NORTH EAST VIETNAM TOUR

Length

12 DAYS

Type of tour

NATURE

Type of service

PRIVATE

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TRIP OVERVIEW

  North East Vietnam Tour is an exciting journey carefully designed to learn about the local culture and appreciate the incredible landscapes of the North Vietnamese regions. This is a unique opportunity for nature photography enthusiasts as well as for those seeking a less conventional travel experience off the beaten track.

This suggested itinerary starts and ends in Hanoi and does not include any visit to the capital, although these can be added if desired.

The trip extends to the Chinese border at Long Cu and to the magnificent Cao Bang waterfalls, following the route considered the most authentic and exciting in North Vietnam for its incredible geological landscapes.

Enjoy the amazing landscapes of the north and visit local villages inhabited by mountain ethnic groups in complete harmony with the picturesque landscapes of rice terraces and lush vegetation.

Sail into the incredible Halong Bay, known for its majestic karst mountains, thousands of small limestone islands, fantastic caves, remarkable biodiversity and a marine biosystem with a wide variety of flora and fauna.

The best season for this itinerary is from April to October.

This suggested itinerary can be customised according to your travel needs as well as combined with other routes.

North East Vietnam tour map © In Asia Travel

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Length : 12D 11N
From : HANOI
To : HANOI
Destinations  : Hanoi, Lao Cai, Ba Ha, Ha Giang, Quan Ba, Yen Minh, Dong Van, Lung Cu, Meo Vac, Bao Lac, Cao Bang, Ban Gioc, Nguom Gao, Ba Be, Thay Nguyen, Halong Bay

ITINERARY

01. ARRIVE IN HANOI

Arrival in Hanoi, the charming capital of Vietnam.
Welcome meeting by our staff at the airport and transfer to the hotel.

Included : Tour guide, private transportation and hotel 

02. LAO CAI – BAC HA

Bac Ha market - Vietnam © Gabriele Stoia - In Asia TravelBac Ha market

We start this wonderful journey by moving to Lao Cai, at the border with China, and then on to Bac Ha, the small town in the Northeast of Vietnam particularly famous for its tribal market ‘Bac Ha Sunday Market‘, which only takes place on Sunday mornings.

The bazaar is undoubtedly the most exciting visit of the trip as it enables us to dip into the colourful traditions of the Nung, Mong Flower and Black Dzao ethnic minorities, as they meet at the market to barter for goods.

We reach the Bac Ha homestay, an authentic wooden house on stilts where we have dinner and spend the night. The accommodation is very basic, with a large, shared room with mats on the floor and mosquito netting, and shared bathrooms outside.

In the afternoon we explore the surroundings on foot and visit the ethnic villages in the area.

Included : Homestay, breakfast, lunch, dinner, tour guide and private transportation 

03. HA GIANG – XIN MAN – QUAN BA

Best private tailor made tours in Southeast Asia and Central Asia - In Asia TravelXin Man district

After breakfast we drive to Ha Giang, the remote province that boasts a unique geological heritage and surreal landscapes. It is divided into 10 districts inhabited by numerous ethnic minorities including H’mong, Thay, Dao, Nung, Lo Lo, Giay and Pu Peo, each with their own culture and traditions, distinguishable from the colours of their traditional costumes. The only road from Bac Ha to Ha Giang is extremely thrilling, winding and among the most adventurous in North Vietnam.

On the way we stop at Xin Man village, surrounded by forests and mountains.

The market in the town of Coc Pai is worth visiting on Sunday morning. Following this we reach Hoang Su Phi village where we stop to admire some traditional production processes such as tea drying and weaving.

Afterwards, we continue towards Quan Ba, also known as the “Heaven gate“, located on the highest point of the pass that connects Ha Giang to Quan Ba district.

It also marks the gateway to the Dong Van Geological Park. The surrounding scenery is just sublime.

Later this afternoon we reach Quan Ba, the district famous for its distinctive dome-shaped hills, including Co Tien Mountain.

Overnight accommodation in a homestay (local house), an original wooden house belonging to a family of the Tay ethnic group.

Included : Homestay, breakfast, lunch, dinner, tour guide, private transportation

04. YEN MINH – LUNG CU – DONG VAN

Tea plantation at Moc ChauYen Minh

A short trek in the surrounding area awaits us in the morning before we set off on the journey to one of the most thrilling areas, which will take us to the northernmost geographical point of Vietnam via the Dong Van Karst Geological Park, at an altitude of 1600m, the only stone plateau in the whole country, listed in the conservation project of the UNESCO Global Geoparks.

On the way we stop at some villages inhabited by the White H’Mong ethnic group and the Pho Ca village.

In the afternoon we visit the village of the Red Lolo ethnic group before travelling to Lung Cu, on the Chinese border. Here we find the ancient palace of the H’mong ruler Vuong Chi Sinh and the Dragon Mountain Tower, built in the 11th century on which a large national flag fly.

Return to Dong Van for overnight at the hotel.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, lunch, dinner, tour guide and private transportation 

05. MA PHI LENG PASS – MEO VAC

Meo Vac - VietnamMeo Vac

In the morning we drive southeast along the Chinese border towards the town of Meo Vac.

We cross Ma Phi Leng, the mountain pass at an altitude of 2000 metres, the highest in Vietnam and considered the most beautiful lookout point, with sediments dating back hundreds of millions of years.

We stop at several scenic spots to admire the incredible view of the valley and the Nho Que River.

