5 Days Northwest Vietnam itinerary

Northwest Vietnam itinerary is arranged in the north western Vietnam taking you to Nghia Lo, Tu Le, Mu Cang Chai, Yen Bai, and Sapa, Lao Cai.

Trip Description & Day-by-day Itinerary

Northwest Vietnam itinerary is arranged in the north western Vietnam taking you to Nghia Lo, Tu Le, Mu Cang Chai, Yen Bai, and Sapa, Lao Cai. The tour is a combination of classic visits, ethnic culture experience, and easy day hikes which are appropriated for group tours, family travel, holiday with kids…The best time to travel this itinerary is the dry season starting from late September until early May the following year.

MAP

ITINERARY

DAY 1: HANOI -> DUONG LAM -> NGHIA LO

8.00 AM: you will be met up with our guide, driver at your hotel in Hanoi and transferred to Nghia Lo.

After about one or two hour drive, you arrive in Son Tay where a stop is scheduled for visiting Duong Lam ancient village, a very old and beautiful village of Viet (Kinh) people. The ancient village has a history of about 1,200 years with many houses dating back up to 400 years. Today, Duong lam village still retains most of the basic characteristics of a village of Vietnam with port village, trees, courtyard, temples, well, water fields…

Enjoy a short walk around the village with visit to some old houses before you continue your road trip towards Nghia Lo town, Yen Bai province.

Lunch is provided in a local restaurant en route.

Around mid-afternoon, you arrive in Nghia Lo, a beautiful small town located in the central of Muong Lo valley and is the home of the Thai peoples. Check into a local stilt house for dinner and overnight (homestay).

DAY 2: NGHIA LO -> TU LE -> MU CANG CHAI

Today is the highlight of the trip since the drive takes you through the area where there are the most beautiful terraced rice fields in Vietnam.

After breakfast, you leave Nghia Lo travelling towards Tu Le. You may leave the main road taking a small hiking trail that leads uphill to the Khau Pha mountain pass! The hike takes about two hours, offering you the opportunity to visit a local H’mong village is set among beautiful terraced rice fields.

Lunch is provided in a local restaurant in Tu Le.

After lunch, continue your road trip driving uphill the Khau Pha pass. Enjoy breathtaking landscapes of the two sides of the pass. Then gradually driving downhill to the famous Mu Cang Chai valley. Enjoy another short hike.

Upon your arrival in Mu Cang Chai, check into a local stilt house. Then if time permit enjoy a short walk to a Thai village is also located in the beautiful valley. Otherwise you can visit the Thai the following day before you leave Mu Cang Chai for Sapa.

Dinner and overnight in Mu Cang Chai.

DAY 3: MU CANG CHAI -> THAN UYEN -> SAPA

After breakfast, you can have a short visit of the Mu Cang Chai market is open right in the town before continue your road trip to Sapa.

Upon your arrival in Than Uyen, you turn right and keep driving uphill towards Sapa. The road trip takes about two hours as you travel along the west side of Hoang Lien Son mountain range which offers stunning scenery of the fabulous Muong Khoa valley. This is well known as the rice basket of Lai Chau province.

Enjoy a coffee break at Chu Va before driving over the Sapa Mountain pass. A stop is made when you arrive at Tram Ton, the “Heaven Gate”. Enjoy the view of the Fansipan Mount, the highest one in Vietnam. This is magnificent on sunny day.

Arriving in Sapa town around mid/late afternoon, check in hotel for overnight.

Free dinner. Overnight in Sapa at hotel.

DAY 4: SAPA HIKING

Leaving Sapa at about 08.30 am, you travel southwards of Sapa along a narrow and bumpy tarmac. The first 16K of the road trip offers spectacular landscapes of Hoang Lien mountain range, Fansipan peak as well as marvelous terraced rice fields of the Muong Hoa valley. Enjoy several photo stops before taking half an hour walk around Hoa Su Pan, a small hamlet of the Black Hmong, paying visiting to local homes and meeting up with local villagers.

Continue the trip further south to Muong Bo valley of Thanh Phu Commune. Enjoy another walk for an hour along the large village path, paying visiting to several homes of the Tay who live in spacious houses built on stilts, witnessing their daily life and experiencing their hospitality.

Lunch break in a local home.

Take a short drive after lunch along the rocky road to My Son and spend half an hour to explore this charming village of the Xa Pho ethnic, whose population is only more than 6 thousands peoples, for a brief understanding of their unique culture and customs.

Then process further for 10K to Nam Cang Commune for visiting a beautiful and prosperous village of the Red Zao people in Nam Than village. This portion of the road ride offers beautiful scenery of the Nam Sai valley.

Leave Nam Cang in mid afternoon and driving for an hour along the same way back to Sapa.

Free dinner.

Overnight in Sapa at hotel.

