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Northern Loop Vietnam 13 days 12 nights

The Northern mountainous region offers, perhaps, the most spectacular scenery anywhere in Vietnam. Opportunities to see something of the lives, customs and costumes of many of Vietnam’s ethnic minorities abound. Discover the north of Vietnam and all its charm with a tour that showcases the diversity of both the landscapes and the cultures of the area.
- This Northern  Loop Vietnam 13 days 12 nights takes you to Mai Chau, Son La, Sapa, Bac Ha, Ha Giang, Meo Vac, Dong Van, Ba Be lake, Ban Gioc waterfall, Lang Son, Halong bay and Cat Ba island. All MUST see in north Vietnam.


 

Type of tour: Private
Tour code: PRT 29E
Departure dates: Daily
Destination:  Mai Chau, Son La, Sapa, Bac Ha, Ha Giang, Meo Vac, Dong Van,
                      Ba Be lake, Ban Gioc waterfall, Lang Son, Halong bay, Cat Ba island
Duration: 13 days

Tour Itinerary:

Day 1: Hanoi - Mai Chau - Son La
Day 2: Son La - Lai Chau (Muong Lay)
Day 3: Muong Lay - Sapa
Day 4: Sapa Trekking
Day 5: Sapa - Bac Ha - Ha Giang
Day 6: Ha Giang - Dong Van-Meo Vac
Day 7: Meo Vac - Bao Lac - Nguyen Binh - Ba Be lake
Day 8: Ba Be lake
Day 9: Ba Be Lake - Cao Bang - Ban Gioc Waterfall
Day 10: Cao Bang – Lang Son – Ha Long
Day 11: Ha Long Bay
Day 12: Ha Long Bay Cruise - Cat Ba Island
Day 13: Cat Ba Island - Ha Long Bay - Ha Noi

Day 1
Hanoi - Mai Chau - Son La (L, D)
North Vietnam Discovery, Mai Chau valley
In the morning, your tour guide and driver will pick you up from your hotel in Hanoi and take you to Son La Town (320km), stopping along the way to take photos and get a glimpse of the hill tribe lifestyle. On the way, you will stop in Mai Chau in the villages of Lac and Pom Coong which belong to White Thai communities. You will have a couple of hours to explore and join the local people for a delicious local lunch. After, you will continue the journey to Son La. Upon arrival, you can check-in to the hotel, and then you will have free time to explore.

Highlights and activities: Mai Chau, Lac and Pom Coong village
Accommodation: Hotel in Mai Chau
Meals: Lunch, dinner
Day 2
Son La - Lai Chau (Muong Lay) (B, L, D)
North Vietnam Discovery, Thai ethnic minority in Mai Chau
In the morning, you will visit the French Prison and the Son La Ethnology Museum. You will then drive to Muong Lay with stops on the way for taking photos and visiting some Black Thai villages to find out about some customary practices people here. You will also visit Tuan Chau Market and Pha Din Pass (1300m). You will stop for lunch in Tuan Giao and then continue on to Muong Lay where you can check-in to your hotel.

Highlights and activities: Son La Ethnologgy museum, Pha Din Pass
Accommodation: Hotel in Muong Lay
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Day 3
Muong Lay - Sapa (B, L, D)
North Vietnam Discovery, rice fields in Sapa
In the morning, you will visit Tinh Waterfall followed by lunch in Tam Duong. In the afternoon, you will travel to Sapa making a stop to visit Heaven's Gate, which as well as being the highest stretch of road in Vietnam is also the provincial border of Lao Cai and Lai Chau Provinces. From here you can enjoy remarkable views of the mountains and valleys. You will then visit Silver Waterfall which is located about a half hour from Sapa and offers stunning views of the mountains and lush forests of Hoang Lien National Park. You also have the chance to stop by a local farm for a cup of tea and a chat with the owners to discover more about their way life. You will then have free time to explore Sapa by yourself and visit the night market if you wish to do so. You will stay overnight in a hotel in Sapa.

Highlights and activities: Tinh waterfall, Hoang Lien National Park
Accommodation: Sapa Horison hotel
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Day 4
Sapa Trekking (B, L, D)
North Vietnam Discovery, trekking in Sapa
Today is devoted to a beautiful hike through the breathtaking scenery of Sa Pa Valley. En route, admire the rice terraces hidden behind the mist of the morning, a truly awe-inspiring sight. You will follow a small track which crosses Muong Hoa River and passes well-tended rice terraces on the way to the Black Hmong village of Lao Chai. Continuing through the colourful rice terraces, you will reach the village of Ta Van Giay. As you continue your trek along the Muong Hoa River, you will cross a small suspension bridge, roughly 2km from the settlement. Here you can discover a fascinating collection of rock carvings. These engravings depict some beautiful images of men, stilt houses and some beautiful decorative patterns. After taking a rest, the car will collect you for your journey back to Sapa. In the afternoon, you will trek to the villages of Cat Cat and Sin Chai where you can experience the daily life of the Black H’Mong people. You will stay overnight in a hotel in Sapa.

