Vietnam

Exploration Tour

North Vietnam Loop

Summary

Type: Exploration Tour

Duration: 11 Days

Best Time to Travel: October – April

Places you'll discover

Dien Bien Phu
Hanoi
Lai Chau
Mai Chau
Phong Tho
Sapa
Son La
Ta Van
Tuan Giao



FROM
£1119
Per person based on 2 people sharing
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    North Vietnam Loop - Itinerary

    This is an amazing opportunity to discover the ethnic hill tribes of northern Vietnam, located in some of the country’s most breath taking scenery. Mai Chau is only four hours from the capital Hanoi but is a world away from the busy metropolis. Here the Thai minority live in wooden stilt houses surrounded by the rugged limestone outcrops which dominate the area. Further north we learn about the tenacity of the Vietnamese people as they defeated the French colonial forces at the decisive battle of Dien Bien Phu. At Sapa we trek through rice terraced valleys and visit vibrant markets and meet a range of colourful tribes-people.

    Day 1

    Arrive Hanoi

    Arrive Hanoi
    In the morning

    Arrive at Noi Bai International Airport where you will be met and welcomed by your Vietnamese guide. Transfer by road to your hotel for checking-in and briefing of the tour. The remainder of the day is free at leisure.



    Day 2

    Hanoi – Mai Chau

    Hanoi – Mai Chau
    In the morning

    In the morning we depart the capital for Mai Chau (150km), home to the Thai ethnic minority people. Along the way we pass green paddy fields and limestone outcrops and mountains.

    In the afternoon

    Upon arrival we check in to our homestay (or the Mai Chau Ecolodge if doing the 4 star option). After a local lunch we have a walking tour to the nearby villages of Pom Coong and Lac, both communities of the White Thai minority. Here we can learn more about their culture and way of life as exemplified in their embroidery and wonderful wooden stilt houses.

    In the evening

    There is the opportunity to watch a traditional dance performance put on by White Thai villagers.

    Included:
    Breakfast
    Lunch

    Day 3

    Mai Chau – Son La

    In the morning

    After breakfast we drive out of Mai Chau to Son La (150km). En route we stop at the Moc Chau Plateau with its acres of green meadows and grazing cattle as well as tea farms and lush orchards.

    In the afternoon

    Arrive in Son La where the remainder of the day is free.

    Included:
    Breakfast

    Day 4

    Son La – Tuan Giao – Dien Bien Phu

    In the morning

    We have a guided tour of the former French Prison in Son La, now a museum, where Vietnamese political prisoners were incarcerated. We then continue by road to Dien Bien Phu (180km).

    In the afternoon

    We stop at Tuan Giao along the way and drive through the scenic Pha Din Pass before arriving in Dien Bien Phu.

    Included:
    Breakfast
    Lunch

    Day 5

    Dien Bien Phu – Lai Chau – Phong Tho

    Dien Bien Phu – Lai Chau – Phong Tho
    In the morning

    Today we visit the battlefields of Dien Bien Phu as well as the War Museum and Muong Thanh Airbase. The French defeat at Dien Bien Phu in 1954 signalled the end of French influence in Indochina. The battle fought around Dien Bien Phu was the last major campaign by a European state in the region. Here the Viet Minh under the astute leader of General Nguyen Van Giap encircled the French forces at the bottom of a valley. The battle became one of attrition. The Viet Minh advanced slowly and usually countered any French attack. By April 22nd 1954, the Viet Minh gained most of the airfield and the game was up for the French.

    In the afternoon

    In the afternoon we proceed along uneven roads towards Phong Tho (200km). Along the way we pass through a variety of colourful hill tribes including Hmong, Black Thai ad Black Dzao. Check in to the hotel in Phong Tho and free time to wander around this small town.

    Included:
    Breakfast
    Lunch

    Day 6

    Phong Tho – Sapa

    Phong Tho – Sapa
    In the morning

    After breakfast we drive the 150km to Sapa, situated at an altitude of 1,600 meters. In the early 20th century the French took advantage of Sapa's cool climate, developing it into a summer retreat from the heat and humidity of Hanoi. Today, Sapa town still retains its European feel, largely due to the French architecture and gardens and today is a popular destination due to its beautiful scenery and colourful ethnic people.

    In the afternoon

    We walk up Ham Rong Mountain for a panoramic view of Sapa, before descending Sapa valley and the nearby Black Hmong village of Cat Cat.

