Northern Vietnam Hiking Tour – 7 Day Itinerary

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…


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.

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Additional Information

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Upon request


Type of tour

Guided tour, Private tour

Trip duration

Travel style

Places to visit

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Itinerary disclaimer

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.

Difficulty levels

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)
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • 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
  • Tips
  • Personal expenses

Tour Guide

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.

Drinking water

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
  • GPS

Responsible Tourism

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.


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