This 7 day trekking Mai Chau Pu Luong and Cuc Phuong is the best combination of the 3 most popular trekking destinations in the north west of Vietnam. Highlights include hiking through local Thai, Muong hill tribe villages; staying at their home, house on stilts; walk along hillside, rice paddy fields; taste local food and home-made rice wine!
DAY 1: HANOI -> MAI CHAU -> HANG KIA VILLAGE
08h30 you will be met up with Lotussia Travel team at your hotel and transferred to Mai Chau. This scenic drive takes around three hours. Along the way we pass fields of tapioca and sugar cane as well as rice paddies. After lunch in a traditional stilt house of the Thai people, we drive for one hour to Sa Linh Village to begin our trekking. The verdant and rugged mountain scenery combined with the colorful local population makes this an unforgettable experience. Today we walk along gravel tracks and small paths, used by the locals. Our destination for this evening is Hang Kia village, home of the Hmong Minority people. Here we stay overnight as the guests of an H’mong family in a traditional long house, situated in a picturesque valley of peach orchards.
DAY 2: HANG KIA -> VAN VILLAGE
Today we get well and truly off the beaten track as we trek through tropical rain forest, using the local tracks and passing through cornfields as we descend in to Mai Chau Valley . On the way we will encounter the local villagers as they go about their daily business: whether it be tilling the fields, logging or herding buffalo. The trek will take around 7 hours and is quite steep in places. Lunch will be provided en route, and weather permitting, we will have a picnic near a babbling brook at the foot of the valley. From here we pass through several White Thai villages, and are sure to attract attention as this part of the country receives very few visitors. We will arrive at Van village by late afternoon and we will have time to walk around this charming little village, enabling us to understand a little more about how the people live. The village is home to the Thai people, and tonight we will be their guests in one of their traditional stilt houses. There, we will be toasted as honored guests and will be able to sample some of their homemade rice wine!
DAY 3: VAN -> HANG VILLAGE
Trek from Van Village to Sam Khoe Village and drive to Pong Comg for lunch. Following lunch we drive to Ban Sai village from here we trek to the Thai Village of Hang. We spend the night with a local Thai Family who will be our hosts in a traditional house built on stilts. We will definitely learn more about their lives and cultures when staying with them.
DAY 4: HANG -> KHO MUONG VILLAGE / PU LUONG NATURE RESERVE
The sound of mountain, cock and pork make us up for a new day and breakfast. We stroll around the Hang Village before we start trekking. We will be hiking about 6 hours through many Thai Villages and hamlets and encounter friendly children, villagers before arriving Kho Muong Village , home to the Muong ethnic minority, where we stay overnight.
DAY 5: KHO MUONG -> HIN VILLAGE
Following a simple breakfast, we trek for three hours on un uphill gradient through a picturesque forest passing several villages along the way. We break for a lunch in Nua village before we downhill to the Hin village. We overnight in the Thai Family.
DAY 6: HIN -> CUC PHUONG NATIONAL PARK
Thanks for the graceful host; we walk about 4 hours thoughts beautiful hamlets, villages and meet our driver again and drive back to Cuc Phuong National Park via Thanh Hoa Province . You go through the most beautiful landscape of Vietnam countryside.
Arrive Cuc Phuong late in the afternoon, check in our ecolodge in the park and dinner and overnight in this first national park of Vietnam founded 1962.
DAY 7: CUC PHUONG NATIONAL PARK -> HANOI
We commence to trek through the lush rainforest, past centuries old trees. Meet driver at other site of the national park from here we make our way back to Hanoi.
Occasionally our tour itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travelers’ comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the service proposal. It’s very important that you print and review a final copy of your itinerary a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact us. We are here to help you!
Please note that while we operate successful trips in Vietnam throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.
Our trekking tours can be classified into three levels
There are about 8 – 10K to walk on flat roads. No previous experience is necessary. Anyone in good health and fit enough to perform an occasional hike can take an easy level trek. Vietnam easy walks are provided in Hanoi, Bac Giang, Mai Chau, Ngoc Son Ngo Luong…
There are about 10 – 15K to hike on flat and hilly roads. At this point too, no special background is required. Hikers accustomed to trekking in hilly areas of Mai Chau, Pu Luong or Lai Chau, Yen Bai successfully accomplish our treks “moderate”, provided they are in good health and to have a correct fit. These treks are moderate or easy hikes with an average duration or shorter but more difficult steps.
There are about 16 – 23K to trek on uphill/downhill dirty, rocky trails. Physical fitness is very important for these treks and you may have to lead you home before the trek. Most treks in this level are comparable with long rides in the Fansipan mountain or the the mountainous region of Ha Giang, Cao Bang, sometimes higher altitudes. The climate and isolation can also participate in difficulty. Prior trek experience is preferable but not vital if you have confidence in your fitness.
Our trip cost usually includes the following services. Please bear in mind Lotussia Travel is specialized in tailor-made trips. Trip cost vary depending on group size and other details.
