Northwest is one of the regions of Vietnam, located in the mountainous part of the country. It consists of four provinces: Dien Bien, Lai Chau, Son La and Hoa Binh. Northwest is home of many minority groups, spectacular scenery and perfect terrain for hiking and mountain biking routes. Winding roads through mountain ranges take you past communities with varied lifestyles.
(B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, G = Guide, DP = Driver Pickup)
Day 1: Hanoi – Mai Chau (150km) (G)
Leaving Hanoi in the morning at 8:00 am, heading west to Mai Chau. We pass through the scenic countryside, Limestone Mountains, passes leading our way down hills to Mai Chau, the valley of the Thai people. We spend the afternoon walking or cycling around the village to learn about the Thai and experience the local culture. Stay overnight in the stilt house.
Day 2: Mai Chau – Moc Chau – Son La (175km) (B, G)
Today, we will go deeper into the Northwest with a stop-over in Moc Chau, visiting the tea plantations to meet and learn about the peasant farming. Arriving to Son La in the mid afternoon we check into our hotel then take a walk to visit the Son La Museum – a complex of the old French prison and Ethnology museum. Overnight in Hotel.
Day 3: Son La Tuan Giao – Dien Bien (170km) (B, G)
Moving on we head directly west towards Dien Bien Phu. Passing by the villages of the ethnic minority people, including White Thai, black Thai, H’mong, Muong, and Dzao. We spend the rest of afternoon to discover Dien Bien Phu – the French army base from 1953 to 1954, visiting the museum, monuments relating to the Vietnam War history. Overnight in Hotel.
Dat 4: Dien Bien – Muong Lay – Lai Chau (200km) (B, G)
Heading north through Lai Chau province we are confronted by some of Vietnam’s most spectacular scenery. Nestled in a beautiful valley and surrounded by a magnificent mountain range. Today, we have chance to discover more tribes group living in Northwest Vietnam. Overnight in Hotel.
Day 5: Lai Chau – Sapa (75km) (B, G)
Leaving Lai Chau for Sapa and arriving around noon. We will have the magnificent views of the great mountains, passes and valleys and experience a dramatic change of climate as we go over Tram Ton pass, the highest mountain pass in Vietnam before winding down hills to Sapa – the old French hill station. We check into our hotel, freshen up and have the rest of the day to explore the town and maybe take a short walk down to Cat Cat village where the home of Black H’mong people. Overnight in Hotel.
Day 6: Sapa trekking, then night train back to Hanoi (B, L, G)
Following breakfast, we explore the Sapa daily market and then set out on our 3-4 hours hike that will take us along buffalo paths and trails and through several hill tribe villages of Lao Chai and Tavan, home to H’mong, and Dzay people. This is an absolutely spectacular walk through stunning scenery inhabited by some of the friendliest people you can meet.
Returning to Sapa in the afternoon for the transfer to Lao Cai railway station. Overnight train back to Hanoi.
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