5 Day Off The Beaten Path Vietnam Northern Loop

The Vietnam Northern Loop 5 day tour starts from Hanoi, taking you to such destinations as Ba Be lakes, Cao Bang, Ha Giang, Bac Ha, Lao Cai.

Trip Description & Day-by-day Itinerary

The Vietnam Northern Loop 5 day tour starts from Hanoi, taking you to such destinations as Ba Be lakes, Cao Bang, Ha Giang, Bac Ha, Lao Cai. Enjoy spectacular landscapes of the northern mountainous region, especially the limestone highland and Chay River Massif; Unique discovery of interesting culture, custom and way of life of different tribal ethnic peoples living in Vietnam’s remote far north.

Map

Itinerary

DAY 1: HANOI -> THAI NGUYEN -> BA BE NATIONAL PARK

Picked up at 07.30am and follow national road 3 for 2 hours to Thai Nguyen. Spend half an hour paying visit to the famous Museum of ethnology for basic understanding about the ethnic peoples living in the northern mountainous region. Continue the road trip 105 km along national road 3 via Bac Can to Na Phac and then turn to provincial road for 37km to Cho Ra. Enjoy several stops for beautiful landscapes and having late lunch break in Cho Ra Town let. Transfer shortly after lunch to the boat pier and spend the rest of the afternoon cruising to explore Ba Be National Park and Lake. Boat trip ends up in late afternoon, and there are 2 options for staying overnight: Home stay in Pac Ngoi village of the Tay or in standard hotel at the head quarter of the park.

DAY 2: BA BE NATIONAL PARK -> BAO LAC -> MEO VAC

Breakfast and leave Ba Be at 08.00am. Drive 79km along road 279 to Ha Hieu junction and turn left for Tinh Tuc. Enjoy stunning scenery of the Colia Pass, take a short walk to visit a village of the Zao Tien before having a coffee break in Tinh Tuc. Then follow national road 34A 88km to Bao Lac. Enjoy an hour walk along the way to see a village of the San Chay ethnic peoples. Lunch break in Bao Lac. Continue the road trip along the Gam River after lunch for 21km to Ly Bon before getting up steep mountains of the remotest land of Cao Bang to Meo Vac town let of Ha Giang province. This portion of the road trip offers chances to see the poorest region of the country with traces of slash and burn agriculture. Take an hour walking through the fascinating valley of Niem Son and discover way of life of the Nung ethnic.

DAY 3: MEO VAC -> DONG VAN -> YEN MINH

Leaving Meo Vac, transfer over the Ma Pi Leng Pass which is well-known for its magnificent and spectacular scenery. Enjoy many viewing stops and short walk along the way before paying visiting to Ma Pi Leng 2 village of the Hmong peoples, which is set amongst limestone rocks where the highest value of fresh water and cultivating land can be seen evidently. Arriving in Dong Van, the northern most town let of Vietnam at about 10.00, enjoy an hour walking through this stunning valley, explore the market and the ancient street of Dong Van before lunch. After lunch, follow the narrow road through Ma Le and Lung Tao communes, this portion of the road offers marvelous scenery of the Rocky Plateau. Paying visiting to the a small village of the Hmong at Lung Tao before processing to Xa Phin valley. Spend an hour visiting the historical site of the Vuong family palace who ruled over the region, control opium production and trading until 1945. Then continue the trip for an hour along road 4C through a series of magnificent valleys which surrounded by wall-up mountain, enjoy another walk to visit the Lung Cam Tren village where the Hmong changed their way of life from sifting into sedentary one from about 100 years ago which help them to have better life than many others. There is possibility to meet the famous village chief who play the KHEN and dance beautifully. Leaving Lung Can and transfer mostly downhill the Pho Cao pass in mid afternoon for Yen Minh valley, arriving in the hotel at about 05.00pm,check in and spend the rest hours to explore this lush valley.

DAY 4: YEN MINH -> HA GIANG -> HOANG SU PHI

Breakfast and leaving Yen Minh at 08.00am. Firstly, transfer by road 42km to pass over the Yen Minh Pass with several stops to enjoy breathtaking landscapes. Then getting through the Lung Tam commune which is set amongst perfect surrounding nature before paying visiting to Mrs. Mai’s workshop in which this kind lady gathers over 100 Hmong and Zao women who have to suffer difficult situation, help them to learn of traditional weaving and embroidery so that to be able to earn good living. Then continue the trip by passing over another stunning pass, the Quan Ba which offers the fascinating scenery, paying visiting to another village of the Hmong along the way. Arriving to Ha Giang at noon, and stop for lunch break. Enjoy an hour walk to explore the Me village which situated around a large valley near Ha Giang before transferring 105km to Quang Vinh town let of Hoang Su Phi district. Contrasting to the rocky land of Meo Vac, Dong Van and Yen Minh, Hoang Su Phi district and its neighboring Xin Man district have very different scenery. Lying on the top of the Chay River Massif, these two district is covered by lush and green forest, tea farms and possess probably the most impressive terraced rice fields in Vietnam. The road winds its way on high mountain sides and offers beautiful landscapes. Arriving at the hotel at about 06.00pm, check in hotel and relax.

DAY 5: HOANG SU PHI -> BAC HA -> LAO CAI -> HANOI

Leaving Hoang Su Phi for 100km excursion along Chinese border, getting through the Chay River Massif and explore local life for the Flower Hmong, Tay and Nung along the way. Spend nearly 2 hours walking through Lung Cai commune which is beautifully set on a high mountain range, overlooking down a narrow and steep valley where the Chay River winding its way between Vietnam and China. Arriving to Bac Ha Town let at noon, paying visit to Hoang A Tuong Castle before having lunch break. Take another walk to explore the mighty Ban Pho valley after lunch, then transfer for 2 hours downhill along the smooth road to Lao Cai, having day used room in a hotel near the rail way station. Boarding the overnight train at 08.45pm for Hanoi.

Additional Information

Primary Activity

Duration

Tour Starts

Places to Visit

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Tour Ends

Lao Cai

Adventure Level

Other Activities

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Type of tour

Private tour

Minimum Age

1-150

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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