Northern Vietnam Tribal Trails

The mountain town of Sapa is very near the Vietnam/Chinese border, and is surrounded by numerous ethnic minority villages, hiking trails and breathtaking natural scenery. On this trek, you will enjoy exploring with an experienced local English speaking guide through the region's rice paddies, rivers, and lush valleys. Explore local markets selling handwoven textiles, silver jewellery and handicrafts. Your Vietnam trekking experience will make you feel like you have gone back in time, as you meet locals who have little contact with modern Vietnam, and speak little Vietnamese themselves.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 - Cai - Sapa - Sa Seng - Hau Thao - Sapa

Upon arrival in Lao Cai you'll be met by our representative and depart for Sapa.
You will them embark on a scenic hike to Sa Seng village, here you'll have the opportunity to take in the amazing views of the Ma Tra and Ta Phin village. As you descend towards Ta Van and Hau Thao village enjoy the panoramic view over the Fansipan Mountain. After plenty of photo opportunities, you’ll stop for a picnic lunch in the church of the Black H’mong village.
In the afternoon, you will continue your walk through the scenic rice paddy fields. When you meet the main road, your vehicle will be waiting to take you to Topas Eco-lodge for your overnight accommodation.

Overnight: Topas Eco Lodge (Breakfast and Lunch included)

Day 2 - Full day hiking to Ban Ho village

After filling breakfast, you will commence your walk on the road towards Su Pan. From there, you will start descending down a slope with a breathtaking view overhead. On the way you will pass through the Ban Ho village where you will be able to witness the stunning views of the valley and the rice paddy terraces. You will have the opportunity to explore the Tay village of Ban Ho before crossing the suspension bridge over a stream. The route will continue taking you through the rice fields to the Red Dao village of Nam Toong where your guide will prepare your lunch in a local house. After lunch you will go swimming by a waterfall before ascending back to the Topas Ecolodge. The remainder of the day will be your own. You’ll spend the night at the Topas Ecolodge.

Overnight: Topas Eco Lodge (Breakfast and Lunch included)

Day 3 - Sapa - Lao Cai - Can Cau - Bac Ha

After breakfast, your transport and guide will arrive to take you to visit Can Cau Market frequented by the local people. The first part of your journey will take you through Lao Cai, which is a border crossing point, and alongside the river marking the boundary with China. You’ll pass Bac Ha town before getting Can Cau market. The market itself represents the typical cultural features of the minorities in remote mountainous areas in Vietnam. After lunch time, you’ll be driven back to Bac Ha for some hiking around the local ethnic villages. You’ll then return to the town for overnight stay.

Overnight: Sao Mai Hotel (Breakfast and Lunch included)

Day 4 - Bac Ha - Hoang Su Phi - Panhou Village

After breakfast, you’ll enjoy a brief visit to Bac Ha ethnic market, afterwards you will embark for Xi Man and explore local markets in the North-Eastern mountainous provinces, such as Ha Giang. Later, you’ll continue to travel to the small rural district of Hoang Su Phi to visit their weekly ethnic market. On the way, you’ll have chance to visit other market in Hoang Su Phi. Each market has it's own character, the treasures and encounters you acquire along the way will truly be a unique and unforgettable experience.

Overnight: Pan Hou Village (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner included)

Day 5 - Hoang Su Phi - Ha Giang

A morning trip will take you to the Nam Hong village, home to the Red Dzao ethnic minority group. Your journey will take you through the scenic valleys where you can expect to see views of the faraway mountains and the terrace rice fields. Your guide will prepare lunch for you at a local family.
After lunch, you’ll return to Pan Hou and embark for Ha Giang, your route will take you through mountainous landscapes and striking scenery. Upon arrival in Ha Giang, you’ll check-in to your hotel. You’ll spend the night in Ha Giang.