Highlights and activities: Muong Hoa, Ta Van, Cat Cat and Sin Chai, a 12 - 15 km trek
Accommodation: Sapa Horison hotel
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Day 5
Sapa - Bac Ha - Ha Giang (B, L, D)
North Vietnam Discovery, Hagiang
Starting from Sapa, you will first visit Bac Ha where you can enjoy an easy trek to Ban Pho Village to visit some houses of Mong Flower and visit the old castle of the former H’mong King. You will stop for lunch in Bac Ha. In the afternoon, you will set off on a half-day journey through Sin Man and Hoang Su Phi to Ha Giang Town. The rough but scenic route traverses a dense jungle before crossing over a pass and down to Sin Man. Along the way, you may meet people from the many different ethnic minority communities in the area including Nung Ing, Tay, Red Dao, Dao Ao Dai, La Chi and Co Lao. You will stay overnight in a hotel in Ha Giang.

Highlights and activities: Ban Pho village, Sin Man, Hoang Su Phi, a 3 - 5 km trek
Accommodation: Hotel in Ha Giang
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Day 6
Ha Giang - Dong Van - Meo Vac (B, L, D)
North Vietnam Discovery, H'mong ethnic village in Meo Vac
Starting from Ha Giang, you will stop in Quan Ba District to visit the Dzao ethnic minority village an area blessed with fantastic weather throughout the year. Then you will stop at Sky Gate where you can visit Fairy Mountain and hand weaving village. You will take a break in Yen Minh Town begore continuing to Meo Vac Town to visit a traditional Dao house. You will have the chance to see the Nho Que river with Ma Pi Leng Point, and view ancient valley from above. After, you go to Sa Phin Village to visit former Meo King's palace. You will spend the night in Meo Vac.

Highlights and activities: Quan Ba, Yen Minh, Ma Pi Leng Pass, Meo Vac
Accommodation: Hotel in Meo Vac
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Day 7
Meo Vac - Ba Be Lake (B, L, D)
Vietnam discovery tour, Dong Van Stone Plateau
Today, the journey takes you through the rolling hills and the picturesque scenery to Ba Be National Park. The roads are bumpy and zig-zag through the mountains, but the journey is more than rewarding. Meet the locals and learn more about the life and culture of the Hmong, Dao, Tay and Nung ethnic minorities who make for the main population in this region. Surely, your presence will attract the locals’ attention as this part of the country still receives few visitors. Depending on road and traffic conditions, we arrive in Ba Be lake in the late afternoon or early evening. You will spend the night here in a homestay.

Highlights and activities: Meo Vac, Ba Be National Park
Accommodation: Mr Linh's Homestay
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Day 8
Boat Trip On Ba Be Lake (B, L, D)
North Vietnam Discovery, boat trip on Ba Be lake
You can enjoy your new surroundings as you eat breakfast on the terrace and then take a short drive to the house owner's boat, which will take you through the entire length Ba Be Lake and up the Nang River. On the boat ride, you will come to, Puong Cave, a fascinating tunnel that has been cut away through the limestone mountain. You will then trek through H'mong and Zao village of Cam Ban. We will continue to Cam Ha Village where you can observe the peaceful life of the Tay people amongst the green rice fields. The boat will then travel up the river to the small village of Hua Tang, a small and authentic rural village where the people live a simple but happy life. You can enjoy a delicious lunch in a local house alongside the river. After lunch, you will take a short walk through the jungle to the atmospheric Dau Dang Waterfalls, a series of spectacular cascades between sheer rock walls. You may continue the trail to arrive in a large river bend full of colourful local life, with a small harbour used for transferring goods between boats and motorbikes. You will make the return journey by boat for another night experiencing the Tay hospitality in your homestay.

Highlights and activities: Ba Be Lake, Boat trip, Dau Dang waterfall, a 2 - 3 km trek
Accommodation: Mr Linh's Homestay
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Day 9
Ba Be Lake - Cao Bang (B, L, D)
North Vietnam Discovery, Ban Gioc waterfall
After breakfast with your host family, your journey today will start with a visit to Hua Ma, a dry cave with thousands of amazing stalactites, followed by a drive around Ba Be Lake. Then as you cross through rainforest leaving Ba Be, you will stop for lunch in Cho Ra Town, before continuing on to Quang Uyen, a district inhabited primarily by Nung ethnic minority communities. Due to their isolation and the remote nature of the district, their centuries old traditions and culture remains recognizably distinct from other minorities in Vietnam.
This remoteness and traditional simplicity is what makes Quang Uyen so appealing, and you will be able to experience this first-hand as you overnight in the village.

