Northern Vietnam Hiking Tour 7 Day Itinerary is a moderate adventure trip the Hiking Vietnam team design for small groups and active adventure travelers. The 7 day trekking tour North Vietnam focuses on natural landscape and the rich ethnic culture, traditions of Bac Ha, Hoang Su Phi, Ha Giang, and Thac Ba Lake.
Map of northern Vietnam hiking tour
Northern Vietnam hiking tour itinerary
Day 1: Hanoi – Lao Cai
To begin the first day of Northern Vietnam Trekking Tour, we get transferred to the train station to take the overnight train to Lao Cai. The trains generally leave between 21 and 22h, and the train journey takes about 8 hours for 350km. We spend the night in 4-berth compartments with simple comfort …
Day 2: Lao Cai – Coc Ly – Bac Ha
Arrival at Lao Cai Station early this morning. Lao Cai is a border city and commercial crossroads between China and Vietnam. Shower in a mini-hotel. Breakfast and transfer to Bac Ha, stopping at Coc Ly market. Located at the edge of Chay River, the Coc Ly Market is held every Tuesday. In the early morning, small groups of various Vietnamese ethnic groups, especially the H’mong flower, in traditional dress, arrive on horseback, scooter or on foot. They bring many homemade products to the market such as maize, cassava, tea, fruit, honey, alcohol, artisanal products … The market is divided into several areas: fruits, vegetables, animals, fabrics and traditional clothing. The area where buffaloes are sold is the liveliest because, in this region, buffalo is the major force for the preparation of soil – plowing and harrowing – necessary for the transplanting of rice fields.
After visiting the market, if the water level allows, boat ride of about an hour on the Chay River before returning to Bac Ha. If the water level does not allow it, direct route to Bac Ha after the market visit. In the afternoon, have a short walk to discover the way of life of the Hmong-flowers and other ethnic groups living in Bac Ha.
At the end of the afternoon, return to the homestay. We help the family prepare the meal and learn how to prepare the famous spring rolls.
Day 3: Bac Ha – Hoang Su Phi
On this third day of Northern Vietnam Trekking Tour, we get transferred to Hoang Su Phi via Coc Pai: crossing from west to east of the Chay River Massif by a winding but beautiful mountain road, almost parallel to the Vietnamese-Chinese border. From Coc Pai, the journey continues along the valley of Chay River which we go upstream for about 40km to the town of Hoang Su Phi. About fifteen kilometers before reaching this village, detour in the north following a beautiful valley. The landscapes are breathtaking (except in misty days in January and February). At the end of the road, discovery of a village located at about 1000m altitude on a mountain slope overlooking the valley. It is inhabited by a few dozen families of the La Chi ethnic group. With a community of more than 10,000 people, the La Chi are a minority in the minority. Walk for 1 hour in their village and meeting with locals.
Return to Hoang Su Phi for lunch before continuing the journey of a dozen kilometers on a small road that climbs on the northwestern side of the highest mountain of the massif, whose cumulative point, Mount Kiou Leou Ti, stands at 2402 meters.
Departure for a hike uphill, mountainside, through beautiful rice terraces and villages. Panoramic views of a set of valleys and chaotic mountains before arriving in a village where we will be welcomed in a black Dao family, recognizable by their costumes and black scarves, embellished with red stripe. They live on rice terraces, breeding and cardamom cultivation. Installation in their wooden house on stilts. Free time to enjoy great landscapes, dine with the family.
Day 4: Hoang Su Phi – Ha Giang
After breakfast at the homestay, we continue our 7 day Trekking Tour North Vietnam with an easy hike of about 2h from the village to the meeting point with the driver. The trail on the mountainside passes like a snake through rice terraces and hamlets populated by the Dao. It goes up and down, bypasses small hills before throwing itself at the bottom of the valley cut by a river that you will pass by a suspension bridge to join the vehicle.
