The remote mountains of Vietnam northwest are home to some South-East AsiaÂ´s most rugged terrain, beautiful scenery and colourful hilltribes. Leaving the graceful boulevards of Hanoi behind, head to Mai Chau before traversing the bumpy mountain roads to Son La, Dien Bien Phu, Lai Chau, and Sapa. Experience breathtaking mountain views and meet the friendly locals along the way. If you want to get off the beaten track in Vietnam, this is the trip for you.
Day 1 Hanoi
Admire the Temple of Literature during a free day in the capital.
Day 2 Mai Chau
Head to the town of Mai Chau, passing fields of tapioca, sugar cane and rice along the way. Meander through ethnic minority villages nestled in stunning mountainous surround. Spend an unforgettable night in a homestay with a local family.
Day 3 Son La
Home to Thai, Muong and H'mong minorities, Son La will be a fascinating stop. This area also has historical significance for the role it played in the Vietnamese struggle for independence during the first half the 20th century.
Day 4 Dien Bien Phu
Visit the remains of a former French prison and enjoy a dip in the local hot springs before driving to historic Dien Bien Phu.
Day 5 Phong Tho
Gain an insight into the history of the region on a walking tour. Call by the haunting Dien Bien Phu museum, see Hill A1, then continue onto Phong Tho for the night.
Days 6-7 Sapa
Make the journey east to Sapa. Admire the remoteness of this region and soak up vistas few travellers encounter. Enjoy a short trek at Binh Lu through endless green tea plantations before driving through Hoang Lien Son Pass - this is mountain scenery at its best. Keep a lookout for Mt Fansipan, the highest peak in Indochina. Once in Sapa, trek to the idyllic village of Cat Cat, home to the H'mong. Have the chance to meet other ethic minorities while in this part of Vietnam, including the Red Zao and Tay people.
Day 8 Hanoi
After an overnight train ride from Lao Cai, head to KOTO restaurant for a farewell breakfast with newfound friends.