In the afternoon we visit the ethnic village of the Lolo Flower minority only found in this area and known for the distinctive costumes with colourful inserts worn by the women and at times adorned with silver jewellery which, according to local belief, are used to ward off evil spirits.

Afterwards, transfer to the homestay in Meo Vac.

Included : Homestay, breakfast, lunch, dinner tour guide and private transportation 

06. CAO BANG

After breakfast transfer to Cao Bang, capital of the homonymous province. The journey goes through a very genuine area off the beaten track with a rich history dating back to the Bronze Age.

During the journey we pass through the town of Bao Lac inhabited by about 1000 people of the Black Lolo ethnic group, experts in the traditional production of bronze drums.

Arrival in Cao Bang in the afternoon and check-in at the hotel.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, lunch, dinner, tour guide and private transportation

07. BAN GIOC WATERFALLS

Best private tailor made tours in Southeast Asia and Central Asia - In Asia TravelBan Gioc waterfall

We spend the day exploring the surroundings of Cao Bang area and visiting the wonderful and impressive Ban Gioc waterfalls on the Quay Son River which crosses the Vietnam – China border.

The area is rich in karst formations and numerous streams rise from underground fissures along the lower levels of the area. The multiple jumps on the various layers determine the sediments of different hardness that have geologically modified the soil over millions of years.

The sight of this natural spectacle leaves you speechless. Although the waterfalls do not reach a great height, approximately 30 metres, they are certainly impressive because of their width, which is about 300 metres. We can enjoy a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear water pool.

Just a couple of kilometres from the waterfalls we visit the Nguom Ngao cave, which in the language of the local Tay ethnic group translates as ‘the tiger cave’, featuring huge, colourful stalactites and stalagmites.

It is over 2 km long and some of the caves are up to 60 metres high. It is divided into several sections and there is apparently a passage leading to the waterfalls, although this is not yet open to the public. After visiting the site, we return to Cao Bang for an overnight stay.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, lunch, dinner, tour guide and private transportation 

08. BA BE LAKE – DAU DANG WATERFALLS

After breakfast we reach Ba Be National Park and take a boat trip to Ba Be Lake, surrounded by a backdrop of limestone mountains and evergreen forests.

In the local language the name translates to ‘three lakes’, it is in fact divided into three connected zones, Pe Leng, Pe Lu and Pe Lam. Lake Ba Be is about 8 km long, varying in size from 3 to 5 square kilometres depending on the season and reaching a maximum depth of 35 metres. The ecosystem boasts 65 species of mammals and over 200 species of birds.

Nearby we visit the Dau Dang waterfalls formed by the Nang River, which vigorously flows through the forest for about 1 km, creating numerous rapids.

We carry on with the boat trip to the tranquil Nang River through the rural landscape that leads to a scenery of primitive cliffs where we see local fishermen busy fishing with nets and pots.

We reach Puong Cave, formed over thousands of years by the erosion of limestone. It is about 300 metres long and reaches a height of 30 metres, offering an incredible spectacle of beautiful stalactites.

Later transfer to the homestay.

Included : Homestay, breakfast, lunch, dinner, tour guide and private transportation 

09. TAN TRAO – DINH HAO – HANOI

Museum of Ethnology © Gabriele Stoia - In Asia TravelMuseum of Ethnology

After breakfast we begin the journey back to the capital. Along the way we pass Tan Trao and Dinh Hao, two locations of significant importance in the history of Vietnam.

In 1945 Tan Trao was the temporary capital, the leader Ho Chi Minh established a refuge at this location at the start of his political campaign to free the nation from the French occupation.

We stop at Thay Nguyen, another historically relevant location that was the scene of many protests against the local government during the period of the French Indochina.

After a long journey through the remote provinces and after having met many inhabitants belonging to different ethnic groups, the Ethnology Museum is for sure worth a visit to get a comprehensive overview and to get a better understanding of all the ethnic minorities in Vietnam, after the first-hand experience.

Afterwards, transfer to the hotel in Hanoi.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, lunch, tour guide, tickets and private transportation 

10. HALONG BAY CRUISE

Halong Bay © Gabriele StoiaHalong Bay

Early morning transfer to Ha Long port (approx. 4h). Upon arrival board the junk for an unforgettable cruise in Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994 and considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World since 2008.

Stretching over an area of more than 1500 square kilometres, it is home to thousands of small monolithic limestone islands, fantastic caves and a marine biodiversity and biosystem with a wide variety of flora and fauna.

During the navigation in the beautiful naturalistic scenery of the bay you can practice some activities foreseen by the program established by the navigation company such as swimming, snorkelling, kayaking, visiting a limestone cave and a fishing village, or simply relax surrounded by the extraordinary landscape.

Both lunch and dinner are served on board and include a tasting of seafood. Overnight stay in an air-conditioned private cabin.

Included : Junk in Halong, breakfast, lunch, dinner, tour guide 

11. HALONG BAY CRUISE - HANOI

Halong Bay - Vietnam © Gabriele StoiaHalong Bay

The cruise offers the privilege of watching the spectacular sunrise over Halong Bay. If you wish, you can take part in a Tai Chi class on the deck of the junk at 6am.

After breakfast, further activities are planned on board, depending on the cruise programme.

On the way back to Ha Long port, lunch will be served on board to conclude this unique experience.

Pick up at the port and transfer to your hotel in Hanoi.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, lunch, tour guide and private transportation 

12. HANOI - DEPARTURE

Transfer to Hanoi airport in time for your departure flight.

Included : Breakfast and private transfer to the airport

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