DAY 5: SAPA -> HANOI

Breakfast at hotel. Enjoy the morning walk to H’mong villages. You go downhill through beautiful orchids gardens and pine forests. You will then reach a small village of Suoi Ho is inhabited by H’mong ethnic minority. Their house normally built of land has no windows because of the cold in the winter. You will then continue your walk through rice paddy fields and spectacular scenery to Ma tra. It is possible to stop by a primary school for a quick visit. Then our vehicle will be waiting for us for our drive back to Sapa.

Lunch is provided in a local restaurant in town.

After lunch, drive back to Hanoi. You travel on the new Highway Noi Bai – Lao Cai, and the drive takes about 6 hours.

Arrival in Hanoi, you will be dropped off at your hotel. End.

Additional Information

Tour Starts

Hanoi

Tour Ends

Hanoi

Places to Visit

Duong Lam Village, Lao Cai, Mu Cang Chai, Nghia Lo, Sapa, Tu Le, Yen Bai

Adventure Level

Easy

Availability

Upon Request

Primary Activity

Off-The-Beaten Track, Sightseeing

Duration

5 days

Type of tour

Private tour

Itinerary Disclaimer

Occasionally our tour itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travelers’ comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the service proposal. It’s very important that you print and review a final copy of your itinerary a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact us. We are here to help you!

Please note that while we operate successful trips in Vietnam throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.

Inclusions

Our trip cost usually includes the following services. Please bear in mind LOTUSSIA Travel is specialized in tailor-made trips. Trip cost vary depending on group size and other details.

  • Car transfers.
  • Local tour guide. The English-Speaking guide is provided by default. Other language may be available upon request (with extra charge).
  • Local porter(s).
  • Accommodation.
  • Meals.
  • Entrance fees.
  • Bottled water.

Exclusions

Unless required most of the following services are usually not included in our tour price.

  • Visa
  • Flight/Train tickets.
  • Accommodation pre/post trip.
  • International travel insurance.
  • Tips.
  • Personal expenses.

Tour Guide

Our tour guides speak English or French. They hold a university degree in tourism and national license as a guide. If you wish to send a tour leader along with any group, he or she can fully rely on the knowledge and experience of our local guides.

Remote treks are always accompanied by a local representative to deal with permits and authorities and manage the porter team. They speak the local dialects, know the cultural traditions and give tips on suggested behavior in fragile ecological areas and tribal communities. For some itineraries, the role of tour leader and representative is combined.

Trip Routes

Principally, LOTUSSIA Travel requires all the trip associates to know the destinations well by any means of traveling or enquiry to the local suppliers to figure out all the relative details of any trip. For adventure tours such as jungle trekking, mountain hiking, sea kayaking, river rafting or biking, cycling tours, LOTUSSIA Travel will never add any new routes into available schedule until survey or pre-view it.

Accommodation

LOTUSSIA Travel carefully choose all the hotels, guest-houses or homestays based on service quality, location, and characteristics, doing best to make the accommodations in the remote small places as comfortable as possible. Please bear in mind that hotels in Vietnam might not be in the same standard in other country. Generally hotels in major cities such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh city, Hoian, Hue…are much better than hotels and guest-houses in mountainous areas.

Meals

LOTUSSIA Travel take dinning as an indispensable experience to clients since it is an important part in Vietnamese culture. Therefore, LOTUSSIA Travel will not intend take clients to the most expensive restaurants but non-touristy local ones which offer delicious, local food, with nice or interesting atmosphere. The restaurants might be simple in the country but LOTUSSIA Travel guarantee is sanitary and cleanliness. Or even on our trek, we encourage our cook offer client food with new tastes from day to day. During adventure itineraries to mountainous or remote areas, there is sometimes no choice for hotel and restaurants. We will try our best to bring you the best taste of local food.

Drinks

As the tap water in Vietnam is undrinkable, LOTUSSIA Travel recommend clients to drink bottled water throughout your trip, or boiled water on treks. LOTUSSIA Travel offers bottle water all the day, and soft drinks like Cola, Sprite or Vietnamese Tea or if possible juice in restaurants (if mentionned in itinerary). This is not automatically included in the packages. In simple restaurant or on camping, LOTUSSIA Travel offers boiled water, instant coffee or juice, wrapped milk (Details are confirmed in bottom of your itinerary).

Vehicle

In most destinations of Vietnam, all the roads are well paved though the traffic is quite messed up like in Hanoi, Hai Phong… We use proper vehicles, car, minibus or coach in good condition based on the size of the groups. We use 4WD only on the rough road where the other vehicles could not pass through or based on clients requirement on overland journeys or treks. For cycling itineraries, we usually use our support minibus or minibus with support truck. For sea kayaking, river rafting trips, diving packages we use standard boat as support. Detailed information is provided on our service proposal.

We use drivers who are native or local of each travel destination and maintain good safety records for all trips. Most of our drivers can speak English but a little bit. This is just enough to understand basic words such as “time of departure”, “stop”, “restaurants”, “hotels”…If you want to learn more about Vietnamese culture and information about sightseeing sites, booking a tour guide is highly recommended.

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