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The mystic, rocky and steep Northwest with its mountains and minority ethnics is waiting for you! Our journey will start from Hanoi to Mai Chau region, on the limits of Red River, and go upriver heading to the mountainous regions. The first stop is Son La, land of minority ethnics and the impressive Moc Chau Plateau. After that, we will reach Dien Bien for the scenery of the most famous battles between Viet Minh and the French colonial army. Next star destination is Sapa with sceneries of breathtaking rice terrace fields and spectacular valleys, ethnic cultures and fresh mountain air. In 1922, French developed Sapa like a mountain station, same as Alpine towns back in France, giving to Sapa a unique architecture in the area. After visiting Bac Ha and its Sunday market, we start to come back to Hanoi via the scenic Yen Bai.

DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATIONHanoi
DEPARTURE TIME8AM
RETURN TIME
WEAR
INCLUDED
NOT INCLUDED
1

Day 1: Hanoi to Mai Chau (L)

CHÀO MU’NG! Welcome to Han Noi and Vietnam! You are met on arrival at the Hanoi(Noi Bai) airport, then your adventure begins as you depart Hanoi towards Mai Chau. The first stop is in Hoa Binh city with a visit to the Hoa Binh hydroelectric plant, one of the largest energy sources in Southeast Asia.

Overnight in Mai Chau.

2

Day 2: Mai Chau to Son La (B,L)

This morning we will have an easy trek to explore the neighboring small villages. Visit the White Thai ethnic minority village of Pom Coọng to watch their daily life and learn about their culture, folklore, history, traditional dances, songs and beautiful embroidery art. Visit their traditional stilt houses with palm-leaf roofs, bamboo floors, and large, colorful decorated windows. Each house has a pond to breed their own fish.

Overnight at hotel in Son La.

3

Day 3: Son La to Dien Bien Phu (B,L)

This morning visit the Son La Museum, where are full of items that remind us about the time this building was the notorious Son La Prison during the French war period. After having lunch at a local restaurant, take a scenic drive to Dien Bien. The wonderful scenery is highlighted by the Pha Din Pass, located 1000 meters above the sea level. According to a local legend, Pha Din is considered as the borderland between The Heaven and The Earth.

Overnight in Dien Bien.

4

Day 4: Dien Bien Phu to Lai Chau (B,L)

During your visit to the Dien Bien Museum this morning, you will see a large collection of weaponry used during the war with the French, as well as numerous old photographs and documents. Dien Bien is a famous province in the northwest, known for the bunkers left after the 1954 battle of Dien Bien Phu. Explore the old battlefields. See A1 Hill – the toughest stronghold post in the fortified encampment. It was the headquarters of the former French General De Castries.

Overnight in Lai Chau.

5

Day 5: Friday - Lai Chau to Sapa (B,L)

Today we head to Sapa, and drive through the heart and soul of the northwest. See some of the most beautiful hill tribes (Montagnards) in northern Vietnam. Meet the diverse H’Mong, Black Thai, Black Dzao, and Pazi peoples. Spending time in these small villages and communities gives you a deeper understanding of the true history and cultures of the variety of ethnic groups in northern Vietnam. Sapa is nestled in a spectacular valley, surrounded by wonderful and ever-changing views. Began as a hill station by the French in 1922, the town is mostly inhabited by Hmong and Dao people, known for their welcoming culture and distinctive colorful clothing. Overnight in Sapa.
6

Day 6: Sapa & local villages (B,L)

This morning you will take a jeep excursion to the village of Ta Van, home of the Giay minority people, a minority closer to the Red Delta area ethnics. Return to Sapa for lunch and then spend the afternoon exploring the local villages on foot, with a short trekking (1.6 km) towards the bottom of the Muong Hoa Valley, where you will find the stunning Cat Cat village. Admire the lush scenery as you stroll down seeing green rice terraces and the colorful Hmong houses. Cat Cat is an old village and homeland of the Black H’Mong’ ethnic minority. The village seems time still, with the H’Mong’s unique customs and costumes still evident and alive today. The village is full of young women weaving colorful brocades adorned with patterns of local birds and flowers.

Overnight in Sapa.

7

Day 7: Sapa to Bac Ha & Yen Bai (B,L)

This morning we will take a scenic drive heading to Bac Ha to attend the popular Sunday market. Explore this vast public market filled with locals from the various hill tribes. The Bac Ha market is the most colorful in North Vietnam. Sample the simple but unique tribe foods, along with special wines made from rice, cassavas, corn plumps, apples, peaches and other fruit. Continue through the remote countryside to the village of Yen Bai. Enjoy your lunch at a local restaurant, with the rest of the day at leisure.

Overnight in Yen Bai.

8

Day 8: Yen Bai to Hanoi (B,L)

This morning, leave the mountains behind and drive south towards Hanoi. Stop for lunch en route. Overnight in Hanoi.
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Day 9: Hanoi full day sightseeing (B,L)

Blending the modern with the mystery and charm of past centuries, Hanoi has an essence of elegance and a harmony with nature. This morning’s sightseeing begins with a visit to the Van Mieu or Temple of Literature. The temple dates back to 1070, and is dedicated to the cult of Confucius. Notice the peaceful series of walled courtyards and graceful gateways which is one of the best examples of traditional Vietnamese architecture. Next, we will continue to the Ho Chi Minh Memorial Complex, where you can visit the Ho Chi Minh museum and his final resting place. Also, you will see the Ho Chi Minh’s Stilt House, a simple two-room dwelling where he lived from 1958 until his final days in 1969. Nearby is the One Pillar Pagoda sitting in a lotus pond. Made out of a single large tree trunk, it was originally constructed in 1040, and then rebuilt after being destroyed by the French in 1954. Before lunch, we will drive to West Lake next to the center of the city to see the beautiful 6th century Tran Quoc Temple.

Overnight in Hanoi.

10

Day 10: Depart Hanoi (B)

Your tour ends today with your transfer to the Hanoi airport for your departing flight.

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