    Included:
    Breakfast
    Lunch

    Day 7

    Sapa

    In the morning

    This morning we leave Sapa for a three hour jeep ride along winding roads to the Bac Ha Sunday market where hundreds of ethnic tribes people congregate to buy and sell their locally grown produce and livestock. It’s a frenetic and colourful affair and a photographer’s dream.

    In the afternoon

    After leaving the market we pay a visit to the Hmong King’s Palace before returning to Bac Ha for lunch. Later we walk around nearby Ban Pho village before driving back to Sapa.

    Included:
    Breakfast
    Lunch

    Day 8

    Sapa – Ta Van

    Sapa – Ta Van
    In the morning

    We have an early departure this morning as we embark on a trek through the valley to the Zay village of Ta Van. En route we walk through a Black Hmong village. Black Hmong are the most populous hill tribe in and around Sapa valley and still retain their own culture, traditions and style of dress – indigo dyed dark blue and black clothing. The trek takes between four to five hours.

    In the afternoon

    Upon arrival in Ta Van we will be the guests of a local family in their homestay.



    Day 9

    Ta Van – Lao Cai

    Ta Van – Lao Cai
    In the morning

    Awaken to the sounds of village life – roosters and morning vendors! After an early breakfast we have a three hour trek to the village of Giang Ta Chai, passing a waterfall along the way. The village is inhabited by Red Dzao – easily recognizable in their red attire complete with embroidery coins and red headscarves, often covering their shaved heads.

    In the afternoon

    We take lunch in Sapa (not included) and have time to do some last minute shopping in the local market and shops. In the evening we transfer by road to Lao Cai station on the Chinese border for the overnight train to Hanoi

    Included:
    Breakfast

    Day 10

    Hanoi

    In the morning

    Arriving early in Hanoi we transfer to our hotel. The remainder of the day is free to explore Vietnam’s vibrant capital.

    Included:
    Breakfast

    Day 11

    Hanoi

    In the morning

    Free time until your airport transfer to Noi Bai International Airport for your onward flight.

    Included:
    Breakfast

    Additional Information

    What's Included?

    • Room accommodation in twin share
    • Homestay accommodation Mai Chau and Ta Van              
    • Private transportation by car/ minivan   
    • Overnight train from Lao Cai to Hanoi (Sapaly Train – 3 star option / Fansipan Train – 4 star option)           
    • Experienced English speaking Vietnamese guide
    • Drinking water in car / minivan
    • Daily breakfast and meals as mentioned in itinerary
    • Entrance and sightseeing fees as mentioned in the itinerary
    • Airport arrival and departure transfers

    What's Not Included?

    • International Flights
    • Drinks during meals
    • Optional tours
    • Vietnam visa (not applicable if staying for less than 15 days)
    • Any personal expenses such as laundry, hotel phone etc
    • Tips and gratuities

    Accommodation Information

    3 Star Accommodation:

    • Mai Chau – Homestay
    • Son La – Hanoi Hotel
    • Dien Bien Phu – Him Lam Hotel
    • Phong Tho – Lam Anh Hotel
    • Ta Van – Homestay
    • Sapa – Sapa Dragon Hotel
    • Hanoi – Gondola Hotel
    £1,119 per person based on 2 people sharing (3 Star Accommodation)

    4 Star Accommodation:

    • Mai Chau – Mai Chau Ecolodge
    • Son La – Hanoi Hotel
    • Dien Bien Phu – Muong Thanh Hotel
    • Phong Tho – Lam Anh Hotel
    • Ta Van – Homestay
    • Sapa – Legend Sapa Hotel
    • Hanoi – MK Premier Boutique
    £1,195 per person based on 2 people sharing (4 Star Accommodation)

    North Vietnam Loop Summary

    Details

    Type: Exploration

    Duration: 11 Days

    Best Time to Travel: October – April

    Places you'll discover

    Dien Bien Phu
    Hanoi
    Lai Chau
    Mai Chau
    Phong Tho
    Sapa
    Son La
    Ta Van
    Tuan Giao
    FROM
    £1119
    Per person based on 2 people sharing

    Speak to our friendly Travel Experts

    01279 507 956
    Customise This Tour
     

    Quick Enquiry: North Vietnam Loop

      Accept Terms Read about our
      Privacy Policy here