Journey through Hoang Su Phi area towards Ha Giang. After two passes known as “heaven gates”, descent on the basin of the river Lô. Between the two passes, a recognized and classified landscape: the rice terraces of Thong Nguyen made by the Red Dao (or Man Ta Pan). From the city of Tan Quang, go up north for 45km along the River Lo to the beautiful village of Ha Thanh. Charming, peaceful and relaxing, this village nestles at the foot of the Tay Con Linh massif. Meeting with our host and installation at the homestay. From his house, direct view of the rice fields in the middle of small rocks. Like its neighbors, our host is a farmer, living from rice growing, and fish farming. We are here in the heart of a Tay community.
At the end of the afternoon, have a short walk in the village and / or in the rice fields to the neighboring village. Rice fields, vegetable gardens, small ponds devoted to raising fish and houses on stilts surrounded by greenery … this is the landscape that forms the living environment for local residents.
Day 5: Ha Giang Hiking & Culture Discovery
In the morning, hike for 3-4 hours in the heights of the Tay Con Linh massif. From the village, walk on a shady path of palm trees with broad leaves, ascending on the northern slope of the massif. On the other side of the valley, a chain of mountains is outlined on the horizon with its magnificent karstic serrations. After 1h30 of walking, we arrive in a village populated with the Red Dao, established on the mountainside. Their rice fields, which surround the village, unfurl over the rolling hills of the mountains as on the back of a giant animal. These rice fields vary considerably with the seasons. In winter and spring, the bare crops reveal a raw soil strewn with burned straw. Between late April and late May, the flooded terraces reflect the sky. From July to October, the rice fields are adorned with all ranges of colors, green and then golden yellow.
Descent gradually down the valley. After crossing a river, continue walking on a flat path to another village Tay, a haven of peace. Discovery of the village then short transfer by vehicle to return to our homestay.
In the afternoon, meet with an artisanal producer of the most consumed drink in all villages in the northern Vietnam: rice wine. Holder of traditional secrets, he will explain, and demonstrate the entire process of production of this alcohol. We then go to another house and we talk with him, in his fields, about rice farming techniques. Initiation to agrarian works according to seasons.
Day 6: Ha Giang – Thac Ba Lake
Road towards Thac Ba Lake. The road winds on the slopes in a beautiful region of small rice valleys dotted with small hamlets of the Dao ethnic group to the village of Cam Nhan. Have a short walk (1 hour) in the valley of Cam Nhan. The walk begins on a path along the valley, crossing Tay hamlets of Ban Hung. Continue the journey by vehicle. Shortly after, Thac Ba Lake, the largest freshwater reservoir in the north, becomes visible. The village of Ngoi Tu, reached by a road along the eastern shore of the lake, is then about fifty km distant.
Covering an area of 23,000 ha, the artificial lake of Thac Ba reaches a depth of more than 50m and retains, depending on the season, 3 to 4 billion m3 of water. The creation of the lake (1970) flooded a vast area of hills, causing the formation of more than 1300 islands. Arrival in the early afternoon at the beautiful village of Long Dress Dao of Ngoi Tu. Installation at our homestay, then have a boat ride in the lake to the rhythm of local activities: cassava plantations, plaice fishing, lifting shrimp traps, fish farming, cattle and goat farming.
Day 7: Thac Ba – Hanoi
After breakfast, farewell to our guests and drive back to Hanoi. 60km before arriving in Hanoi, we stop to visit the village of Duong Lam, one of the oldest villages of the Red River Delta. This village is particularly characteristic, in its layout and its atmosphere, of the Viets culture, which represents 90% of the Vietnamese population. Lunch at local house then walk through the village to discover the Communal House and old houses. Arrival in Hanoi late afternoon. Trip end of the Northern Vietnam Hiking Tour 7 Day Itinerary.
Private-guided walking holidays
Hiking Vietnam specializes in tailor-making trekking and hiking vacations in Vietnam. We offer the widest selection of day walks, jungle trekking, mountain climb, hiking, trekking home-stay, camping and wild life discovery in the northern Vietnam. With a dedicated team of senior travel consultants, hiking tour specialists, experienced English-speaking tour leaders, local H’mong, Thai, Tay guides, cooks, porters we can design any trekking, hiking, walking option for any age and budget. This Northern Vietnam Hiking Tour 7 Day Itinerary is only a sample that can be further customized to better fit your personal requirements. Just follow this itinerary or contact us for designing your own adventure.