covered by beautiful blossoms of plum and peach flowers.
Overnight at Bac Ha.

A Nung lady at Can Cau Market
A Nung lady at Can Cau Market

 

Merchants at Can Cau Market
Merchants at Can Cau Market

 

Ethnic groups at Can Cau Market
Ethnic groups at Can Cau Market

Day5 ( Sunday ) Bac Ha Market/Bac Ha – Hanoi (320km) (B/L)
Breakfast at the hosts’ home.
We have 2 hours taking photos of Bac Ha Market then travel by road back to Hanoi. We have lunch en route and arrive back at Hanoi in late afternoon concluding adventure tour to the North West of Vietnam.