- Car transfers
- Local tour guide. The English-Speaking guide is provided by default. Other language may be available upon request (with extra charge).
- Local porter(s)
- Sightseeing entrance fees.
- Bottled water.
Unless required most of the following services are usually not included in our tour price.
- Visa (required)
- Flight/Train tickets.
- Accommodation pre/post trip.
- Travel insurance
- Personal expenses
Our tour guides speak English or French. They hold a university degree in tourism and national license as a guide. If you wish to send a tour leader along with any group, he or she can fully rely on the knowledge and experience of our local guides.
Remote treks are always accompanied by a local representative to deal with permits and authorities and manage the porter team. They speak the local dialects, know the cultural traditions and give tips on suggested behavior in fragile ecological areas and tribal communities. For some itineraries, the role of tour leader and representative is combined.
When to hike
The north Vietnam experiences two distinct seasons; winter and summer. Winter is cool, dry and lasts from November to April. Temperatures range between 15 to 25°C during the day and 0 to 10°C during the night. With little rain, the winter season offers the most pleasant weather conditions for trekking in Vietnam. Read more about Vietnam weather.
During all trekking tours we may use local porters to carry your luggage as well as our trekking equipment, where required. To generate local income we employ local villagers for this task. Participants will have their own porter, carrying trekking equipment and luggage to a maximum of 15 kg per client. Travelers only have to carry their day packs. Read more how to pack
Depending on the nature of the tour, journeys will be accompanied by an air-conditioned car/minibus cover the larger overland sections.
Campsites and lodges are not common in Vietnam, instead we make use of homestays; staying the night in tribal villages along the way. Facilities are clean, but very basic. Travelers share a bamboo-slat floor, separated by curtains. Animals usually sleep under the house and restrooms and showers are often absent. Water sources are available outside. Mattresses, blankets and mosquito nets are taken care of.
Over the years Lotussia Travel has established a number of projects to upgrade home stay accommodation into a bit more comfort. Basic facilities aside, spending the night in a tribal village and enjoying a meal with the locals brings travellers unforgettable cross-cultural experiences. In the past 15 years of organizing trekking by this way, we never received a complaint.
During all treks meals will be arranged on the spot, in local restaurants and at home in local villages along the way. The meals are prepared by our cooks, the local guide or by the local host. Our cooks are well trained to prepare and serve food hygienically and they cook a variety of local delicacies. Sometimes this may include the slaughter of a chicken, duck or pig. We sometimes have the chance to bring western food, and snacks from Hanoi for breakfast and picnics along the way, and coffee and tea are available in abundance. Our cooks make a special effort to provide as much variety as possible. The porters give necessary assistance on the spot.
There are many shops and villages that have bottled water for sale. On remote trekking tours, we buy a sufficient supply of water for the next couple of days. We recommend bringing some water purifying tablets.
Comfortable lightweight clothing in natural fabrics such as cotton is most suitable for travelling in Vietnam. The dress code is fairly casual as in most parts of the tropics but it is advisable to cover arms and legs in the evenings against biting insects. A lightweight raincoat is a good idea in the rainy season. During the winter months warm clothing is needed for visiting the north of Vietnam. Visitors should not wear shorts, short skirts or other skimpy clothing when visiting religious buildings such as pagoda, temple, communal house and shoes should be removed before entering a private home.
What you take will naturally depend upon where you are travelling and the style of journey you are undertaking, and it can often be difficult to decide what to pack. Nevertheless, the following should act as a useful checklist of essential items worth thinking about taking.
- 1 medium-sized backpack.
- Comfortable walking shoes with good grip
- 1 long (easy to dry) pants and 1 long sleeved shirt to wear during the trek (easy to dry).
- 1 pair of flip flop (sandals).
- 1 pair of shorts and T-shirt to wear at camp site (2 if you do 4-day trek).
- 1 medium-sized towel.
- 1 medium-sized dry bag.
- Hiking poles/walking sticks
We strongly believe that Responsible Tourism can support to local communities: proving incomes,positive cultural exchanges and an incentive to protect natural environment. We recognize that there is always space for improvement. We continually strive to narrow the gap between principle and practice.
We have been turning environmentally responsible tourism into practices to minimize tourist impact upon the local habitat. From biodegradable soaps to re – usable water containers, we provide clients with the best information and mean to help them identify and implement effective ways to positive protect local nature and communities. It is a vital criteria that can be passed on and abided by all, long after the trip ended.
Prior to our tours, we contact and work with local community leaders to make sure we are welcome and in a manner that minimizes negative social and cultural impacts. We visit local development and community projects specific to the region, encouraging customers to donate and assist such a projects in appropriate and sustainable manner.
Where make sure that where and whenever possible our tours positively benefit the local community. We stayed at locally owned accommodation and visit cottage industries for local handicraft souvenir, generating income for local business. We often employ, hire support team such as local guide, motor-taxi drivers, cook assistants on all trips to ensure that the local community benefit not only short term but with increased employment opportunities for the future.