Highlights and activities: Ba Be National Park, Hua Ma cave, 2 - 3km trek
Accommodation: Mr Kim's Homestay
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

 
Day 10
Ban Gioc Waterfall – Lang Son (B, L, D)
North Vietnam Discovery, Nguom Ngao cave
The third day is likely to be your highlight of the tour, as we take you to one of the most incredible natural wonders in Northern Vietnam; Ban Gioc Waterfall. This breath-taking 300-metre wide cascade sits right on the border between China and Vietnam, amidst a beautiful mountainous landscape.
While you’re here you can spend your time relaxing in the glow of the natural beauty, take some amazing photos, and board a bamboo boat that will take you so close to the falls you’ll feel the spray on your face, practically sitting at the very edge of Vietnam, so close to China that you can actually touch it.
After enjoying the waterfall, you will venture deep underground into the magical Nguom Ngao Cave to discover the rock formations which have been carved by erosion over millennia, before heading to a local market where local people from across the region come to buy and sell locally produced products, as well as socialize with people from other communities. Rounding out the day, you’ll be travelling to Bac Son Valley where you will stay overnight in a homestay.

Highlights and activities: Ban Gioc waterfall, Nguom Ngao cave, a 2 - 3 km trek
Accommodati.  Nung House
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Day 11
Lang Son – Cat Ba (B, L, D)
North Vietnam Discovery, Halong bay
Today you will travel the famous Route Coloniale No. 4 which was host to fierce fighting during the First Indochina War. You will arrive in Lang Son in the midday where you will have free time to explore Dong Kinh Market. After, you will drive to the iconic Ha Long Bay with plenty of scenery to appreciate en route. You will arrive in Cat Ba Island in the late afternoon where you will stay overnight at the Cat Ba beach resort.

Highlights and activities: Cao Bang, Lang Son, Dong Kinh market, Hai Phong
Accommodation: Monaco Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

 
Day 12
Cruise Trip on Lan Ha Bay (B, L, D)
North Vietnam Discovery, kaykaing on Halong bay
As you the begin the cruise through Lan Ha Bay, a delicious seafood lunch will be served on board. You will then enter Lan Ha Bay where the boat will weave between the karsts giving you incredible views of the bay. Weather permitting, you will stop on a small, isolated beach for swimming and/or kayaking. After, you will visit of the Hang Ca Lagoon, passing through the small tunnel to reach the beautiful haven. In the evening, you can enjoy another tasty seafood dinner and spend the night on board in Lan Ha Bay.

Highlights and activities: Lan Ha Bay,
Accommodation: Overnight on Cruise
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Day 13
Cat Ba Island - Ha Noi (B, L)
North Vietnam Discovery, fishing village in Cat Ba
After enjoying breakfast on board, you will cruise through get up close to the amazing array of islands and islets. You will then pay a visit to a fascinating floating fishing village before enjoying lunch on board. You will continue cruising across the bay towards Cat Ba Island where you will disembark and begin the return journey to Hanoi,

Highlights and activities:
Accommodation: Not include
Meals: Breakfast, lunch


The facts…
We take you to the parts others can't reach!

Climate
From July to September, the climate is usually humid and hot.
From October to June brings cooler and more pleasant weather.

Transport
Boat.
Vehicle.

Tour Guides
Our experienced and friendly Tour Guide(s) speak excellent English or French.
They are extremely knowledgeable about local cultures, history and the environment.

Rate
This rate is quoted in USD per person, based on Double/Twin occupancy. Valid until December 2019
 
Group size
Price/pp
1p
3272
2p
1884
3p
1655
4p
1519
5p
1455
6p
1355
7p
N/A
8p
N/A
Single Supp’
N/A
 
Tour price includes
Private door-to-door pick-up & -off services.
All private transfer and transportation
Accommodation
Experienced English or French speaking guide.
Boat trip & kayaking
Meals as stated in the itinerary (B: Breakfast; L: Lunch; D: Dinner)
All sightseeing tickets.
No extra charge after confirmation
24/7 hotline support guaranteed

Tour price excludes
Personal expenses, tips and gratuities
Travel insurance
Beverage
Other services not mentioned above.

What to take
Pack essentials, including light comfortable clothes suitable for outdoor activities, comfortable walking shoes. Take a small day pack for hiking and trekking.
It is essential to bring your passport on this trip. We also recommend packing: insect repellent, sun cream, raincoat and sun hat...
 
Have a great journey!
 
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