Overnight: Huy Hoan Hotel (Breakfast and Lunch included)

Day 6 - Ha Giang - Meo Vac

After breakfast, you will visit the small communities of Quan Ba, Yen Minh and Dong Van, some of the most picturesque villages in the northern tip of Vietnam. The scenery is spectacular – a vast limestone mountain range and perpendicular walls of rock. You’ll call in at the infamous Vuong Palace, once the home of a high-ranking H'mong family during French colonial rule. The palace attracts architecturally minded visitors due to its unusual combination of European and Chinese styles. From there you drive to Dong Van town where your guide will show you its charming ‘Old Streets’ near the market. After lunch, a scenic route will take you to the Ma Pi Leng Pass from where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the Nho Que River – with luck you might see one of the northeast’s stunning sunsets. Finally, after your busy day, you’ll arrive at Meo Vac in the late afternoon where you’ll spend the night.

Overnight: Hoa Cuong or Khau Vai (Breakfast and Lunch included)

Day 7 - Meo Vac - Cao Bang

After breakfast, you will visit the Meo Vac and join the local Lo Lo, White H’Mong, Tay people in their daily local market. You’ll continue your journey onto the nearby village of the Lo Lo minority before driving to Cao Bang. The scenery is spectacular and the road runs along the sides of the mountains. You’ll have lunch in a small town and, in the late afternoon, you’ll arrive in Cao Bang town to check into your hotel.

Overnight: Thanh Loan Hotel (Breakfast and Lunch included)

Day 8 - Cao Bang - Ban Gioc Waterfall

After breakfast, you’ll visit the Ban Gioc Waterfall on the China-Vietnam border. Ban Gioc is one of the largest and possibly the most impressive waterfalls of Vietnam. It’s possible to swim in the cool waters below the falls or simply enjoy the pleasant surroundings and views across to China on the opposite side of the river. You’ll visit Nguom Ngao, one of the largest caves in the area. It has many fascinating shapes and formations of stalactites. Your overnight stay will be in Cao Bang.

Overnight: Thanh Loan Hotel (Breakfast and Lunch included)

Day 9 - Cao Bang - Thai Nguyen - Hanoi

After an early breakfast, you’ll leave for Hanoi via Thai Nguyen with en-route visit Ethnology Museum. You’ll arrive in Hanoi in the afternoon.

(Breakfast and Lunch included)

Accommodation Information

Topas Eco Lodge

Topas Ecolodge is situated in the perfect location at two cone-shaped hills set deep in the spectacular Sapa valley of Northern Vietnam. The ecolodge consists of 25 individual lodges placed in a circle around the hills. From the lodge there are breathtaking views across the scenic valleys below, which are home to villages of the Tay and Red Dao minorities. Topas Ecolodge management and staff understand and support the environmental and social policy and are committed to continuous improvement of environmental performance by identifying ways to minimize both wastage of natural resources and pollution of the environment, as well as taking social responsibility.

Sao Mai Hotel

Located in center of Bac Ha , Sao Mai is a popular place to stay and the rooms are clean and pleasant. There is a cozy restaurant/bar with outdoor seating under the plum trees. During the busy weekends the friendly owner organizes traditional music perfomances in the bar. (First Class Room)

Pan Hou Village

This might be exactly what you are looking for: a lost valley. Our ecolodge Pan Hou village is hidden at the heart of the High Song Chay mountains. The Ha Giang province is the last to open to tourism and offers some of the most striking sceneries in Vietnam. Virgin forests, natural fortress mountains sculpted into terraces, rock formations plateaus split by breathtaking canyons. These majestic landscapes shelter the largest diversity of ethnic minorities in Vietnam. Our base camp was built in the style of a traditional village and accommodates travelers looking for a halt in their wonderings across the High Region. This is where the treks are organized, and it’s a great place for walkers and “adventurers” of the High Tonkin to exchange points of view and experiences. Thirty rooms with bathrooms supplied by a solar water system.

Huy Hoan Hotel

Basic and clean accomodations, conveniently located in the city center (VIP room).

Hoa Cuong or Khau Vai Guesthouse

Basic and clean accommodations, conveniently located in the town center (Standard room)

Thanh Loan Hotel

In the heart of Cao Bang city, Thanh Loan Hotel provides a realiable, clean, and comfortable accomodation for the world traveler. Amenities include a Vietnamese and Western Restaurant with a panoramic view of the Bang Giang River.

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